Can Even Mushroom Clouds Have Silver Linings?

Writing

Can even mushroom clouds have silver linings? Can we find positives among the negatives that have arisen due to the global spread of the life-threatening virus – ‘coronavirus’?

 

This is not an attempt to turn my head away from  the serious consequences that the contagious virus has had on our lives, the mortality, the employment uncertainties, the upheaval of ‘normality’. 

It is with these in mind, I question, can a light really be seen at the end of the tunnel – this time. 

 

All of us have experienced first-handedly the strains of a life succumbed to staring somberly as the sun rises and sets on a cyclical whim. Knowing full-well that we will spend another day living an existence of exhausting every episode of ‘Friends’ known to man. Irony oozes through our veins as we scoff at the mere memory of ‘socialising’. The sobering reality of the closest thing we have to a friend these days being  that of an internet connection and a little-known phenomenon known as ‘Skype’.

 

But before I make my way to the pity party too hastily, I want to pause for a moment and reflect. Surely amongst the sadness and severity of this situation, one must question, are we truly damned? Instead, can we ask – what can we learn from this? And furthermore, are there any positives in particular to learn from?

 

I think so.

 

Perhaps you agree with some of the below:

 

Lockdown –  Gave Me A Chance To Reconnect With Old Friends

 

Regretfully, I had fallen out of touch with some of my friends in the last year or so. It’s an excuse to say this, but general day-to-day life can be full of distractions. Until ofcourse a situation like this arises, where all of those little tasks and problems now seem eclipsed by another much more forceful phenomenon

 

. With more time on my hands to reflect, I thought about the people I had lost contact with and took the courage to reach out to them. It was a little awkward at first, but I can honestly say, it was a decision well-made. 

 

Videochat – Gave Me A Chance To Form Stronger Connections

 

Before our current situation, there were friends of mine who I only communicated with via text. I couldn’t see the wood for the trees at how advantaged I was in having a laptop I could have used to videocall them long before now.

 

So, in quite a strange way lockdown has actually brought me closer to some friends. Personally, I find communication via videochat, where we can see eachother’s faces, creates a much better connection than solely messaging on social media.  

 

Online – Created The Opportunity To Make New Friends

 

I swear, the way this post is going, it makes it seems like I’ve been more sociable bound to the 4 walls of my own home than when I had a whole city to socialise in! The irony!

 

Facing pure moments of paranoia, as I woke up soaked in sweat at night, fearful of loneliness. I took it upon myself at the very beginning of lockdown, before I had the epiphany to reach out to people I actually knew. To trawl the internet for what looked like a somewhat normal friend-making exchange site. 

 

And actually, to my amazement, I have made a few friends who I’m actually quite fond of. Thankfully, up to this point, I have not been catfished, extorted for money, or stalked. So a round of applause to the world wide web for forming friendships amongst many many other things, which I won’t go down the rabbit hole of divulging…..

 

Lockdown – Gave Me Time To Reflect

 

If you are frequently left in a silent room, you have two options: chew your arm off out of insanity or answer those burning questions you’ve pushed to the back of your mind all these years. 

 

We all do it, because confronting our deepest of questions in the hinterland of  our minds, normally means we will have to confront the cumbersome cousin of ‘intrinsic questioning’  better known as – ‘uncomfortability’.  

 

We can all admit to it, we use procrastination as a way to avoid the uncomfortable. Which is why we find ourselves ordering Amazon’s Top 20 self-help book picks before sunrise on a Sunday. Our sad attempt to pacify the self-doubter within us. Trying to prevent another episode of ill-emotion, instead of focusing on finding a cure.

 

The cure may just be in the form that we all fear –  confronting our internal concerns with courage. Sitting in a room with a pen and paper (not the internet) may be a good start. Atleast this is what I have experienced in the last few months.

 

From career goals, to relationships, personal well-being to living more in the present. I have questioned many elements that make up this crazy ‘thing’ we call ‘life’. 

 

And will continue to make a habit of doing so (Scout’s honour), perhaps you could try it too? 

 

Probably the most neglected friend you have is you. And yet every man, before he can be a true friend to the world, must first become a friend to himself.”    

  1. Ron Hubbard

Perhaps by ill-humoured fate, gifted to us from nature, this tragic experience can show us the true fragility of life and with this in mind, allow elements to reveal themselves which  hold the realest value within it: not money, but meaningful relationships and self-care. 

 

These are just a few positives I have miraculously unearthed from the rubbles of devastation this pandemic has caused. But as the Phoenix rises from the ashes, so can all of us, with the help of a positive attitude. 

 

The Gym – Satan’s Second Home

Writing

Not much of the athletic type, the only way you’ll get me running is in the opposite direction from you if you start going into a long-winded spiel about the weather or how you’re deeply madly in love with your cousin twice removed for that matter.

With that being said, I think my wispy body has been in desperate need of a bit of toning up, my mind continuously screaming out for a hit of dopamine, the kind only garnered after you’ve expelled every drop of blood, sweat and tears out of every orifice in thine very body. In other words – exercised.

With the intrinsic pep talk echoing in my ear one evening after I found myself binging my way into a diabetic coma, I decided to finally muster up the courage to face the embarrassment and shame of my noodle arms shaking under the tremendous pressure of a 5 lb dumbbell, (heaven forbid I tried deadlifts). I remember that first night as if it was yesterday (really it was a week ago but who’s counting), entering the gym felt more like entering an amphitheatre full of lions. Men built like bison, muscles bulging through their over-washed teeny weeny v-neck vest tops. I couldn’t place a bet on which would be first to rip, their crop tops or the vein in their thick thick necks from the gargantuan amount of strain which could have only surmounted in weight to easily 102.5 of my very self. A double take at that weight-lifting carry on was enough to have me retreat as any gym newbie does, by scuttling to the corner of the gym and onto a treadmill. From which I’m reaching for the oxygen tank like a chain smoker on death’s door, after all of 10 mins on the thing. I’ve gotten better though in my 5 days of attendance so far. I no longer use the treadmill, I attend the classes, which is the best solution if you’re like me and don’t have a clue how to use any of the gym equipment and don’t feel like losing a limb in the process of trying to use a weight machine only to find out it has a second calling as a modern day guillotine. If you don’t believe me watch the move – Final Destination 3, I’ll say no more on that front.

So far I’ve done yoga, and a spin class, which tallying it up now sounds pretty lame, but considering the most exercise I ever did prior to a week ago was holding the door open for a tailgater in my apartment block, then I’m doing quite well, don’t you think?

Next up is barre and Afrobeats, the dancer truly truly lost within me will be be buzzing for these. I better bring my sweatbands. Wish me luck………….

Are You Poorer Than Me?

Writing

I’m so sick of being poor. Yes I may have a roof over my head and food in my fridge but when you can’t decorate your rooms or make meals beyond tins of soup and sweetcorn then what’s the point? I might aswell be living in The Amazon, atleast then I’ll avoid the council tax and eyewateringly long queues at the supermarket checkout. 

 

Yes I may be whinging about a first world problem but I believe this is a key reason for my upheaval in the first place. If I did infact live in a tribe in a forest then I wouldn’t know what I’m missing necessarily. How can I miss the sight of some dope dealer sporting the latest balenciaga’s, or the gluttonous geezer buying the ‘extra special’ range in Sainsbury’s when I wouldn’t have the foggiest what either two of these concepts were? You can’t miss what you’ve never witnessed I guess. I would be comfortable and content with my relationships and my tribal lifestyle. 

 

Perhaps that’s just it, in the society I live in, less emphasis is placed on the value of social relationships, instead these are sidelined for the stars of this farcical pantomime I call life – materialism and capitalism. The terrible twins. They are the children you grimace at and purposely attempt to swap at birth, only to find them crawling and clambering their way into your back pocket as you exit the hospital. 

 

My experience living in London has made me reevaluate my perspectives on numerous things, none moreso that the value I myself place on money. Putting it short and sweetly, I now understand why some people may force themselves to do things others may deem shameful. For example, we can all hold our heads high, point our noses in the air, as we scoff at the single mum shaking what God (or her surgeon)  gave her in a strip club. But you put yourself in her 6 inch stilettos for merely a second and maybe then you would begin to empathise and understand that she may have a young mouth to feed on her own. Why? Because the dad walked out as soon as he found out she was pregnant. And let’s face it city ‘living wages’ need to be rephrased as city ‘suffocating wages’. Unless you are in the finance sector or as old as time itself then I’m afraid for the rest of us, youth and inexperience comes as a pretty big financial burden. 

 

I ask myself – why did I move to this city? A question which is becoming worryingly frequent. I’m from a small town in the middle of Northern Ireland, the rent I pay in London could have me living in two places twice the size back in a rural setting, so why am I here? 

 

The old line of ‘there’s loads more opportunities’ is becoming undone, fraying and feeling further from reality. Yes, there may technically be more ‘opportunities’ but let’s face it, no one’s going to throw me a wad of £50’s to take up the opportunity to soak up a West End show, or meetings with top CEOs. Unless ofcourse I turn to sugarbabying, which is a completely different can of worms I wish not open in this moment. 

 

Today, I’m feeling sorry for myself, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who wards away threatening voices in their mind’s eye, tempting them to smash open their piggy bank into a million little pieces, only to find not much more than a hundred little pennies in the remnants of Mr piggy’s once round stomach. Financial hardship makes itself known to all of us at some stage in our lives, I have no doubt, but I say it has outstayed its welcome. So my question now is, how do I kick them out?

Rid them from my minimalist overpriced matchbox flat, where the walls lay bare out of fear that I may maim it’s clinical appearance with so much as a smudge of a marker, or stain from a sticker. Landlords in cities like London make Sherlock Holmes look like a babbling unobservant buffoon when it comes to hunting down the most miniscule of marks on a tenants leaving day, wouldn’t you agree?

 

And with this thought lingering I wonder whether I should indeed make myself scarce of it’s confinements, escaping the financial restrictions once and for all and bid this city goodbye. 

Poem: Anger

Writing

Teeth grit like vice grips on steel.

The metallic hiss rings unforgivingly long.

I raise my hands to the air

Empty handed I surrender.

Empty handed I look for answers.

Yet none rings true for this.

Like a swinging pendulum

I’m hot and then cold

Impatience – an unwelcome friend yet makes itself all too known.

Trying to pacify myself is like

Trying to run backwards up a hill.

Continuously falling downwards.

Makes for a bitter

Pill.

To swallow.

I wallow,

I’m self pity.

Woe be to me for I have seen more tragedy,

In my little mind’s eye than you’ve seen wrongs over rights.

More sleepless nights,

As the hag rides,

Drive bys

Seem like nursery rhymes

Compared the stories I rewind at bedtime.

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. 

 

 

 

 

Rejection – Don’t Fear It (Too Much)

Writing

“Rejection” 

 

A word soaked in stigma, in negative connotations, but do we have to be so damning to a term which in some respects, paradoxically takes ownership for so many of our successes?

 

It’s a stinging word, bringing with it an overcast of self-doubt and worthlessness. As Steve Harvey said  – “success is about being comfortable with being uncomfortable”, it’s undeniable how discomforting and belittling rejection can be to us. But is it true, can we really have success without first facing rejection? Can we really appreciate the sweetness that is success if we haven’t yet experienced the sourest of rejections?

Overall, is being turned down in the moment really as bad as we think, or is it the kickstarter to our successes to come? 

First, let’s take a look at some of history’s most memorable dismissals:

  • Walt Disney was fired from the newspaper ‘Kansas City Star’ for lacking ‘imagination’.
  • Oprah Winfrey was fired as an evening news reporter in her early days, for being unable to resist forming an emotional attachment to her stories she reported on.
  • Megastar singer Lady Gaga, once she was finally signed onto a major record label, was dropped only three months after being signed. 
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

Not that I’m going to be the next Michael Jordan anytime soon, but I myself have been all too familiar with that stomach dropping feeling of rejection .Particularly when it comes to jobhunting. If  I started counting up the number of job applications I’ve received an automated ‘no’ email from to this date, they’d have to create a concept greater than infinity for me, I can’t lie to you. 

From work to love and everything inbetween, it seems rejection is friendly company to this thing we call ‘life’.

So if it can greet us in varying forms can it also show itself as a range of intensities?

Does a decline sting us more when linked to something we are heavily invested in? If your crush at school declines your advances, is this a tougher pill to swallow than if the village idiot did so?

If you’ve studied and worked your ass off for 3 years to get a promotion on route to your dream role, will a redlight on the careerpath derail you moreso than a rejection email for a role you’ve never even heard of?

Ofcourse it would, I think the bottomline is that none of us can hand on heart say that rejection has a nice ring to it, infact we at times go as far to say that we go out of our ways to avoid it as much as possible. But perhaps that is the real downfall of it all. By trying to reject rejection are we really infact doing ourselves more harm than good?

To try and understand this, let’s take a look at the reasons why us humans dislike rejection:

  • Physical and emotional pathways of the brain – studies have shown that the same areas of the brain are activated when we experience physical pain as when we feel rejection. So heartbreak really is a thing!
  • Blame the ancestors – as social creatures you can imagine that from a survival perspective, being ostracised from a clan has a high chance of meaning a struggle to survive and potentially even death.  Evolutionary psychologists have theorised that the human brain developed an early warning system to alert us when we were at risk of being outcasted. Perhaps this explains why I always bribe people with chocolate or smother them with chloroform if given any sudden inclination of their attempt to exile me.
  • Rejection swells aggression and anger – a report stated that  rejection was a greater risk for adolescent violence than drugs, poverty, or gang membership. Exclusion is a major factor being considered for rising knife crime in London at the moment. If people don’t feel accepted then they rebel. 

But with these negative impacts in mind, can there really be any supporting evidence for saying that rejection isn’t solely a bad thing?

  • Rejection could lead to greater levels of creativity – a Johns Hopkins university study alluded to the idea that although as humans we yearn for a sense of togetherness, a sense of belonging, it appears that some of us yearn for this less than others, and some more than others. Hence those who take a more independent path may actually find rejection from a certain social group a source of validation that they are not like others, this unconventional personality type could lead to greater creativity. Now, I’m not saying that we should all become loners and be ok with it, and in the process of doing so  we’ll become the next Picasso, all I’m saying is…..read the study!
  • Rejection gives you a chance to reset, refocus and have less regrets – The American Psychological Association shares that individuals who hold onto unresolved regrets exhibit more depressive symptoms than those who let it go. In my own experience the feeling of rejection is honestly easier to take than ‘if only I had done this…..’. 

Personally, I see rejection as a temporary sting that’s accompanied by alot of learning if you are open to the lesson in each experience.

If you can take rejection then it means you can take risks, if you can take risks then it means you will  increase your chances of being rejected more times. But guess what, it also means you will increase your chances of learning something from that ‘no’ and so increase your chances of getting that ‘yes’. The more chances you take the more likely you are to hit the jackpot. Think of the lottery! 

I feel like we hold more power to the act of rejection than we should. Life doesn’t fall apart on the bad luck of a lottery ticket, we don’t decide to declothe in the moment, crawl into a little ball and rock ourselves back and forth in our living rooms (that kind of activity is saved exclusively for Saturday nights), importantly we may even try and win the lottery a fortnight after again. And in this process of being rejected you have learnt an important quality of your character – your perseverance.

We ‘assume’ that the world around us will come crashing down if and when we are rejected. And for this reason a lot of us aren’t functioning at our highest potential. We aren’t taking the risks we have the opportunity to take and so we aren’t living to our full potential. As important as our primitive brains have been in our struggle for survival, in this day and age, the mind can sometimes be the matter. Don’t let rejection stop you from reaching your full potential. 

 

So to you I say – when are you going to be rejected next?

Poem: Timeless Beauty

Writing

Timeless beauty.

What a contradiction.

Will you still love me,

When my hair loses thickness?

When my skin starts to wrinkle?

When my youth is but memory in the distance?

 

Time.

It’s bittersweet.

Cruel to the appearance.

Yet kind to the mind.

Stripping away my pride in my looks,

To expose an endearment for the memories I share with you. 

 

Love is not lust.

And lust is not love.

So do you choose a beautiful person,

Or someone blessed solely with looks from above?

 

Poem: Stress

Writing

An advantage or a hindrance?

The Goldilocks analogy, 

Too much – and you can’t handle it.

Too little – and you’re indifferent.

 

Your blood, now laced with cortisol,

Your mind is always racing,

Synapses twitch like rabbits nostrils,

Your patience is fast erasing.

 

What can you do to make it stop?

You internally ask yourself?

Yet there is nothing you can do,

No saviour, resolve or help

 

For stress is not the real enemy here,

Moreso the mind it occupies. 

Change your perspective of how stress appears.

Then perhaps you’ll have alot to realise.

And So It BEGINS

Writing

They say as one door abruptly closes another is but slightly ajar, waiting for you to unwelcomingly force your way through it. 

 

Atleast this is how it feels when it comes to the jobhunt for me. 

 

Coined the ‘portfolio generation’, I ask myself, is there really anything wrong with having more jobs than I’ve had hot meals? The sane amongst us may think yes, but who really aims to be prudent with their short time on this planet anyway?

 

Off I go again, diving into the deep dark murky depths of the unknown. More sweaty handshakes and shaky throats await me in the not too distant future. That is ofcourse if I even manage to muster up the might to make an application. And even then if luck would have it, I be summoned for a session of scrutiny before the inevitable ‘no, you’re sh*te’ is sugarcoated in the all too familiar automated rejection email. 

 

With the thrill of opening my monthly jobseeker’s allowance packet ripe in my mind, I thought there’s no better way to keep the humiliation going than with a few common blunders that others have experienced on their quest to sell their soul to the rat race:

 

Resume/CV Mishaps

 

  • Candidate stated the ability to persuade people sexually using her words.
  • Candidate wrote résumé as a play – Act 1, Act 2, etc.
  • Candidate wrote “2001 summer Voluntary work for taking care of the elderly and vegetable people”
  • Candidate wrote “I’m intrested to here more about that. I’m working today in a furniture factory as a drawer”
  • Candidate included family medical history.
  • Skills: “I have integrity so I will not steal office supplies and take them home.”

Source job mob

 

Job Interview Mistakes

1)Interviewer: What’s your greatest weakness?

Candidate: Women. That’s kind of why I’m looking for a new job. I had an affair         with my boss’s wife.

2) Interviewer: What makes you think you’re right for a job? (McDonalds – burger flipper). 

Candidate: Well, I’m great with animals.

3) “I had a video interview for a very large company. The computer would ask a question and record your answer to send to management.

You had 30 seconds, no more no less, to answer the question.

For one question, I ran out of things to talk about so I decided to stand really still and not blink for 15 seconds to make it look like the video froze…

4) While I thought I wrote “I can hardly contain my excitement about the possibility of working with your organisation,” auto-correct changed “excitement” to “excrement.”

Source Coburg

 

*I hope you haven’t made too many blunders on your career quest!

Week 1 – The Menu of A Moron

Writing

So if you’ve been anticipating this update based on the post  I made a few days ago, let’s just take a moment to celebrate that week 1 is almost up, on a scale of 1 – 10 (full to the gills) – (about to turn cannibal) my hunger level is a solid 9.987. If you’ve ever been in this position you’ll know it’s at this stage where you realise things have taken a sudden turn for the worst. When you’re sitting at your desk at work and your stomach is squealing like a pig about to be brought to slaughter. When fellow workmates start looking like personified everyday food items and when you start Googling ‘ways to fill yourself up with air alone?’ And ‘how to copy that Jesus fellow and make that picnic with the fish, bread and wine?’ . 

 

Yes hallucinations and hunger-driven questions are just the tip of my iceberg of misery as I scraped together the pennies to see me through this fortnight. You’ve heard about my public transport shenanigans to save costs. Now let me open your eyes and your mouth to the world of  eating sh*te (trust me, what I made this week I’ve no doubt tastes worse than eating real sh*te (not like I’d no first hand or anything but…..let’s just move on))!

 

If you want recipes which are bordering on inhumane then keep reading:

 

Day one was as filling as it got, with out of date eggs and bread (the cheap white kind that embodies cardboard when toasted) for breakfast.

 

Lunchtime made for a real treat with a baked potato that was indecisive as to whether it wanted to be poisonous or not, it had that green like hue which makes a person with half a brain cell lob it as far from their being as possible so to not ingest it as I did. I cut off the sprouting parts and slathered it in a slab of butter. That really elevated the dish, I must say. 

 

Dinnertime was the other greenish potato, because one a day of those things just isn’t enough.

 

Days 2 and 3 pretty much mirrored each other, unwilling to stomach another expired egg I instead chose to try and choke myself to death on a nibble of some Ryvita biscuits. Absolute deathtraps they are. Coupled with some trail mix, and this combo made for a coughing fit at 9.30am in the office for two consecutive mornings much to the enjoyment of my coworkers.

 

Lunch – I resorted to boiled rice, sweet chilli sauce and a generous scattering of onions for a treat. This  became dinner also as I struggled to east more than a measly few mouthfuls at 1pm that day.

 

Day 4 I figured I can’t take another wholegrain husk, I’ll have to for the first time this week stick my hand very deeply into my pocket for a few coins to spare on cereal. And in doing so made the whole breakfast experience somewhat more pleasant for the remainder of the week. 

 

That was ofcourse the plan if I didn’t feel like I was the host to an unwanted tapeworm. I fearfully theorise that this parasitic pest has perversely made  itself comfortable within the lining of my little intestine. Because the level of hunger I feel some days knows no bounds. Surely it’s a tapeworm, or else I’ve ate my twin in the womb who’s now doing jumping jacks in my duodenum.

 

So with cereal not quite pacifying my aggressive enfamishment, and being now £1.25 down I had to resort to desperate measures. Yes, for lunch it was time to bring out the pasta no sauce recipe. A real one for any bargain hunter out there, simply boil some spaghetti that you find in the back left of your kitchen cupboard under the tin of beans. Boil that, in some salt water, and sprinkle with pepper to serve. You’ll be crying yourself to sleep for weeks after a bowl of this trust me. Lunchtimes for day 4 was truly one of the highlights.

 

Dinner for Day 4 – my saving grace, beans on cardboard  toast.

 

Day 5 –  run of the mill cereal first thing in the morning.

 

Lunch was whatever was in the kid’s lunchbox sitting in the seat infront of me on the bus to work. Kidding, lunch was soup that looked like the declogging of a dishwasher. It was begging for another go in the blender I’ll say that much. 

 

Dinner – Nothing, I went to sleep early to try and preserve energy. 

 

After this week’s ‘meals’, if you can call them that, I truly fear for what lies ahead in week 2. Pray for me.

 

I thought I’d be feeling like this by the end of the week:

4AkiO

When actually je suis:

Just throw me in the damn spaghetti water Peter, willl you!!

voldi

The 24th of August couldn’t come any slower!!!!

Poem – A Little Thing Called ‘Fear’

Writing

Fear,

The lovechild of stress and caution.

An unwelcome neighbour,

Making itself at home in your delusion.

It’s intentions  – unclear.

 

It picks it’s moments,

Most uncalled for.

Like lying in your bed and hearing the front door become ajar.

Or hearing your name whispered very softly from afar.

 

Fear,

It’s a teaseful breed.

Unlike lust and greed, for it, we have no need.

Or do we?

How Do I Get Over My Fear Of Public Speaking?!

Writing

If you’re only a few months into a job and your bosses bring you into a room and ask you if you’d like to do a presentation, do you honestly think you could say ‘no’ in that moment?

 

This was my exact predicament and now I’ve landed myself right in it. I’ve a presentation to do infront of 18 year olds who are potentially considering doing law at university/college and I’m having kittens about it! ‘Oh but they’re young therefore less intimidating’ you may think, I’m not that much older than them, I’m 24! Plus teenagers can be incredibly judgmental, so they’re gonna notice the bean stain on my shirt and my one grey hair before I’ve even finished my first sentence of the presentation no doubt. 

 

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I work for a TV  broadcasting company and with this comes alot of ‘compliance’ work to ensure songwriters and artists get their fair share of royalties for the music played on the broadcasted shows. Yes, I don’t blame you if you’re yawning by now, I really am too, but this stuff is important at the end of the day, it ensures the longevity of the music business for although you’ll always have people who will make music for the sheer passion of it, you do have those who need to make a living from it which is fair enough. So I think it’s a good thing to ensure copyright is enforced on people’s creative property to prevent theft and to give the creator credit.

 

Anyway enough of me going off on a tangent, how am I gonna present this info! If I can’t even keep your attention for very long how am I expected to keep teenagers?! Did I mention that I have to do it 3 times, back to back, 30 mins each! That’s it, I’m pulling a sicky! 😦

 

Just from the taster of music copyright above you can see that it’s quite a complicated topic to talk about, and lucky for me my knowledge barely skims the surface, so I’m pretty much f*cked it’s safe to say! One thing that does happen to me if I’m put on the spot and if I’m nervous is I go blank and of course if this info is hard to digest to begin with it looks like it’s gonna be a mime act from me next Thursday!

 

Oh wish me luck! I’m off to binge eat then write one whole sentence of the powerpoint presentation before watching netflix. 

Why Are We So Ungrateful?

Writing

If you can read this right now then you have the ability to see. Sight is one of the most valuable senses us humans can posses yet paradoxically it is one we take most for granted. Too busy complaining about our bosses thinking they’re better than us or stressing that we aren’t earning as much as our partners, we lose focus. Instead of moaning about somebody else to make yourself feel better can you not spend a second seeing the good you already possess? For your ability to speak, for your ability to cook, the list goes on. I write this post to share my thoughts on this point, this focus on ungratefulness has crept up on me several times. One example of which was just several days ago when I was walking to work in the morning, on route I passed a beautifully dressed young lady, she was wearing a maroon headband made of silk, a ruffled lemon blouse and bottle green cigarette trousers and she was using a white cane because she was blind.

 

As I passed her my negative thoughts of how bored I am living in the same flat to how annoying a colleague is at work suddenly meant nothing Instead I was stunned with the realisation that I had no reason to complain, because what I was complaining about was so petty. I had more important things to be thankful for thank things I had to complain about. I was going to work to use my skills, I had the ability to walk where other people may not be able to do this , I had the ability to see where others may not have the ability to do this. I must stress that this post is not me trying to compare myself to someone else and state that because they don’t have something and I do that I should feel good about that or better about myself. But instead I aim to highlight that we all have qualities in our lives which we overlook all too frequently, for example while we’re too busy chasing the next pay cheque we forget that we’re fortunate enough to have our health. Or whilst we complain that strangers are rude to us on our commutes we forget that we have a loving family at home. While we judge something critically in the shop window we forget that we have the ability to see the expressions of joy on others around us. To stop for a moment and be thankful of the most underrated elements of your life will surely enrich it?

 

I truly believe that the real answer to being happy is being grateful. To further support this opinion of mine, I need to look just at last week. As much as I enjoyed the Isle of Wight Festival , I must say camping was tough. Let’s be honest lying in a damp cloth cocoon in a bumpy field is a fast track way to insomnia I’ve no doubt about it.  But in some ways, anytime I go camping I’m thankful afterwards. And this time was no different, for on my return to London I couldn’t have had a bigger smile on my face as I jumped into my bed after a shower with actual hot water! A week prior to the festival and I treated a warm bed and a hot shower as expected, fast forward a week and I saw it as a luxury. My point being to feel good about things and about yourself perhaps it takes a moment to realise. Perhaps it takes a week camping for you to appreciate home comforts, atleast it did for me.

 

A tip I do sometimes actually, especially if I’ve had a bad day is list 5 things I’m grateful for that night before going to bed. It may not solve all of your problems but it certainly helps remove the storm cloud from above your head so you can sleep And who knows, maybe if you do it frequently enough you may be a happier person in the long run. I think so.

Is Being An Introvert Wrong?

Writing

introvert

noun

/ˈɪntrəvəːt/


                                                               a shy, reticent person.

Truth be told, I’m a naturally shy person. But should I be annoyed at this? I use to think so. Slowly I’ve come to realise that being shy doesn’t mean I’m in any way  less capable of doing something than someone who isn’t. It just means I may need more time.

I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to live up to a ‘bubbly, out there’ persona, to a personality that we ‘think’ others will like, but infact don’t really know.

To be shy doesn’t directly correlate to being boring and unwilling to try new things, it just means you may be curious yet cautious of trying new things. To be cautious of something isn’t  a bad thing right? So long as you don’t let shyness stop you from trying then you should never feel bad for being careful about things.

Another assumption surrounding introverted people is that they don’t show much emotion, that they can seem quite cold and poker-faced. To control your emotions is a skill, it’s an individual’s choice whether to give away their feelings freely or not.

We can’t all be extroverts and we shouldn’t all be. Don’t be ashamed of who you are, whether extraverted or indeed introverted. For a long time I was angry at myself for being shy, I didn’t want to accept it, but now I see it as part of who I am and so I’ve addressed and learned techniques to help me succeed in situations where shyness may not help me.

Being shy can help in certain moments but not all. I’ve learned that I shouldn’t be angry at myself for being the way I am, instead I should work with what I have, noone knows you aswell as you know you. Therefore you are in control of your emotions and so can shape our success by being emotionally in control. It also means that those you choose to share your emotions with are trusted by you.

Whether introverted or extraverted, or somewhere inbetween, society needs us all, imagine if we were all of one and none of the other 2? That really wouldn’t be a fun party!

Some Introverts you may recognise:

Pet Peeves

Writing

We all have them, even those amongst us who have the patience of a saint can fall victim to loosing their tranquil facade in the blink of an eye when faced with the the continuous grunts, chews and swallows of the gluttonous pig in row G. Oblivious to the world, they munch their way through what can only be described as the meal deal combo, all before the opening credits of the latest Tarantino flick has even begun.

 

Don’t pretend you don’t temporarily hate people too!

 

What inspired me to write a post on pet peeves you ask?

 

Browsing the junk food  aisle down at my local supermarket a few days ago couldn’t have came  to a more abrupt ending than with the aggressive sounds of the ‘snot sniffing stranger’ lurking over my shoulder like the grim reaper himself. That has to be one of my biggest pet peeves – the sniffler. Although it’s one thing having the sniffles, it’s another thing snorting with conviction and then making that terrible gulping sound afterwards. Like nails on a chalkbard, this was the noise I was greeted with by a fellow supermarket customer. It’s safe to say I made a haste exit to the checkout while giving him daggers. Blow your damn nose you unhygienic freak (I mutter internally ofcourse)!

 

This experience  got me thinking of all the different pet peeves that either I have or that people have in general, from the suggestions below, which of the two scenarios would you rather be stuck with:

 

1) The Coach Journey

 

The constant cougher who sits beside you for the whole 3 hour journey, never thinks of clearing their throat once and for all. Instead, they mix things up with a timely selection of tiny dry coughs inbetween the whooping hacking kind.

 

Or

 

The continuous knee shaker, restless leg has gotten the better of them, they keep shaking their leg so much it makes your chair shake also for the entire travel time.

 

2) Standing In A Queue

 

The guy infront of you just can’t stop yawning and as a result everytime he yawns you reciprocate. But that’s not all, he has to make sound effects each time, and finishes each one with ‘cutesy’ mouth smacking noises.

 

Or

 

The wind-bender, they’ve ate something bad and make sure you know about it, if they’re not burping into the back of your neck they’re sending a wet one up your two nostrils. The line isn’t moving, have you got any air freshener handy?

 

3) At The Restaurant

 

You’re at a friend’s birthday meal, problem is you don’t know many of the people they’ve invited. And it seems like you don’t want to either, for as you try your best to strike up a conversation with the person opposite you you’re met with a mouth full of teeth, tongue and 30-day matured steak churning around at the speed of light as they bang on about the weather. Yes, they’re one of those, the criminals who chew with their mouths open.

 

Or

 

The other suited stranger to your immediate left still at your friend’s birthday meal, he answers his phone call, you soon find he speaks with one of the most obnoxious tones of voice you’ve ever heard. I stand corrected, he’s not speaking he’s a phone ‘shouter’. Not only do you know that he’s just landed the new job, which promotes him to a six figure salary but so too does half the restaurant. Keeping things mute isn’t in his forte, although deafening you certainly is.

 

Us humans are so great in many ways, but nature’s little flaws have made us test what it means to be patient to the max, I’m sure you would agree.

My Face

Writing

I feel like today is one of those days were my face refuses to show any sort of expression, similar to what I can only assume the lovechild of an over-botoxed barbie and a saddened clown would sport had they just been given the news that their goldfish bubbles just died.

 

Yes, my face is frozen and I just can’t seem to thaw it out today. Do you ever have those sudden waves of melancholy, moments of introspection, of silence? It’s as if they’re somewhat uncontrollable, like, I don’t willingly choose to suddenly wake up and find it difficult to get out of bed somedays or struggle to strike up a conversation with people. For some reason, it just…..happens. Please tell me I’m not the only one this happens to?

 

Is it stemming from a subconscious place of unrest? Is there something in our lives we haven’t addressed which as a result manifests itself in our mood swings we exhibit on friends, in our  periods of worry and stress we bring out on ourselves?

 

As humans we are such complex creatures, why couldn’t life be more simple, I ask? Or is the truth of the matter actually that life is infact quite simple – and it is us humans who overcomplicate it?

 

In my opinion, probably the latter of the two, for you don’t see pandas suddenly having  mental breakdowns at the thought of wearing ‘those shoes with that shirt’, or any other animals for that fact! It’s just us humans who worry about the petty things and perhaps that’s why I’m sitting here with a face that makes a plank of wood look overenthusiastic.

 

Don’t be like me, please.

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!  

Can You Be Too Ambitious?

Writing

Can you be too ambitious in life? By being so are you just setting yourself up for overwhelming levels of stress and bottomless pitfalls? Or  by setting higher goals are you growing your skillset further and achieving more than you ever could even if you shoot and miss the target?

 

I ask this question because I feel like this alot, I feel like I’m maybe trying to do too much at one time, I struggle with organisation and procrastination eventhough I have a list of ‘ambitions’ as long as my arm that I ‘want’ to ‘/start’ doing. Spending alot of time thinking and planning and little time doing is my biggest issue. It really is a game of psychology, perhaps because I’m giving myself so many goals all at once I’m subconsciously feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tasks at hand and so turn my head to making a stab at any one ambition in particular.

 

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having multiple ambitions, and I don’t like the phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ but maybe when applied to the concept of time it is infact best to master one skill/ambition and then start incorporating another rather than tackling several simultaneously.

 

Another reason why maybe some of us find it difficult to keep on track with our goals is because we lead by the stick and not the carrot, by this I’m referring to the metaphor for the use of reward and punishment to bring about a desired behaviour. It’s a depiction of a donkey either being hit with the stick or chasing a carrot dangles infront of him in order to get him to move forward. For the most part we lead by the threat of something happening e.g. if we don’t do X then something bad will happen, and as a result we put ourselves under huge amounts of stress which may lead us to quit our efforts at reaching our goals. For example – if I don’t nail this presentation my boss will demote me, I need to earn above 50k per year or my wife will leave me, as opposed to if I nail this presentation my boss could promote me, my wife loves me for me not my money, I’m going to aim to earn above 50k to treat her more not to keep her!

 

I don’t think we reward ourselves enough when we do make progress towards our goals or even when we achieve them, maybe we think reaching the goal is the reward but it seems that no sooner have we reached one goal than are we back on the journey of trying to reach another. Perhaps we should give ourselves a pat on the back more often for even the small steps in the right direction. This would definitely help keep the motivation to reach a goal.

 

Bottom line is, I think it’s great to have ambitions, and even better if we start working towards them!

 

I wish you all the best with yours!

The Newbie In The Workplace

Writing

Let’s face it, noone likes being the newbie at work. You know the second you walk in the door you’re being judged by every single person’s beady little eyes. Small talk about the weather at the coffee maker only gets you so far as you fast realise you need to step up your conversation game.

 

The Dress Code & Awkward Intros

 

We’ve all been there, worrying about what to wear on the first day, dress code – ‘smart casual’ so we wreck our brains the night before questioning whether that’s code for casually smart or smartly casual?! The worst part isn’t even the fact that you decided to don the stained off white shirt with clashing suit trousers, instead it  has to be when your line manager decides to raise your blood pressure before lunchtime by briefly and awkwardly introducing you to everybody in the department. You smile and nod, pretending to remember each individual’s name only to find yourself forgetting your own in the midst of internally being an absolute nervous wreck.

 

Newbie 4 Life

 

Another question I ask is for how long do we ride the newbie train for? Are you still the new guy 2 months down the line or 12 months until the newest recruit trots through the door?Are you then jealous that or you are no longer the freshest face on the floor or relieved that you’ve now bedded into the background?

 

Probation Problems

 

I ask these questions as I’m currently the newbie on my floor, I’ve been in my job as a music coordinator for 3 months now and perhaps you still feel new even to yourself until you pass the ever dreaded judgment period of performance known as probation.

 

I’m quite bad with names in general and I think joining quite a large department doesn’t help the matter yet instead dooms me into referring to almost every person as ‘that lady with the red top or man with the mullet….’Yeah, please pray for me in making it through probation. By the sounds of things I’ll need it.

 

If you’re new to your job do you feel the same way or do I just have a serious bout of bad luck?

Creative Constipation: Writing About Writer’s Block

Writing

Tell me I’m not the only one who suffers from creative constipation too?! For the whole of day today I’ve been struggling to write a word nevermind a sentence on my blog. Regardless of how hard I try and focus on what I want to write about, my mind keeps wandering off to the most random of places. Like ‘what’s that under my nail? Dirt, food or a hybrid of both (:( )? Or ‘look how sunny it is outside, why am I in here writing (or atleast trying to) about food under my nails like an absolute saddo?’ Yes, these are the kinds of thoughts which gallop through my mind on a daily basis. And with that I wouldn’t blame you if you never wanted to read any of my posts again.

 

But if you did, then you may on a fortunate yet infrequent occasion get  a rare glimpse into posts such as: ‘Veganism – Cult or Culture’s Best Move Yet, what is masculinity really and is being a sugar baby really that bad?’ Yes, all in the works, all saved for a rainy day when my mind doesn’t want to embark on a  journey into unchartered territory for an abnormally long period of time.

 

With writing resistance rife today, I decided to have a browse on a range of things online, notably tips and tricks to overcome writer’s block, I stumbled across the following, are you inclined to agree with them:

 

1. Go for a walk – because the best way to get sh*t done is to take lots of little steps in the opposite direction from it. *thumbs up

This one is a good one actually, physical activity is beneficial for bursting out of a rut and resetting the brain.

2. Make a routine – write at the same time each day/week, as creatures of habit this one could work. Yet noting we are also creatures of procrastination! Wait! I will not allow myself to be negative! I must be the kind of person who sees the silver lining even in a mushroom cloud!

3. Write with others – (The Guardian recommended this one) because there’s nothing better than not only letting yourself down but letting the whole team down as they cross their t’s and dot their i’s on their final drafts of the team written novel – ‘My Chamber of Secrets’, all while you’re scrambling to think of a name for your main protagonist. Thanks for this one!

4. Write absolute sh*te – otherwise known as ‘freewriting’ this is where you spend time spinning sh*t on a page in hope that it gets your creative juices flowing. I already write nonsense most of the time, why do I need a free writing session? Well, perhaps there is some merit in the madness as it turns out making a habit of  picking a prompt and writing about it under a time constraint does have its benefits. Deemed to be emotionally cleansing,  it declutters the mind and calms the emotions. It’s easy to get stressed out I’m sure if you’re writing to deadlines for an article submission or novel, so this method may actually work. It can also help you naturally find your own writing rhythm and voice. Also the fact that you do the exercise under time constraints means that you train yourself to be a better time manager which can not only help you in writing but in other areas of life also.

 

Well, hopefully one of the above sets you on your merry way of making the New York Times Bestseller list this year. Me, on the other hand? I think I need a few more attempts at randomly writing about mushrooms for 15 minutes straight before I give the bestseller list a go!