Is It Nice To Be Nice To Others?

Writing

Living in a city, living on top of each other, I think it’s easy to get impatient and somewhat claustrophobic. Carrying out my own little experiment in the last couple of months has brought with it some striking revelations. 

I wanted to test the waters – does being nice to people make them nicer to you? 

So to test this, I carried out the following experiments, firstly I would be ‘impatient’ with people, not overtly rude, but instead show my disapproval to something I found they were doing annoying. Then following on from this, for the remaining weeks I would put effort in to be nicer than necessary e.g. smiling at a stranger in the park, asking an eldelry person if they needed help carrying their groceries and so on….. 

This is how it unfolded:

The Supermarket Face Smasher

If you read my post on pet peeves then you’ll know my utmost deteste for queue jumpers, almost as much as I hate when someone shoulder barge me to get out of the queue.  Lining up at the self-checkout a random woman decides she no longer wants to be in the queue, which is fine (I thought). She proceeds to try and exit the queue through the most awkward of routes, squeezing passed everyman man, woman and child still in the queue instead of just going through the self checkouts. As she passes me in the queue she almost knocks me flying.

This is where I have a decision to stfu or say something, as it’s the mean experimental month I utter ‘you could’ve said excuse me’, she then says ‘excuse me’ in an aggressive tone to which I repeat ‘you could’ve said excuse me’ her next comment was ‘I’ll smash your face in!’ Security de-escalated the issue pretty quickly but let’s just say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. She may have looked like your plain Jane but really probably is the kind of person who acts like their sh*t doesn’t stink and would quite happily lock their husband/wife up in the downstairs basement for not hoovering the floor by the time they got back from strangling their colleague at work. 

Note to experiment – don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Should I have said something? I think not!

Tut Tut Tut

Train etiquette for anyone with manners is – if you’re at the platform waiting for someone to get on then you wait until anyone exiting the train carriage has gotten OFF! Obviously some ignorant individuals didn’t get the memo because as I approached the exit doors of the train all I could see was this keen bean of an ignoramus prancing up onto the carriage just as the doors were opening, I try to step off but he basically baracades me in the carriage, I swerve passed him tutting as loud as a jet engine into his left ear, to which he responds with an inferior tut, I then wanted to have the last tut so I tut again, he then looks round at me as the train doors are closing, he, now inside the carriage and me on the platform tuts again, I watch the train pull off now unable to see him clearly as the windows are slightly blacked out but still stubborn I gave one final tut and walked off laughing at both of our pettiness. 

Tutting wars! I’m sorry but this guy was all self with – ‘I want on the train, I don’t care if I block you getting off, blah blah blah’ marked across his forehead.

Should I Have tutted? No (I should’ve fly-kicked him back out the train doors).

The list of petty squabbles goes on ashamedly, but all for the name of science!

Fast forward a few weeks later and the mother Therea in me makes an appearance in full force, I’m rescuing kittens from trees, stopping crime in its tracks, helping old ladies cross roads. Ok maybe not this far but I did try and go out of my way to be nicer than what would be accepted as normal, and in the process got a few weird looks but also a few genuine smiles. Let me tell you why:

It’s In The Eyes

For the most part we go through life minding our own business, especially when walking down streets. Here, it can sometimes feel like the pavement is a magnet for our eyes in order for us to avoid the awkward eye contact with a passerby. I wanted to see if I could break this  internal awkwardness and see if I could instead show eye contact to a total stranger alongside a polite smile to see if it could be reciprocated. 

The success rate was surprisingly promising, not that I walked around in public like a grinning cheshire cat, I chose my targets wisely and pleasantly enough us city dwellers are warm when given the chance. 

Note: The acknowledgment of someone else’s existence should be encouraged more! 

Volunteering

My previous post outlines my recent volunteering experience, but to be clear I didn’t choose to volunteer for an experiment it was for much deeper personal reasons I may share in the future. But nevertheless it really emphasises that doing good for others in return can make you feel better about yourself. 

Note: Help others and you help yourself.

Conclusion

I carried out minor behaviors to see if it changed my external environment, if it changed people’s interactions with me, and in conclusion I believe it did.

Does being nice to people mean they’ll be nice to you? Not all the time, but I definitely think it does for the majority of time. 

I’m not saying you should change how you act just to get people to like you but I think on a minor level, simply being aware of your behaviour in more settings will help both you and the people around you. This is what I have found in my own experience, it is nice to be nice to people. And that most people are nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mood Swings

Writing

I now totally get where the saying ‘you’ve got up on the wrong side of bed this morning’ comes from, by doing just that this morning. Waking up today made me feel like climbing up Mt Everest would’ve been easier. No sooner had I stood up that I had realised both of my hamstrings were pulled. Did I do some heavy lifting the day before? Some midnight yoga I can’t remember? No, no I realised what it was. It was cleaning.

 

This is why cleaning and I don’t go well together. Brushing the wooden floors of my flat (as I seldom do) left me a pulled hamstring in each leg, how sad is that? From which concludes two things, 1) I don’t use my hamstrings enough – I’m unfit 2) I don’t tidy enough.

 

Anyhow dragging my hamstring-pulled body to work, I thought the worst of today’s troubles are surely behind me. Yet, as hindsight would tell me, I couldn’t have been further from the truth. 

 

Sitting at my desk in the office, I could just about open my eyes, which weren’t too dissimilar to that of a weeping pregnant turtle giving birth on a golden coastline. So jarring was the sight of the computer screen, that I immediately adjusted the brightness to basically pitch black on my monitor. In my logic I’d much rather squint to see the words than have my retinas bleached to high heavens.

 

Finally,  I wake up, and just in time for the world’s most annoying typist to start hammering the keyboard like she’s playing a game of ‘whack-a-mole’, the worst thing is that she’s not even typing emails or any general document to do with work. She’s whatsapping her boyfriend of 5 years! The shame! Loud typers are definitely one of my pet peeves, after of course that annoying little noise some people make after yawning, and open mouth chewing!

 

Fearing I was about to have an assault case on my hands, I scarpered off to the bathroom to try and compose myself, visually playing through different scenarios in my head until I reached the one which was least likely to convey my psychopathic tendencies. So screaming in her face and throwing her keyboard out of the window had to be subdued for the time being, much to my dismay, I can assure you. 

 

I return to my desk with a new plan devised, in the hope it would pacify me as she continued with her goal of turning her fingers to stubs from typing so f*cking frantically. Maybe a bit of Reggaeton music, asmr and the odd Ted Talk will drown her out I mull over in my mind. 

 

10 minutes in to ‘why sleep is your superpower’  and I hear this hacking noise, moments later whooping then gulping. Is someone strangling the keyboard thumper? No, (unfortunately) not, it’s just the guy sitting directly behind me deciding to imitate the neighbours cat churning up hairballs like there’s no tomorrow. I think it’s a nervous thing with this guy, yeah, I can tell you he definitely gets on my nerves at this stage. If you need to clear your throat do it in one almighty lung clear, don’t dabble with the idea and draw the cough out over several mini mucusy soundbites. If you do choose the latter option then please hacking don’t make a habit of it. I swear this guy coughs more than he breathes. Perhaps that’s why he’s coughing so bloody much!

 

I realise I’m going on a mini rant, it’s just been one of those days. Everyone’s really nice at work, honest. It’s just me who has the problem really. If the above doesn’t make that obvious already. 

 

Anyway I turned the volume up to deafening levels on my headphones and it did the trick, temporary deafness and tinnitus are the prices I’m willing to pay to make Miss tantrum typist  and Mr cough up a lung mute for a mere moment.

 

Lunchtime arrives and I decide to remove my headphones, the sounds of the office are replaced by the all too near whiffs of sardines and soup. I leave the office, ready to have a mental breakdown, heading to the shop I spend 10 minutes sniffing all of the hand creams hoping to eradicate the stench of fish from my memory. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has the right to eat whatever they want for lunch, fish is good for you anyway. But with my blood pressure already sky-rocketing you can see that today wasn’t my day to sail the seven seas if you get my drift? 

 

I buy a noodle salad thing and wolf it down in a heartbeat, wanting to stretch out my pulled hamstrings I take a walk along the river, sitting momentarily to winch at the pain and wallow in self pity, I’m approached by your local nutjob who starts rambling in my ear about how this place is his favourite place in the whole wide world. It’s not like I’m afraid of people, but I know my stranger danger and this guy looked dodgy. Trying to keep my poker face, and nodding along to his ramblings I decided to make a break for it and started limping back to the office after cutting him off abruptly. I continued to turn my head around as I hobbled away just in case he took offense to me departing from him rather swiftly. 

I wasn’t feeling up for a punch in the left kidney from a stranger today so I made haste getaway back to my desk. 

 

The rest of the day was spent reading emails, pretending to know what I’m doing and watching videos of puppies training to be guide dogs. Well, at least I ended the working day on a high!

 

Can’t wait for the sweet sweet sounds of sweaty digits on computer keyboards tomorrow!

We All Do This…

Writing

Creatures of habit, copycats, primitive minds, call us what you will. The bottom line is that there are just some things we all can’t deny we’ve done atleast once in our lives, wouldn’t you agree with the below:

 

  • We’ve looked away so abruptly that we’ve almost given ourselves whiplash, so to make it obvious that we aren’t watching the person ahead of us at the checkout entering their pin number into the card machine.

 

  • We’ve let one go out in public and purposely played it off by giving our neighbour daggers so nobody thinks it was us. 

 

  • We’ve scurried around the supermarket aisles like some badass ninja playing peek-a-boo, all to avoid that formidable awkward encounter with the person from work/school who we don’t really like.

 

  • We’ve agreed in our own minds to completely avoid a person for eternity all because we didn’t have the balls to ask them to repeat their name for the 3rd time, so we’ve concluded that ever having to say bye to ‘mr. anonymous’  would just be too awkward.

 

  • We’ve all had to reread what we’d just read because we weren’t paying attention to what we were reading.

 

  • We’ve all been freaked out at night when home alone, don’t deny that you haven’t checked the doors are locked and looked under your bed for the serial killer. 

 

  • We’ve all used our fingers to do simple arithmetic.

 

  • We’ve all followed google maps on our phone, only to quickly realise it’s bringing us the wrong way. Haven’t you tried to play it cool by pretending to look in a shop window before abruptly making a u turn? Or are you one of those people who just attack the right-turn with conviction while muttering how sh*t google maps is under your breath?

 

It’s safe to say you’ve done at least half of the above, if not you’ve lived a very sheltered life and I feel sorry for you. 

 

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.

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?

The Psychology of Value – Culture

Writing

Carrying on from yesterday’s post, I noted how this concept of value stems from our childhoods. How we internally form an attachment to particular items we deem as ‘ours’  from a young age.

Yet when comparing this globally, there are certain cultures where regardless of age, this trend does not appear. For example in a study conducted by scientists at Yale University , researchers ran a study on the Hadza people of Northern Tanzania to determine whether the Endowment effect took place within the community or not. When conducted it was found that of the Hadza people who lived closer to the towns or villages which exhibited markets and were therefore exposed to a society where money was exchanged for goods, 25% of them were willing to trade their original gifted item for a new one i.e. trade the lighter they were given for a biscuit or vice versa.

Comparing this to the Hadza people that lived further away from the villages and towns, in a more isolated community, a greater proportion – 53% in the group were more willing to trade. So why is this so? The people in the more ‘isolated’ environment, the hunter-gatherer population, they lived in an egalitarian society and so the movement of goods is much more open and shared more evenly between group members.

Looking at this one example, it can be said that emphasis on the society we grow up in, the environment we grow up in are key factors to how we value the things in our lives.

In relation to this, if we return to the initial point of ‘monetary’ value, socio-economic factors can be linked to certain types of culture, for example gang culture. With this I ask the question:
What does the word ‘value’ mean in an impoverished community?

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!

 

Peanuts To A Monkey

Writing

They say religion is used to control the masses when really the truth is that it’s money.

We give value to pieces of paper and metal, to invisible numbers forever changing in our online accounts. As humans, as a society, we have given value to something which if you really think about it is valueless. You might as well pick up a leaf next and start paying your taxes with it.

Money – evolved as a means of bartering and trading now as a status of power and segregation of class by wealth. I wonder to myself, what would the world be like if we didn’t have money? Not just you or I, but all of us. With no monetary value placed on materialistic items would capitalistic attitudes and habits of consumerism simply dissipate? Would we instead put value into the relationships we form, into the experiences we have? Would we see people for who they are, not what they have? Or is this Utopian dream merely deemed a damnation, a falsehood which would never truly grow wings?

It saddens me that society decides the value of a person not by their own morals or merits, but  by the numbers in their bank account. I ask myself where did this all start, how did it all begin? And for this we must look at the psychology behind what it means to place value on something.

The psychology behind value – post up tomorrow.

Poem: Trust

Writing

Trust is like trying to catch a spawning salmon in a freshly flowing river.

You catch it! Then all too soon it slips from your tiny grasp.

Whether it’s trusting others or trusting yourself.

Trust never seems to want to last.

 

Are we blinded by bullsh*t or beauty?

All we need is for someone to flash us a smile that’s toothy,

To fall victim to their captivating conversation?

 

Are we truly the ones to blame?

Too naive, too gullible and so delay,

The truth from our very selves.

All in hope of keeping the pain at bay?

The Best Way To Stick To A Resolution – Don’t Have One

Writing

The best way to stick to a resolution is to not have one, yes you read that right. Take it from me a serial procrastinator and die-hard quitter. If you wanna get something done, don’t bloody do it! Have a look at the ‘reactance theory’ – when we feel pressured to perform action A we will most likely perform the opposite of action A to assert our freedom to ourselves.

If you call it a ‘resolution’ you’ll make it seem like a ‘chore’. Then it becomes something we feel we need to do rather than want to do. We, in a way, remove the freedom of choice by simply labelling it as a ‘New Year’s Resolution. So in that case:

  1. You Don’t Need To Go To The Gym

Gyms are full of sweat stained death traps, one wrong pull on the weight machine and you’re six feet under let’s be honest. Sure, the hot guy in the tight cotton blue t-shirt will be there but so will that pesky personal trainer, what’s his name again Marv the perv? Whatever you do just don’t squat!

  1. You Don’t Need To Give Up Smoking

That one single puff of luxury you get every 25 minutes, a much needed moment of euphoria from the usual turmoil of kids kicking and screaming and cats p*ssing on carpets. Otherwise known as general family life. If God gives you lung cancer it’s a fair trade off for the sweet serene seconds you escape Tommy’s temper tantrums you tell yourself.

  1. You Don’t Need To Save Any Money

Living in squalor really isn’t as bad as it seems, or so you keep telling yourself. Sure, you could start up a bit of a piggy bank, save something for a rainy day, but then how would you be able to afford your cancer sticks?

  1. You Don’t Need To Learn A New Skill – Like How To Crochet Blindfolded

Are you 85 or just senile through choice? Leave crocheting for the deathbed and go smash that piggy bank open instead.

If you really want to stick to your resolutions this year use a bit of voodoo witchcraft, I mean reverse psychology! Happy 2019!

Helpful link; Psychology Today

Today = My Birthday Annnnnnd Nobody Cares

Writing

I think back to how my mother must have felt 24 years ago, spread eagle, screaming ‘get this baby out of me’! The exorcism had nothing on my delivery I’m sure. Yet despite being the best possible gift my parent’s could have ever received on the Eve of Christmas, the passing of time certainly helps them forget this.

 

Nowadays, I’m lucky if I even get a card never mind a present, any I do get are always sent to me second class anyway. Christmas hasn’t always been that bad in all fairness.  Sometimes I’d get to sit on Santa’s knee in the local Mall that little bit longer, which come to think of it, I may not have been that ‘lucky’ afterall.

Don’t get me wrong their are some positives to being born during the most festive time of the year, like getting double the presents from friends at school (not from my parents, they always did the dirty deal of 1 present  does both days), getting to open presents one day earlier than my siblings, and…….I forgot to mention – getting presents! Whoever said quality over quantity must’ve had a rough childhood, or atleast a rough Christmas as a child. Yes, I was a needy child,  there was a time where if I thought my sister got one extra gift than I did I would tear down the Christmas tree, put stones in the snowballs I threw at her and poke her in the eye during the annual Christmas family photo. I did not play!

But oh how times have changed, and with age has my materialistic heart well and truly mellowed, list of gifts now only amount to 5 pages and not the usual ten, many items of which are on sale now if you hurry. It’s true, Christmas is not only about the joy of giving but the pure ecstasy felt when receiving those brand new bright blue suede shoes!

What gift are you most ecstatic about this year? Please tell me your birthday isn’t on Christmas Eve too?!

Have a very Merry Christmas – from one materialistic Muppet to another!

 

5 People To Avoid at the 24/7 petrol station:

Writing

We’ve all been in this position, you’re travelling late at night, maybe coming back from the airport or from burying your noisy neighbour once and for all, when you suddenly get a little peckish. Pulling over to the nearest fuel station seems like the wisest thing to do and you begin dismounting your 4 by 4 truck as you wipe off the last remaining wheat field sediment from your brand new Levi’s.

Upon entering the shop you are hit with the stark realisation that things just don’t seem right. You only came in for a snickers and a bread roll but instead you meet the gaze of these 5 freaks below:

  1. Microwave Meal Guy

Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with microwave meals but you know if you see someone with a basket stocked sky-high with readymade roast dinners and lasagnes, they’re either lazy af or mentally unstable. Probably an equal measure of both. Don’t you know how to cut a bloody vegetable?!

  1. The Exhausted Single Mum

Feeding 5 kids as a single parent isn’t easy, and doesn’t it show on the face of Sandra. 3/5 Kids have developed some midnight cravings, and Sandy, being the natural night-owl that she is, decides to indulge in her kids requests for pizzas, pop tarts and chocolate ice cream at 1am in the morning. Help her find the reduced in price curly fries please.

  1. The ‘Checkout’ Guy

Don’t bend down for the washing detergent to swiftly or you’ll find the watchful eye of the hormonal adolescent upon you. Really they should be at home playing Call of Duty but their parents thought it much wiser to have them bleep through beer cans and packs of tobacco in the wee hours of the morning to learn some sense of ‘responsibility’.

  1. The Guy That Stocks The Shelves

Look at him the wrong way and you’re getting stocked in the freezer next to the frozen petis pois that’s all I will say.

  1. The Serial Killer

Murdering people is heavy work, and sometimes a Happy meal just doesn’t suffice, you’ll always find them lurking near the Twinkie aisle with a hand full of bleach and marigolds in one hand, and a packet of beef jerky in the other. Quickly, give him the secret handshake, grab your soft mints and get out!

beauty judge attractiveness

Can you really judge a book by its cover?

Writing

When your mother use to tell you to put on your ‘Sunday best’, was that really for God or for the fellow church dwellers?

Time and time again I have been proven wrong, I look at someone thinking ‘oh they’ll be friendly’ and instead I’m met with a look as if they’ve been sucking lemons all morning. Whereas you run a mile from the local hooligan and perhaps they may be the ones to call an ambulance as you trip over the pavement on your escape from them. My point being, whether we like it or not we all judge a book by its cover. Biology has meant we don’t read between the lines, atleast not initially, and here’s why:

Biology study

Blame our ancestors for all the sudden judgment and stereotyping. Putting it this way – with neurons devoted to visual processing taking up 30% of the cortex as oppose to 3% for hearing and 8% for touch. We really get a ‘feel’ for someone through our ‘eyes’.

But maybe don’t blame your judgmental self too quickly, for as ‘bad’ as it is to stereotype, it actually is a ‘good’ thing. Humans have to be quick in sussing out other humans out with immediacy – are they a threat or non-threat?

Some pre-conceived judgments we make

  • A trustworthy face – Studies have shown that humans make a judgement on the level of trust they would have in another person just based on their face alone.

 

  • The halo effect – We view ‘more physically attractive’ people as being ‘higher achievers’ across the board than people deemed ‘less physically attractive’. So if you’re hot then the world pretty much thinks you’re the next Einstein.

 

  • The voice effect on leadership – higher pitched, slower speaking voices deemed to lack leadership qualities that a person of a lower-pitched and faster pace of speech would have. (When voices were the only thing to base judgement off of.)

 

  •  The uglier the criminal the harsher the prison sentence – the judgment bias on attractiveness when sentencing.

 

I love posts which make me feel all self-conscious about myself. I guess the moral of the story is blame science for our judgmental stereotyping selves! And know that beauty and ability are really internal qualities of ourselves.

Poem: A Day As Grey As Today

Writing

Have you ever experienced a day,

As grey as the grey day today?

You know the kind,

That makes you less kind.

The kind you wished would just go away?

 

I’ve certainly experienced a day,

As grey as the grey day today

It made me feel kind,

To the man who reminded,

Me to enjoy every day.

Why We Should All Be Bi-lingual (Atleast)

Writing

 

Since the year of dot I have struggled to pronounce my own name never mind ‘el gato, le chat or die Katze’. Yet, despite my struggles, my interest in languages outside of my mother-tongue has never wavered.  From fable attempts at school to self-taught trials through online resources, my ambition to pass conversation in another language has always been a dream.

I think as a native English speaker it can be wrongly assumed that there is no need to speak another language as English is so universal now. But to me, this would be an absolute mistake. To speak another language doesn’t simply mean you have a different word for the same object, but instead, you have another door opened into a world of new cultures, new people, new entertainment and learning.

I’m a fan of many languages, especially foul,  but one that’s had a special place in my corazon is Spanish, with approximately 437 million people speaking it you can see the appeal. But it’s not solely the popularity of the western romance language which gets me all romantic about it. I think a big part to play is my love for the music genre – Reggaeton.  Artists which I’m particularly a fan of are J Balvin, Bad Bunny and Anuel AA to name but a few.

The language is sensual, rhythmical and flamboyant. What’s not to love? Whether Spanish is your desired language of choice or maybe you have another, here are some reasons why you should maybe want to start getting those language lessons in:

  1. Alzheimer’s Disease Delayed

Studies have shown that multi-lingual people may be able to delay the onset of degenerative diseases of the mind by approximately 5 years. Based upon the theory that being a lifelong mutli-lingual could increase our ‘cognitive Reserve’. Cognitive reserve being the brain’s ability to improvise if need be to complete a task.

  1. Your Native Language Skills Improve

Who doesn’t love reciting grammar repeatedly till their blue in the face? A benefit to this rather monotonous task is that you’ll actually improve further in your native language. Because in a way you are re-practicing the grammar structure of your first language and using that to learn the second.

  1. Improves Your Memory

You lower your risk of developing memory problems as outlined by this study. I quote the study ” Researchers discovered that those people who spoke four or more languages were five times less likely to develop cognitive problems compared to those people who only spoke two languages.

People who spoke three languages were three times less likely to have cognitive problems compared to bilinguals.”

Eventhough learning a language requires time and dedication. If the above details don’t make you want to become fluent in one then I don’t know what will. It’s highly attractive too! How many more positives do I need to list!
los idiomas son fantasticos!

 

Bullying In The Workplace

Writing

Being bullied is never an easy thing to deal with, and compounding the matter is dealing with bullying from someone at your place of employment. In this situation you really are stuck between a rock and a hard place, for alot of us, we can’t just get up and move jobs or tell the bully how we really feel about them. Showing annoyance to the bully could make us look like the aggressor infront of other colleagues or just fuel their taunting even further.  So what to do?

  1. Try Ignoring It

This would be my initial advice, there are twisted individuals out there who get a rise out of making good people feel like victims. If you don’t show them the irritation they are looking for from you then in some cases the bully moves on.

  1. Try Reasoning With Them

The saying that ‘hurt people, hurt people’ is true sometimes, perhaps they are irritated with something about their own lives and they’re taking it out on you. Perhaps patience and trying to understand why this person is acting a certain way towards you may be a step in resolving the situation. It must be noted that this can’t be said for everyone in my opinion and in no way should someone’s past be an excuse for abusive actions. But trying to settle things by talking to someone may be alot easier than escalating the situation further. Ofcourse this depends on the kind of behaviour the bully is exhibiting. If they are assaulting you or being verbally abusive then reasoning may not be an option. Instead I would take step 3.

  1. Seek Support And Guidance

If you feel like the bullying isn’t ceasing up, you should  seek help. No one has to tolerate abusive behaviour from another person. I would seek advice from a manager, if the manager is the bully or just generally unhelpful  then I would suggest contacting Human Resources or an external helpline not linked to the workplace.

Being on the receiving end of a bully at work, I found it difficult on how to confront them in this environment while still defending myself. If you are being bullied do not accept it. Seek help.

The Inferior Female

Writing

Stature slender,

Pitch higher.

A non-male gender,

So he must be higher.

 

Physically inferior,

Sit still and look pretty.

Don’t question the superior,

You’ll only look silly.

 

Beauty over brains.

Man over beauty.

I’m not a feminist,

But a minority of men give me reason I should be.

 

Are you threatened by my ability?

I know power incites greed.

Don’t you encourage a bit of competition,

From someone who doesn’t have something swinging between their knees?

 

Oh little men,

Of Mice and Men,

Are you really a man or a mouse?

I hope the rat race has served you well, with the car, the cash, and the house.

 

But what about the love from a woman?

Afterall, without a female, you would have no life.

Even if your mother didn’t love you enough,

Then perhaps maybe does your wife?

 

Let me be clear in my intentions,

No gender is better than another.

I have mentioned what I have mentioned,

Because recently I’ve been stung by the male gender.

It’s only the minority that will ever incite hate.

This poem is highlighting the bed that they’ve made.

 

No gender is better than another,

Whether you’re female, male, non-binary or trans.

I feel the majority of us are not sexist to eachother.

I really do hope you will agree with that.

 

The poem above was written from a place of hurt and discontent. In the last couple of weeks I have had several encounters with men who have treated me inferiorly.

How would you feel when going into a shop to buy a water bottle and being told in a non-joking manner that you should do ‘phone sex’ by the till keeper? Or being called a ‘stupid bitch’ because I couldn’t hear what a window cleaner was saying?

 This poem is not to highlight that I feel all men mistreat women. Good men, which do exist,  certainly do not mistreat women or any gender for that matter. But I felt the need to share my annoyance by the small few that do. The poem is a way to get it off my chest.

Thank you for reading.

 

 

Why You & I Both Hate Shopping

Writing

Nothing sinks my heart further into the pit of my stomach than the sight of two mums fighting over the same cable-knit jumper in the ‘Winter’ aisle, or better yet, one of them fighting with yours truly. Not that I would ever buy a cable-knit jumper or anything remotely resembling it but the point still holds, going clothes shopping is like going off to war. Left, right and centre you have the fear of God struck into you by the bullish and brutish ways of the everyday shopper.

I’m not saying every passerby has their heart set on making my shopping experience a living misery, but I am saying that there are a modest few that do, and don’t they do their damndest! Here are 5 of my favourite worse case scenarios when it comes to getting the groceries in:

  1. The Fitting Rooms

You think trying on clothes in a fitting room would be a very ‘individual’ sport (unless ofcourse  you’re one of these people who takes baths with their dogs and showers with their neighbours). Atleast it’s meant to be a solo activity until you are at your most vulnerable, as naked as the day you were born and the changing room curtain suddenly wafts open thanks to the ever-so-speedy shop assistant who keeps racing up and down the changing room corridors collecting coat hangers. The curtains billow as if a tornado has just graced us with its presence all in while your modesty as a result goes out the window. Cheers coat hanger girl, your wind gush running really made my day!

  1. Have A Good Look

Picture reading the tiniest of fonts on a label the size of a postage stamp, you focus with great intent, eyes squinting, beads of sweat drip from your forehead. You need these details! Success! You’ve read that the item isn’t machine washable so you turn to head away from the product only you find yourself cornered from all sides by blank, expressionless, unfamiliar faces. That’s right just as you decided to read the label so too did 5 other people who had nothing better to do with their lives in that moment than to make you feel small and trapped in your little local mall.

  1. The Awkward Shuffle

Shopping aisles are no place for claustrophobe’s or anyone who isn’t the width of a shoestring by all accounts. We’ve all been there, heading down the aisle, opposite traffic is on the move towards us fast and steady, we panic, which side to choose? Too late, you and the geriatric have both went left when you quite clearly should’ve went right. You almost clash heads, it could’ve been worse, it could’ve been the lips. This happens to me all the time, I always awkwardly do the same shaky shuffle as I desperately try and dodge another body only to find myself grazing mine against theirs in the most inconvenient of manners. I’m sure you can share this embarrassment atleast once in your life, that is ofcourse if you dare to venture beyond your welcome doormat once in a blue moon. 

  1. Walk The Line

I know that good things come to those who wait but when you’re waiting in line and have an unruly kid upfront and 2 gossiping grannies behind you really do have to weigh up the need to even buy food or clothing at all sometimes. It’s times like this I wish I could just abort the mission of trying to live in a civilised society and run off to the Amazon.

  1. The Cashier

I don’t care if I’m the 250th person you’ve asked ‘would you like a bag?’ to, is it too much to ask that you don’t look like you’ve sucked all the lemons down the fruit and veg aisle? What is with some people that they can’t just fake a smile once in a while even if they’re dying inside? Why does the curse of lethargy and snark strike just as I step up to pay for my camel toe inducing leggings and bottle green V-neck? Check yourself out check out girl! Or I wanna see your damn manager!

 

So tell me, am I being overdramatic or does shopping turn out to be full scale warfare in your eyes also? Let’s just say, I totally get why Amazon has become a multi-billion dollar company.

 

 

bed cute dog female why am I so tired?

Why Do I Feel So Exhausted?

Writing

At the ripe old age of 23, it’s safe to say that fatigue should be a common occurrence, right? Wrong! Then why is it the norm for me to walk around like a zombie and  to fight to keep my eyes open by noon? Lots of us feel tired alot of the time but we’re no marathon runners so what’s the reason behind it?

Well, according to the NHS, psychological causes of tiredness are much more common than physical causes. Examples of which are stress, trauma, depression and anxiety.

How we can help to potentially relieve these:

Stress

  • Exercise – this sounds almost counter intuitive in trying to alleviate the feeling of tiredness. But it is a proven theory that exercise does indeed help lower stress levels in the body.
  • Sleep – another obvious one considering we are talking about tiredness! But studies have shown less sleep = more irritability which as a result increases the chances of a more stressful situation arising for you.

Trauma

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – an interactive psychotherapy technique , the therapist asks the patient to relive the traumatic experience while directing their eye movements. The validity of this therapy is still undergoing testing.
  • Support Groups – It may be difficult for people who have not experienced a traumatic event to truly understand how someone who has feels. This is where support groups offer a chance for people to get things off their chest and find emotional support in sharing the fact that they have all gone through a traumatic experience and thus can learn from each other,
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – this treatment aims to change how you think and act. It is a practical form of therapy, Read more about it here.

Depression

  • Exercise – according to the NHS, exercise can lower your risk of depression by 30%. Releasing endorphins and improving overall body confidence as the body becomes fitter.
  • Keep Social – when you’re feeling low, it’s easy to want to lock yourself in your room. This is exactly what you don’t want to do, instead going out with friends or family will keep moods from dropping and helps build relationships so that you can have someone to talk to if you’re feeling down at times.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – as mentioned above, it can be used as a treatment for a range of needs.

Anxiety

  • Breathing Exercises – anxiety can lead to a build up of tension and shortness of breath which can result in panic attacks. Trying to control our breathing (abdominal vs chest) is a common way to reduce tension and maintain control when we feel anxious. See here.
  • Yoga and posture – Harvard findings here

**Wikihow has some good tips here.

Ofcourse exhaustion could just be down to physical demands, be it from your job, your exercise regime or the burden of life (bit deep)! These are obvious things that make you tired but I think it’s important for us all to take time to reflect on our own mental well-being, for if looked after properly, I’m pretty sure all of our lives would be vastly improved beyond simply alleviating the feeling of tiredness.