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. 

 

B*tch Stole My Work

Writing

“It’s fine though, I changed the font so it’s mine now”. 

 

What would be worse, pitching article ideas  to a magazine company only to have them reject you and for you later to find out that they’ve posted pieces online which obviously spawned from your very original idea? 

Or having the magazine agree to commission you, you spend weeks perfecting the piece, only to find that once it is published your name is nowhere to be seen, yet instead it says something along the lines of ‘written by author of ‘X’ magazine team’?Your name is not listed, just the term author, or worse the commissioning editor’s name as the author. This has happened to me. 

To me both are appalling but the second is saddeningly worse. To not credit the creator of the work be it writing, artwork or any other medium is not just morally wrong it is illegal. 

 

It’s saddening to think that there are people out there who would quite happily take my articles and not credit me on them. 

This kind of thing makes me not want to pitch my ideas to people. Has this ever happened to you, how do you or how  would you deal with it?

 

Because once you realise they’ve not credited you correctly you then have to sum up whether you want to confront them on this or just accept the unfairness. If they are a large magazine company do you really want to bring this conversation to the doorstep, will this block you from writing for them again? But then again as it stands without your name on the article it looks like you never have written for them  anyway, so you might aswell fight your corner I guess. 

 

Apologies for the rant, I think I’m just sick of the above happening to me. And wondered if I’m not alone with this?

Sexual Assault – Should We Be Allowed To Carry Weapons?

Writing

The air is frosty, I’m wearing open-toed heels as I briskly walk towards the direction of my house, it’s the small hours of Sunday morning, and a few seconds earlier I was saying bye to my friends at the bar. I only live 15 minutes away, heels are hard to walk in I tell myself, but, like a newborn lamb I’m determined to put a spring in my step and scurry home as fast as I can.

The darkened narrow road is lit only by the soft amber hues of the lampposts. I’m only ten minutes away now I tell myself. I try to walk with confidence, noone will approach me if I walk with conviction, I thought. I turn the corner of my road, now only minutes away and I hear a branch snap behind me, refusing to turn around out of fear of not wanting to see what was there, I pick up my pace and head straight for my door, as I put the key into the lock, I hear footsteps behind me……

 

This narrative is becoming concerningly more common each year, the number of rapes recorded by police has increased by 40% in the last 4 years. Relating this to the reminder that it is illegal to be in possession of a weapon here in the UK without good reason. It has me wondering where is the legal system going wrong? Is it the victim who should be restricted by the law or the assaulter to take advantage of it? By being in possession of a weapon I  by no means condone the use of a knife or gun, but what permanent damage can really be done by pepper spray? Temporary blindness vs the loss of someone’s esteem, or worse, their life. The possession of mace or pepper spray is illegal in the UK. So what can I use to defend myself? Wear a longer skirt?

 

Women are not the only victims of sexual assault, men are too. Infact it has been reported that men are more likely to be raped than to be falsely accused of rape.

 

With the statistics on sexual assault rising:

 

How can you defend yourself?

 

A Rape Alarm – these can be broken in a heartbeat, one stomp and it’s crushed. Besides, it’s hardly going to help me down a dimly lit alleyway with nobody around.

 

Or how about some ‘criminal identifier self-defense’ spray, what would you prefer maroon or rouge? I understand the premise if this, mocking pepper spray it could act as a deterrent and identifier of the attacker days later with it’s stain but at the same time I don’t have the biggest faith in it.

 

Yes, you could say just go to some martial arts classes, and that thought has crossed my mind, but then again you could be the next karate kid and be absolutely floored by the sheer weight of your attacker if caught offguard. Overall I have faith in the reliability of martial arts as a mechanism for self defense, but I just don’t think martial arts or self defense classes should be the only option I could rely on.

 

You could argue that if you were allowed to carry a weapon to defend yourself with there’s nothing to say the attacker couldn’t overpower you, turning the tables and use it against you. This is a fair point.

 

I’m not asking for a taser gun, knife or gun, just for the legalisation of pepper spray or its equivalent as a fast action measure to temporarily stun the person attacking me so I can at least get a few seconds to run away. As it stands, I hate the idea of leaving places late at night, I’m not paranoid, but if  am then I blame the news for constantly shoving statistics of assault down our throats.

 

I must clarify that I don’t encourage or endorse the use of weapons, I merely want to raise some thoughts on self defense with regards to sexual assault.

 

If you have been sexually abused, do not suffer in silence. Some supportive sources in the UK are:

 

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.