Boredom-Busting Ideas

Writing

I’ve been trying to find new ways to keep myself occupied, especially since ‘winter is coming; and we all know what that entails. Stomach ulcers from too much hot tea drinking and cold sores from too much mistletoe snogging (well perhaps not this year mind you).

Anyway the fact is I’m finding that boredom is fast becoming that unwelcome guest in my mind a little too often and so I thought I’d share with you some ideas which have kept me entertained if all for the wrong reasons. 

Baking

Sounds good on paper, the final product never quite looks like the picture however. As it’s almost halloween I thought it would be nice to make halloween themed cupcakes, which would’ve worked out fine if I was going for the theme of roadkill.

Exercise

In my life, there never really is that right moment to drop and give you 50.. Exercise is painful, pain is something I’d quite like to avoid strangely enough. Yet in saying this, I have found myself in moments of disillusion hopelessly attempting to follow these popular Youtube pilates people while perspiring profusely. 

Nature Walks

It’s all fun and games until I tred in dogsh*t. Autumn, in particular, is a great time to go walking in sh*t, the leaves are burnt orange and crimson, the sun sits low in the frosty sky. So many picturesque moments are just destined to be ruined by dogwalkers! (joke) :p 

ASMR

I’m obsessed with this stuff, I don’t need drugs, sex or rock ‘n’ roll, I save these antics for weekends. Weekdays are spent in a euphoric state of catharsis, as Gentle Whispering ASMR pretends to give my spotty face a health-spa grade facial. ASMR is like marmite, some love it , some hate it. Forget marmite, it’s the elixir of life for saddos like me who never got hugged enough as kinder!

Book Reading

Fed up of scrolling on instagram, I’ve decided on the seldom occasion to brush off the cobwebs on some of my books. I boast a humble collection of a handful of books, not like those show-off shelves everybody seems to be sporting on their zoom calls these days. An old favourite I’ve picked up, and ultimately max out reading at the half hour mark is titled ‘Blackbox Thinking’ by Matthew Syed, in my opinion, it really is worth the read if you think failure is a negative, it changed my mindset for the better, it may change yours too.

So that was just some of the ideas I;ve been mulling over/ giving a go in the last couple of months. And on writing this I realise I already mentioned most of these in my previous post. 

Oh well, recycling things helps the planet doesn’t it?

I hope you’re trying to keep boredom at bay currently too, it’s not easy at times but atleast we can try, right?

It’s Been A While…….

Writing

There are people posting videos of themselves climbing their stairwells enough times they’re making Everest appear like little more than a speed ramp in comparison. And here I am struggling to get up in the morning and ‘head to work’ five footsteps from my bed. 

But really, I must admit, and like many others (which is reassuring) and maybe even you, I have failed miserably at meeting any of my ambitions I had set out on an A4 page minutes before the world went into lockdown.

Here are just a few feeble facades  which fondly faded away into the abyss of my foggy mind:

  1. ‘Learn a new language’ – before lockdown I could say ‘hola’, half a year into lockdown and I’m still just saying…….’hola’. 
  1. ‘Get fit’ – why do we torture ourselves? Can we just give this gig up. Most of us are simply not fitness freaks fanatics, so let’s stop kidding ourselves, put down the dumbbells and pick up the popcorn. 
  1. ‘Skill up’ – yes taking on a new course is exciting for about 1 minute. Until the pre-filmed lecturer with his monotone drole puts you to sleep faster than your local anaesthetist. 
  1. ‘Self care’ – well atleast I now give my hair 100 strokes of a fine-toothed comb everyday. That’s something, right? But try to force me to wear anything other than my miss-matching tracksuit bottoms and farmer’s fleece and we’re having a fight. 

You get my drift, some people may look back at lockdown and see the silver lining in the mushroom cloud, several online certifications under their belt, a new haircut, a new zest for life. Meanwhile I’m the runt stuck in yet an even bigger rut. If there was ever a time to learn how to f*cking crochet, it has come and gone! And guess what, I still haven’t taken out those knitting needles, (do you even use needles)! 

So what exactly do I spend my time doing these days when I’m not wallowing in self-pity or stuffing my face with fried foods, you ask?

I’m still trying to figure that one out to be quite frank.  

I’m Motivated At Being Unmotivated

Writing

I’ve become really unmotivated lately. I find sticking to schedules more painful than the thought of chewing shards of bottlegreen glass as if they were cornershop penny chews. 

 

Working remotely at my 9 to 5 is doable, but it’s the goals I have outside of this (as we all have) which I feel completely uncompelled to partake in. It’s so frustrating, here I am at 1 minute past 5pm, I should be jumping for joy at the thought of going for a workout in the garden or getting better at my language learning. 

 

Yet instead, much to my disappointment, I find myself crawling into the pyjamas and making the greasiest pile of shite for dinner, followed by a helpful dose of ‘Botched’ for dessert. (If anyone has watched this show, let me tell you now, do not eat a damn thing mid-watch. For it’’ll be hitting your ceiling via projectile vomit well before you have even had  a chance to take a second bite. Let’s just say the graphic scenes in this reconstructive surgery show would make roadkill look like a pageant Queen. And with that, I’ll say no more). 

 

Anyway, as I allow the daylight hours to fall through my hands like sands at the seaside, the guilt begins to wash over me – normally around 1am when my head hits the pillow. I’ve just wasted yet another day’, unfortunately this is the all too familiar opening dialogue of my monologue rant that I play through most nights of my very lack-lustre days. ‘Why didn’t I try harder, do I not care enough about succeeding, do I not have enough passion for these so-called ‘goals’ of mine?’  

 

I fall asleep under the waves of annoyance and frustration. Forgiving myself monetarily as I work at the dayjob only to start the cycle all over again as the sun begins to set. Why do I bother having ‘goals’ if I can’t be bothered to put in the effort to achieve them?

 

Are they really not things that I truly want? Am I just trying to achieve them to impress other people? Do I have too many goals simultaneously and perhaps the pressure of this ask is too much that my subconscious simply rejects them all in a desperate attempt to keep my cortisol levels mildly below fFreaking the f*ck out’? Who knows. I wish I had the answers. 

 

I spend alot of time thinking, and not enough time doing, Maybe perhaps this is the real crux of it all. The cure to all of my problems, and much much more. Human beings – procrastinators sitting pretty in their suits of skin and bone. So perfectly imperfect, we have the minds to create goals, and the minds to prevent them happening. 

 

Where the f*ck is my self-help book off Amazon, I think it’s perfect timing for a read of the blurb as a bit of light bedtime reading before I pass out whilst skimming over the introduction about the author.

 

I hope you’re achieving your goals as I sit and blabber about the fact that I’m about as far away from mine as the 2 poles are from eachother on this Godforsaken planet. Or then again, maybe knowing that you’re struggling too will give me a sense of sweet sweet schadenfreude as I stare aimlessly through my bay windows sipping unsweetened tea when really I should be working on my tax returns. 

 

Either way, goals can be achieved, and they can be unachieved. Formed and removed. The choice is mine. Today I may choose to not put effort in, and tomorrow I may choose to do the opposite. Outcomes change, when I change my actions. Actions change when I change my attitude. My attitude changes when I change the words I tell my own mind. 

 

And with this it’s time to put away my tiny violin if only for a moment, and put these words into action (tomorrow ofcourse :p). 

Poem – ‘A’ Is For Attraction

Writing

Enveloped in an aura of eternal amor.

Any armour I adorned,

Has been undone, it has been torn. 

 

Most magnetic is the mystery.

My mind is mute from misery,

As my heart mends from the lover before.

 

‘A’ is for attraction,

The feeling of acceptance,

Of an emotion more alien and more raw.

 

The feeling I have for you,

With the most painful kind of hope,

That you had it for me too, and not her.

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. 

 

Too Narrow-visioned

Writing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Poem About Love

Writing

Love.

Imaginary, or a force of nature?

Like the idea of ‘consciousness’.

Are they both just falsehoods,

Or truly realities experienced by those favoured?

 

Love.

As comforting as a hot bowl of soup,

On a cold frosty evening.

In its absence we are all but,

Lost souls, floating on rafts destined for sinking.

 

Love.

Perhaps yearned for more than money itself,

A truth too close to the heart,

That we mask it with our insatiable appetite for wealth.

I gush with guilt in admitting to the above.

Only to find myself alone at night,

Wondering. What it means to be loved. 

 

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………….

Poem: Present/Future

Writing

 

We only have the present.

Regardless of what we want in our futures,

It is the ‘now’ which takes all of the credit.

 

Living in the moment,

An experience unknown to many.

We disown it in exchange for a chance to oneday own a moment, 

Which is nothing more than merely a ‘maybe’.

 

Hope is one thing.

Oblivion another.

Do you look in the mirror and see yourself for who you are?

Or always strive to be somebody better?

 

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. 

Volunteering: Help Others And You Help Yourself

Writing

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

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

*Studies have proven this to be true.

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

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

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

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

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

I Thought I Was Going Blind

Writing

Sitting at my desk in the office yesterday morning, everything was just peachy (or so I thought). Despite my eyelids occasionally closing over due to boredom, for the rare moments I decided to forcefully will them open, I could see as clear as day.

 

But for some reason or other I decided to wink at my morning array of spreadsheets and in doing so came to the stark realisation that my vision in my left eye was completely blurry.

 

 My vision through my right eye only was fine, through both eyes combined  it was fine, yet when solely using my left eye to look at the screen I was met with a blurred mess. It was as if someone had just poked my cornea with a vaseline blobbed finger and then proceeded to hold my head over a spoiled scrabble board. 

 

Feeling like I was about to give the game up on my sight I started panicking. Quietly. With the blurriness becoming progressively stronger I speedily sent my manager an email emphasising that my vision was weakening and that I needed to go to the opticians straight away. So sprinting into the store in an unshakeable panic I begged for an immediate eye test. My fear was less about my actual eye health to be honest and more about the condition of my brain. The earliest eye test to my dismay was to be a one hour wait. 

 

Advised to head to A&E if it got worse, I  instead chose to wait it out. Waiting out the time felt like a lifetime. Back to the opticians an hour later and I’m getting air shot into my eye and asked if I could read outloud a love letter that had been etched onto the back of a postage stamp. 

 

What were the results? 

 

Following an array of tests, I was put out of my misery as the optometrist declared that my eyes and corresponding vessels were all healthy. 

 

So what was causing the blurriness? And why was it only in one eye? 

 

The glasses. 😦

 

The bloody things which were meant to better my eyesight ironically played a crucial part in its deterioration. 

 

It’s because of the following explanation that I urge you to ensure that you get your eyes tested frequently and make sure your prescription is the most accurate  and updated one tailored for your sight. 

 

It starts with the fact that no two eyes are ever going to be the same strength, and for me my right eye is stronger than my left. So in theory I would need different lens strengths in my glasses, with each lens being specifically made for each eye. What happened in this situation was that this was not the case. Instead, the lens magnification which best suited my stronger right eye was placed into both the left and right eye section of the glasses. As a result my left eye was being put under constant strain every time I wore my glasses, to the point where the muscles were overworking so much it resulted in what felt like a remaining partial blindness in the left eye. 

 

Examples to describe giving the wrong glasses may be along the lines of:

 

-Giving chocolate to a dog. It poisons them. 

-Pouring salt on a slug. It does them no favours

-Giving someone a chocolate teapot. It’s useless. 

 

The bottom line is the glasses were not helping my eyes, they were hindering them, hence not fulfilling their purpose!

 

So Now I’m met with the choice of either not wearing glasses at all while I’m doing computer work or paying between £39 – £69 per pair (I have two pairs with these incorrectly fitted lenses). Do you think they should pay for the lens change? Or should I?

 

**This frightful momentary state of panic made me appreciate how complex we are as humans. It made me realise how important it is to look after yourself. We are human beings, made up of such complex biology. It’s astonishing how every cell in our bodies serves a purpose. And how easy it is for part of this harmony to be abruptly thrown out of sync.

 

Take care of yourself!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poem: Home

Writing

Where is ‘home’?

Is home my little brick house by the sea, corroded by gale gusts and seagulls?

Is home the place in my mind, that place noone else can see of?

Does my heart lead me home, where my parents still reside?

Or if migrated, is it instead the place where I first began life?

Tell me –  ‘home’?

Is it just a little place that we dream of?

 

What if I said that I had no ‘home’?

Would this be a joy or tragedy?

A nomad has no set land of their own.

So does this mean that they must live life tragically?

 

Why do we feel the need to call a certain location a ‘home’?

For a sense of security, comfort and shelter?

If we were to all lose our homes tomorrow,

Would it be for the worse or for the better?

 

 

 

 

Homesickness & Appreciation

Writing

Am I the only person who gained a newfound appreciation for my home country only once moving away from it?

I think the saying is true, we don’t really know how much we miss something until we no longer have it. And this point couldn’t have revealed itself to be more true than during my recent trip back to visit my parents in Northern Ireland.

I use to think that the little town I grew up in had nothing going for it. But actually it has quite the opposite, it holds my most cherished childhood memories, from my first day at primary school to the day I left for university, it was the place I was a child, the place where I was brought into this world. And I will always be thankful for that. Northern Ireland, in such a contrasting way to my parent’s experience due to The Troubles, gave me an overall safe childhood, filled with an eclectic range of memories, from my 12 year old self racing snails on makeshift race tracks I caught in the local park to my awkward yet endearing coming of age self throwing the bizarrest of shapes at school prom nights in cold Decembers.

I used to think I was from a quite a quiet place but with time my perception has changed, I’ve came from quite a peaceful place. That the smell of manure infiltrated my lungs making me wish I didn’t have a nose at some stages, yet now, I see it as a welcome home sign, a pleasant change from more polluted places.

To be clear, I’m not trying to say that I detest city life, if that were the case I wouldn’t be living in a city. Infact I like living in a city because it makes me appreciate the places I visit when I’m not in the city even more if that makes any sense!

Do you have an appreciation for your country of birth?

 

Change

Writing

I feel like I’m in such a weird space at present, no sooner have I moved flat than I’m trawling the jobboards of everything from Indeed.com to Craigslist (ok maybe not Craigslist).  Being a seasoned veteran on these job sites is not something I’m proud of, frequenting them so much that Google ads now pop up with ‘need a new job?’ as I’m downloading a voucher off Groupon for a pair of discounted leggings.

What’s going on with me?

I just have this inbuilt element of restlessness, like the kind you get when you sit on a computer chair for too long and your ass starts getting really itchy. I have to get up and move, find something different. I truly think there’s something not right with me, I honestly get bored of things too frequently and too quickly. Tell me I’m NOT the only one who feels this way?!

This attitude has seeped its way into every aspect of my life, from where I live to what I eat. I’m a glutenous pig for chips, but I just can’t stomach any other food item repeated more that twice in a row.

This element of ‘change’ has sprung to mind in more recent times as I think about how much change I’ve actually went through since moving to London. Change to me is like a flame to a moth, I’m attracted to it but with dangerous consequences.

Jobs, housing, hobbies, hair colour! I’ve done it all! I seriously ask myself if I’m having some sort of identity crisis, a quarter life breakdown, perhaps? But these frantic thoughts and feelings are swiftly pacified by a session of binge eating and multiple episodes of ‘Botched’. But  I guess you can only suppress your feelings for so long, sooner or later they creep back out from under the woodwork. Manifest themselves in mysterious ways. If you’ve ever found yourself getting annoyed at the checkout lady in the supermarket for not scanning through your groceries fast enough then maybe it’s actually a sign that you’re internally annoyed at yourself for something. or if you find yourself crying after impulsively ending the short life of a housefly which landed on your homemade Victoria sponge, maybe it’s time for some self-reflection.

At least this is what I’ve found in my own life, frustration in myself can wrongfully be taken out on those closest to me. One thing I get frustrated about is this sense that we have such little time on this planet and it’s as if I change what I’m doing a little too often because in some subconscious way I have massive fomo (fear of missing out). Life is short I want to try as much as I can, I guess. But is this really the best attitude to have?

There’s really no point getting worked up about time, I know that but sometimes you can’t help it. When you see people your age travelling or enjoying certain experiences you can’t help but wish you had those too, right? That’s why I think social media on the whole isn’t a good thing for people’s mental health. We are being bombarded by a plethora of photoshopped pictures, and rented out rich lifestyles. Photos and opinions are liked and disliked, all of it a facade at the end of the day.

Apologies, I feel like I’m going off on a bit of a tangent, I just wanted to share with you this element of change I’m going through currently. I wonder if I’m alone with this, or have you went through change as frequently as I?

I’ll leave this with you, the words of Greek Philosopher Heraclitus (terrible choice of name):

change is the only constant in life.”

 

 

 

 

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: Rejection

Writing

Stinging like the barb of a hornet,

Heckles on my neck, shocked, stand upright.

I’m in disbelief.

 

Stormy skies swirl above me,

My mind, clouded with an overcast of doubt.

Why didn’t they just pick me?

 

I thought I was good enough,

But what good is water if absent in a drought?

 

Is this pain permanent or temporary?

Do I have what it takes to succeed?

Or is it time to remove my mask?

 

Rejection  – such a daunting thing,

Making a mouse of a man in any task. 

 

But can it make a man out of me?

Animal Instincts

Writing

If you could choose to be any animal in the world, which would you choose to be?

 

This thought sprung to mind as I watched my sister’s cat lick her wounds in a state of a pure delusion. The 5 year old tabby was shell shocked moments after being bitten in the spine by the obese feline that lives in number 22.  It looks like it’s popped out 20 kittens in the last month, and is up the duff yet again with 20 more due late October by the way its stomach scrapes against the concrete as it ambushes our innocent housecat less than half its size atleast twice a day. 

Cats are interesting to watch, agile, independent, yet fight more than heavyweight champions, and for that reason I would have to pass on the potential of being a pussy for the day.

selective focus photography of sphinx cat lying on bedspread

Photo by наталья семенкова on Pexels.com

What about man’s best friend? I think being a dog would be fun, ofcourse it would depend on what breed you were born as. If I came back to this planet as a pug I’m f*cked, give me a German Shepherd anyday. No offense, but I quite like the idea of breathing and eating my food without the hazard of choking on every bite thanks to a muzzle that looks like it’s been hit with a spade. As tempting as a dog’s life is, do I like the idea of getting spayed or neutered, not really. Do I like the idea of being left at home or in the garden for hours on end, maybe not. Having some other mutt sniff my ass on the routine stroll around the block? Eh, what do you think?

adorable animal breed canine

And don’t get me started on the rodents, gerbil dads are known to get peckish and prey on their offspring as a bit of a midnight snack. Well, atleast, this is the case according to an old school friend who by all means woke to hear the sounds of crunching in the gerbil family residence next to her bed. On turning the bedroom light on to her horror the dad gerbil had one of the gerbil babies legs hanging out of its mouth, with the rest of the baby have way through his colon. An image which fails to free itself from my mind’s eye.

brown wooden mouse trap with cheese bait on top

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

An animal group which is a popular choice for reincarnation is the birds of prey. This makes sense, with our unwavering interest in what it must feel like to catch air currents over the Grand Canyon or just to levitate to the shop to pick up the milk. I get this feeling too. But bird babies are kind of gross looking, so if I was a bird parent I’d be throwing the baby out the nest pronto which isn’t great. 

tilt shift photography of birds

Photo by 42 North on Pexels.com

I guess I’ll come back as a………