Being Called A C*nt By A Stranger

Writing

It’s not everyday that you can indulge in the luxury of having off-the-cuff profanities spat at you on a public street whilst on your daily commute home from work.

So given that exactly this unfolded this very evening makes me really want to count my lucky stars and thank God for all of the socially defunct individuals who scuttle through our streets, waiting to pounce unannounced on the unprepared passerby a.k.a. moi.

No matter who you are or where you are, rest assured, an ill-mannered, pale and stale son of a b*tch will force their way into your life if only for a moment to p*ss on your parade. What kind of world do we live in where you can’t even walk down a residential street without being told you’re a c*nt by a stranger? Cat calls are bad enough but to say something so vulgar such as the C-word is a total disrespect and disregard for me as a human being.

If the world p*sses you off, don’t take it out on me. Mental-illness gets a bypass, but if you are not mentally-ill and instead you are someone who quite bluntly gets a kick out of straight-up verbally insulting someone you know nothing about then  you’re someone we should feel sorry for. For your life must be in a seriously dire state for you to be so cruel.

As the hooded man in his late-thirties stared into my soul while simultaneously slating it as he spewed the expletive with such conviction, I felt a tremor of shock ripple through my body. I turned my head to ensure he wasn’t going to step up his verbal assault with a physical one.

I stopped momentarily, struck by confusion as to why someone who doesn’t know me felt so compelled to say such a thing. As I watched him fade into the darkness of the Winter evening, my thoughts of confusion followed and faded alongside him too. In exchange came one clear intrinsic thought – ‘why be an enemy to yourself when you have plenty of enemies in this world’, not to say that every stranger I encounter is an enemy but moreso it’s this idea that we are all so hard on ourselves. We can be our own worst enemies, we look at self-love as something which is either mushy or big-headed. But those who see it in these lights fail to understand the true meaning of love. Perhaps love means different things to different people, to me it is an unconditional kindness and care for someone/something. Absent of harm, and full of compassion. It’s funny how we can apply all of these to another human being yet can struggle so much to apply them to ourselves. I am notoriously hard on myself, and I’m sure there has been times in your life where you have been so too. When you reflect on the ‘stick over carrot’ model this, do you think it has led to better or worse outcomes? Better or worse moods?

Perhaps I really should be thankful for the stranger who called me the c-word. For he made me realise that self-love is more important than I may have believed previously. I’m not saying that we need to put our guards up to strangers and repeat affirmation after affirmation to ourselves in the bathroom mirror before blowing ourselves a big kiss each morning. But I do believe if we were to even pause for a moment each day and reflect on how we are feeling, how well we are looking after ourselves then really all of us would be in a better place. Maybe even the man who swore at me today, he needs some self-reflection! Some self-care.

I hope you aren’t too hard on yourself, and if you are then don’t be! Because someone may just call you a c*nt for being so!

 

neon signage

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

Are We Truly Selfish Or Kind?

Writing

Altruism – “Having or showing an unselfish concern for the welfare of others.”

Do you think you’re a nice person? And by this, self-validation in the form of saying “thank you” to the cashier and “hello” to your neighbor I’m afraid doesn’t quite cut it.

This question springs to my mind in light of a recent conversation I had with a work colleague, as a previous psychology student he divulged in a mixture of both his past successful and failing science experiments within the field.

One which stood out had to be the case where he intended to a stage a robbery, not by using actors or people who were atleast aware of actions to be taken upon them. Oh no, he was aiming to use the element of surprise and stage robberies on innocent ill-prepared passer-bys. The psychology experiment wasn’t to analyse jumpscare reactions, it was in his words to put to test the behaviors of the witnessing bystanders. In other words, would someone come to the rescue of the person who has just been robbed? Thereby testing to what extent people exhibit altruism. Do you think you would go to their rescue in the example above?

Whether you would or not, or whether anyone would  for that matter, the experiment never came to fruition, no surprises as to why. One sniff downwind that one of the school’s students aimed to scare the sh*t out of members of the public and the study was shutdown. Who wants a pass in psychology when it comes at the cost of being passed a 10 year jail sentence for manslaughter because the test subject suffered a heart attack?

As I digested the story of his scientific setback, it got me thinking – are we really as kind as we like to think?

Moving away from human beings for just a moment, I recently came across this video of altruism being exhibited in the bird species – the African grey parrot.

Here you can see that although bird one does not receive a treat for indirectly facilitating in the passing of a token to the human hand by passing it to the bird that does, it still chooses to continue the action despite no reward. A selfless act if you ask me! And likewise, when the birds switched places, the same was shown, they continued to help get the token to the human hand even when they themselves were not rewarded with food and the other bird was:

Courtesy of The Scientist

So where am I going with this? Well, if birds have the capacity for selflessness, then so should humans, right? Afterall, we live in a society, there is a need to be social, to create bonds and work co-cooperatively, so surely it’s in our best interests to look out for eachother, no?

So why might we want to help eachother?

Neuroscience? –  The reward centers in the brain are activated when we carry out an altruistic act [source: Hinterthuer].

But isn’t this in itself a selfish thing? I help you because it makes me feel better?

Survival technique – Cooperative Breeding? – offspring receive care not only from their parents, but also from additional group members, often called helpers. As Burkart suggests in Psypost: “When our hominin ancestors began to raise their offspring cooperatively, they laid the foundation for both our altruism and our exceptional cognition.”

So perhaps deep down helping others really means helping ourselves.

 

Poetry: Change

Writing

A leopard can change its spots.

But cheetahs never do.

Changing your mind is one thing.

But changing your heart, is about as easy as making a mountain move.

 

2020

A new year, a new you.

This year will be different.

A false promise? Or does here lie the truth?

 

Do you need to change your perspective?

Moreso than actually changing you?

Do you need to take more time reflecting?

Than taking time, faking, being too big for your boots?

 

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.

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: Stress

Writing

Stress.
The subtle strangler.
It manifests itself in many ways.
A fabrication of the mind.
Sending cortisol coursing through our veins.

Life – so full of precious pressures.
So petty, so small, minute.
‘A busy life is a happy one.’
A lie disguised as truth.

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?

 

 

 

 

Poem: Anger

Writing

Teeth grit like vice grips on steel.

The metallic hiss rings unforgivingly long.

I raise my hands to the air

Empty handed I surrender.

Empty handed I look for answers.

Yet none rings true for this.

Like a swinging pendulum

I’m hot and then cold

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

Trying to pacify myself is like

Trying to run backwards up a hill.

Continuously falling downwards.

Makes for a bitter

Pill.

To swallow.

I wallow,

I’m self pity.

Woe be to me for I have seen more tragedy,

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

More sleepless nights,

As the hag rides,

Drive bys

Seem like nursery rhymes

Compared the stories I rewind at bedtime.

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.”

 

 

 

 

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?

Question Time

Writing

Although some may argue that my elevator doesn’t quite reach the top floor, I do have my sporadic occasional moments of wishful thinking I’ll have you know.

And in those moments of synaptic wildfire, curiosities and peculiarities roam the plains of my mind like migrating wildlife of the African Savannah. Just some of the questions plucked from the deluge of my mind dumping are listed below. Based off of ofcourse  my very long listed Google history vs. my very small amount of ‘sent’ work emails:

 

  • What’s a gizzard?

Off of the back of my sister’s erratic commentary yesterday claiming that she would ‘bite your gizzard off’ if you dared try to snatch her chinese takeaway from her iron grip last night during her dazed state of pure starvation after a long day of doing absolutely nothing.

 

  • Why are male suicide rates higher than female?

           It’s inclusion week at work, which means various talks are being held around the building, one talk in particular that I wanted to attend was one inwhich the speaker shared his personal story on masculinity, suicide and bi-sexuality. 

 

  • What does it mean to be masculine?

This question was emphasised again in the talk above, a question which interests me in general.

 

  • What does the cerebral cortex do?

I listened to a podcast recently on the Ted App and found it really insightful, the cerebral cortex is pretty much the reason we can conduct ‘higher order’ tasks which are primate cousins cannot. And why is this so – because of fire. That’s all I’ll say, if you can’t figure out the answer then either you’re an ape or you just need to listen to this podcast. 

 

The Unknown Brain

https://www.ted.com/read/ted-podcasts/ted-radio-hour 

 

  • Does being a good dancer show that you aren’t neurologically dysfunctional, and vice versa?

Watching Strictly Come Dancing/ Dancing With The Stars really gets me in the mood to take up a few ballroom dance lessons. After watching  mere minutes of the jive or salsa I’m flabbergasted at how they can remember so many steps and keep it in rhythm (most of the time), is this trained, do some people have natural ability when it comes to dancing? And if so, why is this so?

 

  • Why are cats afraid of cucumbers?

Cruel but undeniably funny how cat owners across the globe tease their furry pussies with a big ole’ cucumber. Someone needs to call animal welfare. 

 

  • How to get a job.

It is what it says on the tin, finding a job is fast becoming one!

 

  • ‘Miscellaneous’

I find this difficult to spell if I don’t write it quick enough, like ‘embarrassing’ and ‘daffodil’. Does this happen to you with certain words, if you pause to think of how to spell it you actually find yourself grappling for the correct spelling of the word?!

 

Have you ever had a look back through your google history for the day and thought – wtf am I doing with my life? Today was my day, maybe it was yours too?

Poem: Timeless Beauty

Writing

Timeless beauty.

What a contradiction.

Will you still love me,

When my hair loses thickness?

When my skin starts to wrinkle?

When my youth is but memory in the distance?

 

Time.

It’s bittersweet.

Cruel to the appearance.

Yet kind to the mind.

Stripping away my pride in my looks,

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

 

Love is not lust.

And lust is not love.

So do you choose a beautiful person,

Or someone blessed solely with looks from above?

 

Is Talent Subpar To Appearance?

Writing

“As a woman you are constantly fighting against only being valued for your looks, because it becomes a very tenuous thing, to be defined by the gaze of others. And beauty is, by definition, ephemeral: it’s a thing you can’t trap in time. It’s a butterfly: it lives for a second. So to make a lifetime worthwhile and have meaning cannot rest on beauty.” Natalie Portman – Metro Newspaper. 

When I read the Hollywood starlets excerpt in the Metro newspaper several weeks ago on my way home from work, her words resonated with me, not solely for their poetic eloquence but for the more saddening and poignant message they behold. 

In more recent times I have found myself picking up on references regarding appearances, especially those of women. We only have to review the last couple of days with the release of the deeply emotionally charged documentary of Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson to gain but a glimpse into the toxic world of ‘beauty’ in the entertainment industry, or be it, in the world itself. 

Who do we blame? Society or our very own biological clock? Men can spread their seeds long after they receive their pensions, but for women, our reproductive window is much more narrow. Is this therefore reflected in our behaviour towards the upkeep of our appearances? 

Is it society’s fault that on the whole, men are allowed to age gracefully yet women have to perform some sort of witchcraft to try and reverse the hands of time as best they can? Or must Mother Nature hold her hands up?

Whether subconsciously biological or not, how can you justify telling a woman in a girl group to ‘go kill yourself, how can sugar babying be seen as ‘OK’, how can people dying in the living rooms of the homes of their ‘beauticians’ from silicone injections be donned the norm?

Social media has to take some level of responsibility for greenlighting a breeding ground of mental illnesses. These firms are failing us, especially young people. With almost half experiencing cyberbullying on social media, three quarters of which are female. 

Ofcourse social media has its positives but if we stop and think about Instagram in particular for a second, a platform to, predominantly,  share images. As I scroll I’m bombarded by a crusade of images of which are borderline pornographic. Now, I’m not some nun who feels that this kind of content shouldn’t be allowed,  I think embracing your seductive side is absolutely fine but the more I scroll the less diversion I see from this. In other words, the platform seems to be stressing appearance and a certain type of appearance at that. 

In addition to over-sexualised images from individuals who are teens in alot of cases to ‘the face’ of beauty. By this I mean the pouty, overtly contoured bratz doll-esque look which seems to have become the archetypal example of what it means to be ‘beautiful’.

 And to this I say – what happened to originality? Beauty is not one form. Nature makes variation purposefully, to support biological evolution of a species, by creating greater variance, diseases are less likely to wipe out whole populations. So why is our brains now wanting us all to look the same? 

The look which alot of people are going for is borderline disturbing. It’s waxy, too polished and too forced. Haven’t these cookie cut moulds ever heard of a concept called ‘effortless beauty’?

Not to be misconstrued, I love a glam look but when glam becomes the norm what does this say about society’s standards of what beauty really is? 

I don’t have an issue with people wanting to look good, I have an issue of what we are made to think ‘good looking’ really is? 10 minutes on instagram and it can leave you seething with anger as you scan the scenes of scantily cladded blow up dolls sprawled across their newly polished bentleys. Instagram is an arena for falsehood flashy lifestyles, which if you fall down the wrong rabbithole, grows nothing but contempt and concern amongst the lives of normal people, especially young people who are at an age where they can be deemed to be highly influenced by what they see around them. 

No, social media platforms don’t choose what people post, but they can choose to remove what people post. The behemoth Instagram seems to be attempting to begin to put a plan of action in place to tackle the mental health illnesses it has in partial a liability of contributing to through the means of trialing the removal of likes  visible on a post. Let’s hope this paves the path for other social media platforms to follow suit.

It seems like the world has fallen in love with social media, and there’s no way out of it, is there?

Poem: Stress

Writing

An advantage or a hindrance?

The Goldilocks analogy, 

Too much – and you can’t handle it.

Too little – and you’re indifferent.

 

Your blood, now laced with cortisol,

Your mind is always racing,

Synapses twitch like rabbits nostrils,

Your patience is fast erasing.

 

What can you do to make it stop?

You internally ask yourself?

Yet there is nothing you can do,

No saviour, resolve or help

 

For stress is not the real enemy here,

Moreso the mind it occupies. 

Change your perspective of how stress appears.

Then perhaps you’ll have alot to realise.

Poem – A Little Thing Called ‘Fear’

Writing

Fear,

The lovechild of stress and caution.

An unwelcome neighbour,

Making itself at home in your delusion.

It’s intentions  – unclear.

 

It picks it’s moments,

Most uncalled for.

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

Or hearing your name whispered very softly from afar.

 

Fear,

It’s a teaseful breed.

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

Or do we?

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

Writing

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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!

Poem: Time

Writing

 

Time.

Moving passed like 

Dew dripping from the leaves of

The waxiest cuticles.

My hands,

Gnarled, close tight,

Around the memories,

Uprooted by those of time.

 

Time,

A spectre of the night,

Time, invisible to the eye

Of even the most profound inspectors. 

I suspect.

Expecting time to wait for,

Any man.

Is like expecting a hug on

No man’s land.

 

Time,

And time again we

Try to cheat it’s nimble ways.

Like sacrificial lambs to the slaughter we,

Try to resort to cosmetics to

Bathe in youth’s fountain forever