How To Feel Better About Yourself

Writing

To help yourself – help others.

Today as part of the company charity day I helped out at Brixton Soup Kitchen, a service providing hot meals and clothing to those in need, including homeless people and people suffering with mental health issues. Of course my interest was to help those in need but strangely enough I found that by the end of the day of making pasta bake and repainting the walls of their open space areas, I found I was the one feeling better off – about myself by helping out others.

 

I would definitely say if you’re struggling with low self-esteem or motivation then even if you can’t bring yourself to do something for you, start by doing small things for others, you’ll soon begin to gain a sense of responsibility and esteem to a point where you can start to do you things for you. It’s annoying but I find that’s the case sometimes, where I’m more willing to stick my head in the fire for somebody else over myself which I guess is both good and bad depending on the circumstance. But I think the bottom line is even if you help out at a charity with the intended internal goal of helping yourself you shouldn’t feel selfish about this. Heck, I’d rather be ‘selfish’ doing something for charity than being selfish  in other ways, wouldn’t you?

 

It’s interesting because from the choices of charity I could have decided to work with today, I initially chose the ‘wildcard’ which was pretty much a lucky dip. Only late last week after the closing date of signing up to a charity did I come to find out that this wildcard option was only feasible for employees in the United States 😦 So it was by chance that a space was still available at the soup kitchen here in London.

 

It was a humbling experience, learning through others’ anecdotes was eye opening, one which hit home was  that you may have it all today and lose it all tomorrow. Suddenly this concept seemed alot more real coming from the mouth of someone wolfing down the pasta bake I made an hour previous. I learned that we should all be a  little more thankful for the jobs we moan about on a daily basis, for without them we would not have a roof over our head or food on our plates. Infact the main leader today gave that exact story of a man who was doing what I was doing today, lending a hand to only find that the tables would turn and that  he himself would be needing their assistant a few years down the line. Not to be negative but I guess you never really know what’s round the corner. I also noticed that you really can’t judge a book by it’s cover, some people who walked through the door looked dare I say it well put together, but obviously don’t let appearance fool you, the reason they are in need obviously isn’t clear to the eye. It’s hard not to judge, infact I believe it’s pretty much impossible, isn’t it natural for us to make decisions and rationalise based on our observations? But I guess, don’t be too quick to assume is better phrasing.

 

All I can say from today is maybe instead of beating yourself up about making a mistake or moping about in the house, do one nice thing for someone like help them with their shopping or simply hold the door out, or take it a step further and volunteer at an organisation of your choosing, you may just find that you get more out of it than you thought you would.

What Does ‘Value’ Mean If You’re In Poverty?

Writing

With over 500 million people currently in poverty across the globe, materialism is but an abstract concept. Unimaginable to the people, who, through no choice of their own have found themselves struggling to survive.

 

When put into context it is  somewhat fortunate yet ignorant of us who complain about shops not stocking the right wines to go with our Sunday roasts, or leather shoes to fit on our feet. When you have almost 2,000 children dying every day from  diseases linked to unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation. We may complain how supermarkets never put our favourite soap on discount, when I think the bigger point should be, atleast we have money and a shop to complain about in the first place.

 

Value to someone with money is money, value to someone in  poverty is not solely money. Yet instead, basic necessities of life such as food , water, shelter, healthcare and education. In 2019, how can these figures exist? How can 3 billion people live on $2.50 or less each day?

 

Changing our perspective on what truly is ‘valuable’ in life may hold the secret to real life fulfillment. Instead of this adopted attitude of ‘I’ll be happy when…..I have the newest car, the job promotion, the mortgage paid off on the house.

 

Maybe if we stopped chasing happiness and just humbled ourselves every once and a while we’d be more grateful about life. If we leant out a hand to help one another more often, we may gain a greater sense of self than merely buying a new TV. I touch on this point in my poem ‘a closed fist’ – how we walk passed those in need today, yet you never know how you may need them in the future. Gone are the days were favours can be repaid by favours, money seems to be the main way of bending someone to your will be it by bribery or blackmail.

 

Before I go off on a tangent about this maybe I’ll finish on the following:

 

“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” – Oscar Wilde

 

The Poetry of War

Writing

Below are two poems I have written which I may enter into an upcoming competition The competition challenges the writer to explore the concept of national identity, by responding to how it is portrayed in the works of WWII Poets.

I chose Timothy Corsellis’ poem – News Reel of Embarkation 

The antagonism between fighting for one’s country and fighting for one’s own life. You’re walking into battle without a care in the world, Corsellis relays the all too knowing realities of war, his wisdom – a bid to wipe the smiles off the young soldiers naive faces.

Timothy Corsellis’ poem questions how you can be so giddy heading off to war – pre-war feelings

My two poems in response to his, focus on post-war feelings – how you can be struck with trauma (post traumatic stress disorder), a loss of self-identity, a loss of home.

P(lay) T(oy) S(oldiers) D(addy)

I fought for my country,

I fought for my life.

I’m now at home in my country.

But I’m not at home in my mind.

 

I’m lost back out at battle,

I’m battling my inner demons everyday.

The war may be over to the outward eye,

Yet within me it never ends.

What is unfamiliar to you is home for me,

Hearing the tear of flesh,

As you wash your sheets.

Feeling the last breath of a friend on my cheek,

As your mouth feeds.

You can never see what I had to see.

All for a piece of metal, for a so-called identity.

 

The title itself reflects the innocence of a child, a child who looks up to their father for support and leadership, meanwhile the parent is suffering from PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Hiding his pain from his child. From the world as best he can. 

 

VETERAN HOMELESSNESS

I HAVE A HOME,

IT’S 53 BELVEDERE RD,

IT HAS A BIG TREE OAK,

AND A BIG CHIMNEY THAT SMOKES.

 

MY CHILDREN, THEY PLAY IN THE GARDEN,

BEANEATH THE BIG OAK TREE,

MY WIFE, IS SUNBATHING EFFORTLESSLY,

AND IT IS THERE SHE WAITS FOR ME.

 

I DO ONEDAY, HOPE THAT I RETURN,

TO THE FAMILY I  LEFT BEHIND.

TO HAVE MET MY FATE AT THE END OF A BARREL,

MAY HAVE BEEN MY ONLY WAY TO FIND,

PEACE.

 

ATLEAST THAT WAS HOW I USE TO THINK,

WHEN I USE TO THINK AND FEEL.

NOW ALL I FEEL IS THE WET COLD GROUND,

AND THE CHALKY TASTE OF PILLS.

IT’S WEIRD HOW I FOUGHT FOR YOUR LIFE,

BUT YOU DON’T EVEN NOTICE MINE.

YOU WALK PASSED ME ON THE SIDE OF THE STREET.

MAYBE YOU JUST DON’T HAVE THE TIME.

 

So many of our veterans are suffering. The Mirror has reported that atleast 13,000 soldiers are left homeless after serving. Shouldn’t government funding go towards getting them off the street than on painting parks and leaf blowing?

The fact that the poem has no set rhythm between verses emphasises the disillusionment the war veteran is experiencing, lost flow reflects his sense of losing his family, his home and himself (his identity).

Poem order: normality – he had a home a sense of place, he went to war and lost himself, scarred by the trauma, on return he struggled to cope, he became a recluse, thought it better to end his life by overdose, but now doesn’t even have the effort for that. He is numb to any emotion. He sits on our street corners, we walk by not batting an eye for a man/woman who has in actual fact saved our lives. They’ve lost their identity, but haven’t we lost part of our own? Haven’t we as a society lost our morals?