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?

 

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

 

We All Do This…

Writing

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Why Are We So Ungrateful?

Writing

If you can read this right now then you have the ability to see. Sight is one of the most valuable senses us humans can posses yet paradoxically it is one we take most for granted. Too busy complaining about our bosses thinking they’re better than us or stressing that we aren’t earning as much as our partners, we lose focus. Instead of moaning about somebody else to make yourself feel better can you not spend a second seeing the good you already possess? For your ability to speak, for your ability to cook, the list goes on. I write this post to share my thoughts on this point, this focus on ungratefulness has crept up on me several times. One example of which was just several days ago when I was walking to work in the morning, on route I passed a beautifully dressed young lady, she was wearing a maroon headband made of silk, a ruffled lemon blouse and bottle green cigarette trousers and she was using a white cane because she was blind.

 

As I passed her my negative thoughts of how bored I am living in the same flat to how annoying a colleague is at work suddenly meant nothing Instead I was stunned with the realisation that I had no reason to complain, because what I was complaining about was so petty. I had more important things to be thankful for thank things I had to complain about. I was going to work to use my skills, I had the ability to walk where other people may not be able to do this , I had the ability to see where others may not have the ability to do this. I must stress that this post is not me trying to compare myself to someone else and state that because they don’t have something and I do that I should feel good about that or better about myself. But instead I aim to highlight that we all have qualities in our lives which we overlook all too frequently, for example while we’re too busy chasing the next pay cheque we forget that we’re fortunate enough to have our health. Or whilst we complain that strangers are rude to us on our commutes we forget that we have a loving family at home. While we judge something critically in the shop window we forget that we have the ability to see the expressions of joy on others around us. To stop for a moment and be thankful of the most underrated elements of your life will surely enrich it?

 

I truly believe that the real answer to being happy is being grateful. To further support this opinion of mine, I need to look just at last week. As much as I enjoyed the Isle of Wight Festival , I must say camping was tough. Let’s be honest lying in a damp cloth cocoon in a bumpy field is a fast track way to insomnia I’ve no doubt about it.  But in some ways, anytime I go camping I’m thankful afterwards. And this time was no different, for on my return to London I couldn’t have had a bigger smile on my face as I jumped into my bed after a shower with actual hot water! A week prior to the festival and I treated a warm bed and a hot shower as expected, fast forward a week and I saw it as a luxury. My point being to feel good about things and about yourself perhaps it takes a moment to realise. Perhaps it takes a week camping for you to appreciate home comforts, atleast it did for me.

 

A tip I do sometimes actually, especially if I’ve had a bad day is list 5 things I’m grateful for that night before going to bed. It may not solve all of your problems but it certainly helps remove the storm cloud from above your head so you can sleep And who knows, maybe if you do it frequently enough you may be a happier person in the long run. I think so.

Sexual Assault – Should We Be Allowed To Carry Weapons?

Writing

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

With the statistics on sexual assault rising:

 

How can you defend yourself?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Male Suicide

Writing

‘Death of A Salesman’ by Arthur Miller

The Young Vic’s adaptation of the 1949 play was simply faultless. So well executed was the storyline that I went home overcome by an aura of melancholy, unshakeable even by watching the funniest of comedies on Netflix.

If you are unfamiliar with the play, it happens to be one of Miller’s most telling and rawest of pieces. Focusing on a working class family, in particular, the patriarchal dynamic of that of an American salesman’s.

From loss of finances to a loss of respect from his two adult sons, the man becomes broken, his internal antagony is played out publicly to the audience. From his affairs to combat his loneliness despite sharing his home with a loving wife, to his power struggles in asking his boss for a raise. All too similar is the narrative of this fictional character’s life to that of so many individuals today. This relatability made for an engaging reenactment of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

With the final moments of the performance crescendoing to catastrophic events leading to the fatality of the father, I asked myself the question – ‘how many men in this audience’ relate to his actions?

This led me to think back to another event I had attended at the Young Vic merely a few months prior. The event focussed on masculinity.

The event was an open Q +A style discussion among an audience on the topic of masculinity. The evening was incredibly insightful, with one question in particular demanding my attention:

“Does society’s limitations on men to open up and visibly share their emotions explain the suicide rates among men?”

In the UK, men are three times as likely to take their own lives than women. This ratio is similar internationally also. The BBC reported that women are more likely than men to attempt suicide, yet it is men who use more violent methods to commit suicide meaning there is a higher chance of completion before intervention.

These statistics should not go ignored. With a society becoming more and more tolerable and understanding of topics which decades ago would have been shunned and looked down upon such as: race, religion and sexual identity. There is still an elephant in the room, which the world just seems to ignore – the stereotype of masculinity.

The outdated inaccurate views that being masculine directly equates to being macho, to hiding your emotions, that crying is a sign of weakness, that men have to be the breadwinners.

Personally as a woman I do feel like the pressures that women face are much more ‘common knowledge’ because as women is seems to be that you’re allowed to ‘talk ‘ about them more openly, and listened to more readily. But for men this is unfairly not the case even still today. Some cultures may be more progressive and ‘open’  than others but I still feel that overall, the role men feel they need to fill has a substantial impact on their mental health.

Noting some of the comments people at the event on masculinity gave below as I feel they are both honest and genuinely food for thought, raising points which I believe all of us should take onboard:

  • A man (18 – 24) – What Role Does Society Want Me To Play?

“I believe suicide rates are increasing among men because of the ‘disenfranchisement’ of the traditional male. Society nowadays wants you to be more ‘open-minded’ yet still be the ‘provider’ for the family. Men are getting more mixed signals from society today than it did before, now there is more pressure.

  • A woman (18 – 24) – Male Suicide  Female Suicide Comparison

“Women  may attempt more suicides, yet it is men who do so in a more violent manner (slitting wrists, use of firearms) and have higher rates of completion than women.”

  • A man (25 – 35) – Violence

“Violence was used as a way to vent out those emotions society wouldn’t allow me to.”

  • A Woman (25 – 35) in response to the man (25 – 35)

“Isn’t violence a tool to someone committing suicide rather than a way to vent emotions?”

With mental health starting to be gain the attention it needs, shouldn’t an extension of this mean we have a duty of care to address the potential factors leading to the mental health of all genders and sexual identities? And not to simply take a generalised approach to mental health?

Whether you are reading this from within the UK or from outside of the UK, ff you feel like you need support for your mental well-being contact your local health service. It is not a sign of weakness, being proactive is a sign of strength.

Some UK based organisation that I know of:

The Samaritans Call 116 123

Mind  call 020 8519 2122

NHS Mental Health Services

Poem: Climate Change

Writing

 

My limbs gnarl, sap suffocates my lungs as I gasp for another breath of the smog.

I’m losing my fight for life.

For centuries I have supplied oxygen to your veins, now you remove it from mine?

In times before you uprooted me, and spoiled the very soil I laid upon.

Now you turn to decapitation,

Intoxication.

Of the very  air I rely upon.

 

You think only of the immediacy and  not of the future.

Thinking only of your own benefit, and not even that of your own mother’s.

Why are you blinded to what you are doing to this planet?

You wouldn’t walk into your own house and quite simply trash it?

Would you?

 

You think it’s cushy, that to try and save the environment is some sort of tree huggers eulogy?

That in their last breath they begged for an epiphany from humanity.

With irony, perhaps that really is what life is all about.

Death.

Why bother carrying on the life of your genes,

By having children when you leave,

Them a planet which will just get weak week after week?

You teach them your petty practices of pumping out pollution and pompously wasting.

For what? So they can have instant electricity to cook their microwave meals while watching TV.

 

You don’t see the problem, because you purposely don’t look for it.

You don’t see the wood for the trees.

For you basically cleared most of it.

You only care about the you and the now.

 

When you are laying 6ft under and the soil around you is toxic.

When your toxic thoughts have played out in the lives of others just for profit.

I guess then the state of the planet means nothing to you.

Just make sure instead of one child, you double up and have two.

For mortality rates will likely rise,

As the planet gets sicker too.

So yes, be as selfish as they come,

Isn’t that what life means to you?

Peanuts To A Monkey

Writing

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

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

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

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

The psychology behind value – post up tomorrow.

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

Writing

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

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

  1. Microwave Meal Guy

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

  1. The Exhausted Single Mum

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

  1. The ‘Checkout’ Guy

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

  1. The Guy That Stocks The Shelves

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

  1. The Serial Killer

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

Eye

Writing

I haven’t worn glasses since the age of 10 and you can tell, my eye’s lazier than the cleaners who play candy crush in the cubicles at work. I had to wear an eye patch till the age of 8, and once they told me I couldn’t be saved, I chucked the glasses and with that came the awkward family photos. There you’d have my two normal siblings and me, the spawn of Satan on the end with the turned in eye. But it wasn’t always doom and gloom, I wasn’t always told ‘could you look at the camera please’ as I squinted as hard as I could begging my left eye to stay straight! Only to find my efforts were in vain as my right would surely play copy cat to its feeble counterpart. Sometimes it was fun making others laugh at my deep deep insecurities.

Anyway to cut a long story short, my quick ditching of thine spectacles many moons ago has resulted in a quick case of panic as I find myself having blurry moments while staring at the screen in work. And it’s not just because I don’t have the foggiest about what I’m doing, I really do take moments of blindness. Sh*t. Also if you’ve heard of floaters (not that kind) then I feel for you, I had the shock of a lifetime when I reached out to grab a spider web only to come to the stark realisation that it was infact in my eyeball (Google it).

With enough of these harsh realities  ( in addition to my whole eye infection malarkey) I figured I’d get myself down to the local optician before they diagnose me with a cataract aged 23 and 3/4.

So off I go, print off the voucher from work to get a free pair (key word free) afterall it is work that’s caused this mess (not my meaningless efforts to look cool without glasses during my teenage years). Their harsh if not illegible ‘vdu’ (visual display units) mean I’ll never see a bee again or be able to  read the small print of my life insurance policy without depending on a monocle or as its getting, a telescope. Yes, office life I do indeed BLAME YOU!!!

So there I am in the opticians, chin on a pedestal, forehead in a vice, eye getting a pelting with the conditions not uncanny to that of the northern hemispheric jet stream. Why was air being projected into my willingly open eyeball? To test the pressure. Next! The actual eye test…….

After being asked every question under the sun apart from what my favourite colour was, the optometrist proceeded to try his hardest to permanently blind me with his torchlight in the hope that I’d not leave the shop without the non-discounted Gucci frames. But oh no! I was undeterred by his tiny light saber. Next came reading the writing off of the back of a postage stamp before rolling my eyeballs back and singing kum ba yah. Kidding! The eye test was normal, he said I had 20/20 vision. Comedian much?

Anyway, with the test (torture) over, I picked out a pair of the finest (free) spectacles. Elton John eat your heart out! They really are a cross between hipster and geriatric and I f*cking love em’ Anyone who knocks glasses are probably the same people who are rushed off to A+E every 6-months for their ‘contact lense in the back of the eye’ stunt again. So P*sssssss offffff! Spectacles are officially cool again!