New Year: Make GOALS Not RESOLUTIONS!

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Hey Hey Guys!

It’s that time of hear again; everyone is coming out with the “NEW YEAR, NEW ME” bullshit that even they know isn’t true.

By making “resolutions“, we are automatically setting ourselves up for a download (1)fall. “Research“, (though how reliable research into young people failing to give up drinking, go to the gym and save enough to buy are Ferrari, are) suggests that the connotations of the word alone are enough to make our brain pre-emptively expect failure. Essentially, it’s too much pressure.

So DON’T DO IT! Chill out, adopt a better strategy instead.

SET GOALS instead!

Simple. By setting yourself a goal you are creating a context where something is a good idea, but won’t make you feel like you are breaking a promise if you don’t achieve it.

Expectation vs. Reality!

Expectation vs. Reality!

Sounds like common sense, but do your self a favour, make them small goals. Not necessarily unimportant, just, don’t make some bold statement that you’re going to own a flying pony named Beranabus! by the end of the year then act heartbroken when you’re left with nothing but a dead hamster and a broken dream.

More likely pet acquisition...

More likely pet acquisition…

Say you will do something a little more general if you are having trouble, like, take up a sport. That gives you room and time to explore and find something you really want to do, so you are more likely to stick to it. Don’t put yourself under too much pressure f you can’t make a decision right away and don’t make it something like sky-diving. Unless that’s easily accessible to you. In which case totally go for it!

Basically the trick is to keep it simple. Even something as simple as be nice can have a huge impact on your mentality and make you feel better, meaning you will have more motivation to achieve the bigger things that would otherwise have been insurmountable.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew (literally or figuratively!) Start with the little changes. They will add up and you can achieve so much by taking your time. Don’t bother with an obscenely long, ridiculous list.

In my next post I will make some suggestions as to goals you can attempt as well as some of my own 🙂 (HINT: I’m not going to be trying to become a millionaire or be fit enough to run a marathon. Though both of those would be nice. Enough money to buy my own flat. Or run for a bus maybe… 😉 )

Here's an easy one to start you off :)

Here’s an easy one to start you off 🙂

unnamedFollow me on twitter: @gemc200

SSDD

Studying in Barcelona – Part 1 – ANTICIPATION

SO I spent the past couple of months studying in BARCELONA – y’know, just casually, no big 😉

And I thought I would share my experiences here. I haven’t got a set number so I’m just going to be posting them as they come to me. This first one was actually published on the wonderful site of Soapbox Press, who kindly let me write a few articles about my travels. So here it is, the first post about my adventures in Spain – ENJOY!

Also, check out Soapbox Press! 😀 http://soapboxpress.co.uk/

This was 5 minutes from my flat. For real

This was 5 minutes from my flat. For real

Growing up and growing old come with a myriad of choices and expectations. And I  am going to be delivering you with a series of articles about how some of these choices have affected me.

Towards the end of high school you have to decide when to leave school; whether to go to University or college or just to get a job and work your way up; if you go on to further education, where and to study what; if you should move out; if that thing with that guy was just a party thing or if he’s actually the one… the new responsibilities are endless and the choices you make now can affect your entire life.

I am in my 3rd year of a Multimedia Journalism course at Glasgow Caledonian University. I decided to take a deviation of the academic route by going to University (the “academic” thing) but doing a degree that would allow me to be be creative as well as learn (the “artistic” route).

Since I was 15 years old, I was determined that I would make it to University. I had always been a hard worker and my grades were good. But I knew that the competition for a subject such as journalism was fierce, so I got my hand into as much freelance and work experience as I could and when crunch time came – I made the cut! From 800 applicants, I was one of the lucky 36 to be accepted.

A huge part of picking your University id working out if the options it offers are right for you. What services and opportunities will it provide to get you where you want to be, and if you are not sure yet (as so few 16-20 year olds do) then what can they suggest to you that might help guide you onto a path.

What attracted me to GCU was the chance to travel abroad in the third year. And, after five years hard graft, I am headed to Barcelona!

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing. The process has not quite been everything I dreamed it would be.

My fanciful teenage mind had romanticised the whole process. Over the years of anticipating this event, I had not thought about the landmine of paperwork, red tape regarding funding, ‘I’s to be dotted, ‘t’s to be crossed, meetings and consultations to be had, more e-mails than the internet can surely handle, sent across two countries and endless arguing with faceless officials who’s job seems purely to put up as many road blocks as possible. Whew! It’s exhausting even to think about.

But as of Tuesday 9th of September, I am off to Barcelona. The flat is booked, the room mates and I are ready to move in and, on Friday 5th of September – I am still not packed. But I will be, when the time comes.

To conclude this first piece, my main comments are these.

It has been a long, hard road to get to this stage. I have had to work extremely hard to get to this point, overcoming personal struggles as well as fighting off competition to be able to get here. It will be fun, right?

I certainly hope so, because seeing as this is my first time with responsibility for my own place, and I have to live with two boys for the next four months, I am terrified!

SSDD

Hey! Guess Who’s Back??

Hey troops! Long time no write!

I have been somewhat (ok, COMPLETELY) absent from the blogging scene for a long time. I just felt that nothing I had to say was important anymore. That hasn’t so much changed, as I feel like I’ve been on a journey. I’ve had adventures and I want to share them once again. I have still been writing, but not here, and I have missed the community. So, here we go again bitches!!

A quick catch up on where I’ve been at.

Since last year I have been travelling, I have been at Uni, I have made friends and lost friends and I have been on the 2nd biggest, 2nd most terrifying journey of my life. I went to live in BARCELONA for a semester. I actually just got back a week before Christmas so I’m still adapting to the CRAP Scottish weather XD But that’s ok, I have Scotland in my blood, I might not like it but the belligerent highlander in will get me through.

So, get ready for tales of sunny Barca and news of my adventures. I’m planning on making some review post and the like but at the moment i’m really thinking i’m just going to wing it and see how it goes.

So I hope you will join me on my wee blog and I hope you enjoy whatever trial nonsense I post here. I will leave you with this astonishing piece of trivia:

Snakes have 2 penises but only use 1 at a time!

You’re welcome.

SSDD

We Can’t Handle the Truth?

So, people can’t handle the truth? Really? Let’s investigate that, shall we??

Wise words, my good man, wise indeed...

Wise words, my good man, wise indeed…

People can handle the truth. People are designed to be able to handle anything life cares to throw at them. The question is, are they ready at the time to handle what’s being thrown at them.

There comes trying times in everyone’s lives and it is how we deal with challenges that form, not only our futures, but how we see ourselves as competent individuals, and how others judge us according to their own standards. Fair? Probably not, but that’s the way it is. People judge themselves more harshly than anyone else ever could. We are all our own harshest critic.

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And who’s to say that just feeling good about your decisions is enough to convince the world? The world doesn’t know your motivation. Doing something you deem admirable might make you feel good, but can you be assured that Joe Bloggs passing by will know the strength it took to achieve a thing they might see as trivial? That’s the hidden challenge of the equation – you are not only faced with your own moral dilemma, you are faced with having to accept the assessment of others, regarding how you handled it. And resist the urge to wrap you hands around their throats if they disagree with you.

Yet, the biggest struggle can be when your head is so full of other stuff that you cannot see that all important truth. It is now that someone else must be employed to help you see what your occluded mind won’t let you.

you have the truth in the palm of your hand, the question is, can you find it??

you have the truth in the palm of your hand, the question is, can you find it??

We’ve all had the feeling; that almost deja vu like sense that something is missing, something is just not right. That feeling stops us seeing what’s really there. Hallucination is maybe too strong a term, but certainly, there is a cloud there. A veil, preventing the truth from being revealed to our desperately seeking minds eye. Does that mean we’re not “ready” to understand? Not necessarily. And that should be the decision of the individual. It shouldn’t be left to another to decide whether gently patronised is a better temperament than fully informed. Perhaps that individual who cannot see is not looking for pity, or sympathy, or compliments, or naive reassurance. Perhaps they are asking, pleading for help. Wanting another to act as their eyes in a time when sight evades them.

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Key to finding that all important truth in our lives is simple. To get into our own heads, we must first get out of them.

“…a simple trip to the beach can be all it takes to clear out heads and open out hearts, and write a new ending to an old story…”

We first have to want to get help.

“…there are those who got burned by the heat. they just want to forget and start over… while there are others who want this moment to last forever…”

But in the end, isn’t fact, better than fiction? No matter how bad life gets, it is never the best option to live in a fantasy, especially not one of ones own creation. As comfortable as you dream world may be, as easy and safe as you self-imposed bubble may appear, remember; your head knows all the pitfalls. There is no hiding in a land born solely from our imagination. Sure, it may seem to be a haven bathed in golden light and peace and only simple, easy explanations for everything, but – if the sun can shine in such a place, then that sun can cast shadows. And, given enough time, they will find you.

“…tans fade, highlights go dark and we all get sick of sand in our shoes… so we find ourselves looking to the future…”

It takes bravery to admit any truth. Let’s not forget that.

brave-b5b2d44cc2393aa2c9b1a7ede7dba601_h

 

SSDD

I Left It To You… Then I Went With Her…

I Left It To You… Then I Asked Her.

(click above to link to original post!!)

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I got in touch with the person about whom I was going to make a post. We had a really honest, open conversation and… She was open to the idea! 😀 Just not right now.

There was a condition attached to my posting the piece – that I post it, just not right now. The pictures of her are from a time in which soul deep wounds were inflicted upon her. She feels that it is important that the picture I have, and some others she intends to give me, are put out there at some point, as a point of reference for others who have suffered as she did.

But for now, the wound is too raw. So raw it bleeds. I showed her the words and she liked that they were not “jazzed” up, not “glitzed” for the sake of softening a difficult topic. It is the truth.

And when she is ready, I will be the mouth piece for her story.

Blogs are a wonderful thing. They give voices to the mute, give freedom and expression to those who feel the manacle-like grip of adamantine bonds. It is this that she is waiting for – her cue that she’s ready.

Right now she is working on breaking free from the bonds that bind her to those pictures. When she does, she’s going to need an outlet for that re-newed energy and life. Apparently, that’s going to be my job.

So if you want to hang around with me til then, I’m happy to have you. I’ll be ranting and raving on here til my hands are too arthritic to press the keys, at which time I’ll get some fancy pants computer that can be controlled with my eyes, and I’ll be shoving my opinion out there still! No getting rid of me. I just decided that in this case, it is best to help her heal, than to increase the Blogosphere. Hope you understand.

Let me know – do you think I made the right decision?? Love to know what you think!

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SSDD

I Leave It To You To Decide…

Ladies, Gents, Bloggers, and general internet type folk. I have a favour to ask of you.

I value my blog followers. You give me a little lift every time I think that one of you might have read another of my minds random natterings and, for all I know, delusional little farts that result in whatever spluges itself on this site. So, I have a question for you.

I’ve never done the Weekly Photo Challenge before but I have done one for this weeks – CURVES. The only thing is, it pertains to somone I used to know. It is one image and this image is not pretty. I am rarely in contact with this person anymore, but I have excluded their face from the image.

The image is quite hard hitting, though somewhat disturbing.

My question to you is: Do You Want To See This Post?

I will leave it one day, any responses will decide whether it gets posted or not.

 

SSDD

Buying Wine Is Surprisingly Difficult…

Don’t laugh at me for being an uncouth youth but… wine is a baffling concept to me!

So I’m going to share a kinda funny story with you about a recent outing I made, inspired by a post by Caffeinated and Random. Read hers, it sounds far more successful than mine to be honest. But do stick around to find out if I eventually got my grape juice! 😉

I seriously struggled to buy a bottle of wine the other day. You might think that it would be easy in a supermarket – they have aisles dedicated to the stuff! And not just wine; to make the selection of all you alcoholic beverages an easier experience they have handily sub-categorised everything.

I can only think this is out of pity more than kindness; it’s a though they think drunks can only navigate their way to the bottom of a bottle, not to the actual bottle itself. But on the other hand, why pass up the opportunity to fleece said boozy individuals by arranging the wares in an aesthetically pleasing order? And let’s be honest, you can tell a lot from the section a person is shopping in.

The Magners my friend bought as an “investment”…

For example, a middle-aged man bulk buying Tennant’s is either having the lads over to watch the footie or praying 2-crates-for-£12 contains enough units to let you mentally escape your domineering wifey! (to be sure which breed you are observing, have a sneaky look-see – if the whiskers are graying you are likely looking at the latter.)

If you are one of those more exotic souls trooping the spirits aisle you are either a student looking for pre-drinks/cocktail ingredients/a cheeky wee something to get you through your Friday lecture – or a bit lonely… and maybe have been for a while if a bottle of rose isn’t enough to perk you up anymore…

There you go! Wine, again! Like an adult alternative to the eternally relished correctional institution known as tea! We turn to it for everything: friends are coming round – better crack open a bottle if wine; hot date on the horizon – put a nice wee bottle of wine in the fridge; you’re boyfriend broke up with you? – bring on the wine-loaded bitch-fest!; you’re mother-in-law is coming round – quick, chug the rest of that bottle from last night while pretending to check the casserole…

So many socially acceptable situations, so many socially encouraged situations.

So why the bloody hell do they make it so hard to choose one!!?

Leaving early and returning late(ish), disgruntled and tired began to wear on my parents a little after an entire summer – and no, not because I’m a teenager and they had enough of my inconsiderate comings and goings… well… ok so it was a little bit that, but mainly because I was working! I had begun to adopt a syndrome I do not know the official term of, but for the purposes of this story we might call teenwhingeitis. The remedy for this, I thought; that’s right, gift thy ear-ached parents with fermented grape juice!

Whoa, too much choice, guys, seriously, chill out, they’re just grapes for goodnessake…

But faced with a wall of disconcertingly similar bottles, I suddenly felt less like the classy so-and-so bringing home a sophisticated tipple and more of some 12-year-old Curious George like character who had wandered too far from her mummy and was suddenly drowning in uncertainty.

It’s ridiculous. I’m 19, I am more than used to buying booze by this late stage in my life. But that might have been the problem. I am used to buying booze. Wine seems an altogether classier state of affairs. Somehow the glimmer of I’m-too-good-for-you-tonight-WKD wears off a bit when you’re looking at the “Special Offer” plonk.

All I had to go on was mum likes white, dad likes red, neither likes rose and I am only going to buy one bottle. Great.

I get that different grapes are grown in different countries and that it makes sense for them to have different flavours. But. As I read another tan label claiming to contain a nectar that was simultaneously sweet, fruity, lemony, with a hint of  bold asparagus and gentle daisy, undertones or basil and overtones of Sicilian desert, I couldn’t help feeling like all those convoluted terms were designed purely to confuse the living daylights out of me. It made me a little irritated. Those buggers were doing this on purpose, I thought. Didn’t they realise I was trying to do something nice, I thought. They must think me some kind of teenage delinquent who wouldn’t understand all their fancy pants description, devoid of buzz words and pressed more full of jargon than the tinted bottles they were wrapped around, I thought! (they were right, but I wasn’t about to admit that…) Must be Torries, I thought.

But never fear, the story has a happy ending. I knew what to do – defy the buggers! So I looked at the prices, picked a shelf that all seemed reasonable and pointed, swirling my finger – if it worked in Stephen Kings Dreamcatcher, then it was good enough for me! The only rule of this game was, stop when you recognise anything it says on any label. Along the line my finger went and then stopped almost immediately – Jacobs Creek. Possibly the most universally known wine in the world.

Gotcha! Cheers!

The fruits of my labour!

SSDD

Don’t Turn Over A Random Leaf; Turn Over the Right One

Picture the scene.

You are in a landscape. This landscape may be near barren. A smattering of wilting bushes peppering brazen, cracked soil. The shoots that are left are of a variety capable of life in harsh conditions. Perhaps there is a burning sun. Perhaps it is tundra like and cold. This landscape is yours alone. It is not so entirely unpleasant that it is always unbearable, much in the way that even the most unsavoury of areas can be tolerated once you get used to them, but there is something not quite right about it.

There could be many names you could give this place. Limbo, might be one of them. Or perhaps perdition, nowhere, or even confusion. You might prefer not to give that place a name at all. That’s ok. It is yours…

You stir from a most intense day-dream. So intense you might have believes it reality; were it not for that bush.

The lush and leafy, impossibly mulit-tonal green bush, that has attracted your attention. Was it always there or has it just suddenly sprung into being from the drought ridden ground?

unusual and intimidating…

As if independent from meteorological influence, a leaf detaches itself from the bush. It float purposefully toward you. You approach with caution. Lift the leaf: pretty. Unusual shape, not one you are familiar with. Interesting. But not for you.

Take a step back, but take care not to lose sight of the leaf. Something has stirred in you and you know it’s important, even if you don’t necessarily want to encounter that particular shoot again.

pretty and sweet…

Another has flown near you, with a gentle motion, as if to avoid startling you. This time the leaf is colourful. Inhail and discover that the air is sweet, the scent carried on a light breeze and wrapping coolly around you.

Carry this leaf awhile. Twirl it experimentally between your fingers. Hmmmmn, lovely; but not for you. Let the fragile pretty thing float away on the fragrant flurry. It lands close to the bush.

is this your leaf? …

Next, a darker one catches your eye. This one is scary by comparison to the others. Spikier edges. It writhes in the draft, which by this time has become warm, despite the lessening intensity from the sun; it no longer burns.

A glance at the bush shows that it sits there still, innocent and suspicious only in its alien contrast to the tired little sprouts around it.

You stand, stare quizzically at this leaf. A tall shrub sways dozily in the breeze beside you. It never did that before…

The leafy bush seems to glow as you approach the spiky leaf. This one sends shockwaves through you and your nerves alight with a fire that has never been experienced in this forlorn place before. This knowledge seems to make the bush glow brighter still.

The scary leaf continues its dance, with each of your tentative steps seeming to increase its fervor. Your heart races in time with its perilous twist – the feeling is somewhat nauseating after so long in such a place of dry suspension.

But you reach out and pince the stem between shaking fingers. Mouth dry but eyes no longer heavy, the leafs struggle ends. It is course to the touch but fresh and crisp. It feels more dependable that the others. Less likely to die quickly or suffer a tragically short existence, or worse, a promising start followed by a hollowly unfulfilling end.

Sure, those spikes might make it a little difficult to handle at times, but sometimes that is the price of reliability.

The warmth that had been blanketing you from the wind now swirls and glows somewhere else – is it inside you? Somewhere, perhaps, and quite deep. But deep in a way that a well is deep; the only place it can go is up, and this time, what goes down, will come back up.

The leaf has ceased its struggles and sits palliative in you hand. This is the one for you.

Turn it over.

 

SSDD

a lone shrub surviving…

tundra…

could you miss this tree in a desert…

To Ink Or Not to Ink… (2)

a very dedicated maths teacher…

Tattoos often get a bad rep: they used to be the body modification of choice for soldiers, sailors, bikers, criminals and mobsters. Dangerous people, or folk with dangerous jobs. But that is no longer the case. Yes, some nasty people have tats. But so do celebrities, teachers, doctors, even politicians.

So this poses the question: with so many of us now getting tattoos, should society as a whole be changing its prejudices against them?

Finding up to date statistics on public opinion on tattoos has been a little difficult, apologies for that, but…

In a survey conducted by the ask Jeeves website in 2010, an estimated 30% of UK adults between the ages of 23-35 have been inked and there are an estimated 1700-plus tattoo parlours – up from around 300 a decade ago. However this figure may seem miniscule considering that in the late 1800s, 90% of the British navy alone was inked up. Figures are higher in younger people now than ever before with the number falling to just 16% in people in their 50s and above.

Being a tattooist is now a level of artistry on par with a painter or sculptor in terms of creative skill and imagination. There are celebrities within the community, such as Ed Hardy, Cat Von Dee, Ami James, Jason Zube, Alex Binnie and Joey Pang. An entry-level artist is likely to be a fine arts graduate meaning that it is not at all a go-to job for the lazy-yet-creatively-gifted-wild child.

The study conducted in 2010 found that 26% of UK adults (out of 1000 participants) are said to regret their tattoos within a decade of getting them (between the ages of 18-10) but I’m sceptical of this figure. If that were the case, then almost all adults would regret their decision and I find that quite hard to believe – if the opinion were really so wide-spread, then surely people would cotton on that it is a bad idea and, I don’t know, stop getting them maybe?? But this has clearly not been the case as tattoos see a year on year rise in popularity, with many studios insisting that patrons book their appointments well in advance. Books are often full for weeks at a time with very few unfilled slots.

A survey conducted in September 2010 by Uxbridge High School revealed that over half their students had plans to get a tattoo, but that up to 50% of those students parents were not happy with them to do so. A third of these students felt that tattoos were a good creative outlet, one even siting that they “want to use their body as a canvas for art”.

We hear it all the time; if you are going for a job interview, be sure to cover your tattoos; of you are at work, cover your tattoos; if you are meeting the new partners parents for the first time; if you are going to be near children; if you are in any environment that is not related to your personal life, it seems – the consensus seems to be that tattoos should be covered.

Granted that does not apply to all professions, but the vast majority of professional environments would prefer all ink to be hidden away. Some have argued that it is a breach of human rights. Some have argued that it is unfair that body art and even piercings must often be removed/hidden while Muslim women are allowed to wear burkas. It may seem that this is double standards considering a headscarf can be easily removed, even if it is for religious reasons that it be kept on, whereas a tattoo cannot be removed at will.

In this age where freedom and liberation of character are arguably at their most potent for decades, one must wonder why such an inconsequential thing is such a big deal to employers. They do not make you unclean or mean that you can do a job better or worse than anybody else, yet the sight of a tattoo can often instil feelings of anxiety or doubt in someone’s mind. They are seen as being unprofessional.

For example, say a police chief were to confidently handle a suspect and work a case. They lead their team with authority and good judgement. Now, say it is summer time and that same police chief walks into the room wearing a short-sleeved shirt – revealing heavily tattooed arms beneath them. What would be the reaction? Would opinion change? Would it mean they were unable to lead their team any less competently? Of course it wouldn’t. But it would mean that their team, and anyone else they encounter in their work, might view them in a different light. An air of suspicion – no, curiosity – might then hang over them.

It is this attitude that I do not think is fair. To think any less of a person, even limit their job prospects, purely based on their tattoos is unfair and while it has, I believe, improved in recent times, that stigma is still attached and needs to be shaken off.

And it will, because at the rate we seem to be going at, most of the world will be inked up to their eyeballs within a few years.

SSDD