Take A Break From Your Head

Your Own Head Is Often Crowded

Exhausted by the mental whirlygig of everyday trials and tribulations? Sick of being slowly blinkered by a life that seems perennial and resolute in its mission to blacken your soul? Exasperated by perpetually cheery co-workers who just don’t get that no, the sun does not always shine out of the worlds every orifice, especially when said world hasn’t gifted you with a day off in… EVER!

If one particular co-worker seems to spend an inordinate amount of time in the stationary closet, they are probably doing the nasty with another suspiciously cheery co-worker. Anything to pass the eternity between those ever elusive holidays…

Taking a break can alter you in ways you never realised it could. Holidays can be more than just a physical break from location so much as a mental relocation.

So Take A Break

Fresh surroundings can do wonders for the mind and the mood. I think it’s something to do with the complete break from routine. You can try to keep as much to your own ways as possible but there’s no avoiding the fact that a new place is just bigger than you. It is more set in it’s permanence and you, as a foreign entity intruding on it’s turf, have no leverage in trying to meld it around yourself.

That’s why we go on holiday, really. To be forced into a situation that is outwith our control, somewhere that has it’s whole own set of rules and pre-ordained regulations. We can take a break from the humdrum normality of our own lives and be dropped into some other cats alley.

A break from being yourself can be just what the doctor ordered, but the question is, where will provide such a release…

Stay tunes to find my confusingly blissful oblivion… 🙂

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SSDD

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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

To Ink Or Not to Ink (1)

Arty. Dangerous. Creative. Cheap. Meaningful. Unprofessional. Individual.

Everyone has an opinion on tattoos, whether they are something to be admired or abhorred or even if we should have them at all.

But admit it – you want one too.

my friend’s gorgeous tattoo on her ribs 🙂

I’ve been contemplating getting a tattoo for some time but there have been a couple of things stopping me. For one – that shit is expensive! Like, they can cost a small fortune! I was shocked that my friends rose tat on her wrist cost as much as it did at £55 and I almost had a heart attack when I was quoted £85 for one word with some “swirlies” (genuine tattoo artist’s term for what I described as “a design”) placed on my foot.

 

Considering the fact that you are placing a huge amount of trust in someone who may well be a complete stranger to decorate you,  this might seem a small price to pay. Also not to be forgotten is that you are the one who will be the one stuck with the result if they get it wrong (good luck getting out of that one; they can cost £3000, six sittings and an entire year to have removed) With this in mind, I don’t mind paying quite a lot for one considering it’s going to be on my skin forever, so long as it’s done well. But it was a surprise to me that it would be quite that much.

Other than the money issue there is the fact that my parents are among those who do not like tattoos (so their actual words were “if we ever found out you had a tattoo, we’d kick you out.” Seem harsh? Think I’m joking? Unfortunately, I know for a fact they are not, that threat has been brought out for less than a little ink…)

I admire people with body art as I think it is a very unapologetic way of showing your artistic side. Even if a tattoo is hidden from view the majority of the time, I don’t feel that matters. You have still had the courage to pick a design and have it permanently imprinted onto your skin. You are making a commitment as well as a proclamation. It is independence and power over oneself.

ethnic style feathers behind the ear

To have a tattoo of any kind is bold and brave, no matter what size it is. There is no-one else in the world who will have that same mark, in that same place, because it is impossible to create the same piece twice, especially on someone’s skin. You are marking yourself as an individual – literally!

From something as modest as a tiny butterfly covered by layers of clothing, to a full body suit on show for the world to judge, a tattoo is something purely yours. From a sentimental heart or miniscule star to a steam punk sleeve or bushido back piece, it is your choice, your style, your decision. There is nothing that can take it away from you.

large, intricate back design. must have been painful but I think worth it

little butterflies

pin-up style tattoo

As a resolute supported of freedom and emancipation of all kinds, you might be able to see the attraction of an inked reminder of the only true aim I have in life: to achieve a mental state of complete freedom, whatever that might be.

Stay tuned for more on this decision and I will post if/when I finally pull the trigger…

I should mention that I have set myself a date of 12th August and by that time I wish to have a tattoo. There is not particular reason other than I told myself many years ago when I decided to get one that I would while I was still 18. It only just occurred to me that I am very soon going to be 19. Bugger.

 

Sympathy For Those (Bleeping) Call Center Operators

Packed Call Center Floor

Does anyone else find those poor souls in call centers irritating?

Well maybe you shouldn’t.

Here’s why… (I can already tell this isn’t going to be popular lol)

So here’s my thinking; maybe we shouldn’t be so hard on them. Sure, hardly a day goes by when the phone doesn’t ring and, sure enough, there will be that long, suspicious pause before the voice answers my “Hello?”. That pause that is just long enough for the penny to drop like a cold pill down my throat. There is no mistaking what it precedes.

When that crackle starts before the voice on the other end calls, just a little too loudly, “H-He…Hello? Hello.” To which I sigh a deep sigh of disappointment and dejectedly continue the pointless exchange with “Yes. Hello. What do you want?” I won’t be the only one who gets annoyed when they wait before replying again. To me this pause is almost as irritating as when a friend or someone you genuinely know calls you and then waits on the other end for you to say something – dude, you called me! What the hell’s with the silence!? – I feel that the ball falls to their court to decide the topic when it is them getting in touch with you, wouldn’t you agree?

Nevertheless. When the pityful connection finally gets through, the result is a forgone conclusion for an experienced cold-call operative – they will either be hung up on or given duggs abuse and then be hung up on. How do they know this? Because they will probably receive the same type of call the moment they get home.

Calls asking if they want double glazing – as if they didn’t already have it; a little hint to call centers, windows are not a new idea, people already have pretty good ones, the technique has been refined quite impressively these last hundred odd years and we tend to not go without them now. Then again, it would be an impressive estate agent who could sell a property lacking them – or a new, overpriced mobile phone with more features than will ever be needed on a contract they’ll be paying til they die.

Forget the whole issue of not agreeing with call centers being placed abroad by big companies to cut down costs – the corporate fat cats have got to find the money for their company funded holiday to the Maldives somehow – that’s a separate issue entirely. That is more a moral dilema.

And you thought you were having a bad day… She just got yelled at by an 85 year old woman!

But consider this. If we all find them so irritating, how do you think those people feel? To know the hate and frustration being blasted at them in waves down thousands of miles of electrical cable, every one of us hoping to fry their brains as efficiently as they are numbing ours while they simply try to do their jobs must be one of the most depressing workplaces it is possible to find! The loathing the recipient feels must be felt ten fold by the unfortunate operative.

This thought came to me when I received a call from what was possibly the most dejected sounding voice I have ever heard in my life. She seemed to take everything I have said here and express it in just her tone. With an utter hate for what she was doing, she had practically hung up before I had.

Sound harsh? That I still hung up on her even though it was clear she hated her job as much as I did?

Well, I hadn’t had this epiphany yet, so in my eyes, she had it coming 😉

The one nights’ experience I have as a phone operator for a charity event was enough to quell my conscience. 😀

So next time you’re getting ready to scream down the live about what a (bleeping) (bleep) that (bleep) who bothered you the minute you got home from work/got in the bath/sat down to dinner/started watching that show you’d been waiting for, think for a second; do you really hate them more than they hate themselves?