Happy New Year!

Hey Hey Guys!

Very briefly, some best wishes from yours truly. No long winded, sappy crap about 2014 being the best/worst year of my life and how 2015 is going to be the best year yet, for everyone!

Cheers!

Cheers!

Just this:

  • Do the thing that scares you.
  • Whatever happened in the past is part of you and denying it is naive and will stop you learning valuable lessons.
  • You are what the world has made you, but that isn’t all bad.
  • Look to the future and look to the stars.
  • Set yourself goals, not resolutions. You are more likely to achieve the things you want to. Life is forever changing anyway, try to be flexible with it.

“We are all laying in the gutter; only some of us are looking at the stars”

– Oscar Wilde

Cheers!

SSDD

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Daily Prompts: From the Gut: Belly-Laughing with a Boy

Daily Prompts: From the Gut: Belly-Laughing with a Boy

The last time I belly laughed was today. And it was about fear. In a way.

gem and keef

The time before that was… so long ago I can’t actually remember when it was.

If you had asked me before today I would say I belly laughed with my friends, several  times, all recently, all with genuine gusto and enthusiasm. But.

This was a different kind of laugh. There is laughing, elation, embarrassed and nervous laughter. Then gut-grinding, ab-aching, cramp your tummy til you can’t breath and you feel like your head is no longer attached to your body it’s been so long since you breathed, but that’s ok because everything is hilarious – that kind of laughing. That’s what I had today.

It’s rare you find someone who can do that to you; make you laugh so hard your forgot you could, or ever did. The best part was, it was over something SO ironic it made me laugh even harder just thinking about how ironic it is! 6 months ago the topic at hand would have made me cry or scream or rage like cat in a corner, probably, but this time, I was causing so much noise in the tiny cafe that I was getting disturbed looks from… well the only other couple in the cafe, but still!

Keef and I

Keef and I

Then again, the topic we were laughing about might have seemed funny as hell to us, but to them… well, I’m surprised the Wacky Wagon wasn’t rolling out as we asked for the cheque.

Laughing, they say, is the best medicine, but I’m calling shennanigans on that one. I think laughing at something you once couldn’t is more therapeutic.

I don’t want to say exactly what it was we were mocking; that part is a little too RATED R for polite blogging; but put it this way – parts of the convo involved explicitly large German sausages, Scottish competitors for said sausages, and drunken visits equipped with chocolate sauce and… miniature rolling pins 😉 oh yeah, and Christmas. Dirty stuff 😛

What has this to do with fear, you ask? Well, if you could see inside my head…

We all need to laugh at something, for the sake of your  sanity you’ve got to. And apparently the moment for me to heal a bit, is over some dirty jokes, a dose of sarcastic irony and a diet Irn-Bru. 🙂

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(For those you you who don’t know about Irn-Bru, it’s a Scottish thing, Google it – the National non-alcoholic beverage, actually.)

SSDD

Impulses Influence Everyone

I recently made a post on how you shouldn’t let fear rule your life.

Well, I think this might become something of a theme with me. So get used to it. On with round two!

Fear doesn’t just rule your life, it ends up influencing the lives of those around you, too. Think about this situation:

Someone has a fear, something that is exercising a measure of restriction over their life. A person close to them has to deal with this, if not every day, then certainly on a regular basis.

So, not only are you struggling against that issue, it is being forced on the people around you, whether you want to or not, whether you mean to or not, it’s happening, regardless.

now you don't have to be perfect, you can be good

Say for example, that you have to have someone with you while you’re eating. You can’t eat alone, but at the same time, you can’t not eat. It’s not just that it would feel weird, sitting at an empty table, one lone table mat, one solitary spoon, a single bowl, a lonesome cup; it’s the whole social convension of the thing. If there are several people in a house, surely it is expected that they would eat together. No? Why not? And if you were to strike out on your own, let that cup have a friend in the shape your hand wrapped around it, that spoon find a home that isn’t chatting to someone at the same time, then how would other people react? Would they question you? What did you have? When? Why did you sit on your own and not wait til other people were about? Did you actually have something or are you just pretending you did?

So you have this inner turmoil. Then demand someone have breakfast with you.

Herein lies the problem.

What if the other residents of the household do not want to have breakfast at the same time as you? But you have to have it at a certain time. What will happen if you let them have a lie-in and have it later? Who knows? Maybe nothing. Maybe something terrible.  On and on it goes. The mental carousel from hell.

Even though for you, this seems like a huge deal that only you are dealing with, the necessity of having something done at a certain time, in a certain way, with the situation just the way you want it, this is not you exerting control – this is a part of your brain malfunctioning and controlling you and the people around you. As an individual, you have no influence here. You won’t, until you start fighting back.

It isn’t unusual for people to struggle. Everyone has struggles, whether that be with their mental health, physical health, work, body image, heights, hygiene, mobility… Any of these can be catastrophic for the sufferer but impact everyone. Think about it in the above example. You have to have someone with you all the time. That is going to get tiring, for everyone concerned, even though you are only doing it with the best of intentions, for reasons which seem right.

upstairs

So, to combat these problems you engage in behaviours, routines. It could be anything from waiting til people are out of the house before having your breakfast to dragging them out of bed, fully against their will.Think about how these impulses effect the people around you. You are just trying to get things done properly and avoid the fear that comes from not having them done right. So what if it’s not bothering them. It bothers you.

There are certain conditions, such as Eating Disorders and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder and Anxiety Disorders, that mean that familys are often more accepting of such bizzare behaviour. The idea is that you can’t help it, but that you are trying to and for the most part, that’s enough to satiate their corresponding impulse to wring you bloody neck!

But stress gets to us all. There will be times when the pressure of having to get up at whatever time has been deemed the “correct” time just isn’t going to work for everyone. If an argument kicks off there is one vital thing to remember;

Your loved one is not yelling at you, they are yelling at the fear controlling you. Controlling both of you.

Remind yourself of that, and maybe, just maybe, the fear of everything collapsing in on itself will get a little bit less.

And try having your breakfast on your own. The first step.

don't feel alone i'm here

SSDD

The Curious Case of the Optimist

Recently I have experienced that curious branch of humanity, The Optimist.

The road to your sunrise may be long, it may be at the end of a scarcely trodden path... but it is there...

The road to your sunrise may be long, it may be at the end of a scarcely trodden path… but it is there…

More often than usual I have encountered this peculiar breed, or perhaps I have just become more atuned to their presence in my life. In an age of austerity and recession and all that bad stuff we are told to be scared of, Optimists seem to be few and far between. Their numbers were slashed dramatically when the worlds money had it’s plug pulled and no-one could finds where the pipe lead to get it back,. Like their will to find the pot of gold drizzled away with the bounty, once they encountered Sir Fred Goodwin and had someone to blame. Those silver linings and golden nuggets have been become ever more grey and tarnished. In America, Optimist did not so much vanish, as go into hiding from all the gunslingers, after that tragic spate of school shootings. Money worries have never been Americas prime complaint, even during the hard times; they are too community orientated for that.

Optimism (1)But now, I find myself bombarded with them! Left right and centre, at my emotional weakest, at my most ill expectant, bang, another one serenades me with pearls of tolerant wisdom, showers me with unrelenting bombs of positivity. Silver linings have  never been my thing. I’ve lived in the shadows cast by the glow of The Optimists glimmering light. I’m hardly the Hades to their Zeus, but that oh-so-familiar form of wit, sarcasm, always took the place of peace of mind.

SAD is a real thing – all Scottish people suffer from it.

It’s a kind of National Affliction I reckon. Everyone is just happier when the sun is out. It was today and I saw people out in shorts! In Scotland! That kind of madness hasn’t been seen since the great heatwave of… well, last March, but still. This year we had snow for godssake.

So why, you are asking youself (coz I can absolutely hear those cogs whirring, voices speaking, irritating little nagging buggers whinging away in your brains, magic as I am) why is she blogging about the weather?

optimism (2)

Well, because happiness is in itself a form of Optimism and one neglected too often, I feel. Simple pleasures such as the sun can noticeably alter a person point of view. It literally shines a brighter light on life. The sun is an illuminator, both in a literal and figurative sense. People see clearer, encouraged, as they are, to crawl tentatively out of their safe, though often chilly and pessimistic nooks and sniff the sweet, warm scent of positivity.

Coose to see the world through rose tinted specs... what's the worst that could happen... in fact, don't answer that...

Coose to see the world through rose tinted specs… what’s the worst that could happen… in fact, don’t answer that…

It can be scary; too much of that heady scent can be overwhelming for some. But an occasional measure of it can truly enlighten. It can boost a persons belief systems enough to get them through. And so long as you are getting by, for the time being, is that not enough?

optimism

 

 

SSDD

Time Travel

The question was posed to me today of Time Travel.

FromThePast2

Of all the super powers in the world to choose from, it’s actually not one I’ve really considered in depth. Quite a surprise since in essence, I’m quite a retrospective person. I like to plan, to look to the future and try to figure the paths before they have even been trod. I don’t like surprises, I like to be in control and to know the outcome before I embark upon a journey. Then again, when that fails, like the best made plans always do, my life subsides into a series of “it seemed like a good idea at the time” moments. Actually, that happens far more often than I would like… thought not as much now that I have more or less given up drinking (alcohol that is, not liquids in general… that’s just mighty impractical…).

The reason this question was asked of me was because this person was feeling melancholy and wished that he could undo things in his life so far, to make them better.

poster-past-webs

Perhaps your first reaction to this question tells something about the person. At first, I was cheeky – “If you had the ability to go back in time, what would you do with it?” At first, I said, “Use it :P”

Portrait of Oscar Wilde with Cane

Oscar Wilde, visionary author and all round wonderful, clever guy

My gut reaction was to go back and play Poirot; investigate, stalk some great thinkers. It would be interesting to go back to pivotal moments in the lives of certain people and see what it was that inspired them or made them do certain things. As a book lover, I would probably go back and stalk Oscar Wilde. The man was a visionary. Had be been born in this era, he would have been hailed as an imaginative genius, a hero of gay rights, a quirky, damaged, comedic maverick, his place in the trendy, hipster regions of London guaranteed. While all these things happened in his time, his life ended in exile, those rights stripped of him for his sexuality and ingenuity, not to be reinstated til a generation more receptive to his progressive views arose.

But it needn’t be famous people. Perhaps someone more ordinary, but important or interesting to you. My grandfather, for example, spent his entire life at sea, as a Chief Engineer. He visited over 120 ports all over the globe, in every exotic alcove, every far off crevice and limpet encrusted recess you could ever hope to name, in a career spanning almost half a century. Imagine the things he saw. To share such moments as those would be an experience like no other. And the world has moved on from those days. It has changed shape, technology metamorphosing it from flowing on billowing while sails to bleeping along in a blur of binary and sonar.

The person who posed the question was thinking more in terms of righting wrongs, both ones that had been done to him and ones that had come around as a consequence of sufferings of years ago. There are events in all our lives that echo down, down, down and impact us in very real ways.

3back-to-the-future-original

He wants to go back to change things, Marty McFly, Back to the Future style. But I am a big believer in your own history being the making of you. A lot of your life might suck and for sure there are going to be things that continue to sting, no matter how long you leave them for, or how much time has departed since those events took place, but all that makes you a richer person. I would certainly love to eradicate some of my regrets to ease my own conscience, but then, to balance that up, would that then make me a better person, or just a different one? And if it made me a different one, would I even like who I became as a result? Were we able to re-write our own key life events so that they worked “in our favour”, would we not be plainer people? To have never suffered is not really to have experienced all of life. To have only seen the good things, and known nothing but joy and ease of living is to have experienced only one surface of the many faceted diamond of life. You have only ever seen the shiny side. But there are all manner of clarities, colours and cuts of diamonds. Why limit ones self to seeing only one aspect of the gem?

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So I guess it got me to thinking; What if we could travel back in time? Forgetting the complexities of time travel and the potential for anything from the sweetly Hollywood version seen in Back to the Future, to the catastrophic tampering seen in The Butterfly Effect to happen, what would most people do if they could go to any time? And what would be the motivation?

Personally, I think I would leave my own past alone. I would travel back as an Observer, to understand more why certain things happened. They say knowledge is power. Whoever “they” are, or were, i think they’re onto something. Humans have this innate ability to adapt and survive and we will continue to do so. The fact that we can live our lives through horrors of increasingly unbelievable magnitude is proof of that.

Adolf Hitler

Maybe there will be some who think it criminal not to use such power for preventing some man-made atrocity, like the Holocaust. Or even, not going to the crib of Hitler, or Stalin, and smothering them before the evil had time to germinate. But think about the marks they left on history. Is there any way to predict the impact those events not happening would have had on an infinite number of lives through generations and countries alike? How could one individual possibly handle that level of onus? For something like to be eradicated, wiped clean, would change the fall life along history in unpredictable ways. Perhaps it would pave the way for something even worse. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. That is one of my favourite sayings  because I believe it to be true.

Anyway, there you have it. Time Travel. For better or worse, the potential inspires retrospect. Whether you use that power for personal or public gain, is a question to battle with your own conscience.

Past

SSDD

Times Flies When Distance Parts You…

How did they get so old??

This year, a lot of my family are reaching age-related milestones, not to mention an first wedding anniversary and a new engagement so far already. So far we have have had twins turning 16… a 17th (Higher exam age in Scotland)… Most recently, on 9th May, an 18th… coming up a 21st… my own 20th…

So my question is – when did we all get so old!?

It’s like these milestones just snuck up on us and it irkes me, because I’m missing them! My little cousins turned two of the ages socially dictated to be the most prevalent in terms of a persons maturity (16 and 18) and because we live approximately 443 miles away from each other, I had no idea that was how old they were becoming until, in February  my mum informed me that in January this was how old the twins had become. The second instance was not quite so shameful; I was asked to sign the card for the 18 year old the week before we sent it, which was a bit of a hint.

As for my older cousin, who is turning 21 this July, he is going to be at sea in San Francisco working and will consequently miss both his own coming of age in America (while actually being in America, which is ironic considering he’s Scottish and had never been to America before this trip) but will also miss my 20th, or, as I am beginning to consider it, my termination-of-my-teenage-and-therefore-able-to-get-away-with-things-I-wouldn’t-otherwise-be-able-to years. This puts him in a similar situation as the one I am in with  my other younger cousins.

Now, if you are still following after this rather convoluted explanation of my family’s aging population, I think you to be a very intelligent person, because I am even struggling to keep all that crap in check.

I suppose my point is really that, while I have always thought myself very close to my younger cousins, despite the massive distance between us (equal to almost a return journey between here and the moon!! … Well, you might be able to pull and Apollo 13 and use the gravitational pull of the Earth to get you all the way back, but I wouldn’t put my money on that working a second time… that one seemed like kinda the luckiest, smartest fluke in the world…) but the fact that their graduating to these pivotal ages of development seems to have almost completely bypassed me gives me the sad feeling that perhaps this distance really is making more of a difference than I noticed.

I mean, that kind of makes sense; we see each other once a year, if we’re lucky. But I still always saw myself as the cool(ish) older cuz, who had wisdom and knowledge beyond their youthful years… Forgetting entirely that they are, in fact only two and 4 years younger than me. Hm.

Ok, I can still pull the “experienced and knowledgeable beyond anything you can perhaps imagine, though I wouldn’t put it past you to already be well informed as the internet is not the friend of children’s innocence these days” thing as far s the 16 year olds go, but with the 18 year old – not so much.

I would say that at 18 I was not so much more well informed in the deep dark ways of the world as I was this time last year. A lot can happen in 12 months, that’s all I’m saying.

As much as we can say, “distance will never come between us”, that can, in effect, become horse shit when the fact is, facebook and text messaging just do not instill the same level of intimacy as face to face conversing. Human contact cannot be replaced by technology, as wonderful as Skype is. Science says that your body cannot tell the arms of your mum from your own arms, it only knows you are being embraced, meaning that you can effectively stave off your own loneliness. You can convince yourself you are being hugged by a loved one while really just wrapping your own arms around yourself. However, the fact remains that if you admit it even for one moment, the illusion is broken, and you know you are just standing being a bit awkward and touchy feely with yourself.

I would say it’s “old age” that’s making me so sentimental, were I not so sure of being told that 19-nearly-20 is no age to be making such claims, but for sure, my missing of these dates are laying heavily on me. They come about only once in a lifetime, and I would rather not miss them so entirely. I really do feel so detached from them as if one of us really were on the moon, sometimes, and it makes me disappointed that, for all our technology and all our good intentions, staying in touch is not always as simple as it seems.

I hope to see them later this year, for our semi-annual catch-up, but there are no guarentees in life. Perhaps I’ll catch them on their 20th, 21st… wedding…

Ponderously wishing I were as indifferent to the passage of time as I was at my cousins age… oh right… they aren’t 12 any more…

 

SSDD

Today, The Tyranny of Thatcher Is Truly Burried

Today, the tyranny of Margaret Thatcher was finally laid to rest. Literally.

Great Britain’s longest serving and only female Prime Minister, Baroness Margaret Thatcher, was granted a funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

Margaret-Thatcher-Funeral-GQ-17Apr13_pa_b_642x390

More than 2,000 guest were present in the cathedral, which has served as the funeral location for some of the nations most famous leaders, including Winston Churchill, Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. Lady Thatcher’s coffin was carried from the cathedral and returned to a hearse which took it to the Royal Hospital Chelsea. From there is was taken to Mortlake Crematorium in south west London for a private cremation.

The streets of the capital were lined with thousands, the crowds containing both of mourners and critics. Celebrations were held across the country, some in commemoration of her life and rich political history, others in jubilation at her death, aged 87.

Famous in this country for all the wrong reasons, haters of this prominent figure of British political history seemed to grossly outnumber her supporters. Not only was she the first and only female Prime Minister we have ever seen, she was the longest serving. During her 11 year rule her decisions inspired much hate and controversy, implementing policies which became known as “Thatcherisms“. Despite her strong leadership in difficult times, to say she was popular now would be wildly inaccurate.

_67056105_67056104Without a doubt she was not the working mans candidate, favouring business over labour, privitisation over Trade Unions. She had several names. The Iron Lady, for one. Know as “The Milk Snatcher”, she took free milk from schools in 1970 as a result of educational budget cuts.

Her name will forever be synonymous with some of the darkest times of Great Britain’s history, but the public reaction to her death has been something utterly unprecedented. Instead of laying to rest a political figure who divided a nation, she has died as she lived – in a haze of controversy and antagonism.

Upon word of her death from a stroke, parties were held in the streets, including one in George Square in Glasgow, a practice that was quick to be condemned by the local police force. Protesters today were in uproar at the fact that, despite these times of austerity, the taxpayer was still obliged to fork out an estimated £10m for the pleasure of seeing her burried with honours similar to those of the late, and much loved, Princess Diana.

Margaret_Thatcher

Yet despite her many adversaries, final respects were payed to her with cheers as her body was taken to be cremated. Few deserve to be jeered and spat at, purely in spite, in anger, in disgust at their audacity to die. While her policies may have been unpopular, many of those disrespecting her memory were not even born during her reign. Such barbarism is deplorable, especially from those who are uneducated and had no experience of her a leader. This behaviour is an example of inherited prejudice. Perhaps now that she is gone, such anger will finally dissipate and this country can rid itself of Thatcherites and move on to hating David Cameron for his failing efforts at “New Conservatism”.

No politician gets it right for long, as the Baroness so acutely demonstrated. Yet it cannot be said that her career was a failure, It id certain that she has left an indelible mark on our country. Whether that mark is a light or a smear, is for the individual to decide.

 

MARGARET THATCHER, 1925-2013

BBC News Gallery of Margaret Thatchers Funeral

SSDD