Rambles, rants and raves

A lot of opinions spilling out of my brain


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Medium

Angry TigerI feel like this. The reason for that is multi-faceted and not very hard to explain. But I won’t explain it because I was once told you should never write when you are consumed with emotion – or you should never write anything that may be seen by others when you are consumed with emotions. The best time to write is when your mind is so quiet that you can hear everything you have ever felt and dreamed of and everything you will feel and dream of. You want your mind to be a blank slate rather than a twisted web where you can’t find beginnings or ends.

I often find it harder to write when I am calm. I like to write when an idea sweeps me up in it like a gigantic wave and I have to swim to keep afloat. But maybe that’s why so many things lie unfinished in my desk drawers or in forgotten folders on my laptop. Once the wave of excitement is gone I’m too scared, too judgemental of my own writing to carry on.

That’s the thing with emotions, it is very easy to get swept up in the moment – that’s no bad thing of course, but it does not bode well for when those emotions pass and you are left with the consequences of following your emotions and thinking of little else. I don’t mean in gestures of love, or crazy moments of adventure or of finally taking that step to do something you’ve always wanted to do. Songs, films and novels are created based on those emotional triggers and catching the magic in them.

But there are times when it is best to think, take a step back and breathe. Soak it in and embrace it without having to significantly alter your life or risk altering it in a negative way.

We are not robots obviously and our emotions help make us the people that we are but it’s also worth embracing the calm – the ‘nothing’ – between those moments of euphoria or sadness or anger. It is, after all, where we live most of our lives; not in the extreme but the in-between. I think we would do well to embrace that and enjoy it too. We may become happier, more balanced and better people. Not everything has to be life and death. Joy, or satisfaction, can come from the medium too.

 


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Assume nothing

Somebody wise once said assumptions are the root of all evil, somebody clever repeated it to me when I was around 15 years old and walking home from school. It has stuck with me since then, and even though sometimes I don’t listen to this golden nugget of truth, it always proves to be correct.

It is very easy to assume; mainly because we all think we know best (an assumption in itself but I am classing it as a generalised truth) and it is easier than asking questions and actually finding out the truth or at least the way things actually are. It is a natural mechanism for us to assume. It keeps us safe and makes us cautious but a lot of the time, in today’s society, assumptions are not necessary and in most scenarios do more harm than good.

Assumptions create problems. They make you judge before you have even allowed yourself to give whatever it is a chance – and that’s always a scary thing. Although life is full of unlimited opportunities, they become more limited specific with the more choices you make. Or at least certain other choices become a lot harder. Making assumptions just closes a few more doors for you because you decide something isn’t worth following or that it is something you don’t want to, or can’t, do.

Assume nothing. Life would be easier that way. By assuming nothing, you are able to approach everything fresh – not fresh as in you know nothing, but fresh as in you are prepared for anything. You wouldn’t throw a carton of milk just because the sell by date is a day out without smelling it first to make sure. Not the greatest of examples I know but I’m currently ill (true story, I feel like death warmed up) so bare with me – or better yet think of your own silly assumptions and let me know.

You’re setting yourself up for a fall by making an assumption. You are bound to be wrong because, thankfully, humans don’t know everything and the world will surprise you. Sometimes it won’t, but often it will and more importantly, the majority of the time you’re likely to surprise yourself.

Don’t assume something just because you’re afraid. Don’t use preconceptions to make assumptions. They are no longer a safety mechanism – for that we can use common sense and instincts. Hurrah!


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I ate too many skittles and now I feel sick

I have a sweet tooth. That is probably the reason why I am having three fillings on Friday, much to the delight of my dentist.

Anyway, I ate too many skittles and now I feel sick.

My greed got the better of me. I had a packet of skittles on Sunday and it left me craving more. So I bought two packets on Tuesday and then bought a party pack (which is effectively two and a half packets, maybe three at a stretch – do not let the name fool you into thinking it’s bigger) today. I have eaten half of that party pack and now I feel sick.

I feel bloated and my belly has ballooned so I look like I have stuffed a small pillow under my shirt. I feel like I need to curl into a ball and hibernate to take away the uncomfortable feeling and yet I still want more of them. I have had to hide the packet inside my cabinet under about four jumpers and those damn sour skittles are still calling me.

I WILL NOT BREAK.


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Beautiful

With the release of The Great Gatsby – which I am so excited about I could cry, I love that book and I love Leonardo DiCaprio so even if the film doesn’t do it justice, which is the curse of the book-to-film adaptations, I am sure it will still be an AMAZING movie. I’m watching it tomorrow. AHHH!

…Apologies, went off on a tangent there. My excitement clearly can’t be contained. As I was saying, with the release of The Great Gatsby I have been thinking about the word beautiful. I have been thinking a lot about beautiful and what it means and what it stands for, to me. I think Fitzgerald would agree with my very general conclusion that when I think of beautiful, the first split-second reaction is empty.

It sounds obvious because we all know that beauty – at least physical beauty, which is the one we all think about when first confronted with the word – is superficial. I spend a lot of my spare time staring at beautiful images, reading words that paint beautiful scenes and daydreaming of all the beautiful things I can do.

But, when I think of beauty and the word beautiful I don’t really feel anything at all. It doesn’t fill me with anything – not longing, not happiness, not sadness – nothing. It is just a void, an empty word because it doesn’t really mean anything at all.

I like to think that Fitzgerald thought the same thing. He appreciated beauty but his words and sentences and paragraphs and books, multi-layered as they are show, that beauty is empty. He writes in layers to hide the emptiness of the beauty and in doing so, makes beautiful seem hollow. That’s how the word feels to me.

Obviously I find beauty in things that fill me with joy but they are not necessarily beautiful. Or at least not the beautiful which we hold in such high regard in our capitalist society.

Beautiful is a little like a photograph that shows one tiny split second of a moment and nothing else. It is one dimensional and a peep-hole. It isn’t a feeling and nor does it evoke a long-standing one. You may say wow at something beautiful or be struck by a beautiful thing or person but that feeling is fleeting – it disappears and fades. It does not provoke anything for me.

There are many beautiful things in my life but they are more closely rooted with love, admiration, inspiration and hard work than they are with the actual word beautiful. And I think there’s some beauty in that.


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Game of Thrones

I’m a late bloomer, clearly, when it comes to TV shows but the boy and I finally started watching Game of Thrones.

We finished Season 1 He was impressed straight away but I needed a little convincing. Mainly because everyone had said that it was SO awesome that my expectations were so high that I expected nothing less but to be transported to Winterfell and live out what was happening – without dying. Obviously this didn’t happen and I was disappointed. Not just because of that, I’m not an idiot, but the show just didn’t live up to the impossibly high bar that people had set for it.

It took a while (episode 7 to be exact) before I actually became excited to watch the next episode. Before that, I felt like Game of Thrones wasn’t trying. It was setting up the story and that was it. If it had been a film I wouldn’t have minded, but these shows are an hour long and it’s a far bigger investment. It meant I wanted the show to entice me rather than me rely on people’s opinions or on reading the books.

Game of Thrones is a fantastic series but it only turned fantastic after season 7 when things actually started moving. As interesting as it is to find out the background of a story, it shouldn’t last more than half of an entire season.

I’ll admit it, for the first seven episodes I did not get it. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. It wasn’t a show that gripped me straight away. The acting was superb and the storyline had potential (it’s epic now) but the show had that spark missing. It’s like going on a date and wanting it to work but the chemistry isn’t there.

I kept trying (not necessarily what you should do with dating) – mainly because the boy loved it and I’m glad I did. The show now, we’re currently on season 2, is entertaining and doing what any seasoned drama should do – it is leaving me wanting to watch more. At the end of each episode, I am excited to watch the next and I really do think that Game of Thrones didn’t quite hit the nail on the head at the beginning of the series.

It was, to me, a slow burner and though it has picked up speed and is now what I would consider, a brilliant watch, it didn’t start off in the best way to keep audiences. (All hate mail can be sent to me at the email provided).

If you’re considering watching Game of Thrones then ignore all the raving reviews and thumbs up it’s getting because they’ll end up making you expect something impossibly brilliant which, I think, the show fails to bring in the first half of the first season. That will instantly make you more impatient because your expectations are so high, but wait it out.

It gets better and then you’ll love it and then you’ll rave about it like crazy and make someone else expect amazing things from the show from the opening credits of the very first episode of Season 1. And so, the vicious cycle of expectation – disappointment – boredom – surprise – interest – loving it – raving about it, will begin again.


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The C word

Everyone knows the C word, some people don’t like to say it. Some people fear it, others despise it, others accept it but I bet everyone has been affected by it in some way or another.

I first came face to face with cancer when I was 14. It seeped into our life through the phone and before I had time to process what it was doing to my grandmother, she was gone. Cancer stole so much from her so quickly. It started off as something small in her lungs that  nobody even noticed and three months later it decided to steal her from us. I had been lucky and had never experienced a death until then. I didn’t have time to figure out cancer before death showed its face.

Cancer is terrifying because it is associated with death and people fear death because it is the unknown. The word cancer is dripping with meaning and terrifying prospects, there are too many worst case scenarios that people forget that not all cancers are terminal. Cancer is scary because it’s part of you – it’s your cells multiplying too fast and creating a tumour. It can go undetected because of this. You can live with a tumour in you for a long time because they’re your cells and your body won’t attack it’s own cells. It’s like a stranger coming into your home, making himself comfortable and pretending to be family.

But I’m not trying to add fear to an already fearful word. The wonderful thing is that many cancers are now treatable and though treatment isn’t always easy, cancer should not continue to be so closely linked to death. More people die of cardiovascular diseases than cancer year on year and though I don’t want to become morbid here, death seems a natural link to cancer and it shouldn’t be.

People can overcome cancer, they can beat it. It’s done every single day. It’s hard and it’s painful but it can be done.

Research is being done continuously through charities, governments and drug companies to try and find a cure. It’s hard because cancer is a crazily complex disease – the boy studies biochemistry and has tried explaining it to me, it’s a little like a puzzle with missing pieces. Pieces that you have to create yourself to fit even though you’re not sure what the complete picture should look like.

There are hundreds of cancers out there and as terrifying as that sounds – most aren’t deadly if caught early enough. I recently read of a woman who had cancer but it was caught so early that a simple operation was able to remove the tumour and she was given the all-clear. Obviously more regular check-ups will now be necessary but it just proves that cancer does not have to be a scary word.

My friend’s father has just been diagnosed with testicular cancer for the second time and I couldn’t help but cry when I heard. It made me think of my grandmother and the sadness and desolation that I associate with the disease and then I realised that he hasn’t been handed a death sentence. He can fight it, like he has done before, and like he will again.

Cancer is shit and it’s hard for everyone that is touched by it. Everyone suffers, not just the person that gets the diagnosis and the suffering isn’t just what the disease is doing but the mental processes of having to deal with such a thing.

The best way of coping emotionally with the disease though is by talking about it. Many people close up when they hear the word cancer as if to talk about it makes it real. But talking about it, sharing fears will dissipate them and worries may not be settled but you can find comfort in each other. You can lean on each other for support and a network is stronger than an individual.

Emotional support is just as important in defeating a disease like cancer; because though the cancer may be affecting a part of your body, your emotional mentality is getting a beating too. Cancer will mess with your mind if you allow it to do so because the word is so heavy with feeling, history, emotion, fear and death. It’s a scary word.

Talking about something will ease that fear, it may not stop you feeling scared but comfort can be had in knowing others feel the same. Focus can be put on getting better and saying cancer with confidence and without fear is a challenge in itself. But it can be done, the word and the disease can be beaten.

My grandmother died of cancer but I remember not talking about it or even saying the word for a long time. I couldn’t talk about it without choking on tears and that fear that came with the word was suffocating. Talking about it helped. I can say the word cancer now without feeling like I’m sentencing her all over again. Removing the fear of the word is the first step, I think, in dealing with cancer emotionally. It’s something small and it may seem insignificant but you have to learn to walk before you can run.