Rambles, rants and raves

A lot of opinions spilling out of my brain


Leave a comment

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.

 


Leave a comment

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!


9 Comments

Screw beauty

I am sick of people trying to impose ideals of beauty on people – both men and women. I am sick of adverts pretending to be about ‘real women’ only featuring white, young females that are skinny enough to have never eaten bread in their lives. I am sick of magazines screaming at me about a new celebrity having lost or gained weight. I am sick of being told that I beauty is the key to happiness. Screw these damn ideologies of beauty.

I am not bitter, quite the opposite, in fact – it saddens me that people put so much value in their beauty. It infuriates me that this society has made us judge our outer shells so harshly when it plays such little significance to the actual type of people we are.

Men’s beauty is not even discussed in mainstream media, men are either expected to be crazy toned with abs that you could use to grate cheese to go over your baked beans on toast or they are seen as fat, bald and hairy. And speaking of hair – when did that become something so gross? Why does every young human on this planet think it is a good idea to wax everything off? We are not dolls and we’re not made of plastic. The hair industry has grown in financial success every year for too many years. In America, laser hair removal alone is worth £244m. That’s a hell of a lot of money to ensure that you look ‘clean.’ Just wash yourself, it would be cheaper.

Saying that I do shave, mainly because I want to and also because I feel slightly obligated. Which is wrong but I can’t help it. But I do wonder who made up all these rules on the ideal beauty.

Who the hell decided that long hair on women is best? Who came up with the genius idea that women to be defined as sexy should have the waist they had when they were 9-years-old? Who thought that women needed to be so damn perfect?

Recently, and I use that word loosely, thin has been directly linked with beauty. As though if you pass a size 10 you are a) no longer a woman and b) no longer attractive which in turn creates c) you are no longer happy. Advertisements use the word health to disguise an unhealthy message that thin is best, and that you are never thin enough. This is unhealthy for so many reasons I could write another blog post entirely on that. This is why people aren’t happy, this is why insecurity is as common as blinking. We are constantly trying to achieve a beauty that we haven’t even given ourselves a chance to consider.

We accept this ideology of beauty straight away. Digest it happily and then beat ourselves up for not achieving what wonderful cameras, good editing and great photoshop skills can do. There’s a reason we cannot achieve that ideal and it’s because it doesn’t exist.

Physical beauty is only skin deep and although it’s important to feel beautiful, it is not the most important thing. It is not the only thing. You are more than beautiful. If that is all there is to you, then you’re selling yourself short. A person is loved and admired because of their actions, their words, their relationships, their personality. Everyone close to you is beautiful to you – that’s more than likely because of their personalities and your relationship with them (not calling your friends and family ugly but you get what I mean).

To tell someone they are beautiful is lovely, and I enjoy getting the compliment as much as the next person. But I would rather be known for my mind, my thoughts, my writing, my work and for how I treat the people I love than for the way my face and body conforms to that tiny cut-out woman shape that the beauty, cosmetic, entertainment and advertising industries persuade us to force ourselves through in order to make us happy.

Trying to conform is not happiness. People are consistently trying to fight stereotypes and being the same through their words and their actions but when it comes to looks everyone seems to want to fit the same template. That isn’t a beautiful way to live life. It’s a way to consistently feel disappointed for falling short of an impossibly high bar.

You are more than beautiful.


2 Comments

Quiet

Sometimes, in a world that is consistently throwing information at you, it is nice to sit alone and in quiet. Or as close as quiet as you can get. In my house, there’s no such thing as quiet and sometimes I miss that.

When I lived with the boy at university and I was in and he was out, sometimes I’d put music on really loud, grab a remote (it’s better than a hairbrush) and perform the songs to my imaginary audience who were always very supportive of my over-exuberant performances. Other times, I would have everything off and just sit and enjoy the quiet, let my thoughts drift and wander into nothing-ness and it was lovely. It felt just as refreshing as a shower after a hot day or a good, long sleep.

For me, in moments of quiet and with a little concentration at just being in the moment (a slight contradiction but it works) I sometimes felt a sense of clarity that only comes in those rare, thrilling moments where you feel like you can take on the world. The reason they’re rare, I realise, is because the world in which we live, the society in which we have created for ourselves has forgotten how to be quiet.

People’s attention spans now leave a lot to be desired. It is why Twitter is so popular, anything more than 140 characters is not worth reading, it’s why apps that sum up news in less than 100 words are so popular and worth millions, it is why people use the word ‘bored’ so often.

Silences are often seen as bad things, as awkward moments made to be filled with noise and babble and nonsense – anything to fill the nothing. But sometimes nothing is good, sometimes it’s what’s needed to get a spark going.

Spending all our time consuming information is exhausting. When we drive we listen to the radio, when we work we play music, when we are on social media we follow small snippets of at least 100 different lives. We google something and get a million hit backs, we are consistently consuming and I think we forget that we’re not that hungry for it all.

Obviously I’m not talking here about filling your days with things you want to learn about and are interested in but the pointless information – the overload – that is unnecessary and more a space filler than anything fulfilling, useful, entertaining or interesting. By silencing the quiet moments, or forgetting they exist, our only respite comes in sleep or staring aimlessly at a television and not taking it in.

It’s why I enjoyed running with no music, I liked those moments of quiet that it gave me when all I could hear was the blood pumping around me. Thinking about it now, I’m not sure why I stopped. Those moments of quiet are important, they let you gather your thoughts and rest a little from the consistent urge to be involved and a part of everything. It’s okay sometimes to not make a comment and to just enjoy the quiet it brings you.


2 Comments

A rant on a stupid image

Stupid QuoteI saw this image on Piccsy.com about three days ago and it annoyed me so much that I have had to write a blog post on it. Reading it, you may not see where my anger lies and my annoyance may say more about me than it does about the damn image but I need to get this off my chest before it makes me yell at someone who doesn’t deserve it.

My issue comes with the second line. The first line is fine: ‘don’t ignore your dreams’ – a beautiful sentiment and one I fully support but the second line makes a judgement on those dreams. ‘Don’t work too much’ sums up in four lovely words what is wrong with so much in today’s world.

Firstly, it indicates that work cannot be a dream. That your dreams can not surround the working world or any sort of professional accomplishment because, after all, to achieve said professional accomplishment working hard is exactly what you need to do.This then ties in to the mentality that work is crap and you only do it for the money. This may be true for many people, but it removes aspiration and inspiration. It means a person will never want to grow professionally because they feel it is just means to an end. But the truth is that you spend most of your adult life working, if you can’t be happy at work and feel like you can grow then you won’t be happy at work and you won’t do as well. It means you won’t progress and that mood will affect your personal life. It means happiness can never be properly attained because you don’t feel properly fulfilled. Basically, in my opinion, it’s a ridiculous way to live.

To rule out work as a means to an end is the same as ruling out living in a home because you spend more time out of it. Sounds stupid right?

To finish this pointless quote with ‘Be Happy’ further tries to push the point that to be happy you should spend your life playing around, being so outspoken you’re classed as rude and spending time with your friends. Happiness is a lot of things and work should not be dismissed as something that can make people happy. Doing this just enforces a lazy culture of wanting something for nothing and that the easy road is the best one.

Work does not have to be tiresome, boring and a dark tunnel. Work can be stimulating, enjoyable and fulfilling. It can be the cause of happiness and for some people, there reason for happiness.

Many people already see work as a chore when they should see it as an opportunity to be better, get better and do better. Stupid, pointless, ridiculous quotes like this subliminally enforce the message and that is why this picture has infuriated me so. It is not inspiring, and just because a few short sentences are placed prettily on top of a beautiful background does not make them so, especially when the best you can do is ‘Be Happy’ – aw thanks genius – I wasn’t sure what to do with my life until I saw this.

 


2 Comments

Class: just another box to put you in

Class was something that was hushed up when I was growing up. You weren’t really proud but you weren’t ashamed. It was what it was and nobody really wanted to discuss it. My parents would be considered working class and that wasn’t a big deal. Maybe because I only really hung out with working class individuals or maybe because I was too young to care. I kind of think it’s because people had more important things to do.

But not class has hit the headlines yet again with two-year research that finds seven different class systems in the UK. More hierarchy. More boxes to fit people into. More tags and labels that aren’t actually necessary.

Nowadays class shouldn’t really matter, I know it does in terms of being some sort of stupid explanation for why you’re a success, why you’re not, or why you’re special. Like when you get the success stories of people who are millionaires or professionals but started off on a council estate. But it just seems outdated.

People can overstep these boundaries, to a degree, through the friends they make and the work they do. Reviving classes, something that has only been revived since the economic downturn to show the people that are drowning and those who are swimming after the crash in a nice lovely, simple label of rich and poor, is just drawing yet another line in the sand. It’s another boundary telling you: you belong here, they belong there. It is another kind of segregation and we have enough of those without making old ones popular.

Classes are just more boxes to put people in. Another term for a group of people. There are millions of people in the world – we are bound to have similarities and we are grouped in various ways to remind us of these and another isn’t necessary – not when it feels so outdated.

I understand that there have to be labels and bands and groups so that a society can effectively work but what I don’t understand is why there has to be so many unnecessary ones. Who gives a flying monkey if you’re working class or elite (one of the new classes)? It’s just more labels to spread an us and them mentality – which just breeds resentment and in my opinion, that is not a healthy feeling to even be hinted at a fully-functioning and happy society.

Saying all this, curiosity got the better of me and I did do the BBC mini class test to see what I was under this new seven category class system that we apparently have in the UK. I fall into the category that the majority of graduates fall into: the new affluent worker. Pur-lease. Do it for yourself here.


2 Comments

A little bit of hope

Today a very obvious conclusion settled atop my head. Do not laugh when you hear what I have to say, we all have to learn different lessons at different paces.

My lightbulb moment is this: money is not what makes the world go round, hope is. Hope is what is consistently sold to us, hope is what makes us keep going and what keeps the world ticking over.

It is hope that makes people buy lottery tickets every single week even though their chances of winning are a million to one. It is hope that keeps people (though not as many as it should be) voting for a better country. It is hope that makes people buy that exercise video or those new clothes the mannequin is wearing.

A little bit of hope goes a long way and it is enough, even a flash of it, to help people carry on. Without hope, there is a sense of pointlessness. Hope is all it takes to help people get up in the morning and carry on their day. The hope of a better tomorrow is all it needs.

But there has to be more than hope for happiness. Hope is an emotion that looks to the future and forgets the present. It dismisses it as not being good enough which does not bode well for a healthy mentality.

A little bit of hope is good and a boost to the mind. If hope is all you have though, then you’re not really living, you’re just waiting for something better to come along.