Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Creak clank Squeak

My thought for today is this:

Have you ever noticed that if you think someone doesn't like you that you find all these things that they do that seem to indicate that you are right - without you ever actually asking if they don't like you and how quite often you are wrong and actually projecting to them that you don't like them?

Have you ever noticed that when you are unsure about something you are wearing or feel like you are really ugly that day and everywhere you go you hear people laughing and of course it's always at you - or you think they notice the flaws you have or the perceived flaws you have and assume they are being mean about you the minute you leave the room?

Has there ever been a positive use for paranoia or is it a totally wasted human emotion?

Sometimes I really wish I could relearn what my younger self did and that as long as you know you are being a good person who gives what others think!!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

So then?

When you pass the age of your early 20's is it really hard to meet new people?

A common thread I am hearing from people over the age of 25 (more amongst girls to be honest) is how they don't feel they have much in common with their childhood friends, or have lost touch with them since Uni.  Some that have travelled to London from another country for the experience say the friends they make over here are actually more 'them' than their friends back home.

People that become single in their 30's seem to have a much harder time meeting new people, or that new potential partner or are expected to get married two seconds after going on their first date - as though you should just know who is right for you at that age - like we ever stop doubting everything about our lives at times.

So do people become more closed or more suspicious?  Do people get settled into a routine that they are too scared to change no matter how unhappy they might be?

A friend said the other day she met someone who said he didn't need anymore friends.  It's kindof a weird comment - it hit me that they could be closed off to many new experiences.

More advertisements are being placed for people over 50 wanting to do houseshares (due to divorce etc).

More articles are appearing in the media about the lonely nation.

When we were tiny little children we whould just swap a toy with someone and they would become our best friends for a while.  We'd just go and knock on someone's door and ask if such and such was coming out to play - friendship formed.

As you get older the friendships seem to run deeper, mean more, be even more imporant yet somehow they seem harder to find and to maintain.  Too many friends and you become a bit flakey or inaccessible to all.  Too little friends and you'll spend too much time alone or become too dependent on your more outgoing friends.

When did it all become so complicated?  When were there suddenly rules and ideals and insecurities and paranoias?  When did we get scared to stop a friendship when it pissed us off or we outgrew it?  Friendships shift.  Especially for girls (quite often due to having children) but it doesn't seem to be spoken about very often.

Life will inevitably happen in a different way and at a different rate to others.  We've all felt lonely or misunderstood sometimes yet we tend not to talk about it.  People compete about the number of friends they have - but when did it become more about quantity over quality?

If you realise you haven't been true to yourself why is it suddenly so hard to change direction, and meet people more like the 'you' that you've become?

If anyone has the answers or the thoughts on how difficult adult friendships can be please let me know!  It seems to be hot topic at the moment.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Shhhhhh it's oh so quiet!

I've just spent the last week in Scotland - in Lochgoilhead to be exact and it's been so lovely!
The place is remote, it's clean, it's quiet and oh so picturesque.

It's somewhere that it felt like a lot of things in my head were starting to slot together - I felt so creative out there - due to the silence and the views.  I feel I am now waiting for all the pieces to slot together (hopefully not hitting me on the head in the process and also winning the lottery would not go a miss as I would like to buy me a piece of that holiday I just had in the form of a lodge pretty please.)

We spent a day in Edinburgh and a day in Glasgow and it just wasn't the same - we were itching to get back to the Lochs and the peace and quiet.  The nearest supermarket was almost an hours drive away so heaven forbid we had to be a bit organised and it was quite something after the 24 hour lifestyle of London.

Once upon a time such scenery and quietness would have really not appealed to me - I would've found it boring and not interesting for more than a mere moment.  Now? Well I want it back.  I woke up the morning after coming home feeling quite sad that the views had changed and that I was back in the thick of it all.  Straight away we were hearing sirens and people shouting.  Straight away I was seeing the competitive streak of city people and I dared to forget myself for a moment and smiled at someone walking past me - and if looks could kill.

I know it's age but I am no longer ashamed of that.  I love that peace and quiet and tranquility.  I loved feeling so creative.  Now to find a way to be able to get a slice of that so I can spend my days drawing and writing.  It kind of feels like a more productive way of life is fast heading for me and I intend to hit it at full speed.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Things like this make me want to poke someone in the eye.

Please take a moment to go to this

Read it.

Digest it.

And then please vomit it out.

It's sick.  Not just because I am a fan of the old nellyphant but Hunting Safaris are a very gross thing for a rich person to feel all manly and heroic for doing something barbaric and totally uncivilised.  No life should ever be shed for such a disgusting thing.  I won't call this sport as I feel there is nothing sportsman like about it.

I don't just say it about elephants - I would be saying this about any animal scratch that, anything living at all.

Nothing should be made to die for the money or the momentary puffed out chest someone might feel for hunting something down and murdering it.  Not the sort of behaviour that should be encouraged I hope you would agree!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Here we go, here we go, here we....SHUT UP!

So we've all been gripped with football fever have we? Suddenly everyone is so Patriotic - adorning themselves and everything they can with that lovely little ENGLAND flag.  It kindof makes me laugh as to me football always has been and always will be just a game.  People have spilled blood, lost lives for this thing.  That makes me frown with confusion.

I saw the last half of the match last night - as in Englands first match.  It was a draw.  Now some people were up in arms - and I know some would be totally gutted if England don't win their heat or whatever it's called - but my life really won't be that effected.

The sounds of some pubs when the football is on scares me - the noises that these grown men (generally) make it just beyond me.

Footballers getting death threats if they are thought to have lost a game.......death threats? Come on! *rolls eyes*

Now most of the footballers playing for England are names that I know - but not one of them have I got a clue how good their football talent is.  I know the names for the headlines that are splashed across the papers for the affairs they have had, or the kiss and tells that have been sold about them and worse the rape cases against them or the fights they have gotten into.  This is a major reason why I will never like football that much - the mentality that goes with it is something I care nothing for.  I admit that some of these girls involved in the kiss and tells and the affairs are pretty low life - but all in all isn't it something when I know everyone on the pitch by name and face but have no clue about their ability at the game.

Oh well, I'm off to think about sparkly things.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The more you get the more you want

Or so I assume when I look around me at the way people are - the way people will grab at anything that has a sale sign on it - seeing it as something that is 'saving' them money.  My mom tries that one all the time - as I am sure many women do when they come back home laden with bags full of clothes.  Their loved one will ask them what they spent and they will answer with what they have saved.

Kids today have so much - or did have - I fear a lot is about to be taken away from us without many ever getting to make the most of the freedom that they had.

Cars were a luxury and your life was built around your village or within a mile or two of where you lived.  Everyone knew everyone - sometimes a good thing but useless if you want any privacy.  The world became more open and more accessible - which is/was amazing.  Cars became a neccessity no longer a luxury.  Children didn't just leave home they left the villages they grew up in far behind - sometimes they even left the country they are from far behind.  Now it's becoming so expensive to just take driving lessons - let alone actually own and run a car that many can no longer afford it.  Houses are become just a pipe dream or something that only the rich swap amongst themselves.  But we no longer live in homes that can accommodate geneartions of people under one roof, so what now?  Flights and train travel are becoming over priced, congested, riddled with strikes - you can't trust anything running on time or actually running at all these days - now throw in the year round flooding and bad weather conditions.  Maybe they always happened, but I guess it wasn't quite so important back then?

Back then you'd grow some of your own food - things would be produced in your country for use in your country.  Just the other day Tesco's in Evesham were criticised for flying in Asparagus from another country when Evesham is a huge market town for vegetables - specialising in Asparagus.  It's not just the local economic climate to think about with that one but it's the environmental damage of the cost of shipping all these things in and becoming so reliant on other things.

Today - education seems more open - there is more opportunity - a girl doesn't have to be content with the career prospects of being a ballerina, a secretary or a nurse.  Boys have more option than engineer, plumber or soldier.

There is a wealth of information at your finger tips thanks to the internet.  So much learning - so much opportunity and so many people right there for you to speak to as if they were sat next to you.

Fanzines were just starting off when I was growing up - now you can have whole websites to talk about things and to find out about things.  Ebay didn't even exist (that's not always such a bad thing).

You could get involved with so many things - and some do.

Still there are many so bored they just hang around street corners finding trouble or waiting for trouble to find them.

It's become a need need need NOW NOW NOW culture.

Sadly I think all that is about to change.  We are going to go back to shortages of almost everything - a poverty we've probably not felt for quite some time.

Thing is we've gotten used to the nice things in life.  Life any wage rise - it's hard to imagine going without once you've had it.  How would we cope? Half of us don't have the necessary skills anymore.  The family unit is broken and the community spirit mostly gone.

Maybe people will find a voice again and be more creative than buying a gun or a knife to try to solve their problems.  The record industry is on it's way out as far as the big money is concerned - will the film industry be set to follow next? Will people just roll over and give up or will people get more creative?

I hope so and I hope that if at least one good thing comes out of this - the environment will get a bit of a break from mans need for things now no matter what the cost and maybe that all important community spirit will come back.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Forget everything, I know the only secret you need to know!

Be yourself.

That's it.

Plain and simple.  The lesson, not who you are.

All the years of schooling and that's it - the most important lesson I could ever learn and ever pass on.
Sure you need to know how to read and write, but all that math and geography - it's kind of forgotten.  Shameful? No not really.

I've spent (what feels like) forever and a day saying 'Sorry'.  It's gotten so bad that if someone walks into me I say sorry.  If I don't hear someone because they mumble I say 'sorry' not 'pardon' but 'sorry'.

By always apologising I've felt that being me is something wrong.  I've let people's judgement of me question myself when it's actually their problem.

I've spent years hating my face and my body - but where has it got me? NOWHERE! I still have my face and my body.  So.....all that make up - all those clothes - all the hand in front of face hiding smile moments - and I am still me.  I KNOW I am ok.  Hooray - it's taken longer than you think for me to be able to say that, well not just say it but actually believe it too.  And I do.  I still hide and feel scared, I still go to say sorry - but I'm getting there.  I've pin pointed those issues and I am getting there.

Why couldn't I have known all this at 13? (To be honest probably because it would've stopped me seeming confident and tipped over towards arrogance and many lessons may have been overseen).  Anyway - I refuse to regret, so rather than pitying the wasted time and the me I could've been I have to realise this is the me I am meant to be.

If someone doesn't like it - instead of saying sorry or thinking there is something wrong with me, I know it's ok - they obviously aren't meant to be in my life.  The friends I have seen that no longer make me feel happy or good about myself - well it's obvioulsy not meant to be anymore - it's not me, it's not them - it's just the way it is.  No cop out - just life - and that's all any of us are living.

Of course ask me tomorrow and it could be a different story.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Fashion, Optical Illusions and Cartoons - an interesting mix of ingredients!

I found two articles I wrote for a publication and thought I'd be oh so kind and share them here.

I wrote this article back at the start of the year and it's quite funny to see if fashion has followed - it hasn't taken off massively - I mean who wants to look like they are walking around with a floating torso - the fashion trend instead has stuck with the old granny stocking colour but with lines on to give the illusion of curves - but to me it just looks like it's unfinished.

Fashion and Optical Illusion!

Not normally words you would find in the same sentence. It conjures up an image more Emperors New Clothes than style. Although there have been quite a few ‘Granny stockings made into a dress’ type outfits appearing on the Autumn/Winter catwalks that I really hope will be warn by no one. TV and film have to be careful they do not use fabrics that are prone to an optical illusion look as it doesn’t transmit on screen very well. Optical Illusion fashion does seem to be the new trend.

Not so long ago Victoria Beckham wore a £2,500 McQueen dress that started off white in the middle then cleverly used lines fading out to grey, giving the impression of a very small silhouette, wait up a minute this is Victoria Beckham - hardly known for her full figure - but it gives the illusion of a teeny tiny frame, with curves!

A model recently was sent down the run way looking like her torso was floating above her legs. It was in fact the careful use of black backdrops and opaque tights.

Dresses are now being designed that jump out at you if you wear your little green and red 3D glasses, but honestly, who carries those around with them just in case!?!

Optical Illusions in fashion have been used for years though, padded bras giving the illusion of bigger breasts, slimming shorts giving the impression of sleekness. Vertical stripes can be slimming whereas horizontal stripes should be kept to areas you wish to enhance. Capped sleeves can highlight large arms, turtle necks can shorten a short neck. The latest trend now is for the giant shoulders shape, giving the illusion of a larger frame which instantly slims the waist. D&G have even signed Madonna up to advertise their menswear range, ok, that might not be such an illusion!! Tim Burton is set to release his version of Alice in Wonderland in 2010, those checkerboard clothes are going to hit the stores in abundance (I predict and secretly hope). The Optical Illusions used in the latest fashions are less rule orientated but I have a feeling fashion is about to get painful on our eyes.

And this article was about Cartoons and Fashion at around the same time as the one above.

This year I have noticed more than ever the comeback of the printed t-shirt. Not just band logos or silly phrases but more and more there is the return of Mickey Mouse and his crew (check out Top Shop and New Look) along with some very Japanese inspired designs. The Japanese designs have been something of a phenomenon in the UK with the Le Sport bags (found everywhere in Camden market), skirts, dresses, got me thinking of a band called Chicks on Speed who I feel took the whole cartoon/doll wear one step further.

They used to wear handmade clothes, nothing new there I hear you say, but these girls would make their clothes out of paper. A new look each time and instead of washing your clothes you can just take them off at the end of the night and put them in the bin. Not bad. Or so I thought. I was at a gig of theirs once and my friend was cheering them and waving his arms around. One of the band jumped off stage to walk around the crowd, sadly my friends watch strap caught the dress, it didn’t just tear the paper skirt a little, it pulled a massive peice off. It hung on his wall for a while afterwards. Chicks on Speed’s look for paper dresses didn’t hugely take off anywhere else but their kitsch style and accessories had them heralding a little known duo going by the name of Tatty Devine. Their accessories are almost legendary now, punky, cartoony, kitsch accessories, what’s not to love!

Mark Hoppus from Blink 182 recently starting sporting a cartoon octopus logo that has become so popular that there is now a necklace widely available of this octopus logo. I’ve even seen cartoon covered baby grows by Molo Romper. I am not sure yet if it just looks like a baby has vomited down itself but it just goes to show it’s a growing trend. And with the Disney Pixar cartoons popularity soaring, it really does look like cartoons are here to stay. My inner Peter Pan complex salutes that fact!

A nature disaster!

I am sure we all know about the oil spill that BP seem to be failing quite spectacularly at stopping but please check this link.  It's sad, horrible, makes me angry but I think we all need to be aware of just how bad this is.....

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Cover me I'm going in......this is going to be a long post!

I try not to watch too much television as these days there is so much ‘filler’ TV, so much rot. I don’t think it’s very good for the soul and only seems to give people something to talk about with each other in the office. I’d rather not talk!! But last night I stumbled across another Bodyshock episode. Now this is real TV. This is stuff that is worth watching. It’s gritty, real, honest, shocking, true life. And that to me IS worth talking about.

The episode in question was called ‘I’m Turning Into A Giant’. It appealed because I am a tall girl. I currently stand at 5’ 10” and doubt I will ever get any taller, the only change in my height may well just be to shrink in old age, or so I thought…………….

I spent my childhood stooping and not standing up tall. Looking at my feet rather than into other peoples eyes. I started my high school as one of the tallest people in the school. It’s not the attention you want as a child. My height was being monitored as part of my Asthma care and I was told that I was expected to reach the height of 6’ 2” - to me that was just too much - I would worry at home - wondering if I put pressure on my head would it stop me growing. I didn’t feel like anyone understood me, I just always got told I should feel lucky to be tall. As the years went on my growing started to cause my legs to hurt but eventually I stopped growing, the pains started to subside and I started to love my height. I didn’t have to do anything to get noticed, sometimes just standing up would do it. But this is me, at 5’ 10” - hardly mammoth proportions now is it. I spent 4 years of my life recently being very sick, 3 operations in 2 years and endless medication. It really got me down but I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel and that I would no doubt make a pretty much full recovery….and 4 years in a whole life time is nothing.

I’d heard about people with ‘Giantitus’ correctly called Acromegalic Gigantism. I had assumed this was some condition that developed in the womb or that a child had from birth. How wrong could I be. This Bodyshock edition followed 3 people with this condition. One had it from birth. One developed it in their late teens. One developed it in their 50’s…..yes, you heard me, in their 50’s……suddenly it’s not a condition you can forget about if you are not born with it. But that’s not the reason this interested me. As I am getting older I am becoming more and more aware of how human nature although beautiful at times, it can be the meanest thing on this planet - but you can’t let the reaction you get from small minded people stop you from living your life - but I am sure at times it must feel quite hopeless. Anything that makes you stand out can be used against you in the nastiest of ways. And my heart bled for these people when it was mentioned the things they can’t do, or will never be able to do or the lack of friends they have purely because of the way they look. I mean honestly - all 3 came across as truly lovely and articulate people. People I would proudly call my friend. But alas this is not the world we live in. This world seems to celebrate the masses, loves the mass produced, doesn’t like to waver off the line. Well ain’t that a shame!

The documentary starts with Igor Vovkovinsky who is 7’ 8” and wears a size 25 shoe. I personally thought he looked quite in proportion considering his considerable size. Can you just imagine trying to live your life when you are that size? No, of course you can’t really understand, but just about nothing from this world would fit you. Igor even had to have a house specially built just so he didn’t have to duck and stoop all the time. We’ve all fallen foul to playing up any issues we have for sympathy and I am sure we all know someone that has a disability that they play on, but not Igor. Through his life his school work had suffered, but rather than calling it quits he has gone back to school and is studying to become a lawyer. As much as I really commend him for doing this, I did feel a little angry that he was being made to sit at a regular size desk with a regular size chair. All hunched up trying to work. He didn’t want to make a fuss. He shouldn’t have to - his needs should have been accommodated just like a wheelchair users should be. I wish Igor all the success in the world with his chosen career and hope the world will accept him for who he is and not judge him for his condition.
The second person to be featured was a young lady called Tanya Angus. She stands at 6’ 8” tall, and weighs almost 32 stone. Again can you imagine just trying to be feminine at this height. My own height means I am deemed to be tough and don’t need help with things. Not always so! Anyway, Tanya has to wear men’s size 15 shoes but thankfully found someone that would make her nice feminine shoes, she also managed to find someone that would make rings to fit her fingers. They almost looked like babies bracelets due to their size, but someone made them for her. I found it hard to believe that so many places would not help her with this. Surely everyone can understand a woman’s desire to be feminine? It would obviously seem not. How very sad. Tanya didn’t develop this condition until a bit later in life - she had been living life as an attractive, fun loving, average sized young woman when things started to change.

Mary White was the last lady to be featured. She had been suffering head pains and started to notice a change in her facial features and was finally diagnosed with Acromegalic Gigantism. Due to having gone through puberty Mary didn’t have the same issues with height as Igor or Tanya but she was feeling the change in other ways. Mary had her tumour removed eventually and it is felt she will make a good recovery and that the changes to her body shape will start to subside. So I guess in a way, she’s one of the lucky ones!!!

Throughout all of this I was blown away at the determination and lack of self pity in all 3 people. Of course there would be times they have felt very angry at the world - I mean they are only human…let’s repeat that sentence one moment. Only human! I think we need to remember that next time we are faced with someone that doesn’t quite look the same as the rest of us. If someone seems pre-occupied or a bit cross one day you never know what they might be dealing with. To not pity someone that is different but to recognise the person within. If someone is different, don’t write them off, don’t give them special treatment, don’t patronise them, try not to stare at them, just see the beautiful person on the inside.

This condition can hit anyone and at any age it would seem. So just imagine for one moment if it suddenly happened to you! Would your partner stay with you no matter what? Would your friends still walk down the street with you? Would people be kind to you or treat you like a freak? Would anyone think you were capable of living a full life, or even deserving one? Would you be able to continue living - or is too much of you life about your vanity? If you really think about the answers to that you might surprise yourself.

You cannot help the face that you are born with or the face you end up growing up with but you can help the person you are.

Take away your looks and your posh frocks/suits and think if you had to wear over sized clothes and didn’t look the ‘norm’ would you still be able to function - would your personality be enough to shine through?

Never judge a book by its cover.

I saw a beautiful thing in the park the other day. Children were playing and a lady in a wheelchair with mild learning difficulties was out with her carer and was watching the children having fun and laughing. She smiled at them. Two of the children were staring at her. One of the parents encouraged the children to go and speak to the lady and tell her what they were up to. With a lot of shyness a huge dose of courage and their mom’s praise these children went over to the lady and giggled and smiled and said hello. They were no longer scared, still curious but now they had no fear. That’s a lesson I plan to pass on to any future children I have and will most definitely make me think twice when I hear someone make a derogatory comment about how someone looks. Take away the prejudice and this world would be a happier, nicer and easier place - and don’t we all, each and every one of us, want that.

This programme has taught me a lot. Not just about Acromegalic Gigantism and the trials and pain that every day life throws up, but also about 3 amazing people that are showing strength and courage in everything they do. Refusing to give up on their dreams or to give up on their lives. They are faced with agonising pain and restraints all the time but against all that they are trying to live their lives and live them well and I for one salute them.

If Mary, Tanya or Igor ever get to read this article then I would like to say to them that I admire and respect them - I appreciate their spirit - I wish this world was not so judgemental and I wish each of them every success in the world to reach as many of their dreams as possible and beyond.

I couldn't find a picture of Mary and hope the people who took the pictures of Igor and Tanya do not mind me using their photos.  I don't know who took the below photo but this is of Robert Wadlow who was 8' 11.1" and died in his 20's.  He has been one of the most famous faces of Acromegalic Gigantism and I think this photo really does show the extremities of this condition.

Short and sweet

The quote on my calendar this morning is "If you wouldn't write it and sign it, then don't say it."

That is a good theory - and one I intend to ponder on a slow boring afternoon in the office - on the plus the weather is lovely - blue skies and sunshine makes everything feel better!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

I can't live on air but.....

So, my desk calendar says today ‘You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.’
That is really brilliant food for thought and something that is on my mind more and more these days – maybe it’s age – maybe it’s just waking up a little.

The more I look around me it becomes obvious that we have become a nation of wanton need and greed. Success seems to be measured in how much ‘stuff’ you own. Things are replaced so quickly that little worth is attached to a lot of these materialistic things even though we deem to attach someone’s greatness to them.

People are angrier and more jealous than I’ve ever seen – is this because of this wantonness and this need and longing for more and more ‘things’.

When people were more equal they went out without locking their house up – things would be just fine when they got home. Now we super secure our homes and they will still get broken into – people after all they can get without having to really work for them – instant gratification – with no thought for others at all.

I recently went to some parts of London that I had never seen before. Some very rich parts of London. Bags for £35,000; dresses for even more! I don’t care how much money someone has, when there are still starving people in this world, that is just sick!!!
If I own lots of houses and loads of jewels it doesn’t make me a good person. It could actually hinder me finding out who I really am or living in the ‘real’ world.

I went past a house with armed guards outside it. Honestly – if that is the fear you have to live with because of how much you earn or how many sparkly things are in your house – then forget it.

Somewhere along the way so much has been forgotten. Work hard and achieve by all means but don’t lose track.

Success is being a good person, having a clean conscience, seeing the world with open eyes, and helping your fellow man. Knowing that so and so down the road is ok and not needing for anything – not rushing past the man that fell in the street because it’s not your problem. To think nothing of someone’s yearly wage on one item and then being shocked by the news. Keep both eyes open and both feet firmly planted on the ground. To think that we feel all these things make us happy – I think they actually clutter us and our lives and distract us more and more from true happiness.

Maybe that’s because I don’t really have very much. But I do know that I have never earned money in a way that has harmed someone (think of oil production, diamond farming, banking etc). I notice the world around me. I’m not in a car with blacked out windows, wearing sunglasses being hurried too and fro for fear of being recognised and in some cases for fear of my life. When some families have so much that any decline in the stock market makes them fear they are worthless that they kill themselves and their family – or when someone who is famous or earns so much they live in constant fear of their child being stolen and held for ransom – surely that is the time to reassess and realise that the key to happiness is surely meant to be simple – the good life is not about ‘things’, being rich is not about possessions and materialistic wealth.

I’m still figuring it out for myself but it made me realise that although I would like a home of my own and a little more money, I wouldn’t want the trappings of fame and success. Even that phrase should spell something out to us………………