Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The Secret of Lost Things

The Secret of Lost ThingsThe Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Now this book has been a hard one to review because there were times I didn't really get into what was going on or felt like I really cared about all the characters and I am still torn between a 4/5 or a 3/5....there is something comforting, something interesting, something that keeps you reading this book through to the end.....something.....that I can't quite put my finger on.

The characters are eccentric in quite a real way. The bookstore kind of how you think they should be - quirky and old with hidden offices. The ultimate story was of not much interest to me though but it's one of those that the journey was better than the end goal. That's not to say that the ending was in anyway disappointing but I didn't care too much, I was more interested in the characters and the psychology behind them.

One to definitely read and I'll be keeping an eye on what other people thought of this quite odd, quirky novel.

View all my reviews

The Children's House of Belsen

The Children's House at BelsenThe Children's House at Belsen by Hetty Verolme

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazing book!

But what a shame it had to be written.

A part of history that is deeply shocking, even today.

A part of history that sadly is still being repeated today.

Why has the world not learnt? Why has human nature not changed?

Anyway - this book was billed as quite an uplifting story of the Holocaust. I did not believe that there could ever be such a thing. But to be sure, it is.

The horrors are there, but they are not too described, they are not quite gloss over, but it's almost like the author knew we would already know about it all, would already have seen the startling, depressing images of the beatings and the starvation.

This concentrates more on the daily trying to get by, the struggle for food and the closeness of the bonds that are formed between the children.

I normally cry at Holocaust stories, and although this was ultimately sad in places....ok it's horrific and sad full stop but there is a lovely story of survival, of friendship and good triumphing against evil.

View all my reviews

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Here's a message I think I need to repeat again....and again.....and again.

We've all done it, we've all judged a book by its cover.  We've all spread gossip about the person we are in fact jealous of.  We've heard someones name and decided all sorts of things about them.  We take too much at face value without contemplating the more  intricate workings that might be going on underneath.

Haven't we all heard the song where the person hides behind the tears of a clown.  Eminem says we don't have to walk a mile in his shoes.....but maybe we do....and maybe even then we still wouldn't really get it.

What breaks one person can make another.  Just like one persons junk is one persons treasure.  Just like we think certain things about all sorts of things in this world without even bothering to find out what it's all about.

In this day and age with the Internet and all sorts of social media, this is even more apparent and no doubt far more dangerous.  Cyber bullying? It didn't even exist when I was a child in the age before the Internet. 

Pros and Cons, without the Internet there were no blogs, it was harder, but not impossible, to link up with people around the world, back then maybe people knew even less about each other, but there was also a little less pressure.  I love that kids have access to such amazing knowledge on the Internet and can be aware of so much and be so creative.  But like anything this gets abused, and leads to people being abused.

Whichever medium it is done in bullying is bullying and it sucks.

Most of us will agree with that.  But don't we all do it a little every week?  Sadly, maybe even every day?

We hate the things that are different....but do we really or do we just hate not being able to understand.

The secret is to become secure enough in yourself and what you do to be able to just brush off the comments those not in the know make, but have you tried to do that?  It's not so easy is it!  Especially if you had an upbringing where people didn't believe in you or just didn't know how to encourage........

All around us now are images of people who appear to have so much, who appear to be able to do so much, to be able to turn their hand to anything, to be witty, to be funny, to be charming, to be beautiful, to just be this out and out amazing person. 

You scratch the surface though and you will find it not to be quite so.

Sometimes those that laugh the loudest are crying the hardest on the inside.

Sometimes those that are running around exploring and doing everything are the ones running so fast from the monsters inside.

Sometimes the girl that is sat quietly isn't being boring, introverted or not able to fit in, she's just at peace, doesn't need to gossip or waffle, is observing and learning and growing and will speak when there is something worth saying.  Most of us would think it is that person that has the issues but it could be that person that has so much more figured out.  That gets the world and is comfortable with themselves and the world around them.  Not many people are comfortable with silence but it's vital, without silence you would all be speaking and once and no one would be listening, no one would be paying attention and wouldn't that just be wrong?!

We assume so much but hate people to do the same about us, so why do we do it?  You hear a name and instantly you will find you have an image of someone spring to mind, or personality traits that spring to mind.  But a name is one thing you had no choice in, quite probably it was chosen before you were born or minutes after you first breathed in this world.  Yet people might judge you on it for the rest of your days.

Your genetics were decided long before you even knew to care about them.  Unless you have plastic surgery you cannot change this.  And even if you have plastic surgery your offspring will give the game away.

Isn't it more important to learn to like who you are and to learn to love your imperfections, wouldn't that be a better message to put out there but instead we make the whole world feel that you have to be beautiful to succeed.  It's already been stated many times that good looking people are paid more just because.

Thing is - have you met that girl or boy that has been deemed beautiful all their lives?  The pressure they must feel when they start to age.........or in some cases the lack of personality they have developed, or not as the case might be, they've always had people want to be their friend so they've never really had to bother.  Whereas the fat kid....well quite often they will have you in stitches as they have had to become the funny ones to be noticed and to get friends.  Well weight can be gained or lost easily but personality? It's not so easy to change once you are an adult.

Look at the people you went to school with.  Look at them now.  I bet a lot of the ones that were 'top dog' at school have not changed that much, their crowning moment was at school.......that hits me as a bit sad really.

Some people have natural style, some people have a stylist and some people struggle, but this does not tell us everything about that person but many of us will have judged at some point and not spoken to someone, or not been as nice to someone just because......

Some people really don't care to get to know the person inside.  Some will even blame you for not telling them your full story.

Forget about them.

Easier said than done right because quite often those people that will be quick to judge or blame you will also be the loud ones in the group and therefore you will feel you have to win their acceptance before you can move forward or expect anyone else to give you the time of day.  This is dangerous as will or can lead to you not being yourself.  It can lead to you pretending to be something you are not and believe me no matter how much you might wish to be someone else sometimes, pretending to be someone or something you are not is not the route to happiness.

It's hard to be brave enough to say you know what? If you don't like me, that's OK, I am a good person and I know I will find people that will appreciate that, you are obviously not one of those people and that's fine, and then walk away with all your dignity intact.

It's hard to think well I am a good person therefore I am OK.  Because most of us have insecurities, we all have good and bad days.  We all have the weight of the world on our shoulders sometimes.  We all cry ourselves to sleep over something.  Those things don't change with fame or money.  For many it would seem they get worse with fame and money.  How many rich celebrities do you know of that have alcohol and/or substance issues?

You wish you could be more outgoing so will beat yourself up each time you don't do something that a more outgoing person would.

You hate yourself for not being able to dress that way, or have hair like that.......the list is endless.

But we all constantly miss the very fact that we are all born different for a reason.......we all look different for a reason..........how horrid would the world be if we all looked the same and all acted the same....it would be like a real life Gap advert on repeat over and over and over again.

Maybe the key to happiness has nothing to do with our name, or our looks or our bank balance or how many friends we (appear to) have.

Maybe the truly rich can just get on with life, intermingle with many, trust and cherish just a few.  How can you be a really good friend to 200 people, 100 people, 50 people? You can't really can you as there are just not enough hours in the day and no matter what your size, there just will never be enough of you to go around.

Sometimes the loud outgoing people will criticise you and bitch about you - not really thinking about how it makes them look or how much it might hurt you, they are just desperately trying to stop anyone else seeing their flaws or their insecurities.

The 'popular' people have the power to be very destructive and sadly I feel many are not aware of this.

For example, I was asked to sing a song as the works Christmas party.  I love to sing......but when no one is around.  I cannot sing in front of people I don't really know......it's not even a choice for me, my throat closes up....that's not fun for anyone, but someone more gregarious would not understand this and will make all sorts of judgements about me, but they don't know the story behind it and neither do you and you don't have to, and you don't even have to care....but don't think you know the answers because that is lazy, damaging and potentially dangerous.  What, it's just meant to be a little bit of fun? Oh hell why didn't you just say that.  Yeah I am rolling my eyes - because you see I know that and I wish it would be that way and because I can't do it I beat myself up even more.

I don't think many people in my life know just how bad some things are in my head, that I myself assume so much.  I think people won't like me and I will project that out there and find all sorts of evidence to prove I am right but really I am looking at it from a bias point of view.

That is worth remembering.  If you think something - don't assume others are thinking it too - the truth is they are probably too busy thinking about themselves to realise that you are having your own personal melt down.

If only people would stop to think, to listen, to notice.  Read between the lines.  To listen to what is not being said.  To take a moment to care.  If only we could break the spell that so many fall into - to fit in you have to join in with the bitching and moaning otherwise you are boring or a square or weak.

Not true - it actually shows you are a remarkable individual with great strength.

But good luck waiting for the rest of the world to catch up with that one.

You don't have to be wearing the latest fashion or the most popular label, those are things that are people trying to find themselves and following the masses, being told what to like.  You don't have to go to the latest club.  You don't even have to go out at all.  You don't have to have 600 friends on facebook.  You don't even have to have 6......you don't have to do anything but keep breathing.

If you have one person in this world that truly gets you and truly cares about you and doesn't judge you, then you are already infinitely better off that most - so why not put your energies into being that someone for someone else.

When you see the girl with an old fashioned dress, bad hair, thick glasses.......don't judge her, don't try to make her feel bad just so you can get a cheap laugh, don't try to pick on her..........you don't know her story and you might just find that in years to come when she's bloomed that she is the very girl you really wish you could be.

You know my name but you don't know my story......why not take the time to get to know it......to understand it, to learn from it, to help me, to help others, to help yourself....to build bridges.......to be more open minded........to be blown away....to laugh......to cry..........that's what real friendship and the best bits of human nature are all about.

Next time you want to make someone feel bad.....stop and think...............

Who even cares?

Where did it go wrong?  Is it wrong? Is it even a problem? Is anyone else here aware of how I think/feel?

I have been in this job for just over 3 years.

Yet I still feel like I don't really know any of the people I work with.
Every job I’ve ever had I’ve made friends with everyone as in been able to get on with everyone, have chats, go out for a few beers, put the world to rights and a few have stayed friends from every place I’ve worked.

Except here.

Here I don’t feel like I know anyone.

Sure you see people and you can natter, I've been down the pub with some of them and out for lunch with others and it's been really nice.

But something isn't quite clicking....or so it feels to me.
See, I am not in an office with any of the other workers here, and I have to greet the actors and actresses as they come into work so cannot leave my post. So I can’t wonder around the building to gossip or catch up with anyone.

I don’t hear the weekend gossip.

My breaks are not at set times and quite often end up being after or before the rest of the building. Some people I might see for 10 minutes a week. Some fleeting here and there during the day.

If peopel arrange to go out after work I quite often don't hear about it until the last moment and due to how busy I am these days with all the writing and my counselling course I need a bit of notice with things.  Sadly the spontenaity has to go to a degree as I have to be so organised with my time.  I wonder if it's ever been taken the wrong way?
Does it make me come across like I am being aloof?

Thing is you only have to scratch the surface to know that I am not that way.
To all my friends I appear to be confident, funny and chatty….almost too chatty.
To myself I would say I am crap.
I wonder what the people at work think?

When I see them we seem to get on….they appear to be nice people.

So why is it so different in this work place to any others I have been in?

Of course I point the finger at me and say everything in the whole world that is wrong it’s my fault, that’s the sort of person I am inside. I think everything is my fault. But I’ve never been like this in any other company at all.

Ponder Ponder……

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Rarrr and a little Grrr!

Today is rant day.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Number 1 – 90% of the people I met on my walk to work today had no clue about manners. Why is this? I am old enough and young enough to know how to be polite and courteous – even to people that don’t always deserve it.

What has changed since I grew up? Well, I guess there are more broken homes and there is now no discipline in schools for kids – they have nothing to fear – they know a teacher can’t touch them and I don’t mean just physically either. Now maybe you shouldn’t rule by fear but let’s face it if you thought you would get into trouble it would be a deterrent for a lot of things.

There are kids out there today that are very well mannered – so it shows it can still be done – admittedly it seems like those numbers are dwindling but there’s enough presence there to give me a bit of hope still.

So it must be the examples set by the older generation? But if I now how to be polite then why don’t they – they are older than me and therefore should know better surely?

Number 2 – Pastry dough boy – also known as our Prime Minister.
I’ve not trained in Politics and don’t pretend to know much about the world but I do have a sense for when things are wrong. I am sick to death of MP’s moaning about the mess labour left them, whether this is true or not can be debated forever but there are two vital points here, one is that labour inherited a world of shit from the previous conservative government and so on and so forth – so it would seem like mute point – swings and roundabouts, sticks and stones. The second more important thing is – so here’s the problem, it doesn’t really matter who caused it – it is now the job of the conservative government to sort it out so stop name calling and do your job please. There are things they have tried that blatantly aren’t working – that’s ok – these things happen sometimes – but the real failure is to just carry on out of sheer bloody mindedness in not wanting to admit you got it wrong. This is a very childish and dangerous way to run a country and sadly this seems to be the way the current Government is running ours. The housing situation is a disaster and that was caused by Maggie Thatcher selling the council housing. The economy of the UK is a disaster. That was started with Maggie Thatcher breaking up industry – but I am not here to name call – it’s obvious that if you get rid of industry you lose a lot of the power a country has, you also can’t cope well when other countries you rely on go into melt down. You need to grow more of your own so to speak – be more self sufficient – people have been working this out for years so why haven’t the people that run our country? When you have families being forced into squats you know there is a serious thing going on – the Government’s solution is to put £400 million into cutting costs of buying your own home. Do they not understand that the average Jo has no money? The average Jo is being blamed for not shopping enough and it’s us that need to sort the economy out by spending more….how can we when wages for the average Jo are going down or have been frozen, when we don’t get bonuses and the food, rent, fuel, travel costs are rocketing whilst the top dogs give themselves ridiculous bonuses. The answer to this from the Government is that they never told companies to get rid of staff but it was obvious that was going to happen – the powers that be are the ones paying themselves ridiculous wages to themselves so of course they don’t want to lose that so bye bye average Jo. EVERYONE knew this was going to happen so why didn’t the Government? Are they really that out of touch? And if so then OH FUCK! As they are making the decisions about my well fare and my country. Should I pack my bags now?

Why not put people on responsible wages with responsible performance related bonuses. This would help bring down the cost of things in general. Why not put a limit on rental costs and give bad landlords massive fines for not letting out property in a good condition – this is basic needs.

The future looks horrible.

People are being brought up with way too much choice – with way too much pressure on them. The TV is full of idiots making money for being idiots – this is hardly going to breed a good nation.

When you look into the future you want to feel some hope. I don’t think this Government has done that at all and rather than admitting some things have worked they just say it’s not their fault it was the previous government. Bad management. Lazy answer. And they are running the country…….whilst the bankers carry on behaving in the way that messed the country up in the first place……….

Number 3 – For all of you out there moaning about Christmas…smile god dammit. It’s a time of good cheer to all men (and women and children), it’s a time to get into the spirit of things and try to feel a part of something.

If we hadn’t lost community it would be a much more fun affair for far more people. We would all know old Bob down the road that was lonely and invite him over for some Christmas Pud. We’d know if Aunt Flo round the corner couldn’t get out and would collect her shopping for her and maybe throw in a surprise box of mince pies. We’d gather our families and our loved ones together and that would be the true spirit of Christmas – not the hallmark holiday it’s become. Where people are getting into ridiculous debt to buy ridiculous amounts of things for their children who will just want more and more and more. But we don’t have to buy into that – we could make that change, we could make it the lovely family affair that I think it should be. Why not take this opportunity to build some bridges and mend some old ones. This year think of those that are lonely and help make them not so. Think of your family and give them the gift of some quality time together. That costs nothing but the effect will last far longer than the computer game or latest trend.

Let’s see beyond our noses and be happy!

All it takes to make this world a lovely place is for people to be kind to one another.
Sounds so simple…and yet……..