Kindness

It’s so easy to laugh
It’s so easy to hate
It takes guts to be gentle and kind ~ I Know It’s Over, The Smiths

It was World Kindness Day a few days ago – I know this because my colouring app told me and gave me a couple of bonus pictures to celebrate. Which was very nice but it also got me thinking about true kindness. Is it possible to be kind all the time? Is there a certain level of kindness you have to hit before you qualify as a proper kind person? And what about kindness to yourself?

You see? It’s a lot to think about and I don’t really know where I’m going with any of this. It’s just sometimes I find myself wondering, when I’m promoting kindness to others (via the medium of meme) – and walking around with the lyrics from the song quoted above tattooed on my arm – whether I even qualify.

I think generally, most of us are decent at the core but all of us could stand to be kinder. Even if all that means is keeping an eye out for the dude you sit next to at work, or asking a crying stranger if they need anything.

I wonder all the time whether I’m a decent person, sometimes I truly believe I’m not. Kindness is something I aim for every day but there are always obstacles that derail my intention. Like someone being a know-it-all brings out my decidedly unkind side.

I recently made a new friend who it turns out might not be my cup of tea after all – and I know my pulling away has been confusing and possibly hurtful for them. I haven’t been horrible but I feel really guilty about the situation, like maybe I need to make more effort – except I’m not sure I have it in me mentally to just ignore my instincts.

What I don’t understand is how easily we’ll think about others and ignore our own needs. Being kind to ourselves counts. And all this is just a delicate balancing act.

I say be kind wherever possible and don’t beat yourself up if you can’t manage it 24/7, you’re not a Stepford Wife. As long as you’re not going out of your way to be a mean bitch and you’re not hurting anybody, you’re doing okay. As with most things, intent is key. We can all strive to be good people and for the most part, I think we are.

Keep an eye out for those around you, do a good deed every now and again just for the hell of it – it is honestly way more satisfying to put good out into the world than bad.

So happy belated World Kindness Day.

How’s it going?

Fear Inc.

Anyone else petrified of everything these days? I’m a grown ass woman who shouldn’t in theory by scared of anything (according to my dentist on account of all the tattoos) but the truth is – I am.

There are a handful of serious things that keep me awake at night, just like anyone but they are circled by a cornucopia of lesser explored fears and sometimes you’ve just got to write a way too honest blog post to get them out of your system.

My fears at the moment in no particular order of scariness:

  • The crumbling of society as we know it due to Brexit (I’m thinking it will look a lot like the opening of 28 Days Later but with a few more people dotted about)

  • The opening of 28 Days Later (and waking up alone in a hospital)

  • Zombie apocalypse because it could happen

  • Home invasion (probably should stop watching HI heavy horror movies)

  • Climate change

  • Paper cuts

  • Paper cuts on my eye balls

  • Birds, literally any bird is the enemy (and the owls are not what they seem)

  • World War III

  • Not living up to my true potential

  • Having to try and live up to my true potential

  • Accidentally Replying All to a serious group of colleagues with the Dancing Ron Swanson gif

  • The painting I had in my bedroom as a child, the one with the eyes that followed you – I know she’s out there somewhere

  • Human statues

  • Dentists (especially sarcastic ones who trivialise your anxiety)

  • Walking to work and forgetting to put on clothes (reoccurring dream, anyone else?)

  • Sharks

  • Everyone finally working out I’m an imposter

  • Imposters

  • Ghosts but particularly mischievous poltergeists

  • Sharks that have adapted to walking on land

  • Falling asleep with my bare feet poking out of the covers

  • Donald Trump

  • Misspelling the world ‘Count’ on anything work related or a text to my mother

  • Mimes

So you see – everything scares me and it might be about time to woman up. Fear is a social construct just like the concept of time and the beauty ideal – and I can kick it in the face if I choose to. And I choose to, just as soon as I get over my fear of not knowing my own strength and finally finding out.

What scares you?

*I wrote this for work and thought I’d share it here too ‘cos it was fun to write.

Hello September

I thought I’d freestyle my first post in September. I’m pumped for Autumn as you know but this week took a nosedive in the form of some stomach whirling self doubt and I need to let it out. Then let it go.

I know I’m a normal woman but sometimes in the dead of night, negative thoughts swirl round my head like bats and I forget that. I feel like the walls are closing in on me and they’re a metaphor for time and achievement. I’ve achieved nothing and will amount to nothing, that sort of thing.

I vow all the time to kick this kind of thinking but it has a habit of creeping up on me in my lower moments. I guess nobody is immune. Obviously I’ll be okay, probably as soon as this has been posted, I’m good at recognising what I need and being kind to myself. Nobody’s nicer to me than me but I think it’s important to record these feelings too.

I sometimes hate everything about myself, all the snivelling, the hesitancy and the way I let life scare me. My lack of ambition and my laziness. The stupid things I’ve said and done, all the wasted time and the half-finished next big things. I was supposed to discover a hidden talent by now, be brilliant at one incredible thing. Maybe change the world in a small but crucial way.

I know this is anxiety talking. That these mean words come from a condition that thinks it deserves to take centre stage all day, everyday. It can kick up a stink as much as it likes but now I let it go. At the core of it all I love myself and that part of me is way stronger.

So, nice try fuck face but you’ll be getting no further screentime from me. I’ll be enjoying my Sunday safe in the bosom of my loved ones. What have you got?

I also choose to count today as the first day of Autumn because I deserve nice things – and so do you.

Happy Autumn all! 🍁🍃🍂

Only the Lonely

It’s the weirdest feeling in the world to be surrounded by people and still feel out of sorts – and dare I say it: lonely.

I mean, it’s not a particularly cool thing to admit is it? And when you think of the word it conjures up something unsavory, like a shrew-like old woman emptying the contents of her near empty fridge and sharing it with ten cats. As if that sounds like an unhappy life.

I do feel it though and it’s not as though I don’t know I’m loved. I’m so lucky but I can’t help feeling alone sometimes. It usually hits me when I’m in big groups – and honestly if life were a movie, in my mopey moments the rain would start and I’d be gazing out of a window, listening to Dido or some shit. Sometimes I’d be in a Greyhound bus.

I think this is my anxiety sending me exaggerated messages. I love my own company but when I feel low I question everything. Do my friends actually like me? Am I too old for them? Do they pity me? Am I a joke? Am I a burden?

I wish I could pause my brain when it’s fucking me around like this. What I have is amazing and I need to shut the hell up. Feeling this way is probably just part and parcel of being hormonal and in need of some time off work.

Loneliness is no joke though and it’s part of the reason I started saying yes to more sociable activities. I know not everyone has the same choices. Now more than ever perhaps the horror club needs it’s first meeting.

Do you ever feel like this? How do you combat it?

The Abyss

Kath recently talked about how blogging sometimes feels like screaming into the void and it’s got me to thinking about my own motivations.

I agree to a certain extent that sometimes it feels like you’re pouring out your innermost thoughts only to yourself, and maybe one or two other people.

I know my mum is my number one fan who often references the things I’ve said in conversation. She’s not really into the film posts, which is understandable and part of the reason I’m trying to keep my content more balanced. I enjoy the thought that even if we haven’t seen each other for a while, she can dip in and gauge how I’m feeling (I only wish this was a two way street). Although, she has an uncanny gift for knowing that even before I’ve acknowledged it myself.

I know Jill and Kath pop in on the regs. They’re much better at that than I am. I know Meghan will stop by occasionally – and I’m lucky to have the odd new follower who’ll take the time to comment or click like.

I’m actually pretty happy with that. I do it first and foremost for myself but would be lying if I said I didn’t care at all about being appreciated. We live in a ‘likes’ motivated society now, where our worth is directly linked to how many hearts we get on Instagram every morning (or so it feels). It’s hard to step away from that mindset and just enjoy things for what they are.

I think sometimes when what you’re doing gets popular it starts to feel less like yours. Not that it’s ever happened to me. I don’t like the thought of my bijou but safe place changing too much. So what if I’m writing reviews nobody will ever really read? I like the way I write and I like looking back on my life, on the good and the hard times – on how I’m changing every year.

There are heaps of posts I look back on now that make me cringe. They could have been written by a completely different girl – one who really didn’t like or accept herself. With this in mind maybe it is even more imperative that this is a safe place.

What do the blogger hobbyists out there think?

One Week In

We’re a week into 2019 and I could really do with a week off. I’ve managed to drag my worn old carcass out walking a bit, one of the few non-resolutions I’ve made. I’ve been the laziest toad this Winter, getting the bus every evening instead of doing the 20 minute walk to my flat. It’s amazing what you can blame on the cold and darkness if you have to.

I don’t really have much to share in this catch up post. Life has been ticking along. The office is rife with diet chat and I want to chew my own arm off in protest. I don’t care if you’re ‘being good’, Linda – leave me out of it.

I’m here in the first week feeling like something needs to happen. I want to make changes, to salivate with possibility again (there’s an image for you). I’m a scaredy cat though in so many ways and I don’t want to be that way anymore, I want to take risks like I used to. Perhaps I should be looking for another job. The one I have is lovely and I like what I do but is it the right one? I chose it because I was so wounded by the last one and it’s been nearly 18 months now. I’m not even saying I want to leave the company, I love it here – I just know I need to push myself harder. So I’m going to find a way to do that.

This year I just want to surround myself with decent people and be happy. Get a grip on my self-doubt and find a way to soar. Isn’t that a great goal? I think I also need to start throwing away a lot of the old shit that weighs me down. The things that don’t bring me joy, as Marie Kondo would say.

See this is the thing about January, it’s so devoid of things to look forward to (unless you make it), that you’ve no choice but to sit in gazing at your own navel. It’s a good and bad thing, equally.

How’s your New Year so far?

The Monday Feeling

I have a super power. I’m not sure why but wherever I go, people tell me things. Deep and meaningful snippets of detail from their lives that I don’t ask for. I love it though – it makes me feel good to be trusted and it must mean I have an open face.

I think sometimes if you make eye contact with someone you tend to connect with them whether you like it or not. This can backfire in certain social situations, like on holiday when you want to be left alone or on the bus. On the plane to Copenhagen, which was delayed for 2.5 hours, I got talking to the American guy beside me and by the time I’d landed I knew his fiance’s name, how he proposed, their upcoming wedding date, where he worked in Chicago and his favourite film. Not to mention his political views and where he stood on religion.

For the most part I wouldn’t change a thing – I’d much rather be approachable than not. I’m giggling as I think about the handful of friends I have that would seriously disagree with me.

Anyway, I was going to write about my favourite witch films today but have decided to bump that post in favour of this one because I’m kind of buzzing about a conversation I had with the woman in the Co-op last week, and this morning.

Before I start, I should write a disclaimer to say that the Co-op seems to be the scene of a lot of these scenarios for me. Years ago I befriended a guy behind the counter who used to give me leftover flowers most mornings and then went off to have a tummy tuck. My friend Darren found it hilarious how much information I would be bombarded with while handing over money for my cheese & pickle sandwiches. And all while the queue backed up behind me considerably.

Now it’s a woman in town who’s a little bit younger than me. On Friday she was all over the place so I asked her if she was okay. She revealed that she was in a 17 year relationship that had gone off the boil and was now messaging someone else. While I didn’t ask, she was pretty willing to go in on the fact that her long-term boyfriend was taking her for granted and the new one was exciting and super-attentive (they always are at this stage, babe). I had to tell her I’d been there in the same situation because I have – and that she should seriously try to do what’s right for herself.

Well! This morning she greeted me with the biggest smile and told me she’d ended it over the weekend. Nothing about the new guy because it isn’t even about him. It’s about her. She said she was walking on air and that it went so much better than she’d anticipated. Now she has the rest of her life to look forward to – and won’t be turning 40 in a horrible relationship. And man, I FELT HER. I felt it all.

I have been there and I remember the absolute high of finally being free, the greatest feeling of all time. The fear, the anticipation, the realisation that all future decisions were my own, that I had a choice – and that I could change everything if I wanted to. She’s going to feel up and down for a while but over all, she’s going to feel on top of the goddamn world and it makes me so happy for her. You go for it, girl, enjoy every minute!

So people tell me things and I love it but I particularly love it when it’s a good story and one I can personally cheer for. She’s so nice this lady that I imagine we could be friends in IRL. And as for all the other secrets well they stay here with me, not to be blogged about. Ever.

“That’s why her hair is so big, it’s full of secrets.” ~ Damian, Mean Girls

Twisted Nerve

Anyone else spend a fair portion of their life worrying that they’re not a good person? I think I question this every day at least once but when drama occurs the feeling hits me tenfold and I go all floppy with inertia. Like, why am I bothering, I’m the worst, I might as well give up, go to the end of the garden and eat worms. I hate this element of myself, the part that immediately concedes that everything is my fault and rightly so I should be punished for it.

I’m really trying to take these moments and hold them at arm’s length. To examine them before I commit to hating myself because of them. Sometimes this is possible and other times, not so much. I’m trying to understand that I’m not a perfect human being and that I will make mistakes and sometimes I will be insensitive and a dick – and as long as I acknowledge these times and try to fix them (and ultimately learn from them), then I can’t be all bad. It’s always a thrilling ride inside this head of mine, thanks anxiety.

Anyway, as it’s slipping nicely into Autumn, I’m in a pensive frame of mind and trying not to beat myself up over every little thing. I’m really not a negative person on the whole and my philosophy is to try to keep things upbeat where I can so anxiety feels like the voice in my head trying to bring that down. I’ve mentioned before that it feels like a constant battle of the wills to be myself and live with these feelings. Generally I’m winning though which is good.

The chill in the air is really nice though and we’ve had a couple of those perfect cold sunny days. I’m loving wearing jeans and boots – and I love my life very much. Apart from the little wobbles about what I’m doing with my life, I know how lucky I am. I have good friends, a home, I get to live and love a really good guy – and my family are the best. I want for nothing and deep down I know I’m not the failure human being that the voice sometimes makes me believe.

How are you?

Cry for the Bad Man

Ugh. Some days no matter what you do, things just won’t go your way. One thing can throw you off or get under your skin and then suddenly you’re sobbing for every bad thing that ever happened to you.

That was me this morning, Wasting perfectly good make-up on something (and someone) insignificant but also significant enough to (almost) mess up my day. At times like this I feel it’s good to just embrace the misery. Give it time to be what it is: an outlet.

So what if I want to sob uglyly (a word?) until there’s nothing left? So what if it leads me to remember all the heartbreaks I’ve ever suffered, every rejection, every fear? Dead pets too, why not?

Crying can be cathartic and sometimes so is sadness. It reminds us we’re human and that we care about life and people and ourselves. I am still sensitive after all these years and I’m glad because sensitivity helps me connect to others.

I won’t let it drag me down for long (I’ll fight my depression to the bitter end) but I also think it’s okay to feel your feelings. It passes, so far it always has. As soon as a colleague makes a stupid joke or someone puts a heart shaped Post-It on your desk, it’s gone. Until next time.

How are you today?

FOMO Oh No

I’m anti-social. Honestly, if I were left to my own devices I’d be a full-time hermit living on Cloud 9, never going out and having all my meals and necessities delivered to my door.

Unfortunately, I also have severe FOMO and I like my friends so cannot live out my natural anti-social tendencies to their fullest. I go out with people a lot and I do love it. Sometimes I have to bail because there are too many people in one place, take Pride for instance. One of my favourite times to be living in Brighton and yet I can only bring myself to dip a toe into the festivities before it all gets too much.

I’m not boring I promise, just anxious and crowd-phobic. Yet I look at the Instagram stories of my loved ones having fun and I wish I were wild again, I wish I could be in the midst of it. It’s a bit sad for a 40 year old to be thinking this way but I guess that’s the nature of social media and I sometimes worry I’m going to get left behind, one day I’ll be too old to be part of it and that’s bloody stupid, isn’t it?

What if everyone has so much fun without me that they stop asking me out and I’m forced to sit in night after night for the rest of my life watching re-runs of Friends on a loop, lamenting the good times? You can see the damage I do to myself by thinking this way and continually being logged on?

I know my friends love me and not just for being there socially. I bring more to the table than my appearance at every single social event (hopefully). Quality not quantity and all that.

I think I need to step back and appreciate how lucky I am. That true friendship doesn’t just stop because you’re not there for one do. And doesn’t it make the ones you make it to all the more special? Life’s hard when you’re a contradictory little bitch, innit?

Anyone else suffer from a severe case of FOMO?