A New Year, A New Rant


How was New Years Eve?? Did you have fun and celebrate in style?? Then, when the clock struck 12:00 you beat yourself up for allowing you, and your life, to be such a failure during the past year?? Did you then vow to stick to your new year resolutions, the resolutions that would ensure that in 2014 you become a better person???

Oh dear.

I know New Years Eve can be a strange time. It can often spark melancholy, regret, reflecting on all kinds of good and bad experiences and emotions. We all reconsider what the past year brought us, and how we lived our lives. Can this reflection help us in the new year to come though??? Can regret ever be healthy?

I am not going to tell you to make resolutions or not make them. I’m not going say that 2014 will be your year, that you have the power to transform and achieve. Personally I don’t get all that. I see all of that as negative life assassination, and unnecessary pressure. It is assuming that with the new year we will suddenly all transform and morph into wonder women or men. In 2014 we will definitely be destined to become another person, a wonderful person, in fact a person you were probably never actually meant to be.

Resolutions are very like false promises.

Why is it we always allow ourselves to perceive that the previous year was a failure, a let down, we didn’t perform and weren’t good enough? Isn’t that really what the notion of resolutions allude to – we are all failures, and therefore are required to modify and rectify that at all cost? Why can’t we just be us, and not need to change a thing?

Isn’t the notion of changing, of morphing, of transforming just a little bit delusional?? Just because it is a new year doesn’t mean anything has fundamentally changed. We are still, by virtue of our genetics, who we were upon birth; we haven’t grown extra limbs or suddenly become impervious to disease. We can’t shrug off the past; we all have our individual life experiences, thoughts, ideas, desires and so on.

Why is it with a new year we then become washed clean??

Or, more importantly, why do we want to be??

Isn’t life, from one year to the next, merely about the experiences we have and share, the learning curve, the path we travel, the thoughts and desires, hopes and dreams we harbour?

Isn’t life about those things??

To say we can be transformed, and washed clean assumes that we can all be famous artists, discover the cure for cancer, travel into space, be elected to Government, be an Olympian or whatever else! We are, most of us, normal folk with normal lives – average wages, children, mortgages and wrinkles. No amount of new years will ever change that either!!! We will never really transform.

So, why torture ourselves with pie in the sky -‘this year will be different’ – NO IT WON’T BE!!!!

Sorry, I get that positive thinking and hope are a great combination to have on your side in life, and I do adopt their principles as much as I can. However, I am also a realist and a little sceptical. I wonder how much we can actually change, transform, morph, and wonder if we really want to? If we don’t achieve, create, progress, succeed, dominate and control (or whatever!!!!) why is it seen so negatively? Why is it we can’t be just satisfied with being us?

This year I’m not going to become a millionaire, a success or even a glamour model who adorns the covers of popular magazines. I know that isn’t going to be what 2014 has in store for me.

I know it’ll be more of the same; living day to day, trying to survive, building relationships, trying to maintain motivation, good health and keeping some faith in me and what I want; basically boring stuff, not very inspiring or exciting!!! So, doesn’t matter how much I wish for miracles, money, fame and whatever else, it doesn’t mean it will come to fruition!!

I can make a million resolutions, but it doesn’t mean I can or will fundamentally change!

I’m just trying to say; be real, be kind to yourself and stop applying the pressure to be what you’re not. ALSO, stop viewing you and your life as a failure thus far, see your life as experience and a journey (which won’t be over, until it is over, and your six foot under). Stop stalling with resolutions and waiting for another new year to come and go; live without military precision, live and have fun amassing experiences to reflect on, not to feel negative and guilty about!

Live your life now, while it is here, and see what it brings you! All the ups and downs are welcome, it is life and you can’t just pick and choose the best bits and edit the rest, it isn’t a script after all!

Let 2014 be what it will be – life as we know it!

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Learning Gender Roles Via The BBC


The BBC have recently been accused of sexism with their remake of children’s classic Topsy and Tim.

It was claimed by parents that the BBC misinterpreted the original children stories, and chose instead to reinforce traditional gender stereotypes, which were being aimed at very young children. The charecter Tospy is a little girl who is seen baking princess cakes with her Mum, while her Brother Tim is informed baking is not for him. As a boy he can play outside on his bike or help his Dad with “mans work”.

I wondered, as I have on many occasions before, how do we learn our ‘gender roles’? Is it nature or nurture, and how can we be sure?

Thinking of my own childhood, I recall never being compelled by my parents to be particularly ‘girlie’, and naturally I wasn’t this way either. I was always encouraged to just be me, and perhaps by being a headstrong child who knew what I liked, pressures to be ‘girlie’ (if they existed), never affected me. I therefore feel surprised that in the 21st century children are still being encouraged to mimic, and reflect, what their own parents deem to be acceptable gender specific stereotypes. It just seems almost self defeating and rather odd.

Why would any parent force their child to be anything, and ruin their own child’s ability to blossom and develop naturally, free of preconceived ideals laid down throughout the eons?!

What is so terrible about girls playing with cars and bikes, and boys playing with kitchens and dolls? Surely having diverse skills and interests make for more rounded and capable future adults?

I know if I had children, I would indeed encourage them to be them; who else can they be after all!

Don’t get me wrong, their is nothing wrong with traditional gender roles, if those people performing those roles are happy enough to do so. Yet, there is nothing wrong with mixing it up either!

Living in Madrid I see many more examples of the conventional family unit than I do in the UK. The wife cooks, cleans, takes care of the house and kids, while the man works, is head of the household, applies the discipline and often the education of the kids. This is almost expected and seen as the social norm.

Now my household has never been quite like this, to the surprise of the people I meet in Spain. People are shocked that I am interested in politics, and also that my degree, career and writing all have a political grounding. I have actually been told how unusual it is for a girl! Obviously they haven’t heard of Emily Pankhurst, Simone de Beauvoir, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher, Naomi Wolf and Hilary Clinton; what about Eva Per√≥n?

For me, applying any expectations upon a person, especially at a young and impressionable age, just becomes a simple case of the self fulfilling prophecy. You get what you expect. Women and men then become merely caricatures of their gender, nothing more than that! How can we then argue they are naturally as they should be?

Have women actually been able or allowed to genuinely break through that “glass ceiling”? Not if the 21st centuries depiction of gender is the reference point; a woman’s place is still at home, while the man still belongs to the world. This has to be true, the BBC even think so!

To be serious, in recent years it has been a giant step backwards for men and women alike. Adverts, marketing, media and society in general have peddled the over sexualisation of the younger generation. This has drip fed a generation with gender specific notions of beauty, relationships, sex and availability, youth, frivolousness, self obsession, celebrity culture, diets, gossip, fashion and materialism.

So, maybe reverting to the stereotypical gender roles is only the natural step forward from this re-education?

For me I feel it is difficult to distinguish, and therefore state concretely, how much of nature actually plays a part in a child’s socialisation, self perception and development. Especially with all the dross floating around their environment.

Think about how difficult it is for us as adults to really separate ourselves, and our choices from all the expectations applied upon us, what we have seen, learnt, experienced and absorbed into our psyche?

If it is so difficult for us as adults, the question then remains; how can a child?

Nature v’s nurture, for me there is no real contest to contest!

Jealousy Is The Biggest Compliment


I have been thinking recently about those people, I am sure we are all aquatinted with, who enjoy making little sly remarks, boasting about themselves, feel they have something more to say, enjoy gloating and generally revelling in making those around them feel bad about themselves.

They play a game, a very specific, but a harmful game. A game called jealousy.

Jealousy is destructive, obsessive, consuming and dangerous, but, it is also the biggest compliment anyone can pay you.

For someone to be jealous of you, they must deem you to be a threat, highly important and a person who makes them (the jealous people) feel inferior or appear inferior.

Is this your fault? No, this is their problem and not yours, but they want to aim their problem at you, to make you feel as badly about yourself and your life as they do about themselves and their lives.

If you play their game you will lose. To become embroiled in their inner turmoil you give them what they want, a reaction and ammunition to continue pulling your strings with. This game gives them and their lives some temporary meaning – harsh, but very true.

Many people feel intimidated by those who display jealousy, they often feel they cannot retaliate or they don’t even realise the person who is aggravating, upsetting and being nasty to them, are actually jealous of them.

Yet, 99% of the time, people who suffer bullying, nastiness, bitchiness, lies, back-stabbing and so on, are the victims of jealousy. Jealous causes most of the problems between people, jealousy drives people to do strange things to one another.

I have experienced people trying to hurt me because they have been jealous, and people can and will be jealous of anything! Of course I have also at times played the game of these jealous people, and sorely regretted it. Through this experience I see clearly what the outcome of such things will be, and I avoid those I see that jealousy resides within like the plague! It is difficult though, because sometimes regardless of how impartial, diplomatic, genuine or nice you are, you attract jealousy. Once these jealous people have you in their sights, they point blank refuse to let you go; well, not until they have attempted to wreak as much damage upon you as is possible.

I have experienced their damage too, and believe me, on some occasions the pure maliciousness of the jealousy aimed in my direction caused me great turmoil.

I am however a great believer in karma. What goes around does indeed come around. I have though been lucky enough to see the malignant and jealous individual fall, and was able to inform them I knew their game, jealousy.

Regardless of how much hate they muster, how much spite they spit, how much damage they claim to cause, these jealous people can never escape what they wish they could, themselves. They will always be stuck with them, long after you have been freed from their jealous radar, they will still be the vile creature they always have been. Again, this may seem harsh, but it is very, very true.

I have no qualms in feeling as I do about jealous people. I have no mercy for those who are jealous, because they have no mercy for anyone else. In fact, they take great delight in attempting to destroy people. They therefore deserve nothing more than pity, but not sympathy.

Jealousy I feel is useless though. It destroys, but not only the victim of the jealousy, but the perpetrator too. If only these people could understand that fact, and employ as much effort into changing what they feel bad about, instead of ploughing their energies into jealousy, things would be different.

When all is said and done though, it is only us who tolerate jealousy. In reality, jealousy needn’t have a place in our lives, just don’t tolerate it; call them out, name and shame, publicly humiliate them! Remember too that you are far better than those who seethe with jealousy, and also, karma is always a bitch!

30 Days Of Change


Interesting concept; in 30 days you can either adopt a worthwhile lifestyle choice or delete a negative one from your world.

In just 30 days we, the humble human, can be re-programmed!

It doesn’t take a lifetime then? No, just 30 days. So, a Leopard can change its spots? YES, I suppose it can if you think 30 days is all that is required to change!

In ‘Try Something New For 30 Days’ Matt Cutts talks about how he begun embarking on his quest to change, in, you guessed it, ONLY 30 days. He also talks about how the tasks then grew in difficulty, how they challenged him and what profound changes actually occurred.

Inspiring? Well, I think so ūüôā

 

The ‘talk’ is really short so; please, please, please watch this link!

Try Something New For 30 Days

Let me know what you think; are you willing to take the challenge?! 

Life


Life is made up of many threads, if you don’t make those threads to begin with then how can you possibly create a life?

Life won’t just knock upon your door and ask if you are free to come out and play! It is you who has to go and knock upon life’s door first and ask it that question.

So, what are you waiting for?!

Experiences are the most important threads of life. Experiences enrich life!

Life has to be embraced. In fact, embracing life is living it, well, this is what I believe anyway.

Harbouring a fear of life is no good. Fear of what life will bring, is a wasted effort. Every new second brings the future to us, moves our lives forward, so the only thing fear can do is cripple our lives.

Experiences take us onto a path, they move us ever forward. Refuse to live life and have experiences, and there can be no path. If you won’t take a path to begin the journey with, how can you begin to live a life?

Standing still will not get anyone anywhere. You have to just take a path, any path, walk along it and see where the experiences will lead you.

Who knows what might be around that next corner!

Threads = opportunities = life

Everyone should want more threads in their lives, as these in turn bring new opportunities to enrich your life.

If you want a life you definitely have to weave one, and you can’t be afraid of getting your hand trapped in the loom!

More positivity = more happiness = more life!

Positivity is the building block to base your life upon, to build a firm foundation, to help you say ‘yes’ to life!

Basically, this is stuff you already know, but never really think about or even believe. It has taken me a long while to actually put it all into perspective, and truly believe it all! Better late than never I suppose!

Two Steps Forward


Two steps forward, and hopefully, this time there will be NO steps back!!!!!!!!!!!

Why, well I have made POSITIVE progress!!! YEH for me (happy face included)!!!!!

I am now a volunteer for a NGO here in Madrid, and I am feeling mightily proud of myself!!!!!! Today was my first day, and I have been busy completing some research for them; which is a task I love doing.

At the moment I am not ready to relate all the gory details of what I am exactly doing, not yet anyway. It is after all early days. Needless to say I have begun positively, and hope to remain that way too; fingers and toes crossed please!!

Since discovering the volunteer options available here in Madrid, I have noticed there has been a subtle change within myself. This little new spark of, positivity perhaps, has made everything seem a little ‘rosier’. OK, the change isn’t so dramatic that I could take on the world, and conquer it single handedly; BUT, I feel I am moving forwards instead of stagnating in that rotten rut. I have, I think and HOPE, taken a sledge hammer to that rut and demolished it!!! Hehe!!

For the next few days though, I will be away. We have booked a short holiday to Valencia, which we are looking forward to!!!

Upon my return, I look forward to recommencing my progress through this exciting new chapter of possibilities in my life!! I also have ‘Madrid Meet Up’ groups to attend, which should be interesting!!!!!!!! Who knows what new wonders will await ūüôā

ONE LAST THING – I just want to THANK everyone who has been so kind in providing me with support during my ‘ranting and raving’ and negative moments. I have appreciated each and everyone of your kind wishes, advice and comments left as response to my posts. You are all truly wonderful, and kind people, who I feel privileged to have bumped into within the WordPress blogshere!!!

THANKS TO YOU ALL, and have a wonderful weekend!!!

Turn Over A New Leaf


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Since my last post ‘A Helping Hand’, I have been trying to reconsider my position or imposition.

I do not propose to dwell upon what I wrote, although I realise it will take time to change what I feel I might be missing within myself or my life. Yet, at the moment I am looking at reassessing myself. I am on a mission of self discovery РI want to relocate exactly what I am all about as a person, to try and redefine me. Since I last checked РI have changed, just as my situation has. This is something I have to accept, come to terms with, work with and not run away from.

So, I took on some advice from those bloggers who responded to my last post (BY THE WAY – THANK YOU!!). I have obtained a copy of ‘What Colour Is Your Parachute’ – which is helping to push me into quantifying¬†myself, to ask myself¬†questions¬†I might be a little afraid of.

I am looking into what ‘meet up’ groups are out there in Madrid for me to get together with people who might be of interest.

Once again I am looking at volunteering positions, and perhaps taking on whatever part time jobs might be available.

I cannot say for certain if any of these things will bring me what I look for or indeed even come to fruition; yet, I will try.

What I do¬†believe¬†is that where I am now, is where I wanted to be. I have gotten exactly what I required, and also, what I needed. I shouldn’t therefore see this as a wasted opportunity – it is a gift of time out from things that injured me. When I am ready to re-engage with whatever I lost or left behind or I buried inside – I will, and not one moment before. I can’t force myself to do, be, or become anything until I am ready, until the time is right. So, I accept what is, I will try to progress and find a direction, BUT, I propose to just enjoy what I have, as that is all there is.

Thank you, sincerely, to the bloggers who responded and provided advice and expressed concern.

I appreciate your input and all you shared with me.

THANK YOU!!!!!!