2019

Merry Christmas

It’s the one day of the year, where everyone gets to spend time with their loved ones. It is maybe family, it’s maybe friends, it’s maybe even someone you haven’t met in real life. Some people just prefer to get absorbed in something they love, like a book, TV show, or computer game.

It doesn’t really matter what you do. As long as you try and benefit from that one time of the year where everything slows down. Where shops close, TV channels play limitless movies, and there seems to be food everywhere. It is nice to take time out of the everyday life, which can easily get on top of a person.

I hope that everyone reading this, has the chance to spend the festive period surrounded by love, however you find it.

2019, ramblings

Don’t Stop Me Now

To most people I am a quiet person. Very shy, and don’t like to go to places where I don’t know anyone. I get panic attacks and frequently cancel plans to stay at home on my own. I am very good at isolating myself.

However, when I see articles or comments berating a group of people, for being who they are and I can’t hold back. I feel like life is about better things for yourself and others around you through education. So when I see ignorance on Facebook, or some article, I feel composed to jump up and say something. My belief is that if someone is not harming anyone, and making themselves happy, why to get so upset about what they do. Most of the time the angriest people are angry because they simply can’t relate. And I feel that it is wrong to comment harmful words on a topic that you have no knowledge on, and are scared of.

This feels like a big thing right now, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I see people berating trans people, or people who aren’t cis-gendered, regularly. As I grew up, I had so much verbal abuse about my own sexuality and gender. I have always been a tomboy, and never been a girly girl. I was bullied at school, for looking like a boy. It was the first point where I started hating myself, which started a horrible spiral which has lead to many mental health issues through my life. I kept myself to myself, I never hurt anyone, and tried to be a good person. But I was made to feel like a criminal for being who I am.

So, when I see people angling abuse at folk, I feel I have to say something. I think everyone should. I frequently hear people say they are okay with ‘the gays’ but then berate someone struggling with gender identity. You either support the LGBTQ+ community or you don’t, in my opinion. I don’t understand why you would hate someone for something you don’t understand. And mockery translates to hate to a person who feels attacked from all sides.

People say that their ‘free speech for jokes’ has been spoilt by Social Justice Warriors, and it isn’t true. It’s just the jokes that used to be made at the expense of women, race, or LGBTQ+, is no longer acceptable. You see, these people now have a voice, and can speak up and tell you why it’s not okay to berate them. Free speech is allowing you speak what you want, but it also gives people the ability to call you out on anything which is problematic.

Every day is a chance to educate yourself on a viewpoint which is unknown to you. Make the best of it. The world will be better for it.

2019

Social Media Care

I remember when I started using social media, many years ago (in fact, 10 years ago), it was a place of excitement. It was new for everyone, it was filled with normal folk, as advertisers hadn’t really jumped on the bandwagon yet. Social media became a place of freedom of expression. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, this isn’t the case anymore. No matter what you express, it feels like there are always people about to try and pick holes in what you say. Like, I try to be kind and advice-like when I write, but people like to jump on what I say to be all ’that isn’t how it is to me, so you are lying’. And these people are usually anonymous profiles who seem to spend all their time hating other people.

It is important to look after yourself in an atmosphere that can be so destructive. So, I thought up I few things that I use, when social media gets to me.

1) Block button. Every social media site has the ability to mute or block certain users. This is good. You might have a friend who is posting annoying rubbish for a TV show you hate, you can mute them for a while. This means, you are still following them, but you don’t see their content for a while. Blocking means that the person is unfollowed, can’t see what you post or anything on your profile. This is a good way to cut out people who may be harassing you.

2)Take time out. Go for a day or so without social media. I usually simply put my phone on airplane mode for a few hours, like when I am studying, so that I can focus without the constant pinging of my phone. If that isn’t enough, and you want a few days away from the distraction of your Facebook timeline, delete the app from your most used device. A lot of the time, we check social media constantly because it always seems to be there. And it not being there, can free up a lot of time.

3)Don’t read bad comments. Sometimes, you could post a picture of an apple on Instagram, and it would attract bad comments. If you see this happening, try not to feel down. These people seem to get some kind of thrill of bringing people down. You can disable comments on many social media services, as well as make it so only your friends can comment. You will find that people are a lot less confrontational if they know you, or have to share their identity.

4) Just laugh. Try not to take social media too seriously. A lot of the content that you will be shown on sites like Facebook and Twitter are there to get a reaction. So they will either be content you agree with, or content you massively disagree with. For example, I would say I am ’left-leaning’ when it comes to politics, so the stuff I get shown is either supporting that stance, or is wildly opposing those views. So, try not to take everything as gospel, and just laugh when people do. It also can defuse a situation building up within yourself, as laughter does make you feel better.

5) Be kind to yourself. If you find anything on social media to be causing any kind of negative reaction to yourself, then step away. You are the only you there is, so it’s important you look after yourself. If there is too much BS happening, then go and read a book, play a computer game or whatever social media is distracting you from.

You can be selective over what you show on social media, and it’s important to remember that. Because everyone else is too. A lot of people show part of themselves, whether it be a nice or a nasty side. So if someone attacks you, then remember it is just what they think they see, it’s not actually you.

2018, ramblings

Head In Sand

Recently I haven’t been sharing at all. Which is not like me, but it’s hard when you are dealing with something that you’d rather not be dealing with.

Unfortunately, life is not that kind. I have been sick, had a major crash with my mental health, had course work due in and the busiest time of the year for the ol’ day job. And it all kind of left me functioning, but that was it. I didn’t want to talk about it, still don’t, because I didn’t want to think about how much stuff was happening all at once. It’s kind of calmed down a little, my coursework is done and Christmas is a week a way, which means no overtime. And it’s allowing me a little time to reflect on why I burrowed myself away from the internet.

For years the internet was where I could let my feelings go, where I could write about stuff that no one cared about. It was very therapeutic and it was completely disconnected from my real life. However, every day there seems to be more merging of both my private life and the one I talk about on line. People who I know in real life, are able to access what I am writing.

Now, this doesn’t seem like a huge problem for some, as they see things being made public, and surely it doesn’t matter who reads it. But… that’s not really how it goes. In my life, I try to put a smile on as I soldier on through whatever the day throws at me. Inside, I may be falling apart, but I don’t want people to see it. I always feel like my mental health issues makes me a burden on others, so I don’t want them to know. That way people don’t feel pressured into being nice, they are being nice because they want to, not because I’m not right in the head. And when these people I share my daily life with can read what I really feel, I feel like I have let them down. I mean, surely I should be able to talk to folk, right?

So, sometimes it is easier to bury my head in the sand. Pretend things are okay, when they aren’t. It’s not perfect. But, it can get me through times where I don’t have the strength to deal with questions about things that I don’t know how to put into words. That’s what writing helps me do, sometimes, put what’s in my head into words that (kind of) make sense.

ramblings

T’was The Season

Christmas time is a great time of the year. It is that one time of the year, where people can spend time with their loved ones, and where thanks is given to those who support us. It is still the one period of the year, where everyone get’s some time off work. It is nice to see that a lot of non-essential businesses closed, as everyone needs a time to cool down and relax.

The only problem is, that I started planning for Christmas months in advance, usually by making lists for what I want to gift people, but I don’t actually do anything about it till the last minute. Once again, I ended up running around town on Christmas Eve, getting presents and the like. Because I know what I am getting people, it is fairly easy to get in the shops I need to, and then leave.I find it best, as that way I don’t have to deal with too bad crowds, as I am ready for home before midday.

Christmas day is classed as that one day where I eat too much, and watch rubbish on TV, and this year was no exception. When you work hard all year, it is nice to just kick back with family. And to me, that is what the period is about. Yes, presents are nice, but it’s about showing your thanks and chilling out.

You will notice, that ‘blogmas’ fell apart pretty quick, as expected. But December is the one month where time seems to just disappear. One day it was the start of the month, and it felt like it was Christmas day within a blink of an eye. Which is scary. They say that time going fast is a sign of getting older, which I am not particularly keen to think about.

But in a few days, we say goodbye to 2017, and start afresh with 2018. And I feel genuine excitement.

2017, Life, ramblings

Blue Monday?

It’s supposed to be the most depressing day of the year today. I don’t really understand the idea of dubbing a random day ‘the most depressing’.

I have been reading a lot about mindfulness and how most of what we feel is based on perceptions. So we assume things will be bad, because of the angle we are looking at it. I feel that is what happens when someone tells you a day is supposed to be depressing. You get into that mindset, and there is no getting away from it.

I’ll give you an example. I have been wanting a car, since I passed my driving test in November. I have now been 2 months since I passed my test, and because I haven’t been at a driving wheel since I had a melt down. Now, since I passed, I made the choice that I’d wait till I saved up money, and get the right car. But I made the mistake of reading all these negative articles about ‘Blue Monday’ as I ate my cereal this morning. Because I have so many issues with my mental health, I always think I am prone to these periods where depression runs high.

I was going to get a lift to the gym this morning, but my sister was taking her time, and a bus was due. So me being me, I left and went for the bus. All good so far. But then I started thinking about how at 18 she was offered to share a car with my dad. My brother was that age when he was gifted a car. And i couldn’t even get someone to come and look at cars with me. I started freaking out. What if I forget how to drive? What if I get in a car and freak out? What if I am never able to get a car? I got so worked up, I was sobbing at the back of the bus.

I stayed on the bus, despite just wanting to go home, and went to the gym as planned. I then sweated all the negativity out of my system, and I now feel better.

I feel I got so upset by reading all these articles about how people more successful than me felt low today. I mean, the whole idea of Blue Monday, is because people are waiting for the first payday after Christmas. That doesn’t apply to me, as I get paid weekly, but it didn’t stop the bad feeling. And I think by digesting all this writing about why I should be sad, I over-reacted to something completely different.

I have been reading The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein, and it is a book about changing your mindset. Putting trust in the universe and stop worrying about a future that hasn’t happened yet. The book tries to explain that by thinking in ‘love’ rather than ‘fear’, we can transform our lives. It sounds really silly, but this is revolutionary to me. It got me thinking how negativity does effect my day, and my life. I am trying to do the lessons that are in the books, but it is hard. Like everything, new habits need to be formed to make a difference.

Maybe the first habit I need to break from, is sensationalist articles on social media, trying to tell me how I should feel. Focus on the feel-good. Try a bit of positive mental attitude.

Life, ramblings

That’s That Then

So Christmas is done for another year. Usually there is a ‘come down’ after Christmas, as that big day that we have been building towards is over. And it feels strange that I don’t feel that usual ‘come down’. 

My focus this year was on having time to chill out and spend the time with family. And it has been an unreserved success. Christmas this year, has been about spreading joy, making people laugh and generally being happy. Making others happy gives such an adrenaline rush. I feel I have not made the best of the festive season before, as I have got too worked up about the material things. Losing sleep if someone would actually like the gift I had bought them. But that doesn’t really matter. This year it was more about the giving rather than the actual gift. And that helped me relax this year. 

I spent days in work singing Christmas songs and helping to give a Christmas treat to workers (see below). And it made everything so much more enjoyable. All because it made other people smile or laugh. 

My whole experience of Christmas has been a new one this year, and it has felt like more than just one day. It has been a happy few weeks, and I have massively enjoyed it. 

I went through a phase for quite a few years where I felt Christmas was a waste of time. Just there to make more money for shops. By changing my thinking slightly, that Christmas is about the people around you, I have ended up enjoying everything more. You can buy something from Poundland, and if has the right intent behind it, the gift can be as appreciated as something costing a lot of money. And it has taken me too long to realise that. 

I hope anyone reading this had a great Christmas weekend, and enjoyed a bit of downtime with those who mean most to you. 

internet, Lifestyle change, technology, Uncategorized

Disconnection Notice

It has recently been made abundantly clear that my, once passionate, love affair with the internet is going through a rough patch. I am becoming frequently frustrated to the point of putting my phone’s internet off, so that people can call me if they need me, but I don’t get interrupted by the constant Facebook and Twitter updates.

Yes, I am at that stage where I am avoiding the other party of the ‘relationship’. Normally in that situation, you would change how you walk to work, or try and hang out with different people. Try and create some space between yourself and the other person. However, when your relationship is with such a thing as the internet, it isn’t that easy. Actually, it becomes so overly dramatic that a relationship with a real person would have probably been easier to deal with.

I mean, everyone has been in ‘that’ relationship, where despite loving that person, everything they do winds you up the wrong way. Where you just want smack them on the head, and you can’t really tell them why. So, you try and put some space between you both. However, saying you ‘have a sore head’ doesn’t stop the internet. It is everywhere. Everything from restaurants to tampon companies have their own twitter handles. If you liked one craft page 2 years ago on Facebook, the site recommends events near you every 2-3 days. Sometimes I feel smothered.

But that’s not even the worst bit. When I was at my lowest point, the internet came to the rescue. It showed me that I was not alone in feeling so rejected all the time, that I could voice how I feel, and all seemed awesome. But, obviously, fairy tales don’t actually exist, and reality happened. When I say reality, I mean people who like to spread hatred from behind vague avatars. This was a nasty streak in the internet that I never foresaw. It wouldn’t happen to me, we are so happy together. But it did.

Now, a person’s nasty streak is easy to deal with. You can utter sarky retorts to their insults, or you just walk away. Yes, what they say hurt may leave a mark, but you can leave that one person. The internet isn’t a singularity, so dealing with any negativity from it, is a bit harder. If someone has taken to ‘troll’ something you have created, it normally isn’t just one person. And you also may find these trolls are a bit braver than what they would be in the real world, which means more cutting comments. I did what any sane person would do, I decided I needed time apart from the internet. I stopped going onto forums and writing blogs as often, as these places are where the negativity came from. Good? Kind of. When I did log on, I saw a lot of hate and the spread of intolerance. This is not the internet I had loved and used so heavily.

Who are you these days, dear internet? You are no longer the place that I go when things get to stressful. After allowing me to feel free, after so long hating who I am, you are now lampooning me for being that same person. A normal person would at least be able to explain their actions. And, as an adult, I wouldn’t need to rely on a person for EVERYTHING. My job exists because of the internet. I get my music and TV over the internet. I contact friends around the world on the internet.

Maybe I just need to change my relationship with the internet? Or maybe get in a relationship with a real life actual person?

Or not.