Thursday, 21 March 2013

My Super Sweet 16

For some reason, probably after the induced madness from being stuck in bed all day with a virus, I decided to watch a few old episodes of 'My Super Sweet 16'. A TV show made to document spoilt brats on their 'special day' and the ludicrous amount of money spent on throwing parties for kids with no limits. After having watched about two I was no longer angered by their outrageous behaviour but laughing at the absurdity of it all. How strange to grow up in a world where diamonds and popularity are the most important things. Where Daddy and Mummy will buy anything because they're too weak to deal with your tantrums. I'm in no way inclined to be a disciplinarian but there is a line where the child hasn't learnt any morals or limits as to where their behaviour becomes unbelievably rude because the parent just want their little darlings to be happy.

The kids on this programme quite clearly are not very happy at all. They've not been taught the value of things because money really is no object to them. They've been shown that feeling upset or angry because they weren't bought the right coloured car is acceptable and that there can't possibly be more to life than the £3000 dress they were bought on a whim because they simply adored it. They don't understand that that isn't real life, that there are so much more important and wonderful things to care about.

I know that 'My Super Sweet 16' and other shows like it are edited to make the programme more entertaining and the kids more bratty, but if they're prepared to be depicted like that I think it shows true colours as to who they really are. Being shown talking to their parents with the least amount of respect I've ever seen in front of a large audience demonstrates the truth as to how these kids really are. I dread to think of the kind of adults they grew up to be and I hope for the sake of the next generation they don't raise their children in the same way. Unfortunately, however, they most likely will and there will still be a bubble of society with enormous wealth to whom the world's issues do not concern because Prada and Gucci are the main priority. How tragic.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

“Books are like imprisoned souls till someone takes them down from a shelf and frees them.” ― Samuel Butler

Everybody needs their own story. I don't mean their own life story, but a story from a book that will stay with them throughout their lives. Everyone, truthfully, needs a favourite book.

You need to suddenly and irrationally only want to read that book to stay in that world for as long as possible. You need to have that feeling in your heart where inside is the secret of the story you have found, and thinking of it makes you feel excited about discovering more. You need to lose track of all time as the words on the pages become your world, and your surroundings disappear.

You need to fall absolutely and utterly in love with at least one character and swear that until the day you die you will never love another more. Because real people are never quite as perfect as fictional ones. You need to feel angry when your character feels angry, you need to feel happy when they do. You need to feel almost sick with butterflies in your stomach when they are nervous or in love or frightened. You need to feel completely attached to your character, even though it may not be the one you're in love with, and feel real emotions as they do. As if everything in those pieces of paper are powerfully real.

You need to assure all your family and friends, and bore them to death, that this is the best book you've experienced and it gets you. Because there must be an author out there for everyone that has perfectly and magically captured the very essence of yourself without even meeting you, articulated that one thing about you that you just couldn't put your finger on.

You need to sit tightly in your bed utterly immersed in the book unaware of the page turning, as if it turns itself. And unaware that there are only words in front of you but instead an entire world separate from the one you are in. You need to stay up until God knows what in the morning forgetting entirely that sleep is important for you to function because for this moment you live and breathe that book.

You need to sob and cry onto the pages and mourn for the fictional, because right now your characters are completely real and you know them like close friends. Hopefully you are lucky enough to be held by someone who understands you need to weep for your fictitious world.

You need to become so attached to this book you seriously consider, or even do, call your children by the characters' names. You need to tell your children this story some day, and even though it may not be their book you will teach them to find their own.

Everybody needs their own story. Everyone, truthfully, needs a favourite book.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

For mother's day.

A beautiful poem that makes me think of my own mother, and what she means to me.

Praise Song For My Mother, by Grace Nichols.

You were
water to me
deep and bold and fathoming

You were
moon's eye to me
pull and grained and mantling

You were
sunrise to me
rise and warm and streaming

You were
the fishes red gill to me
the flame tree's spread to me
the crab's leg/the fried plantain smell
                                      replenishing replenishing

Go to your wide futures, you said

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Take the next left and you'll have reached your 'zen'.

There is something both intriguing and admirable about the ability to find one's 'zen' and to go to it in any situation. I am jealous of those who have perfected the skill of using one's body and breathing to just become in a place of simple being with a single focus for a moment or two. Things like Yoga or Pilates where focusing on one's core or flexibility or balance through the absolute concentration on your own respiration and the trust in your body's natural limits helps one's surroundings and crowded thoughts to disappear. I think it's beautiful to just let yourself become completely immersed in the steady rise and fall of breath and the gentle and graceful movement of the body.

Being able to completely relax through a sort of slow dance is impressive. But having the skill that enables one to sit down in a comfortable position and focus on only one simple thing without distraction is incredible. Some think that sounds easy but try sitting for more than a minute without thinking about what's for dinner, what's on TV tonight, or that embarrassing moment from the day before. It seems almost impossible. I aim to someday find my 'zen', my true place of absolute calm simply to boast that I can. I think it shows immense strength and trust in one's mind and body.