This is.....

My photo
Probably insane, sometimes cynical, mostly absurd and occasionally feisty, buddhist, sapiosexual witch with a passion for love, food and life. Convinced that most people either need a hug, or a damn good slap :)

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Blesséd are the poor... I just can't remember why now.

Feeling very conflicted today. I'm not a political person, but anyone with any contact with the outside world would be aware that this government seems to be actively trying to make things worse for a whole lot of people. I know I only have posts on Facebook, Twitter and various other sites to base this opinion as 'luckily' so far I haven't been affected. How long that lasts is probably in direct relation to my general health and ability to work and even I know that could change overnight. 

It seems the media has set out to destroy our opinion of the NHS, no prizes for guessing who is funding that propaganda, governments and large private companies who would reap the benefits of us all suddenly having to pay for treatment if it collapsed. Not everyone can afford private medical insurance, especially if they charge the same as they do in the U.S. for treatment. I happen to love the NHS, they do fantastic work with bugger all thanks and an even smaller salary. 

They also seem to be targeting the disabled, people who, if given the choice, wouldn't rely on 'hand outs' from the government but are denied that choice. Over and over again we see services and benefits being removed, causing stress, lack of mobility, independence and security. 

In my admittedly limited knowledge of what the governments long term plans are, it seems that the poor and disabled are the easiest targets, neither having the money or the opportunity to have a voice. I'm not naive though, I do know there are people out there with no intention of working, who play the system to the extent that they appear to have more than me sometimes, but this isn't the majority.

As someone who lives alone, my wages just about cover my living costs with just occasionally enough to treat myself. I can't afford holidays, or great expensive things, but I'm warm, have food and have no great needs at the moment. 

The reason I'm conflicted though?  I don't have this clear in my own mind yet so please forgive me if this comes out wrong. Is the media/government/big businesses actively promoting the awful stories we read in an effort to push us into helping each other, thus absolving them of the responsibility and allowing them to keep their precious billions while we remain suitably poor? 

Don't get me wrong, if I could persuade people to look around their local community and help each other out more, I'd be all for that. If I needed help with getting out of bed in the morning I'd much rather it be a friend doing it because they wanted to, rather than an unknown doing it because they are being paid to. Should we do that though and let the government get away with it? 

The other conflict inside me is that I've deliberately not bought a newspaper in 37 years (I know this figure because I remember making that decision when I was 20). The reason being all newspapers are skewed to match the political beliefs of a particular party. They work to brainwash the masses, printing outright lies if necessary to move the public's view their way. (Ha, I always say if I'd wanted to be lied to I'd have stayed married!) Now however, if I want to stay on social media, I am subjected to those same lies in a different format. 

Money equals power. This is a sad truth. It's not the size of your heart but the size of your wallet that counts in this skewed society of ours. But, do we let them get away with it and help each other or do we fight back? If we fight, how do we do this? Riots? Demonstrations? They don't work and in fact quite often only hurt those who are in the same position. I wonder if riots would be subtly encouraged as it will cull a few more poor people out of the equation. Sometimes I think there is a despot out there who is thinking to themselves "Hmm we want to be a wealthy country. If we kill off all the poor, we will be!"

Perhaps that is my cynical view on things and I'm sure there will be people out there laughing at my politically uneducated views. As you can see I've come to no conclusions about all this and now it is all down here, I'm just as confused and suspicious as I was when i started. 

May you all never need government assistance.

Monday, 21 December 2015

It's nearly here!! I can see it!

This is a strange time of year. As I do every time it comes around, You know that feeling, when you're in a queue for sometime particularly good, you're excited, impatient, a little bit annoyed that there are so many people in front of you but so looking forward to getting there? That's how I feel right now. 

It has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas, apart from that happens to be around the same time. It's the New Year coming closer and closer. To use another analogy, it's like walking in a tunnel and you can see the end of it, all bright and shiny and new, dazzling with promise. A blank book, waiting to be written. 

ok stop with the analogies as they are getting all tangled together.. I think you get the idea though!

I've always made resolutions, rarely kept them but that's not the point. It's all about the planning. To be a better you, to work harder at that thing you've set your sights on, possibly more than once. I think they are important to give you focus, to begin to write on that nice clean blank first page all your hopes and dreams for the coming year. They only fail if you lose sight of the goal. Only you can keep them going. 

So looking back on the promises I made last year, and largely messed up.. i say "thank goodness this year is finishing, bring on the next one where I WILL succeed"

Whether I will or not is totally up to me, but going to make it official by writing them here, and then keeping you updated every few months on how they are going. Here goes:

1. Commit one act of random kindness per day.
2. Exercise more and work at eating healthier 
3. Explore photography more
4. Do Reiki more, use it to help others as well as helping me
5. Believe in me because if I allow myself to, I rock!
6. Dance.
7. Give more, even if it's only time.
8. Sculpt more.
9. Accept that people might possibly actually like me
10. Let go.

In some ways, numbers 9 and 10 are the most important. I have real trouble believing that I'm likeable. Hmm does that mean I don't trust people and think they are lying when they say they like me? Now that's something to ponder on. A basic flaw in my nature perhaps.

As for 10, I find this the hardest of all. It's like I can't give myself permission to relax and just do something or just be in the moment. I'm great at telling others to do this but it's like all my life has been anxiety ridden, waiting for that shoe to drop. I need to learn that not only is there no spoon, there's no shoe either!

The overall plan is to get something off the ground I started thinking about a long time ago. Something I want to call 'Tender Moments'. As I think people need to connect more in this contactless world, a project that a few people are willing to do with me. Going to shopping malls or town centres, just giving out free hugs, that last for 60 seconds to whoever wants them. Anyone can join in and if you see me out and about and want a tender moment, just ask :)

That's my plan, and my goals for 2016. 

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

softies, suicides and surprises

Was chatting to my boss today, he was telling me about a friend of his that had committed suicide. Apparently it was his third attempt. He was successful, had a loving family, but that old black dog depression finally took him. 

As chats generally do, it gently touched several related topics before settling on something I wasn't expecting. He is a lot younger than me, and nearly always upbeat. 

I'd commented, in the way of all older people when talking about the 'younger' generation, that it seemed to me that people just weren't coping with life how they used to when I was young. He looked at me for a moment and then sighed.

"Even I can see it Kate. Things are so different now. When you were young, people just got on with things. If they had nothing, they made the best of what they had. When you were young, things were so different" 

I understood what he meant, even though I was kinda waiting for the "what were dinosaurs really like" question!

This is not them!
When I was young, I had two uncles. My father's brothers. Both had gone to war, one to be captured and ended up in a prisoner of war camp. On his return, all he could eat were little cheesy biscuits that he kept in a tin beside him. He'd pop one in his mouth every so often. He wasn't able to keep more than that down. The other, although a robust and healthy looking man, took a bullet which travelled through the side of his thigh, upwards, taking out most of his 'manhood'. I remember them as lovely men, smiling and laughing, although even at a young age I remember the occasional haunted look in my Uncle Harry's eyes (the POW). They fought on, long after the war was ended, both dying old men. 

I can't help wondering what would happen now, if our young men had to go to war, had no choice like my uncles.

We talked on, comparing differences, then and now. Designer clothes hadn't really been around when I was small, nor had most of the electronic things that people rely on now. My boss is convinced we are breeding a world of 'softies' who can't cope without a mobile phone, access to the internet and a decent wrapping of cotton wool protecting them from the world.

This made me think. I remember my dad, who was ill for so many years, telling me that the world didn't owe me a living, that everything I wanted I had to go out and fight for. I did too, taking any job that came along, hating nearly all of them, but doing what I had to do to get what I wanted. Worst saturday job?
Worst job EVER!
Easy. Working in a wet fish shop, with fishing nets full of ice, dripping down on all different kinds of raw fish. An open fronted shop, so in the winter, not only was it cold from the weather, iced water constantly dripped down on your frozen hands while you were trying to bag it for the customers. Have you ever squeezed the arse of a fish to see whether soft or hard roe came out? I feel nauseous even remembering it! Then going home, stinking of raw fish. It was the best paid Saturday job in Billericay High Street but the most god awful one as well! 

I'm trying really hard not to turn this into a rant, because while in no way do I agree with some that people with depression need to just 'pull themselves together' and as I have had depression I know just how insulting that phrase is, it was the catch all for every emotion going when I was small. You couldn't go along to the doctors and get anti-depressants, not easily anyway. People got on with it.. or didn't. There wasn't the publicity there is now. It was kept very quiet, I really think people were ashamed if a member of their family killed themselves.

Doing a little research, I discovered something surprisingly interesting.. yes i'm warped like that. Take a look at this table It shows the ratio of suicides for men and women from 1981 to 2013 aged between 15 and 85+. Looking at the men, there are no great differences until you get to the age of between 40 and 50. The increase in suicides of those of that age are frightening. In 1981 the total was 279 between 40-44 and 286 between 45-49. In 2013 that had jumped to 496 and 505 respectively. Oddly, in women, at every age range there has been a drop in the rate. 

What does this tell us? Damned if I know. Are kids softer now? I think they might be. So many don't seem to have the drive to succeed, to go out and earn, to explore. 

And we wander off on a short tangent here. I was known as the strictest mum on the street when my girls were small. I was the one that didn't have underage pregnancies or drug addicts to deal with though. No reason for saying that, just wanted to put it out there!

There is a large part of me that would like to see the return of National Service, not an army based one though, one where kids are taught discipline, taught to take pride in themselves, learning skills, helping others, being shown how to look out at the world rather than in at themselves. 

My word.. this was a ramble. I actually came at this from a grumpy old woman point of view.. I was going to put down all the things that annoy me, all the things that I think people are doing wrong etc. Jeez I can get conceited sometimes in thinking I know best. I'm glad it toned itself down a bit.