Sunday Thinking

This is a fairly personal thing to be talking about, which isn’t something I’m fond of; if you speak to me on other blogs/social media, you’ll know I always (at least try to) have a mostly sunny outlook, am fairly positive, and act like the world doesn’t faze me at all.

It does faze. Every moment of my day, in every way possible. You learn to put up walls and false smiles well enough, though, and you can fool anyone, can’t you?

This past, I think it must be getting on for three years now, I have been at the mercy of something I’ve been jokingly calling a head mess, but it’s probably fairly obvious it’s a little more than that. I’m not sure the intrusive thoughts I have should have as much power over me as they do, or that it’s completely okay to have constant nightmares, to get so anxious about doing anything that’s out of my comfort zone – and for that, currently that means just about everything – that it feels like my heart’s not trying to claw its way up out of my throat, but fling itself out of my chest alien-style. The constant being-on-the-verge-of crying or screaming – or both at the same time – is also a fun thing to experience for any situation I don’t already know the outcome of (which, let’s face it, is most).

I can spend an hour walking around a town trying to find a cafe to work in, because every time I come to one I look in and don’t think I fit in, or decide people are looking at me funny, or maybe the step’s a little high and I’ll make a fool of myself by tripping up. I rarely make eye contact with anyone, rehearse conversations with just about everyone, and have an army of excuses for why I don’t have to go outside. It’s a very odd feeling needing to keep moving, yet terrified to step through the door to do that.

Now, it’s not all bad, I’m mostly functioning in at least some ways, namely in writing; in fact anything I can do online that doesn’t involve an actual, live conversation and I’m doing great. But the interaction with real life people thing is… complicated. Either I’ve lost my nerve, my trust in people has completely withered up and died, or the world really is as awful as I’ve conjured it to be. Don’t ask me; I just live in my head, I’ve apparently got no control over what goes on in there!

The question is, how do you go forward from that? I know there’s some who’d say helpful things like ‘go to a doctor’, but when you’re phobic about that kind of thing and think you’re going to pass out just for walking past a hospital, that’s a little problematic. And the counselling route is an even bigger no no; when you’re the person everyone comes to with their problems, it’s very difficult to flick that switch and share what’s going on for you (in my experience, anyway).

I don’t know. Online, I feel like I might be doing okay. You can’t really tell how much a person is falling apart if they don’t tell you, and there’s always a way to word things so people won’t know how badly things are going. But in the Real World, things are more mucky. I apparently have fooled the people I have to interact with that all is well, but what happens when someone sees through all of that? What do I do then?

This isn’t a plea for help, this is just a typed out musing, and I’m sure there are other people feeling the exact same way. I just… this isn’t something I talk about generally, and I guess I’m feeling my way into doing that. I’m not sure it’s my thing; fiction and made-up existences are far more interesting and easier to navigate!

Life is complex; why didn’t we get how-to manuals?

Sunday Thinking

When you fall out of love with someone, everything you feel when you acknowledge that moment is bittersweet, because once upon a time, that person was your everything, and you couldn’t imagine them not being in your life. But then something shifts, and it doesn’t have to be something that either of you have or haven’t done, sometimes it just happens, and all of a sudden that person is no longer stealing your breath, but draining your energy and time. And that’s a horrible feeling; I don’t think anyone can honestly say they feel nothing when they fall out of love with someone, it’s not like a switch you can arbitrarily turn on or off. Heartache of any kind is hard, that’s why we write about it, right? Why we sing songs about it, watch things that show that pain on a screen that is separate from us yet we can so easily relate to.

Not to be melodramatic, or perhaps to be incredibly melodramatic, but when you fall out of ‘love’ with a ship – as in, your favourite TV couple – it’s not quite as painful or wounding as falling out of love yourself, perhaps, but it does have an impact on your life. It does me, anyway; all the time you invested in wanting to see them happy, clutching at straws and clinging to meta writing, overanalysing moments in episodes where maybe, possible, if you squint, something might be about to happen, and then, that feeling is gone. That care and attention, that excitement of seeing them sharing the same screen means nothing anymore, and if anything, seeing them just makes you feel a little, well. Bittersweet.

If you’ve never shipped a couple in a show or film, then you probably stopped reading this a paragraph ago, but if you have, then you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. And if you have, you probably share that odd sense that something is over for you, that maybe you feel now that you shouldn’t have become so invested in this relationship that isn’t yours, but you did, and for so long, this thing meant a lot to you. Perhaps everything – too much, for some.

So I guess what I’m saying is, I have, or I am in the process of falling out of love with (one of) my ship(s), one that has kept me afloat (…) for a good few years now, got me through some difficult things purely by giving me something else to focus on other than myself, and I feel… deflated. Bereft. Out of sorts. All kinds of things that I probably ‘shouldn’t’ be feeling about a fictional relationship that is nothing to do with me at all. But that’s how I feel. And yes, probably, I got too invested, I think many of us fans do, and I won’t apologise for it nor regret it, but this feeling I’m left with, when I scroll past the things that used to grab my attention because I don’t want to see them anymore, it’s just like scanning through your facebook to avoid pictures of exes or other couples together when you’re no longer in one.

There are multiple reasons why this particular ship has sailed for me, and it has to do with the characterisation, some of the actors, the show itself, and I’m trying perhaps a little too hard to not turn away from it entirely, telling myself I’ll be interested again when the next season starts. But it just doesn’t feel like that now. Everything I read about it currently just makes me groan and scroll faster…

And what’s probably going to read as even more ridiculous for a casual viewer, is that I have found another ship that has well and truly surpassed the one that’s been breaking my heart. This one appears to be loved by the actors, shows and (majority) of fans alike, and the care and attention that they pay these characters really does put the smile back on my face. The ridiculous part of that is that I feel a little like I’m cheating, because ship number one is still a part of my life in so many ways, and yet this new one has come along and really, I only have eyes for that. And that is… bizarre.

Welcome the the weird and wonderful world of shipping, if it’s not something you already do…

Sunday Thinking

Still needing to see a little kindness in the world… bear with me!

Woman’s ‘simple act of kindness’ of sharing beer and burger with homeless man

Oklahoma cashier’s act of kindness leaves foster parent in awe

Acts of kindness in wake of Waltham fire 

Five-Year-Old Learns Important Lesson In Kindness Thanks To Stranger’s Gesture At Church Fair

Plymouth firm’s random acts of kindness have spread to London

Why Kindness Matters In The Workplace

A nice end to a wonderful act of kindness …

This ‘Wall Of Kindness’ In Beirut Is Helping Those In Need

Sunday Thinking

Lots of lovely kindness in the news again for this week’s Sunday Thinking! Anyone would think it had been an unpleasant week or something…

Hong Kong charity’s ‘kindness walks’ a step in right direction to help homeless

Bluffton business celebrates 10 years with 10 random acts of kindness

Manchester teen recognized for act of kindness

East Tennesseans invited to take part in ‘Kindness Project’

Column: Mom uses kindness to teach about differences

Footsteps in Faith: Consider kindness in discouraging times

Letter: Show kindness and respect

Natalie Kelley’s Random Acts of Kindness

‘With all the hate in the world, she gave love.’ And people responded in a big way.

Sunday Thinking

Today I’m thinking, that if I turn the news on yet again to see mindless violence, or suffering, or injustice of any kind, I’m likely to punch my way through the screen and virtually throttle Google News.

I like my laptop, so to try and avoid that, I’m trying to stay away from today’s news.

So. Today I’m not going to talk at all, because this world is very slowly breaking my heart, and it’s stealing the words from my throat, and that’s no way to start a Sunday! So, here’s some links to some good news, or some news about kindness, because it feels like we really, really need some kindness right now.

Durham officer’s act of kindness goes viral after touching Facebook video

An 8-year-old’s mission to spread kindness throughout her community

Humanity Beats Cruelty Every Time: How Committing To Kindness To Yourself Can Change The World

Westhampton Beach Teens Take Part In Kindness Challenge

Act of Kindness: SDPD officer lends a helping hand to elderly man

Caring driver wins praise for kindness

Happy Sunday x

Sunday Thinking

Today I’m thinking that… people are… bewildering. I mean, this is something I think on most days, because you see things that make you want to shut up shop, pull up the drawbridges, wrap yourself in tinfoil and hide in the cupboard under the stairs. Well, me it does, which is sort of problematic; I have neither shop nor drawbridge, I am, much to my dismay, a mere muggle not destined for a magical future, and I’m out of foil.

And then I see things that make me want to embrace the world, comfort it and cuddle it and just… revel in this joyous thing we’ve got here in humanity.

Why does it take a tragedy to bring communities together? Or rather, why is it only tragedies that get reported on that show that sense of community? You flick through the news on any given day, and it’s like we’re constantly on the brink of civil war until something Bad happens, and then, oh, look at this lovely sense of sharing, aren’t we wonderful? Maybe we were wonderful all along. And maybe we weren’t, maybe we only realise there are people on our doorsteps when tragedy happens, and maybe even when that happens we’re far too narrow-minded to do anything but point, observe, turn our heads.

Which leaves me, and I’m certain a fair few others, bewildered by people. People can be the most cruel, twisted, awful individuals, yet turn into heroes the second there’s a call to action. People can be kind, sweet, genteel, and embracing of others, but the moment there’s an accident, nope, uh uh, not me, I can’t help, I’ll only help the people I want to, oh would you look at the time I’ve got to be somewhere else…

Humanity, people, we’re none of us perfect, and that’s fine, that’s life, that’s just how things are. But how are you supposed to embrace all that’s good in the world when there’s that niggling sense of doubt about what’s bad in the world? How do you overcome that cynicism that if someone can find a way to hurt you, they will? How do you trust people, enough to care about them all, when you never know if they’re going to turn out to be cruel, heartless bastards, or sweet, loving individuals who want nothing but good for this world? How do people gauge that? Is there a way to navigate it? An off switch for our overthinking, what? What is the answer here?

Uncertain. For now, I will eye the world with suspicion yet still do all I can to help, from the safe distance of behind my computer screen and away from human interaction. Which probably tells you all kinds of things about what’s wrong with me, but, you know. We’re all works in progress and all that…

In conclusion. Humans: we’re weird, and I don’t know what to do with that.


Sunday Thinking

Even on my darkest days, when all I feel is lacking, when all I’m aware of is everything I don’t have, I can’t even pretend to imagine the terror, horror, nightmare, fear, heartache – there isn’t even a big enough word to encompass what people caught up in the fire have been through, are going through, will continue to go through for probably all of their lives.

Home is supposed to be sanctuary, not tomb, it’s the place where we hold our loved ones close in love, not fear, it’s supposed to be the peace away from whatever struggles we face outside in the world.

This. Should not. Have happened.

There’s investigations to make, there’s analyses to be carried out, photographs to be taken and witness statements to be recorded. There is a process to follow to get to the answers and however long that takes, however much we recognise these steps are necessary, how is that ever going to feel like soon enough?

Speculation is rife at the moment, and because there doesn’t seem to have been a centralised point of information, all we feel, is frustration. True, those of us spectating this horror from a distance without personal involvement cannot appreciate what those in the middle of this are going through; this is not a situation we can empathise with because this is not something people experience, not today, not in this allegedly civilised country. But when we’re getting no clear answers, when we allow our press to bluster and blather and bullshit their way into every space occupied on our screens, it’s hard not to hate, point fingers, blame.

We need the press to keep us updated, not to invade personal tragedies. We need to know who is accountable for this, not through newsroom whispering but from those who have authority to speak on these situations. We need the press to report on this from a view of compassion and community, not who is going to score the biggest headline.

We need the authorities to speak to us. We need to know people are being heard, cared for, protected. How can people be anything but angry when it feels as though no one is being told anything? We need to know what’s happening, and it’s difficult to navigate between what people want to know and need to know when it comes to facts and figures on injuries, deaths, missing persons. But when we’re hearing the same figures repeated in our news, then hearing whispers from others telling a completely different story, it’s hard not to demand to know more, seek clarity on this nightmare situation.

We need to acknowledge that the poorest people in our society are being ignored. We need to understand why their lives are considered unworthy of just a little extra money to ensure renovations to their properties are done in their best interests and to keep them safe. We need landlords, social and otherwise, to provide homes for their tenants that are safe, fit for human habitation, not literal death traps. How is that a statement we even need to be saying; is that not obvious from a purely moral, humanitarian perspective anyway?

We need the alleged leader of this country to be a person. Not an automaton, not an approximation of what compassion is supposed to look like, we need to be able to trust them, see them in ourselves, see that they represent all of us. Whatever your political views at this moment, can any of us really say that we respect our leader? Trust them? Have faith in their abilities to lead us into an unknown future when they can’t even face these people who have lost everything in that fire? Who hides behind other people taking their flack, because they can’t handle criticism, and confrontation? Politics is not a game, and if confrontation makes you antsy, you are not fit to represent any of us, plain and simple.

But none of this. None of the bitterness, hatred, disillusionment, judgement, ridicule, is going to bring lives back. It’s not going to rebuild homes with a click of a fingers, erase the mental, physical, emotional scars people are left with after this ordeal. We can scream, and shout, and wail until our throats bleed, but none of that is going to bring those people back to us. None of it is going to ever be enough to console those left behind.

Sorry doesn’t seem like enough to say. Love not big enough to help. Kindness, continual thoughts, prayer, well-wishes; we will keep sending them in until they burst from our bodies. But right now, everything feels like it can’t ever be enough to help.


Sunday Thinking…

Today I’m thinking… that we just don’t do enough, you know? Not, we don’t chase our dreams hard enough, or are so busy we don’t have time for other things enough, though thinking about it, maybe they’re things we don’t do enough of as well; the list is probably endless.

But what I meant today, at least, when I started typing, anyway, is that we don’t do enough for other people. Now, yes, I’m sure there’s a lot of people who’d huff and disagree at that, listing all the things they do do enough of for people, and that’s great, really it is; we need more people doing stuff for other people. But the truth is, we don’t do enough, not anywhere near enough. Here’s what I’m thinking; I wonder how many of you agree.

Charity muggers, heart-wrenching TV ad campaigns, shock-tactic images in our Twitter feeds; constantly having people ask for help, ask for more, has succeeded in us doing the opposite. We don’t want to walk along our high streets and have clipboards shoved in our faces. We don’t want to have to skip channels because there’s a malnourished child, or dehydrated donkey, or any of the other reminders that there’s so much wrong with this world. The problem with all of these charities is they’re telling us we’re not doing enough: thank you for your generous donation – here’s a thousand other ways you need to be giving us more, and you’re heartless if you pass us by. The charity campaigns that don’t have us looking away are the subtle ones, the ones that manage to tug on my heartstrings without making me feel like I’m evil for not having the finances to help. They’re the ones encouraging us harder to do something, so that collectively we’re doing enough.

Celebrities, waxing lyrical about helping constantly yet living these lavish lifestyles we can’t afford to live ourselves; they piss a lot of people off, because how can you continually ask for people with less than you to help those with even less? Well, that’s tarnishing every celebrity with the same brush, now isn’t it? But here’s a couple of examples of celebrities helping out recently: Nicki Minaj helping a huge amount of students by paying off debts or helping with course fees on Twitter, and Stormzy donating a huge amount of money so a fan can go to Harvard. And yes, many of these celebrities have money beyond our wildest dreams that means they can donate vast amounts of cash that we can’t; but there are an enormous amount of celebrities that encourage by leading by example for the thing they care about – think Leo and his passion for the environment. Constantly encouraging us to take action so that collectively, we are doing enough.

But it doesn’t have to be about the big things, does it? We don’t need to make grand gestures to start making a change, do we? There are so many small things we can do to make a difference, and even if that difference is to one person, well. How do you know that by putting someone else in a good mood, by smiling, holding a door open, letting them go before you at the checkout because they’ve only got one item; how do you know they’re not going to take that little token of kindness and do something good themselves? Those small changes add up, and in doing so, they become enough.

I know; anyone who is regularly reading this Sunday Thinking post is probably rolling their eyes and thinking, ugh, they’re at it again; spewling about kindness being important, blah blah blah. Well guess what? We’ve got to start somewhere to make our world – our lives – other peoples’ lives better. So whilst I’m dead against having people shove positivity down anyone’s throat morning, noon and night, I will keep hammering on about kindness, because it’s important, it’s the most important thing we can be: think about how many unkind things you’ve said to yourself and how it’s ruined your entire day, and that’s impacted those around yo? Kindness for yourself, kindness for others, kindness all round; it is the foundation of how we get things done.

So, why did I say we’re not doing enough? That’s easy. Too often we listen to our inner critics and are cruel to ourselves for how we look, what we think we can’t do, decisions we’ve made. Too often we say things like, oh, well, I can’t help, but someone else can, or yes we need to make a change but I don’t know how and then get on with other things – guilty as charged, on so many occasions. And when we’re cruel to ourselves, we’re not helping us, and in turn, we’re not helping other people. We’re not doing enough when we do that to ourselves, so I suppose what I’m trying to say is, kindness has to start somewhere, even if it is to ourselves. That is how we can do enough, but starting that smallest of changes.

Alright, that’s enough social justicing (sort of) for one day; on with your own Sunday’s, I hope they’re good!