Kindness

Today’s prompt word is kindness.

In my life I have not been very kind to those I love the most. I don’t know why I do that. It’s something I can’t control at the time and then regret immediately. I’m not unkind all the time but I do it a lot when I feel irritated.

At the same time, I’ve been told numerous times that I am a kind person. When people say that I feel like an imposter. As a child I was kind, I remember being so, but I also remember being distinctly unkind.

There are many quotes floating around about kindness. The general consensus seems to be that it is an attribute people should strive towards. An action to be carried out without the need for a reward – expecting a reward for an act of kindness makes the act unkind. Despite the fact that it’s still the same action being carried out.

People have been kind to me when I have least expected it. For example once my bike chain broke on the side of the road and there were a bunch of skinheads smoking by the verge. When they saw me battling with my chain they approached me and I panicked thinking oh no they are going to be racist or attack me – but no they asked if I was ‘alright love’ and they fixed my bike chain for me whilst making merry.

They didn’t expect anything in return because they sauntered off once I was back on wheels again.

Being kind makes you feel good inside. Having someone be kind to you makes you warm to them. Humans need kindness, it helps us thrive.

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Bloom

BST. British Standard Time.

There is something about the word British that makes me feel proud, and at the same time irritated. If you were to look at me, you would not think I was British. Namely because I am not white of skin and fair of hair – or just fair, for that matter.

You would probably change your mind once I opened my mouth.

I used to tell my colleagues that I grew up in Dubai. They took that to mean that I was FROM there, and would say things like, ‘oh you learned English pretty quickly‘, and ‘your accent is quite good‘ and ‘you sound distinctly Southern – who was your teacher?‘.

Well my teacher was my mother. She was born in Tooting, London. I was born there too. We are British, albeit very multicultural, so not English, just British. My accent is British because my parents are British, so even though we lived in another country, they maintained their British culture and passed it on to us. They didn’t design to do this intentionally – it just came about.

Do I get offended when people say these things to me? I used to. I was a bit green. I used to get indignant. Hey, I’m British, this is my country too.

I don’t always feel like it’s my country, especially when people tell me to ‘go back home’. How can I? This is home. This is my mother’s home too. My mother’s parents came from two different countries and so did my father’s parents.

So if I were to go ‘home’ you’d have to dissect my body into a million pieces and divide my cells according to which country they originated.. that would be messy.

I bloomed though, with the knowledge that I came from everywhere and nowhere. It made me stronger. It made me prouder of my heritage.

Some days I feel fiercely British, and proud of my country and its people and it’s polite manners. Other days I feel ashamed of its history and the way it colonised the world. Some days I love its people for their exceptional Britishness, and other days I despise them for their entitlement.

But as I grow I realise something – and that is not everyone is perfect. Every nation, culture, race has its flaws and it’s positive attributes. There is good in everyone and everything, and there is also bad.

It’s important to value who you are and where you came from – to BLOOM into what makes you, YOU. Most of the time you are who you are because of your family, heritage and culture. This is why I choose to embrace the good parts of being British, and how they define me, so I can feel proud to be so. I can also feel proud to be all the other cultures that I am, and how these have impacted my ‘Britishness’, enhancing it and helping me to bloom in the process.

Which aspects of your culture do you like? What do you dislike?

Mundane

I don’t have very many friends. People I used to consider my closest friends have all moved on to greener pastures, making me feel as though my own is rather faded and yellow.

It is, though. It is true. I have a few very close friends but I rarely see them as I live far away from them and am now inundated with life.

I see other people have friends in their own vicinities and wonder at the fact that mine are spread all over the country.

I do know that it’s because of my life situation. Growing up I had friends a plenty because I went to school with the same people for 3 years, then three years, and then three years again. But when I was sixteen I moved back to the UK and that is where my friendships sort of withered away.

I guess I was very different from the people around me because I’d been brought up in a different country, so that sort of made me feel uncomfortable around them, and teenagers can sense this sort of stuff. I ended up being a loner in the library just munching on books. Figuratively speaking.

Looking back, I now realise that I was sad and did nothing about it. I was reserved and held back even though people invited me to places and offered to be my friend. I thought they were just being ‘nice’ not realising they genuinely meant it. That was pretty stupid of me.

I also got married at 19. I was pretty young I think and I don’t think it was a rash decision at all, but sometimes I do think perhaps I ought to have found myself first. I don’t regret it one bit – marriage is hard but we work on it and more often than not come out on top.

So I guess in my life I just was never in the right place or right head space to have a solid group of ‘friends’ like other people have – in the same town, meeting up whenever we like to.

I have to schedule meet-ups with friends months in advance and spend the rest of the relationship either on the phone or via text. It works, but it’s a bit sad.

So mostly, even though I worked a full time job and completed a degree in these past five years, I live a pretty mundane life. Which leads me to believe that my mind is pretty mundane and repetitive. I suppose that is not true, but one can’t help feeling like that sometimes.

You see, when you have friends who you see often and interact with, you sort of develop a repertoire of speech and nuances in your humour that you wouldn’t otherwise discover by yourself. I know this because every time I hang out with my friends I emerge a more energetic, witty and bubbly version of myself.

My mother in law told my mum once, ‘Oh, it’s like a ray of sunshine when Len comes into the house’. That was back in the day when me and my husband were ‘courting’. Now I am a sour puss. I am not saying this to blow my own trumpet – it’s just evidence to me that if I have friends and am surrounded by people, I am far nicer and more droll than when I spend hours and days alone. Words tumble from my mouth in such a smooth way it shocks me, whereas if I’ve been a lone, talking is a bit like chewing on lead.

Yes even at work I was alone – an editor sits at a computer most of the day and interacts minimally as editorial work is lonely work.

Anyway. That is what I have to say about the word ‘mundane’. That and also boy am I glad I am not at university anymore – some of those lectures were MUNDANE.

What does the word ‘mundane’ make you think of?

Myself

Hello. Yes it is me. Peering into the internet. I am sitting in bed with a baby snoozing in my arms as I type this. It has been some kind of day. He won’t seem to settle tonight unless he is being held but I don’t mind I don’t I don’t I never will mind because he will never be this little again and he is my big big blessing.

We did nothing today but are exhausted. But that is the reality of parenthood.

It’s been three months to the day since our lives changed completely, and as I was getting into the shower at 10:47pm I thought to myself – you know, self, your life is never going to go back to being like it was before. So stop thinking of that. Embrace this change and make the most of it.

So that is what I have decided to do. Babies are not a pause in life – rather an enrichment of it. See it’s taking me a while to get there but I am working on it.

See what I have to do is throw myself all the way in. Go all out. Dedicate my brain and time to learning and teaching and loving and nurturing. Not wishing for a holiday.

I love this boy more and more every single day it’s insane.

Like at the beginning I don’t think I bonded very well with him because of how traumatic the birth was – and because I was under general anaesthetic when they pulled him out of me via emergency c section – I didn’t witness his entrance into this world. They literally put him on me while I was woozy and drowsy from the operation and I tried to connect but all I wanted to do was sleep. So weird right?

But now I am in my right mind again – I think… i don’t know yet because back then I thought I was in my right mind but I very obviously was not…

anyway. Myself. That was the prompt for today. I must work on myself and not hang about the fringes of things if I want to give my boy a valuable childhood.

I want to give him the best in terms of mind enrichment and education. So that means I have to make sure I am educated and informed.

If you have had kids, how did you navigate being ‘yourself’ in order to nourish the brain of your child? Any tips would be so very welcome!

Storms

I am challenging myself to write a post every single day in May, to kickstart my writing again. I will be following some prompt words that I ‘stole’ from somebody on instagram. Here is my twelfth post.

Sometimes

You gotta

Be the calm

While the storm rages.

Because

It’s only after the rain falls

That the storm

Settles.

Sunflowers

I am challenging myself to write a post every single day in May, to kickstart my writing again. I will be following some prompt words that I ‘stole’ from somebody on instagram. Here is my eleventh post.

We had a painting in our living room when we were kids, and it was of a field of sunflowers, tall and fierce. The background was some hedges and a stunning sunrise.

At the front of the field there was a small opening in the fringe of tall flowers, a black hole leading to the undergrowth, a tunnel winding through the strong stalks that were taller than a man.

The painter had just painted the opening of the tunnel, and some stalks at the opening had been trampled and the heads of the flowers ripped off and scattered about. But the painter had left no clue as to who the culprit was or what they were doing with the tunnel. It was all a mystery.

We had that painting on the wall for a good seventeen years. When we had white paint, we moved it to paint the walls ‘apple green’ (something my mother seemed to hanker after), and there was a small yellow rectangle on the white paint where the frame had been. Then we replaced it over the apple green walls and that stayed how it was for a good two years before my mother got sick of apple green and decided to go with magnolia.

That painting was on the wall from when I was about 7. And now I am 25, my father finally took it down, wrapped it in bubble wrap, put it in his suitcase and flew all the way to England with it to put it on the wall of our house here. This happened last week.

And when I saw it on the wall I didn’t even question it. It was like it had always been there. I looked at it and wondered at the tunnel in the sunflower field again, as I had always done before, but didn’t think anything of it, even though I hadn’t seen that painting in 4 years… until I walked into the room again and it hit me! What is that painting doing here, in another country?!

Isn’t it strange? How a memory or a thought makes a home in your mind? How it is not a stranger to you when you revisit it, because you’ve looked at it so often and thought about it so much over the years? It’s just a painting, but it’s been there for almost my entire life barring seven years, that it’s almost as if it were part of my life.

Are there any objects in your life that are seemingly mundane but have inexplicably taken residence in your mind?

Olha Darchuk

Bodies

I am challenging myself to write a post every single day in May, to kickstart my writing again. I will be following some prompt words that I ‘stole’ from somebody on instagram. Here is my tenth post.

Bo dies in this one.

Bo?! Oh no. We love Bo.

Yes.

Also you spoiled this on me.

Oh sorry. I thought you watched it.

So Bo dies, huh?

Yep. Bo dies.

(Sorry I had to do that.)

***

The gory fact of the matter is, our bodies are vessels in which our souls reside. They are the transport systems which our souls use to navigate the earth. Communication systems our souls use to impart feelings and emotions and thoughts to one another.

They are perishable, extinguishable and yet hugely capable.

Vulnerable, weak and simultaneously strong.

Resilient, tough, prone to accident and illness.

Our bodies are a gift. An imperfect perfection.

This is why in some religions it is a tenet of the faith to take care of the body.

These days people think taking care of the mind is more important, and while this is true of course, people forget that sometimes in order to have a healthy mind one must also have a healthy body.

Filling your body with nutrient-depleting foods and shouting at the world not to ‘shame’ you for it won’t make you happy. Sure, be happy with your body and your weight, but make sure your body is getting the love it deserves.

If that means eating well and treating oneself now and again then that is most suitable. If it means moving, dancing, walking, hiking, laughing, cycling, staring at beautiful things, then certainly your body shall thank you and your mind will be in harmony with your body.

It doesn’t matter if you have a bit of podge, it does matter if you let that bit of podge get you down. Just love your body and treat it well, and you will reap plenty of mental wellness rewards. That is what I think.

What do you think about all this?

Image Credit

Umbrella

I am challenging myself to write a post every single day in May, to kickstart my writing again. I will be following some prompt words that I ‘stole’ from somebody on instagram. Here is my ninth post.

When my brother and I were very small, our parents moved us away from rainy England to Dubai, where it barely ever rained and the sun shone down upon the barren desert with a beaming ferocity that unrivalled anything we had ever known.

You see, if I were to describe England to you using only the colour spectrum, I would say it was ramaadi (grey) and a thousand shades of green, with a few splotches of brick red thrown in for good measure. Clouds here are stunning, and seemingly perpetual. When it rains it does not rain as it does in Malaysia (there it POURS). It is a slow sort of rain, seemingly innocent and gentle, but viciously incessant, soaking you through in a matter of minutes all while apologising meekly and drizzling away.

The green is of all hues. Dark sultry evergreens, pale shoots, regular green of birches, the humdrum green of privet, cheery green of oak, green hills rolling away into the distance and grass that just grows and grows and grows. Green ivy creeping over beautiful homes and driveways fringed with neatly clipped grass. An abundance of green and all looking like it came out of a picture book – which I suppose it did, for Beatrix Potter did base her paintings on the Lake District!

When you fly above England it’s all neat little squares of varying shades of green. It’s similar in France I suppose but there is a foreign vibe to it there and lots of browns creep in.

When you fly above the United Arab Emirates the land is brown, a hundred shades of it, and you can see the winding marks on the earth where rivers and mountain ranges signify a land that barely changes. It’s always changing in England, for we have seasons. In Dubai there is summer and winter and a week or two of rain and that’s it.

So whenever we came back home to England for the summer holidays, my brother and I relished the rain and the greenery like a pair of mad children. We ate buttercups and yanked all the dandelion seeds off their stems, blowing until we were blue in the face. I naughtily picked the neighbour’s flowers because they were pretty and sobbed inconsolably when my mother gave me a good telling off about it.

My mum bought us two children’s umbrellas one summer, darling little things, coloured like a rainbow, and we would rush into the garden when it rained and stand out there like a pair of wallies under our umbrellas. The neighbours thought we were bonkers and their dog barked at us.

Those odd children standing out in the wet under umbrellas!

It was such a novelty, you see. The pattering of soft rain on the umbrellas, splish splash of water by our wellies, tap tap of heavy drops on wide tree leaves.

It’s funny what makes children happy.

Pranks

I am challenging myself to write a post every single day in May, to kickstart my writing again. I will be following some prompt words that I ‘stole’ from somebody on instagram. Here is my eighth post.

Sometimes you think someone is playing a prank on you. Someone very close to you.

But then reality creeps in. Rears its ugly, ugly head. And five years of relative bliss flood down a slimy drainpipe.

Because no. It is not a prank.

It is very real.

People surprise you everyday. Don’t trust anybody but yourself.

Salty

I am challenging myself to write a post every single day in May, to kickstart my writing again. I will be following some prompt words that I ‘stole’ from somebody on instagram. Here is my seventh post.

 

Fish and chips

On an oily white paper

Wrapped up tight

Vinegar

Golden chunks

Crunchy batter

Sprinkled

Lavishly

Lovingly

With salt

As the sun sets over the horizon

And the waves rush over the pebbles

To greet the night.