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.

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?

Sparkle

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 seventeenth post.

 

Hundreds and thousands,

Atop white icing,

Atop a cake,

On a plate,

Covered in foil.

Wrapped in a plastic bag,

Shoved

Mercilessly

At the bottom of my schoolbag.

For I was ashamed

Of the cake

My mother toiled all night to make,

for the school fair.

Don’t ask me why.

It was perfectly lovely,

Soft, yellow vanilla sponge

Simple, perfect flavours,

And the sparkly fun of hundreds and thousands decorating the top.

I just didn’t want to be

That GIRL.

WHAT girl, pray tell?

The one who carries a cake onto a bus where the boy she secretly crushes on sits coolly at the front, NOT carrying a cake.

Don’t ask me what nonsense goes on in the minds of twelve year olds.

When I got on the bus..

That boy was carrying a cake.

And most of the other kids

Had some kind of home-made concoction in their laps too.

I felt stupid

And sad.

For my cake,

On it’s plate

With white icing

And hundreds and thousands

Was a flattened, crushed mess.

And my heart, now, today, at 25

Wrings in sadness

At the thought of the love and care

That went into that cake,

As my mother,

toiled through the night

To see a sparkle

in her daughter’s eyes.

I love you mama.

 

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Conscience

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 sixteenth post – a day late!

 

When you see a group of teenage boys legging it out of a grocery superstore as though there were jets on their heels, you just know they are up to no good.

‘Where’d you park the car, Mark?!’, one of them yelled, while the rest guffawed, their trainers hitting the road with barely a sound as they whooshed past little old ladies tottering out with their trolleys. I could hear the rustling of the bags of sweets and whatnot in their hands, as two more dashed out the supermarket and sped across the carpark like they were being chased. Loud laughs and shouts and whoops as they leaped into their car and it took off with a swerve, shooting out that carpark sharpish.

The world was quiet again after they’d gone. No security guard came rushing out after them. Nothing.

I guess large chain supermarkets account for small thefts like this?

I couldn’t help staring at those kids as they were running. The excitement and adrenaline was plain for all to see. Togetherness, teenage fun. It certainly isn’t moral but it is memories being made, so does that cancel out the crime?

I confess, I stole once too. I must have been about seven. It was a packet of chewits and I ate them in the supermarket as I trailed behind my parents, without them noticing. When my mum found out she gave me such a telling off. She made me pay for it out of my pocket money and apologise to the manager. Never had I been so mortified. But she did it all in such a way that, out of pure ethical reasons, not fear, I never stole again. I was tempted a few times but I kept remembering the things she told me about being upstanding and having good character and I didn’t do it. She gave me a conscience.

But if I was a teen and my friends pressured me into it, would I have given in? I like to think not but you never know unless you’re actually in that situation.

Did you ever steal something when you were younger?

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Curtains

I had challenged myself to write a post everyday in May but the past three days had been disgusting in terms of exhaustion to be honest. I’ve walked and sang and read and taken my little all over this town in pursuit of rhymes and baby groups and sensory experiences, and by the time he was settled in bed for the night and I had had my dinner, I just crashed. Motherhood is hard, yet rewarding. He is at the age now (3 months on Sunday) where I feel like I am getting the hang of things finally and feel more in control! So here is my 14th post – playing catchup.

 

Curtains

Curtains literally mean pieces of cloth that humans put in front of their windows to stop the outside world from peering into the privacy of their homes. Especially at night when the lights are on and everything is laid bare.

However there is also a figurative meaning – to obscure. To curtain something is to cover it up. Like smoking weed for example.

Let me paint you a scene.

The sun is shining brightly down on a street in Crewe, England. A line of terraced houses mounted atop a pavement badly in need of renovation. I am walking along with my pram, when a door to my right bursts open and two young men fall out, pulling hoodies on and slinging backpacks on their backs. They look too benign to be louts, I have to say.

The taller one is fatter, and the shorter one thinner, and they both have long gleaming hair that they’ve pulled back into a bun halfway up their heads. One dark bun and one light bun.

And I noticed as they left the house one began to root in his backpack for something – aha, he pulled it out just as they walked swiftly past me, and as they did I caught a whiff of very strong weed, as the shorter of the two began to vigorously spray the deodorant spray he’d pulled out all over his person, until he was covered in a halo of white that quirky effervesced in the sunlight. He handed the can to his mate, who also proceeded to cover himself in the cheap smelling stuff, and as their long legs pulled them further away from me, they left a trail of deodorant and weed in their wake.

I couldn’t help thinking how stupid they were. To curtain the scent of weed like that right in public. Why not do it behind their curtains?

For information purposes, weed is illegal here in the UK, hence I assume that was why they were trying to mask the scent!

What things do you do to curtain aspects of your life that you don’t want others to know about? And do you reckon you do a good job of it?

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Red Lips

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 fourth post.

My to-do list is huge. There are so many things on it that get pushed and pushed and pushed back until they are curled and blackened and covered in layers of wanting to be clean.

Other things take precedence.

Bottoms must be wiped. I know, such a charming topic. Clothes to be changed, cries to be soothed, cuddles to be given and soft chunky little bodies to be fed and bathed and rocked gently to sleep.

Lullabies to be sung.

Baby clothes to be washed.

The floors can wait, my hair needs care, nails are bitten down to stumps and polish dries in glass bottles as the dust settles on their lids.

Lips are cracked.

I wore a red dress at my wedding party. After the white one. An A-line princess neck dress, embroidered bodice, tulle under a skirt that flared out just enough to be elegant. Not too much. A red dress and red lipstick, sultry and deep and when I look at photos of myself I do not recognise that carefree girl.

I want a baby, I told my husband, I have so much love inside me and it wants to come out.

Give it to me, instead, he told me. And I did, of course. Red lips and high heels and night dates and spotlights and kisses in the moonlight, in the heat of the sun. Kisses before and after work. Sleepy ones and excited ones and ones that are routine, barely noticed and vaguely appreciated.

And red lips. Perpetually. The soft click of a good quality lid, the deft twist and the scarlet balm smeared on two lips in a matter of seconds, turned up hair and a pretty dress. So much love to give, galavanting from place to place. Work to home and travelling here and there in between.

Evenings enjoyed. Nights slept in full. Mornings together, just the two of us. So much love to give. So much given. Eyes meeting and smiles amid hours of companionable silence.

I don’t wear lipstick anymore. Ever. Barely. Silence is fleeting, moments together are snatched. Cuddles involve tiny arms and legs, and two large heads cooing over a small one.

I don’t have red lips. But I still do have so much love to give.

 

Stars

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 second post.

There were three stars, in a straight line. And they followed her wherever she went. Up North, down South. In the Eastern hemisphere, where the world was tropical and the heat and humidity battered her body until she oozed from every orifice. In the Western hemisphere where the days were icy and short and then terribly, terribly long. Every night, three stars in a row.

If she looked up at the sky her eyes searched and searched for three in a row, just like that.

She didn’t know what they were called, or if they were part of some larger constellation. Scrap that, who cares for the constellations.

As long as there were three stars just like that. Just that, as long as there were those stars. She didn’t know what came after that. Just that she had to see them.

When she learned about space it was always with awe. A deep expanse of blackness and nothing and airless floating, containing worlds of light and gas. Black holes bending time and space, folds of dimensions expanding and contracting. Complex and unnerving, terrifying and beautiful.

But when she looked up, all she could see were the stars. Her three stars, amid a myriad of others. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on where she was.

Dependable. From her safe haven on earth.

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