Friday, 30 July 2010

Work Sucks, I Know...

So about a month ago, I thought, naively it appears, that the Universe had decided to go easy on me, I was wrong. Big time wrong.
I got offered a job, it's not particularly exciting, nor is it something I want to do with my life, but it was a job, I would finally be earning money again, instead of feeling like a useless banana.
I still haven't started working there. It's not my fault. I filled in a CRB form (Criminal Records Bureau) a week after they offered me the job, these take a while to process, and HR wants me to have one before I start work. Boy, are they taking their sweet time.
Sunday marks the first of August, a whole new month and still no start date.
I go back to uni in September, I want to be focusing on that, but this whole work debacle is driving me nuts. I'm still sitting on my backside doing nowt, while I wait for other people to get on with their jobs. I am not the most patient of people, and I'm getting grief from the miserable job centre drones (apparently the nice ones are all away, and yes, there are nice ones) about it all. It is not my fault. Do they care? No. As far as they're concerned I should be working some kind of magic or something to fix this. Well, I can't.
Now I'm stuck, I turned down interviews because I thought this was all going to happen. I'm not being offered any other positions to apply for because as far as the job centre is concerned I have found work, I'm still signing on (which I can't stand), I'm wasting my brain, and slowly losing the will to even bother with this job, if they're this disorganised now, what's going to happen once I actually, finally, start working there, I haven't told them about my Masters, because I was hoping to have started before then, and it not be much of an issue, but at this rate it'll be September and I still won't be working, and it will be an issue. Argh!!!!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Defining Ourselves (1)

What's wrong with being a feminist?

 For a lot of my generation this seems to have become a dirty word. I was raised by a mother who believes in equality, in there being no difference between men and women's abilities to do a job. Yes we are physically different, and yes we possess different brains (women's develop faster and tend to be larger apparently) but calling myself a feminist doesn't mean I hate men and want to trample all over them. Far from it.
 I like men. A large percentage of my friends are male, I enjoy being in their company, I like spending time with them. I've heard plenty of blonde jokes, plenty of sexist jokes, I've probably laughed at a few.
For me, being a feminist means standing up for the rights of women everywhere. I am very lucky, I was born in the West, in a household where women outnumber men (my poor dad) and was raised with the values I hold today. Others are not so lucky, in many countries women are oppressed, denied equality, and treated as though they have no worth. I believe in supporting them, in trying to help them educate themselves, to help them climb out of poverty and desperation, to better their lives and those of their children.
Feminism began because women wanted to better themselves, they wanted to be able to vote, to work, to support themselves, not just wait for men to look after them, to go from being someone's daughter to someone's wife and mother. To be able to define themselves.
I honestly believe in equality of the sexes, not just for those of us in the West where women and men are afforded the same rights. It upsets me that some women my age believe that calling themselves a feminist means they hate men, and want them oppressed. It's sad that they are that ignorant, feminism is a huge movement, yes some of the women involved may be more hardcore and dislike men, but not all of them. My mother is one, she grew up during the 60s and 70s, she was part of that movement. She's worked as a nurse her whole adult life, been a wife and mother as well. None of that means she doesn't believe in equality. My dad says that all he wishes for my sister and I, is that we are happy and healthy and pursue our dreams and ambitions. Feminism and the women's movement means we have the freedom to do so. Shouldn't all women and men) be afforded the same freedom?

Comedian Bill Bailey
T-shirt from The Fawcett Society
Found here

I'll get off my soapbox now. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Saturday's child

The original:

Monday's child is full of grace,
Tuesday's child is fair of face,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
While the child that's born on the Sabbath Day is bonny and blithe, good and gay.

Alternate version:

Monday's child is not too bad,
Tuesday's child will drive you mad,
Wednesday's child could be a star,
Thursday's child will go too far,
Friday's child will not stay true,
Saturday's child just hasn't a clue,
While the child that's born on the Sabbath Day won't give a damn what people say!

I found the alternate version in an old newspaper clipping, and the original is an old English folk rhyme. I'm not sure what I prefer, working hard for a living or not having a clue! What day are you?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

A meditation on being in my early 20s

Life is about more than just making money, it's about creating works of art, even if you're the only one who sees it as art. It's about the rush of new discoveries, the glory of falling in love with places, people, words, moments, of falling and then finding your feet again. Of growing up, breaking the rules, shaping yourself into whoever it is you want to be.
Yes, money is nice, and having it makes life easier, but it's not the most important thing out there. I want to explore more, explore my city, myself, my world, and money would make it easier to do so, I just don't want to get to the end of my life and think "I wish I'd done more, lived more". I want to write, and laugh more, and feel able to be whoever it is I'm becoming. To grow and not feel that all there is to life is working a well-paid job that I don't enjoy just for the sake of it.
A friend of mine is currently travelling the world, which is awesome, and one day I hope to do the same. To find myself in a new place, with a new perspective.
Other friends have had babies, and while they might be fine with that, it makes me feel sad, we're so young, there's so much to do, to see, and they're lives are altered forever, while I'm off trying all these things, they're effectively tied down for the next 18 years or so. I know it's a choice, and it's theirs, but I'd never be able to do that, not now, there's too much going on.
This all ties in with the quote I posted the other day I suppose, that life is all we have, and we should make the most of it, regardless of how painful it can be, because to not do is to regret, and I'm tired of regret. It's time for making memories, for laughing so hard it's painful, for falling head over heels (literally and figuratively) and for just being in the moment.

Life is not about finding yourself. It is about creating yourself.
                                ~ George Bernard Shaw ~

Monday, 19 July 2010

Philosophical Musing on Love and Soulmates

Plato believed in soulmates. He said that originally we had four arms, four legs, two heads. Zeus grew jealous and split the humans into two halves. We spend all our lives searching for our other half. As odd as that might sound, it's also rather lovely. Searching for the part of ourselves that is absent. I don't know if I believe in soulmates, but I do like the idea of there being that one person who you're meant to be with, and that once you've found them it all clicks into place. Sometimes I think that maybe it's not necessarily a lover, it might just be a friend who you connect completely with, someone who's personality gels with yours and who feels the same way. I think you can love people even if you never sleep with them (or just platonically). But the idea of that one person seems to be something I think about more and more as I get older, and watch friends get hitched. I don't want to get married or anything, but I think it would be nice to find that other half, that person who fits just right.

A little change will do you good!

I've changed the background/layout a bit, and I'd like your feedback. I'm not sure whether I'll leave it like this or maybe change it again, but any advice, suggestions, or comments are welcome. Thanks!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

You are here to risk your heart

Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will break you with it's yearnings. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on Earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit beneath an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could.

                                           ~Louise Erdrich. The Painted Drum~

Monday, 12 July 2010

Toward a Patronage Society - Amanda Palmer

I watched a really interesting video today, in which the amazing Amanda Palmer talks about how she wants to find a new way to distribute her music, without a record label, and with the internet. She used to be a living statue, and she uses this as a way to explain how she sees the possibility of changing the way musicians, and by extension, other artists (writers, painters etc) could distribute their work and still make the money they need to live on. She says they have to be unashamed to ask their fans for money, like a living statue putting out their hat, and I agree. If you care about someone's art, be it music, poetry, a novel, a painting, etc, then you should be willing to help them continue to create by investing in them, by buying a copy of their song, or book, or whatever. This is a bold new century and there are so many incredible people creating things that may never be picked up by a major record label, or a big publishing house, or gallery, who can share their work with the world through the internet, and feel able to ask that people pay for it, just as they would in the offline world, just as they always have, but without a middle man, artist to fan, fan to artist, and have an interaction that is in a way more personal, even if it is online.
If this all sounds a little muddled, it is, watch the video, hopefully it'll become clearer.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

If you have a quiet moment, here's one way to fill it

Last night/this morning I re-read an amazing book, Terry Pratchett's Nation. Now I'm a big TP fan, I think he's an incredible writer, and this is easily the most astonishing book he's ever written. Even if you've never read a word he's written before, I recommend you read this. It's full of big ideas, about life, death, the past, the future, the world and our place in it. When I first read it, I fell in love. It's not like anything the wonderful Sir Terry has written before. At times heart-breakingly poignant, and at others tender and warm, then funny, it's a book for any reader, and person who's ever asked questions about anything really. It leaves you asking questions, with tears in your eyes and a smile on your face. Just, quite simply, wonderful.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Blogs to read!

There are a lot of voices out there in the blogsphere, a lot of awesome people to discover and follow. Two of the blogs that inspired me to start writing more than just a book blog are So About What I Said and Melanie's Randomness, both written by amazing people, Melissa and Melanie, who have so much to share and write in such an accessible way, that's really easy to relate to.
A couple of other awesome blogs are Yes and Yes, which always has something interesting going on, Madness and Beauty - so many pretty pictures, Hyperbole and a Half, which is laugh out loud hilarious, as is No Ordinary Rollercoaster (plus sometimes there are cute puppy pictures).
I may not be a teenager anymore, but The Teenagerie, a new project by the author of The Seventeen Magazine Project, certainly provides food for thought.
And something new I found out about through a friend of mine, is the post-apocalypse Big One Archive, which I recommend any writers with ideas about the end of the world (oh the possibilities) check out as they're taking submissions now, and hopefully I'll be able to contribute soon!
These are just a few of the blogs I read, look at the blogroll down on the right for some more.
What blogs do you recommend I check out?

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

in which I talk about the things that make me angry

I'm quite a laid back person generally it takes a lot to make me cross. I consider myself an understanding person, willing to listen to others and try to see things through their eyes. There are, however, a few things I cannot see from the other side.
I spent part of last weekend hanging out with my friends at London's Pride event. It was great fun, people were dancing in the streets, dressed up in costumes and having a brilliant time. I'm lucky to live in a country where being who you are is protected by law, we have freedom of speech and opinion, there are no repercussions (not legal ones anyway) for being gay or black or just different.
At the event there are always a few protesters, I didn't see them this year, as I wasn't on the parade route, but I know they were there. Standing in a pen, surrounded by police, eaten up by ignorance and hatred. It's sad, pathetic, that anyone feels that letting people be themselves is wrong.
I have friends from all walks of life, different races, religions, genders, sexuality, abilities, I have a sister with learning disabilities, friends who are disabled, physically and otherwise. I take people as they come. I don't prejudge, if I don't like someone, it's based on my experience of them, not on what I've heard about them. Although sometimes I might think that someone doesn't sound like a nice person, I wait to meet them before making my mind up.
I wish more people would do the same. Regardless of their beliefs, however deeply held, get to know someone, you might learn something, about them, about yourself.
I was brought up in the church my whole life, I went to church schools, as far as I'm concerned, what I took from my immersion in faith, was that love is the most important thing there is. My favourite passage in the Bible, is where Jesus gives his followers a new commandment, to love one another, with no exceptions. To me, that's at the heart of the beliefs I was raised with. I may disagree with the church on other issues, but on this one I'm solid. Love is vital, loving humanity in all its guises, however it comes is vital. Hate is easier to give into, love takes work. I'm willing to put the work in, I wish others felt the same.
So there you have it, the things that really rile me are the obvious forms of hatred, ignorance, racism, sexism, homophobia, intolerance, and an unwillingness to even attempt to learn about other people and accept them as fellow human beings. People are just people.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Because the universe does not make sense

So this week I was offered a job, yay! Then I'm offered two interviews for other jobs, whereas before I was struggling to get anywhere, now everyone wants me! It's ridiculous.

Yesterday I hung out with an old friend, I've known him since I was 7, we went to primary and then secondary school together, and we live round the corner from each other. We went upto the country park and just hung out, talking nonsense for a good while and listening to random music, and just chilling out in the sunshine, life should have more days like that.

This weekend is Pride in London, a bunch of my friends will be there, and so will I, it's important to support people you care about and stand up for them. As far as I'm concerned, you should respect people for who they are, and not judge them based on your own ignorance and prejudice. Gay, straight, black, white, orange with purple spots, people are just people and no one has the right to do them down. So I'll be there, amongst the rainbow flags and the people dancing away, standing up for my friends right to live their lives as themselves. (If it's too hot, I'll be in the National Gallery looking at the gorgeous paintings, it's next door to Trafalgar Square where they hold the party).

What's everyone else doing this weekend?