It all started with these patches,
And brown strands on my pillow.
Tears fell like a blues harmonica,
And my words became lost at sea.
At that moment a freak was born,
Not yet thirteen and I was bald.
At school I wore a wig with a band,
And felt their eyes burning in green.
Depression suffocated me inside,
And yet outside no blood would fall.
Scarred forever when the wind blew,
And they laughed at me being bald.
By university it had gone all over,
And no funeral pyre or wake held.
So I grew to loathe how I looked,
And felt I had no human worth.
For who would love such a freak,
And just like an ogre I was bald.
Years passed until therapy begun,
And joined the dots with words.
Taking photographs was some fun,
And then I took that first selfie.
Forced to see my reflection a new,
And saw a woman, scared and bald.
That began the journey to find me,
And remove the ogre forevermore.
Realising the lab was far from me,
And wondering just where did I fit.
As I heard that bird sing in a tree,
And wished to be as free not bald.
Switching test tubes for Biro pens,
And microscope for camera lenses.
I discovered the woman I am within,
And found a rag doll not an ogre be.
Now I accept with kindness and love,
And being bald is just part of being me.
© Fi S. J. Brown
This week I noticed mental health charity See Me Scotland had a campaign on social media called “my unfiltered life“, for which people post a selfie and tell their story. It made me feel proud of each and everyone of them for taking that selfie, as that can be far from a ‘simple’ tap on a phone, and being so open in a way I felt I could not; for I am not someone that likes to say hey look at me but more look at her or him and what they have achieved.
However, it felt like it did when I first saw an ad to post a picture of your smile as part of Yoko Ono’s Smiles film four years ago, which in taking part in led to the ripple effect of accepting, appreciating and loving me. I am also reminded of the photo I took two years ago without my wig, showing my bald head, during the no make up selfie craze, which showed me there was nothing to hate or fear now. I am me, not an artificial, edited or manipulated person but her free spirited, open minded self and rag doll not ogre self.
So yes I have posted a photo on Instagram, and below. However, I do not care one way or the other as did it to inspire others to learn to find acceptance not for personal gain in the hope of a 15 second taster of fame. This week coming marks a couple of personal milestones, major ones that will be on the highlights reel of my life, so makes a fitting addition to them.
Next time you see a selfie, remember it can maybe a simple touch of a phone to you but to them it maybe a whole story you don’t know, so don’t judge but admire the beautiful differences slight changes in our DNA make to create the creatures we are.
© Fi S. J. Brown
10 years ago the lyrics of this song and many others by Tori Amos haunted my ears and tears would fall from my eyes when I heard her sing as each one felt like I could have written them myself. Lines such as “I got the anti-Christ in the kitchen yellin’ at me again” made me think of my mother who I then called ‘she who must be obeyed’, as I was frightened of her, nothing I did was right if did do not do things her way but now know she is a narcissist and need to carry on being me regardless; “I hear my voice and it’s been here, silent all these years” as I started having counselling to try make some semblance of why I felt my life was painted in monochrome and saw myself more like Princess Fiona the ogre from Shrek than the princess, through a journey that was just as rocky as any shore with no lighthouse in sight, not realising I am the lighthouse; and “So you found a girl who thinks really deep thoughts, what’s so amazing about really deep thoughts” not realising how powerful they are and what a gift they can be to inspire others. Now life I see as multicoloured and multi-sensory, grateful for the special people that make me laugh and smile for being in it and the importance of living mindfully. Today is Tori’s birthday, so a timely reminder to myself of all I have overcome and remind others not to give up, making that first stepping stone today is possible as things do change for the better.
© Fi S. J. Brown
Social media can be used for many positive things particularly during the Olympics, for example congratulating people representing our nation in sports, not always people that we knew of before they began, or inspire us to take a look at trying a sport as looks fun or interesting. However, it also has its ugly head that rears too as people mock those that fail to win medals, the achievements of getting there alone are not enough.
In recent years body shaming has become a thing on social media and the Olympians have not escaped it – First came the body shaming of a female Mexican gymnast Alexa Moreno who’s body was not the stereotypical view of a gymnast and now I am reading about a male Ethiopian swimmer Robel Kiros Habte who has a ‘dad bod’. Why do we feel the need to criticise someone’s physical shape, and is doing something most of us could have only dreamed of, are we that jealous as species now we will find anything we can pick holes in another to belittle their achievements? Why do we like to make heroes of people only to knock them down when find they are less than perfect?
Nobody has a perfect life or body, more like a perfect lie, as each day we have obstacles great and small just to get from dawn to dusk. I admire people for achieving and/or living their dreams, often against the odds and/or do so in ways that inspire me too. Enough of this negativity, jealousy, envy and greed of others, we are all different and not identikit zombies. Let us celebrate what makes the beautiful person others and ourselves are (I do not mean physical beauty either) and not pick holes in until we look like Swiss cheeses. Celebrate the individuality in us all, not just the similarities that bring us together.
© Fi S. J. Brown
- Normal is an abnormal word, everybody lives a life that is normal for them in an ever judging world;
- Life is unfair, do not expect something or behave as though you feel it owes you a favour or two;
- Do not compare your life with that of another’s, you have your own highs, lows, twists and turns;
- Your friendships can help you grow and develop, but require loyalty, honesty and respect to blossom;
- Life is too short, so do not waste a minute hating and/or hurting another with envy, jealousy or greed;
- When you feel sad and hurt by life, allow yourself to cry aloud and learn to be gentle with yourself;
- You are a survivor of life and will learn to dance again after the thunderstorms have crashed around you;
- Stop looking for that physical sign to make your decisions, it is an invisible feeling from deep within;
- Yesterday cannot be changed and tomorrow lies unwritten, so live in the present moment of today;
- You can be old at 35 but young at 70 for age does not mean wisdom and maturity but years around the sun;
- How smart or intelligent you are cannot be measured by exams, numbers, letters, or pieces of paper;
- You do not have to be an artist or musician to be creative, so let your imagination flow like a child’s;
- Communication is key to any relationship you will ever have be it with family, friends or work colleagues;
- Your actions will always speak more than words alone, so follow through but do not make false promises;
- Arguments are not there to be won, learn to agree to disagree from differences of opinion to your own;
- Trust your instincts when feeling someone is being dishonest with you and talk with them but not assume;
- Deal with things at the root level before they become trees and forests that overwhelm you;
- Your happiness does not depend upon on outside influences, i.e. anyone or anything, it is up to to you;
- People can be toxic to you, do not assume everyone has your best interests at heart, even your family;
- Be true to yourself and what you hold to be your beliefs, you do not need to defend them to anyone.
© Fi S. J. Brown
The dandelion is a flower thought of by many as weed, regarded as one that should be dug up and thrown away as has no value or worth. However, it is actually a symbol of hope, spreading nurturance and joy even in hard places. So instead of being quick to judge another we need to help each other, spreading joy instead of hate to those we meet.
Nevertheless, some deserve to be thrown out to the rubbing pile for how they treat others, thinking they are better than us, want something we have but jealousy fires within, or expect something to land on their lap automatically. They are the real weeds and need to be removed from our lives asap as will only carry on as nobody takes the spade to remove them.
Therefore, treasure those that show us with their actions, for they’re the evergreen trees to support us throughout the seasons and like our personal army defending us against the evils of this world. Being mindful of those that pretend to be our friends, as when winter comes they’ll will show if evergreen or deciduous. Finally, see my drawing of a dandelion below, make a wish, and just maybe it will come true.
© Fi S. J. Brown