A Centenary to Never Forget

An autumn breeze gently blows over Flanders Field
Poppies stand to attention in red
An autumn breeze gently blows over Flanders Field
One hundred years since they fell

All silent now from their guns and youthful screams
Poppies stand to attention in red
All silent now from their guns and youthful screams
One hundred years since they fell

Some returned only to experience daily repeats in mind
Poppies stand to attention in red
Some returned only to experience daily repeats in mind
One hundred years since they fell

And innocent nameless bystanders now but whispers
Poppies stand to attention in red
And innocent nameless bystanders now but whispers
One hundred years since they fell

That lead to a bloody pointless and unnecessary sequel
Poppies stand to attention in red
That lead to a bloody pointless and unnecessary sequel
One hundred years since they fell

And a dark song can be heard on across the world
Poppies stand to attention in red
And a dark song can be heard on across the world
One hundred years since they fell

But imagining peace’s white bells tolling with light
Poppies stand to attention in red
But imagining peace’s white bells tolling with light
One hundred years since they fell

Finally learning the lessons that time keeps repeating
Poppies stand to attention in red
Finally learning the lessons that time keeps repeating
One hundred years since they fell

© Fi S. J. Brown

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The Edge of Forty

Every year I have written a reflective piece on the previous one on the lead up to my birthday. This year’s birthday is slightly different as it will be one of those big milestone ones as I turn forty. I am finding most people are flattering when I tell them how old I will be as say I do not look that age…but that begs the questions how should someone on the edge of forty look and how should they behave? Those younger than me are full of questions such as how does that make you feel and are you ready? Whereas those older shrug their shoulders and tell me I am still a baby or young. I am fast beginning to learn why it is the so called mid-life as feel a strange filling in the sandwich of youth and old age.

Looking back on my thirties as a whole at first they may seem quite frustrating but equally sedate after completing my PhD at thirty one and life since has been a very different journey to that of my twenties. They have brought good friends into my life that are like family who I would do anything for and love with all I have. The biggest part of this decade has been self discovery and acceptance as the ogre that lived in my head from my teens has gone and left a Fi-shaped person in its place that has the same love and respect as I give any human being on Earth that deserves them.

I have learnt to embrace life with making the most of each day and remembering to hold tight during the downs of the rollercoaster but remembering there are hidden positives and lights even at the darkest of times. Acceptance is definitely the key word to describe my thirties as have also understood what being asexual means to me and although it is very hard knowing I will never have my own child I have two lovely nieces. Equally, I no longer feel the outsider or alien that observes life rather than takes part in it as felt I did not belong or could not be what others wanted me to be. Labels and boxes are not meant for human beings and normal is a function on a washing machine!

I have also rediscovered my quirky creativeness and embraced it with open arms like a lost love, but my first love has become a greater passion with every passing year, which everyone that knows me was and is music! The written word and/or visuals are my talents to tell of my life, the tales of this planet’s citizens (not just the humans) and ensuring the forgotten or lost songs of the muted are sung for all to hear whilst spreading light and colour with my thoughts, actions and habits.

So what will my forties bring? There is hope and fear for the world we live in but determination not to let the negativity or hate drown me. On a personal level I am hoping I have final worked out my path and what that means in terms of career. As for love of the romantic nature…well I have never been one to chase it and if it is meant to be it is meant to be. The cynic in me still says it is for others not me. However, I am not scared or nervous at levelling up to a new decade in fact I am ready for it as see it as the next section in the book of my life that currently lies unwritten and that excites me…so bring it on!

© Fi S. J. Brown

Trick or Treat

Trick or treat
(Halloween is calling your name)
Trick or treat
(Autumn leaves have fall fast)
Let us see the night stars
Ringing out across the universe

Get on your broomstick – we’re gonna fly tonight
Your eyes like ashes from the bonfires
I wanna paint the sky – with moonlight brushes
Gonna leave the tears behind
Getting out of this rat-race

Trick or treat
(Halloween is calling your name)
Trick or treat
(Autumn leaves have fall fast)
Let us see the night stars
Ringing out across the universe

Grab your pumpkin lantern
We’re gonna fly tonight
We got liars to the right – we got apologists to the left
Sometimes I get so low – all I have are dreams
I wanna paint the sky
With moonlight brushes

Trick or treat
(Halloween is calling your name)
Trick or treat
(Autumn leaves have fall fast)
Let us see the night stars
Ringing out across the universe

© Fi S. J. Brown

Special

They point and say ‘he has special needs’
And although yes that maybe partly true
There are also some needs we all share
The need to be accepted to be ourselves
To have friends that will make us smile
Learning and growing at our own speed
Feeling valued but not as fool’s gold
There are things we all need help with
Accepting there are some things we can’t
Where as others we are the best there is
We are all made of the same basic cells
But our differences are what give colour
Normal is a function on a washing machine
And nobody is truly average in every way
Making everyone special in their own way

 

Ils indiquent et disent ‘il a des besoins éducatifs’
Et bien oui, peut-être en partie vrai
Il y a aussi quelques besoins que nous partageons tous
Le besoin d’être accepté pour être soi-même
Avoir des amis qui vont nous faire sourire
Apprendre et grandir à notre rythme
Se sentir valorisé mais pas comme l’or du fou
Il y a des choses que nous ont besoin d’aide tout
Alors que d’autres nous sommes les meilleurs il y a
Où, comme les autres, nous sommes les meilleurs
Nous sommes tous faits des mêmes cellules de base
Mais nos différences sont ce qui donne la couleur
Normale est une fonction sur une machine à laver
Et personne est vraiment moyenne dans tous les sens
Faire tout le monde spécial à leur manière

© Fi S. J. Brown

An Earthly Balance

In the month of October the leaves change themselves into many colours
And all round my neighbourhood from branches they soon drop like tears
As sadly I look to the distance hills that seem to grow further away by day
Obscured by the ever growing houses and cars replacing crops in the fields

One day it felt like ten thousand leaves fell about by my head as I pondered
With a mist descending with a quickening pace Photoshopping out the hills
And a gentle breeze was replaced by an angry gust of Mother Nature’s rage
Even the birds seemed frightened of her so kept their songs to muted grey

My eyes wandered left and right as watched the destruction she caused
But my thoughts were elsewhere lost in thought of those now forever gone
A father, a friend and a great uncle too all now stars in the evening skies
Even the chaos she caused would not change the internal mess I now felt

In this constantly changing world the view from my window now tarnished
Emptiness replaced where the leaves had once sat among the song birds
But like the soldiers of Flanders Field now lying on the ground in blood red
Humans and Mother Nature fighting to keep control that each feel their own

Too many have swapped the colourful life for that of autotuned human grey
Follow blindly like a sheep that can be manipulated into doing another’s work
But now many are awakening to this each dawn with their swords ready
And on Mother Nature’s side they will fight to keep this world in balance

In the month of October the leaves change colour but life on Earth carries on
And the armies evergreen trees protect us from Jack Frost’s chilling laugh
Humans are only one of the characters in this play not the star and director
So let us let take a back seat and enjoy the show with the others not alone.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Love is a mystery

Now and again I find curiosity gets the better of me and tune into television programs just to try understand being human and how others see life differently to me. This includes ones like ‘First Dates’ that set up people and film them have their first date together in a restaurant, which of course is heavily edited like any reality television program. The program makers decide how they are going to edit someone to be like to the narrative of what unfolded. As someone that love is very much that mystery I have all but left out of my life so far it is interesting to me what the participants are looking for and what love means to them. From ‘friend zone’ to ‘baggage’ it often leaves me more bewildered than anything on the ways they often justify reasons for saying ‘no’ or to why they are single and thus decided to do the show in the first place.

The concept of ‘friend zone’ stems from the 1990s television series according to the Oxford English Dictionary but seems to be very 21st century to meet someone and decide they’ll only ever be a friend so immediately that’s any chance of anything more developing as someone learns more about a person over time to be zero. I guess it may feed into this instant gratification we now seem to have as often see on First Dates some say ‘there was no instant spark’…which to me is silly as they’re in an artificial environment and unless there was good reason to avoid that person in future then why not see how that person is away from the camera? Equally, a ‘spark’ can develop over time as the other person’s little quirks make us smile and see that person as someone we like to be in the company of. How many relationships in the past started from a friendship that grew into something more? It is almost stunting something with a full stop before it could be a beautiful friendship that means far more than something romantic too.

Although I am openly asexual to my friends (“An asexual is someone who does not experience sexual attraction. This does not necessarily mean that they do not experience sexual arousal, or romantic or aesthetic attraction, or that they do not want intimacy from their relationships.”) it is sometimes left unsaid on why I am single. Equally, it is always someone’s personality for me that makes them attractive or not, although I have had horrific vibes off people that I have learnt meant to run and keep running from them too. I do not care about someone’s gender when it comes to love as I have had rarely had feelings for anyone (male, female or however someone wants to define their gender); of the people I have kissed two have been male and one is female. Who that person is as a package not the shell around their body is what speaks to me. As a teenager I questioned my sexuality as had no idea who I found sexy but did find any sexual talk a trigger as made me upset and uneasy, which it still remains to this day due to unresolved issues.

That last point brings me onto ‘baggage’ that any human being that has ever lived has got. Yes some of us seem to experience more things in life than others but does not mean we should be determined by it. First Dates seems to love its sob stories and tragic events or stories from its participants. It takes a lot to learn to love ones self as I have learnt and know it would take a lot for me to love another as to me that is absolutely terrifying at beginning to imagine it. I know to some my personal ‘baggage’ may seem a lot but by sharing the weight becomes lighter as it also does with the passing of time, something that the only person I sort of dated did not grasp. Nobody gets to the age I am at now without a few scars but equally they should not be defined by their past as makes them the person they are today and what happens today will influence the future. Baggage sounds like we have several suitcases we bring from relationship to relationship, but equally they can contain amazing experiences and things we have done. However, they also show to me how we should deal with things properly and not bottle them up so become dragged down by them.

My love of music and musicality is no secret but have rarely understood why we write so many songs about love when there are so many other human emotions. One album I am enjoying right now is exploring many themes from awakeness to not giving up on life so meaning a lot to me beyond the fact the singer/songwriter is a special friend. For me I feel romantic love is a mystery meant for others and not for me. If I am honest if someone said they fancied me or loved me in a romantic way I would be sure it was a joke and/or a bet such is my cynical view. Love comes in many forms and we should be embarrassing that not giving friend zones at the drop of a hat as the love of a good friend should not be ignored but treasured as far as I am concerned beyond that of romantic. I do not believe in fairy tale love but would like someone to challenge my suitcases and me to see beyond the love I have learnt through friends that I did not think was even possible. So don’t give up as you’re single, enjoy it and who cares…the spinster cat starter kit is only a phone call away from your local animal shelter!

© Fi S. J. Brown

The Girl That Said No

Standing on the edge of the forest
Like my ancestors once did
And the leaves are changing colour
No more flowers and animals will sleep
Whispers in the air tell the tales
Of the year almost gone
Fearful hate, apathy awakened
What a mess we make, will we ever learn

Watching from the black mirror in hand
For the latest craze to begin
Celebrities instagraming their hashtags
With their lies for mass consumption

I will not follow the unwritten rules
I will not be placed in their boxes
I will not Photoshop or filter my life
Or worship the gods of stage and screen
Independence and individuality
Thinking aloud with no thought police
Burning the spin and lies with every step
I am the girl that said no

Standing in the middle of the town
Ignoring the autotuned grey noise
Hoping for some colourful miracle
To breakout out with the sword of truth
Whispers in the air tell the tales
Of the year almost gone
Fearful hate, apathy awakened
What a mess we make, will we ever learn

An emperor wearing his new clothes
Praised by the sheep baaing masses
Fakeness has become the new norm
Blurred lines until we all become one

I will not follow the unwritten rules
I will not be placed in their boxes
I will not Photoshop or filter my life
Or worship the gods of stage and screen
Independence and individuality
Thinking aloud with no thought police
Burning the spin and lies with every step
I am the girl that said no

I will not follow the unwritten rules
I will not be placed in their boxes
I will not Photoshop or filter my life
Or worship the gods of stage and screen
Independence and individuality
Thinking aloud with no thought police
Burning the spin and lies with every step
I am the girl that said no

© Fi S. J. Brown

Alopecia and Me

There’s a balloon on my head or at least that’s what it looks like. How do I explain alopecia in terms that people may empathise with and dare I dream even understand? Our immune system is meant to fight infectious organisms and substances but mine decided over 25 years ago that this includes my hair. Yes, my own body’s defence mechanism went on a friendly fire offensive against my hair cells and killed them.

First it looked like hairs on the pillow and soon there were none left on my head. By none I mean none, at times of stress I have no hairs anywhere on my body that a woman would. However, I did notice little white hairs on my arms on Monday, which some may say but everybody does Fi – well my body hasn’t done so in over twenty years! My hair has grown back once and nearly back twice only to fall out again within a few months so now can hardly remember what it feels like to have any hair at all.

Being bald drained any outward self confidence, the bullying at school left their own scars to make for a vicious cocktail inside of me. Looking in a mirror became a phobia as I was scared to see the freak in my head in flesh and the ogre have physical form. I had zero therapy to understand it all and the doctors were as useful as chocolate teapots when I could see one but even then the control of my life was not in my hands. It is only now I have accepted fully that it is part of me, I will never be able to stop others reaction to it and do not care what they might say or do for there is no cure to reason to laugh at me. I am overdue buying a new wig, I feel like a change…one thing is for sure I’m not going blonde!

© Fi S. J. Brown

The Supermarket Dream

As well as deep thinking I have an active imagination and visual mind that like to play even in my dreams. For example part of a dream the other week included a koala feeding me at an Indian restaurant whilst he sat in a bin! They are often a dark comedy that doesn’t often make sense at first but when I stop to think them through they do.

Here’s what I remember of last night’s dream: I was outside a supermarket before it opened and decided I fancied something to eat when it opened. The store had recently been renovated so prepared to be lost trying to find what I needed. Only when I went in the store it was huge and had everything I could ever want or need and seemed like it was expanding as I looked. I only wanted essentials but other things kept coming in to my basket that I didn’t want. When I decided I had enough there were no tills to be seen or people to ask. I found what might be an exit and decided to try it as even if triggered an alarm someone would help…right?! It did eventually but they shook their heads when asking where I came in, which was miles from where I was then and uncertain how I had come so far. One of them took me to the biggest virtual flatscreen I had ever seen and said if I wanted to simply choose not browse I should have used this but with all the endless possibilities how could I? So I was sent in an elevator. I pressed a button to go to the tills and buy the small selection I wanted but the elevator voice spoke saying “are you sure that’s all you want, I don’t think so! There is much more in store!” It sprayed me with a liquid soaking me and my shopping! I then woke up.

What do I think it means? It’s a way of seeing my life, with endless choices and possibilities. I try to exit but that wasn’t an answer. The more I try to work out what I want the more complicated it feels. I only want a simple life but what does that actually mean? I only ever wanted a place to call home, a dog and be happy with a job I enjoy doing. As to what that job is has been a constant headache over the years as ignored my instincts. Although slowly feel I’m getting there at last.

Dreams are odd things breaking that one down finally makes sense of what my waking mind has been thinking. Hoping I am finally seeing my true path and not more trees growing blocking where I thought it was. I am nervous but excited by this development. Who knows what’s next and even if we knew would we really want to?!

© Fi S. J. Brown

Will you join me?

In a world that the visual image has been heavily manipulated and spun almost as much as the written word how do we know what we see is real and the people in them actually exist in the form we see them in any shape or form? Praising those that exemplify the fake a la Kim Kardashian to Cheryl (whatever her surname is right now) and putting them on pedestals of what 21st century beauty should aspire to be. In contrast calling someone brave for their attempts to step away from it as though they are being daring for to go without make up to choosing not to have Botox in their lips by the age of 22. Personally I find it ridiculous that we let someone’s manipulated image show us what we should look like and aspire to be as in reality nobody can look as they’re shown to be without deception to surgery. Some may say it is not their fault but sadly the golden carrot of money is often enough to make many follow blindly like a sheep or dance like a puppet on stage.

We do not need designer clothing but clothing that is made fairly for those making them under often horrific conditions to the consumer that will wear them. Fashion magazines and websites are built on insecurities that we all naturally feel and urge us to change with the seasons and years but as we all realise soon enough they come round again at least twice or thrice in our lifetimes! Fake tans to skin bleaching almost make us feel bad for our natural skin tone and heritage yet why should it, just look how stupid racism is and judging another based on their physical form of family history. Instagram or Snapchat filters for a bit of fun or help us hide behind masks as feel we fit in better so won’t be judged or laughed at…and even worse perhaps encourage more likes on social media. These likes that eat in to our self esteem that we must have so many likes in order to feel pretty or approved of by others; we are sugar coating our lives with unnecessary filters.

How can we learn that the imperfections we see in the mirror or talk to us in our heads are not things to air brush or filter away? Differences are seen as flaws not part of what makes us the unique person we are and the word ‘normal’ used for humans when there is no normal or average human being! There is no life Photoshop to change what we do not like about ourselves and lives, although I am sure we have all seen others try rewrite their history. Our individualism is under attack as now rather look and act like our favourite celebrities than the real us. However, as I said before these people are paid to edited to look the way they do to us, and make us feel bad over the slightest of things. Can we keep living in a world so fake and ultimately lose our individualism? I do not think so. So it is time to start the fight back, I refuse to bow down to someone’s manipulated idea of how a human being should be. Will you join me?

© Fi S. J. Brown