My Unfiltered Life

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

me hat

The Rowing Boat

Depression can leave you feeling like you’re sat lost on a wooden boat in the middle of the sea. Rowing every direction but forward as you fear the unknown that lies ahead and the pains from the past although distant still leave a bitter sting. Every wave that hits the boat makes it feel like it will soon break into hundred pieces, leaving you stranded with cuts from clinging on to the driftwood and fearing that you will never be rescued, becoming just another one that was lost and drowned at sea.
 
It is at that moment that you should pause, not stop to give up but pause. Let the tears fall from your eyes like rain to a forest for you’re not a robot or desert. It does not matter if you did not pack flares to show your light to others because it is within you. Listen for the birds for they are wise and are your friends and are there even when you cannot see them or think that there are none. Shut your eyes and count to five, repeat this three times, and now look to see the land you never saw before.
 
As you and your boat head to the land do not expect it to be heaven or hell, take each moment as it comes and tackle any of your problems as they occur before they suffocate. As you reach the shore, make a note place your boat somewhere that it can remind you of your journey to get there. Now as you land, take that first step on the beach feel the grains with your hands and feet, you are like those grains; a small grain in a big world, but also each one matters just as you do to others.
 
© Fi S. J. Brown

Tori’s lyrics

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

 

 

Olympic body shaming

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

20 Life Lessons

  1. Normal is an abnormal word, everybody lives a life that is normal for them in an ever judging world;
  2. Life is unfair, do not expect something or behave as though you feel it owes you a favour or two;
  3. Do not compare your life with that of another’s, you have your own highs, lows, twists and turns;
  4. Your friendships can help you grow and develop, but require loyalty, honesty and respect to blossom;
  5. Life is too short, so do not waste a minute hating and/or hurting another with envy, jealousy or greed;
  6. When you feel sad and hurt by life, allow yourself to cry aloud and learn to be gentle with yourself;
  7. You are a survivor of life and will learn to dance again after the thunderstorms have crashed around you;
  8. Stop looking for that physical sign to make your decisions, it is an invisible feeling from deep within;
  9. Yesterday cannot be changed and tomorrow lies unwritten, so live in the present moment of today;
  10. You can be old at 35 but young at 70 for age does not mean wisdom and maturity but years around the sun;
  11. How smart or intelligent you are cannot be measured by exams, numbers, letters, or pieces of paper;
  12. You do not have to be an artist or musician to be creative, so let your imagination flow like a child’s;
  13. Communication is key to any relationship you will ever have be it with family, friends or work colleagues;
  14. Your actions will always speak more than words alone, so follow through but do not make false promises;
  15. Arguments are not there to be won, learn to agree to disagree from differences of opinion to your own;
  16. Trust your instincts when feeling someone is being dishonest with you and talk with them but not assume;
  17. Deal with things at the root level before they become trees and forests that overwhelm you;
  18. Your happiness does not depend upon on outside influences, i.e. anyone or anything, it is up to to you;
  19. People can be toxic to you, do not assume everyone has your best interests at heart, even your family;
  20. 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

R*A*I*N*

When the world feels claustrophobically overwhelming, trying to be gentle with ourselves can be the last thing on our minds. That is when we need to stop, look at the sky, catching the RAIN falling in our hands and remember the following:
 
R – Relax, take that time out away from what is hurting us, even if it is a five-ten minute tea or coffee break. With every sip think of a beach and feel the grains of sand under our feet that at times may feel like quicksand dragging us down but keep walking on and let the sea’s rhythm match our heart.
 
A – Accept that this moment maybe feeling like it may be the end, there is nowhere to go or friends to turn to; but there are, just stop on the beach and listen out for the birds singing as they are nature’s messengers carrying messages filled with love, peace, hope and light from friends near and far.
 
I – Investigate the forest that lies up from the beach. At first it can seem like we have got ourselves lost but to move forward we need to clear the trees that block our path; cut from the root so remove the source of the pain. There maybe false starts to dead ends while doing this but it happens to us all.
 
N – Nothing lasts forever, so when we see daylight as the forest clears and the storm ends pick up the red shoes that sit at the side of the river and dance. Then take the first step on the stepping stones on the river and follow whether they lead but do not look back as cannot ever be changed.
 
© Fi S. J. Brown

The dandelion

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

Dandelion

Mindful living

Climb to the top of the mountain and giving praise when it warranted. Remember that we are all important, it does not matter who we know but how we are treat others. Only we walk the path that belongs to us, but embrace those that make that journey easier and those that mean us harm follow our senses to limit their damage.
 
Dare to fly and to dream, for the impossible is not what it may seem, we’re only limited by our own imaginations. Embracing who we are now not who we were or like to be, as well as what we have not what we had or would like. Remove worry, fear, and hate, live life and love it as it today, for tomorrow is but a whisper and never a promise.
 
© Fi S. J. Brown

Some days

Some days I wish I could fly up high like a bluebird
Everything flowing freely without any tainted word.
No mouldy air or stagnant water to hold me back,
And let me finally follow that old yellow brick track.
 
Some days I am drowning in a sea of forest green,
Attacked by the branches of the woodland queen.
Cannot see the wood from the hundreds of trees,
Needing an axe clear my view and unlock the keys.
 
Some days I feel like an actor that forgot their lines,
Missing subtle prompts and ignoring warning signs.
Trashing and trivialising any of my achievements,
But count my failures like individual bereavements.
 
Some days I wake up to find a smile upon my face,
As realise that it is okay to be a tortoise in the race.
Bursting the balloons of self doubt and losing fears,
Listening to the wise birds with their comforting ears.
 
Some days I sing with the dawn chorus for being alive,
And feel refreshed in the morning dew as I take a dive
Ready a new to take on the world whatever it will bring,
Tying up any problems or puzzles with some old string.
 
© Fi S. J. Brown

Love and light

Events over the last few days in Orlando to West Yorkshire have sent many of us in tears and asking for answers we do not even know how to formulate the questions to beyond the simplest ‘why’. It is times like this that can bring us together in love and grief but equally tear us apart in hate as wave the finger of blame with a thirst for revenge; there is enough blood being spilt worldwide right now without us adding to it.
Consider for a minute why do we paint a sky one shade of blue or grass one shade of green, when they are many different shades? Just as these events are done by one grey shade of humanity that does not mean they represent all of us; nor for example will every person that worships an afro haired Martian called Bob will do extreme things such yarn bombing trees, some are happy to knit hats and scarves in their homes.
Now pick up your matches or lighter, not for a fire but to light a candle, and let us set off a light beacon of love and hope throughout the world, driving out those that want us to live in fearful and hateful darkness. Then pick up your phone to ring, text, email or Facebook those you love to remind them just how special they are to you and do this often as today is now, where as tomorrow is a whisper but not a promise to anyone.
© Fi S. J. Brown