It never fails to surprise me what companies pass for as “Halloween costumes”, often using them as a way to laugh at a group of people that are part of society. One I have found over the years repeating is the “mental health patient”. So I decided this year, if you can’t beat them, join them.
This is the result – a picture of me as a mental health patient. Is it what you were expecting, oh no blood stains, straight jacket or crazy eyes. Can you not see the tears I cried for a week when I took this picture? Or the negative thoughts that ate away at me as I tried to enjoy the autumn sun? Also, how many years it took me to smile and take a photograph? This is what depression and anxiety can look like not those costumes you can buy.
We use costumes and masks to hide pain and sometimes the real us. Trying be happy as someone told us to “cheer up, what’s the worst that can happen”!? Personally, I am through with hiding behind them and scared of the stigma of others, they are part of the colours that make me but do not define me. So dress up tonight if you like, but be yourself tomorrow, shine on every day to end the darkness and break down walls of ignorance.
I’m dreaming not of a white Christmas, or what gifts I will receive under the tree or in a stocking to mark the 25th of the month for it is after all optional, no matter how much the advertisers and retailers appeal to me. Not everything in life can be bought at a mall or supermarket or on the internet, for what I would like cannot ever be bought or sold.
I dream of a world where we do not feel the need to buy pointless material goods to show our love and thanks for another being in our lives, for our words, thoughts and actions express these daily. Buying a so called gift for someone again and again does not help our economies; it only serves our own egos and makes the rich more money, as many struggle to afford to pay their bills let alone these extras. It is said it is supposed to be about the giving, so why is not giving ourselves not enough?
Therefore, my seasonal wish, hoping one day it may come true, is for a society of collective consciousness that actually cares about and supports each other, animals, children, older people, the poor and vulnerable, depressed and anxious, sick and lonely, regardless of difference, and respecting and loving the world we all share with all its incredible gifts it gives us for free.
Tills and bells ring to the tune of the festive season, mimicking the sound of Santa Claus’ sleigh on that night that make young and old rejoice. Yet every night in the sky the stars ring out but few stop to listen to them toll, as grown deaf to their gentle chimes. They bring comfort and joy wherever they ring, but many would rather the sound of a new iPhone 6 held in their hands.
Do not let the ransom notes of the advertisements tease and torment the soul, and fill it with nothing but greed and envy instead of glowing from inside out like the moon. A gift does not have to be bought to show the sounds of our heart when the recipient is near, for it echoes in our words and actions every day; feeling the most precious gifts of all – love, peace, hope and light.
Today has been termed “Black Friday” where retailers try to entice us to buy yet more goods we do not need; it won’t improve our lives to own something and nor will we look cool to show off what we bought on social media. At a time when many people are struggling to pay their rent, bills and food, do we really need to buy more?
Instead I would like to use it as a day we think of the darkness or black in the world. Not everyone has a place to call home, a job or people to call family. Equally, many live with physical and mental conditions or coming to terms with terminal ones. Also, many these days have a sense of “as long as I’m ok!” Where is the empathy?
As well as thinking of black in the world, let us send hope and peace with light of multicolour to brighten up the world. We need love, empathy and compassion to all living creatures of this world. Finally, let us breakdown barriers and labels we use to judge others, respecting and appreciate all.
The humble bumble bee must rank as one of the most vilified creatures on Earth by humans. As children we are told to be careful not to be stung by one, yet they only do so because it is frightened or protecting the colony – most of us would lash out if someone tried to attack or those we love too! They then suffer the tragedy of dying for protecting those they love, because a mammal’s skin is so thick it can remove the stinger back out and it’s organs are torn out in stinging. It would be like the police shooting us for defending our homes as we attacked an intruder to our homes.
Then their role in pollinating plants is often underestimated what they bring to us. Many of us love to see flowers blooming around us and almost around in the spring air but do we ever thank the bee’s role in this sight of colourful beauty? Probably not. In the UK it has been estimated that we have lost 97% of our flower-rich grassland since the 1930s. Furthermore, bees account for 80% of all insect pollination of plants at least 30% of the world’s crops and 90% of our wild plants to thrive due to pollination from them. That is like us humans taking over 80% of the world, using at least 30% of the available animals a food source and killing 90% of the wild animals as do not bring us any “benefits” (i.e. food or companionship).
You may think that last comparison is silly or crazy, but is it so far out? When we have human greed by materialistic goods increasing, a new iPhone or designer handbag having more importance than hills and rivers. We want to put a price on everything we can see or hear. In the UK alone two species have become extinct in the last 80 years and others have declined dramatically. Maybe it’s about time we thanked them for their help in giving us peas to strawberries, rather than reaching for pesticides or growing genetically modified crops so do not appeal to insects before they are no more and once we saw dancing with the spring flowers.