World Health Day

On this World Health Day I have been thinking how many of us have so called “hidden illnesses”? How something that we cannot see lends some to act as judge and jury of how that impacts someone’s life, making them less “normal” and/or lesser of a human being. For example, if a healthy looking person came out a disabled toilet without a wheelchair, how many would tut because feel to use such facilities they should be as the image on the door? Really should be thought more as ‘accessible toilets’ as to remind us that they need to be exactly that – accessible. So those that need to use them are enabled to retain their dignity and independence whilst doing what all of us take for granted.

Our ability to live life despite apparent disabilities (physical/mental/hidden) do not change who we are inside. When someone gets a diagnosis today, they are still who they were yesterday or last week. It does not matter what the diagnosis or label says our inability is or because our body does not do or make the same as the textbook says it should in humans, does not make them less of human nor do people want pity. I can say from personal experience, it is often more of a relief to give it a name so can try to live life and adapt (if possible/applicable) to what this means. Please try to remember that for many illnesses there are no operations, cures or answers to why it happened.

For me the friendship, love, conversation, laughter, creativity, and acceptance of others gets me through the day. There are times when I want to give up as so tired from fighting to pain (mental and physical) but with my closest friends no matter where they are I know I will survive. Whatever health issues we may have, they do not matter, the world needs all of us. It is our differences that make the colours on the tapestry of humanity. It would be a very monochrome piece if we all were exactly the same, with so called “perfect” bodies, which did exactly as the textbook said – remember even machines need repairing now and again. So viva la difference and let’s paint the world every day in our multi-colours, showcasing that is what it means to be truly human.

© Fi S. J. Brown

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The Glass Vase a.k.a Life

Life, in the words of one of my favourite authors (Neil Gaiman) is “a disease: sexually transmitted, and invariably fatal“. With the recent deaths of musicians and actors that we have all admired (maybe even idolised or fancied) for many years; from David Bowie to Lemmy, Alan Rickman and Glenn Frey, we feel we have lost part of ourselves as they wrote the soundtrack to our lives or a distant friend that never judged but was there in the background. As a result I have been thinking about the fragility of life, which to me is best thought of as like a glass vase held in a toddler’s hands, which could shatter in an instant.

No amount of preparation is able to prepare any of us for death only that that it will happen one day; nor can we protect ourselves or those we love from the impact of it. The shards of glass are like the bits of the person now gone; there are things we all may like or admire in a person, but equally there are bits only some people saw like the unique design that made them who they were or with the addition of flowers they became like an amazing support that many took for granted. At first we may try in vain to glue the shards back together before realising we cannot bring back what is gone, and the water on the floor increasing as the tears fall from our eyes like a river meeting the sea. Even when the shards are put in the bin, there is still part of them that will forever be part of us, as had a shared history (good and bad). Some may think getting a new vase will be the same, but it will not have the memories and identity that the one now gone had, and can never truly replace it.

However, it is important not to be scared of the vase shattering but remembering what the vase meaning is to us every day as can mean different things to different people, just as life can be different for us all. It can vary in the colours/shape/form because we all come in different ones, the only thing we share is being human and it is the diversity that is our true artistic self. It does not matter where the vase is, be it on a broken shelf in a run down house or a museum as created by some artisan of note, we all matter to someone. What that is can vary too; a vase may hold flowers that a loved one gave us to mark our birthday or Valentine’s Day, it also may have bought at an art gallery shop after enjoying an exhibition by a favourite artist or the colour fitted with the new décor of our living room. Finally, remember no vase is truly perfectly made, just as we all have flaws or hidden defects, perfection is a lie we tell each other as a way to convince ourselves as much as others. 

© Fi S. J. Brown

Life is an anagram of file

Everyone of us is born like an empty file, which over our lifetime is filled with different words, pictures and sounds that are unique to us.
There are special moments we save to our file to remember them again years later, but also those we forgot to press save on now gone. Equally, there are those we wish we could delete as bring us pain when we see them, as well as those in haste we erased with anger or in tears.
Life is full of repeats. Copied and pasted throughout the file, perhaps they are lessons we are meant to learn from. Cutting toxic people is a must for our sanities, as act like a virus on our file, but it is not always easy as a click of a mouse to remove them permanently.
Sometimes it feels like it be good if we could star a new file, but this is impossible. Stop to think of all that be lost if succeeded in aborting. Remember even if the file gets corrupted and refuses to not open, it is not necessarily the end. There is support out there that can help us.
Arial 11 in black maybe default, standard or “normal”, but there is no such thing as a standard human being. So explore the fonts, sizes and colours till find one that is us. Sometimes adding italics, bolding or underlining works, but it’s not for everyone. Find and create our normal.
As a new year approaches, a time of resolutions and possible change. Think of it like a new page on the file, how we fill it is up to us,
© Fi S. J. Brown

To be human

Question, what one universal thing connects us all? Answer, being human.
 
We may look different due to gender, genetics, and/or race, but those are part of our outer shell and we share a heart that beats to give us life. We also have differences in ability, beliefs, sexuality and personality, but do they really make a difference in making someone human?
 
Equally, what is normal? Normal is how life is for us, one person’s normal may be different to ours but does not make them abnormal or a freak. Do our similarities not make us connect but these differences teach us a different way of living life, which is no more right or wrong than the way we choose to live it.
 
Today is world human rights day, a chance not to dwell on the negatives of life but be grateful for what we have and the freedoms some of us enjoy that others cannot. All to often we want more and more yet forget how lucky we actually are and what rights we have.
 
So many for example in the UK to the US taking being able to read and write as such a given thing, we learn them us small children and skills for life. However, being born in a different culture if female may never have the chance to learn these skills. Belief and faith are personal things, if someone wants to follow Christianity, Scientology, Atheism to Pastafarianism, let them. Also disabilities, not every one can be seen outwardly, but inwardly can be a struggle just to get through the day without pain and tears.
 
Recycle jealousy, greed and anger into empathy, understanding and love. Be a candle of light and hope to others not judge and jury. The world is full of critics, so be an encourager and supporter. Also, be ourselves not an imitation of someone else or hide are true selves as scared how others will react, that’s their problem not ours. Finally, embrace what makes us unique, it would be a very boring place if we are all the same!
© Fi S. J. Brown

Language

On this the day of International Literacy, I think of anthropologist Wade Davis work on languages; he states that half the languages of the world are on the brink of extinction. Pause for a minute and think what that means. To be the last person that spoke, read and wrote your native language with no way to pass this knowledge on. Amazing that every two weeks on average this happens to someone around the world. Davis states that this means within a generation or two we will lose half of humanity’s legacy.

As you read this, you may think doesn’t matter, we all speak English and/or wouldn’t it better if there was one language for all, would we all not get along better then? Sure, but let’s make it Chamicuro, Liki or Kaixana. Perhaps now we can understand what it may be like not to speak our native language. For many of us a world where people could no longer speak, write or read English seems unimaginable given how much is spoken, written and said in it daily. By losing languages we’re losing more than a solitary voice in the dark but a way of life, customs and traditions.

So as we go about today, reading and writing in our various languages on Facebook to E-mail and text think about this. Also, consider not just how lucky we are to have the gifts to do so, because they are gifts that not all humans have the opportunities to learn these even now in the second decade of the 21st century. Equally, embrace our diversity in all its beautiful colours that enrich the world, even removing but one colour from the rainbow would change the world around us forever before it’s too late.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Humans 2015.5 AD

For me four words describe many humans in this the middle of the second decade of the twenty first century. They are: Narcissistic, Cruel, Ignorant and Fearful.

As we’ve entered the era of the selfie there has become a thin line between self love and narcissism. A look at most major celebrities social media it’s a case of look at me and my life, which gives the younger generations a false idea of how they must look to what they can achieve in life. The newspapers to websites show us altered images to say “this is what normal is“, yet we’re all normal and it is what is right for us not what someone else tells us. We also have products filled with chemicals to give us masks to hide behind and show off to the world, which if some post without some how become regarded as “brave“. The narcissism entered a new low recently with the news Kim Kardashian has published a book of selfies, frankly who cares; in the past family pictures would be kept to an album brought out on special occasions. The images offer nothing to aspire to and have in much in common with a tortoise’s shell with glitter and glue than they do about what makes that person human and their individuality.

At the same time we have become much less compassionate and caring about our fellow humans and the world around us, many laughing at those with emotions and make them feel like they are some kind of modern day circus freak for doing so. Some like to troll across the internet picking holes at others as do things differently or look different to them, hiding behind a screen as know the screen is not two way. They also will do whatever they can to get what they feel they are entitled to; doing so through lying and cheating, as long as they’re alright and does not matter who they hurt in so doing. Those that try to stand up against them are met quite often by more of the same so back down and lose their voice as pushed aside or muted into submission. Karma will have her way but even that does not seem to make them pause to think, simply because all they think of is themselves.

Is ignorance really bliss? How can we have more people staying on in education yet know nothing about real life. They follow celebrities blindly or get enraged by politicians but only look at the surface as do not think for themselves and allow handheld computers or smart phones to do it for them. No longer going to a library for finding the answers or trying to learn for ourselves, we head straight for Google and believing 99.9% of what is written; which is even more alarming when we consider the words could be written by anyone from an academic professor with an agenda to kid of sixteen that thinks he/she knows it all. For some it does matter as can say yes I agree with him or her and will never look further to understand, interpret their words or create something for themselves. Indeed some will rip off those that have, marking it as their own as don’t know how to, jealous someone else has, or will claim it as their own.

Finally, we have also become fearful that people of certain religions or beliefs mean to hurt us. Someone with a gun is liable to go crazy at a school, especially if they have a mental health condition. Some days it feels like the world walks on egg shells as ignorant to the truth and will hurt them for just being a certain way just to prevent them from hurting ourselves or those we love as gave us a “funny look“. Newspapers to website spread a form of fear porn to make us worry and whisper on what may be as we fear not what will happen if we do but more the fear from not acting when we feel should. Some campaign for peace, but while we are fighting among ourselves due to difference and/or ignorance, can it really ever happen or is it just something to hang hope on?

Four words, yet they say so much of life at the present moment. We cannot change the past as that’s now our history and today lays the foundations for tomorrow. We live life in one direction, even if time travel is possible, with past events re-written to suit the survivors or victor’s points of view. So perhaps stopping and thinking now and again to consider who we are, this world we live in beyond the concrete cages and finally what/who matters most.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Nature and us

The sea – watching the waves going in and out calms our hearts to the same beat, which untangles the brain waves and recharges the soul.

The hills – from the distance they look so high but once climbed the view is incredible, like the reward for overcoming whatever what has hurt us.

The forests – full of trees large and small that hug us as we walk among them, which sets of birds flying past to take away our woes far away.

The flowers – a variety of colours and types, which no one is truly different but neither are they truly unique, equally none are perfect, like us.

The soil – best walked on barefoot and let its nutrients absorb into and moisturise our skin, replenish what a moisturiser filled with chemicals cannot.

The seeds – pick up two or three to plant ideas in our minds, not of what will make us money but bring us contentment, all starts small, like us.

The unseen – the mircoorganisms we share this world remind us how even in a crowd it can feel empty and all have hidden talents, start exploring.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Our changing world

Have cars become our homes and sanctuaries on wheels? A place to escape the noisy neighbours, screaming children, and nagging or cheating partners. Where as before we may have gone for a walk, let the clouds take our woes far away to rain on who or whatever is hurting us, a forest of trees giving a large hug of support and a sun smiling to give us hope.

We also have built buildings of fifty shades of grey that suffocate our passions and connectedness filled with an air of jealousy, oneupmanship and bitchiness instead of a gentle breeze to revive the soul, bird song to make us sing with them and friendships of mutual love and respect. Why are we surrounding ourselves in monotone when there is a muticoloured and multiscensory world just outside only a footstep away.

Also, we have mountains of waste as everything has become disposable, nothing lasts more than a few years before being replaced be it a mobile phone or partner. Equally, our communication has been reduced to words on or a face on screen rather than face to face. Is so we as can hide real feelings and emotion? Create fantasies or cry wolf?

Has the world changed or have we? Not wanting to be merely an actor, we have turned away from being part of the cast of Planet Earth, but become her director. We are becoming blind to what is around us, sleeping walking to a brave new world where we will have lost compassion and empathy for the world. Isn’t it time we woke up and broke down the wall?

© Fi S. J. Brown

The black box

I am looking out of my window, watching metallic animals charging through the concrete jungle, tamed like wild animals in a circus by the self-proclaimed kings of this jungle, like all other living things in this world they want to control and own them. They are self-proclaimed as their egos are so big; the shelters they build for rest are grand and fill with objects that serve no purpose other than they feel the necessity to own them. One such object is a black box that sits in a room meant for living, which is ironic as the black box means they do not live but worship it like a false god giving it praise each day rather than see what is outside the concrete jungle they’ve created and the walls that block the daylight from shining.

This false god they believe what it tells them, when in reality it is all carefully orchestrated to appeal to their egos and desires as much as their love and empathy, making sure they invest their emotions again and again in this false god as believe informs educates and entertains them. They react not with their fellow kings with conversation but reach for smaller boxes to complain and praise, under a false belief they can change the future despite the fact the script is already written, all was planned years before, and they are merely players in a movie themselves. Some remove the false god, knocking down the walls of concrete to rediscover the multi-coloured and multi-sensory it hides; like Neo in the move “The Matrix” it feels like they have taken the red pill and awoken from deep sleep. Where as many continue unknowingly or unwanting to acknowledge what they see take the blue pill as rather have the comfort the false god brings.

I have had enough concrete jungle, I prefer to sit among the autumn leaves listening to their stories and songs than listen to the autotuned songs and false stories that the kings of the concrete jungle tell. This world is incredible, the trees of different shades with birds singing 101 songs as the wind tickles their branches and rivers do not run but massage the wounds of the mountains and forests. Take a hammer to break down the wall of concrete or smash the glass of the window in the room of living to begin to live. Pick up the telephone or write a letter, create something new, be it a pot of lentil soup or cakes with butterflies on them to a painting of the view from the broken glass to a song celebrating your love for another.

© Fi S. J. Brown

A crazy little planet called Earth

This planet called Earth is full of inequality
One starves another plays with his iPhone
It’s time to call stop
Crazy little planet called Earth

Everything has beauty beyond skin or fur
Fakery is a temporary fix for their egos.
Its naturality must shine
Crazy little planet called Earth

One animal rules from a concrete jungle
Like a child they do not share their toys
It’s time for sharing
Crazy little planet called Earth

Rivers, mountains and lakes now for sale
Everything has a price including their own
It’s time to burn money
Crazy little planet called Earth

Deaf and blind like sheep most still follow
While warning flags blow in the west wind
It’s time to wake up
Crazy little planet called Earth

© Fi S. J. Brown