Spring Song

Spring’s song begins today in the northern hemisphere with snowdrops ringing to wake all sleeping from their winter’s sleep. The croci playing bass, giving a rhythmic and harmonic foundation to the world. With the melody sung by the newborn wildlife throughout the land, reverberating through hills and valleys, and the trees and bushes their backing singers resplendent in their new season green clothes.
 
Every year this song can be heard but how few of us stop to see, hear and feel it? Mother Nature displaced as the leading lady, as we humans do our cover version. We insult her further by autotuning our voices as cannot sing in her unique style, colour or pitch. With footprints stamping across the world like a booming hip hop beat. Forming chorus lines full of grey, filled with drills and bombs tainted with fear, jealousy and hate.
 
© Fi S. J. Brown
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Room 101

You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world” – with these words come from author George Orwell in his famous dystopic novel 1984, which I highly recommend any reader who has never read it to do so, or re-read it as always find something new when I do.

Earlier today I watched Northern Ballet’s production of it on BBC 4, which was excellent. I remembered listening to Nick Hancock on BBC Radio 5 show, which has subsequently become a highly successful TV series, called Room 101. The radio show had the guest to nominate their “least favourite people, places and pop songs” in order to have them consigned to Room 101, and it was up to Nick to decide if they should or should not go in. I decided to follow this model but extend to my least favourite people, place, objects and music.

For my least favourite people it was very clear to me who I would put in – those that hurt others (particularly with no remorse or guilt) be they human, scales, fur or feather. I cannot understand or tolerate abuse be it sexual, physical, mental or emotional of another, there is enough darkness in the world, why add to it? I maybe highly empathetic, but cannot understand how someone finds joy in it.

For my least favourite place initially I was uncertain but then it came to me – Los Angeles. Now I do not mean any offence to anyone from or lives there, but to me it seems so fake and artificial based on false promises and dreams, full of lost souls, where few ever get the gold ticket without insider genetics or contacts, and contracts that would make even old Lucifer raise a smile for a decade or more.

For my least favourite object it becomes tricky as between several. My initial one was escalators, as I fell top to bottom on one as a small child when the lady in front stopped in the middle top to talk to her friend with nowhere for me to go but down! However, I also considered unnecessary chemicals used on our bodies in creams to deodorants or in our foods, particularly as additives or preservatives.

Finally, for my least favourite music. As someone who openly admits to being something of a musicnut and open minded to hearing old or new songs across all the genres I find this hard but easy. I would not single out a particular genre as there are exceptions to rules in all things in life, including music. Instead I would pick unnecessary booming beats or autotuning a piece so much it loses colour and life.

What about you dear reader, do you agree with me? What person or people, place(s), object and music should be in Room 101? As we all to often think about what we like but do not always consider the power of what we dislike and what it says about us as people. Hate is a strong emotion that we throw about without considering its powers, as along with love every other emotion seems to stem from it.

© 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

A message to all on Planet Earth

Take away these our tears hidden deep from within,

Let them rain down on our faces like drops on leaves.

Please release their power, pain, fear and sadness,

From pains past that leave scars that only we know.

Stop the endless wars with streams of bloody hate,

Replace with rivers of love to flow between us all.

Note it is not to some divine being we ask this of,

But each other across the world, wherever we are.

Here is our white flag and hear our united words,

Enough, peace on Earth, to life that calls it home.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Perfect happiness

Does and in what ways appearance and body image – being perfect – is it connected to happiness? A current prevalent assumption is that those who are more perfect will be happier. Many women (and men) judge themselves and others on how much they ‘fit’ the dominant ideal, on how perfect they are, and their sense of self often follows from this. That being perfect connects to being happy is often assumed: ‘if I’m thinner, prettier, sexier s/he’ll love me more’ or ‘if I was ten pounds lighter, I’d be happier with myself and my life would go better’.

The images we are presented with these days from movies, television, magazines and newspapers are real but not real, the people represented in them maybe real but the images are not as have been subject to edits that in some circumstances show someone to be something they are not. Yet even if we know these are not real these are still presented as representations of how a modern woman or man should be. If anyone is not fitting with this view, many often laugh at them in the way some with disabilities were regarded as freaks for a circus in Victorian times, but who are we to act as judge and jury to another we know or don’t for gaining weight but celebrating another losing, when we ourselves are not perfect. This idealisation of being a specific body mass index as in some way it’s a number to show we are within ideals, but it is only a number, like our weight or height, that says nothing about a person’s personality…it really is comparable with shoe size in that respect! By chasing perfection we’re trying to catch a fish with a hole in the net, it is flawed and unrealistic. Looking at a meadow of flowers in spring to the leaves falling from the trees in autumn, all are different shapes and sizes as even within nature nothing is perfect, should that not be telling us something?

We look in a mirror ,sometimes conjuring up images of someone we want to be if only this outer shell was different…if I lost weight, had bigger breasts/muscles, or was a bit taller, I’d be happier…but happier how? Have we actually stopped to think that this shell is just that as it is within that the beauty really is? Some try to say it is “only ugly people say that”, which I think is bollocks, it is only ugly people that say it is about looks only as cannot see beyond the image they see. A person’s beauty shines from within to the outside, but narrow-mindedness and prejudice eats away at this so twists their view of how either gender should look. Happiness is not something we can buy, yet many think by creating a new version of themselves via a surgeon’s knife or buying certain things like “diet” drinks or pills we will be. We’re being brainwashed into believing this image of beauty is the norm and achieving it will bring us happiness, which many wonder why they are failing to find this happiness. Some spend money on “beauty” products but is like adding glitter and stars to a tortoise’s shell, it adds nothing but a bit of colour or a mask to hide the real us from the world.

For the last five years I have been on a journey of not just self-discovery but self love, appreciation, respect and understanding. I thought I truly was ugly compared with my peers and the world around me, being laughed at and mocked. I had thought since I was 18 I was the love child of Frankenstein and the Hunchback of Notre Dame, but I never resorted to surgery or pills to change it as I could not look in the mirror and I realised I was “stuck” like this for the rest of my life. However, between 2008-2009 I had lost weight to the extent I looked ill, I had people at my work place concerned for my well being, and I knew deep down the key to happiness was not my weight, it certainly had not helped my self confidence in feeling sexier or prettier. With the advent of selfies becoming more and more the norm, I turned the camera on to myself, and asked “is that really what I look like!?” I realise now I am not ugly or unloveable, I am just me, which may not grace the covers of magazines or newspapers, be a famous musician or movie star, but who really wants to be with people constantly judging your every bad hair day and weight gain.

When we make the image of ourselves in our heads it is not what to outside world sees, in fact as I learnt many are just hoping that nobody is laughing at them. Anyone who imposes how another should look be they are magazine or partner deserves a slap on the face, only we truly know what our shells of a body can and cannot do and these are not representations of the people we see about our streets. Furthermore, if someone is slimmer or larger than normal we should not be jealous of the slim one who maybe trying to gain weight just as the larger one maybe trying to lose it. We should not change who we are to fit among the “cool” gang by altering our personality, this also applies to our outer shell. By chasing these ideals we’re trying to throw off our shell like it was a layer of an onion and reveal a new one but humans the layers are inside not outside.. Equally, we’re not robots that are programmed to be one thing, we’re filled with emotions that different things trigger different ones, we’re pieces of art that our behaviour and actions paint the person we are beyond the initial image of our shell. Finally, we are part of the natural world, we are beautiful because of our imperfections not despite them, think of a four leaf clover that is said to be lucky but the majority have only three, its beauty is in its difference and imperfectness.

© 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

Tick tock, Tick tock

Tick tock, tick tock, packs of metal animals go hunting night and day.

Tick tock, tick tock, humans march forwards blinded by an invisible light.

Tick tock, tick tock, time enslaves by synchronising heartbeats as one.

Tick tock, tick tock, everything has a price and anything can be bought.

Tick tock, tick tock, another tree and animal dies leaving Earth forever.

Tick tock, tick tock, sirens are ringing but deafened by television sets.

Tick tock, tick tock, concrete jungles become cages with invisible bars.

Tick tock, tick tock, it is no longer survival of the fittest but the richest.

Tick tock, tick tock, the final alarm bells are ringing to try wake them up.

Tick tock, tick tock…

© Fi S. J. Brown

What is this world we created?

Just take a look at the world around us,
Take a look at the forests, rivers and mountains.
Sights and sounds for all our senses,
That we now find ourselves blind and deaf to.
Giving us all that we could ever need,
But we continue to take and take till all runs dry.

What is this world we created?
Thinking we can replace bird song with car horns.
Why do we think we own it?
Selling it’s contents one by one for a pound or two.
Have we made ourselves royalty?
Creating towering palaces of concrete and clay.

You know every day a species is lost,
We would rather buy a phone than protect a Saola.
Animals for food and entertainment,
Their homes destroyed to make way for another mall.
Somewhere Mother Nature cries,
For each day we break another piece of her heart.

What is this world we created?
Thinking we can replace bird song with car horns.
Why did we never learn to stop?
Perhaps we never saw the green light to start with.
What must our ancestors think?
To their legacy that we now pass on to our children.

© Fi S. J. Brown