Summer 2020

Summer is here, and for some of us the summer vacation/holidays have begun. However, this year with lockdown/quarantine the annual break from work has taken a different turn as for most of us it will be spent at home. Some airlines will be flying to take us away, but how many of us will risk catching Covid-19 in so doing?

It is also the time of year when we have adverts to pressurise us to loose weight for fitting into a bikini or swimming costume. The world is full of TV, magazines, and diet talk constantly reminding women of the young, smooth, skinny ideal. Men are not exempt from this either. Some blame on the rise of social media, and the narcissistic selfie culture that the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld rather accurately aptly described as ‘electronic masturbation’. However, reality tv shows such as ‘Love Island’ brainwash viewers with an idealised version of how both men and women should be in the 21st century. Then there are celebrities and influencers on social media, who edit their images and lives, and so when we do not match they can leave a big hole in our self confidence, self image and mental health, leading to depression and even suicide.

Despite lockdown, the pressure for the impossible ‘perfect body’ for the summer still seems to be in full swing, although much of our normal routines have changed, temporarily to permanently. Also, there have been many jokes about haircuts done during this time as cannot access a professional to do it for us. Equally, some have gained or lost weight as ways to cope with these strange times. I also realise this pressure will keep continuing as people return to their works and routines beyond the summer. Have you seen the Facebook meme entitled “When You Meet Your Friends After Quarantine,” which shows toddler girls baring their admittedly adorable bellies which they bonk together? So how can we be ourselves, comfortable in our own skins, when there is pressure to be something we are not? How do we combat these messages, and the negativity they may bring to our mental health?

It is not easy, but gratitude is a good starting point. Being grateful to our bodies for getting us through another day, and keeping going through an enormously stressful time for all human beings. For some keeping a journal writing five positive things each day about themselves may help, or even sharing them on social media to encourage others to join in. Finally, accepting that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect body‘, in fact in some ways every type of body is their type of perfect. A couple of quotes I like says it all from anon: “The number on the scale does not define your health or your worth” and “Imagine if we obsessed about the things we loved about ourselves.

© Fi S. J. Brown

 

 

Jealous

Jealous comes to the English language from Middle English jelous, gelous, gelus, Old French jalous, Late Latin zelosus, and Ancient Greek ζῆλος (zêlos, “zeal, jealousy”), from ζηλόω (zēlóō, “to emulate, to be jealous”). It is often used when someone is envious; feeling resentful or angered toward someone for a perceived advantage or success, material or otherwise. I see it every day from comments of colleagues to family, and on social media from the replies and silence, but yet I have more frustration with life than jealous of another.

Only this evening have I heard one person complain about how another’s face is craggy, as a way to hide their jealousy over this person being slim when they have put on weight. Another has not replied to a message about the 26 mile Kiltwalk I did last weekend because she cannot pretend to be happy for me even by a text message. Meanwhile I read about people posting horrible things on social media to a celebrity after she won a talent show, targeting her weight and looks, as jealous of her success. This woman made a documentary that made many in the UK talk about her, with a few even criticising how she is now, without understanding or knowing the secret pressures of being in the music industry. So called ‘keyboard warriors‘ that think free speech on social media allows them to do so, but should we let them? Perhaps something for another blog.

My life has never been a straight line, picking up experiences that bewilder and baffle with equal measure. Is it my fault for having multiple interests, and actually try to experience them…life is short so why not? I have been told when I write a full resume/CV it is impressive but intimidating, yet when you know me in person can see I am far from latter. People have tried to put my experiences and me into their neat little boxes, but even when they see I won’t fit they try to as to them one size must fit all or leave me out as I am the exception to the so called rules. The frustration I feel experiencing life would make for jealousy in another, but do not understand how another actually living that experience feels or my history that has led to the position I find myself at that moment.

I do not understand the point of jealousy – would I like a cottage near a river or sea, a partner, and children/dog? Yes, but no, as realised some things in life just are not meant for me. For example having children, intuition in my late teens said this was never going to happen for me, despite being told by adults how I was a natural with them. I would love to have a partner or companion to experience the world with, but not ever been something I have actively tried to find, as understanding what I want to actually searching is just not me. I am happy for others that found satisfaction with this way of life, but try to remember it is not for or meant to be for everyone.

Whilst we continue to let jealousy live, we will never understand empathy and compassion, as cannot see through those green eyes that blind us to the opposite of rose tinted glasses. As a child I was told ‘I want does not get‘ and ‘all this world, apart from you, wants is money‘ as I tried to make sense of life. As an adult I know life is hard and short, yet others through their jealousy want to add to it, but as a pacifistic I won’t fight back with abuse but will speak up if hurting someone I love or something that hits a nerve. Perhaps instead when jealousy hits ask them about it, is there a way you can experience it in a way that fits your life, and sometimes we just have to live through the frustration to find something meant for us only.

© Fi S. J. Brown

 

 

 

 

 

What’s age got to do with it?

Last night I watched the movie “Logan’s Run“, which left me questioning many ethics and morals of the society Logan lives in. Within this there were two things that made me think overnight; the age that people were euthanised was thirty and the “old man” played by Peter Ustinov.

More and more we are fixated with looking younger, trying pills, potions and injections to have the face of youth, which also makes me think of those getting new faces in “Logan’s Run“. How long will it be till seeing a face like that of “the old man” is something many no longer see?

There is already a growing gap between young and old, as one does not respect the other. Equally, part of older people’s beauty is in their wrinkles, each one tells their own story, removing them is like trying to erase their past, which we cannot do. Being old isn’t promised to us all.

In many ways the strive to be immortal has been replaced by looking young; but does looking younger than our physical age really matter after all it is a number and our outer shell not what truly makes us human, it is the inside that gives colour to our thoughts, actions and beliefs.

The media and entertainment business is always telling us of the latest young talent, the new x or y, it is almost like Logan 6 or Jessica 5, as saying those ones have gone now. What happened to originality and creativity, we’re all individuals not replacements, a name is but a label.

So perhaps in the future we will live in a society that is just filled with youth, but to me that sounds horrific as we learn so much through life. It seems like wanting to be like emotionless, identikit clones and drones, rather than embracing what colours we shine and sharing that light.

© Fi S. J. Brown