Song of my senses

I see a road
that runs rings round an extinct volcano
and metallic beasts travelling fast
taking part in a race built for rats
trapped in a maze without borders
Others walk with their heads down
holding a spectre of a black mirror
and blowing kisses to the reflection
like Narcissus did long before them
sleep walking through their lives

I hear a voice
manipulated on a machine to sing
and not one that flies in the sky
all colour is reduced to white noise
and marketed like the Emperor’s clothes
Tweeting not for joy but on Boris and Hunt
their road leads to number ten in London
and tell lies but their noses never grow
choices yet seem unknown to the sheep
but the ripples will be felt for decades

I touch the stars
trying to catch the falling ones in my hands
like lost souls they need empathy not hate
troubled from traumas from a painful past
now only whispers that fear to speak aloud
As the moon sends others into a madness
too much worshipping the sun not her beauty
as false gods entrance into hypnotic obedience
with the truth lies within below the painted flesh
and wear masks to fit in boxes they do not belong

I taste the freedom
swallowing not the red that continues the lie
taking the blue awakens the brave new world
like the onion with many layers the lies go on
creating false tears as slice through to truths
Travelling a journey that never goes straight
looking back is best at with a passing glance
distractions to the left and right only entrap me
forwards one step at a time dancing to my beat
and singing songs in multicolour not white noise

© Fi S. J. Brown

Watch our language

Mariah Carey is hitting the headlines this week, not for her diva behaviour or music for once, but for acknowledging her mental health and that she has bipolar. Although she may not be a singer I like on many levels, however I have empathy with those that like myself that have mental health conditions, and having friends with bipolar I know the ups and downs even with medication can be horrific to deal with.

However, it is the language that I have seen used that disturbs me the most. Headlines that say she IS bipolar…would we say someone is cancer or diabetes, of course not so why do we say it with mental health? Why does this matter? The way language is used shapes how we see things, and in turn perceive the world around us as words evoke images and ideas. If I said my skirt today is blue and purple I’m sure you all will have an idea of those colours having seen them throughout your lives and interpret how it looks. By calling Mariah bipolar rather than saying she has it has a way to conjure up images of stereotypes from movies or TV shows of what this disease is like and continues the stigma as believe the stereotypical crazy mental health hospital patient. Their individuality is lost as seen as a label not a person. This negativity can effect their self esteem, hope for the future to accepting of help and negatively impacts on recovery to reaching out for help when they need it in the future.

The difference between physical and mental health in the ways we talk about them is from the past filled with scientific misunderstanding to social ignorance, which had those that have them seen as witches to possessed by evil spirits, or even as a sign of weakness or failing. The reality is that these illnesses can happen to anyone; they are biological and arise from a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental impingement. We can no more ‘be’ bipolar than we can ‘be’ cancer. We cannot ‘just get over it’ and is not ‘all just in your head’.

When we have an opportunity with social media to humanise or dehumanise others when we talk about mental or physical conditions, so please think and use your words carefully.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Words to stories

Words matter. As much as we may tell children that it’s only sticks or stones that have power, the truth is that words are loaded with it. It is why we love listening to stories so much. It is the reason that companies pay millions to advertisers to craft the perfect copy. It is why the words smother or strangle makes us shudder but the sound of ‘I love you’ makes us tingle. Yes, words matter.

Storytelling is recognised in every society across the world regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, or disability. They are a way of making sense of our cultural roots or identity, and an insight into the social reality we live in at this moment.

Life events, news, and stories that we share on social media enable us to share insights and enhance mutual understanding in a social, political, psychological and spiritual sense. We do not become any less by sharing; it can be therapeutic to give a voice to feelings that hurt us, make others consider something with fresh eyes or ears, and let another know they are not alone in their battles.

However, it can also leave us feeling vulnerable or even angry when someone question something we take for granted or never considered from another perspective, as can feel like a direct hit at something that is special to us.

This is because stories are part of the fabric of who we are, but only in sharing our life experiences do we develop a sense of self. After all, individuals are necessarily social. Stories cultivate the frequently forgotten yet uniquely human traits that are crucial in building solidarity.

For together we are stronger, and can drive out darkness, deafening those that spread fear and hate.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Words

From our youngest days we learn words, spoken and written. They have power and influence; they build, shatter or kill. Perhaps the most powerful weapon known to humanity; capable of driving one person insane, or changing another’s life for the better.

Do you want to know the worst part about words? It is so few us realise the power they hold. A humorous remark by one, can be an insult to another. Is it any wonder we call it spelling, as cast a spell upon those that hear them said aloud or given voice.

So what can we do? It sounds simple, listen. These days we often have our heads in our phones or think of something else rather than listen to what another is saying. We are also in a rush to get from A to B that we all to often fail to register and/or dissect.

How can we listen better? By being mindful and taking an interest in the life of someone other than ourselves. Put down the mobile phone and share in the tears or laughter. Thinking twice before we post it to Facebook, Twitter or e-mail, as can bite back.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Song with no name

Standing on the edge of the hill,
Like an entertainer to an empty crowd,
And nobody hears their warning words.
No more practising in front of the mirror.
There’s a silent pause in the evening air,
As though even the wind has been muted.
And the sun sets, another day has ended.

Watching from the edge of the forest,
For the next chapter to unfold.
Words and music for now lie unwritten,
And new adventures to begin.

I am the phoenix,
I am free in heart,
I crave nothing and no one.
Like a warming mug of tea,
A calming energy to others.
Inside my cracks may show,
But I repeat ‘believe it again’.

Standing on the edge of the lake,
Looking at the world reflected there in,
Hoping to find some truth not more lies
And an end to the loop of endless repeats.
There’s a silent pause in the evening air,
As though even the wind has been muted.
And the sun sets, another day has ended.

I am the phoenix,
I am free in heart,
I crave nothing and no one.
Like a warming mug of tea,
A calming energy to others.
Inside my cracks may show,
But I repeat ‘believe it again’.

I am the phoenix,
I am free in heart,
I crave nothing and no one.
Like a warming mug of tea,
A calming energy to others.
Inside my cracks may show,
But I repeat ‘believe it again’.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Dominoes

This morning as I woke I considered how important one person is to Planet Earth, can one person really make a difference. I’m not talking celebrities or politicians, but people like you or I, someone in our lives from friends, loved ones and family.

So I imagined a picture of my left eye, then zooming out a picture of my body with the collection of books and art on the walls of my room, and out again looking at where I live being grateful to have a home with all its luxuries within.

I then considered the street I live on, with people I did and did not know, then to the city I live with its seven hills and the history it all could tell, and on to the country that marks my culture, an island in the North Sea, which in itself is small.

I zoomed out further to Europe, a continent full of different traditions and customs, then to the world filled with all sorts of different life not just human of shapes and sizes, and finally an universe that holds secrets that few really understand.

I felt so insignificant, I cannot make a difference as only a dot. Then I considered where I saw dots, dominoes. I then realised that my words and actions were like the dots of them. So really my life is but a series of domino displays.

I decided that this week, when I feel why do I bother or give a damn, I will remember my dots,  touching the lives of others that I may never see but go beyond my street, town and country. I may be one person but the impact with others, amazing.

© Fi S. J. Brown

The song of war

On this the 11th day of the 11th month I think of those that have given their lives physically and mentally in the name of war. Generations old and young lost in rivers of blood that flowed through Flanders Field and continue to this day. It is not only the fallen to think of but those that returned and replay the events in their minds unable to comprehend how and why.

The picture shows many crosses: I wrote one for Mr Glasgow, a childhood neighbour and prisoner in Japan that could not tell me of the horror he saw and heard; I also wrote one for my great uncle George that documented Africa through the lens of his camera with images of sadness and happiness; and finally I wrote one for the innocent bystanders that are nameless but not forgotten that war’s name has taken from their families.

A dreamer and ponderer I may be but I do not want to hear war’s red song, singing it as though it was glorious feels quite wrong. However, I thank those men, women, children and animals the song has called their name, those that returned only to be haunted by it, and those right now live in fear of his song. I hope one day you and I may sing the white song of peace.

© Fi S. J. Brown

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Style over substance

Why is it is these days we judge by first impressions? The look or visual cues, rather then informational or intellectual content is lost. Instead it is the package or presentation of the messenger above the actual message.

Take modern music, the video, it is a representation or interpretation of a particular song that often overpowers the meaning of that song. However, 9 out of 10 times these days, if the song is mainstream it feels devolved of any creativity or soul. I feel, sense and see great works of art with music that the artist’s soul painted with their notes and rhythms.

With job hunting, companies want people to be part of their brand so have to look the part. Gone are the days of employing people due to their skills and intelligence, instead do they fit in with our company or can we mould them into being what we want and need. Style over substance. All sadly decided within the first fifteen seconds of meeting them.

Or take dating another human. How often is it the outer shell that judgement is based on, if they are “sexy” or not, it has become shallow. There is now no allowing time to get to know someone, perhaps as a friend first, and learning to accept them for who they are. Instead judge and jury on how they present themselves and not their actions.

Do designer clothing really say someone is more beautiful because they wear them? Saving up so can splash out to look like a princess at a ball. Even if catch Prince Charming’s eye, how to afford to keep up this new look presented if it is all about the outside and not what is inside? Clothing should show character and individuality, not identikit clones.

Winning some money on the lottery and buying a new house, not thinking of how to afford the monthly bills, but want to look the part with an expensive house as gives an impression to strangers, families and friends that this is what success means. Would paying off existing bills and living debt free not be far more a success and praiseworthy?

A first impression is just that. It is denying our instincts to judge someone on appearance alone, as their actions tell how they really are. Love does not have to blind. Even the greatest artworks need more than a glance to be truly appreciated.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Twenty words for life

I was asked recently, if you could only speak twenty words for the rest of your life, what words would head your list and why? I thought it was a great thing to ponder, probably nearly impossible to come up with only twenty with reasons. So with thanks to a pot of trusty Earl Grey, I came up with my list, and here it is:

1. and 2. Please and Thanks – They may be thought of as basic manners but they express gratitude without measure or cost;

3. Appreciate – To acknowledge how special someone or something is in our lives, that we would miss if we did not have them/it;

4. Accept – To allow ourselves and those in our lives to be who they are without judgement is a truly wonderful thing;

5. Friend – That special presence in our lives that over time creates a jigsaw piece of them in our hearts and minds;

6. Instinct – We should trust our inner voice, not let everyone we meet close as do not always have the best intentions;

7. Time – We should not put off something till tomorrow, wish we could relive a specific memory or that an event will come;

8. Smile – Something we can all do easily, can change someone else’s day, yet we often forget it also can make our own;

9. Beautiful – Too many are quick to find fault in others, and it is far harder to give a genuine compliment such as this says

10. Love – It does not have to mean what we read in fairy tales, but a special bond with others or the union of body and mind;

11. Nature – There is something about being out with the world we create to being around what is there living it’s life with us;

12.Thinking – So much of life these days is rushed, but it is good to take time to think things over before an action is taken;

13. Tears – Not all that falls from our eyes is a bad thing, as can be a sign of relief after much pain or happiness at good news;

14. Music – The sounds that are so special that they almost decorate our memories in an aural way with or without words;

15.  Hugs – That feeling when something with a heartbeat (it does not have to be human) physically touches us is incredible;

16. Colour – Planet Earth is a paint pallet of different animals, vegetables and minerals that become artworks in our minds;

17. Look – Our sight is a wonderful gift and eyes take in so much, but sometimes we do not notice or appreciate what is around us;

18. and 19. Read and Write – Two things we can learn, opening up new worlds, but we often fail to see their greatness or power;

20. Journey – Life is full of twists and turns, adventures to be had, and think of it like a river not a straight line from A-B.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Who I am

Unpredictable reflections from reality, deep thoughts from life, haunting sounds of silence, and cries from the voiceless, keep my mind busy. What makes me happy is: a beautiful piece of art from painting to music; a serene scene from skimming stones lakeside to on top of a mountain; good news from friends near or far; and a message or hug from one I hold in heart and soul. It is the simple things I am grateful for.

I prefer to see the diamonds of the sky or beach to ones on my finger or neck, and flowers in my hair or in the garden than an animal in a zoo or laboratory. Laughter and lunch with friends, rather than mocking and munches with uncaring colleagues. Talk music, philosophy, art and politics, than get drunk, stoned, laid and dizzy. The free spirit who only wants the best for those she loves and will let her be who she is without ever trying to clip her wings. This is who I am.

© Fi S. J. Brown