USE YOUR VOICE (social media… I’m not kidding!)

A Single Quaver - Gael Turnbull

A Single Quaver – Gael Turnbull

Well, it’s been a while.

Almost a year since my last blog!

Adult life is hard. Adult life is tiring and exhausting and painful. It has also been beautiful and inspiring.

I guess the correct thing to say is that adult life is intense, because while the challenges get harder the rewards also become bigger. As we get older and gain more control and influence of our own lives, we also gain the power to spread out our influence to others. Our elders start to take us more seriously and people younger than us start to look up to us.

Add to this the fact that we now live in a world where anything we say can instantly be put on an easily accessible platform to spread a message to the entire world (a.k.a. social media) and we now more than ever have the ability to exert change.

This is one reason why I hate to see people using social media to post content that is vulgar because they think it is “funny” or “entertaining”. 10 years ago, if you had a chance to send a message to everyone you know, what would you say? Would you say, “look at this funny video of a girl falling over and accidentally flashing everyone!” or “look at this video of someone so drunk they passed out on a bench!!” Do you realise how absurd and stupid that sounds? Have you been living under a rock for so long that you have never ventured out and seen this yourself on any Friday or Saturday night? Anyway, I realise most people who post these things probably would not come across my blog on any of their usual searches, but in case they do, then the above message is for them!

My point is, each of us now has a voice. Each of us now has a platform. Please use it for good! Use it to start conversations that mean something!

I am so pleased to say that the majority of people I have on my news feed use this platform for positive things. They use it to spread awareness of things we should be angry about and also things that should be celebrated. This is why I feel positive change in this world is so imminent, despite whatever horrible things I am hearing on the news. MY generation is displaying itself to be a caring, passionate and conscientious generation, and what we have that previous generations didn’t is a platform!

I hear so many people talking about how terrible “kids these days” are, and how the world seems to be getting worse, seems to be filling up with more and more “sicko’s”. Puh-lease. The sicko’s were always there. Where do you think the terrible “kids these days” learned it from?? The difference is these sicko’s also have a platform, just like the rest of us. We also can use this platform to expose them and demand justice where it is necessary. We can also use this platform to show how amazing our generation really is. But if you don’t use it, then all people will see are the sicko’s!

I may have been quiet on the blogosphere for a while, but trust me, my facebook page is FULL! I intend to keep it full because I have a lot to say!

We have an amazing opportunity for our voice to be heard each and every day. Please do not waste it.

With Love,

S. :)

Maternity Leave Laws F&#* S!€%!!! Gaaaaahhh!!

I don’t live in the US, but I still find this incredibly frustrating! As the (currently) most powerful country in the world, shouldn’t you be setting a much better example? Much of the world still needs fairer parental leave laws which are harder to justify and demand when the US is famously lagging so far behind. A lot of developing nations do look at the US as an example to follow in many aspects. Get your act together please!

It’s things like this that have had a lot of us women (myself included) worried about “leaning in” in the world of work, because when the time comes, will we have any support? Will we even have the time to enjoy raising our own families? Or would we just have to pay someone else to do that?

Another thing: I do not call it maternity leave. That puts a lot of unfair pressure on women who may lose out on opportunities because an employer may not want to hire a woman who could, at any moment, “run away for a year to have children”. I actually read about an employer saying this when discussing why not as many women are hired for high level positions (read Darling, You Can’t Do Both: And Other Noise To Ignore on Your Way Up, AMAZING book!) It also does not favour families where the woman may actually be the main bread winner or have the more demanding job.

Call it parental leave, and do like some central European countries where a very decent amount of time (say… one year) is allocated to a couple to split between themselves as they see fit! Yes, there are cultural norms and yes, the majority of families may swing one way, but leave room for change. Leave room for flexibility because not everyone is the same. Our societies are shifting and those in power need to catch up!

Being Proud of Your Faith

Over a year ago… Probably around March 2012, I had a friend and her sister in my apartment. The older sister noticed all of the religious decorations that my now Mother In Law had left with us. There was a crucifix, a painting of Jesus, and a few others. This is new to me, but I loved and appreciated the gifts anyway as it really can’t hurt to have pictures of Jesus and Mary in your apartment (going to the kitchen in the middle of the night after reading a scary story feels much safer!!).

Anyway, the older sis noticed all of this and proceeded to question me about my faith. She really wanted me to say that I’m only Catholic because I want to marry my boyfriend. She also talked about how her boyfriend was Catholic growing up, but then his whole family left the church because of the child molestation scandals in the Vatican.

I affirmed that following the faith and the Bible is not the same as following the Vatican, and that although my then boyfriend and his family did teach me a lot and they are very happy about my decision, I was not becoming a superficial Catholic just so that I could marry him. They are not so close minded and I am not that shallow.

She was not convinced.

She then stated “but it is easier, isn’t it?”

I looked away and said “mmhmm.”

Because, duh, it IS easier in one aspect, but it is in no way easier on ME or MY side of the family and is in no way a reason for me to change my religion.

I suck at confrontation. I knew nothing would change her opinion, she only wanted to hear what she wanted, so I gave it to her.

This stuck with me for a good while after because I wish I had something that was somehow more convincing to say. Some of the history of the Vatican is incredibly disgusting and shameful but that didn’t deter me from becoming a Catholic, I just couldn’t find a convincing enough reason to explain why.

Anyway, life went on. I had my Lent experience and later left work and prepared for my move back to the Caribbean.  So much stuff happened but that conversation did stick with me and every now and then I would think about it.

I had spent a week in Egypt that summer as it would be my last time there before my family returned to the UK. I had plenty of time to reflect on how blessed I was to have spent so much time there over the past 6 years while it was still stable-ish. I thought about all of the people there fighting against an oppressive and corrupt government so that they could continue to live eventually in peace in a country that they love. So many people who can say that they are so proud to be Egyptian, but contain a deep desire to change their government that in many instances only works against them.

The same could be said for almost anyone. You could ask a British person “Are you proud to be British?” And the answer would most likely be “Yes!” But then you could ask “Are you proud of David Cameron?” And the answer could very easily (especially in my case) be an emphatic “NO!”

Being British is not the same thing as being a supporter of David Cameron!! No no no! Being American is not the same thing as being a supporter of Bush, Clinton or Obama! It is very easy to be one and not the other.

So why is it that some people must think that if you are proud to be a Catholic then you must also be proud of the Vatican and all of its history? Not true!! Nope nope nope! I do not support any of that scandal, I am disgusted by it.

I hope and pray that those involved in those scandals are brought to justice and dealt with by God. I also hope and pray that Pope Francis can continue to do everything he can to reform the Vatican and spread to the world what the real and true message of Christ is.

You can be proud of your nationality, history and culture without being proud of your government.

You can be proud of being a Catholic without being proud of the Vatican.

I think it is that simple.

God Bless!!

Mrs. :-)

P.S. That said, I am really liking Pope Francis so far!! I hope he continues to do a lot of good representing the Catholic faith just as it should be!

Things I Want To Do With My Life

Door... Oh symbolism!!

Door… Oh symbolism!!

Trying to organise my thoughts and life plan here… So many ideas but there’s this whole time/money thing that I have to figure out.

So here are the parameters that I have to work within:-

I am 24 years old and basically would love to do MOST of this before I am 30…

Please don’t ask me about money… We could talk about that another time!

Here goes…

1. There was something here but I am now leaving it blank… Too personal even for an anonymous blog! Meh :-p

2. A good few trips around this country so that I can photograph all the beautiful, strange, dark, and unique things there are to see.

3. A good walk around all the parts of London that I SHOULD HAVE photographed while I lived there, but hey you don’t ever realise what you’ve got til it’s gone! Specifically, Hammersmith, West Kensington, Camden and Fulham. All of those areas have a special place in my heart. Oh yea and Shepherds Bush! Yep I said it. I WANT TO photograph random normal places (said with the exception of Camden which is known universally amongst Londoners as a little quirky/strange)

4. I want to take my husband to my hometown in Scotland so he can see where I spent the first 11 years of my life. It really is beautiful.

5. I also want to take my husband to Singapore and Malaysia to meet more of my family.I have gone there for at least a month every 2-3 years my entire life so even if I’ve never actually lived there it is still a big part of me.

6. Australia… Cos husbands friend travelled all the way from Australia to watch us get married and its only fair we return the love!

7. So just combining numbers 2-5…. Basically one huge mega trip because it doesn’t make sense to travel all the way to Australia without making a few stops on the way!!

8. Buy a car

9. Buy a house… Combining incomes, not wanting to waste another penny on rent.

10. Decorate said house… gradually while spending as little money as possible! Might be kinda hard to do with all this other stuff on the list…Hmm… Just a distant dream this one!

11. a) Get an MA in Construction Management or become a fully qualified archieeaAAaasjfmcndkakrncnglll!!!!

OR

11. b)  SCREW COMBINED INCOMES and become a blissfully happy and hardworking housewife!!!

Ugh…. This list is giving me a HEADACHE!!

What world am I living in? Seriously!!

Why can’t I just be a Disney Princess????

This One Time, at Band Camp…

I have just finished my first full week at my new job, and I feel like this entire week and a half has been one giant blonde moment!!

That plus the fact that I still have a knack for word vomiting my entire life story in one conversation means…

I am still the Queen of Awkward! And T.M.I. (too much info… incase ya didn’t know!!) :-s

Ugh… school days…

Oh well… it’s still early days. God willing, I still have plenty of time to redeem myself… Please God!

Anyway… YAAAAAYYYY WEEKEND!!!!

Lots of Love!

Smileyface!! :)

My Sunday (Thoughts About Faith and the Material World)

Did you know that The Big Bang Theory was invented by a Catholic priest?

Look him up! His name is Georges Lemaitre.

I love science, so was very happy to find this out! About 10 years ago I did have some trouble with the whole “science vs. religion” debate as although I did want to believe that there was a God, I didn’t want to forget science. It was one of my best subjects at school! Luckily I learned a few years later that actually science and Catholicism can easily go together and one very useful way to see it is that science is merely another one of Gods tools with which he creates this world :)

Boom! I find that quite easy to comprehend, and any science nerds that still try to debate that whole aspect of religion with me (a.k.a. Dad, brother, sister, classmates…) I feel just can’t handle losing that argument :P haha!

I could write an entire post about science and religion but would instead rather talk about my day today! Might come back to this later.

Today’s Gospel reading at church was the one where the rich guy asked Jesus how to achieve eternal life and Jesus tells him to give up all his possessions and follow him. Then the rich guy walks away feeling sad and Jesus proceeds to say how difficult it is for a rich man to go to heaven.

Right.

I know this passage might bring relief to a lot of people who are struggling financially. As for me, on the other hand, this passage always makes me feel kinda uneasy. I’m a spoilt expat brat. No other way to say it! Sure, I have known P-L-E-N-T-Y of kids who were more spoilt than I am, but I also know plenty of people who are much less spoilt than me and all I can do to make myself feel better is resort to relativism e.g. “at least I am not like them!”  In this case, “them” referring to all the other spoilt kids I ever knew or encountered! Although, I do try to hide it as much as I possibly can I am sure it must show through sometimes.

Today has been one of those days…. Nuff said, moving on!

Another thing I can say is “well, I don’t know anyone who would be willing to give up all of their stuff!” with the exception of the few nuns I’ve met briefly at church of course… They are different!

And also, by nature, as an artist and a designer I have an undying desire to surround myself with pretty things! My clothes, my accessories, my home decor, my blog theme etc…. My career (oh yea! I finally got a job!) is based on the principle of making material possessions both practical and aesthetically pleasing.

Human beings appreciate beauty! I love just being able to see! From the trees and birds, to the cities, home decor, fashion, people and my own reflection. Yea, I said it. I am not one of those girls who always hates the way I look! No way! I appreciate it whole heartedly and I hope 30 years from now I can still say that!

I appreciate the things I see so much that I thank God for allowing me to see everything I get to look at everyday.

I also appreciate the things I see so much that I always want more. I always want more clothes, hair styles, shoes, ornaments, lamps, clocks, bed sheets… you get the picture?? It was a task being able to give away everything (yea right! Not everything!!) that I didn’t need in order to ship the rest during my move over here.

People do soften the impact of this particular Gospel reading by instead saying that it means that God does not want us to be “too attached” to our material possessions. That does make me feel better. I know that if I had to give away all my possessions then I could. If it was out of necessity. There are more important things out there and I know this at the bottom of my heart. I just hope that I won’t have to, and I hope that by writing this post I have not jinxed myself. Eeek.

Anyway, I am not quite sure how to conclude this post… I always suck at conclusions!

After hearing todays Gospel reading and then analysing my own attitude… I can at least thank God that he has brought this to my attention again and continues to on a regular basis through the world around me. I am reminded all the time that I should be grateful for everything in my life, material and immaterial. I pray that he continues to remind me, that I continue to grow in my ability to show thanks for all the good blessings in my life, and that I can grow and learn new ways of showing thanks and gratitude by contributing in my own way to the world I have been given.

Faithfully,

Smileyface! :)

Allow me to elaborate…

I am new to this.

I have been toying with the idea of creating a blog for months now, but have this problem where my mind is FULL OF IDEAS until I see a blank page in front of me. Then my mind seems to just follow suit and go blank.

But my little sister (who is an amazing writer soon to start her 2nd year at university! So proud!) has told me that until I get used to writing again I should just accept that what comes out will sometimes be crap! So here we are :) smileyface!

I Am:

  • a 23 year old girl/woman (depending on my mood)
  • newly betrothed!
  • Catholic
  • previously Muslim
  • of multi-cultural heritage
  • moving abroad IMMINENTLY!!

Each bullet point will probably get its own blog post in due time.

This semi-anonymous blog is so named The Story Of My Dark Side because that is more or less what I want it to be.

I am taking a new approach to the word “honesty” and no I can’t promise to be 100% honest, I don’t believe it is ever possible to tell 100% truth (e.g. who I am is not confined to the six points I just listed, there is SO MUCH MORE…) but I want to expose a little of what makes me human.

Besides, if I could be 100% honest then maybe I wouldn’t even have a real dark side and this blog would be pretty redundant?

I am exposing my dark side.

So I can learn to accept it.

And so I can learn to manage it.

And so that hopefully you all can read it and know that your dark side is not alone in this world!

Yours Truly,

Blankspace.

(Help me pick a fake name please!!)

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