It isn’t far to Hushabye Mountain…

I’ve always been under the impression that I am a particularly adequate human being. I usually manage on my own quite well, a by-product of not liking to ask for help, and have so far managed to go through life coasting through any problems that arise by ignoring the dominant emotions that end up rearing their heads.

Because of that, this past week has been difficult.

I mention it time and time again but now, more than ever, my belief in the First Law of Thermodynamics is crucial in the day to day. I want to be reminded that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. I like knowing that all energy, every vibration, every bit of heat, every wave of every particle that was my dad remains with me in this world. I want to draw comfort from the fact that amid the energies of the cosmos, he gave as good as he got.

I want to remind myself of how much of all our energy is given off as heat and that the warmth that flowed through him in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of him is gone; he’s just less orderly.

That’s how I have spent my last week. Learning that I’m allowed to feel sad, I’m allowed to feel grief, I’m allowed to feel anger. I’m allowed to, because it’s part of bereavement. But I’m not allowed to let it stop me getting on with my life. I’m allowed to have emotions. But the deal is, I’m alive, I continue. The other side of the deal concedes that this grief is something I will have to live with, a new part of me that I will have to consciously wrestle for a while until I’m able to comfortably find space for it.

So yeah, the blog is back, times are hard and life is cruel.

Bye Pops. 

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I used to recognise myself, funny how reflections change…

Everyone has an image or an ideal in their mind of the person they want to be. From when we’re born to when we die, we strive for what is deemed to be our “perfect self”. It all ebbs and flows, it switches from one single trait to another.

When we’re young, we’re taught all of the basics. It’s very much “manners cost nothing” and “respect your elders“. Our behavioural characteristics are drilled in to us, our please‘s and thank you‘s become habit, we don’t even think about them. We learn the concept of empathy, of generosity, kindness and altruism in general. Then, as we grow older, the dynamic shifts. People around you start to care less about how generous and benevolent you are and start to focus more on your physical appearance. You notice that those who are thought to be more attractive have it easier in life, that’s when you begin to focus on your physicality. Bettering ourselves physically becomes the main priority; we’ll wax, lose weight, gain weight, grow our hair, dye our hair, change our dress sense, build muscle, get our teeth fixed, have our eyebrows plucked into oblivion, all for the sake of perfecting our outer selves.

That’s usually how it goes. I can imagine there are quite a few people who get far enough past caring about what they look like and go back to their personality. They try and fix the idiosyncrasies that they put aside when focusing on their outer shell for so many years. More often than not you will find that these people are somewhat selfish and they feign any empathy they actually can be bothered to show…

However,

You will reach a point in your life that reveals who you truly are; it can happen when you’re 5, it can happen when you’re 50. The point is, when this moment occurs, it will bring out everything. Your best and your worst traits and eccentricities. It happened to me recently, I pushed myself to a point where I could no longer put on a front. The stress of everything wore me down to my bare self and I was confronted with this person I almost didn’t recognise. I was seeing someone who was tremendously fragile, stubborn to the point of suffering, quick-tempered and actually kind of naughty. Of course, these things are balanced alongside some good traits (which I’m sure are in there somewhere)…

And then the really scary thing happens -we realise that the same goes for how you perceive others. We tend to think that most people are better in the abstract. When we don’t know someone fully or they haven’t been around a while, we seem to only recognise their good bits. The first thing’s that will come to mind would be how their eyes light up and wrinkle at the sides when they experience pure joy, or how they have certain adorably quirky facial expressions for when they’re trying to hide how they feel. We’ll remember all of the times they bought us flowers and let us have the good side of the bed and forget about the times they made us feel worthless in front of all of our friends or were casually cruel when you did have a disagreement.

The point I’m trying to make is that trying to hold someone (or yourself) up to an impossible ideal is pointless. I’m not saying that you should tarnish every pleasurable memory you have of someone and I’m not saying to forgive someones more difficult faults. All I’m saying is that – everyone’s human. Don’t hold anyone up to an ideal when you’re undoubtedly going to be disappointed with how they are when taken out of your idyllic abstract.

It’s better to be surprised than let down in regards to your expectations of people. Never forget that.

It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live…

Sometimes our present can get so chaotic that we take refuge in our dreams. Our dreams capture all of our heightened moments; they contain everything we hope for, everything we love, everything we aspire to. But they also hold our deepest worries, thing’s we don’t even know we’re afraid of until our subconscious reveals it alongside the baggage that we have tried to bury for as long as we can remember.

It’s not often that I do dream, I am somewhat restless at night. When I’m left alone with my thoughts, there are a few things that tend to go round and around my head in a continuous, torturous loop.

“He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it..”

The most poisonous? Thinking about the person I want to become. I escape in my dreams and live as the person I want to be, the person I crave and long for. It’s only now that I’ve realised I only ever dream about her because I can’t actually be her. I mean, I’ve already faced my biggest fear, that life doesn’t turn out like literature. I would never be the girl with moon kissed skin, rose coloured lips, and eyes like dark velvet. I would not stumble into words like alluring – or pulchritudinous – in real life when people described me. I would not find myself on his book shelf, a photo album of just my pictures, or just my letters. I would not be the last name on his lips or the fire underneath his shoes causing him to be better. I would not be spoken about like poetry. I would not be looked at like the moon and stars or read like a favourite novel.

I need to remember that no one is going to make my dreams come true for me. It is my job to get up every day and work toward the things that are deepest in my heart and to enjoy every step of the journey rather than wishing I was already where I want to end up.

And then I start to think that there must be thousands of people like me. There must be an endless amount of people who prefer their subconscious to their reality because in their dreams, there is no discomfort. Nothing in that part of their imagination is tainted with dishonesty, there’s no suffering and every emotion you experience isn’t riddled with and underlying sense of sorrow.

It’s harrowing.

How sad is it that the thought of sleep is so much more inviting than reality? Focusing on the false not only robs you of enjoyment today, it robs you of truly living. The only important moment is the present moment. Start the day with a smile, forgive and move on. Think big, but remember that most of yesterday’s solutions are no longer the right answers today.

Dreams are important, but you can only live one life and one moment at a time. Don’t get tied up in the hypothetical and the pretend.

The prologue…

Contending the existence of a Singularity was something our predecessor’s never had to deal with, purely because there was once a time when humans could not comprehend the thought. It was unfathomable. The idea that technology was developing rapidly was celebrated; the fact that it was coming close to overtaking the evolution of human life seemed inconsequential. The more learned our race became the faster we were then able to increase that level of understanding; developments complimented one another and the world was lit up with the light of wonderment shining from the eyes of the naïve.

That is how they describe it to us now. That is what we’re taught. Creativity and ingenuity are stunted for fear of repeating the mistakes of our past. We are taught that our ancestors once believed in a philosophy suggesting that mistakes were a part of human nature, but the Darkness that followed the Singularity swallowed any notion that mistakes had to be a part of what makes us who we are.

There are few still alive who remember the Darkness. There are even fewer willing to talk about it. All I know – all any of us know – is that the human desire to learn is what almost destroyed us. Developments are discouraged, so potent is the fear that we will once again create the near downfall of the human race.

It was once said that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. It’s been made sure that we all remember the Singularity. Time and time again we have been told to be content with what we have, that any attempt to improve ourselves or enhance the world around us would only lead to further destruction. It’s drilled in to us that we have grown and progressed as far as is sustainable.

But I need to know more.

And that will be my downfall.

Le Cirque des Rêves – a tale of magic and illusion…

My usual reading schedule has been somewhat disrupted recently. A new job and other personal issues have gotten in the way of me being able to immerse myself in someone else’s imagination.

That being said, I have been able to find the occasional hour where there is nothing I want to do but get lost in a different world and explore the implausible made plausible.

We all know that literature is something of a subjective matter. As an avid reader, I find myself drawn to certain works of fiction that I know I shouldn’t actually enjoy *cough* 50 Shades of Grey *cough*. But there are also novels I admire and appreciate as pieces of fiction yet don’t find as engaging *cough* Anna Karenina *cough*. Erin Morgenstern’s, The Night Circus, however, is something I not only enjoyed, but something I also perceive to be a great first novel.

The plot itself is fairly simple:…

The following may contain some spoilers, I would advise that you stop reading here to avoid any unwanted surprises. If you’re planning on reading the book that is. If you aren’t, read on. Actually, even if you do plan on reading the book, you should read on anyway because I kind of like it when you guys read my stuff. Carry on, guys and gals.

…two magicians with a seemingly infinite lifespan become engaged in an intense rivalry. A rivalry so intense they charge two appointed pupils to play out the challenge in a magical contest, unbeknownst to either pupil. Now bound in a lifelong challenge, it is years before either becomes aware of the others existence. Cue, a beautiful love story.

Their prescribed competition becomes a mutual test of love. Whether they will destroy each other and the circus, or whether they can escape their magical servitude and rewrite their fates, emerges as the novel’s central question. As with any love story, the stakes are high. Yet, it’s not Marco and Celia’s romantic struggles that kept me turning the page. It was the intensely visual world Morgenstern creates.

Morgenstern’s patient, lucid construction of her circus makes for a world of illusion more real than that of many a realist fiction. The novel reads like a great cinematic feat, and yet still manages to capture and keep the readers attention without overwhelming them with what could be perceived to be a barrage of a beautifully light world (in spite of the darkness that surrounds the story).  It is intensely visual, so much so that what remains in its wake are almost exclusively images – more so than anything else.

As the relationship between competition and collaboration is explored, you will find yourself driven into a world in which you will never want to leave.

What a pleasure it was to read.

Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light…

You all know I’m a massive Harry Potter nerd – this post title seemed applicable to what I wanted to discuss…

I am guilty of this. I am going to assume everyone is guilty of this. People are consumed with the idea that happiness is a constant state of being. It’s not.

I have noticed recently that people don’t tend to chose “happiness“. Rather, it comes in moments. Stages, if you will. Happiness is experienced with every other emotion along the spectrum; contentment, nostalgia, excitement, fear, shock, relief, tenaciousness and sometimes even anguish.

I will be honest when I say that I have recently spent my life chasing what I believed was this preconceived idea of happiness. I have been striving for this notion that happiness and contentment should be a way of life while the whole time never actually realising that if I chased the idea, I would never be remotely content.

As a whole and as a species, I feel that we are consumed with the idea of chasing the jubilant moments. The moments we’re captivated by and the moments that make us exult sounds of pure joy. We savagely hunt after these moments. We forget that every other kind of emotion that we experience makes us the person that we are today. Our first heartbreak, our first abandonment, our first true feeling of hatred, our first genuine feeling of excitement, these are all lost as we quest for something we may never be able to achieve; pure joy.

Don’t get me wrong, there are moments. Moments when you feel like your world is nothing but that time and space and the person you’re with and the ecstatic triumph coursing through your veins. But they are the moments we should strive for.

They are precisely that. Moments.

I’ve started to feel like I should work on experiencing every emotion out there. I tell people they should be happy and maybe that is just me trying to limit their wisdom. I don’t want them to experience the hardships that life can sometimes deal and that is me trying to save them the loss I have experienced. But who am I to make that decision? The choices – and subsequently the emotions I have felt – have made me who I am today. While the “happy” moments are great, people should work on feeling everything. Not just happiness.

You can work as much as you like on trying to be a “happy” person but….

Why not just be a person?

Live for everything. Live for the moments when you feel like it will never get better because let’s face it, at one stage, it may have seemed like it never would. Look at the gorgeous, euphoric creature you are now.

“If you smile when you’re alone, then you really mean it.”

Beach bag reads…

Hazar, I actually found somewhere with Internet and cheap beer.

I’m currently sunning myself in southern Spain (although I look more like a defrosted chicken than a bronzed goddess) and thought I’d share with you some thoughts of the books I had decided to bring with me.

One came with me in my bag, already half-finished and ready to be devoured whilst lying on a beach. The other 5 I purchased at the airport.

Now, while you may be thinking: “That’s ludicrous! You’re only going away for a few days, Charley!” Let me tell you a thing… I am a demon when it comes to reading. I love it. When a book draws me in it’s a matter of hours before it’s finished (depending on size and complexity of course).

My first venture into holiday ready came in the form of Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane.’

First of all, I’d like to express the fact that I am a new fan of Gaiman’s. After a somewhat awkward reading of ‘American Gods’ at the tender age of 15 I decided maybe he wasn’t the author for me. How wrong I was.

One thing this book really brought home to me was how sad it is that as we grow older, we tend to lose whatever is left of the child in us. The harshness of the world means our imagination stagnates, it sits unused as reality crashes down on us. Gaiman manages to write in a way that enables him to capture that childhood innocence, he brings forth all of your own memories from when you were small. Of the demons hiding in the attic to mythical mermaids living in the lake down the road.

Gaiman’s writing isn’t stunted by his age, his writing is almost poetic and reads like a classic fairy tale – and we all know they were made for adults originally. We’re invited into Lottie Hempstock’s world with no questions asked. We aren’t given a riddle or puzzle to solve, the story is simply set through the eyes of a child’s unswerving faith in a friend.

“People change as much as oceans.”

Now this part is open for discussion, but I have always felt that when we die, that isn’t where it ends. It’s the first law of thermodynamics. No energy in the universe is created, none is destroyed. Every bit of energy inside of us, every particle, has been a part of and will go on to be something else. That is what I liked about this book. It hinted at there not being a definitive ending. There is a contrast between the unnamed protagonists insignificance (when looking at the bigger picture) and the Hempstock’s importance in holding influence over the world.

The book was outstanding.

And learning that film rights had been acquired and Tom Hanks is going to produce it made me even more excited.

10/10 for Mr Gaiman.