Acts of Kindness, Launching People, Paloma Faith, and Living Large


So … a couple of weeks ago, I found out about a competition being run by Samsung called “Launching People”. I thought, “Do I want to be launched?” My answer was a resounding, “YES!” The only catch was, the deadline was a day away. So I cleared my day’s schedule, and buckled down to the serious business of putting together a video all about me, in the hopes that Paloma Faith would choose me (to mentor and LAUNCH) out of the hundreds of entries.

I didn’t think twice. I just knew I had to do this. I skipped group therapy (which I’ve been going to for nearly 2 years, and which is a big deal for me!) and I also skipped my weekly counselling post-grad lecture and skills session at Leeds Met (also a big deal for me!). I spent my precious time mainly finding video editing software and figuring out how to use it via Youtube tutorials. Then I cut up bits of a video that my amazing, beautiful, talented friends Aurora and Lucy did for me awhile ago, and cut up bits of my songs from my album Prime, recorded a voiceover and voila! The above 2 minute video was born.

It was one of those moments / events / days that felt so strongly guided by the hand of destiny, I felt so certain that OF COURSE I’d be chosen for this, it really was a shock when I wasn’t contacted the following week to be invited to participate in the Launching People mentorship thingy. “How strange,” I thought. “So what was that all about?!” I have no idea. But now I’ve got this video which gives a pretty clear statement about my creative ethos and what I’m about.

I’m still scratching my head (not literally). Well, as my little boy might say, at least I made a Youtube video! 🙂

Conclusion: Kindness and self-belief. You need both. Or perhaps another way to look at it is, love others and love yourself, and everything else shall follow …

I hope you enjoy it!

 

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Another one! Give me more!

 

KO 2014 May with balloonDo you know what’s awesome about raising a child? It’s the privilege of getting to experience a continual flow of “first experiences” through their eyes.

Yesterday, KO learned how to load the dishwasher. Not from start to finish. But he learned where cutlery goes, and where plates and glasses go. And I got to be there while he focussed on placing each piece of cutlery where it belonged. I was there when he asked innocuously while wielding a butcher’s knife, “Where do I put this big knife?” And I got to show him how to handle the potentially lethal weapon knife responsibly and lay it carefully on the knife rack. I watched as he experimented with arranging plates closer and farther apart with painstaking concentration. And the best bit was when he turned to me with bright eyes and said excitedly, “Another! Give me more! Give me another one!”

These first experiences full of joy and exploration happen daily, but they never get any less wonderful.

Yes, this is an idealistic snapshot of parenting, a moment taken out of context. All the wonderful moments are interspersed among challenging moments where my limits of patience, strength, creativity, kindness and wisdom are tested (and often found wanting). Read: I raise my voice (fine, I mean “shout”) more often than I would like. And there have been some sharp smacks to the bottom. Smacking and its purposes are a much discussed topic at home. That’s a subject for another blog post.

But most days as I’m working, the moments that come to mind vividly, filling my heart and making me grin, are those of KO looking as though he’ll burst with delight, every ounce of his being absorbed in something new he’s learned to do, or a new object he’s playing with, and his expression as he turns to me saying, “Give me more!”

Finding my passion daily is a lesson that I learn from my little boy. As I engage in each task in my day, I want to say, “Another! Give me more!”

Your in England

KO RGB cropBedtime with KO last night.

KO: Mum, you forgot to put the lid back on the cream.
Me: Oh sorry about that. I forgot.
KO [putting the lid on]: You’re bad.
Me: I’m bad??? Honey, that doesn’t mean I’m bad. I just made a mistake.
KO: No, YOU’RE BAD.
Me: No, I’m NOT. I made a mistake. It’s okay to make mistakes. It doesn’t mean I’m bad.
KO: Nooooo Mum!!! I’m not saying that!! I’m saying YOUR BAD. It’s just a thing. You know, when someone makes a mistake!!
Me: Oh!!!!!! You mean, that’s MY BAD??
KO: YES!!!!

And THAT my son, is why good grammar is important.

Go on. Call me self-important and arrogant.

KO doing as he pleasesNot long ago, I saw a Russell Brand interview about his opinion of UK government.

I didn’t know much about Russell Brand, as I don’t have a TV, and I don’t follow celebs. But I enjoyed the interview. I watched it twice! Russell seemed to be honest, articulate, passionate, and caring. And I want to listen to anyone who displays those traits, whether they’re famous or not, whether they’re 100 years old or 2 years old or any age in between, and whatever other traits they may have.

Well, since Russell Brand has appeared on my radar, that thing has happened … you know, that thing where you become aware of something or someone, and suddenly you start noticing loads of other references to that thing or person in your day-to-day life.

And the thing that bemuses me, is how so many people get worked up about Russell Brand, actually ANGRY at him. And the main thing they’re angry about is they think he’s arrogant and self-important.

Mirriam-Webster online defines self-important as:  having too high an opinion of your own importance. Seems rather vague. How high is “too high”? If anything, it seems to me that most people have far too low an opinion of their own importance. OF COURSE people should have a high opinion of their own importance.  They ARE important. IMMEASURABLY important. Because they are ALIVE (what a mystery!), and that means just by being themselves they can change the world.

So why did I post a pic above of KO pulling a face? Because KO could care less what any celeb is up to. And KO has got an incredibly high opinion of his own importance. This is the boy who does not feel the least bit sorry to drag his exhausted hard-working mother out of bed at 5.30am in order to play games with him downstairs. Grrr.

Very young children have got a healthy sense of self-importance. Sure, they could really work on recognising that OTHERS are EQUALLY IMPORTANT (take note, son!!!), but that comes with time. That’s called maturing. That’s called empathy.

Ever seen a young child in action, interacting with another person? Chances are, you’ll see they don’t give a flying fuck whether someone is rich or poor, “successful” or not, famous or obscure, “attractive” or not, thin or fat, tall or short, brilliant or bumbling, male or female, black or white, gay or straight, and so on and so on. When a child asks why someone is in a wheelchair, or looks different, it’s not to judge that person. It’s to understand the complex and confusing world around them. It’s a desire to know WHY.

Children instinctively understand that these things do not define a person or determine a person’s worth.  Children are utterly unconcerned with a person’s social status, and more concerned about whether people interact kindly with them, whether they engage with them and are interested in them, whether people approach life creatively, fearlessly, lovingly, and authentically. We can learn a lot from children, in this and in many other ways.

So you think Russell Brand is self-important? Well good for him. Perhaps the issue is not the high opinion he has of himself, but the relatively low opinion you have of yourself? 😀 I said PERHAPS!

So go on, call me arrogant, or call me self-important. I don’t mind. I DO think highly of myself. And I also think highly of YOU!

Language, my dear!

I feel torn. Like Natalie Imbruglia.

To swear or not to swear? Do I need to clean up my language? Which is more important to me: self expression and effective communication? Or not potentially alienating others?

What purpose does it serve, to indulge in swearing publicly?

I don’t want to assault unsuspecting people with profane language. Fair enough if you visit NakedFace, knowing you might find curse words scattered about. But can I conscionably do that to those who come here expecting an F word free zone?

So why do I swear?

Sometimes, a well placed f*ck is useful (and enjoyable). Sometimes, no other word has quite the same effect.

I haven’t always been a potty mouth. I used to think swear words served no real purpose. I used to sit on my high horse and judge people who couldn’t put together a sentence without effing and blinding. I probably thought I was adhering to a higher moral code. Or that my clean language demonstrated refinement and intelligence or some other such bullsh*t.

I don’t know. That was quite awhile ago.

But one day I started chafing at all the (perceived) restrictions in my life. I got tired of judging and being judged. I got tired of being told how to look, be, act, and live. And I started swearing. Not all the time. I won’t swear around you if it will cause you distress. And if I don’t know you well enough to know if that’s the case or not, I’ll refrain from swearing until you confirm that you’re okay with it.

So it’s rather inconsistent that I swear on this blog.

Perhaps I’ll have to change that. In the meantime, I’ll turn down the swearing … you can relax … for now …

Lots of love,

xxxx