Blogging 101: Dream Reader

Today’s Assignment: publish a post for your dream reader, and include a new-to-you element in it. Via The Daily Post’s Blogging 101 program (16th September 2014)

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My dream reader is YOU!

My dream reader is anyone who wants to read me! I‘ve never really thought about it before this morning.

Sure, I fantasise about the moment I receive the call from a well-known publication (Elle or Things & Ink magazine for example) and am offered a regular column within their pages. I think that’s a job I’d be really good at you know; regular columnist. Of course, this is just a pipe dream and the reality of it is, I’m happy if one person likes what I say. Even if that one person is my gloriously biased mother.

I must admit that I have received some really nice feedback lately from people I would never have expected would be into my writing; and that feels bloody fantastic. I will never tire of hearing that something I have constructed has touched someone, or made them nod in agreement, or fist pump the air in triumph because they’ve been there too. It’s the best feeling in the world.

So today I’m to write for my dream reader and maybe try something new. I’m useless at that and I don’t think the post I am thinking about is that much of a departure from my usual style but let’s see shall we?

What is bravery?

All too often the word is thrown around like confetti and I wonder is it always valid? I’ve been called brave before, mainly for stepping outside my comfort zone or doing an activity alone. A few months back a couple of middle-aged ladies praised me on my courage in turning up to Zumba class on my own.

You’d think I’d slayed a dragon with my nail file that day and although it’s nice to be commended for anything even slightly out of the ordinary, in that scenario I don’t think I deserved it. I hadn’t even thought twice about going it alone, in fact even though I live with someone, I often do things solo and insist on it being that way.

Bravery to me is far bolder. It’s impulsive, two feet first shit. Clicking your fingers to Destiny Child’s Survivor as you smash life against the odds; being ill and fighting back. Being ill and letting go.

Bravery is dancing to your own beat whatever the rhythm. Picking your life up off the kitchen floor seconds after it’s exploded there and piecing in back together.

Bravery is moving to another country to give another life a chance. Putting yourself out there with new people, fighting against your self-consciousness to make new friends.

Bravery is risking it all for a boy you once knew. It’s trust and hope and faith, in yourself and others. Maybe I am brave after all. Maybe we’re all brave people, making brave choices every single day.

Maybe brave will always be ambiguous; one man’s lion taming is another man’s dining out alone.

That’s it I think. Right there.

She says bravely pressing ‘Publish’ on her imperfect waffle.

What do you think is the definition of bravery, Dream Reader?

NB: The new-to-me element in this post? Picture of two kittens on their smartphones? Does that count?

Blogging 101: Say Your Name

For no other reason than woman with a dinosaur head!

Today’s assignment: edit your title and tagline. Make your readers’ first impression a good one!
Via The Daily Post’s Blogging 101 program (15th September 2014)

I’ve decided not to do the assignment today because that’s just how I roll (not really).

I have good reason to excuse myself and it’s not just because I’m being pig headed. I genuinely love both my title and my tagline, and it took me a good while to arrive at them. I will, however, talk more about them and why I am sticking to my guns.

In yesterday’s Introduction, I explained why I chose the blog name I did and what it means to me.

My tagline is a little different, in that I just like it. I saw the term ‘force majeure’ in the Terms & Conditions of something and I liked it immediately, even though I didn’t know what it really meant. It was listed in a segment talking about ‘forces of nature’ and ‘acts of God’ so I knew it would be something big and it is!

Force majeure in the dictionary is defined like so:

Noun

  • Law
    Unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract
  • Irresistible compulsion or superior strength

Wikipedia goes into even more detail, if you like law and law talk.

Anyway, as soon as I had wrapped my tiny brain around what it meant, I decided it would work well on my blog. I mentioned it to my mum and she thought it was very humble of me (not). Of course it’s meant to be tongue in cheek. I don’t honestly consider myself a superior being or strength, but it’s kind of cute, right?

A few months ago though, I found out that good old Eddie Izzard (who grew up in my hometown) called his tour by the same name. I like to think he stole it from right under my nose since mine’s been in print since March, but the truth is, he was already on the road in 2013 and I’m just not that original.

Still, originality (or lack thereof) aside, I’m not changing it and I can’t imagine that I ever will. I have this thing where I can get very angsty if my blog doesn’t look exactly as I think it should.

I’m not driven by what other people say (although I love feedback), it’s just a very personal thing. I think I’m there are the moment, aesthetically speaking.

So there we are. I’m not changing for the foreseeable future and you can’t make me!

See you tomorrow for Day 3.

Blogging 101: Introduce Yourself

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Today’s assignment: write and publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post.
Via The Daily Post’s Blogging 101 program (14th September 2014)

It feels a little funny to be writing an introduction since this blog isn’t brand new and most of you know a little bit about me already. But I’ve signed up for this as a ‘creative fresh start’ so I’m game.

I’m Christa and I started A Voluptuous Mind because I wanted a place where I could showcase my writing without worrying about upsetting anybody. I’m not convinced I’m the best writer in the world but I do think I have potential and I wanted to be able to explore it without having to worry about who I’ve slagged off at work, or anywhere else for that matter (not that I do, you understand).

In fact, work had a lot to do with my new blog. I started a new job in February, as a Marketing Assistant for the company I had been with for over two years. Although it might not be where I am meant to be forever, I am proud that I started by answering complaint calls and then worked my way upwards (or sideways, depending on how you look at it).

My role has been interesting and again I am pleased that I have been able to wrap it around myself and mould it into something more fulfilling than it was originally intended to be. I think so anyway. Where I expected to be just an Admin Girl (nothing wrong with that, I love Admin), I’ve ended up putting myself forward as the department copy writer and being more involved in the production side of the business.

Sure I don’t have a proper title (yet) but I am getting the experience and that’s what I am focusing on now. So when it started to become clear that I would like to be doing something with my writing, professionally, I thought about having a clean blog that I could give to my bosses, or share publicly, without fear of what would come back to bite me on the arse.

(I allow myself to swear and say ‘arse’ as I feel it’s expressive and a valid form of language, I just try to keep it to a minimum so my mother doesn’t bollock me too much).

However, I feel I should say here that I’ve been doing quite a few writing exercises over the last month, which have brought out personal things I thought I had buried long ago. I’ve been honest to a fault about a lot of past experiences, which may render the plan to share this blog with my bosses a little ambitious. I’m not sure my manager wants to hear about the time I lost my virginity in Thornton Heath.

I chose the name of my blog because I wanted something that was all ‘me’ but also vaguely intellectual (pseudo, one might argue). I think ‘voluptuous’ is a pretty accurate way to describe me.

I like the way the word is spelt, the way it looks and is balanced; and I love the fact that it hints at a broad and rich waste ground of ideas. Plus it was inspired by A Beautiful Mind which hopefully suggests that I am much more than I first appear to be, much like the protagonist in the film.

I write because I genuinely enjoy crafting words into something bold and beautiful (hopefully). I think about everything I write as much as possible, even my work emails are little works of art (as far as I’m concerned). I do judge people on their grammar (silently, nobody likes a smart arse) but I’m not perfect, especially when tired and tip tapping on an Android keyboard.

That’s me really. I love reading, films and painting my nails. I love my friends but am a hermit at heart. I’m married to the greatest man and I have a nine-year-old stepson. I definitely watch too much Netflix.

I love food and eating (hence ‘voluptuous’), am on the eternal search for the perfect handbag and I blog too much about old boyfriends, because they haven given me such great material.

Welcome to A Voluptuous Mind!

Blogging 101

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I’ve decided to register for the September Blogging 101 course via The Daily Post, which starts on Monday.

I’ve found a lot of worth in both the DP and Writing Exercises, so I think it might churn up some interesting stuff.

The goal is to have six or more (I’m hoping more) good posts and drafts by the end of the 30 day run  and maybe a few more followers and friends. I’ve never been that bothered about gaining millions of followers, I have to admit, but it is lovely to meet people who are like-minded and appreciate what I am trying to say. Which sometimes isn’t all that much!

I have made some friends for life through my blog (and former blogs), so I know it can be done.

Anyway, I am looking forward to the challenge and am really going to pull my finger out. I have a busy week next week, so I will have to be conscious about how I manage my time. If in doubt I’ll do some at work on my lunch break (and maybe when things are quiet – naughty!).

Watch this space.

Also, if anyone else wants to get involved, there’s still time to register (here). They’ll send you an email which outlines the course and what you can gain from it. I think you should do it and keep me company, just saying.

Good luck everybody else doing it. See you in the community!

Trust: The Serial Killer Edition

bitch,trust,movies,quote-8b63d5d5423eeabcafb93c23c934ba0e_hI’ve been watching a lot of Dexter this month (and last, there are like, 8 friggin’ seasons) and it’s churned up a lot of thoughts in my head. Not all of them plot or character related, either.

Relax, I’ll leave off the spoilers as much as possible. I’m just thinking about trust.

Isn’t it a risky thing, trusting somebody with your heart; even your life? Now hopefully, none of us live with a secret serial killer and will never have to deal with the fall out of discovering that someone you love has a very dark side, but on a base level trusting another human is such a massive risk; yet is such an important thing to have. It’s a wonder we do it at all.

But trust we must until trust is broken, or maybe it won’t be. That’s all we can do otherwise what’s the point? It’s all too easy not to and I get it, have always got it until I met someone who redefined the word for me. Old boyfriends have not been kind, however nice they have seemed, taking my notion of trust and breaking it to pieces like dry Weetabix.

Suspicious websites, over friendly text messages, upfront and unabashed cheating; nights spent waiting for them to roll home. And when they didn’t, those moments making that empty bed with a heart as chilly as the side that hadn’t been slept in.

I get trust issues, I get the need to prove your unease right no matter what. But I also get that in the end enough has to be enough or you will never grow and never be able to love fully. My thought for the day.

I’m not going to be all happy clappy about how I finally learnt to trust (it was a long distance affair so all the red flags should have been flapping), all I know is that the old adage love like you’ve never been hurt before actually has some merit. All trust is a risk, and to risk it all is to gain the most.

But back to Dexter. (Spoiler alert!) Along the way, bad but not really all that bad guy Dexter has been stabbing people up, occasionally befriending people who have come to know his quirks. He learns through a series of relationships to start trusting certain people with the truth of who he is. That’s another way to consider the concept of faith in others.

If you relate trust to friendship, which is just as important as a relationship relationship, that’s scary too, right? I mean, I have an unhealthy addiction to Shaggy songs, it’s never easy to reveal that to a new person. How can you trust that your new friends, old friends, colleagues and the old lady you see every morning at the bus stop are going to continue to find you pleasant once you start letting your real self be known?

You just have to, or don’t, it’s really up to us all as individuals. Haters are always going to hate. Like Dita once said (apparently): “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be someone who hates peaches.”

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It’s important to realise that if someone doesn’t like you, that’s up to them. If they cheat on you or think it’s acceptable to hurt you, essentially it is their problem. This is easier said than realised, easy to say with a click of the Ghetto fabulous finger but I chose to trust because that’s all I have.

Trust and be trusted, it works both ways.

What do you think? Can you and do you love without thinking about your past upsets or are you closely guarded? Is it all just a myth?

This post was brought to you by a sleep deprived brain, a sugar high and too many episodes of Dexter.

Hand-Me-Downs: The Red Shoes

My red shoes looked nothing like these!

My red shoes looked nothing like these!

Clothes and toys, recipes and jokes, advice and prejudice: we all have to handle all sorts of hand-me-downs every day. Tell us about some of the meaningful hand-me-downs in your life. Via The Daily Post (10th September 2014)

I coveted those red shoes for what felt like years. To my childish heart, it felt like forever but in reality it was probably just a few weeks. Those shoes, though, those pillar box red, stiletto heeled mules; they epitomised glamour, making me think of women. Of the woman I so desperately wanted to be.

I must have been about ten or eleven and I was already daydreaming about who I would become.

My aunt owned those shoes and I insisted, every time we went round, that I get to try them on. One day I will buy my shoes just like these, I would think to myself as I trotted around like the perfect cliché of a little girl, except less cute.

I was a tom boy (I think) with short hair back then (not my choice) and my aunt Sine was glamorous to me, with long hair and lashes. Looking back I never saw her wear these shoes herself, and she always seemed to be doing something practical, with two sons it was just the way it was. Still, that’s how I saw it; I wanted to walk in those shoes and be just like her.

I could draw you a picture of them right now if you asked me to, their shape and how they felt is still etched on my heart. They were The Future and when my aunt finally handed them over, I thought my tiny heart might burst with happiness.

I wore my shoes the incredible day they finally became mine and then, as quickly and as childishly as I had fallen for them, I put them away in favour of The Millenium Falcon. I still think of them to this day though and of what they represented to me.