Cry for the Bad Man

Ugh. Some days no matter what you do, things just won’t go your way. One thing can throw you off or get under your skin and then suddenly you’re sobbing for every bad thing that ever happened to you.

That was me this morning, Wasting perfectly good make-up on something (and someone) insignificant but also significant enough to (almost) mess up my day. At times like this I feel it’s good to just embrace the misery. Give it time to be what it is: an outlet.

So what if I want to sob uglyly (a word?) until there’s nothing left? So what if it leads me to remember all the heartbreaks I’ve ever suffered, every rejection, every fear? Dead pets too, why not?

Crying can be cathartic and sometimes so is sadness. It reminds us we’re human and that we care about life and people and ourselves. I am still sensitive after all these years and I’m glad because sensitivity helps me connect to others.

I won’t let it drag me down for long (I’ll fight my depression to the bitter end) but I also think it’s okay to feel your feelings. It passes, so far it always has. As soon as a colleague makes a stupid joke or someone puts a heart shaped Post-It on your desk, it’s gone. Until next time.

How are you today?

Old & Gold

You know how you can tell who’s old these days? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

I’m such a prime example of this. I tell people all the time that I’m 36, and then remember that I’m actually 38, 39 next month. I need to stop doing that because nothing makes a person seem older than when they’re focussing on the one thing that shouldn’t matter. It’s a number after all, just an indication of how long a person has been on the earth, nothing to do with their character, their achievements or how they should live their lives.

I need to stop worrying about how much younger the people around me are and just be happy they want to spend time with me. I’m cool, right? And cool comes with experience (sometimes), with acceptance of who we are and with just being gifted, I guess.

What so bad about old anyway? Being old doesn’t stop us loving or experiencing the beautiful pain of life, of laughing and getting fucked up on a Friday night. It doesn’t stop us buying a leopard print coat ‘cos we saw two women on the way to work absolutely rocking theirs.

It doesn’t stop us hating the gym but smashing it anyway, make us immune to the appeal of office gossip, or stop us reading a Daily Mail article about Kristen Stewart’s love life over the shoulder of a colleague while scoffing that we’d never read the “Daily fucking Mail”.

Old is whatever we choose it to be and I choose to be cool with my age from this day forth.

Today, this second I am older than I’ve ever been. I’m younger than I’ll be tomorrow. In ten years I’ll maybe read this back and think, what this fuck was my problem?

I’m loving for the moment now, innit? Surrounded by younger people who think I’m cool.

Not a bad life to be part of is it? ❤️

Inspo-a-Go-Go

downloadBlogtober has been really fun so far but some days I’m filled with a special kind of panic if I’ve failed to pre-plan a post. It’s funny though, how you can start out a day with no idea and then be inspired by anything: a conversation with colleagues, a news report.

I was going to focus on a few feelings I have about some current news stories but you know what? It’s been a good, creative week and I’m not down for thinking negatively right now. Quite the opposite in fact.

On Tuesday, my podcast partner and I recorded a couple of new shows, one of which features our very first guest spot and it was so awesome I positively skipped home afterwards. (Not really, but I got a cab with a smile on my face). The next day and this morning, I’ve been carrying myself like Snow White, followed by woodland animals, smiling at everyone and just in love with life.

I’m in a weird position in work in that I’m flailing a bit creatively. I love my team and what I do, but it’s not an inspired role a lot of a time and I was starting to wain. In some ways the new injection of fun projects – the podcast and my blog, the collab with Jillian – have combated the stagnancy.

The podcasting in particular feels like an achievement. My friend and I talked about maybe trying something and now we’re actually doing it. Making plans and getting them down. It feels important and I feel more alert than I have in a long time. I have a new lease of life, and it feels fucking amazing.

I genuinely can’t wait to see where we go next.

What have you guys been up to? ❤

Ps. If you want to check out the podcast for yourself, our episodes are right here.

Goals

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This year I’m doing goals rather than resolutions because let’s face it, those are just made to be broken. Why set yourself up for a fall before you’ve even begun?

God knows what the Hell I was waffling on about when I posted last year’s but they’re here if you’d like to see for yourself (Top Tip: Don’t bother).

So, my goals and things I would like to achieve in 2016:

  • Travel – don’t care where but preferably, finally, NYC
  • New job – it’s about time I started thinking about what I can do and using that, rather than just making do. Sad, but true
  • Coding course – I really want to learn more about web building, etc and I’ve found a great course. I just need to find the funds now! (See Shopaholism, below)
  • Continue to be active – I love what the gym has done for my peace of mind and stress levels so I would like to keep it up
  • Say ‘No’ more – I have to stop making plans with people I’m just not that into. I do it to avoid being mean and then end up sitting through boring evenings with people I’d like to punch really hard in their patronising/self-absorbed/smug faces (and breath)
  • Pay off my debts – boring sensible goal but one that hopefully will be within my grasp this year
  • Crack my Shopaholism – I’m not going to stop shopping because that is ridiculous when it brings me so much joy but I do need to curb it, and try only to buy quality, or pieces I really can’t live without
  • Get more tattoos – finish my arm, retouch some old stuff and be a happy tattooed babe
  • Do something with my writing/do some actual writing – because a portfolio doesn’t just build itself

That’s me this year. How about you?

What are your goals for the new year, if any?

Hector and the Search for Happiness (Film) Review

Hector-And-The-Search-For-Happiness-Simon-Pegg-Rosamund-Pike3

I found this film on Netflix not long ago and couldn’t contain my glee. Jillian felt the same when I mentioned it and emailed me to say she was watching Hot Fuzz (2007) in anticipation of this week’s pick. Call me shallow but I measure the essence of a person by how much they love Simon Pegg and I’m very sure Jillian is one of the greatest living people.

I love SP with the fire of a thousand suns. Spaced (1999) is my favourite TV show of all time (neck and neck with The Sopranos (1999-2007) if I’m honest), and I love the Cornetto Trilogy (yes, even The World’s End (2013)). So I had high hopes for this adventurous tale of a man looking for the secret to happiness (not ‘happyness’ à la Will and Jaden Smith).

Did it live up to my hopeful expectation? Do I still love the Pegg? Shall I save my Qs for the question section at the end of this review, as is traditional? I think I will, aye.

As always *Spoilers!*

Oh, and at this stage I think the theme is ‘whatever we fancy’, though this is quite firmly and unabashedly a romance, I would say. Lovely, lovely romance.

Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014)

Director: Peter Chelsom
Stars: Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette, Stellan Skarsgård

IMDB Synopsis: A psychiatrist searches the globe to find the secret of happiness.

My Review:

Hector has a very neat and nice life. Everything is just so. He has a beautiful girlfriend called Clara who is willing to facilitate this niceness (and pack him exquisitely tidy pack lunches, tie his ties, etc). He has a good job (psychiatrist) and everything’s just dandy, if a little uninspiring. But is he happy?

It seems like Hector has the blues and he isn’t sure why. He’s even eyeing his ‘maddest’ patient Roger with some envy all because he seems delighted with his own lot in life. (Roger thinks he’s a Ferarri, then a bingo caller).

One day, after being lap danced by a belly dancer in an Indian restaurant, he gets to thinking.

“You will go on a journey, and then when you get back, you’ll make Spaced series 3… oooooooooooo!”

This state of reflection is further exacerbated by a spiritual patient who predicts Hector will go on a long journey. We also learn here (I think) that Hector is an only child and something happened to his dog in his childhood, which would explain the dream he has at the beginning of this film, and the canine iconography throughout.

So one night Hector asks Clara if she’s happy and she spins immediately into suspicious territory, believing he wants to break up with her. This isn’t helped by the fact that she finds an old photograph of Hector with a woman called Agnes in his sock drawer, around the same time he tells her he’s going off in search of himself.

“I always wear my spectacles when I’m answering existential questions, obvs.”

Despite her fears, Clara tells Hector if he’s going to search for happiness he needs to go all in and gives him her blessing. She also packs him an adorable travel journal and urges him to fill its pages. Which he does, with aplomb.

Hector’s first stop is China and following a mix up with his seat, finds himself in Business Class next to Stellan Skarsgård‘s grouchy businessman, Edward. Despite a rocky start, by the time the two men touch down in Shanghai, they’re practically Bros. (SP is so adorable and goofy you’d have to have a heart of stone not to fall for him, is the message here).

“I loved you in Spaced.”

Edward thinks that you can buy happiness and luckily for him, he is dripping in moolah. He enjoys the finer things in life and takes Hector on a tour of his Shanghai, where the booze flows and dancers hula hoop on podiums in nightclubs (at least I know I could go down this road if all else fails). Is Edward right about being able to buy happiness though? His underlying sadness would suggest not.

In da club, Hector meets an incredibly beautiful student called Ying Li and is quick to snog her face off and take her back to his hotel room. However, while Ying is slipping into something more comfortable, Hector falls asleep. When he awakes in the middle of the night, he covers up her naked body and puts on his PJs. Respect, innit?

Later, over lunch, Hector is dismayed and betrayed to discover Ying Li has an agenda (and a pimp); just as he was beginning to wonder if happiness was about loving two women at once.

“Drugs, anyone?”

Onto Africa, where things take a dramatic turn. Hector meets a notorious drug lord (Jean Reno), makes friends with an entire community, is carjacked and kidnapped, tries sweet potato stew for the first time and helps some injured children. It is here that he learns the value of life and how precious it really is.

“Raise your drink if you love Simon Pegg!”

Meanwhile, via Skype, Clara is getting fed up with waiting for her man to return and makes it clear she just wants ‘to know’. Hector is being evasive which might have something to do with his next port of call: Los Angeles, home of Agnes, Hector’s former flame and possible love of his life. Cad.

On arrival, Hector meets up with Agnes and Imma leave that there because I don’t want to show my entire hand too soon, you know? It’s worth watching this film yourself to find out.

Along the way, though, I can reveal, Hector meets Professor Coreman (gorgeous Christopher Plummer, who reminds me of a nicer version of my grandfather), who has just published his own book on the pursuit of happiness. He’s a twinkly eyed soul and a bit of a character, but will he help Hector on the final leg of his Happiness Tour? Well, you know what time it is? Question time!

Will Hector ever be happy? Will he get the girl, and if so, will he chose the right one? Will he return to the life he had, to the organised prison of his own mind, or will he be free? Will he be more careful in the future when visiting war-torn parts of Africa, given that his friend (and guide) PICKED HIM UP FROM THE AIRPORT WITH AN ARMED BODYGUARD?

More importantly, will Simon Pegg ever do wrong in my eye? (Not a euphemism, although I probably wouldn’t say no).

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this so much. It was fun and heartwarming and joyous – and I don’t even care if it was technically a good film or not. I loved it.

It put me in mind of another film I love, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) which was just as lovely. Call me predictable, but I’m all about the Underdog going off to find themselves and happiness is a topic I often think about myself.

We constantly strive to find what makes us happy and sometimes, it’s right there laid out before our unseeing eyes. We’re often encouraged to believe that joy may only be achievable through material possession and property, through financial security and success. But I guess it depends how you measure your own success, right?

SP is a dream, and he’s good Pegg in this. Even at his bluest, there are shades of humour in the character. He’s just an optimist on a mission and I love him for that. I also love the little animated parts throughout this movie which lend a childlike element to the film. I guess the overall message is, it’s okay to search for wonder like a child, but don’t let the past stunt your emotional growth. Or something.

Rosamund Pike needs to just stop being so pretty and give me her haircut already. Though, is it me or is it hard to watch her in her ‘good’ roles now that she’s nailed Gone Girl (2014)’s Amazing Amy so well? Hmmm.

Anyway, I could go on and on but I’m not going to. I’m going to give you my (wildly biased) rating and be on my way.

My Rating: 

5/5 – I don’t even care! I want to watch it every day until the end of time, much like I used to do with Footloose (1984).

What did the divine Jillian think though? I wanna know, don’t you? Check here shortly!

What’s In a Name?

Dolores is as Dolores does
Dolores is as Dolores does

I’ve found myself with an impromptu afternoon off thanks to the kindness of work, who released us back into the wild at 2pm today.

I can’t lie, I was moving stacks of unimportant paper from one side of my desk to the other in a bid to look busy and hadn’t the strength to complete a whole day of faux-productivity.

So, here I am in front of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, back in pajamas with some unexpected time on my hands. I did pick up Lena for a wee while but she wasn’t quite doing it for me.

So blogging it is. It’s a few days before the new year rings in and I’m feeling okay about that. Naturally, this late in proceedings it is typical to be reflective.

Usually to have a ponderous scratch of the head and review what you didn’t manage to achieve despite all good intention; more likely to set up the next in-depth list of goals for the fresh snowy carpet of the new year ahead.

I will probably do that before the witching hour comes on the 31st but not yet. I must have a good think about what I really want to put myself through first.

Instead, I will tell you about the Christmas present I bought myself. The calm before the storm seems a good time to mention it.

I bought myself a name. And with this new name, comes great responsibility.

When I was born, my mother didn’t name me for three weeks. She rolls this anecdote out on the reg and I can’t decide if I think it’s a bit upsetting, or that it’s the coolest thing ever. I am leaning toward the latter. She maintains that they were waiting for my personality to manifest itself before they labelled me forever with a moniker that didn’t fit.

I almost had a name that puts me in mind of a Russian spy, and again I can’t be sure how I feel about that. Perhaps by not having the name Natasha, my career with MI5 was snipped even before it began.

It took me a long time to come to terms with my name. It’s just unusual enough to be messed up all the time by anyone using it. I am constantly referred to as ‘Christine’, ‘Chrissy’, ‘Christina’ – even ‘Christopher’. It seems now that I have spent most of my life ‘coming to terms’ with my name, my hair, my body.

Continue reading “What’s In a Name?”

Ready, Set, Done

Our ten-minute free-write is back! Have no mercy on your keyboard as you give us your most unfiltered self. Via The Daily Post

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An accurate photographical depiction of where my head’s at

I’ve recently been doing so much proofing and other stuff for work, and stressing while I do it, that my own creative endeavors, even reading my choice of literature at the end of an evening, has gone out of the window.

This is turn, I really believe, makes me a very dull human being indeed. I need to be stimulated, creating, thinking to make this thing called life work. Without it, I am nothing but a drone.

What is the point without passion? This week has been an angry week without creative joy and I know it is my responsibility, and well within my own power, to change this.

So Pretty Woman is on Netflix (hey, the soundtrack is exquisite) and I’m going to free flow this bad boy and clear my head for a fresh and exciting new week. You in?

Where to start? First off, it’s so damned cold out. Have you ever noticed that the conversation is already over the minute the person you’re speaking to starts talking about the weather? It’s such a British thing to talk about how hot/chilly/wet it is out there.

My best friend and I used to consider small talk of this nature the nail in the coffin of conversation. Working as Baristas, it’s all we’d talk about.

“How are you?”
“Cold.”
“… What can I get you?”

The Art of Conversation was not designed to be mastered over the condiment counter, of course so I probably shouldn’t be so hard on the people who have just walked in, probably to avoid talking to anybody. It’s why I go for coffee, after all – for the peace and quiet.

So it’s cold and I’m actually happy about that. Coats and boots and scarves and hot chocolate and blankets; they make me happy. PJs to walk up the road to my BFF’s house make me happy. New hats make me smile.

I like cosy. I am staunchly pro-hibernation.

I don’t like my job at the moment, despite the amazing people I work with (mostly). I like the actual work for the most part and have been given the opportunity to do a little bit of writing, which of course is what I would like to be doing professionally. But I despair of the office politics.

I feel sometimes as though I am losing myself. I hate having to bite my tongue, be patient with stupid people. I hate having to shrug and accept things that anyone can see aren’t working. Sadly, as an assistant there’s not much I can do about that right now.

Perhaps the answer is to look elsewhere for professional fulfillment but I’ve put in the time, done the work, worked my way up; why should I? I feel like I should see it through and stay committed. Like a pitbull with a bone between her teeth.

I guess all I can do is wait and see, quietly work out what’s best for me.

Elsewhere, life is good. Life is hard but good and joyful. Life would be boring if it were perfect, I guess that’s one way to look at it.