Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The No Make Up Selfie

A phenomenon has gripped social media and comments have ranged from the touching and thoughtful to the downright rude. It's the no make-up selfie for breast cancer awareness.

For me, I wear a smattering of make up for work and rarely bother the rest of the time. It's mainly a going out, Sunday best (but actually hardly ever on Sunday) thing, not a day-to-day thing. A no make up selfie for me would be pretty much just any old selfie. It used to be that I would wear make up for work about one day in five. After cancer, and probably ageing a bit I started to wear make up more often. It has become part of being well and looking well, but probably not really necessary. 

I am moved by the people who have dropped their usual mascara mask to join in and donate to a breast cancer charity on the way. Even better if a few tips about checking your boobs are thrown in. But why on earth are we in this crazy position where it is such a big deal. It saddens me that so many women feel that they need to wear make up to feel as though they are looking even half respectable.

I offer a poem:

Young people you don't know how beautiful you are
Have the confidence to glow
Your youth and vitality are your strength,
There's no need for make up, you know

Old people you don't know how beautiful you are
Have the confidence to shine
Your age and wisdom may mark your skin
But your smiles will still be divine

Middle aged people you don't know how beautiful you are
You may miss the youth you had
But you still have life, you still have love,
These things should make you glad

All women you don't know how beautiful you are
Don't feel pressure to conform
Be yourself, be strong, be true,
Let all natural become your norm


And here is a picture I took after ballet today:

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Some thoughts on New Year

I love New Year. A fresh start, new possibilities. I don't exactly make resolutions but I do think about what I'd like to to do more of, or do better, or indeed, do less of.

Do more exercise. Eat more healthily. Be in touch with friends more. Get more fresh air. Help people. Laugh more. Be more creative.

Waste food less. Don't waste hours on social media (fortunately I've already stopped the wasting of time on Candy Crush). Use the car less. Don't be grumpy.

Actually, the lists could get really long if I spend too much time thinking about it. And then I would need to add 'don't spend so long thinking about things' to the list and it would become a vicious cycle.

I know many people who say 2013 was a bad year so good riddance - welcome 2014. It is good if we can mark the passing of a year in such a way that it gives us that opportunity to leave its baggage behind.

For me, 2013 was a mixture of course. I still spend enough of the time generally being glad to be alive, so in that way it was definitely a good year. I achieved something I will always be chuffed about (a good distinction in my ballet exam). But, for various other reasons it has not been easy, and we've not known whether we would even be living in the same place this time next year which is an unsettling prospect.

When it comes to New Year, perhaps we only really need one thing on our list of resolutions: treat each new day as a new beginning. That way we can leave behind things we might beat ourselves up about without waiting for a major event in the calendar. Similarly, we don't need to wait for some future date to start being that better person we'd like to morph into.

A challenge does work for me though - as long as it is not too ambitious, and I'd like to do some more fundraising. Perhaps a cycle challenge for Bowel Cancer UK? Anyone want to join me? Other ideas?

Treating each new day as a new beginning appeals to the optimist in me, but I'm a realist too so I know it is more easily said than done. Sleep deprivation or illness make it particularly hard. However, I like the idea of trying to keep a fresh perspective.

Someone recently shared an image on facebook that really appealed to me, but when I looked for it again today I couldn't find it. So I searched google images and found the following version. If this belongs to someone and shouldn't be posted, please let me know and I'll happily swap it for another version. Otherwise, thank you to the anonymous illustrator.

Anyway, what appealed to me was that actually a glass isn't half full nor half empty. Technically, it is always full. What I like about this is that it is a fresh, and even more optimistic way of looking at things. We just need to learn to see and appreciate the air. 

So, here I am, raising my metaphorically full glass to wish you all the best for 2014. May it be full of new beginnings, fresh starts, and novel ways of looking at things.