Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Fish are animals too! If you eat fish you're not Vegetarian.

I am a vegetarian. I have been a vegetarian for the last 7 years of my life. Don't worry, I'm not going to bombard you with pictures of abused and dying animals - you can find them a dime a dozen on Google. I'm not even going to tell you why I became a vegetarian, that's not what I want to talk about. 

The day I decided that I was never going to eat meat again also happened to be the Birthday of a friend. A group of us were going out to celebrate at an all you can eat buffet style restaurant and like a good girl I stayed away from all of the meat, I got back to my table and cleared my plate before going back for more. It was only half way through my second (or third) plateful, with a prawn hanging out of my mouth that I realised what I'd done. I spat the rest of the prawn out and felt shitty for the rest of the evening. 

That was the last time I ate fish.

It was obvious to me then and there that I was eating an animal. Something I had decided not to do. This little, half-eaten prawn would still be alive and swimming around in the ocean until the end of his natural life if it hadn't been fished out of the water and suffocated to pleasure my taste buds and the taste buds of others like me.

I was born on this planet just like this little guy. He didn't choose to be a prawn just as I didn't choose to be a human. We are both on this earth for a very temporary period of time but it seems that the lifeless half-eaten form on my plate - didn't have quite as long as he ought to have had.

However small or insignificant this prawn might be, what is 30 seconds of taste compared to its life? 

It is not a question for me. I have no right to demand anything from this Earth. Least of all do I have the right to take, kill and eat creatures who have no way of defending themselves. Whose dead flesh I do not need to sustain my life. Animals - even fish experience pain, not like me or you but in their own particular way. This is not the pain of hunger which makes you remember to eat or the pain of a headache which makes you go to the Doctor's.

It is the pain of death. Senseless death. Caused by a human desire to dominate nature and all its inconceivable beauty. A human need for control. A human greed to consume flesh.

Perhaps one day, in a more enlightened time, the consumption of animals will be regarded in the same manner we now view some of the backward ways of the past. Remember women were once considered as socially and culturally insignificant, useless and unworthy of rights as animals are currently seen*. 

*Not that I am suggesting we give animals the vote. But perhaps one day we will consider ourselves 'above' killing innocent creatures for the sake of a fleeting feeling in our mouths.

p.s. apologies for the long hiatus can't guarantee it won't happen again.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Better Late Than Never. October Challenge. Be Nice To Strangers. What I've learned.

During the month of October I attempted to do my level best to go out of my way to be nice to strangers. The results were not particularly successful. Perhaps it's because I'm just not a nice person. Too preoccupied with my own problems to be tolerant and patience with others. The following is a list of just a few of the things that got angry about:

  • Traffic jams
  • People taking too long to pay at the checkout
  • Meetings over running
  • Pedestrians who walk diagonally across the road (otherwise known as diagonal-crossers).
  • Books not put on the right shelf (in a library)
  • People actually chatting around the water cooler  because it means I can't get a drink.
  • Cold callers, 'No, I don't want to buy house insurance at 10:30pm at night Ahmed'
  • Another 'article' about the Kardashians
  • Noisy eaters
  • People who crinkle packets of _____ (enter here your favourite confectionery) in the theatre.
  • Local doctors surgery closing at Lunchtime, "Sorry I can't choose when I'm sick."
  • Breaking a nail (because it fucking hurts)
  • Running out petrol on your way home
  • Bad hair days - so most days
  • Lovely little zit breaking out just when you have to give a presentation
  • Getting ticketed by some jobsworth traffic warden who couldn't become a 'real' cop because he couldn't pass the fitness test.
  • Receptionists changing appointments without informing me
  • People asking me 'what's wrong' twenty times, at which point you turn around and say 'you!' and then feel bad for the rest of the day.
  • People leaving doors open - 'were you born in a barn for god's sake!'.
  • Running out of cash and not being able to afford a cup of coffee

Maybe I was just having a bad month...

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Why so Serious? Thoughts on Living and Dying.

Today I witnessed a man torn apart by mental illness, on the brink of ending it all, decide to live for one more day. It wasn't because the night is darkest before the dawn. Or because he started looking on the bright side. Or because he saw a light at the end of the tunnel. Or even because he pulled himself up by the bootstraps.

His decision to live was not based on the belief that things would suddenly get better. It wasn’t even because he felt any better. It was instead because he realised that the ending of his life would not only stop the pain, it would also stop him from feeling anything else, ever.  He was lucky, most people either don’t realise or else don’t care.

We all have our ‘crosses’ to carry but what happens when the burden of your ‘cross’ becomes too great to bear? When day after day you are sinking further to your knees, trying to balance the weight on your shoulders? What happens when tunnel vision sets in and the only escape from the pain is for you to take matters into your own hands in the most decisive manner possible? When welcoming death with opens arms feels like your only option?

We  believe that when we die the pain which consumed us in life will linger no more and we will be able to rest at peace, finally. But that's not exactly true. Sure we won’t feel any pain but only because we won’t feel anything at all. We won't feel relieved. We won't feel our burden lifted. We won't feel our cross taken away from us. We won't feel calm, relaxed or happy. We won’t feel at peace.

We will feel nothing at all. We will feel nothing. We will be nothing...nothing at all.

Death takes away your suffering, just as it takes away your chance to be, feel or do anything ever again.

This little fact doesn’t however disturb the mind of someone who has already decided, for them death is the best and only way out of the haze of despair they find themselves in. Let’s get this straight - suicide is not selfish and it is not cowardly. The person who judges it as such will never understand the truth. For those who are left behind it will tear a hole through the very fabric of their existence; a hole so deep and so wide that no amount of bridge-building will ever remake what once was. But a suicidal mind doesn’t (or refuses) to see this, they may even think that they are bestowing a blessing on their loved ones, taking away the burden that rightly or wrongly they feel they are putting on their shoulders.

The decision to end one’s life is sudden. It is peaceful. It is calm. It comes with a kind of instant clarity. It makes sense in a world where nothing makes sense. It doesn't matter if you have contemplated suicide for days, weeks, months or even years before. The decision to actually do it is sudden. The barrier which held you back for so long is suddenly lifted and you feel a descending sense of calmness as the decision is made. It is no longer in your hands. At that moment, the moment of decision, nothing or no one can stand in your way. Your mind is made up. There is nothing left to say. There are no thoughts left to think. It is done.

Then a knock on the door. The phone rings. Someone smiles at you. And it stops you in your tracks. You feel something, perhaps a pang of relief? Someone has come to save you. There is a God. You're not alone. Perhaps you’re imagining it. But the knocking continues. You can't ignore it. The call of life brings you right back down to Earth with a bang. All of a sudden you have a choice again.The comfort of silence, of death. Or the reality that awaits you when you open that door or pick up the phone.

Suicide may not be selfish or cowardly but neither is it brave. The lost souls who choose to die should not to be lauded as heroes or buried as cowards, but treated as people. People who lived and died. They were normal, wonderful people, forced into a corner so desperate that only death could save them. You’d be mistaken though, if you thought that pulling the trigger was the easy part, it’s plagued with pain, confusion and utter, utter desperation. The last lonely moments which these beautiful people spend on earth will be tormented. Tormented by the belief that their suffering is too tremendous. That it will never end. That there is no hope or light at the end of the tunnel. That all of their struggles have been for nothing. And that they are alone. Completely and totally alone. Alone in their pain. Alone in their suffering. Alone in their death.

The only way you or I or anyone else get to feel the relief that comes after fighting a long battle is if we make the conscious decision to live. Not just because we fail but because we actually want to make a go of it. Perhaps then we will get a little relief from time to time in our often lonely lives before we have to pick up our sword and dust it off again.

P.S. I think that by the end of whatever amount of life I have to live, it will have been enough. If it happened right now I'd be pretty pissed off. There have been moments in my life when I would have been more than happy for it to have been over. There have been moments when I thought it was over and I was at peace. I was okay. It wasn't scary. It wasn't like staring into a deep abyss. It was really okay. But I'm not ready yet, I have things to do and God knows if I die before I've cranked out my first (and probably only) novel/script/play/book (still haven’t decided) I will wish I was even deader. So here’s hoping folks.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Intermission: Normal Service Will Resume Shortly...

Apologies for my absence lately, things are a bit crazy with my work schedule and trying to find the time to write is proving difficult. No excuses though. Which is kind of what I just did. Apologies. I know you don't want to hear my shit when you've got your own to deal with. So until next time...

Monday, 28 October 2013

Why Food Should Never Be A Reward. And 20 Things You Could Do Instead.

I deserve it. I worked hard for it. I need it. But I've been so good. I need the energy. I've done so well. What excuses do you make in order to let yourself have that extra cookie or another slice of cake? 
  • I finished my project.
  • I lost weight.
  • I went to the gym everyday.
  • I worked so hard, I deserve a treat when I come home.
It might seem innocent enough, but what starts with one or two treats a week can quickly turn into one or two treats a night. Which wouldn't be a problem if your treat of choice happens to be carrot sticks but if like me you don't have the metabolism of a 12 year old, treating yourself to exactly what you want when you want - just ain't an option. 

So, why shouldn't you use food as a reward?

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Safety comes with strings attached.

You might never leave the comfortable confines of your self-made prison. A prison which requires no doors, guards, guns or alarms - because you remain willingly inside. 

If that doesn't scare you, nothing will.

You cling to the safety of your routines in the belief that they will prevent chaos, pain and failure from entering into your life. It's easy, comfortable and familiar. You love nothing more than settling down in your favourite slippers, glass of wine in hand, to slowly let your mind decay in front of yet another episode of some mind numbingly bad TV show (or maybe that's just me).

Friday, 11 October 2013

5 Myths About Introverts.

Contrary to popular belief, introverts are not shy. At least they don't have to be. An introvert does however, thrive on solitude, the kind that can sometimes last for days at a time. If it sounds like I'm speaking from experience then it's probably because I am. Others may mistakenly interpret our actions (or inactions as the case may be) as distant, standoffish or even rude - but this couldn't be further from the truth. Introverts don't hate people, in fact many of us love people, perhaps just a bit too much, we can feel too deeply and would rather stand our distance than risk being hurt. If you didn't know this, it's probably because 'we' don't talk about it.

Whilst extroverts can extol the virtues of being an extrovert at great length and to anybody that will listen. We introverts don't get much of a chance to do the same (nor would we want to) which is perhaps why we are such poor misunderstood creatures! So here I will attempt to bust five of the myths that have stuck around.