Thursday, 8 June 2017

What it feels like when your heart is breaking.

warning: heartbreak, suicide themes 

Guys, I don't know what to do right now. I'm overflowing with emotions, I've spent the last two days crying my eyes out at home and in the office and I have no idea what to do with myself. I've also spent a portion of that time talking with friends about the issue at hand (a problem with my relationship that apparently I have no say in) and been getting advice. 

This post is not to ask for advice.

I'm smart, at least I like to think I am and I have spent years giving friends advice. I am good at it. I know the advice I'd give myself, end it now, move on, you deserve better, you deserve to be happy. You know who also told me I deserve to be loved and happy? Another person who broke my heart. And I want to call bullshit on it. You deserve to be happy means nothing. It means, you deserve to be happy, as long as I'm not required to do anything about it. Go be loved by somebody else.

And on the friends side, it means I love you and I don't like seeing you like that, so I'm hoping I can make you cheer up by telling you of how good it's going to be later. Yes, it will. And then the cycle will start again and I'll meet someone else who will break my heart again and even if tell every person I meet that being abandoned and having my heart broken is my greatest fear and they seem to understand at the time there will come a point when it won't matter.

I wonder, why do people spend months to make you trust them, convince you that you're loved, safe, secure, that everything is the best it could be to then take it all away. I used to think the expectations were to be a good person, treat others with respect, build them up, be there for them, love them, make them happy. Isn't it ironic that I have apparently achieved all of these and yet still I am here breaking into pieces. I'm sure if I wasn't crying I would laugh. Or punch something.

Although I don't do that. Punch something that is. I can't scream and I don't get angry. Growing up in an abusive household where there were always fights I decided I wanted that out of my life. So I stopped myself from getting angry, I stopped yelling and now I can't do it even if I wanted to. I have perfected silent screams and I am pretty much reduced into tears with anything emotional. Tears are better than aggression. Tears are silent, can be hidden when you're sat in a crowded office typing this post out. Imagine if I was screaming right now... Not good for business.

On with my point. Last time I was heartbroken (or was it the time before) I remember spending a week in bed. I didn't have a job back then. I had holidays. I wrapped myself in my covers, held my cuddly dragon and cried and cried and cried and when the tears dried out the pain was still there. And I needed my laptop on. All the time. I went on iplayer and watched everything. Entire seasons of tv shows, as long as someone was there talking, as long as I could stop myself from thinking, from feeling all this pain.

I couldn't face people, I couldn't check social media, I just wanted to be there in the dark and forget that I had just lost everything I had hoped for. Let's go back to now.

If you asked me two days ago I'd tell you I'm happy, I'm loved, I have everything I ever wanted. Right now I can't breathe. The tears can't stop running down my face. I went to see Evanescence last night. I cry with their songs on a good day. I love their songs. Last night I spent an entire concert, an amazing concert, feeling the power of that music and trying to sing along while crying because every word hurt.

20 minutes ago I went to the bathroom, just for a normal bathroom break, and I ended up on the floor crying for 20 minutes.

This is what a heartbreak is like.

I suddenly feel like all the air is being sucked out of my lungs. I'm struggling to breathe and my head is turning. I push against the wall with my back, go towards the corner. Physical support in place of the emotional stability I've just lost. I push back stronger and also to the side with my arm. In the end I've collapsed on the floor. Those silent screams I mentioned before are here. My mouth is open, I'm screaming but with no sound. There's other people in the bathrooms, I can't have anyone hear me. Not that I could scream if I was alone either. I told you. I don't scream. I just open my mouth and I feel my lungs pushing the cream out but my vocal cords stay put. My ears hurt. I cry and cry and cry and my stomach feels tighter and tighter till I start coughing until I'm about to throw up. It feels like I am not getting enough air. I try to breathe but I'm back to pushing against the wall and the silent screams.

I have definitely heard at least 5 songs while I've been in here. Time to go back. Let's get some water first. Gotta stay hydrated. I don't know why. My brain is not making sense right now.

I've been sitting down staring at the wall for hours at a time. It's as if there's a voice in my head saying: look at this wall, look at this wall, look at this wall, all there is is this wall, don't think about anything else, just the wall. And then I snap out of it. And then I remember what I was trying to distract myself from and then the tears start again and now I can't breathe again.

Last night I googled 'how to commit suicide painlessly'. 

The first result is the suicide helpline. You can call and speak to them and they can talk you out of it. Or at least try to make you believe that there is another solution, you're not trapped, things will get better. There was also some info on how to tell you're suicidal. As if googling for a how to manual is not a strong indication. Apparently there's a few ways to tell. I matched the 'you're considering it as a viable solution' and 'you're not actively trying to but you'd welcome death if it came'.

But why wouldn't I? I'm in pain. Death would stop it. Why would I ever say no? Ok so since the last time I felt like this I've done a lot of things. I got my masters, I traveled, I made a new best friend, I got a job. I seemed to be functioning as an adult. But the 'plan' of my life is finished. There's no clear path after this and there's nothing I can 100% say is waiting for me. Again, two days ago I'd say I felt loved and that was definitely worth living for.

But now? Now I feel like I have jumped from a huge height but I seem to have been falling longer than expected and I just need to hit the floor already. I'm so tired of the fall.

Back to the search results. Surprisingly the answers are on the first page. There's a warning saying that you shouldn't do it. Or just use these for creative writing, not for a real suicide. Sure, that's what people use these for. First choice. CO2 poisoning. Apparently that needs a car, or an air locked room and a CO2 tank. Complicated. Sleeping pills. I've never taken those. I wonder if paracetamol would work. Is that why last time I was ill they wouldn't sell me more than two boxes? But I could go to multiple pharmacies. I was not trying to kill myself then. I was just very ill and I knew I'd get worse so I wasn't sure if I could go back and get more if I was feeling that bad.

I guess I could get sleeping pills. Take a lot of them, go to sleep and the pain would stop. It is actually viable. Easy even. I got scared and turned the laptop off. Is that where I am? Am I really googling this? Two days ago I was planning my summer holidays. I am supposed to be modelling next month. Will I go on stage crying?

I have zumba class tonight. I wonder if I can cry and work out at the same time. Will they let me do that or will I have to explain myself? I wanted to be the best version of myself. Now I feel like no version of myself is good enough. The more people keep telling me I deserve love the more I doubt it. The people who are actually loved don't need to be told. I don't even believe in deserving things anyway. I believe that you receive what you give. And I keep giving love and getting hurt. So maybe I'm wrong after all.

After reading all this you might expect a resolution. I don't have it. I don't know what to do. Still. But I just had to write this down before my head explodes. It's like the wall, but this time if I'm writing I may not need to think. More or less. I don't know. Maybe that's the writers' way of dealing with things. You know, top 5 food trends, by the way I want to die. This sort of thing. Points for varied content I guess. Put that on my tombstone. Actually don't. I want a rose carved on it. 

Well, I only promised to tell you what it feels like when your heart is breaking. Awful. That's what. And all the other details you just read. I don't have advice for how to fix it. That's also hurting me. I like fixing things. I can't stand not being able to do anything. But that's what heartbreak is like. Someone else breaks your heart and you can't do shit about it.

Anyway. I should get ready for that zumba class now. Maybe I'll talk to you more later.


Monday, 5 September 2016

Don't Call Your Pets Ugly; MedicAnimal's Problematic Ad Campaign

For the past few months there has been an ad campaign on the tube advertising MedicAnimal, an online marketplace for premium pet food and health products. The website's mission is to sell food that will ensure pets stay healthy and thus live longer, something that I definitely admire and agree with.

What I am finding increasingly problematic though is this advertising campaign, that never fails to annoy me every time I see it. At first look, the campaign seems to emphasise that you should love your lets no matter what, and give them the best quality products so that they live long healthy lives. That's great. 

But then why do you have to call them FUGLY?


Fugly, a word that in popular culture is created by combining the words 'fucking ugly' is definitely not a term you would normally use to describe someone in a favourable manner. MedicAnimal's advertising explains that their 'FUGLY' is actually created by combining the words 'fabulously ugly' which somehow is supposed to make us think that it is ok.

Consider the same advertising campaign applied to people: 'If you buy this healthy meal for your fabulously ugly friend you show them you love them despite how they look'. You know how many anti body shaming campaigns this would spark? Hundreds! The fact that this advert refers to pets does not excuse its inherently problematic thought process.

You are ugly but I love you anyway. = Your appearance is a valid reason for me not to love you.

In a society where people judge each other based on looks on an everyday basis, we have managed to make some pretty good steps towards stopping body shaming and holding ad campaigns that use it to sell products accountable. Yet, somehow doing the same things for pets passes under the radar. Probably because pets can not read.


Cats and dogs do not all look the same, the same way people look different. However, after decades of inbreeding in order to create different breeds, society seems to think that it is expected for dogs and cats to have a certain desirable appearance and look uniform across their breed. We even have dog shows and prizes awarded to the pets that look exactly like humans want them to look.

Sure, breeding may seem normal to us when it comes to pets, but again if you were to talk about humans in their place, you would be supporting eugenics. And if you tried to tell a group of what you think are beautiful people to only breed with their siblings to create babies that look exactly like them they would certainly lock you up. Yet, despite the obvious genetic side effects, this is normal for your pets. This has led to entire breeds having respiratory problems, cancers and other mutations that cause them to be in pain and die prematurely. But it is ok if they look good, right? You can always buy a new dog after the last one dies.

I hope the two paragraphs above have at least managed to make you uncomfortable. This may not be something that we openly discuss, but, especially when things cross a certain line, it is important to address the elephant in the room; and not because we want to call it ugly.


Your pets need love and care and yes, sure they deserve the best products you can get for them. But that is because they are living creatures, animals that you have taken in your care and have chosen to love and protect. Your pets will give you unconditional love and greet you with excitement when you get home without expecting anything in return.

Taking into account the fact that dozens of pets end up abandoned in the streets when they get too big for the house or grow old, it is important to teach people that pets are not just for christmas (as cliched as it may sound) and that pets need love no matter what they look like. Loving your ugly pet is not an achievement, it is a given if you want to be a good pet owner.

That is why ad campaigns like this are problematic, as they appear to normalise negative behaviours, in order to make the target audience buy their product and feel better about themselves for something that should be taken as a given. 

What they expect their customer to think is this:
- Not loving an ugly pet is normal
- My pet is ugly but I still love it
which results in
I deserve a pat on the back because I'm awesome and better than other people
and then turns into
This ad made me feel good about myself. I'm happy so I'll buy something for my pet.

You have a pet. It deserves the best you can give it without any need for further justification. Buy the best food for it.

And just because I believe in positive change, I look forward to the day we look at an animal and the concept of it being ugly does not even exist. It is a pet. It should be loved and hugged and taken care of. No buts, no prerequisites, nothing.

Till then, spread the love!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Terrible Christmas Jokes and Puns

I love Christmas as much as anyone, more if I may say, and it is the perfect time for silly jokes and bad puns. Therefore I thought it would be a great idea to put some of the ones I know here for future reference and for anyone else in need of some.

1. What Christmas Carol is a favourite of parents? Silent Night.
2. What athlete is warmest in winter? A long jumper.
3. Who hides in a bakery at Christmas? A mince spy.
4. What do you get if you cross a snowman and a shark? A frost bite.
5. What did the snowman say to the angry carrot? Get out of my face!
6. What do sheep say at Christmas? Merry Christmas to Ewe!
7. What do snowmen eat for lunch? Icebergers.
8. What do you call a polar bear wearing earmuffs? Anything you want; he can't hear you.
9. Who delivers presents to cats? Santa Paws.
10. What did the sea say to Santa? Nothing, he just waved.
11. What kind of paper likes music? Rapping paper.
12. Where do snowmen like to dance? At snowballs.
13. What do Santa's little helpers learn at school? The elfabet.
14. What do snowmen eat for breakfast? Frosted flakes.
15. What says Oh Oh Oh? Santa walking backwards.
16. What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations? Tinselitis.
17. What's white and goes up? A confused snowflake.
18. Why couldn't the skeleton go to the Christmas party? Because he had no body to go with.
19. What do you get if you cross Santa with a duck? A Christmas quacker.
20. What is Santa's wife called? Mary Christmas.
21. What happens when you drop a snowball into a glass of water? It gets wet.
22. What do you serve but never eat? A tennis ball.

I hope you enjoy the jokes and have a good laugh.
I'll keep adding more as soon as I come across them. Feel free to comment your own for me to add too.

Love,
Kristine


Monday, 24 August 2015

Why London Is Obsessed With Childhood



Nostalgia has become very popular in recent years and that is a strange statement in itself to start with. I was always led to believe that nostalgia leaned towards the negative side of the emotional scope, however popular culture trends have proven me wrong. As it turns out, nostalgia is not only a desirable feeling but also a marketable product that in the right hands can turn great profits.
In terms of product sales, lead retailer Urban Outfitters have proven the model by bringing back Polaroid cameras, type writers and record players, thus turning vinyl sales from a niche market for serious collectors to a revitalised industry that attracts teenagers and millennials in general.


While the general public initially viewed this as things to sell to hipsters to make them feel special, it seems that these items from the past are here to stay, and the recent fashion trends are also confirming that a return to the late half of the past century is definitely a thing. So why is this happening?

People have always had a tendency to look back in time and romanticize earlier eras as a much simpler time when things were better. Renaissance artists looked to ancient Greek and Roman times, romantics looked back to the middle ages and an ideal pastoral past. This is best shown in Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris.


However I am not entirely convinced that this tendency towards nostalgia is so much an ideological move than a reaction towards the increasingly busier lifestyles Londoners are leading. While these pastel polaroids are a cute novelty to receive as a gift, ultimately we would all much rather take photos with a professional digital camera and are absolutely fascinated by the latest innovations in technology, such as flying drone cameras that follow you and capture moments from angles which previously impossible without a crane or a helicopter crew.

There is an increasing tendency for people to switch from items to experiences both as presents for friends and for themselves. Hundreds of people prefer to save up to travel the world instead of buying expensive material possessions, couples ask for their guests to put money towards their honeymoon instead of receiving 20 blenders [it is not confirmed that people still buy blenders as wedding gifts].


At the same time hundreds of new popups in London are now becoming much more than a new secret bar that just offers some fancy cocktails. Instead you have the immersive experience of Star Wars Secret Cinema andAlice in Wonderland, the Breaking Bad inspired ABQ van where you can cook your own cocktails and more importantly a long list of childhood themed events.

While you may argue that diving into a ball pit and jumping on a bouncy castle is fun I still have my doubts. I am being very honest when I say that I found those two incredibly annoying when I was a child, I could never really balance on the castle, I kept falling down and it was always a pain trying to figure out what exactly I was supposed to do inside the ball pit other than avoid stepping on another kid who though it would be funny to disappear under all the balls for a prank. ‘Sorry, I stepped on you kid. Well, not really. You shouldn’t have hidden there in the first place’. Saying that, I would much rather be at the swings or the slides or go jump in a pool, you know, with actual water instead of plastic balls. Call me crazy.

My point is that I sincerely want to challenge the concept of finding these activities fun because they are such in their nature, and before you say anything please think of eight bankers in their suits jumping inside a large bouncy castle, and would like to propose that the fun comes from doing something childlike in nature regardless of the specific activity.

Maybe the Frozen song Let it go became such a big hit and topped the charts, exactly because people wish they were able to let go for a bit too. Think of our daily London lives, the time consuming commute in the tube, the long hours most professionals work for and the stress all those things create. Then you have to pay your rent and bills while saving to get on the property ladder.


It’s not realistic at all that you can buy you dream house at the start, but a tiny flat will do, and about 40 years later, after having bought and sold several flats and houses you may end up with a decent sized family house somewhere in zone 7, just in time for when the kids leave for university and you are left alone walking around the empty rooms and asking yourself whether it was all worth it and whether you should downsize to a smaller house now as it is just the two of you again.

If you did not feel at least slightly anxious simply reading the above paragraph, I will have whatever you are having because it is clearly working. It is natural after all these daily issues that are constantly turning in our minds to want a break. Remember when all we had to do is ask our parents for new shoes or a new phone or an expensive toy? Ask and you shall receive. Maybe not right away, but for Christmas or for your birthday. No was not an acceptable answer and budget a completely foreign word.



This is what childhood was really about. The carefree mentality when all we had to do was play, have fun and just be kids. When someone else put food on the table and we would sing hakuna matata because we literally had nothing to worry about. So how do we try to reclaim some of that mentality and happiness?

Buying things we used back then is one way. It is not the polaroid camera in itself. It is the memories of us in that school trip back in year 6 when we took those funny photos with our best friends that we have not spoken to since college and are probably now married or something. It is the birthday party where all your classmates came and you had a massive bouncy castle that everyone wanted to go on and you played all evening and got to eat lots of cake and sleep late, even if it did make your stomach hurt.


Going to themed nights is another option, and it’s getting increasingly popular, as in these special events we can act like kids again, play around and have fun without thinking of the day job. It is exactly that state of carefree happiness that we are so desperately trying to get back and why we are so willing to spend our money to forget we are no longer children, even for a night. Childhood has become the new popular drug for London and we do not seem to get enough of it.

Themed nights, immersive experiences and drinking events in playgrounds are all about going back in time. Not in the time travelling sense where you experience a different era, but back to your own past. They are all about not being an adult for a few hours and letting out your inner child. If you are anything like me, that inner child could not wait to grow up. To be independent, have takeout for dinner, spend time with friends and sleep past their bedtime.


Now we are adults, all those things are easily attainable, but this freedom has come with the realisation that we should probably eat healthy, home cooked food is actually much better and if we don’t sleep enough going to work the next day without looking like zombies will be a challenge. So we are going back to the swings and slides, to a time when life was much simpler. Not life in general as an idea, but our own very tangible past.

While I should probably close with the moral of this article I have decided not to. Instead I will leave you to reflect for a couple of minutes. Think about your dreams, think about the last time you smiled sincerely or felt sincerely content with your life. Did we all just lose something growing up, and we are so desperate now to get it back or is it still up to us to be the adults we thought we would become?

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Modern Communication

I want to talk to you
tell you all the things I feel
but can't express.
But how can a ':' become poetry?
Closing a ')' opens up countless possibilities.
And if I put a '3' after a '<' my heart will be yours.

Thinking about you puts a smile on my face.
And I want to say so much more
than a  can express.
But an image is 1000 words and love
can write entire books - libraries even.
Can you read them in my emoji?

So I type and delete again
hopelessly trying to write a symphony
with the beeping of my keyboard.
Maybe then you can understand
just how being around you makes me feel.
Let's try again. :)  <3  :*

That seems about right. Right?


Saturday, 20 September 2014

A Very Timely Transcript

Once upon a time there was, well, time. You see, time is a very complicated thing, kind of like humans, and, just like them it wants to exist. This, of course, is very irritating, especially when you are a time traveler.

The main principles of time travel, as outlined by hundreds of guidebook writers and science fiction authors are that you must not interfere. You can not change the course of history, you know killing Hitler and the likes, and you definitely can not go back and meet yourself. You don't want to end up being your own grandfather, or something equally weird. That is the popular story anyway.

What these textbooks fail to mention is, as you would expect, the truth. Time doesn't like changes because he is stubborn. And when he has spent what is, in very plain terms, Eternity, planning out how everything should work out, you can't just go ahead and mess things up. He will be mad. More than that. He'll be furious! And then, terrible things will happen. To you. Time will eventually get you. He'll have his revenge.

That's what time travel writers don't say. If they did, they wouldn't sell any books. I presume I will face the consequences for writing this too. Truth is never easy, but someone has to do it. Even if I'm erased from history, I hope this text will remain.

Sincerely,

-----

The writing at this point becomes unintelligible, ladies and gentlemen. We believe the author was erased from history, just as he feared. However, the discovery of this text has been fuelling our research in Time Travel for the past fifty years and it is our great pleasure to finally announce we've made a breakthrough. Time is no longer a straight line.

In exactly 5 minutes we will press this button and transport this room and everyone in it fifty years in the future. As our ancestors said centuries ago, one small step for a man one giant leap for humanity. It's time to make history!

------

End of transcript. We may never find out what the people in that room did and where, or better yet, when they found themselves after pressing that button. We recovered this recording from an obsolete archive at the far corner of the universe as part of our Institute's archaeology program. Said planet has been long forgotten and abandoned, the inhabitants either migrated to different solar systems or dies out when the natural resources were finally consumed.

Time travel seems to have fascinated our species since the beginning of time. The science, the possibilities, the power. It can corrupt people. Numb their senses. Of course we all know that time travel has been banned for thousands of years and all reality alteration experiments take place in alternative universes, where we have managed to suppress any attempts of technological advancement. While many believe this is immoral and we shouldn't feel ourselves as superior to our other versions, it is our mutual agreement that this is all for the greater good.

Now, if you go through these doors, refreshments will be served in the next room and we can continue with a short Q&A session in the second half of our conference.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Sheldon Square Statues

My friend,
always standing there
in front of me
looking
no- staring
or maybe begging.

The little path
unites us
unites us?
divides us?
measures how far we are
from each other.
I will come to you.

......

My friend,
you are coming to me
always coming
never moving
always trying.
Why?

I see the path
in front of you
your path
your goal.
I wish I could move too.
I wish
we could
finally
meet in the middle.

But I am born to wait.
Born?
Wait!
I was never born.
Neither were you.
We were made
you to move and me to wait.

So we do this
and nothing but this
forever
and ever
ever
never
to meet
never
to speak
never
to touch.

If only you could move
My waiting would have meaning.


..........................

This poem was inspired by the two statues facing each other next to Sheldon Square in Paddington, London. A tiny plaque next to one of them reads 'Standing Man', Sean Henry, 2003.