Nothing Lasts Forever

spring_by_mechtaniya-d50wew2-deviantart

I watched my mother turn the page of the calendar.  September, a picture of a golden sunset shimmering on a highland lake.  That picture and September spoke of things I wished not to know.

She said “The weeks – they’ve gone so fast!”  Fussing over clothes for school, debating how much I would grow, and if my skirts were long enough to last the winter.  She dragged me to shops, the boring ones, not for excitement of toys, but to buy a perfect pair of sensible brown shoes.  Boring ridiculous shoes, to be worn at a ridiculous place.  Because September always spelled – SCHOOL.  Too close for comfort and never far enough away.  Pressing in like an elephant sitting on my head, crushing my thoughts, reminding me the hot summer had finally melted, like watching ice cream drip, and never getting to taste how good it was.  My short days of freedom were almost over.

The first day of term would always be the same, walking through gates, long faces, clones in matching uniforms.  Grumpy grey, navy numb, charcoal and mud coloured shoes spoiling pretty young feet.  Laughter forgotten, fun stored away for long awaited opportunities, and the warmth of sun luminous on our heads as though holidays were not yet over.  How horribly deprived we felt, how torn we were, like chicks fallen from the nest.

Each new term, a fresh class, a new teacher.  Everything that had been, no longer was.  Strange, alien, vulnerable.  The beginning of another year in a place I wished not to be.  Windows were magnets, I’d lose so much time staring through many, my eyes drawn to outdoors, the trees, birds, and each fluffy cloud that drifted by had more meaning than the monotony of the classroom.  I’d try to find the tiniest evidence of happiness, because hours at a desk was never be going to be happy.

A voice interrupted, the stern face of my teacher glared, eyes like fire, speech like rusting metal. “Get on with your work!  There’s nothing to see out there!”

Ah, but there was!  The world with all it’s interesting things.  A place with meaning – the flowers, the wind, the smell of cut grass, tree houses in the woods, picnics, days at the beach, the picking of berries and the refined art of making of jam.  My loving home, my peace, my quite, my own private space.  Obediently, I lowered my head, stared at my book, blinded by numbers – 6 x 9 – 7 x 8 – 4 x 12 …. none of it made sense at all.

While I stared at blank paper where my maths should have been, I learnt to imagine everything that was not of numbers, and wished the daily grind of the classroom clean away.

Before I noticed, September had become like any other month.  Lost it’s strength in imparting dread, and those days moved so far away.

September has changed.  Freedom was given.  And I learned that nothing lasts forever.

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Picture - Spring by mechtanyia – Deviantart


Although everything in this story is true, it was actually the picture that originally inspired the idea.  It reminded me of myself at a time when I was most unhappy at my primary school, and how those long school summer holidays were so beautiful, so welcome.  But even after all those weeks off, it was never long enough.  I had a dreadful teacher at the time, I referred to her as ‘the witch’ because to me she might as well have been.  I was constantly picked on by her and she even had the evil cheek to encourage the rest of the class to copy her in humiliating me.  I wasn’t the only one, she targeted a few others too – all the quiet ones – easy pickings.  I still feel to this day, she should have been dismissed, her behaviour was totally unprofessional.  And it’s amazing how one person can do so much damage to a young mind with their voice.  She succeeded in destroying my confidence for many years, but I’m happy to say, not forever.  And who knows, maybe I should thank her for assisting in making me a stronger person today and for teaching me one very important life lesson – don’t ever tolerate a bully, no matter who they are.

School always felt very unnatural to me, even my first day at school left me feeling I was in the wrong place.  I don’t absorb information very well in a classroom, I’m much better learning quietly in my own company, at my own pace.  I did eventually leave school at the age of thirteen, I just refused to go, caused a lot of problems, but it all came right in the end.  I was lucky to have a family who did their best to understand and support me, and I was home schooled for the remaining years – it was a huge relief!  There couldn’t have been anyone more grateful than me to finally reach age sixteen, it was so good to just forget about the pressure of eduction for a while.  It’s not my opinion that schools are wrong, I just don’t think they are the right place for everyone, we are all wonderful individuals, not clones.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who hated school, so please share your stories if you feel inspired to! :)

 

Early Years

SuzyHazelwood:

“School for me
was an unpleasant necessity
a key to the future
I failed to recognise
distant and remote
unable to lure me
a prisoner of the present
where the cinema’s novelty
provided an escape
from conformity
into a world of fantasy.”

Absolutely brilliant Ken, I’m sure many will relate to this! I said I’d reblog, so here it goes!! :)

Originally posted on Ken W. Simpson Poetry:

It all began
subconsciously for me
with dim thoughts
and vague memories
of parental affection
in a world of sensation
the joys of toys
Christmas trees
a merry-go-round
picture books
and castles in the sand.

Supervised and organized
intolerant, demanding
urgently needing
attention and affection
continually beseeching
helpless, dependent
sometimes rebellious
adapting by reacting
crawling then tottering
gradually growing
and learning.

Circumscribed by necessity
controlled and dominated
by superior forces
dutiful parents
and an aunt
then by teachers
who encouraged
and groomed me mentally
to regurgitate
parrot-like sounds
with monotonous regularity.

Rivalries emerged
with the need to succeed
to gain an advantage
preferential treatment
as an incentive or bribe
when competing
for promotion and status
to earn recognition
without discriminating
between vanity
and jealousy.

Learning was fun
enjoyed when playing games
imaginatively inspired
but lost its appeal
when the fun disappeared
and discipline dictated
facts to be memorized
conceptualised and…

View original 243 more words

Wasting My Young Years ~ London Grammar

London Grammar is one of those new bands I accidentally discovered recently on one of my You Tube trips!  I love Hannah Reid’s haunting voice, and I’m looking forward to see what they come up with next.  Here’s a live version of this song.  If you want to hear more of their music visit their You Tube or SoundCloud page, also Wikipedia or their website.

Does Anyone Think for Themselves Anymore?

SuzyHazelwood:

This is so good Joe, if only more thought like you did, this world would be a much better place!

Originally posted on Stepping Out with an Agoraphobic:

Think for yourself

(Click to enlarge)

It is me?  You decide.

I recently heard someone say that “Orange is the new black.” I was taken aback because I had no idea what that meant, except that my box of crayons was now all wrong.

Upon further examination of my life, I realized the chaos that the statement had now created for me. In the morning, I would have to drink black juice to get my vitamin C. The local college sports teams would have to be called the Syracuse Blackmen and Blackwomen. And what in the world would happen to Halloween? It was almost too much to handle.

And then it dawned on me that this person was probably just speaking about fashion, which made it a little better – but not much.  I am not a big fan of the fashion industry: the people who tell us to wear meat and tin…

View original 457 more words

My Revolution

freedom__by_seeinglight-d5wmf21

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All my life
I’ve endured a weight of exclusion
never the one who can
always the one who can’t
never the one with
but constant without

Standing afar
a stranger
in a whirl of happening
where my would be
never could be

The birth of desire
gifted in grief
ability almost visible
but before my hands could grasp
the thief came to steal
crushing me down

It’s time to wipe the memory
shake my head and say “no”
that I will submit and agree
to every thought declaring
“this is who you are”

This is the end
of the exclusion road
a termination for the could or would
no more stranger
wishing from afar
the negative rejected
because in these days
I truly can
and I know I will

Exclusion -
where are you now?

Your mighty weight
has been discarded
from my fortified bones
the embellishment of your name
erased
from my beautiful skin
today
my revolution is real

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Picture: seeinglight.deviantart

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It’s difficult for me to explain the details of what inspired this poem without going into more detail than I’m prepared to splash across the internet.  Some things are just too private, also a little complicated to explain and I’m sure you don’t want to read my life history!!  But what I can say is it came from a sudden realization of how my thinking had been affected, in a way infected, subtly laced with thoughts of ‘I can’t’.

It was one of those unexpected and totally clarifying moments where I finally saw something that was so hidden it had become part of my personality, but was actually down to certain circumstances past and present, and had nothing do to with the real me.  It was time to change my thinking.

I’m not a believer in revolutions in general, they are often an illusion and only rarely have a lasting effect.  But the revolutions of the mind, they’re the ones we need most.  I’ve had many of those moments in my life, and they are so essential to moving on, letting go, crawling out of the caterpillar stage and becoming that butterfly.  So this is dedicated to all those who have ever felt excluded for any reason at all.

Even if circumstances, your fears, or lack of confidence are still ruling, it’s irrelevant, you can still choose to begin to change your thinking.  Tell yourself daily – you are not excluded, don’t worry about how you feel, just say it anyway.  Change has to start somewhere, and it’s often with the tiniest thought, and an awesome word or two! ;)

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I’ve wanted to share this wonderful song from Ane Brun for so long, it seems very appropriate with this poem.  I wish there was a video, but this is the only version I could find on You Tube.  I hope you find it inspiring!

Stones from dust
Anger from fear
Poetry from heartbeats
Revolution from dreams
Revolution from dreams
Revolution from dreams

It all starts somewhere
It all starts with one
Everything comes from something
It all starts with one
Starts with one

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New Blog – CuriosityShopp

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Just thought I’d let you all know that I have a new blog -> CuriostyShopp.  Some of you will probably remember I used to have another blog called ‘Picture This Art‘ where I posted mainly photography and art.  I got tired of that blog after a while, it felt a little restrictive, and I lost interest in posting.  I’ve now set that blog to private so I can use it as a reference for any art or images I may want to link to again.  If any of you are still officially following that blog in the reader, best to delete the follow from your list as I won’t be posting on there again.

I’ve had an idea for a new blog for a while, the kind of blog where I could share a variety of subjects that I find on my internet travels, music, movies, books, humour, art, photography, places of interest, short films and interesting websites – very different to this one!

I’m aware this new blog might not be of interest to all of you, so please don’t feel obliged to follow, but if you take a look and think it might interest you, I’ll be thrilled to have you on board! 

The blog is a grid style theme (Pictorico) so I decided to publish a collection of posts all together as a couple of posts would have looked foolish on their own!  If you do decide to follow, don’t feel you have to visit every post, just take a lucky dip and see if something interests you.  I’m not sure how often I’ll be posting on there, probably more often than I post on here, mainly to help it progress in the right direction, and then I shall slow down a bit, maybe post every four weeks.  I’m looking forward to adding to this blog, I think it’s going to be great fun! :)

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Power cuts of the 1970’s – Out Of The Ashes

 child by candlelight

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Out Of The Ashes by Arlene Hassan

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I was about ten years old when the three-day week started in the early 1970’s.  There were endless power cuts and the electricity to homes, street lighting and non-essential business was often simply cut off.

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At our house in Motherwell, in the shadow of the Ravenscraig steelworks, we had a coal fire, as did most of our neighbours.  Like them we could rarely afford to buy enough fuel to last all week, so everything in the house that could be burnt and was not essential would end up on the fire.

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Much to my grief, during the worst weeks of the cuts the oil paintings by my stepfather, Joe, who worked at the steelworks, found their way onto the fire.  Joe was always the one to select the painting to be sacrificed and he would be the one who, without emotion, would snap it over his knee and place it on top of the bundles of rolled up paper and splinters of wood.

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With no radio or television, and without sufficient light to read by, the entire family would usually go to bed in the early evening – our beds had been moved into the living-room as it was the only room with a fireplace.  To begin with, these evenings were a bit of an adventure for us children.  The two oldest would tell ghost stories while I, the youngest, would cling to my mother in fear.  But my parents, exhausted by the struggles of everyday life, just wanted to get to sleep; chatting was discouraged.

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It was on one such evening that Joe put the last of his paintings on the fire.  I had hoped that things would improve and this painting would not have to be burnt.  It was my favourite. In my childish self-absorption it never occurred to me to think how it must have effected Joe.  The painting was of his oldest son as a toddler and he had no photographs of him at that age.  I was determined to watch every inch of that painting succumb to the flames.  As the rest of the family slept, I watched the yellow and red of the boy’s checked trousers mingle and melt into the rough side of the cheap hardboard which Joe had used as a canvas.

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As I looked up from the flames I saw the dark outline of a man.  I caught sight of him picking up the clock and the ornaments from our mantelpiece and putting them into his coat.  I let out a cry and my parents awoke to see a close neighbour of ours standing among us, stealing from us.  Joe calmly told the old man to put the things back and get out.

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The next day, the incident was not mentioned.  When the man passed my parents in the street, they exchanged a salutary nod as they always had.  My parents despised dishonesty but this man had been made redundant from the steelworks several years earlier and was struggling to bring up two small sons alone.  They had decided that he had been desperate and to take action against him (legal or otherwise) would only hurt the sons he loved.

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Eventually electricity supplies, and life in general, returned to normal but Joe never picked up a paintbrush again.  Although in earlier times some paintings had been given to friends and neighbours who had admired them, to my knowledge none has survived.

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From > In Your Own Words – Anna Murphy/The Sunday Telegraph

Picture > Candlelight by RainbowGrumpy – Deviantart

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Picture > Daily Mail Online

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My friend very kindly loaned me a book called In Your Own Words, an interesting collection of stories told by readers of the Sunday Telegraph Magazine, I thought I’d share a couple of those stories with you this year.  Some of are very amusing, but this story of childhood in 1970’s Britain during the power cuts was a little sad.  I was a child at the time of the power cuts, blissfully unaware of how much some people were suffering during that time, so this was a bit of an education to me as to how other people were affected.  I’ve heard of furniture being thrown on the fire in desperate times, but never heard of art being used for fuel.  I wouldn’t have thought much heat came from one small skinny painting!  What a sad way to lose years of hard work?

I remember those days in the early 70’s when the electricity would just turn off, sometimes without any warning.  Candles were always near by, ready to be lit, as the power cuts would often occur in the evening.  One of those cuts really stands out in my mind, as the lights suddenly went out, hysterically I over reacted and screamed the place down!  There was something about the sudden blackness that really freaked me out.  In an effort to calm my panic my Dad caught hold of me in the dark telling me everything was okay, pulled me towards the front door, opened it wide and pointed up at the moon.  It was a really clear sky, large bright moon, lots of stars, and most reassuring of all I could see my Dad standing next to me illuminated by moonlight.  *sigh of relief!*  Candles were lit, and I calmed down once I realised I hadn’t plunged into some kind of weird Twilight Zone where everything I knew had vanished into a dark hole!

On those occasions we could no longer watch television or play records and could only listen to a small radio powered by batteries.  As soon as candles were safely in place, playing cards and boardgames would be brought out, and to make it more fun my Mum would disappear into the kitchen to make pancakes.  My unpleasant shock was easily erased by yummy pancakes dripping with lemon curd or blackberry jam!  I realised by reading this story that my experience of those electricity cuts was idyllic, and turned out to be enjoyable and memorable evenings, very different from those who’s lives and jobs in one way or another were threatened by the power and coal strikes.  If you want to read a little more on what those electricity cuts were about there’s a very good Wikipedia page about it.

Does anyone else remember these 70’s blackouts in Britain, or possibly another kind of blackout anywhere else in the world?

Other articles about the 1970’s power cuts.
Memories of the 1970’s shortages and power cuts.

Forty years ago the lights went out over Britain.
DS Forums discussing memories of the 1970’s power cuts.

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Tiger Feet – Mud
(click picture for video)

xmas_mudTiger Feet was a big hit in 1974, and I know my brother will be smiling watching this!  I remember him trying to teach me the dance they’re doing during that performance on Top Of The Pop’s.  But I was more of a ballet girl, I struggled with some of those moves!gfxlovers.com/smilies
It’s one of those songs where you need to be at a party, music loud, fairly drunk and preferably teenage memories of strutting that dance at the school disco – old time 70’s rockers!! gfxlovers.com/smilies

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Old Maid Card Game

Old Maid Card Game


I was so pleased to find an image of the Old Maid card game on Pinterest, it was one of my favourite games at the time of those powers cuts, I haven’t see it for years!!  Do any of you remember this card game?

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duskinwinter_karengadient1Dusk In Winter
stygianspirits_karengadient1Stygian Spirits

Art by Karen Gadient @ Fine Art America
karengadient.com

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