Love. Loss. Words.

People are always saying ‘life’s too short’ and ‘live every moment like it’s your last’ and most of the time, even though those sayings are said and heard, they are just empty words.

Until something happens that really grounds you and reminds you on how fickle and fleeting life truly can be.

Recently, one of my best friends lost someone who was her life, her soul mate. Together for years they had plans for marriage, babies and were both working their way up the career ladder. They were the greatest team.

John Green wrote ‘That’s the thing about pain…it demands to be felt’ and she is feeling it in the most horrendous, soul crushing way. She is living a nightmare that doesn’t end. One she can’t wake up from. And the only thing I can do is just give her space and help her hold on.

I guess the point of this short blog post is this:

When you’re reading motivational quotes on Pinterest or listening to inspirational speakers, don’t just ‘Like’ the quotes or save them to your board to make your collection bigger and don’t just listen to the speakers without really hearing what they’re saying.
Read the quotes and feel the words.
Hear them speak and feel the words.
Help them help you take risks.

Say yes to decisions that terrify you.

Don’t be afraid to feel embarrassed in your love life. Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerable side, whether you’re dating someone new or have been in a long-term relationship. Don’t ever take that person for granted.

You have no idea, really no idea when something can change the course of your life. It can end within a few seconds. A blink of an eye. A sharp intake of breath.

And I know I’m one of thousands of blog posts out there that send the same message about living with no regrets but I had to write this down because, well…words help me. And I hope you really feel these words and maybe let them help you too.

Advertisements
By Life As We Know It Posted in Life

Me Before You.

62-me-before-you

It may look like a standard chick lit from the front cover, but DO NOT LET THAT FOOL YOU. This is far from your average romantic boy-meets-girl book.

This is a heartbreaking, funny, poignant, story that will make you want to really live. 

Amidst hundreds of books being published in this digital day and age, I think it’s rare to find a book that truly opens up your heart, cuts you deep, leaves you breathless, vulnerable and makes you question the way you are living your life now; whether you are living it to your full potential and how maybe, just maybe, you could be living it so much MORE?

Me Before You did just that for me and so much more.

When I found myself wishing for the Powers That Be and some other Divine Force for this book to miraculously turn into the NeverEnding Story, I knew I’d found an absolute treasure.

The Story
Will Traynor was all about living the high life. A successful businessman, an adrenaline junkie and someone who had travelled all over the world, he knew how to live. However, after being involved in a nasty motorcycle accident, Will is now a quadriplegic. Growing bitter and more miserable each day, he is now in the caring hands of middle-class, ex-waitress, Louisa Clark, his new and reluctant/desperate-for-money care assistant. And as they start to form a friendship, they both end up changing each other’s lives in a way neither thought possible.

As soon as I had opened up the first page, I could not put it down. I was so anti-social, ignoring my parents and guests. But my eyes were glued to each page, trying to absorb every word as I was drawing near to the end. And I was dreading it because I just wanted it to go on and on. I ended up finishing this book at around 1.30am. And once I was done and had settled my emotions, all I wanted to do was read it again.

Because I was BLOWN AWAY.

This was the first book I had read from the author and it certainly will not be the last. Moyes creates characters that may at first seem stereotypical – Louisa is bubbly and awkward, Will is miserable and withdrawn and you may think, pah, typical!

NO.

Will and Lou are not your average characters and you will, without a doubt, fall in love with them. Lou is pretty, funny and awkward but also wears her heart on her sleeve and doesn’t believe she is someone who can be into things like foreign films and travelling, or even bright enough to carry on with education. Will is unhappy and reserved but also handsome, sexy, sarcastic and is extremely knowledgeable. And the two mesh so well together, you cannot help but reach out to try to grasp some of their happiness and store it in a safe place so it comes to no harm.

There is a dark, controversial subject that aids the entire story: euthanasia. Moyes grapples with this tough subject with such ease. She handles assisted suicide with sensitivity and perfection, taking the reader on an emotional journey with the characters, making it all realistic and finally, leaving you to tackle your own thoughts about it. She doesn’t drown the book with complicated words so it sounds like a medical dictionary, nor does she shy away from the physical pain the paralysis brings on Will (and there are plenty) or the awkwardness people feel when faced with a quadriplegic. A perfect example is when Lou’s dad Bernard, meets Will for the first time and he embarrassingly holds out his hand, then stammers, “I don’t know how to greet a… I can’t shake your-” Moyes’ strong humorous reply from Will, “A curtsy will be fine,” breaks the tension and draws a laugh from the reader. A perfect balance.

I won’t carry on more about the story. All you need to know is that you NEED to read this. And I cannot stress that enough. It is a powerful story, combining love, heart ache and humour in such a way, that it will leave you in awe and possibly change your outlook on a few things. It changed mine.

So thank you Jojo Moyes for writing a story that will follow me forever. It has a special place on my bookshelf and in my heart and is definitely a story that I will never, ever forget.

Will Traynor and Louisa Clark are forever “scored on my heart.”

You told the world something good.

Wonderful World of Words!

World Book Day. A day to cherish, appreciate and celebrate the wonderful world of imagination and storytelling!

I remember winning a competition on World Book Day in primary school for dressing up as Scarecrow from Wizard of Oz. I cannot remember why I chose Scarecrow – I looked like a homeless kid who just woke up from sleeping in the bushes – but I’m glad I did. I was creative with my costume as I picked leaves from the tree in my back garden, glued them on to my old brown t-shirt and matching trousers and made a hat using a cardboard box, vast amounts of sellotape and some brown, crinkly wrapping paper. Needless to say, some of my class mates  weren’t too impressed simply because there shop-bought outfits were SO much prettier than my glue-and-sellotape masterpiece. But I won. So neh.

SCARECROW wizard of oz

I won?! Oh my- I’d like to thank God…

I have a 4 month old niece and already my sister and I are reading to her. She is entranced by the bright colours on the pages, mystified by the words that come out of our mouths and excited at the expressions and tone of voices we both use to tell the story. 

Reading is invaluable to anyone. It’s fun, educational and it allows you to open up your mind to endless possibilities, dreams, ambitions, new worlds, people, places, create your own life, use it as a form of escapism-maybe just for a little while, a means to discuss and meet new people over a cup of coffee, experiment, share your love of words – it could mean anything and absolutely everything to someone.

Doooo itttttttt...

Doooo itttttttt…

I have been a book lover since I could grab hold of one with my chubby, baby fingers. I like to  believe this trait was passed down from my mother who was also a reading fanatic. And I hope to pass this down to my own children some day.

Books allowed me to open up my imagination when I was younger and I maintained that same magic as I became an adult. I remember feeling sorry for people who had lost their magic and connection with the written word, a connection to another world. They would scoff at the fact that I love to read as it’s ‘SO geeky.’ Reading wasn’t considered ‘cool’ and to this day, it still isn’t. As naïve as it sounds, I am still astounded when I come across people or kids who still haven’t read Harry Potter because:

Ain-t-Nobody-Got-Time-Fo-Dat-sweet-brown-31241125-480-330

Head? Meet Brick Wall.

BANG HEAD HERE
I hope one day this stereotype that reading is for geeks is dead and cremated once and for all. And that parents who have busy work schedules will still continue to take time out and dive into another world with their children, giving their own inner child a wake up call and sharing a special bonding moment with them, ready for the journey the author has laid out for them.

So enjoy the day, cherish the time spent with your loved ones and of course, don’t forget to tell us…

What have you been reading?

Love…

Such delicate, beautiful words, it had to be shared…

You shall love whether you like it or not. Emotions, they come and go like clouds. Love is not only a feeling; you shall love. To love is to run the risk of failure, the risk of betrayal. You fear your love has died; perhaps it is waiting to be transformed into something higher. Awaken the divine presence which sleeps in each man, each woman. Know each other in that love that never changes.

This is Javier Bardem’s voice over for the new film To the Wonder. (Also starring: Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Olga Kurylenko.)

I’ve already been won over by the voice over.
I cannot wait to watch the film.

 

 

Where have all the good kids gone?

Girls. Ugh. Granted I am one but it seems that the younger generation are getting worse and worse.

I’m at a friend’s house and we’re both discussing the usual (why men suck, why they exist…riveting stuff) when we hear a commotion outside. I see two girls – Green Top and Stripe Top walking hand in hand down the street. And behind them, I see a group of girls shouting and laughing. At first glance, I think they’re all friends, just laughing about what Justin Bieber did next. But then I noticed how they crowded around the two girls in front and started gettin’ all up in their personal space. Oh, it was so on.

This was over in matter of minutes but the pack of She-Wolves pulled Green Top and Stripe Top’s hair, swore at them and challenged them to say something back. One particularly husky looking girl stood so close to Green Top that even I could smell her breath. I had to hand it to Green Top and Stripe Top for standing their ground and not wavering. They just shouted a few words back, grabbed each other’s hands and stormed off. This angered the pack of angry She-Wolves but before they could retaliate further, they turned around and saw that they were about to miss their bus. Oh, the horror. All fighting was forgotten as they ran like their life depended on it. I for one, was grateful the bus arrived because I wanted these animals out of my area – it’s a peaceful, tranquil area and trouble is extremely rare and they were ruining that reputation.

After the horror picture show we had just saw, my friend and I moved our discussion away from why men are complete arseholes to why teenage girls are arseholes and bullies. I agree that ‘heaven is a place on earth’ doesn’t quite ring true these days (thank you terrorists and economic crisis), but I don’t walk around with a frown constantly glued to my face and a bat in my hand ready for action. 

So we started reminiscing about our teen-school days and the girls we knew. And we concluded that they had anger issues, attention issues, boy issues and some were just plain f****d up from day one. I remember one girl telling me about how she got her black eye.

THE LIE:
A helicopter and police cars arrived at the scene of the crime to stop her fighting with some other girls. And she had a Shiner.

It was an electrifying story and one I of course believed with every cell in my body.

THE TRUTH:
She got punched by one hefty looking girl and had to call her dad.

DADDY! SHE BEING MEAN!

It’s more difficult to be yourself and be accepted in today’s society, so some become bullies, exerting power over the weak so they can be feared instead of rejected. God forbid what would happen if they let down their guard.

I knew one girl who had moved schools because she was bullied. You would think being a victim of bullying, she would empathise with other kids right?

WRONG.

At the new school, she made friends with the toughest kids and became a bully herself.

Clearly, she’s a genius.

From the pack of She-Wolves, I noticed one girl who wore a bright pink jacket. She wasn’t directly involved with the fighting or the swearing, she was watching from the sidelines, her tail wagging away, running after her ‘friends.’ She is what I call the ‘puppy’ of the group. She doesn’t like to get her hands dirty from the amount of make up that was masking her face but will only appear to act vicious just so she can still be accepted as part of the She-Wolves pack. If she continues on this road then her future will be bleak.

Bowling For Soup were right, ‘High School  Never Ends.’ A vicious cycle is a constant. We grow up with angst teenagers, our younger brothers and sisters grow up with the same group and so on and so forth. As I observed the pack outside of their territory, I realised that one day, this is the generation we’ll have to rely on.

And all I could do was gulp.

Well…Damn.

Procrasti…

Procrastination is the mother of all annoyances in my life. And yet, I still cannot control the urge to NOT procrastinate. Even saying the word out loud wastes time. (I really hope some of you actually said it out loud just then.)

Writing is a skill that needs obvious discipline. Discipline that I have lacked as of late. I wish I could give you a mature, responsible reason such as, “I have a full-time job.”

But then, I would be lying.

No. Instead, I just haven’t been able to actually write. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when I have opened Microsoft word and have had the evil black vertical line just blink away at me, waiting for me to write something, ANYTHING, just so it would stop blinking. I felt sorry for the little blinker as I wasn’t letting it do its job properly.

My own personal battle with the blinker.

This. Means. War.

My life was going downhill from there.

So a few days ago, when I sat down to write my obvious award-winning blog post #12, I just said a few words out loud to help me with my writing process.

My mantra ladies and gentlemen (drum roll please as I’m sure this is as exciting for you as it is for me…):

Chair. Ass. Pen. Paper. Laptop. These five magical words  are helping me write this Nobel prize-winning blog post #13. Oh, sweet, sweet joy!

OK, I might be putting too much into those five words but it’s a start. Aside from deadlines, during university I would write to set myself a challenge for others to criticise. As we were introduced to new authors and new ways of writing, it was an exciting time. But now that it’s all on me, my Motivation has flown away with the endless wind and rain we’re currently experiencing and its evil twin Procrastination has taken over.

To get a little deep here, it was a lot more than just procrastination that was making me idle. I was losing my passion altogether and some days, I didn’t know if I would ever get it back. The blinker would continuously blink, the keys on my laptop would pulsate, my fingers would itch to write, but as soon as my fingers touched the keys that moved the blinker, all was lost. So to you, it may sound like useless words but to me, it’s a really big accomplishment considering I’ve been a lost cause for months. And before having written the awesome blog post #12, I hadn’t written anything in a while.

And, well, ta dah!

I NOW HAVE WORDS.

I think that deserves a pat on the back.  Don’t you?

Hell yeah.

So much for their happy ending…

Back at university, during my first year, we were told once a week to write a short story that would be criticised by the rest of our class in groups. I was more than happy to comply. My thoughts would instantly run towards grief, drama, tragedy, how my characters would face these challenges and overcome them.

At the end of the my first year, we were told to write three stories for our end of year portfolio. Immediately I was brimming with ideas: teenage issues, a family tragedy, bullying; my list was endless.

Before handing any piece of work in, I would always ask one of my closest friend’s opinion. One afternoon while we were basking in the glorious short-lived summer sun, having finished reading my work, she sighed, placed the papers on the grass, looked at me pointedly and asked, “Why can you never write anything happy?”

I frowned and repeated the question to myself.

Why couldn’t I write anything happy?

Up until then, I hadn’t thought much about the themes to my stories. It was natural for me to write something tragic. That was all I knew. I’m not trying to sound like someone who has had a tragic childhood – yes, shit happened but not enough to ruin me for the future. It was, honestly, just what I was comfortable with. Even when I was 16 and was told to write a 3000 word story, I wrote about a girl being raped and how her best friend helped her deal with the tragedy. I know, morbid is an understatement.

I gave my friend’s question some thought and decided for one of my portfolio pieces, I was going to attempt a love story of sorts. So I sat down at my desk and started to type.

And it was the hardest thing I had ever had to do.

Writing about someone being in love, being happy, cheerful just didn’t sit with me. It wasn’t as if I was depressed. I had made good friends at university, I was fitting in well at my new place and I was genuinely having the time of my life.

So why did I find it so difficult to pen my happiness? Why did words fail me when all I wanted to do was express my emotions into my characters and create a cheerful, upbeat story? Do any of you writer’s out there suffer from this inability to express or am I on my own?

Frustration and anger was boiling through me as I repeatedly deleted letter after word after sentence. I could not, for the life of me understand what was happening. What ever I would write would sound cheesy and outdated. It didn’t sound real, as ironic as that sounds. I couldn’t bring the characters to life, the dialogue between them was cold and the scenes were non-existent. But I wasn’t going to quit.

So I compromised with myself.

Instead of opting for a complete upbeat story, I met myself half way and chose to write about a couple who needed to remind themselves why they fell in love in the first place after being on the verge of a divorce/break up. This way, I could write about their problems.

And this is the moment when I realised that I like to write about problems because only I have the power to write their solutions.

Years later, I look back at some of the things I wrote and I am in awe at how far I have come. What seemed so childishly written before is now  a part of my history – something I can look at and learn from without being doomed to repeat it.

I may not have written an epic love story yet, but I know now that with discipline, determination and honest friends, it doesn’t seem impossible.

The Vow and Other Little Things…

I recently went to watch The Vow in cinemas and even though Rotten Tomatoes didn’t give it a very high rating, I loved it. This film was inspired by true events and what an event to be inspired by.

If you don’t know the story: Leo and Paige are newly weds. A tragic car accident causes Paige to lose 4-5 years of her memory – meaning she has no idea who Leo is. Because of this tragic event, Leo attempts to win his wife back and make her fall in love with him all over again.

*Spoilers as you continue to read*

Soppy? Romantic? Mushy? Hell yes. But oh so sweet. 

This film got me thinking about how couples sometimes can take each other for granted. They forget to appreciate the little things and because of this, your partner’s eyes begin to wonder and flirt with other girls, you begin to argue more than usual, they become distant and start telling you endless lies and before you know it, you don’t even recognise your partner any more.

I believe it’s so important to show your partner how special they are and vice versa, no matter how long you have been together. If that person has been there for you through your worst times and helped you in any way possible, then where is the harm in showing them just how much you love them? The ‘Honeymoon’ period may have passed but that doesn’t mean the romance has to too.

Aside from the usual relationship rules, staying faithful, honest, loyal and caring, these little gestures, the surprise hugs/kisses, the thoughtful gifts, (the gifts do not have to cost you a penny) are what counts in relationships. Next time you’re with your other half, why not try a few of these suggestions?

If you see each other every day:

  • Try lighting a few candles to make the atmosphere appear romantic, and if it’s not a regular occurrence, make dinner at home. Your partner will appreciate the time and effort you put in to surprise them.
  • The same with the candles but instead of dinner, how about a surprise massage with a bubble bath?
  • Going for something small? A simple surprising kiss, either in the privacy of your own home or in public, or a squeeze of their hand.
  • A small, thoughtful surprise, maybe his/her favourite food? You saw it in a shop and couldn’t resist? Maybe a book/DVD they have talked about, or anything that makes you think of them, just to show them you were thinking of them.

    Saw this and thought of you...

If you’re in a long distance relationship:

  • If you know your partner is coming to visit, try making your house/flat/room appear romantic by lighting a few candles and putting on some slow, romantic music in the background. A personal favourite will make your partner appreciate the thought you put behind the surprise.

  •  If you’re going to surprise your partner, maybe wear some sexy lingerie to add spice to the surprise.
  • If you’re having to text/talk for a while, speaking for all the women in this advancing technological age, surprise texts/phone calls just to say that you miss us or that you love us will leave a smile on our face for the rest of the day and make us feel special, warm and fuzzy. Even if some of us won’t admit it, it really will.
  • Send something through the post. For the real romantics out there and if you know it’s something your partner will love, try writing a love letter. A tangible token of love and affection is more personal than an email or a text and it is something that your partner will always cherish.

Leo went to great lengths to make Paige fall in love with him again. And I know he’s thanking his lucky stars because the characters the film was based on, are now happily married (again) with children. She never regained her lost memories but she made perfect new ones.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to effort and how much you’re willing to put in. Celebrate your anniversaries, make a big deal out of any occasion, make memories, capture them, write them down, do something for them that would take you out of your comfort zone because it will make you appreciate each other more and keep your love and the sparks alive.

A Morbid Truth.

When Death knocks on your door as an unexpected guest, you have no choice but to answer it.

You stare up at the Dark Messenger as he stands in front of you in all his black-robe-glory, towering above you as he patiently waits. He knows and understands you have to say your goodbyes so he just simply nods and waits until you’re ready.

Which of course you’re not. Any fool, living or dead can see that. But what can you do? Try and cheat it? Final Destination tried that (five times was it?) and look what happened to them.

The tagline says it all...

I call him Unexpected Death.
He arrives at the most unexpected times, creeps into your dreams, follows you around, watches you grow and start your life, as he patiently waits in the background until he gets the dreaded phone call from above saying two simple words, “It’s time.”

For people who know Death is around the corner, or as I like to call it, Predicted Death, it allows time for preparation, for themselves and their loved ones. This doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking but when Unexpected Death arrives, it’s as if grief, suffering, sorrow and misery have all joined forces, entered your heart and soul and planted a seed there so that this new emotion is forever rooted inside of you. It may ease away with time but it will never let you forget.

You try to do all you can to cope but ultimately you can’t help but think,

 ‘This is unfair. It’s not right, it shouldn’t have happened, so why did it? Why do bad things continue to happen to good people? Why was he/she taken away so soon, when he/she just started living his/her life? Why? Why? WHY?’

No one can answer these questions. They can offer advice, their opinions, say a prayer or give you a shoulder to cry on but one thing you have to accept is that the hardest questions will never be answered.

Unexpected Death is painful beyond words but I believe it can teach you about life. When you are forced to face situations that leave you feeling numb, angry and confused, it also forces you to face reality; that life really is incredibly short and fragile. No one knows who or what is around the corner, so the next time you feel miserable about your job, or that you’re not 100% happy with where you are in life, start making some changes before it’s too late and just embrace life with all its flaws and imperfections, live it to the best of your ability and truly live each day as if it is your last because…what if it is?