thetillyvanilly

Awkward things.

Asking is an Art

asking-is-an-art-copy

This post originally appeared on http://www.theindiechicks.com

No matter how much of a badass you are, at some point in your life you are going to have to ask for something. It might be something small and stupid, like a piece of gum, or it might be something big, something life-shatteringly, heart-flutteringly, floor-crawlingly important, like a phone number. Either way, it can be a pain in the ass to put yourself in that position. But it doesn’t have to be.

Amanda Palmer, the queen of badassery herself, has just published her self-helpography ‘The Art of Asking’, and it reads like a how-to of getting exactly what you want. I definitely suggest you check it out yourself, but here are a few things it taught me:

  1. It’s OK to ask.

Yep, you’re allowed, and the best thing is, unless you’re asking someone dangerous for something inadvisable, it probably won’t kill you. You can’t keep building it up into this massive event, when really all you need is one quick question and, BOOM, you’re done. Finito. Voilà. And other foreign words. Chances are that the person you’re asking will say yes. Maybe they’ll say no. Either way, the world keeps turning, you keep breathing and life keeps moving. You’ll never know if you don’t take a deep breath and spit it out.

  1. Sometimes you don’t NEED to ask.

A lot of the time, I find myself nervously asking people permission to just, I don’t know, be myself. But I’ve had that permission my whole life and I usually don’t wonder where my certificate is. Like, am I allowed to be this me? Is it OK? The answer is yes, all of the yes. You are allowed to be who you are, but you don’t need my permission. You are a grown-ass woman (or man. Hey guys!) and you can do whatever the hell you want, whenever the hell you want, unless it constitutes a crime, and even then, you can just close your curtains and lie low, no apology needed. You do you and I’ll do me and that’s all fine and dandy.

  1. Sometimes you’re standing in your own way.

You know the voice in your head that knows all the words that sting, all the memories that make you want to jump off something high, and all the right spots to prick you just to watch you bleed? Yeah. That voice is a dick. Most of the time it isn’t your sane, reasonable, epic, brainy brain that’s telling you that you’re not worth it, it’s The Voice. And clearly The Voice knows screw all, or it wouldn’t be telling you how much you suck. The Voice wasn’t watching when you graduated, or when you got promoted, or when that dude checked you out. The Voice didn’t read that letter from Mensa, or your recently published article or that letter from the people who love you. So obviously The Voice needs to skip out of your life and along to the opticians, because you’ve got shit to do.

  1. You shouldn’t feel guilty for what people are willing to give you.

You are not a fraud because you grabbed someone’s hand on the way up. It may sound crazy, but people do actually WANT to help you. Think about it. How great does it feel when you do someone a favour? When someone gets somewhere with your help, it’s like you’re part of something bigger than yourself. No-one is an island because being an island would suck. It’s lonely and not to mention impossible to do everything in a vacuum. It’s ok to ask and it’s ok to take, but it’s not ok to beat yourself up about it.

  1. Most people are only after one thing.

No, get your mind out of the gutter, at least for a moment, and then you can stick it back in again. A lot of the time when we’re asking for something, what we’re actually asking for is love. There’s not enough of it hanging around and waiting to be grabbed, so sometimes asking is the only way to get it. We all want to be accepted and we all want to be liked, but sometimes, for whatever reason, we can’t see the evidence. So we ask for a hug, for a ride, for them to stay the night. Do you like me? Do you want me? Do you love me? We ask the question in such simply worded, convoluted ways and hope to God that the answer is yes.

  1. Sometimes the answer is no…

…And that’s OK. Life is like a box of chocolates, after all, and sometimes you’ll get caramel and sometimes you’ll get rhubarb, and sometimes you’ll get praline and die because you’re allergic to nuts. It sucks, but it’s a ride, right? It’s an unconditional relationship and if there wasn’t even the slightest chance of being shot out of the sky, it wouldn’t mean as much. Let’s look at it this way: If there was no chance of a no, the yes would mean nothing. It’s only a risk because the answer’s not certain, and the risk makes it worth the question, otherwise you might as well be asking a tree for a hug. Don’t ask, just hug. The tree’s cool whatever.

  1. There is a massive difference between asking and begging.

When Amanda asked her fans for help, the best comment on the difference between asking and begging was this: “Asking is like courtship; begging, you are already naked and panting.” And that image, gross as it may be to those of us with overactive imaginations, totally works. There’s nothing icky about asking. They could say no, they could say yes. Hakuna matata. Begging implies arms wrapped around legs whilst Adele plays in the background and everyone is crying. Not good. When you ask for something, it needs to be able to go either way, or you’re verging cliff-close to begging, and the no will make you both feel bad.

  1. Asking is an art.

Anything that’s worth something is hard. It’s the fight that adds value to the prize. But while it might be difficult, it’s light years from impossible, and, like all the things, the more you do it, the easier it gets. So what’s the solution? Practice. Ask. A tampon, a ride, a hundred dollars, their hand in marriage. Make it a daily task to ask for something. It doesn’t have to be big, especially not to start with. How hard is it to ask to borrow a pen? Exactly. Sometimes you will hit a wall and it will take a while to clamber over it, but you will, I promise. And pretty soon you’ll be in the International Space Station or the White House and you’ll wonder why you never asked before.

So what’s your hardest ask, and was it worth it?

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Lopping off Limbs

libraries

When I am stuck and struggling, when my pockets aren’t deep enough, when all I can gather is buttons and fluff and paper clips and IOUs and memories of a fiver that somehow disappeared somewhere, somewhen, I like to lop off my limbs.

My left leg was the first to go, swiftly followed by my right. My left arm went in a moment of vending machine desperation, as moths fluttered out of my purse, taunting me with a trail of grey babies. We have to do what we have to do to survive. I held on to my right arm for some time. It is my most useful limb, and I have the fondest memories of it, but in the end it went with the rest, cashing in enough for a muffin and a macchiato on the sort of rainy day we were taught to save for.

This is the madness happening behind our backs, but bigger. Our brains are being melted down and sold in bricks as books burn in the background, and we’re letting it happen, wandering sleepily into a world where knowledge is no longer free.

We are turning out library lights.

We are losing our minds.

The mistake that we make is thinking that libraries have a price, that there is an amount of money large enough to meet the return a working library would provide. These buildings are not brick and mortar book houses, but homes. A library is a home for books, a home for people, a home for ideas.  We are selling histories and futures as if they are made of stone.

Reading is about learning and exploring and discovering. It’s about fact and beauty and magic. It’s about seeing in new ways, seeing in old ways, speaking to the dead and the living, the wrong and the right, it’s about the freedom to know the truth and the lies and to decide for ourselves, to not be told and take it.

Reading is time travel, it’s telepathy, it’s rebellion, it’s remembering, it’s the greatest thing that you will ever learn to love. When you are lost in a book, you are in the safest kind of danger, and when you are lost in a library, you find yourself amongst the stacks, trailing inky fingers over dusty hardbacks, cracking spines that have forgotten what it feels like to be open, discovering sentences that haven’t been read by living eyes. In a library, we can be Columbus, Neil Armstrong, Isaac Newton.

We need this knowledge as much as we need our limbs. We need libraries more than the cash it will save to close them. As Anne Herbert said, “Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”

We need to stand up and stop what is happening, to let the world know that our libraries are our limbs, and that they are not for sale.

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You’re Doing Fine

depression

If you’ve ever experienced depression you’ll know that it sits on you like a suit made of stones. It’s as if your bones are suddenly made of cement, being dragged towards the ground. It hurts to move, you’re so tired and all you can contemplate doing is lying in bed and crying.

Well that’s my experience.

The thing with depression is that people think of it as a mental disorder, as an emotional thing. You are sad and that’s that. But it’s actually something that hijacks your entire being. Everything in you that can be screwed with is. Yeah you’re sad, but there’s so much more. Your taste buds suck, your attention sucks, your brainpower sucks, your energy levels suck, your sleep sucks, your strength sucks, your life sucks, everything sucks and you can’t just snap out of it.

But there is so much pressure on us to do things, so much pressure to work hard and play hard. You need to get a degree, start early, finish late, write that novel, save orphans in Africa and elephants in Nepal, get a good car, get a nice house, get good friends, have Instagram-worthy weekends, get a husband/wife/whatever, have kids, use your time, drink it dry. DON’T WASTE IT.

And I’ve fallen into that trap, of trying to use the whole thing, of freaking out at myself when I’m sitting still, of checking whether I’m going to regret this on my deathbed. But it drives you freaking crazy after a while, especially when you realise that most other people are not worrying about living, they’re just doing it. Yeah, maybe they’ll look back when they’re seventy and think ‘Shit, I wish I’d…’ but surely that’s better than worrying right up until you’re seventy and beyond?

If you’re a worrier like me, when you’re depressed, the worry is still there, but it’s amplified. Not only are you not doing any of the things you’re ‘supposed’ to because you can barely find the strength to push your covers off, but you’re also seeing your whole life through the foggy kind of glasses that tell you that you can’t do anything right. Everything you’ve ever been proud of is skewed or disappears. Everything you’ve ever wanted is impossible. Everything is bleak and black and there is no light because there is no tunnel. There is only fog.

You forget how you did life when everything was fine and your brain was balanced. It’s incomprehensible that you were able to achieve anything with the same body and the same bones that now feel like bronze anchors scraping against the ground. It feels like you’re looking through the magic mirror at an entirely different person who is somehow able to navigate the quicksand and the sludge like they’re only air.

But you’ve got to remember that different people are capable of different things, and when you’re depressed it’s as if your brain has flicked a switch and swapped your body with your not evil, but less-capable twin.

For a baby, walking is a crazy awesome achievement.

For a heroin addict, not taking heroin is a crazy awesome achievement.

For a learner, driving around a roundabout without causing a five car pile-up is a crazy awesome achievement.

And for someone who’s depressed, staying alive is a crazy awesome achievement.

There is a baseline for what we, as human beings are required to do, and that is eat, drink, sleep and breathe. If you are doing those things, you are amazing. If you are doing those things whilst working or going to school, you are epic. And if you are doing all of those things, plus work or school, plus extras like dealing with strangers/friends/children/parents/etc. then that is some next generation level shiz, and the Queen needs to send you a medal.

Nobody is expecting you to invent a cure for cancer or start a colony on Mars. Nobody is expecting you to save the world. The world just wants you to save yourself.

I can guarantee you that there is at least one person that cares about you, even if it’s some random on the internet like me. I care about you. You are an important piece of this gigantic, mysterious puzzle. And if the people who care about you knew that one more straw would break your back, they would never expect you to take it. They would rather you were here and their dinner came out of a packet. Trust me.

It doesn’t matter if today you don’t write that thousand words, or finish that assignment, or paint the fence, or wash the dishes, or even shower, because as long as you are breathing, as long as you are alive, you are doing just fine.

You’re not failing if you don’t do what you ‘should’. A wise lady once told me that ‘shoulds are shits’ and I tend to agree.  You’re not failing if you’re alive. If you’re not giving into the darkness, then you are winning one of the hardest wars that you will ever fight. Just because there are no guns or spears or cannons doesn’t mean it’s not a battle. You’re fighting and while you’re alive you’re winning, remember that.

It’s hard to admit that you’re failing.

It’s even harder to admit that you’re not.

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Rejecting Rejection

Rejection Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Dramatic Storm Clouds and Sky.

I was all ready to write something that mattered today, something that was heartfelt and well-observed, something that clicked and flowed and ticked all the right boxes of awesome.

Ha.

Hahaha.

Nope.

So instead of the soggy piece of wet flannel nonsense that I was writing, I’m going to write a rant about the stupid Catch-22 that I seem to be in, in the hopes of clearing out the crap and unclogging my brain.

Failing that, at least I’ll have produced something that hasn’t been crossed out, crumpled up and tossed into the trash.

Basically, there’s a site that I really, really, REALLY want to write for. I have sent them a bazillion pitches, (not exaggerating) and have progressed from form rejections to personalised rejections. Woo… They’re still rejections. And I’m getting to the panicking point where I feel like I’m running out of ideas, like I’ve wasted my good ones and now I’m down to nothing

And I feel like the world is ending. It’s stupid and self-centred and so bloody millennial of me, I know, but this is IMPORTANT. I am the girl on The Face, crying and humping Naomi Campbell’s leg, because this is the only thing that I can do, and the only thing that I want, and now I’m being told that I can’t.

It’s not the end of the world. I know. There will be other things, other times, and there are a lot of corners and God knows what’s around them, but right now I want to punch Naomi in the face and run away and hide and cry until I fill the room and find the dodo.

But hey, who doesn’t, right?

It’s all part of life, this rejection thing. It just totally sucks. Wouldn’t it be good if we could win at everything? If we could get picked for every team? If we could get medals for spelling our names right and getting out of bed in the morning? If there were no more red pens and frowny faces and men in suits telling us that CVs shouldn’t be written in crayon and include photographs of Nicholas Cage wearing various hats. That would be pretty sweet. But until the world crowns me supreme overlord, I guess we’re stuck with rejection, and maybe we should start getting used to it.

So here are my top tips for dealing with those times when you want to punch supermodels and earn strait jackets…

  1. Do not punch anyone.

No, not even Naomi Campbell, however much she seems to totally deserve it. Violence is never the answer, unless the question is ‘what is not the answer?’ But then we enter into a weird time-travel style paradox that encourages yet more anger and violence.* Basically, if someone rejects you, it’s not because they’re a terrible, horrible, shitty person, but because they have terrible, horrible, shitty taste. Don’t hate them, pity them. They probably don’t understand the value of S Club 7, stick on glitter tattoos and Mary-Kate and Ashley movies. Think of how empty their black and white lives must be.

  1. Give up.

If you’re trying and trying and trying and getting no cigars whatsoever, then maybe you’re never going to fit into their hole. Maybe it’s time to look for a different hole. Not necessarily bigger, just differently shaped, something that you don’t have to suffer to squeeze into. If you’re working hard and producing stuff, then you HAVE to be improving. It’s like the law. So if after a long time trying you’re still no closer, then you might have to admit that you’ve come as close as you’re going to get. Take a few photos and turn around. There are people around who will appreciate your art, trust me.

  1. Go at it with a battering ram.

If you’re really super sure that this is the place for you, then keep swimming upstream, but up your arsenal. I’m talking heavy duty machinery. Bazookas mainly. And chainsaw blow torches. Basically, you need to use everything in your toolkit to get your foot in the door. You have a connection? Stalk them until they panic and give in. You have a good reputation? Big it up. Obviously they’re not getting the message of how epic you are, so make sure they do. If they still don’t get it, there are always power tools.

  1. Stop being yourself.

The usual stuff is not going to cut it, obviously. They said no, so they’re probably going to keep saying no unless you alter your approach. Look for what they like and imitate it, or at least digest enough of it that your own style merges with theirs. Be who they want you to be. I know it sucks that they don’t appreciate your awesomeness as it stands, but if you want it that much, you have to be willing to compromise. It’s not a dirty word, it’s just another trick for getting your own way, but in a different format. Ok, it’s slightly selling out, but sometimes you have to sell out to sell, you know?

But seriously.

If you’re any kind of artist, you’re going to have to deal with this sort of stuff, and in my experience it really doesn’t get easier. Every time someone says no, I am the kid getting picked last for sports. It hurt like hell then and it hurts even more when you’re getting rejected for something you can actually DO. Sure, don’t pick me for hockey. I suck at it and will probably score ten own goals and break your ankle, possibly not even by accident. But if I write something for you, if I pour my heart, soul, blood and guts onto the screen, if I let you inside my screwed up mind and let you look around, then your no feels like a hot poker to everything that matters.

But still we keep swimming towards something we know exists, even though we might never have seen it before.

We write until our fingers ache and our minds are empty buckets.

We stumble uphill in the darkness, our feet searching for ground that might not be there.

Until…

We reach the top.

We see the sun.

We get the yes.

And we realise the nos are nothings and it’s been worth every single one.

*Bonus tips: Don’t ask stupid questions and stop trying to make time travel happen, Gretchen.

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New Resolutions

time

I think anyone over the age of twenty would have to completely disagree with Willow Smith. Time does exist. We know it exists because it’s been screwing us around for the past however many years, making us believe that it’s going to be there when we’ve finished the Netflix marathon, or after the ‘quick’ Tumblr browse that lasts for all of eternity and then some, or after the super important crafting experiment that basically consists of gluing fluffy stuff to shiny stuff and covering the whole thing in ALL THE GLITTER!!! But time, being the fickle bitch that it is, has gone off with its cooler, thinner friends by that point, to do all the things you said you’d do once you could be bothered. Lesson one billion and fifty four: You will never be bothered. Excited? Yes. Completely kitted out and poor? Totally. But bothered? Next week, maybe.

And that’s the beauty of New Year’s resolutions. They are not happening right now when you want to be doing something much more fun involving many more calories. But they creep up on you. Time roars forward, because it totally exists, and as well as being older, greyer, fatter, wrinklier and a whole lot grumpier, you are also being shamed by your own ego. Remember when you said you were going to do yoga every day? Remember when you were going to learn to play the drums and start a punk band? How’s that novel you’ve been working on, huh? It was all well and good when it was in the future, because it was a beautiful, fictional dream. But once it’s here and it’s real and it’s not getting done, that’s when life starts to suck.

I’m not saying don’t make resolutions. No way am I saying that. Self-improvement is my guilty pleasure. I absorb self-help books and affirmations with all the smug joy of Gwyneth Paltrow, but without the awesome body and bazillions in the bank. I just think that you have to ease into bettering yourself. The thing is, we’ve all got this image of who we could be in our heads. Some are achievable and some aren’t. To figure out which camp you fall into, I’ve created a quiz. Yay! Quiz!!! Ok, so here we go…

Q1. When you imagine future you, does he/she:

  1. Look like you, but thinner/happier/healthier/chiller/richer/etc.?
  2. Look like Adriana Lima/Vin Diesel/Taylor Swift/Ryan Gosling?

Q2. Think about your goals for a second. Are they:

  1. So achievable you’re thinking of asking your gran if she wants to get bigger guns too?
  2. So terrifying that they would make The Rock burst into tears?

Q3. Have you thought about the fact that you might fail?

  1. Yeah, but it’s cool. You’re not going to beat yourself up. You’ll just get back on the horse.
  2. Fail? Me? Pfft. You’re cray cray, Holmes.

Q4. Why are you even doing this anyway, when you could be drinking ice-cream in bed for 365 days straight?

  1. Because I want to be healthier/calmer/more successful/happier/more well-rounded.
  2. Because I think it’ll help me score.

It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that if you’re hanging out on the b side of the fence, you’re doing it wrong. For resolutions to work out, they need to be realistic, achievable and for the right reasons. You also need to have a back-up plan, because life happens at the most inconvenient times, but if you’re ready for it, you’ll be fine. People are amazing and they do incredible stuff all the time, but in order to be amazing, you need to bullet-proof yourself, or you’ll go down with the first hit.

There’s a lot of stuff that I intended to do this year that didn’t get done, because all I had was the intention without the solid plan in place. I was totally going to do a zip line. This was definitely happening. Absolutely. But it was too cold, then life was too busy, then the place I was planning on was closed. It’s impressive how awesome we are at making excuses. The truth is, I was scared. Really scared. The idea of doing a zip line? Yes. Hell to the yes. I am so into that. Once I’ve done a zip line, I can do anything. I will collect my Wonder Woman certificate and cape and get on with my life. That’s the dream anyway. In real life I have a fear of heights so crippling that I climb two steps of a ladder and Freak. OUT. So it didn’t happen. Am I sticking it on next year’s list? Duh. Will it happen? Hopefully. I’ve taken baby steps to get over my fears, so I will cross things. But if it doesn’t, I won’t beat myself up.

This year I got a lot done, and that is because I didn’t make resolutions. I made goals. Clear, concrete, black and white goals. Here is my list for you to see how I did:

2014 goals

Because I’m me, my eyes are drawn to the big blank spaces that should be filled by ticks. But that’s bogus, because come on; I’ve done well. I’ve done a lot. A year is a long, short time. While you’re in it, it’s like wading through treacle. We wish away the minutes and the hours to get to other days. We pine for holidays and birthdays and whatevers. But the year seems to go by so much faster than the days do. Before you know it, you’re another year older and you’ve thrown it all away with wishing. And that’s how you know you’re old, because you’ve figured out that it can’t be controlled, and you start to realise that you want to hold onto every minute, before the minutes add up and it’s over. So don’t make resolutions, make goals. Try your best to achieve them, and if you fall down, get up, because the time goes whether you waste it or use it, and you can do more with less than you think.

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A Serious of Unfortunate Food Choices

dietswap

Like a lot of ladies, I am carrying a few extra pounds. And when I say a few extra pounds, I mean call me Richard Branson and get my private plane, because we’re off to Necker Island. And like a lot of ladies, I get kinda bummed when I realise that lbs aren’t cash money, and the closest to a private plane I can get right now is stealing a Morrisons trolley, climbing into it and squeakily wheeling it off a cliff.

I am Rubenesque, voluptuous, bootylicious and all the words that mean fat that aren’t fat, because screw you, that’s why. And mostly I’m ok with it. That is until that horrifying moment when I actually bother to glance in a mirror. Cue shopping trolley fantasies. That’s when the diets start. Of course we all know diet is code for only eating a quarter of an apple a month until I fit into my goal outfit, and then eat ALL THE FOOD before someone sees. Probably not a great idea, but hey, I’m keeping the economy up. Where would we be if I wasn’t spending obscene amounts of money on maternity trousers and cake? You’re welcome.

But I have this friend. This MALE friend. Hey, no misandry here, just pointing out a scientific, anatomical fact of life. Anyway, this MALE friend, who is a MAN, is a GUY who seems to eat whatever the hell he feels like and has the gall to hang out in the healthy BMI zone like a complete bastard. Long story super short: I hate him. I have a complicated and not entirely legal plan to steal his thyroid, because that’s obviously his skinny little helper, right? He eats all this crap and his thyroid buzzes straight through it, letting him stay in magical happy land with all the Victoria’s Secret angels. On a yacht. Probably.

But is it that or am I completely kidding myself?

Well I’m glad you asked, my wonderful reader, because, for you, I decided to take on the terrifying task of eating EXACTLY what Skinny McBaggypants ate for a whole week. All in the name of truth. And science. And other good things that are likely to win me a Nobel Prize.

Day One

Otherwise known as the day I almost died from overdosing on food. I didn’t even know that this was possible, or to put it another way, I thought I was pretty much immune to food. I mean, I am good at eating it. I sit at the top of the league table. But day one was a challenge. It started off with stomach grumbling agony. I was majorly hangry by the time he decided that chips were a good idea. Damn right they’re a good idea, I thought, anything with the slightest inkling of being edible is a good idea. EAT ALL THE THINGS! And then he ate all the things, meaning that I had to eat all the things. Cue lying in bed with a kicking food belly, feeling very sorry for myself and regretting this whole stupid idea.

Day Two

Usually I’m not that into murder, but today that changed. How is it possible to go half the day on nothing but a sugar-filled coffee? How?! I’ll admit I cheated a teensy bit. Well, I didn’t cheat, I bent the rules slightly. Basically, I moved the food. I ate the same things as him, but at saner hours. So I had the sandwiches at lunchtime, rather than right before dinner, Costa between sandwiches and dinner, and dinner at, shock, horror, faint, die, DINNER TIME. I know, I know, I’m a maverick, but I’m also a hero, since I pretty much saved a lot of lives.

Day Three

Who knew that eating all the food in the whole world could be a terrible, horrible thing? Today I was exposed to the joys of carb-ing up. And protein-ing up. And fat-ing up. And caffeine-ing up. If it was edible, it was eaten. You know those days when the diet starts tomorrow? Cool, good. And you know when you go to a party and it’s a special occasion, so you eat seven packets of crisps, all the houmous and pretty much everything in sight? Yeah, this was those two occasions smooshed together, sprinkled with sauce of ‘Screw it, it’s Christmas.’ But it was a normal day! The food just kept coming, like it was a contest, and I’m sure I lost.

Day Four

I’m getting used to feeling like I’m going to die soon. Like, I think my arteries hate me. And my stomach. My brain is sick of it all and has gone on vacation without leaving a note. I am daydreaming about fruit and salad and delicious, delicious juice. I am plotting my shift to the dark side. I want to do a water fast for a year. I might go breatharian. Anything just to get all this sugar and salt and crap out of me. I feel like I’m built out of stodge, squished lumps of bread pasted together with a slop of yellow fat. I can no longer stand the sight of crackers. And I hate, hate, HATE whisky!

Day Five

Today was another horrible day. I am going to list my symptoms to adequately convey how much of a MAHOOSIVE mistake this was. Ahem. I am currently suffering from: Headache, stomach ache, backache, aching everything actually, tiredness, spots, major mood swings, the need to constantly sit down and glare at anyone who comes near me, hardcore negativity, and scarily vivid fruit fantasies. I would literally kill for a pineapple. I mean, I would usually only murder for passion fruit and truffles, but I would take a pineapple in return for a body. Or a mango. Your choice. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND VITAMIN PACKED, PLEASE FEED ME FRUIT!

Day Six

Today I cracked. After um-ing and ah-ing and ohmygod-ing, I decided to give up. I have had a constant headache for the past few days, felt like my feet were in imminent danger of falling off, and I almost fainted. I’d like to think of it as quitting in the way that you might quit alcohol or smoking or meth. I am saying no to everything processed and white and cardboard.

Ok, so at the end of five and a half days, I have gained half a stone, a skin problem and anger management issues. I suppose I learned what I set out to prove, and that’s that certain people have superhuman thyroids that are in cahoots with the devil. But I also learned something WAY more important than that, which is that I am not jealous. I don’t want to survive on chips and bread and pies. Not even if I had the magical ability to stay super skinny with it. Because after less than a week I can tell you that the food I’ve eaten is crap. If in such a short space of time, a diet can screw over your whole body and turn you into a walking ball of rage, it’s not exactly selling itself. So I’m going to ditch the frankenfood and revert back to my old ways. If you need me, I’ll be face first in a watermelon.

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How do we Solve a Problem Like the Haters?

haters

I’ve got something important and angry to say and I will try to say it in the kindest, least confrontational way that I can, but sometimes I get the urge to just take certain people, slather their face in superglue and slap a picture of Nicholas Cage over it.

This picture of Nicholas Cage:

nicolas-cage-will-be-in-the-expendables-3

It would be a beautiful moment.

Anyway, what I want to say is this:

Stop saying mean shit on the internet!

Stop it. Stop it right now. This has really been bothering me lately, and I don’t know if it’s because there’s more evil, or because my eyes are more open to it. Maybe I’m wandering over to where the trolls hang out, or maybe the trolls have figured out that they don’t need to chill under the bridge and have skulked out to crash the party. Trolling really is the internet equivalent of rocking up to someone’s smart casual, lurching wildly at the host’s wife, (whilst burbling on about how she’s fat and has no boobs) and then pissing in the crème brûlée. It’s gross and it’s rude and, what are we? Five? Grow the hell up.

This is not kindergarten. You can’t just screw with everyone’s colouring, steal the red scooter and rely on your meagre IQ to get you off with a few secs on the naughty step. I mean you do have the diminished intelligence excuse, but really. If you know that you’re a few chips short of a motherboard, just stay away from the information superhighway. Maybe collect stamps or photograph birds or something? Surely there’s something completely harmless that you can take up your time with. Then again, I suppose that idyllic pastimes can’t really compete with telling eleven year old girls to go die in a fire.

How amazing is the internet? Actually think about it for a moment. Imagine explaining the internet to people from, say, Victorian times. Can you? If you’re super smart, probably, (go you! I am not jealous in the slightest of your genius. At all. Really.) but the best I could come up with is saying that it’s a computer magic thingy that allows us to send friends and strangers our feelings about Taylor Swift’s Tumblr and pictures of baby sloths. And then I worried about explaining Tumblr, and then I gave up, because there are seriously enough conundrums in life without having to make people time travel into a land populated by Lolcats.

I really do not know how this internet malarkey works at all, and that confuses and enrages me. But even though I have these crazy intense feels about my inferiority and inability to code, I have no intension of heading over to ilovefluffybunnies.com and flaming some adorable, unsuspecting internet-users. By the way, ilovefluffybunnies.com doesn’t seem to exist, so if someone makes zillions off my awesome idea, I’d appreciate the kudos. But as I was saying… I mean, there are no WIRES! The internet is an incredible (possibly Pagan) device and we don’t appreciate it enough. But do you know who really doesn’t appreciate it? Haters. They could be using it for so much good, but instead they want to hurt people, random people, people they don’t even know.

And I wonder what they’re like, these trolls. I wonder where they are and why they ache so much to scar strangers. In my head they’re the sorts of people who build their own sad faces – downturned mouths and frowns and this permanent misery etched in their skin like their personal dark cloud. They bend over their laptops and they mutter and snipe, clicking on every single thing that they can find to burn down. But how many people like that can there be? They can’t all be the stereotypical trenchcoated loner. I don’t know anyone who would do that. I think of each of my friends and I can’t imagine that they’d have the inclination, or even the time to screw with someone’s happiness. I bet that you’re the same. I bet all your friends are angels, right? Or at least half-decent folk. So where are all these haters hiding?

Wherever they are, we need to hunt them down, with our pitchforks and our torches and our battering ram. We will storm the castle and rescue the girl and- Hold on, that’s a scene in Beauty and the Beast. Scratch that. You kill more haters with pictures of Nicholas Cage than fire. What are these people after? They want to break stuff, right? They want to smash bottles and burn buildings and break bones. They want to screw society from their sofa, and by reacting, maybe we’re letting them. Every time you enter a flame war, every time you give in to Godwin’s law, every time you grab a tub of popcorn and settle down to watch the fur fly, you are saying that it’s ok. And it’s not. It’s so not ok.

So here’s what I think we should do:

  1. Don’t bait haters, UNLESS you are commenting on their bile with the cutest pictures you can find. I’m thinking sloths feeding hamsters, while kittens look on and cross-stitch motivational slogans for miniature llamas. Or something like that.*
  2. Spread the love, man. I’m talking about whenever you read something that you like, even a little bit, why not say something? Even if it’s just a simple ‘I liked this’, or a thumbs up, or whatever. Just make an effort to spread peace and love and smiley faces. If we all work together, we can start a kindness revolution.
  3. And don’t be one of them. Think before you comment or tweet or reblog the hate. How innocuous is what you’re saying, really? You might think it doesn’t matter or it won’t hurt, but stick on the other person’s shoes. It’s hard to put your heart on the internet. It’s hard to create something and set it free, only to have it shot down. If you don’t like something, stop reading. There’s no need to say. Maybe it wasn’t meant for you. Of course, if you have constructive criticism, word it well and send that shit out into the universe. Hopefully you’ll help. But if all you have to say is how you wasted five minutes of your life, YOU’RE WASTING MORE TIME BY COMMENTING. Grab some common sense and click on something that hits the right spot.

We need to remember that people are people, and people have feelings. So don’t trample over their feelings. Make love, not war. Appreciate, don’t spread the hate. And above all things, be as nice as nanas knitting in the snow to a Boyzone song. Or you’ll be waking up and looking in the mirror and seeing Nicholas Cage screaming back at you.

You have been warned.

*WARNING: The most evil people will not be deterred by this, and will possibly respond with comments or pictures about killing said cute things. Proceed with caution and the strongest of stomachs.

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