Bah Bye 2014!

tumblr_nhdfojHJg01tsfm3lo1_1280Well well well, here we are on the cusp of a brand new year and it feels like we were standing here not so long ago, doesn’t it? Where did 2014 go?

That said, quite a lot of shit has gone down and even as I ponder how speedily those months have flown by, I know it has felt like a full year.

The obligatory recap (and you will have to forgive me for a rather long and self indulgent post):

It’s hard to believe that A Voluptuous Mind has only been in existence since March. Before that I wore a few monikers, including The Meet Cute and Groupie for the Underdog.

Looking back on my blog is how I know what I did, what my mental states were throughout and what I have achieved.

I started my current job role in February after what felt like an epic battle to get it. I went up against my (now) good friend and in the end won it based on my writing ability. To me a great victory, even if it appears small to others.

It’s been a huge learning curve, stepping up from the bottom (where all good employees begin) into Head Office and having to adapt accordingly. For the most part I am happy and doing well, with a few frustrations that don’t seem important now. I’m doing okay work wise. Whether I will ever have a career based on what I do now is another matter, but is something to have a think about.

What my job has given me is a handful of really brilliant friendships and for that how could I ever be mad? I’ve been touched by the love I have received from three of my now closest friends and feel like a stronger person for each one of them. I’ve been inspired to get off my ample arse and move, in the best possible way – to think about what I want from life, who I want to share it with and invest in.

These women are a million light years away from the unhealthy friendships I have put up with in the past and that’s just magical really.

Among the hair brained schemes I had at the beginning of 2014 were: singing lessons, hula hooping and running. Only one of those stuck to be honest, but hey, that’s better than nothing. I also tried my hand at reviewing a few movies and books, which is something I would like to take into the new year.

I plan to have my nose stuck in a book as much as possible next year, rather than on my phone or whiling the hours away on Candy Crush Soda (which has not real merit at all). Ditto Netflix.

Continue reading “Bah Bye 2014!”

Ice Ice Baby

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Party pooping in style

This weekend (and before really) social media has been awash with videos of people, first celebrities and now all the people you work with, drink with and spend time with, tossing icy buckets of water over each other. All in the name of charidee, apparently.

A discussion with my beloved this morning as we completed our own version of the ALS ice bucket challenge (walking around the Level while it pissed down) has led me to this post.

I’m not being a spoil sport about this, I want that to be known first and foremost, although I can assure you that I won’t be standing in my communal front yard in a bikini top while Mr Bee flushes me through with cold water (relax, World).

I’m taking a Patrick Stewart stand on this one, which I think is perfect acceptable given that it’s all about the money, rather than how many of us end up soggy.

I agree with anything that raises awareness for a good cause and up until I saw Lily Allen looking fabulous during hers, I didn’t have a clue what the eff was actually going on. In fact, it took this very touching video to make me realise what it was even for, and that was a good few days in.

(Most people haven’t been as clear as they could have been about the reason for doing the challenge but this seems to have rectified itself the more people are doing it).

ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and is a motor neurone disease. In the US alone upward of 30,000 people are affected and it claims about 2 in 100,000 lives a year.

Of course Wiki has this is terms of explaining it better but it’s an awful degenerative disease I had no clue about a few days ago. I now have a basic understanding of what it does, all thanks to Cumberbatch in a tight wet tee.

Oh yes!

So, in short I am not poo-pooing those who have partaken in the ALS challenge at all, and unlike some of my less amused friends on Facebook, say, have been enjoying most of the videos. It’s nice to see people you’d never normally expect to be getting involved and also, as I have typed this with a steadfast ‘I am not doing it’ agenda, I’ve started to become even more touched by those who have done it.

My personal reason is that I’d like to be a quieter participant, I might be the silent Queen of the #selfie but I’m not so much of a stand up and be counted extrovert (and I know not all are). Practically, I don’t know where I could do it – the shower perhaps? Plus, Mr Bee thinks I should be concerned that people will think I’m a ‘pussy’ if I am nominated and don’t do it (nobody has yet, thankfully) and on our walk I got all Warrior Woman, ranting about peer pressure at my age, my right to stand as a single person, etc. And now I have come too far to back down.

This is how our arguments tend to go.

Instead, I will be donating to ALS whatever happens and should I be nominated by somebody cruel (it will Mr Bee taking me down with him), I will deal with it my way. Pussy or not, I’ve got this.

It would feel remiss somehow not to mention the King of my Heart in this post. Did you see Tom Hanks’ ALSIBC? I love him so so much!

So, have you been nominated and if so, will you be doing the challenge? Col of The Bohemian Within just has! What are your thoughts?

If you would like to donate to a great cause, you can do so here.

Brother

250065_10150617858235018_5939880_nToday’s Random Subject via Writing Exercises – What does having siblings mean to you?

Growing up it seemed to me that as soon as we were old enough to go our separate ways, I would never see my brother again. If you’d asked me at 12, 14, 17, 19 what having a sibling meant to me, I would have probably said “Not much, I hate him”. I would have stared off into the middle distant like a good baby Goth and I would have fantasised about being an only child.

We were not what you would call ‘close’ as we grew, although I look back and he was always there. We rowed like cat and dog but he was never not there. All my memories swirl around him, all of them, even the earliest ones. Sitting in the garden with this new fat baby in my lap (my memory or one I have borrowed from a photo album?), the evening Mum told us Dad was gone.

Our old house in Canada, playing with the neighbourhood kids. The day we moved to England to stay with our reluctant grandparents, playing with our cousins, the Christmases, the childhood injuries, the arguments; climbing trees. We weren’t friends but perhaps we were uneasy allies out there in the world because who else did we have?

I was not a cool teen. Most times all I wanted was to be alone. Now I realise I was suffering typical adolescent depression but then I just wanted to be in my room, feeling things. This did not translate well to my sociable, always popular brother though maybe only in my own head. He would pick on my insecurities to cut me down and I am quite sure I did the same right back.

Still, he woke me up one night to tell me he had lost his virginity. I think it was then I thought that one day we might be okay, that I still had a use to him, even if it was just my inexperienced ear.

It was several years later but I remember the evening vividly, he was at my house for my birthday. I was 26 when I realised we’d be fine. Mum was there and my best friend, too. I was in a relationship with my demon ex then, recently moved into a big Suburban home I had never wanted, unhappy but not yet without hope.

We were laughing and talking and Tim said I was funny. Publicly, in front of other people. From that day on, to me at least, he was no longer the lazy toad who wanted to make me cry, he was my brother and my friend – and he saw me as a person, finally.

I knew he must love me because he was nice to that horrible boyfriend, tried to see the best in him when the best wasn’t much. Later, I couldn’t believe he had kept it up, after everybody else’s façade had long since slipped. That’s love, I think.

He could have told me to leave, wondered what the hell I was playing at but he didn’t, he let me find out for myself.

We’ve been close ever since, although hardly ever geographically. I’ve been in Asia and then Canada, while he lived in both Hungary and Greece for extended periods. For six months he lived in Brighton and that was one of my favourite times, though we still didn’t hang out every week. We’re just not that kind of family.10374460_10154083560640018_306736340812671119_n

Even now, my brother is in some of my very happiest memories. He gave me away at my wedding because my Dad couldn’t; made everyone cry with his speech. He made a mix CD for the sit down dinner segment and it had my favourite song on it (You’re So Cool by Hans Zimmer).

Now we meet up every couple of months or so, since Tim and his fiancé, Maddy live in Kent. When we hang out it’s like no time has passed at all. I’m so proud of the man he has finally become and now I’m getting excited to see what kind of husband and father he’s going to be.

So, if you ask me now, what does having a sibling mean to me, I will tell you: it means everything.