shantaram – pt.2

 I posted about the book Shantaram a few weeks back but due to my crazy I stopped reading, primarily because I could not concentrate on it nor lift my head off my pillow to read a sentence, let alone a page. I am still about half way through but am determined to finish it because, in case I didn’t mention it before, I adore this book.

 It never fails to amaze me just how powerful words when combined in the right way can be yet when we see them in a dictionary alone they seem powerless. We have to use them wisely because they can empower us but also destroy us.

I shared before some of my favourite passages from the story, but that was just the beginning. The more I read the more food for thought this story seems to give me.

Read on below to see some more words of wisdom.

 

I think suffering is a matter of choice. I think that we do not have to suffer anything in this life if we are strong enough to deny it. The strong man can master his feelings so completely that it is almost impossible to make him suffer. When we do suffer things, like and so, it means that we have lost control. So I will say that suffering is a human weakness.

 

Is it not true that some of our strength comes from suffering? That suffering hardship makes us stronger. That those of us who have never known a real hardship and true suffering cannot have the same strength as others who have suffered much?

 

I think that when we grow up and learn that happiness is rare, we become disillusioned and hurt. And how much we suffer is a mark of how much we have been hurt by this realization.

 

When we act, even with the best of intentions, when we interfere with the world, we always have a new disaster that mightn’t have been of our making, but that wouldn’t occur without our action.

 

Some of the worst wrongs were caused by people who tried to change things

 

The worse things that people do to us always make us feel ashamed. The worst things people do always strike at that part of us that wants to love the world. And a tiny part of the shame we feel when we’re violated, is shame at being human.

 

Lovers always find their way by such insights and confidences; they’re the stars we use to navigate the ocean of desire. And the brightest of those are the heart of breaks and sorrows. The most precious gift you can bring to your lover is your suffering.

 

Men reveal what they think when they look away and what they feel when they hesitate; with women it’s the opposite.

 

At the moment most of our ways of defining the unit of morality are similar in their intentions though different in their details. So the priests of one nation bless their soldiers as they march to war and the imans of another country bless their solders as they march out to meet them and everybody who is involved in the killing says that he has God on his side. There is no objective and universally accepted definition of good and evil and until we have one we will go on justifying our own actions whilst condemning the actions of others.

 

If you turn your heart into a weapon you always end up using it on yourself.

 

Sooner or later fate puts us together with the people who show us what we could or shouldn’t let ourselves become. Sooner or later we meet the drunkard, the waster, the betrayer, the ruthless mind and the hate filled heart but fate loads the dice of course because usually we find ourselves pitying all of these people and its impossible to despise someone when you honestly pity and to shun someone you truly love.

 

My hate is what saved me. Hate is a very resilient thing you know, hate is a survivor. I had to hide my hate for a long time, people couldn’t handle it, they got spooked by it so I sent it outside myself. It’s weird that I was a refugee for years, I still am, my hate was a refugee just like me. My hate was outside me. My family were all killed, raped and butchered and I killed men, I shot them, I cut their throats and my hate survived out there. My hate got stronger and harder and then I woke up one day working for Khader with money and power and I could feel the hate creeping back into me and it’s here now, inside me, where it belongs and I’m glad, I enjoy it. I need it, Lin. The stronger I am it’s braver that I am, it’s stronger than I am. My hate is my hero.

 

 

 

I mean… *insert heart-eye emoji here*
Xoxo

Micks

reflections on a younger self. 

last night i found myself looking through my old journals and diaries. i don’t know why but as i was placing a book on my bookshelf i saw them and decided to pull some out and relive what i’d lived. 

a lot of the entries are not dated so i don’t know the last time i wrote in them – i can only guess it was around this time 2 years ago because of what i’d written about in them, certain incidents in my life that happened then are the focus of my last scribbles.

what i do know reading them is that i’ve changed. i can see the change in myself through the words on the page. is that weird? life is the strangest thing – we don’t see that we’re moving forward day to day but when we look back so much has changed. so much has happened. 

i like this person i’m becoming.

even on the days when i can’t see through the fog, even on the days when i want the world to go away. i like the person i am becoming. 

i look back at my old entries and feel what i felt back then but i am also able to see it differently. i can see the heart and heartbreak i felt over the boy who didn’t love me enough to not hurt me, the boy i would have moved across oceans for had he asked me again and not only see my pain, but also his. who am i to say he didn’t love me enough just because he didn’t love me the way i wanted him to love me. i can see the good in that goodbye.

i read back through the confusion and see that i have gained clarity, not in everything, but in some things. and for now that is enough.

i look at the old entries and see someone who was fighting against herself but couldn’t see that’s what she was doing. who thought that emotions were a sign of weakness (especially the sad ones). i was so proud of being so guarded and so unfeeling to the world. i was so proud of never having shared my true self with anyone. 

i thought that made me strong.

in actual fact i think now it showed my weakness, my insecurity. the ability to feel, to show emotions – the good and the bad – is part of what makes us so wonderfully human. you can’t shut it out, you can’t shut yourself off from it. you can try, but it will catch  up with you eventually. everything you run from always does.

i know more about me now.

what i want

where i want to go

life makes it hard to remember those things  sometimes but that’s why i write. it reminds me who i am and what i want. it focuses me when i need direction. when i need to get stuff off my chest. when i need a friend. there’s always a piece of paper and a pen around, no matter what time of the day it is. 

when i get lost i can pick those friends up and draw myself a map back home. 

xoxo

micks.

pictures of me from 2008 to the present day. there is one every year from 2008 doing various things with various people. the only year missing is 2016 because it wouldn’t fit!

Music and Me

Date: Saturday 15th October

Time: 8:40am

Where I am: On a train to Kings Lynn via Cambridge

Listening to: Beyoncé – Lemonade

 

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-19-59-41

 

“It is my belief that there are two things that bring people together; food and music”

 

I can’t remember where I read that, or rather a version of that, but I think it’s true, don’t you?

Look into a crowd at pretty much any concert and you will see a diverse mix of people. People of all ages, nationalities, genders, sexual orientations, religions, political beliefs… the list goes on. Music is accessible to all.

Music is so much apart of my life that a few of my closest ones have expressed surprise that I haven’t written about it yet, bar my post last year about my top ten Xmas songs. Especially as what I write comes from the ‘art and music is in mine.

I don’t understand those people who can go a day without listening to music. I don’t make a journey without my ear/headphones. On those days I’ve rushed out and forgotten them I feel lost and disappointed in myself.

The first thing I do in the morning when I wake is put on music. The last thing I do at night before bed is listen to music, I very often go to bed with my earphones in. I guess it is so much apart of my life, and I am so passionate about it that I can’t fathom how someone can be ‘meh’ on it and yes, those people do exist! I’ve met them!

I don’t know when my love (read: obsession) with music started, quite possibly in the womb. My mum especially is a big music fan; I envy some of the concerts she went when she was younger. Sixties and Seventies music were the soundtrack to my childhood. By all accounts my favourite song as a bub was Queen’s ‘Radio Ga Ga’. 27 years later and Queen still have a permanent position in my heart and iTunes library, although my favourite song of theirs is no longer ‘Radio Ga Ga’.

All through school I was involved in performing arts; choirs, musicals, plays. If there was music involved I was probably there. Until I was about 7 the music I listened to was whatever my mum and dad had on at the house. This could be anything from The Beatles to Chas n Dave to Dolly Parton to The Who. ELO, The Kinks, Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Queen and Elvis were also staples of my childhood. Movie soundtracks that were played were always from Disney movies (as if there would be a blog about music without Disney mentioned) or musicals. My sisters and I spent many an hour singing along to Julie Andrews in ‘The Sound of Music’ and Judy Garland in ‘Meet me in St. Louis’.

When I was in middle school I started to move up to date with my music because of one thing and one thing only; The Spice Girls. Like most little girls I adored them – I wanted to be Baby Spice. Wannabe was the shit. Pop music had entered my life. From then on I loved everything Pop including boy bands. I was always an *NSync girl (Justin Timberlake was my first ever celebrity crush) although I did enjoy a bit of BSB too (Brian was my favourite). Every girl who liked a boy band had a favourite. It was the law. You said you liked a boy band and you had to have a favourite. I also discovered Britney Spears around this time. I remember seeing her ‘Baby, one more time’ video on The Box TV channel and thinking I want to be like her when I’m older!

 

The first tape I bought (yes, cassette tapes were a thing) was *NSync ‘I want you back’. I loved it. I played it to death in my Sony tape player. You couldn’t pry that thing from my hands. I sang along with Justin and the boys thinking I was the bee’s knees.

Then a group came along that made me forget about JT (not fully, you could never forget about that face). Remember Hanson? The first full-length album I ever bought was their Middle of Nowhere. I was 8 and I loved those longhaired boys. Zac the drummer was my favourite. By this point I had graduated to a Sony Walkman so this album was on a CD. It was a repeat of NSync – I played that CD and sang along with the boys. I danced around to Mmmmbop, cried to ‘I will come to you’ and wondered where Johnny went.

 

That classic 90’s pop was everything to me until I discovered two thing; boys with guitars and rap music. We’ll start with the latter.

I remember my big sister coming home from school one day talking about this rapper called Eminem. She’d bought his second album ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’. The whole house listened to that record a LOT. My mum and dad had never played rap before and this change of pace fascinated me. He spoke really quickly, swore, and it felt heavy. It wasn’t the airy-fairy pop I’d listened to for the last few years. This was anger, frustration. This was real; this was someone’s story, someone’s life. It wasn’t a giant machine that had handed a number 1 hit to a singer and said sing this. This had substance to it. In the years that followed I discovered the UK urban scene – of course So Solid Crew were at the forefront of that. 21 seconds was probably the first song from that scene to go mainstream. From them I discovered people like Kano, Wiley, Dizzee Rascal, Tinie Tempah, Skepta. All of whom are still regularly played from my iTunes library. The number of rap and hip-hop artists in my library has grown over the years but Em will always be my favourite; he was my first and you never forget that do you?! Having said that, I was introduced properly to Kid Cudi in 2010 and he is also a firm favourite now too.

 

Boys with guitars. You gotta love them right? When I was mid teens I discovered them and I loved them. Hanson were a pop equivalent, as were Maroon 5 when they dropped on the scene when I was in secondary school. These boys with guitars played heavier stuff, some called it emo – I called it bloody brilliant. Simple Plan, Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, All American Rejects, Bowling for Soup, My Chemical Romance – heavier stuff that made it’s way into my headphones included System of a Down and Bullet for My Valentine.

 

I’ve also, in the last few years, rediscovered a love for all things Country that had lain dormant since my childhood years. Currently Kacey Musgraves is my favourite.

 

As you can gather my taste is very varied. Music is my therapy and it has always been there for me. I went to a Paramore concert in 2010 at the 02 – it was around the time Hayley Williams had been catapulted into the mainstream because of her feature on B.O.B’s ‘Airplanes’ – and during their very impressive set (Paramore’s back catalogue is banging) she said something that has stuck with me all these years:

 

“Never stop supporting music because there will never be a day when music isn’t there to support you”

 

And it’s true. There is a song for every person, every mood. Whatever emotion you have there is a song that will be there to reflect that. The power of music – it’s a mad ting init. And also really, really cool.

 

I was going to list my favourite songs for my many, many, many moods but I think this post has been long enough. Maybe another time.

I would, however, love to hear your favourite singers, bands and songs. I’m always looking for something new to listen to 🙂

 

 

Until next time,

 

Xoxo

 

Micks

 

 

 

Tattoos are like Marmite.

Tattoos are a bit like marmite. You either love them or hate them. I have 6 tattoos now so clearly I love them.

The reasons for getting (or not) getting tattoos are different for everybody. For me, my tattoos represent me and things I’ve done/ gone through and what is important to me; they are a little extension of me if you like.

Of course, everyone has opinions on tattoos especially my parents. My mum always looks at me with a puzzled look on her face that says “but, why?” whereas my dad normally looks at it and then stays quiet. Neither of my sisters have tattoos so I guess I am the alternative child; the one that decides to permanently scar their body with inkings. Over the years my parents have got used to it, my dad recently said to me (after I got another piercing a few weeks back) “any day you don’t come home with a tattoo on your face is a good day” – that my friends, is the closest I’ve come to acceptance of my ways from dad, baby steps and all that 🙂

 

Everyone has opinions on my tattoos and my general response is something along these lines….

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 19.44.18

 

I get it though, I understand that people don’t understand.

As I said before, my tattoos are a little extension of me, so here I explain what they are, where they are, and why I got them.

 

Stars

 

This tattoo is the closest I have come to regretting getting one. I don’t regret it, because at the time it was what I wanted and, as Charlie said today, “What’s the point in regretting something, it’s already done”. The only reason I want to get this changed ( the idea is already in my head, I just need to book it) is because it doesn’t mean anything to me. I was 18 and wanted a tattoo, that’s why I got it and, now, for me that’s not a good enough reason so I’m going to cover it with something that does mean something to me.

 IMG_8719

 

Treble Clef

 

Growing up I was a big performing arts geek. I was in all the productions, all the choirs, went to the after school dance classes. All that jazz. In fact, when I was in secondary school Choir was my favourite part of the week, singing and music has always been my best form of therapy. Even now you can’t shut me up. I am that annoying person that turns what you say into a song #notsorry. So this tattoo represents that. It represents my love of all things musical, and the epic epic times I shared with my fellow stage kids.

 IMG_8718

 

 

Passport Stamp

This one is one of my personal favourites. My parents had slightly different reactions – my dad said, and I quote, “Is she f*cking mental?”.

Those of you that know me well will know myself and one of my best friends (Jade) took three months out in 2013 and travelled together across the states, in an RV (with Dale accompanying us from Cali -> Florida).

We saw so much that summer, did so much, there was no way we couldn’t commemorate it. We had spoken for years about getting a matching travel based tattoo because we had travelled so much over Europe together and we toyed with the idea of planes, paper airplanes, maps, globes…you name something travel related, we probably discussed it. Then, one day, we were sitting in a bar with Dale and his pals, and it popped into (I think it was my) head. Finally after 3 years, we’d decided. Wink, one of Dale’s friends, recommended a tattooist to us and the next day we booked it, the day after we got inked.

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 21.25.12

And no, the WT doesn’t meant “White Trash” as Byng suggested.

Roman Numerals 

 

This one was about commemorating my brother. He would have been 5 years older, but unfortunately he was still born. Now I believe very much in spirits and tarots and all that jazz ,(I don’t believe that when you die ‘that’s it’; I believe there is more to all this than that.) and I have been told by 2 separate people (one that I know, one that I didn’t) that my brother is my guardian angel. So I decided to get his birthday – 28th November – tattooed on my shoulder as a shout out to him and him being my guardian angel; sitting on my shoulder looking after me. This is also the ONLY tattoo I’ve got that my parents had nothing bad to say about; it was for their son after all.

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 21.30.51.png

28/11 

 

PAL

 

My second matching tattoo; this time with my BFF Mark. Mark is one of my favourite people in the world. We met at uni through a mutual friend and after living together for a year in 3rd year we realised we were kindred spirits and have been stuck together ever since – I’m not sure who drew the short straw there. We call each other ‘pal’, never by our real names. If we real name each other it’s serious you know, like when your mum ‘full names’ you, you know shit just got real. So we decided to each write out ‘Pal’ and get it tattooed on us, I have Mark’s handwriting, he has mine. The strangest thing was we’d both decided where we wanted to get it separately and when we told each other it was the same place – on the inner ankle. Mine is on my left ankle, his on his right.

 

IMG_8715

PAL. ( I tried to get my Star Wars socks in on the action but I couldn’t get the angle right) 

Semi colon.

 

My third matching tattoo and the newest ink in my collection. This one matches with my girl Charlie. Both of us have suffered with anxiety and depression and we have been ill at the same time with it. Having someone who is going through it at the same as you can make you feel a little less alone, at least it did me. Depression is one of those illnesses that, unless you’ve had it, you can’t really understand it so having someone else who understands the ups and downs and has lived it themselves is priceless. The semi colon represents our joint battle with ‘the craziness’ as we call it. When writing you can either end the sentence with a full stop or use a semi colon to carry it on. Depression is the same. At it’s worst you can be overcome with the urge to hurt yourself, and in some cases commit suicide (the full stop), or you can get help and try to get better and carry on (the semi colon). I’m pleased to say both Charlie and I are carrying on.

 

IMG_5588

Still a bit sore, but I already love it and everything it represents.

 

 

It is true what they say; tattoos are addictive. I already have another 3 planned plus a cover up of the stars. I love a good tattoo. Clearly.

What do you think of tattoos? Would you ever get one?

Ink on, man. Ink on! (No I don’t know what that means, it just came out)

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 19.45.04

 

Micks

xoxox

 

P.S if you don’t already, you need to watch Tattoo Fixers on E4. Hilarious stories behind awful tattoos and there are 3 incredible tattooists/artists on the show. The receptionist Paisley is just an added bonus; she is a little firecracker and I love her sass.