Hark is this the sound of clickbait? No, it’s just how titles work in 2019…
This January, I had surgery and I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I knew at the time that it would be a challenge for me to recover emotionally. (I can be very pessimistic). So in order to survive, I promised to write down 3 things I was grateful for every day to remind myself of my privilege.
Of course, I wrote down the obvious ones, My parents. My brother. My Boo. My best friend. I put down being able to afford health care and small luxuries. Having food, water, shelter and love. Music, art, and books. My hearing, my sight and my breath.
What I’ve included here are the less obvious ones, the more obscure. The gratitudes that made me realise how fortunate I am, that in the history of the universe I live at the same time as the people and items on this list. Or that I exist at all. I’ve come a long way since teenage me wanted to stop existing entirely.
Honestly? Wonderful. You do not realise how much you take for granted until you start keeping count. Rather than feeling dismay at getting up at 5.30 (I’m not a morning person), I now think the following. Wow, I am employed in my dream job, something I wouldn’t have thought possible even 5 years ago.
When I’m feeling tired and grumpy, I think about how fortunate I am that when I do get to bed, it will be warm and comfortable.
Finally? While a lot on this list are things, they are simple; but genuinely? “The best things in life, aren’t things.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo
It has been many busy days since I found out that you’re gone. I tried to write this letter when I first heard, but my heart hurt too much.
We are told when we meet certain people, to hold onto them for dear life. Yet what do we do when they are taken from us?
We go on without them, our worlds a little darker, but our lives enriched. When a light goes off in this world, it turns on in another.
It has been nearly three years since we met, and my progress under your guidance is palpable to everyone who knows me.
Although to most you may have appeared to ‘just’ be our supervisor, you were so much more to us.
Before I met you I never truly understood what a mentor was. Although I had been offered help or guidance in the past, no one matched the heights of your kindness. Having taken me under your wing, I grew beyond what I ever believed I could. You saw through ego, to the potential beneath, and there is no greater gift you could have given me.
Mentor, friend, you were our Father, a giant. Your intelligence stunned us all, and although you believed in me, I partly felt like there had been some mistake. I was an imposter in your shadow of brilliance.
My grief at your loss is thick and confounding.
Thank you for your grace, your patience and the memory of your smile. The ripples you cast into the universe will never cease, and your kindness lives on in us who are still here.
The podcast stops playing on my phone as it begins to ring. I see the name of a friend flash up. I’ve taken many calls in the past week, but I don’t have anything left. I look down at my messy clothes, I feel my unbrushed hair and teeth, and my general sense of disarray.
My hand is hovering over the phone on the counter, and eventually, it stops ringing. I feel two things mainly. Firstly, I feel sadness. Sadness because I don’t have the energy to talk to my friend on the phone. Secondly? Utter embarrassment.
Does your mental illness ever make you feel embarrassed? When you are at your lowest, the simplest things are impossible, and it’s hard not to be distraught.
When I’m depressed I can barely get out of bed, nevermind shower. So if a friend turns up randomly at my home, I’m probably not clean. This makes me feel ashamed for my state of being. Although it cannot be helped, it still hurts.
Also, I can’t sleep at night, so I usually sleep between 7am and 10am. I can hear you say, “you need to adopt a more healthy sleep pattern,” and I agree. It doesn’t mean I’m not trying, it just means it’s not working.
Mostly for me though, the hardest part of the depression, is the brain fog. The dissociation. I can’t string sentences together. I find driving difficult. It amps up my anxiety which feeds my depression. If I could get off the hamster wheel I would, but all I can do it wait for it to slow down.
I was able to do some washing today. This is a big win for me. Sometimes I’m fine. I’m ok, I can work, and read, and wash and learn, and not be hard on myself.
Sometimes though, I need to rest.
There are many vasts posts about mental health and no one solution.
The one that works for me, that makes me feel less embarrassed is I don’t take myself too seriously. Life is a wonder, and it’s amazing to be alive, but it doesn’t make it any less strange. I’m still a valid person, and my inactivity does not define my worth.
Firstly sorry I missed last week, I was at a friend’s wedding. Happy one week anniversary Mr & Mrs Sweetman from myself and Le’Boo!
Well, Moonlings, don’t worry, today my thoughts on mental health are positive. Often I forget to write down how I’m feeling on a good day. Or maybe the processes that helped me get through a particularly bad day. I think once the bad day is over I’m so happy to be balanced again I neglect self-reflection.
So that’s what this is. A simple bit of self-reflection. I look back to when someone recently hurt my feelings, and how I processed those feelings so no more fighting happened.
Somebody bruised my ego. Look I’m not perfect(much to my chagrin), and when people say cruel things they sometimes hurt my feelings. Normally I’m pretty much used to people not understanding me or saying hurtful things in an unsolicited way. I’ve grown to have a thick skin because I like who I am, my style and how soft I am in regards to the flora and fauna of the world.
Some people don’t like that, they are afraid of what they can’t categorise or understand. Does this make me any less valid? It certainly does not.
I also have the added bonus of not doing something just because it’s always been done that way. (I’ve been called the black sheep in my family more than once). If we didn’t question our realities then citizens would still be legally allowed to own slaves in America, homosexuality would still be a crime in Ireland, and women would not be allowed to vote or own property.
Anyways I digress. Basically, I realised that when someone makes you feel bad, you are allowing them that right. Have you ever heard this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt?
“No one can make you feel inferior, without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
This is a sentiment I come back to time and time again. If something cruel is making you feel bad, then there must be a break within yourself. The cruelty is an external force, and you cannot allow it to penetrate and become an internal force.
Notice how I wrote ‘a’ solution, and not ‘the’ solution as there are many ways to tackle mental health, and they are all valid as long as they follow this cardinal rule. They don’t harm another person. (This includes yourself because you are a person).
So I used one of my many solutions. The “letters we write, but never send,” method. Why do people do this? Surely talking it out is the only way to resolve a conflict between two sentient beings?
Nope. Sadly sometimes the other person is incapable of seeing things from your point of view. You cannot force them to see, because the only person you have control over is yourself. So what you must do is write down all your feelings, problems and thoughts so you can see them in a thoroughly organised way.
Address the letter to the person, tell them how they hurt you and why. Explain that you’ve tried to see from their perspective but you don’t understand because it seems unduly cruel. Then end with forgiveness and feel your calm returning.
I am not spouting ‘hippy’ nonsense, these methods do work to an extent. Especially on a once off fight or situation. However, if someone is being continual cruel or worse, abusive, you may simply need to walk away from that person.
Once you are done you can seal the envelope, burn it(safely), or even just rip it up and throw it away. Under no circumstances should you give the letter to the person, as this will just cause more hurt. Healing cannot happen if there is continued hurting on both sides.
Then do your best to forgive and move on, knowing that in your own heart it’s ok to be you.
Samaritans Ireland: Call: 116 123 or Text: 087 260 9090
Pieta International: Call: 1800 247 247 or Text: 51444
Hello, Mooonlings thank you for joining me for another list this week. June tends to be quite listy(yes it’s a word) because it’s half-way through the year. So it feels right to review music, books and other sundry items. You may have guessed by now my love of music and my appreciation for multiple genres.
I have listened to so many new albums this year so far that I had to split the post into two parts for clarity. Part one is today where I discuss albums I choose myself either from a love of the artist or curiosity. Part two involves suggestions from fellow writing friends on twitter. I wanted them to have a separate post so I could include their Twitter bio and link if you were feeling like you wanted to go follow them.
Just for practicality reasons, the artists will be listed in alphabetical order as there was no rhyme or reason to the process in which I listened to the albums. I’m going to rate them out of 5 moons ☽ as stars are not close enough to my heart. It’s similar to the system of bananas, so I kind of stole that from The Orang-utan Librarian. Credit where credit is due!
Andreya Triana – Life In Colour – (3.5/5) ☽.☽.☽
This is a Lady I discovered through Bonobos album “Black Sands.” She was featured on a couple of songs and her voice completely entranced me. On this album, She kicks down the door with “Woman,” transitioned into bluegrass with “I Give You My Heart,” and then “How Deep My Love Goes,” is an instant classic.
“Songs in the key of life cures me in the moment.”
“Freedom,” is a total bop and this album, in general, is a lot of fun. Great music, and coming into the summer, it’s just what I needed. This is a sweet ode to love and her lover.
Her closing song “It’s gonna be alright,” is so soothing, and her voice makes me believe her.
Avril Lavinge – Head Above Water – (4/5) ☽.☽.☽.☽
Look I love Avril Lavinge. We are around the same age, and when I was an awkward teenager her music made me feel cooler than I ever really was.
For me, this album proved she’s still got that magic she had when she was 15 singing “Let Go.” There are songs on this album that evoke the same feelings within me.
“Head Above Water,” is one of those opening tracks that I can’t stop singing. Thinking about it makes me want to put the album on. She screams her lungs out on “Birdie,” then she soothes us with “Crush.”
“Fly away little bird.”
“Tell Me It’s Over,” is Avril’s old-timey ballad and I’m here for it. “Dumb Blonde” screams like her infamous track “Girlfriend.” Guys let’s just enjoy this collab with Nicki Minaj.
“It was in me” feels like an ode to Alanis Morissette’s “Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie,” and “Souvenir,” to me feels like it was written about her ex-husband, Chad Kroger. Don’t agree? Comment below!
Beyoncé – Homecoming: The Live Album – (5/5) ☽.☽.☽.☽.☽
Many people tell me Beyoncé is overrated and I guess some people have to be wrong, so us stans can be right.
While I am joking, and you have the right to think whatever you want, you can’t deny Beyoncé’s star power. I’ve watched the live film on Netflix, the performance brought me to tears many times. I’ve also been listening to “Homecoming” on repeat. It floors me every time.
Biosphere – The Senja Recordings – (2/5) ☽.☽.☽
Although I am a huge fan of Biosphere and one of my favourite ambient albums of all time is “Substrata,” I cannot recommend this one this to you. If you want ambient noise please feel free to listen, but his last musical album for me was “Departed Glories.” I still enjoyed this album as I did with “The Hilvarenbeek Recordings” but as far as music goes I cannot recommend this to you.
Chaka Khan – Hello Happiness – (5/5) ☽.☽.☽.☽.☽
This Queen is one of Le’Boo’s favourites and man, she is still hot as hell at 66 years of age! I’ve seen her live before and her voice is even bigger in person. Every track on this album is unbelievable.
“Take me back to the dance floor so I can dance away my blues.“
“Like a lady,” is about Le’Boo for sure, and what a track it is. Do you want to feel happy? Listen to this album, wiggle your hips, and give yourself to the music.
Dido – Still On My Mind – (5/5) ☽.☽.☽.☽
I’ve loved Dido from the beginning, and this album did not disappoint me. I adore “You don’t need a god,” “Chances,” and “Have to Stay.” The title track “Still on my mind,” is simply mesmerising.
There is some modern dance mixed in with her soulful voice, the lyrics are as blunt as ever, and we get an insight into Dido the mother, not just Dido the lover.
“I found a way to let you go, it’s gonna rip your heart out.”
Although she’s probably been chasing “Life for Rent,” since 2003, you cannot deny her voice and songwriting. I think if people weren’t comparing her to 2003 Dido they would just let themselves enjoy “Still On My Mind.”
Flying Lotus – Flamagra – (4/5) ☽.☽.☽.☽
Just kidding Le’Boo I really love this album.
Flying Lotus creates the kind of music you don’t think too much about. Don’t over-analyse. Put it on when you’re walking/doing yoga/cooking food and watch yourself flow.
Stand out tracks for me are “Burning Down The House,” “All Spies,” (makes me feel like I’m in a 90s video game) and “Yellow Belly.”
“Are you a spy mister?”
“Say Something” is sweetly melancholy leading into “Debbie is Depressed.” “The Climb” featuring Thundercat is an excellent blend of both artists and of course “Land of Honey” featuring Solange Knowles.
Hozier – Wasteland Baby! – (3.5/5) ☽.☽.☽
Not an album I keep coming back to sadly. “Nina Cried Power,” is a banger though.
Madonna – Madam X – (4.5/5) ☽.☽.☽.☽
Infused with Portuguese traditional fado music (which coincidently means long ago in Irish) Madonna continues her musical evolution. Tracks which interested me are”God Control,” “Batuka,” “Killers Who Are Paying,” and “Faz Gostoso” where she makes a great effort of speaking Portuguese and Spanish.
She once again hasn’t shied away from her jabs at the Catholic church (and other religions), or even her country of birth. This is a political album and for me, it is long overdue.
She has always been a mixed bag to me with her albums, some are ok, and then some are excellent. I’ve always loved “Ray Of Light,” and “Bedtime Stories,” and I think she’s on form here with this album. My favourite track is “Batuka” which blends traditional with trends, while still holding onto the emotion traditional music provides us.
Another 60-year-old Queen, and I still love her, and so I would say, do people who bought her first album “Madonna” brand new back in 1983. Thanks, Madonna!
Miley Cyrus – She is Coming (EP) (2.5/5) ☽.☽.
She’s been spamming us with “Mother’s Daughter,” and in fairness, itsa bop. I’m a Miley fan, and I feel like she really worked hard to find herself. “Unholy” is also quite a good song.
She’s very white, and I’m not sure she knows it. I know my limits and I think she is cringy when she raps on “Cattitude” but I really enjoyed RuPaul.
So I would give her half. 50%. A failing grade in America, but it depends on the system you’re working in… Not particularly to my taste, and I really liked her album “Younger Now.” Sorry Miley, it’s “The Climb” after all. She has nothing new to say on the other tracks that she hasn’t said before.
Norah Jones – Begin Again (2.5/5) ☽.☽
As with most white females, I have copies of “Come Away With Me,” and “Feels Like Home.” Norah Jones’ voice is consoling.
So to my surprise, she astounded me with the first track which was great, and then it got progressively more boring. Too similar to her early work without the beauty. I’m not saying this because she’s older, I just feel her heart isn’t in it anymore.
The only tracks I really liked where “My Heart Is Full,” and “Uh Oh.”
P!nk – Hurts to be Human – (5/5) ☽.☽.☽.☽.☽
I adore P!nk and all she does. I would give her 5 outta five on all her albums, hairstyles, the babies she makes with Cary Hart and her gymnastic skills.
Santana – Africa Speaks – (5/5) ☽.☽.☽.☽.☽
I’m actually blown away by this one. I had never heard of Buika before Santana collaborated with her, but man. This is absolutely everything I love. Jazz, African soul, guitars, fabulous vocals and just in time for the summer.
“Yo me lo merezco” (I deserve it) I’m sending all my love to the “Blue Skies,” and “Luna Hechicera” (in Spanish this is Sorceress moon), and the beautiful “Bembele” (in Swahili it means hide?).
Classically excellent music isn’t dead. It’s in the fingers of Carlos Santana and the vocals of Buika.
Solange – When I get home – (3/5) ☽.☽.☽
“A Seat At The Table,” was an absolute tour de force (yes I did just use that phrase), how disappointed was I when Solange released “When I Get Home,” and I just couldn’t get myself to fall in love with it.
The Chemical Brothers – No Geography – (5/5) ☽.☽.☽.☽
Just seen The Chemical Brothers for the first time this year and they were excellent. This album is more of the same excellent, with their modern twist. I give it 5/5 because I love The Chemical Brothers, but I stand by it.
Zaska – It Takes A Village – (4/5) ☽.☽.☽.☽
Aptly named, “It Takes A Village,” was Crowdfunded, locally produced, and packed full of Irish names. Maybe it’s my bias but I really do love this album, because of the local Irish stars and accents.
Treat yourself to “My Body,” Featuring Barq, “It’s Ridiculous,” Featuring Louise Gaffney, and “Wear,” featuring Wyvern Lingo. There are Irish themes and issues throughout, but this is genuinely just a good album.
Are you a fellow book worm? Do you love the smell of books? Or the sensation of words filtering through your brain, constructing stories about far off places, and exotic people? Then you have clicked on the right post!
I’ve read 30 books this year and rated 10 of those books 5 out of 5 on Goodreads. I have listed them below in order of preference, but let us remember, they are all excellent for their own reasons.
*There are no spoilers, this is a spoiler-free post! Enjoy my friends*
10. “Sourcery” – Terry Pratchett
Look we don’t even need to have a discussion here. Terry Pratchett is a beloved author for so many reasons. He is a hero in the writing community. You cannot read his books without being both touched and entertained. Seriously there is a joke on every page, with his humour being a mixture of complete silliness and intellectualism.
This book picks up with Rincewind the wizard whom we left back in book two “The Light Fantastic.” Rincewind is as reluctant as ever to be the hero, yet cannot stop his fate of becoming paramount to the survival of the Discworld.
Why couldn’t he have stayed at home, on his tiny cot, with the luggage snoozing in the wardrobe?
As far as debuts go, this is up there with the greats for me. I am a poetry fanatic, and very sensitive about its conjuncture. This wonderfully cathartic, yet tragic piece of work filled the gaps of my broken heart, as she waxed about pain, love, life, and the pursuit of elusive joy.
The work is divided into five parts, each a protective canopy over its subject matter. Beginning with “Screaming Numbness” we are treated to exquisitely painful lyrics about suffering and mental illness.
We press on into the pages of “Love & Loss” as she tells her tales from the world of love. As humans, we are never free from pain. We are allowed moments of beauty as a reprieve between the senseless chaos of the universe.
When the flushes of pain and joy are over we are treated to poems about the “Day and Night.” Her suffering mind remembers these times so vividly, and her fascination of the night sky appeals to fellow insomniac in me.
Life is a dazzling series of confusion and clarity. Mirza’s section, “C’est La Vie” has some hard truths about the world we try to live in. When I read these lines they ignite in me my own fears, wonders, and imagination.
The final section “Random Thoughts,” is just that, and we see the author grappling with the suffering of now, hopefully, one day leading to the freedom of tomorrow. Out of struggle, so will the time of quiet victory, and self-assurance be born. Where those of us with kindness, walk alongside those of difficult persuasions. She closes the collection strong leaving us both elated with hope, and sturdy with solidarity. Please buy this poetry collection, it is too exquisite to remain unread.
8. “The Secret Life Chimneys” – Agatha Christie
When I was a child I spent hours of my life watching Hercule Poirot shows with my mother. She has always loved Agatha Christie so recently I asked her what her favourite was and it wasn’t what I expected.
She choose “The Secret of Chimneys” and it is a laugh riot throughout. It does not take itself too seriously, although there is a dead man in the study. There are strong females, silly fathers and a cast of characters you cannot help but love.
7. “To The Women” – Scarlett Curtis
This collection of letters changed the game for me. I thought of all the women who have come before me, those I’ve known personally, and those who have fought on the front lines. When I say I cried in traffic. I genuinely did with one of the letters. The women wrote to her mother who was no longer with her. I ran home and hugged my mother.
6. “A Game Of Thrones” – George RR Martin
When the HBO show ended, I (and probably millions of others), went back to the books for solace and comfort. You cannot deny the character power of George RR Martin’s books. Although we are still two books short of a completed series, and Martin isn’t exactly a spring chicken, I live in hope that the story will conclude in an elegant threading of all storylines.
Until then I continue to read. I am on book three right now, immersed in the Song of Ice & Fire before it all went wrong.
5. “The Clan Of The Cave Bear” – Jean M. Auel
This book set in the prehistory of humankind kicked off a series that eventually disappointed me. Following the life of a young girl who is orphaned at five years old, she is taken in by the people of the Clan. Ayla is blonde and blue-eyed and appears ugly to the Clan who are dark and ancient.
There is love, loss and learning. I recommend reading the first book, but if you are short of time, do not worry about the rest. You will be disappointed. I rated the final book 1 out of 5 on Goodreads. A sad end to an epic series.
4. “The Handmaid’s Tale” – Margaret Atwood
I wanted to read this for a long time, and I finally got around to it this year. Even though it was written in 1985, (listen I wasn’t born until 1990!). So this book really affected me. It reminded me that no matter how far we have come, empires slip into dark ages.
It has happened over centuries countless times. It happened to the ancient Egyptian empire twice! With a racist, misogynistic president in the United States, the anti-immigration rhetoric in the United Kingdom, and the complete and utter media silence on what’s happening in Sudan, I realise we are never too far from chaos.
Do yourself a favour and read this book. I won’t tell you anything about it.
3. “The Hunger” – Alma Katsu
This semi-historical horror novel is on plenty of top ten modern horror novels for a reason. Set during the mass migration to the American West, the wagon train known as the Donner party encounters the horrors of hunger, disease and some unknown abomination.
As you jump between perspectives you understand the paranoia of the wide-open desert, the futility of money when there is no food to be bought, and the hidden secrets people keep close to their chest, in hopes they will never be discovered.
When you pick up this book, you will need to put it down on occasion, because it will disturb you. It won’t be long before you pick it up again, to see if you can understand the reasoning for the horror.
2. “The Witchcraft of Salem Village” – Shirley Jackson
I adore Shirley Jackson, and even though The Haunting of Hill House is cited as her best novel, I would argue it is only a small insight into her genius. My favourite of hers is “We Have Always Lived In A Castle.”
When I realised that Jackson had written a semi-historical version of the events that occurred in the now abandoned Salem village, I couldn’t help myself. This is an excellent yet frightening account.
1. The History Of Ancient Egypt – Bob Brier
Ever since I was a child I have idealised ancient Egypt in my head. I would read any books about it I could get my hands on. Fascinated by the hieroglyphs, mummification and papyrus, I imagined what life was like in times more ancient than my young mind could conceive.
My mother got me a beautiful book one Christmas that was tactile and interactive. There were real letters from Egyptologists, explanations about the Rosetta stone, and tutorials on their engravings.
The earliest settlers in the Nile valley was 700,000 years ago, and it wasn’t until 70,000 years ago that they even started using hand tools. Brier’s account brings us through the first settlers through 3000 years of history, all the way to the last Pharoh of Egypt Cleopatra.
I loved this. I listened to it on audiobook from Audible over a month and Bob Brier’s storytelling is superb. If you love ancient Egyptian history, you need to experience this.
Welcome my Moonlings to a positive post in which I make you feel better, while also humbly (nose snort) boasting about my accomplishments.
This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while (says every blogger ever). Since January I’ve been writing down 3 things a day that I’m grateful for. Whether that’s having a beer or a lie in. Being grateful for the little moments helped me realise that actually, they are big moments.
My mindset is now that I have the privilege of having a lie-in, the money to afford a beer and the means to be in a PhD programme. I don’t want to take my life for granted and living in the moment is all we have.
It would appear that this mindset has paid off because I realised that even though I’ve accomplished many things off my bucket list, I never truly celebrated them. As usual my ambition and inferiority complex meant I just needed to move onto the next big thing.
We spend so much of our time looking to the future, the next big life stage, but we rarely take the time to appreciate how far we’ve come. So today I want to discuss some of the bigger ones I’ve ticked off my list and actually pat myself on the back for once!
1. Got my masters.
Although I had to do it over two years instead of one, I still managed to get a masters in anthropology and development. This was while working in shift work, full-time, in order to pay for it.
I even won an award for my research and 250euro (see below). I was the only masters student in the PhD Colloquium in which I came second. I got a first(1.1) in my thesis that I wrote in the summer while working full-time in a call centre. That job drained me so much, I often got home at 6 and had to go to bed at 8pm because I was so mentally exhausted.
2. Got a funded PhD
It was September 2014 and I had just started the second year of my classes for my masters in anthropology and development. A PhD student came to sit in the class (it was a small class so you couldn’t miss her). She spoke so eloquently and confidently. Afterwards, we got to chatting and internally I was thinking, “I will never be this accomplished for someone to take me on for a PhD.”
Cut to 2016 I get a mysterious phone call from a man who became my mentor, friend and role model. “I see you started to fill out an application and you haven’t finished it…” (story of my life) “…I’m really impressed with your portfolio and I would like to offer you a PhD scholarship within the Business Management school.”
I am now three years in with one left to go. I have two publications, I presented at a conference in St. Petersburg, and I’m about to embark on my data collection.
3. Got response from publishers.
This may seem silly but I got actual responses from legitimate publishers who liked my 20,000 word draft of my novel. I didn’t want to waste my time finishing it if it wouldn’t have a home at the end. Though it was rejected by some publishers, they responded to it kindly and professionally.
Even though I had to postpone it until after my PhD, I know within my heart that my book will be published someday. If I could tell teenage Jaycee that, she would cry with joy.
See below my vision board I made below Christmas 2018 for the new year and beyond. I’m well on my way to accomplishing what I wanted.
4. Met someone who loves me for ME.
Look at this handsome divil. Honestly, I had tumultuously loves before Le’Boo and that’s what I thought a relationship was. Then I met him and I realised that love can be easy, and you can be loved for every single weird part of you.
5. Started a Youtube channel.
Yes, I have a YouTube channel have you heard? I’ve been watching YouTubers for years now, and I always wanted my own channel but never have the guts.
Cut to last year I was sick of being afraid and I started uploading. I only have 94 subscribers over there, but it’s growing strong. If you want to do something. Do it. There is no better time than now.
It’s better to start late than never even trying.
6. Grew my twitter following to 4500.
The Writing Community on twitter is the best thing I discovered on the internet since memes. Everyone is so supportive. We follow each other, share each other’s accomplishments and commiserate each other’s failures.
If you’re on Twitter and you want to join use the hashtag WritingCommunity and join in the conversation. Follow me over there and once you have writer / author in your bio I’ll follow you back.
What makes a successful blog? It’s simple. Whether you have 1 follower, or you’re lucky like me to have over 600 wonderful followers, write to them. Someone will comment to say they enjoyed reading or felt the same at one stage. I’ve gotten some gorgeous comments here on my blog and made some crazy friends.
8. Finally calling myself a writer.
Yes even though I’ve been writing since I was a small child, I never considered myself a writer. Then I realised. Do you write Jaycee? The answer was yes, I write every day. What is the definition of a writer?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the review I would like to thank Steven Colborne from Perfect Chaos for the opportunity to review his book. Though he and I have different perspectives on the nature of God, our philosophical interests are parallel. My background is in anthropology whose parent discipline is philosophy. Therefore I am no stranger to God and his prevalence throughout human culture.
I need to state firmly my own views on the matter. I believe the God that Colborne knows, is one that billions of humans have known, albeit by different names and experience. However, I do not believe God to be a singular being. This is where Colborne and I diverge.
Do not fret however, this will not affect either my ability to see from his perspective or the anthesis.
*I will refer to God through Male pronouns throughout as so intended in Colborne’s book*
For work such as this, there is no need for worries of spoilers, as rather it is less a narrative and more philosophical. However, I implore you to read the work in-depth as my musings on the subject may be contrary to the views of others. Even that of Colborne himself. However, as he says in his work, this is how God wanted it. Some knowing of his existence, and those of us waiting in the wing for divine interaction.
So Colborne introduces himself first and his story was not an easy one to read. In his contemporary life, he has discovered a type of stasis, however, with illnesses inherent to him, he proclaims this may be taken away at any time. Such is the will of God.
It is also important to me that you do not mistake Steven for a man of blind faith, who have never known anything else. From reading his blog alone you would know this, and in his introduction, he explains his deep interest with all things spiritual since his teens.
In Part 1 we are introduced to the nature of God. Which can be summoned up by His omnipresence. He states his case quite clearly through the lens of scientific endeavours:
“Even scientists, who are very successful in describing how things happen, generally agree that they cannot say why things happen.”
The argument here for Colborne is linked with the philosophical paradigm of determinism. God is all there is, we are a part of God, however, he exists outside of us. Therefore he is all-powerful and knows how our lives will play out.
In Part 2 we are guided through the human experience, in which Colborne is certain is curated by God. Why he is certain of this is simple. We are used to experiencing things in a certain way, through a certain set of laws.
When something outside of these perceptions happened, rather than chalking them down to anomalies or mistakes, Colborne assures the reader that this is through the desire of God. It is because God is a higher being, that we cannot experience everything he does. In certain cases, he allows us a small window into his nature. Colborne asks that rather than dismiss these anomalous experiences we should accept them as God’s outer life.
Scientist have grappled for centuries with the concept of ‘thought’. Where does ‘thought’ come from? How does it arise? Now with modern science researchers have pinpointed the moment the brain sends the signals to, for example, move an arm. They have not, however, pinpointed the decision or the why.
Colborne makes it quite simple, this is God’s will. He is managing our every movement.
“If we consider the nature of God, particularly His attribute of omnipresence, it makes sense that He is controlling our conscious experiences because His being permeates every atom in existence and every cell of our bodies.”
For someone who has studied anthropology and humankind so closely, I cannot help but agree with Colborne to an extent. Although humans have spread ourselves across the planet, we have things that are so unique to us as a species that it appears wherever we are. The concept of God is universal and in favour of Colborne’s argument, this may be God’s own way of showing himself to us.
In our modern world, the war between science and religion has gotten us nowhere. I have often been an advocate for the inter-disciplinary cooperation of scientists and theologians. For many centuries now, scientists have been doing the work philosophers in ancient Greece once had the pleasure of.
Now more than ever we need to listen to, and read about experiences had by human beings such as Steven Colborne. In my opinion, his belief in God is not a dirty secret or an unfortunate quirk. There are many people I love who both believe in God and many who do not. With all the varieties in between.
There is no denying that Colborne has done his homework, and he entertains the philosophies of those who would be considered his opposite. In Part 4 he discusses the American Philosopher Sam Harris, who is a prominent figure surrounding materialism and free will. Harris believes that all we are is physical, and this matter is calling the shots. Whereas of course, Colborne argues this is nonsensical. How can inanimate matter create the diverse realms of thought that humans enjoy?
“How something that is purely material could create awareness of the kind that human beings experience is an area of ceaseless confusion for neuroscientists.”
There is also the espousal of the major world religions, (not discounting the thousands of others he would not have had time to mention). Colborne is not dismissing your version of God. His simple truth is this. God is omnipresent and God is our creator (at birth and each and every moment of our lives).
Colborne wants what I think is lacking in the Christian faiths (among others) of the day. A modern church were a scientific debate is not only welcomed but part of the general practice of religion. A church of God which has thrown off the shackles of the cruelness of human doctrines, and allow only love to flow. An inter-faith dialogue, a safe place for everyone, in which to look at God from all unique perspectives and experiences of the human condition.
There is room for everyone in the debate so I would ask for the comments to be respectful, and I implore you to read this book. There is more benefit here than you realise.
Conclusions & Further readings
For my own piece of mind I would like to point out that while Colborne believes that God creates all human art, I feel that our crazy, beautiful, individual minds produce these things. Also my disposition is to always push back against determinism, however, God may have made me that way.
For those of you who are intensely religious, I mean neither disrespect or dismissal. If there is kindness in your intent, there is room for you in this debate. In reading Colborne’s book I experienced nothing but due considerations for all faiths.
Finally, I deeply respect Steven Colborne, for all he’s achieved even through pain and adversity. Although we don’t always agree, I cannot dispute that his arguments are not only well thought out, but well researched.
As I mentioned in the preamble my anthropology background implores me to mention Sir James Fraser’s, “The Golden Bough.”
Recently I received the new Audible original series by Scarlet Curtis called “To The Woman,” in which women read open letters to other women. One of the letters was heartbreaking, spoken to her mother who had recently passed away. I was driving home from work at the time and I sobbed openly in traffic while people stared. I’m newly moved out of my family home to live with my partner and this letter hit me where none other could have.
So this is an open letter to the woman who raised me, the mother that everyone should have, and my humble tribute to her today, on her 55th birthday. Mama, I love you more than these words could ever convey, and it’s you that made me this way. So if you are feeling down about your age today, just know no matter where I stray, I’m your little girl from May.
Most people find their first big love when they are older, and that’s their partner. How lucky was I that from the day I was born, I already had one of my big loves. As I grew you loved me, and I loved you too. How fortunate for us to have one another. I don’t have to worry about sounding conceited because I know how much you adore me, it’s a fracture of my adoration of and for you.
Although you didn’t have it easy, money was never ample, the times were tough and the climate was tougher. In a world where being a mother and a wife was not celebrated as it is now, you were expected to bear children and be happy about it. Not only did you do this with grace and love, never for one moment making us feel like we weren’t your priority, but you instilled in me my own worth.
The women I am today is a fragment of the woman you’ve been all your life. Your resilience, beauty, and elegance astound me. Your laughter and humour have filled me up when I was emptier then wine bottles after we’ve been at them.
I’m telling you this because when I heard that woman, crying for her mummy, I cried for mine. I wanted to squeeze you and tell you how wonderful you are, how beautiful you are, and how perfect you are in all your imperfections.
Here I am Mama, begging for you to recognise your worth because in my eyes you’re everything, you’re all I’ve ever wanted to be. Fierce little woman. Forgive me for any time I’ve hurt you, you broke your body for me, and I unaware tore you asunder. You let me go my own way, but I’ll always find my way back to you.
My first big love, my Mama. Thank you, and happy birthday.
“I love you.”
“I know.”* I hear you whisper.*
*This is from The Empire Strikes Back, in case any of you troglodytes didn’t know.