I have seen variations of this topic circulating online in various word and video-based posts for a long time now and, although a little different to the writing I usually share, I thought it would fit in nicely alongside everything else and, also provide a more personal and laid-back type of post to reflect the lightness I feel on this Sunday afternoon. I would also like to wish you all a beautiful Midsummer/Litha/Solstice today, it really is a lovely one.
Okay, so here it goes, twenty-six present, but not exhaustive, facts about me.
1. I am a vegetarian.
2. I enjoy wearing the odd lick of lipstick at times, but I don’t ever wear make-up apart from that (aside from my friend’s beautiful application of it a few times during my late teens).
3. I never thought I would enjoy writing in any way until I started to on this blog. I absolutely hated being made to do it at school and university for various formal reasons and felt thoroughly insulted when the teacher (one teacher in particular) would continually ‘correct’ my best efforts and, thus, pummel my creativity into the ground, but being excited about sharing what I do on my own terms seems to have freed me from former aversions, however, I’m not sure that I would respond well being made to work to someone else’s time-frame.
4. In contrast to the unnamed teacher above, I owe a hell of a lot to my French and German teachers in sixth form and secondary school. They were both there for me far beyond their jobs as educators, particularly during the latter part of my schooling and provided unyielding understanding and a stable and nurturing adult presence when events in my life outside of school were causing me to become very distanced from my sense of self, directly affecting my motivation towards and presence in my work at school. They are both formidable, unbelievably caring people and, although we have not been in touch for years, I forever consider them my friends and hold them very closely in my heart.
5. Continuing the subject of education, I dropped out of university during my second year. There were numerous motivations for it, however, it remains one of the best decisions I have ever made and I have never regretted or looked back on doing so, not even during times of the utmost uncertainty.
6. For better or for worse, I find smells very evocative and adore candles and incenses that are infused with warming, spicy, earthy scents, most often ones that are reminiscent of the colder seasons. I also adore the aroma of fresh, green cardamom pods and petrol, conversely to this.
7. Life, to me, is an entirely sensory experience and I have always been able to recall memories and life events through remembering how the experiences made me feel at the time and, also how I felt in myself on a more wider scale at the time. Because of this, my expressions of thoughts and experiences are abound with vivid and detailed descriptions of sights, smells, tastes and sounds and I am not an advocate for omitting emotional responses when communicating with and to others, as I believe that they are an integral and important part of our disposition and fundamental to how we experience and understand ourselves and each other, regardless of the degree to which we can personally access them.
8. Leading on from the above point, I believe that I am an incredibly caring and sensitive individual, however, I have learned that it is significant to identify that knowing that you care and how you are affected by things is more important than trying to measure up to other people’s ideas about what they think caring should be and how you ‘should’ act ‘if you truly care about what and the way they feel’. Just because the way you exercise and express care does not fit into others’ perceptions and expectations of what it should be does not discredit the way you feel and what you know to be true in your heart. If you have been and remain honest and express openly the way you feel to other individuals, their inability/refusal to understand you and your truths is nothing more than a big oversight and a shame for them. It is horrible having to experience and come to terms with the fact that one, or a number of people you love and care about do not understand or see you for who you really are, but you should never have to jump through endless hoops or pander to unlimited expectations about what caring ‘should’ be (and, believe me, some people will continue altering and manipulating this impossible list just to fuck with you), especially when you have gone beyond the boundaries of your own comfort in hope that clarity and understanding will be reached on their side.
9. I enjoy cooking and sharing what I make very much. Jamie Oliver, Nigel Slater, Nigella Lawson, Thomasina Miers, Ina Garten and Peter Kuruvita feature among the number of chefs I adore and admire.
10. I do not consider myself a particularly regimented person in the way that I do things. I guess that there is a certain level of routine in the things that I do, but this rises more out of the fact that they feel right to do to me, rather than being enforced by an external presence or a societal ‘norm’ that a large number of people subscribe to. For example, I rarely follow recipes, unless it is the very first time I have cooked a certain thing, but even then, I will substitute things that I know I can do and, will rarely cook a dish in the exact same way.
11. I love aeroplanes and anything aviation-related.
12. I also have a slightly dark fascination with the mechanics of large industry and big factory machinery.
13. I am obsessed with 1980’s pop culture. I love John Hughes’ films and the whole ‘Brat Pack’ scene, my music taste is influenced heavily by both mainstream and underground sounds from the decade and I love all the kitschy and functional gadgets and clunky technologies of the time.
14. I am inspired and impassioned by the spirits of people I already respect, but I am also committed to finding out about the lives of people I don’t know too much and, will not form a strong opinion about them either way until I understand more about what comprises them as an individual person.
15. I do not understand why so many people bitch and moan about their significant other to outsiders when they could just talk about what is bothering and upsetting them to the only other person it matters to mention the stuff to. Doing so could very easily alleviate the problems being experienced and, if not immediately, working towards achieving some relief could also be realised through approaching them as a unit. If you really can’t stand the person you’re with to the extent that you will badmouth them at any given opportunity, provoked or unprovoked, then you probably shouldn’t be with them and they will more than likely be better off without you. The same applies for friendships and other personal relationships, in my eyes- if you value that person in your life, then you should do everything in your individual and collective power to work it out.
16. Similarly to the above point, I don’t agree with people discussing intimacies, the ins and outs of their relationship, as it were, with anyone outside of the partnership. I actually find it pretty disgusting: it’s not ‘laddy’ or ‘banter’ or ‘girl talk’, it’s just crap and in really bad, voyeuristic taste, even if what you are saying is complimentary and in an admiring light.
17. I am not, by nature, a very chilled-out person, however, I do appear to be able to harness an uncharacteristic sense of calm and mental clarity (“getting shit done”, as my husband calls it) during circumstances of extreme pressure or that would otherwise cause an en masse freak-out (for example, when I have had to contact an emergency service for some reason, more often than not when I’ve witnessed something in a public setting). Because of this, I have, at times, considered a career as a paramedic, but I know that this would weigh very heavily on me in the long-term, which is why I have never pursued it (and as it is not a personal calling for me).
18. I have been pissed off by the label ‘alternative’ since I was old enough to know what it refers to (so, since my first greeby venture to the Oasis Market in early adolescence, people with tattoos, piercings, dyed hair or other corporeal modifications). I think it is a pathetic attempt at boasting alleged individuality when the people who actively refer to themselves in this way tend to all look the same. More often than not, this perceived ‘individuality’ is but skin-deep, as the people beneath these modifications can still be the same kinds of arseholes as people in more ‘conventional’ dress (in their eyes), yet they, somehow, view themselves with moral precedence above those they do not consider ‘different’ or ‘different enough’ or, more simply, people who do not look similar to them.
19. I despise inverted snobbery (one example of this is present in the above point).
20. I am a big fan of Americana and find it an incredible human quality to be able to feel nostalgia for a place you have never been or had any first-hand experience of.
21. The recent trend of embellished job titles is one that I just cannot understand. Not only are they hyperbolic in their attempt to glamourise jobs that are, ridiculously, seen as otherwise ‘boring’ or looked down upon by others, but they are indicative of an awful and self-deprecating mentality of distancing yourself from the truth and, often, straightforwardness of what you do and of not being comfortable with the image that your employment presents to other people, that it and you are not ‘good enough’ unless it sounds ‘complex’, ‘intellectual’ and ‘interesting’. You have a job, you should be proud of it regardless of what you do and should certainly not try to make what you do more ‘palatable’ to others, in spite of whether or not you enjoy or are fulfilled by the job you do. Contrarily, I do not get on well with people who think that they are ‘better’ or ‘more advanced’ than anybody else because they are in a line of work that is viewed as highly-pressured or ‘high-powered’ in a very machismo, psychopathically competitive kind of way (or, quite often, people who carry this mentality because their job pays disproportionately well in relation to what they do).
22. I have been on a rather perilous journey since my late teens to try and move away from synthetic, shop-bought products and introduce more natural items into my daily care routines. Perilous in the sense of finding ingredients that will not exacerbate my already sensitive scalp and skin and that will harmonise the irritation and dryness that occurs in these areas. The idea of finding such a harmony was a pipe-dream for a long time, however, I feel that I have now reached a good balance with the natural products I use and the way my skin responds to them and, often, I make my own natural skincare items using the raw ingredients in my fridge and food store.
23. Linking into the above, I have never really been a believer in popping pills or reaching for synthetic, over-the-counter medicines to remedy minor illnesses. I believe in the potency and healing power of natural ingredients and, the ever-increasing availibility of alternative medicines and support for the strength of holistic therapies is reflective of the wisdoms that many ancient societies harnessed for generations and, of which a great percentage of these ideologies forms the basis of modern medicinal practices today and, are still used, successfully, in places where people do not have access to conventional healthcare (although, what defines ‘convention’ is a topic in itself, it is subjective in its very essence). I do not discredit doctors or medical practitioners of a more familiar description at all, but I think there is a hell of a lot to be said about harnessing the power of nature in well-being and, using the example of the latest healing spice du jour, turmeric is a staple ingredient in the majority of South Asian cooking, so eating for well-being is already elevated beyond the realms of ‘convention’, as nourishment and medicine are intwined in the mutual pursuit of overall, balanced health.
24. I have always thought that I would excel and find fulfillment in a large part of myself in the world of contemporary or interpretive dance (more the latter). I find that I am already quite expressive in this way and would love the opportunity to be able to extend this beyond what I know of myself within my personal dance style, to nurture what is already there instead of learn routines that distance me from this part of myself.
25. I am a very ‘DIY’ kind of person and have been for as long as I can recall. I’ll rarely, if ever, buy a kit or a specific tool in order to do something or perform a certain task- if I can make or work out how to do something through research and invention, I will do; I will make it at home with a small aubergine (something for those of you who ever watched ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ on the BBC in the nineties).
26. I can speak five languages including English and am able to understand the essence of a further two (Spanish and Italian) and this is something I am extremely proud of.
Well, there you have it, twenty-six facts about me that represent the things I consider in relation to myself, over halfway through my twenty-fifth year. I realise that I have posted this now on Monday afternoon, but I wanted to preserve the mood in which the majority of the points were written, so have left the introduction as I started it yesterday. As most of my writing does, this piece has evolved and become a creature of its own to accommodate the tangents and streams of consciousness that occur in my thought processes; I hope you enjoy the fluidity and lucidity of them and that it makes for a pleasurable read :)