54 Days Until Christmas

54 days until Christmas! Yikes!

Where has the year gone?

Best get co-ordinating my Christmas shopping lists and also sort out what crafty projects I will be indulging in.

My youngest daughter has already put her votes in for a wall of snowflakes. I’m quite partial to a bit of papercraft, so that’s a winner.

I also want to make some of my own wrapping paper this year. Well, not make the paper, but buy a roll of Kraft paper / packing paper, and then fancy it up with some bespoke calligraphy.

I also plan to make some Christmas cards for my closest people. It’s something that I used to do with my mum and I think it would be nice to re-visit those feelings. I surely do miss her.

Anyway, before this blog post meanders off into a maudlin direction, I will sign off and get list making!!

Are you planning any Christmas crafts?

Happy Birthday To Me

Ms Moem ~ Happy Birthday To Me!

Twas my birthday yesterday. My children made me cards and painted canvases for me. My Dad popped in with a cake he had made and stayed for a cuppa. My eldest played the guitar and we sang together. My oldest friend dropped a card and gift round. My Aunty sent birthday greetings in the post.

It really is the little things. To be thought of.

All in all, wonderful day. I feel very blessed.

Why You Can’t Be Black

Can you be black?

I’ve been thinking about writing this blog post for a while and finally decided to go for it.
It might end up as just a mini rant, but since this is my space on the internet and I can fill it with whatever I like, then that is what I am going to do.

Ok, so I was recently ‘irrationally’ irritated by a blog post from an author who had won some prize or other, who said something along the lines of “As soon as I started writing this character, I knew she would be black.”

I’ve probably seen or heard phrases like this countless times in my life, but for some reason, this was the one that got my back up. From then on, I have noticed it everywhere, pretty much daily.

The latest being a piece on the Guardian asking if Hermione (of Harry Potter fame) can be black.

Being black? Back to the original author I mentioned … Obviously, what she really meant, was that her character would have skin that had high levels of melanin, but that isn’t what was implied. Being black isn’t actually a thing. You can’t be a colour.

And here’s why:

Underneath the skin, black, white or whatever, we are all the same. We get up. We live. We love. We breathe. We hurt. We cry. We smile. We laugh. We feel. We hope. We sleep. We dream.

Of the things that contribute to my being, my skin colour is not up there at the top of the list. Having a darker skintone than 95% of the people I know, brings nothing to the table. Literally, not one thing.

It’s not like music comes on and I start dancing in perfect rhythmic waves, akin to being part of the very track that is playing. Because you know, black people got groove yo.

I don’t twerk round the supermarket.

Nor is it a case of hearing a starting pistol being fired, or more likely the announcement over the tannoy, again in the supermarket that they have reduced all bakery products by 60%, followed by me hurtling 100m in 10 seconds. Because black people run fast yo.

Oh, and I am not even 5ft tall, so basketball is out. Because black people can jump yo.

It would be laughable if it wasn’t so outdated, the idea that you can lump folk together and assume a mass set of behaviours based purely on the colour of their skin.

That said though, I have no disrespect for people who do wish to be identified as black and are proud of it. I understand that a lot has had to change for me to be here at this point in time, born in a land where I have freedom, not born to be someone’s slave, free to sit next to whoever I want to on the bus. I am far enough removed to expect that my life should be no different to anyone else I know.

But then I read stories stating that in London, ‘ethnically diverse’ people are stopped and searched more often than their counterparts who have lighter coloured skin.
Or hearing young poets on youtube talking about how, as people with darker coloured skin, they have to be extra careful not to do anything that could cause them to be shot at by the police, because again, their skin colour might or might not be more provocative depending on their melanin levels.

I’ve been relatively ‘lucky’, I suppose. I’ve not experienced much racism.

When I was at secondary school, one boy called me ‘chocolate drop.’

In my early 20s, I had a falling out with a friend and on a visit to a mutal chum she had checked if ‘that black thing’ would be coming around.

When I had my first baby, someone I knew only very remotely asked if she could peek in the pram and look at the baby. Then she confidently asserted that she could see the negro in her.

Even people I knew well told me they were excited to see how my baby would come out, because they’d never seen a ‘black baby’ before. They weren’t being horrible and that might not be racism as such, but it still made me furrow my brow. Much like when I was school people would ask if they could touch my hair.

I understood that curiosity because I was the only ‘ethnically diverse’ person I knew until my teens. There was Floella Benjamin and Andi Peters on the TV, but that was about it.

Also, unless the colours I was taught at school were incorrect, most people who have the black label applied to them really aren’t. The colour of this text is black. My skin is not.

So, I don’t like the term being black or black people, at all, and I think as long as we are distinguishing differences between people with darker coloured skin and people with lighter coloured skin, then we will be perpetually stuck in this odd state where you can have seperate classifications for actors and ‘black actors’ or poets and ‘black poets’ ( << insert profession of your choice here).

It is ridiculous, in my opinion. People are people.

I am also mindful that there are currently campaigns to increase the diversity of British TV and writing, with people specifically wanting to see more (BAME) Black and Minority Ethnic writers, actors, characters being given prominent spots.

One plea for this that I have seen is because people want to see themselves in books and stories, you know the old relatable line. But for me, it has never been something I have given much thought to, because as I looked out of my real eyes, all I saw were people with lighter coloured skins than me, so reading books where that was the case was mirroring real life. I didn’t not get into books because they were lacking blackness!!!!

But again, I appreciate other people’s opinions, wants and desires and just because they don’t match my own, doesn’t make them any the less valid. And also, thinking about it, it is lots of little pushes and changes that have led to my now expected comfort in this world we live in, so if things like #DiverseDecember help the cause further and help others to feel as comfortable, then brilliant!

But what is ethnic diversity these days anyway? Are there really more people on this planet with less melanin than with more? And if not,  We live in a very connected era and people strike up cross contintental relationships all the time, blending the gene pools more and more. And does ethnicity even matter? I’m going slightly off track here but my children’s schools are forever ‘collecting data’ and I noticed on a recent form that two of them had their ‘ethnicity’ assigned (I never fill those details in) ~ one was marked White British and the other fell under Black British. Now how is that possible when both are of the same parentage? Anyway, I digress.

Perhaps I am seeing a problem where there isn’t one, or maybe it is just a struggle that I should keep deep within in my cold black soul! 😉

It’s hard to know whether one should stick their head above the parapet and see if there are any like-minded folk about, as in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. But it does bother me a bit.

Time has changed our terminolgy around the way we describe other people. We no longer define people who have disabilites by the disorders they suffer from. Words that were commonplace in the 70s/80s are now thankfully not heard in polite society. Same-sex marriage is now just marriage.

So maybe now is the time to stop calling people ‘blacks’ and ‘whites’?

What do you think? Is one epitomized by the colour of the skin that contains their internal organs? Can you be black?

Words To Change Your Life

1. You are the boss of your life.
2. Grab all opportunities that come your way.
3. Other people’s opinions of you should not shape the person you are.
4. There’s only so much thinking you can do. Be decisive.
5. Take action.
6. Big achievements are good but it is the little things you do each day that mean most.
7. Never settle. What you settle for, you will be stuck with.
8. Don’t buy things you don’t need.
9. Aim to set off ten minutes earlier than you need to so you don’t have to rush.
10. Surround yourself with people who make you feel like you matter.
11. Be your own biggest fan!
12. Mindset is everything ~ believe you can!!
13. Smile.
14. Never underestimate anyone. You don’t know who or what they know, so never discount a person based on an assumption.
15. No matter how tall the hill you want to climb, you must start walking. You’ll never get anywhere just standing at the bottom looking up.
16. Do the thing you love everyday.
17. The smallest change can have a big effect on your life.
18. Accept responsibility for your actions.
19. Don’t dwell on the past. Those days are gone and you can’t change them. Focus on your present and the future.
20. No-one is going to wave a magic wand and transform your life, but you can change your own life!
21. If you see an opportunity to help another person, do it. Kindness doesn’t need a reason.
22. If someone wrongs you, forgive, forget and move on. Holding anger does nobody any favours.
23. Trust your gut instincts.
24. Check in with yourself every so often and if you have stuff you want to work on, set yourself a goal or a target.
25. Always remember you are as capable of great things as anyone else! Go for it!

Super Blood Moon

Super Blood Moon total lunar eclise captured in the Lake District UK with a DSLR #SuperBloodMoon

An absolute privilege to witness the total lunar eclipse in supermoon phase!
These images were captured with my DSLR.

Apparently we won’t see another #SuperBloodMoon until 2033 so I am glad I have these pictures for posterity! Hope you like them!

Super Blood Moon Poem

The earth danced with the sun
in the dead of the night.
Bodies aligned,
the moon blushed with delight.

Short poem by Ms Moem.

New Month, New Me ~ Positivity

Hello July! My you’ve come around fast!

new month, new me ~ hello july blog Ms Moem @msmoem

We’re now over half way through the year and we’re having some sort of insane heatwave. It is tradition, as a British person to spend all the time wishing it were hot and sunny and then the very instant the sun puts in an appearance, we just can’t take it and we’re all willing winter forwards. The sun can’t win.

A video posted by Ms Moem (@msmoem) on

For me, the 1st of July signifies the beginning of a tricky time of year. Four years ago today, I heard the worst news when my Mum let me know she had only days left to live. As it turned out, we had a little under two weeks to spend time together and try and process what was happening but of course, these things aren’t just parcelled up neatly and even now I can still feel that same raw emotion as I did then. Up until then, I had always been a positive person. Overwhelmingly so perhaps. In fact my pal Brad Burton, Britain’s number one motivational speaker even commented on it!

My mum was a very positive woman and she passed that on to me but that day and in those following, the world as I knew it crumbled and I have never quite got it back.

But little Miss Positivity is who I really am. Misery doesn’t suit me.

little miss positivity quote

Grief is a funny thing. Not funny haha obviously but it is strange in the way it ebbs and flows and can totally sweep you off your feet when only minutes earlier, you’ve been fine.

Over the last few years I have felt I have come to the point where I’m ready to close that chapter and try and move forward a couple of times, but like the beast that it is, the grief has swirled back at me and kept me merely existing, doing my best to make it through the day.

The trouble is, that time doesn’t stand still while you get your sh*t together and try to rebuild yourself. So without me truly appreciating it, four years have gone; been lost to grief.

be positive-it is good for the soul and the alternative is really draining ~ quote @msmoem

I’ve missed myself, frankly. And it has been so obvious in my words. A lot of the poetry I have written has had a downbeat feel or rather just not the upbeat tempo that I lived before THAT change.

Maybe this blog shouldn’t even be on here. It’s not poetry, but it is life. My life.

And today I am seizing it back.

It occurred to me that I could just spend the rest of my life being sad and I don’t want that. Nothing I do or say can ever bring my mum back. That’s a fact. But the way I live going forward does not have to be defined by that tragedy. If my mum were still here, she’d be going about her day to day life and living, and that’s what I need to do.

There is no escaping the memories. Even as the sun shines today I am instantly cast back four years as the sun shone hot and bright on the coldest and darkest days of my life. Even sitting writing this, I can feel my brow furrowing and my mood slipping as I remember.

So, instead of spending this month focussing on the anniversaries of all the ‘lasts’ and sadness we experienced, instead I am only going to allow myself to think of my positive memories of her and of our lives together.

She was quite a character so there are lots of reasons to smile.

positive quote - there's always a reason to smile even if you sometimes have to look really hard. Ms Moem

Before we lost her, we had so many sunny days together. Shopping, walking, sitting out in the garden, visiting relatives…… the sunshine should remind me of those days instead of those final, hopeless days and so that is how it shall be.

I’m hoping that that subtle shift towards what I put at the front of my mind will make all the difference. I’m not going to wish the month away but I am going to put myself back into the driving seat so that I can decide how it goes. I will navigate my way through the month, and not be driven back into the doldrums.

Wish me luck!

I hope July is kind to you and that the sun shines on you all.

Focus On Your Blessings

focus on your blessings instead of your problems - quote msmoem.com

 

The run up to Christmas isn’t always a happy time. It can also be fairly reflective. Time to think about those empty chairs around the table, perhaps not being able to afford the gifts you want to give, or even worrying about how you are going to put food on the table at this consumer-led time of gluttony and indulgence.

In fact, these points don’t only relate to the festive season. I’m sure there are lots of people out there whose lives aren’t perhaps quite what they hoped for or are simply going through a tough time. It can cause you to question the choices you have made, and the circumstances that surround you that you perhaps have little or no control over.

Basically, life isn’t always a bed of roses.

So, what can you do to prevent drowning in a pool of despair?

Whilst it can be all consuming to have problems, or to feel that you don’t have the life you want to have, having the focus on what’s lacking isn’t great for the soul.

I used to be a permanently positive person. Then over the last few years, life has dealt me a few curve balls and changed my entire outlook. The main thing that triggered this change was losing my mother. Obviously, this was completely out of my control and I was powerless to do anything but try to deal with it in my own way. Some days are easier than others but at the moment the not-so-good days seem to be forcing their way to the forefront.

This was an emotional juggernaut of change which tested my resilience to the very limit. Things that have happened since then which I would previously probably have been able to deal with effectively and quickly now feel like issues on top of issues – double strength!

Sometimes, talking helps. Then sometimes, talking just causes more reflection which just fans the flames of sadness. I suppose everyone has to find a way to deal with stuff that suits them and the situation.
However, on the whole, I feel it is better to try and focus on the positives. This can be tricky and still the negative stuff tries to get in the way but counting your blessings has got to be more cheerful than constantly analysing your problems. Worrying and moping just breeds more of the same.

Despite my loss, I have a lot to be grateful for. It can be easy to take stuff for granted but perhaps it just means looking for those things a little harder. Then you just have to keep that focus! (easier said than done)

Do you struggle to focus on the positives? Do you count your blessings daily, or do your problems consume you and prevent you from seeing the good?

Focus On Your Blessings

Sometimes life is tricky.
Sometimes things go wrong.
Sometimes you feel out of place
Or like you don’t belong.
Sometimes bad things happen.
Sometimes you might feel scared.
But focus on the positives;
If you seek them, they’ll be there.
If your brain won’t stop whirring,
And you can’t sleep at night,
Step out of the darkness
And look into the light.
The bad things won’t vanish
But don’t let them consume
It just makes you miserable
And intensifies the gloom.
So focus on your blessings
And let them shine through.
Don’t let the negatives
Be what defines you.

Focus On Your Blessings is a short poem about life by Ms Moem.

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