Tag Archives: the x factor

Laugh Yer Ass Off

Yesterday, I took part in teaching a class. I prepared what I would speak about, dressed up for the occasion, and delivered my presentation. I received excellent feedback and felt I was behaving quite professionally.

After the lunch break, everybody was sitting and waiting for class to resume. I sat down and, right in front of everyone, I fell right through the chair, landing on my ass. We all laughed, my cheeks reddened (the ones on my face!) and we continued on.

As I sat there, trying not to guffaw, I realised that this was a hilarious lesson on not taking myself too seriously. I’d had an emotional week and I’d been feeling tired and fed up. It all felt like hard work. But I was proud of myself for getting through it and doing my best. And then I fell, bum in the air, in front of a room full of people.

Last night, I drank a glass of wine with my mother, watched ridiculous YouTube clips with my sister, and smashed open a coconut like I used to as a child on Hallowe’en. I slept in my childhood bed and didn’t get up until almost midday, skipping an all-day workshop that I could have attended.

If yesterday’s incident has taught me anything, it’s that I need to lighten up, have fun and enjoy life for what it is, instead of attempting to control everything and be perfect.

The funny thing is that, even if I do wind up bum in the air in front of everyone, we can all laugh about it, and the show still goes on.

keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Advertisements

Recession Ireland: A Whole New World?

Some of you will delight in me writing this. Others will be too indignant or alarmed to read on… Some will presume I’m having it off with Jim Corr and switch off. And then there are others, who will breathe a sigh of relief that, finally, somebody normal is speaking out about their thoughts and fears regarding what’s going on in the world. Someone without a background in economics or activism, politics or finance; somebody regular who’d never even heard of a default or a foreclosure or an NWO up until a year ago.

We can pretend like nothing’s changed. We have offices and kitchens and children to attend to. Christmas is fast approaching. And The X Factor final is on this weekend. But we cannot ignore the growing dole queues, the increasing break-ins, the persistence of the Occupy movement, and the unfair Budget cuts. Our children are growing up in an unprecedented era. Forget about the Púca – it’s the IMF that’s got everyone really scared.

Dole Queue in Cork

There is talk in certain circles that the economy is on the brink of total collapse (no surprise there). Some people are forecasting (and gleefully anticipating) the breakdown of all of society’s major institutions, which are finally losing their grip on the power they’ve wielded over the obedient public for far too long. Even prime time television is warning that we might have to revert to the punt. And if that happens, what little money we have left will be almost worthless.

If this actually occurs, so much will have to change. We won’t be able to afford oil or petrol, thus limiting trade and transport. We won’t have the option of buying new clothes or technology. We’ll have to return to self-sufficiency, which would be no bad thing.

These difficult circumstances would force us to come together as communities. We’d have to rely on agriculture and fishing. The long-suffering Irish farmers would be granted a new-found respect. Our lawyers and accountants and PR executives would have to be taught how to sow seeds and cut trees. Our scientists would be able to dedicate their time and genius to work on tapping into alternative sources of energy.

Fishing in Connemara

When I hear these outlandish but strangely plausible predictions, I try to imagine such a future. I guess we’d have to ration our food and our firewood. We’d only be able to afford enough petrol for one vehicle per village. We’d work in the daylight, and sleep beside one another in large fire-warmed living rooms. We’d have to darn our socks and put patches on worn sweater elbows. We’d drink fresh milk and eat lots of stew. We’d go back to natural remedies and energetic healing. We’d have time to sit with each other, to knit and play games and tell stories.

Is such a world even conceivable? And what about technology? Would our phones suddenly stop working? Would electricity fail? Without the companies that connect us, would the internet perish?

Oh, I’m all for getting rid of money-hungry, ethically challenged governments, multinationals and pharmaceuticals. And I look forward to the day when the food we eat isn’t laced with hormones, pesticides and preservatives. I would gladly embrace a time when we are content to live off the land. When we inhabit a world that refuses to be dominated by mass-produced fear. When we take the time, effort and courage to inform ourselves and think outside the government-constructed box. When we recognise real health and call a halt to the pumping of too-trusting populations with vaccines and medication and other hidden chemicals. I long for a land of free thinkers, where open minds and creativity are a valued commodity.

Despite my idealistic hopes, I also have doubts. I worry that, if things really do go belly up, not everyone will react favourably. Many will be shocked and scared, angry and incredulous. Parents will fight for their food and children will steal. The streets will see violence and riots and looting. Some will go hungry. Others will go mad.

Dublin City © Gearoid Muldowney

And I can’t help hypothetically grieving all the materialistic luxuries I currently enjoy. How would I cope without my car and my holidays abroad? What would I do without the ability to discover new music at the click of a mouse? How would I feel about the loss of lipstick and mascara? Could I welcome a world without the internet and blogging? And if money disappears and I can no longer pay rent, will I have to move home? Or would my landlord accept payment in poems and potatoes?

Then again, this may never happen and you’ll laugh when you remember the crazy blogger who once ranted about the possible links between sudden poverty and freedom. But if the alternative news reports do prove to be correct, at least I’ll have given you a heads up. To encourage you to spend some of the money that’s lying in fear in your bank account. To get yourself some practical essentials. To give you time to install a stove and stock up on rice and tins of tuna. To buy good winter boots and some quality clothes that’ll last longer than your usual purchases from Penneys. Better silly and safe than stubborn and sorry.

Whether or not this apocalypse-like scenario manifests, we cannot ignore the fact that change is in the air. Perhaps this upset and turmoil is a necessary step in our evolution. Masses of people are awakening and there is a definite shift in consciousness. This could be the New Earth that Eckhart Tolle wrote about. And a new way of thinking and living and being will emerge from the redundant ashes of the old world, like a phoenix, ready to take flight…

Deepak Chopra

Images: http://www.allthingswhisky.com/?p=499; http://www.indymedia.ie/article/92133; http://www.ballynahinch-castle.com/fishing-connemara; http://www.flickr.com/photos/gearoid/page10/; http://pinterest.com/pin/418493398/

So You Think You Hate Talent

Talent shows can take over and drag on like the chronic fatigue that follows a particularly nasty bout of the flu. Many people (myself included) give out about the hype and the nonsense and Simon Cowell’s ubiquitous smug head… People question the authenticity of the shows, claiming that they’re fixed. Others wonder at the negative impact all this may have on the spellbound competitors. It seems like a type of madness in the midst of all that is going wrong in the world. Will our country default and leave the Euro? Are we being lied to by most everyone who calls themselves an “authority”? Should we fight for what we believe and not take all of this lying down? Who cares? The X Factor competition has gone into deadlock this week. And it’s never happened before this series…

Having said that, what’s so awful about a bit of avoidance therapy? There’s nothing like burying your head in the sand as the economy crashes down on top of you. And what’s so bad about wanting others to succeed in a time of failure? About hearing stories of courage in the face of adversity? About watching a performance that brings tears to your eyes or makes you clap in astonishment?

Here are a few reasons why talent shows are my guilty pleasure…

Okay, so she’s mad as a brush but that’s what made her audition so amazing. In your face, judgemental folk!

This next performance had the entire panel in tears…

Leona Lewis’ version of Summertime is sensationally spine-tingling…

Silhouettes is creative and innovative and especially great if you love a good sob story…

And then there are the likes of this… Talk about car crash television! One could argue that this video represents the craziness of talent shows in general- the bloodthirsty judges, what constitutes “talent” and the extreme lengths the contestants go to to obtain fame and riches…

Feel free to share your favourites…

Featured Image: http://www.graphicshunt.com/wallpapers/images/many_stars-1913.htm

On the floor

The last time I ventured to the pub was about three months ago with my then boyfriend in the Donegal Gaeltacht, where the most outrageous thing anyone did was speak English. The last time I got drunk was about six months ago with an old college friend, when we had Thai food with our wine and spent the following day blaming the takeaway for the annihilation of our insides (as you do). And I can’t even remember the last time I set foot inside a club. Does watching self-proclaimed guidos fist pump on Jersey Shore count?

And you know how when you haven’t done something in a while, you wonder if you could even remember how to do it? It’s part lack of energy after a recent flu; part rawness after a recent break-up; part fear- I think I’ve put on weight, I don’t have anything nice to wear, I don’t remember how to small-talk; part sense- memories of extreme exhaustion after a 7am finish, a night spent hugging the toilet bowl (it was a night on the tiles all right!), hangovers so bad you rue the day alcohol was discovered. Damn you, rotten fruit! And part downright laziness at the thought of having to choose an outfit, do the hair and makeup, and stand around in heels all night. Effort. I think I’ve developed a mental block.

But after three weekends in a row of calling over to my mam’s for chips and a two-hour sentence of The X Factor, where the most daring thing I did was drink tea after 11pm, I think it’s time I worked on my social life.

I’m told I need to get out there (code for showcase my talents- I have a large chest- in order to date around). But do I really want to find a man in a swirling sea (maybe I shouldn’t have had that last Cuba Libre) of checked shirts and shark-like smiles? It’s dangerous choosing a partner when you’re both sporting beer goggles (Why do they call them beer goggles anyway? Goggles help you see. They should be called beer shades. Because they blot out the light. But I digress. I do that when I try to avoid an issue.)

On the one hand, I’m not bothered with all the pretending that goes on on a night out… fake tan, false eyelashes, concealer… pretending that everything’s funny, pretending that this club doesn’t suck rear end, pretending that you can walk in those heels and that your feet aren’t burning… Plus, I don’t want to get so drunk that I lose the following day (or my mammy’s chips).

On the other hand, I miss dancing to the latest Rihanna number, making an effort with my appearance and being told it’s paid off by a random hottie (even if he is hauled outside by the bouncers three minutes later for being too drunk) and cackling at dirty jokes with a gaggle of mates.

I don’t have to drink too much (famous last words). My eyelashes and tan (or lack thereof- I didn’t have a sun holiday this year, okay?) will be real. And I might wear flats. Who’s with me?

Images: http://myspace-fusion.com/graphics/photography/index.php?page=6; http://willberwillberforce5333.wordpress.com/tag/willber-willberforce/page/159/; http://bahalwan.de/gallery/fashion/MicheleWaldmeyer/

Featured Image: http://2812photography.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/dance-floor/

PMS: Petty Manic Screaming

You’re cranky and difficult, and if someone even looks at you funny, you burst into floods of tears. The X Factor‘s auditionees’ stories are “just so heartbreaking”. And your boyfriend/co-worker/boss/sibling/parent is wrecking your head. You take everything out of context and twist it so it’s clear to you that there’s a conspiracy against you and your kind. In between arguments and sulks, you inhale Galaxy bars and Hunky Dorys. You look in the mirror at your bloated belly and convince yourself that you must be pregnant even though the last guy to inspect your nether regions was the gynaecologist a year and a half ago. Your boobs hurt so damn much and as for the back pain… You’re just about to check yourself in to a mental institution before you kill someone, ruin all your dearest relationships, go up a number of dress sizes, and fly into a fury not too dissimilar from Nicolas Cage in most of his movies when you take a look at your calendar and it all makes sense. You’re pre-menstrual.

Follow these simple steps as you ride the rough terrain of pre-menstrual syndrome (it’s called a “syndrome” so this is a serious matter):

1) See it for what it is

You may be baffled and terrified by your mood swings but recognise that there’s a reason for them. Your hormones are all over the place at the moment. So, give yourself permission to shed some tears over the latest evictee on Project Runway and to let go completely as you throw a tantrum over dropping your fork. Get it out. Treat yourself like a bold child. Allow yourself to scream and wail. You’ll tire out eventually.

2) Get on with it

Some medical professionals argue that PMS is a socially constructed disorder. If they knew what was good for them, they probably didn’t drop that bombshell when there were any pre-menstrual women around. As real (and horrible) as it is, don’t allow it to take over your life for a whole week every single month. It’s there and it’s awful but you know why you’re feeling this way. However, the more you focus on it, the bigger it’ll become. So, just get on with things.

3) Exercise

Gentle exercise will help with the mood and with the cramps. Take a long walk by the river. Go for a jog. Get down the gym. Yoga/dancing/martial arts also work a treat. And the activity will take your mind off of the horror of THE SYNDROME.

4) Natural remedies

My mother swears by Evening Primrose to keep her body in balance. It helps with breast tenderness, cramps and dips in mood. Vitamin B6 and Magnesium are also beneficial.

5) Don’t make any important decisions

When I was a teenager and not yet used to the onslaught of this crazy syndrome, I wrote in large letters on numerous pages of my diary: “Sharon is not here at the moment. Do not make any important decisions when you’re due your period.” You’re not thinking rationally at the moment so remind yourself of this when you’re considering breaking it off with your long-term boyfriend or handing in your notice at work. In Muslim law, one male witness is equivalent to two females. Apparently, this is partly due to the emotional disturbances, lack of concentration, memory loss, and slow-mindedness that women are said to experience once a month. This probably infuriates a lot of you but, just in case there’s the slightest grain of truth in it, why not hold off on putting your annoying dog on Buy & Sell and emigrating to Dubai?

6) Chill

It’ll all be over soon so just go with it and relax. Take a long soak in a bubble bath. Put on your favourite relaxing music, light some candles, and pour yourself a large glass of red. At least you’ll keep yourself out of trouble for a bit, plus you’ll be giving your nearest and dearest a well-deserved breather.

PMS is uncomfortable, infuriating and confusing but, luckily, it does come to an end. And the more in balance your body is, the less these symptoms will affect you. Good nutrition, exercise, relaxation, and natural remedies will help. Also, understanding why you’re feeling this way will make it more bearable. And don’t worry, you’re not the only one acting like a maniac.

For all you guys out there, don’t think you’re getting off lightly. You act like spoiled children every now and then too. Man flu, anyone? If Michael Douglas was a woman, his meltdown in Falling Down would probably be put down to PMS.