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“Ok people. We are going to try something a little DIFFERENT TODAY… WE are going to write an essay.. of no less than a 1000 words describing to me who you think you are.. and when I say essay I mean essay. I do NOT mean a single word repeated a 1000 times… is that clear!? Maybe you’ll learn a little something about yourself…” BREAKFAST CLUB, 1985

Creativity takes Courage’ Henri Matisse

‘Get creative Becki!…” my friend texts. “Just BE creative!”. “Do something creative..”.

You’re a creative person.. go write!’ a friend from a previous writing class slights.

A bit of direction here would be nice. I think. To myself.

I sit down. With my laptop. And stare at the screen in front of me. Amazing.. just amazing what that Steve Jobs achieved.. I let my mind wander.

Whoever said I’m creative. I sigh. So much pressure. I pull up word and type a few words..

The coffee barista is giggling in the distance with her colleague and I feel a stab of envy.

I think of an idea to write about and write a page and a half of drivel. And delete. I look back at the barista. Who is now being chatted up by two builders it seems. I wish it was the bald builders I smile to myself. Funny guys. I look back at the now blank screen before me.

Envy has no place in this passing moment of time. I tell myself.

Pressure. The word pops around my head like the cork of a champagne bottle bouncing around aggressively. Triggered by some outside source, that of which has crept in to my psyche subconsciously.

GOTTA BE MORE GOTTA DO MORE! Dead Poets Society… 

I decide to put Queen’s ‘Pressure’ on my Spotify. It seems fitting for this moment.

Thinking about pressure – *the more I think the less I do* I decide to procrastinate for a little while longer.

So I flick up my facebook page. A few baby pics. I’d hate to upset the parents here but generally baby pics do all look pretty much the same. Sorry… all cute though. A few people shaking their *virtual* fists trying to save the world. Good on you! I whisper silently to the screen.

I *scroll down*.. Some engagement photos. Some wedding photos. Someone’s holiday pics. Fuck.

EVERYONE’s life is so much better than mine!!! The thought dashes in before I can stop it.

They are even in a snazzier coffee shop, that serves unlimited fucking tea. Tsk.

I spend another ten minutes beating myself up whilst perusing others posts. Then decide to search for the realists…. “I’m going bald and I’ve just been dumped!!!” a friend has posted. I giggle to myself sadistically.

Phew. I can always rely on *Dave to keep it real. Who was that guy I dated a few years back… I ponder. I wonder what he’s up to..

I receive a text. ‘How’s ‘being creative’ going?!’ it queries. They are trying to be helpful I remind myself.

‘I’m in the coffee shop now. With my laptop’. I reply.. steering my way around the question. ‘Great!’ they reply. I’m amused by their reply. I pull up my ex.

OMG. He’s married! When did that happen! WTF. He said he wouldn’t touch any of his colleagues..?! *A pilot and she a flight attendant…Well. Good for them. Thank god I don’t have any feelings for him anymore. She could have the decency to be ugly though.

And here it is. The grand late 30’s. Where time has flashed before my eyes faster than well. Pretty bloody fast. Where one takes pelvic floor tightening a bit more seriously. *Just in case*.. because 40 is closer than 30. I wipe a tear away at that reality. 30’s are also the new 20’s I tell myself.

“You know.. Rebecca you could have a baby now you now…”. my mothers words to me last time we spoke. To which I tortly replied ‘Oh REALLY can I!?!?! Thank you for the permission’.

Pressure. Rules.

Teenage years you’re pressurised to NOT get pregnant for fear of bringing shame and sluttiness upon the family. And then the late 30’s the pressure to start popping a few out.

I deactivate social media to save myself from the mind control, time stealing and comparing – and look back at my screen.

“Good artists copy, the geniuses steal” ~ Pablo Picasso (1881-1973).

I slam the laptop shut.

One of the young lads is cleaning cutlery next to me. He has a grumpy scowl. I titter to myself in amusement. *Ive done all the ‘cleaning’ jobs in my youth so I feel I’m allowed some allowance*

‘Wax on. Wax off’. I say to him. He furrows his brow. And I don’t think he understands what I mean. “Wax on wax off?” his colleague smirks…

Wax on. Wax off. And don’t forget to breathe. Very important.

Very fashionable mindfulness is these days. You’ve been doing it all your life and you’ve probably just forgotten it. You don’t need to pay £50. Just wax on. Wax ..off..

I walk home. And pull out some old photos.. That capture some of my younger experiences. That I never thought that would be *so far my best experiences.. I think about the Labyrinth and how she defeats the Goblin King and I reflect on all the layers that film has. I think about all the friends I haven’t seen for a long time. And those that I haven’t told them that I miss them. Or how I feel.

I think about one of my best friends who committed suicide just three months ago. Someone whose life seemed perfect. On facebook anyway. And I think about pressure. And how it doesn’t need to be this way..

And should you need me… I’m always here. And I’m sorry for not saying that I need you too.

Dedicated to Ryan Hall. Rest in peace and get to heaven safely. Still devastated. I’m sorry you didn’t feel you could talk to me. Becki Xx

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My phone beeps.. “I have three letters for you Becky…”..

“You must give me your number before you leave Becky!”. It’s moving day and I’m carrying boxes up and down the stairs passing the open door of my neighbour’s flat as I go. He’s in his usual position lying on his bed, a ciggie hanging out of his mouth, his door wide open watching people’s movements as they go about their day.

“Er ok” I shout back. It’s not that I don’t like him – it’s more.. well. He’s a big scary bloke, thirty years older and his attempted murder story kinda freaked me out…. ‘when people show you who they are believe them the first time’ Maya Angelou… I think to myself.  

I manage to avoid exchanging numbers for a while.. until one day.. I am back cleaning the flat before I hand the keys in.. my phone is in my hand and I bump into him on the stairs.

“Oh you should give me your number!” he exclaims. I look down at the phone in my hand. He looks down at the phone in my hand. And we look at each other. And I give him my number. He taps it into his phone and hits save, then the ‘RING’ button. My phone rings.

I knew he was going to do that I think. He looks at me and I smile.

“Ok see ya Becky” he mutters. It’s Beckiiii I want to say. But I remember that this is a vocal conversation in realtime.

A week later my phone beeps.. “I have three letters for you Becky…”… I’d been wondering where my post had gone. I’d been popping in to the old address everyday to pick it up but there had been nothing there. Grrrr. I think.

I sit staring at my computer screen drumming my fingers on the desk. And try to think of a get out clause. I decide the best answer is to avoid the situation. But I can’t concentrate. I type in the words ‘meditate’ into google. I decide I need some sort of helping hand to peace and stress free living.. I then type in ‘London… meditation” and up pops The Buddhapadipa Temple. I put my coat on and head out the door.

I walk up to the temple and am shocked at its size and beauty. Unaware that London held such a treasure. Oh wow.. I think.. bigger than it looks in its photos. I head in to the temple for the 4pm meditation and sit on the bench unsure of what I am meant to do. One of the men meditating turns and looks at me.. “beginner???” he asks. “Yes!” I whisper back glad he has asked.

“Come with me!” he says..

“Er… ok!” I reply quietly. We head upstairs in to a small but intricately decorated room and sit down each on a cushion.

Another girl of a similar age to me joins us.

“So.. what do you know about meditation?” he asks us both. We begin to discuss meditation and the mind..

“Pyschology is still very underdeveloped” he tells us.. “a lot of it they turn to Buddhism for…what do you want to achieve with meditation…?”

“Well. I guess I want to be able to control my thoughts”. I say… in the hope that one can wake up instantaneously positive everyday “Screw you negative thought!!” BAM replace it with a positive one. You know. That kind of thing.

“Yeah that’s what I want too” the girl sitting next to me exclaims.

“Hmmm. That is impossible..” he says.. “maybe in other meditations but not in this one…”. Damn! I think.

“Take a look at the Buddha” he says. The girl and I both look at the huge gold Buddha towering over us. “How do you think it got so shiny?”

One of the monks passes through the room and the meditation teacher and he bow.

“Erm…polishing…” the girl nexts to me replies. “Exactly! We believe what you achieve with meditation is a polishing of the mind… so all the best thoughts can come to the surface…but it takes practice…”

My mind wanders… wax on wax off.. wax on wax off… Karate Kid.. ?! I think.. making the connection. And then swiftly remember why I went there in the first place. Focus.. focus Becki. Becki with an i not with a y.

For the next hour and a half we practice mindful walking and sitting meditation.

“Mindfulness… the opposite of distraction…!” he exclaims.

We walk up and down the room slowly with our eyes closed…

“The experience… it is about the experience” he whispers… wax on… wax… my mind tries to take over. And as we practice I notice the faint sound of an owl hooting in the distance.

We then join the monk in the main room, and bow. The other girl has left so it is now just me, the teacher and the monk… “would you like to come for a cup of tea in the house?” the teacher turns and asks me after two hours of meditation “Sure!” I smile. Happy to be invited and surprised that that was really two hours long.

We sit around the large table… and as the only English girl in the room I feel a bit out of place. The discussion is in thai and so I sit drinking my tea quietly. The monk says a few things in English to make me feel more comfortable. Everyone is smiling and the mood is warm. The biscuits keep getting pushed my way. I try to explain that I’m trying to practise mindful eating.

And as I leave and walk up the road with a happy feeling… I think… “Wow.. that was unexpected…” and my phone beeps… “Becky the letters r here…”

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” Buddha

I put my phone back in my pocket and decide to concentrate on the present feeling. The unexpected warmth I had just encountered… and the happiness that had invoked..

Have a good week,

Becki Bx

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“At the end of the day… companies company Becki…” he says staring out the window.

I peer at him. Interesting. I think.

For the past few years, I’ve been living in a series of places that might constitute an appearance on the Jeremy Kyle show. My belief has been – keep yourself to yourself and get in and out as quickly as possible. That was doable. For a while. If one of the men hadn’t had his front door open at all times. He was aware of when one left the building and when one arrived. He was watching you and your every move. Living in a place like that my first rule of thumb… keep your neighbours sweet.

And so my movements started with a… keep looking down when leaving the building don’t say hi and don’t make eye contact.

But what to do when interaction becomes enforced. Your post, for instance starts being pushed under your door.

“I’m delivering your post for you Becki! Can’t trust no one here!” the man from downstairs shouts through the door.

I looked down at the post shoved under my front door.. I really wish he wouldn’t do that I find myself thinking.

CONTACT INITIATED.

Now everytime you leave your apartment and pass his (as it’s on the way down) he asks “did you get your post?”.

The conversation initiation that one might have been avoiding.

“Yes, yes thank you I did…” one replies. And he grins. Like he is your friend. And you are aware that you live in the same building. And making enemies. Well. That’s not a good start. Please leave my post where it is.. you don’t need to… gosh where is my assertiveness when I need it.

And this is the fear. Fear of being a woman living alone.

And so you’re not really sure if you like/trust him. But you don’t want him to dislike you. After all, he has taken his position looking after the building. And he is pulling you with an invisible cord to interact and what just what are you to do. And so you find yourself sitting on his sofa indulging in a cup of tea.

“Attempted murder Becki… that’s how I ended up in these parts”. Ok. He tells me his side of the story. Gosh. Sounds like nothing at all I can’t believe he nearly got done for that I found myself thinking as I listened to his chit chat. But I am aware of male charm. Self pity. And to keep boundaries safe. “So tell me about yourself.. what’s your story” he asks “Everyone has a story”.

I look up at the clock. “Is that the time?” I ask… moving towards the door and seeing a flicker of irritation on his face.

I think about my main focus in life: look at the light, live in the light and stay in the light.

I dash out the door with a cheery ‘thanks for the tea’.

My phone rings. I answer

“Hey! Wanna watch Twin Peaks tonight? Or Cabin in the Woods” my friend questions.

“How about a bit of Mary Poppins?” I reply.

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‘I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy’ Dalai Lama

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Those of you who read this blog regularly might know that I was.. WAS writing a letter a week to David Cameron. I got to writing about nine letters all in all. Campaigning for the rights of abuse survivors. I experienced many feelings on this (difficult) road to justice. Anger, leading to confusion… to disappointment. I did receive a few responses from Downing St. The letters generally said that my concerns had been forwarded to the Health Minister and that Mr Cameron did not have time to meet with me. Oh. Ok then. I suppose my main battle has been with being heard. Or feeling not heard. Then feeling exposed.. then just feeling quite simply disappointed. Changing things whether it is a system or yourself is pretty darn tough and takes a lot of perseverance. And it is also very important that one keeps a check on oneself. Where to draw inspiration from?

Recently I got a book from the library on the influential psychologists Jung’s life. He makes a point about the midlife crisis:

“Jung describes the enchanting case of a very pious man he knew who was a churchwarden. He gradually grew more and more fanatical and intolerant about religious and moral matters until by the time he was 40 he had become ‘a darkly lowering pillar of the church’. Then one night, when he was 55, he suddenly sat up in bed and announced to his wife that he had just realized he was actually ‘a plain rascal’. Apparently then he spent his declining years in a feast of riotous living, wasting most of his accumulated fortune. Jung remarks that he was obviously a likeable person, capable of both extremes’. p77, Jung, Teach Yourself Psychology. 

In life we go through many different changes in our psyche. What Jung teaches is that it’s important to always move forward with the flow of life. To not get stuck in previous stages of development. A directed life being more healthier and fruitful than an aimless one.

Every human connection we make- I believe is for a reason. Lately I have had a few repeated lessons fed to me. Sometimes when history repeats itself I believe perhaps it’s because I did not pay enough attention to learning that lesson the first time. Today I spent the day with an 82 year old political refugee. He has in his lifetime experienced a lot of loss and pain. But when we talked about how he is feeling.. he told me ‘I am happy!’. He gets up.. everyday at 6am and goes for a jog! And is generally pretty happy. For the past three years he has been learning english. Not out of desire but out of situation. He has taught me that none of us are ever too old – we never stop learning.. and it is never too late. Don’t let societal pressure make you believe you are past it. Whatever age you are.

If the body is content, we virtually ignore it. The mind, however, registers every event, no matter how small. Hence we should devote our most serious efforts to bringing about mental peace. Dalai Lama

And so I stopped writing to David Cameron. Because I didn’t believe anymore. In my idea? Or that they would listen and take note? Actually you can stand up and voice an opinion – and it doesn’t matter how much passion is behind it, it doesn’t mean people will listen or indeed care. But that is just another life lesson. And it doesn’t mean one shouldn’t try. It simply means that from time to time – we will all find ourselves dealing with disappointment.  It’s always good to create a different strategy.

Have a good week..

Becki Bx

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MUSIC + RECOMMENDATIONS

ROBIN GREY

I  just went to see Robin Grey headline at the Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell. An intelligent and amusing East London writer, performer and promoter (I used to live next door to him which is now not so easy as he lives on a Canal Boat)..

 I’m hoping to film him soon for ohDearyme – but for now check out his music here:

www.robingrey.com

NEIL COUSIN

Apparently that bloke Jarvis Cocker played him on BBC6 Music on Sunday. And I feel honoured to also preview him on my site. Signed to independent label Oilbug (an independent label run by four people in  a  Cambridgshire farm house in the middle of nowhere – and I’m told it’s as weird as it sounds.. I want to go there!). Here is Neil Cousin (pictured below) who releases his full album ‘Bonfire’ on the 5th November.

More on Soundcloud here:

www.oilbugmusic.com 

LYLE OWERKO

Also on my radar – is Whisper Gallery and XOYO present ‘The Boombox Project’ launch night with Das Racist gig on Thursday 1st December at XOYO 32-37 Cowper Street, London EC2A 4AP, 8pm.

The Boombox Project is the first time New York based filmmaker and photographer Lyle Owerko’s prints will be displayed in the UK (apparently the V&A recently acquired one of Owerko’s boomboxes for their permanent collection).

Whisper Gallery is run by Jamie Wood and represents excellent contemporary artists such as D*Face (I’ve never forgotten D*Face’s exhibition in Old St a few years back – blew my mind). If you cannot afford the £12 don’t worry because Lyle Owerko’s work will be free to view at the Whisper Gallery from the 9th December until the 14th January.

www.whisperfineart.co.uk

PEGGY SUE

And last but never least I’m also recommending Peggy Sue who have just dropped their album Acrobats. Here is a peak from the Bands in Transit crew here:

Did you get to the end of my epic post today?! Or have you wondered off… well….. if you’re still here I will leave Tuesday’s thought with a quote:

‘It’s not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It’s the customer who pays the wages.’ Henry Ford

Peace

Becki Bx


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