April 17, 2012

Forgetting Love in Everyday Life

Posted in Lifestyle tagged , at 10:50 pm by potofcallaloo

Photo by Aunty Owwee

Everyone likes to talk about how the world is devoid of love.

We lament its absence in the world, when we hear tragic news stories of war and crime, but fail to pick out glaring instances where we show a lack of it in our own lives towards others.

We preach love, but we don’t share it.

Love is kindness, yet we don’t give it.

While on the bus today a very feeble old lady boarded. As usual with these hasty bus drivers, the bus took off so quickly she hadn’t the chance to sit. She stood where she was, gripping onto the pole for dear life, and terror was etched across her face.

I remembered when I couldn’t walk on a moving bus. And I thought of my bad days when my pains are so awful it hurts to walk, but I have to anyway.

Kindness doesn’t cost a thing

I offered my tiny seat which was nearest to her, but she was reluctant. So I offered to help her to a more spacious seat.

She seemed shocked at this, and now I understand why.

People are so inconsiderate and selfish, that even when it costs them nothing to show a little love and kindness they don’t.

Anyway, given my feet problems and issues with balance, I almost lost it while helping her to her seat. Thank heavens I grabbed the pole in the nick of time!

The well built 30-something year old man sitting mere inches from us, tapping away at a game on his phone, stared at our every move, yet never offered to help.

We get what we give

We managed to make it to the seat in one piece nevertheless.  Two stops later, a group of about 10 elderly ladies leaving some older chic gathering got on board, and there weren’t enough seats for them.

The same athletic man paused from his game to watch them scurry about looking for seats, but never offered, though he was sitting in one of those specially reserved for the disabled or elderly.

I gave up my seat, and the elderly lady was so kind to ask me if I was sure I wanted to. She or any of them could have been my Ma. And I know if my Ma had to travel on her own back home, I’d like someone to offer her their seat.

But people don’t think about these things – like how we will get back what we give. So when we fail to be kind to others because it’s an inconvenience to our laziness and selfishness, that suits us fine. But when others fail to be kind to us, we throw a fit about how the world has changed.

Anyway, when the seat I was standing next to became free, another the older Aunties looked at it and I told her she should sit. She asked me if I didn’t want to instead. Imagine, the 70-something year old showing concern and kindness to me!  It really warmed my heart to know that some people still think of others. Although she was the one who clearly needed the seat more than me.

And, it also made me reconsider getting that walking stick so next time I can accidentally poke that dude who was simply too unconcerned to offer his seat to those who needed it most.

For your consideration:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails

Photo by Lel4nd

Where do you see a lack of love in everyday life?

March 29, 2012

When Forevers become Temporary

Posted in Lifestyle tagged , , , , , at 4:36 am by potofcallaloo

PHoto b yCarbonNYC

Life has a funny way of taking some forevers and turning them into temporaries (and vice versa but that talk’s for another day)

Consider the myriad of ways in which this plays out. You know when some people plan and dream or hope for forever with someone special, and they’re so convicted that it’s with  that soul forever will be, only to get a bitter let down of ‘oops it was a temporary.’

Or like when a forever friend is no longer there, sometimes because the friendship has run its course, or sometimes because something got in the way. Like death.

When forevers morph into temporaries it can be devastating no matter what your forever was. Though, I have some friends who would love the West Indies Cricket Team’s forever-losing-streak to become a temporary.

But not those kind of instances I mean.  I’m referring to the more serious kinds of life alterations that really change people or affect them immensely. I’ve been thinking about why this happens, and how, if one could, lessen the impact of a forever turning into a temporary.

The Nature of Life

Now, I know people say nothing in life lasts forever. So us mortal earthlings like to say. But for the purpose of this blog let’s say forever is a lifetime ok?

What do you do when a forever dream, friend, love, hope, purpose… becomes lost to the temporary or ever-changing nature of life? Do you let go and try to move on? Or for those things that are impossible to let go of, do you pack them away in your internal closet, knowing they’ll be with you forever and just pretend to carry on? (Imagine things fall through with your soul mate, or your life-long career dream, then what?)

Or is it better to not expect any forevers at all, and in this way avoid hurt? So when marriage becomes divorce, love becomes bitter or friends are lost by untimely deaths, we can more easily adjust. Would it be easier?

Nelly Furtado’s haunting lyrics in All Good Things allude to the fleeting nature of life. She sings ‘Flames to dust/ Lovers to friends/Why do all good things come to an end?’

I’d like to know. Of course no amount of questions we ask will alter the nature of life, but maybe by asking questions we might be able to find ways of better transitioning through its disappointing vicissitudes.

Though, tangibles won’t last in this life just as we are but dust in the wind, the greatest consolation probably lies in the fact that there are some things that will always remain: hope, faith and love.

Have you had to deal with a forever turning into a temporary? What was it and how did you deal with the change?
It would be great to hear your thoughts!

March 11, 2012

Food for Bullies

Posted in Lifestyle tagged , , , at 12:07 am by potofcallaloo

Photo by Chesi-Fotos

We are a society failing the victims of bullying, while fuelling and feeding those doing the dirty work.

Every time we turn a blind eye or ear to the cries, complaints and pleas of our young people, our colleagues at work, family and friends, and let bullies go unpunished, we are failing our own.

We failed 14 year old Eden Wormer.

She committed suicide on Wednesday after enduring two years of unrelenting bullying, by classmates at the Cascade Middle School in Vancouver, Washington.

Eden’s sister said she tried desperately to fit in. She dyed her hair, tanned her skin, got contact lenses but the bullies never stopped.

She cried, and took her plight public, with frequent posts on Facebook that sent glaring red lights signalling trouble.

The Impact

We don’t know if anyone took notice, but on Wednesday Eden gave up and ended her life.

Her school has said it’s investigating to see if she ever reported the incidents, while Vancouver police said they haven’t found any evidence to suggest that “the bullying rose to the level of a crime.”


How many more Edens must die or suffer before society realises the devastating impact of bullying on its victims? Bullying is a form of abuse.

Apparently, one media house said it only became aware of the tragedy while investigating the case of another student, Izaya Hamilton, who suffered a black eye, bruises and a bump on the head at the hands of bullies.

Bullying takes on many different forms, and can form part of verbal, emotional abuse and physical abuse. I can only assume that society’s failure to act is due to sceptism over the seriousness of bullying. Any uncertainty or denial in that regard can easily be fixed by examining the evidence.
There’s no shortage of statistics, examples or research pointing to the ramifications of bullying in the school, workplace or home.

How to help

Bullying isn’t uncommon, and as someone who has suffered from it, I have firsthand experience of how dismissive people can be when it’s reported (people meaning society, those in authority and yes, even our loved ones!).

Some people even try to blame victims, suggesting that it’s probably something they did unintentionally to prod others into bullying them.

It gets that crass.

These attitudes do NOT help victims of bullying.

Among other things, anti-bullying charities say we can actually help by:

∙ Listening
∙ Taking victims seriously and reassuring them

∙ Helping come up with a plan of action

∙ Reporting it to those in authority

No one should have to endure being hurt like this.

Take a stand against bullying.

February 23, 2012

Hunting for an Egg Hog

Posted in Art & Culture tagged , , , , , , at 5:41 pm by potofcallaloo

Artist Vicky Scott and her Egg Hog

Don’t be surprised if you’re skipping through London one of these days and you notice a most curious sight.

Everywhere you turn, the most striking giant eggs are sitting about in the most arbitrary of places, staring right back at you.

Right up until April 3, you could find yourself in the middle of The Big Egg Hunt ! (dum da dum dum…)

200 eggs specially crafted by leading artists, designers, jewellers and architects have been hidden across Central London as part of a massive charity egg hunt.

You’ll likely encounter some very intriguing eggs, standing two and a half feet tall, including ones painted as the classical Humpty Dumpty, the iconic red British letterbox, and even a tea sipping Egg Hog !

The artist and illustrator Vicky Scott is involved in the project, and is behind the gorgeous Egg Hog which has already been hidden somewhere in the capital.

Find Vicky’s Egg Hog

Vicky spent several weeks working tirelessly on this super cool Egg Hog which reflects her many moods as an artist.

Take a glimpse of her portfolio and you’ll find haunting art fusing the eclectic styles of 1920s art deco with the funk of 60s psychedelia and Art Noveau.

Vicky Scott Illustration

Vicky’s art dabbles in a bit of this and that, and in the same vein you’ll find that her images are produced with paper collages, paints and Photoshop, juxtaposing the old with the new, the past with the present. Her Egg Hog is just another addition to her unique and impressive artistic expressions.

If you’re interested in seeing Vicky’s Egg Hog, enlist your family and friends and join in on this huge egg hunt adventure.

A public challenge has been issued, and it’s not going to be as easy as you might think finding these eggnormous prizes. So if you fancy yourself as having Sherlock genes, then whip out your detective hat and eggsplore every nook and cranny of London to find these gems.

The event is organised by the charities Elephant Family and Action for Children, and at the end of the hunt, the eggs will go on auction.




February 12, 2012

A Legend Gone

Posted in Art & Culture, Lifestyle tagged , , , , at 3:09 am by potofcallaloo

Whitney Houston is dead.

Photo by Alisha Nurse

No matter how many times I read it, or see these words plastered across international news websites, this harsh reality is hard to come to terms with.

The world is mourning the loss of this celebrated songstress whose soulful, powerful voice once bellowed distinctively incomparable notes that could move even the coldest of us to tears.

CBS describes her as being born into “greatness.” And who could dispute that?  She was the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston, cousin of pop diva Dionne Warwick and goddaughter of Aretha Franklin.

She gave us many award winning hits which I know I don’t have to name, because whichever generation you’re from you know them, and you’re probably listening to them right now, as you reminisce with me and the rest of the world.

Whitney performing at Good Morning America promotional concert in New York


Her influence was great, is great I should say.

But her successful career was eclipsed by drug abuse and a turbulent marriage to Bobby Brown.

No one forgot about her though.

When it was announced she’d be making a comeback in 2009, fans went ballistic.

My two friends and I queued for hours outside New York’s Central Park in 2009 to see her perform.

The press gave her bad reviews, as the toll of drug abuse on her once strong vocals became obvious.

Love for Whitney

But the fans at Central Park didn’t care.

Overcome by emotion during her performance of I Look to You

We were happy to see Whitney rebounding. As we sung along to I Look to You, I came close to tears.

And I wasn’t the only one.

Whitney couldn’t hit the notes as she did in the past, but this was her testimony. She was openly sincere, and vulnerable before us thousands, lifting her hands to the heavens in gratitude, as her emotions overtook her.

Our world is all the poorer for having lost Whitney. But she still graced us with her presence for 48 years. During that time she’s inspired us, taught us many life lessons, and left us a great legacy that will never be forgotten.

RIP Whitney Houston.

Whitney shares the stage with her daughter Bobbi Kristina

February 6, 2012

The ϢЯong Side of 25

Posted in Lifestyle tagged , , , , at 2:42 pm by potofcallaloo

The 20s and 30s should be full of cheer

Photo by Candice Ashby (GummyPiglet.Photography)

People laugh when I talk about it, but it’s not that funny when you wake up on the wrong side of 25 only to realise you haven’t accomplished all the things you thought you would have.

Let’s see, that’s the relationship, the career, the decent bank savings, the mortgage… everything basically.

This, after investing years of time, money, energy, emotions, and did I mention energy? into studying, and building relationships and bonds that you hope would mature into fruitful products in due course.

When these efforts fail to materialise into enriching 20 & 30-something lives with direction, this can be very stressful and depressing for some young adults like myself. This woeful period is called the quarter life crisis.

No I did not just make that up.

Just Google ‘quarter life crisis’ and see the slew of search results it brings up.

Quarter life Crisis

You may be sceptical about it, seeing that only mid 40-something year olds have been thought to suffer from life crises.

But according to research (and frequent chats with my friends), I am not the only 20 or 30 something year old going through this.

British Researcher Oliver Robinson says that the quarter life crisis usually happens between 25 and 35, when young people are feeling the pressure to succeed in relationships, finances and careers before hitting 30.

Of the 1,100 young people he surveyed last year, 32% said they were under pressure to marry and have kids by 30; two in five worried over not earning enough, and 21% wanted a total career change.

And apparently one third of all people in their 20s feel depressed.

Happy Ending?

Not to mention the recent global recession has added to our woes, leaving in its wake millions of fresh faced graduates to compete for jobs with already unemployed, or job hunting 20 and 30-something year old professionals.

Nevermind. Both daddy and Robinson say our troubles won’t last: S

The quarter life crisis can be a catalyst for change, eventually leading us to build new promising lives for ourselves, Robinson says.

He explains that we usually pass through the following five phases of the quarter life crisis:

Phase 1 – A feeling of being trapped by your life choices. Feeling as though you are living your life on autopilot.
Phase 2 – A rising sense of “I’ve got to get out” and the feeling that you can change your life.
Phase 3 – Quitting the job or relationship or whatever else is making you feel trapped and embarking on a “time out” period where you try out new experiences to find out who you want to be.
Phase 4 – Rebuilding your life.
Phase 5 – Developing new commitments more attuned to your interests and aspirations.

If the panic has started to set in, hopefully you won’t don’t dilly dally too much. Apparently it can take us as long as two years to pass through the crisis.

See you on the other side! (hopefully).

February 2, 2012

Fighting Fibromyalgia & Ignorance

Posted in Health tagged , , , , at 2:33 pm by potofcallaloo

Controversial Sun newspaper columnist Rod Liddle has caused a great upset among disabled people and sufferers of ME and fibromyalgia – people who he calls ‘the pretend disabled.’

People like me who suffer from debilitating, chronic muscle pain and exhaustion, along with a slew of symptoms that impact on our daily lives. People like me who live on strong pain killers and medicines just so we can get by. Yet, he calls us ‘the pretend disabled.’

In his latest column he writes, “My New Year’s resolution for 2012 was to become disabled. Nothing too serious, maybe just a bit of a bad back or one of those newly invented illnesses which make you a bit peaky for decades – fibromyalgia, or M.E.”

Liddle went on to say that being disabled is now “incredibly fashionable.”

“And being disabled is incredibly fashionable. The number of people who claim to be disabled has doubled in the past ten years.

“I think we should all pretend to be disabled for a month or so, claim benefits and hope this persuades the authorities to sort out the mess.

“It has become easier to claim those benefits, partly as a consequence of the disablement charities who, out of their own self-interest, insist that an ever-greater proportion of the population is disabled.”


The crass remarks have been condemned by many charities representing the disabled and people with these conditions.

Pressure group Social Welfare Advocacy responded by saying,

“Rod Liddle’s blatant and insensitive attack on sufferers of Fibromyalgia and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is absolutley disgraceful and unforgivable. Both of these conditions are extremely debilitating yet despite this many sufferers find it exceptionally difficult to successfully claim disability benefits which directly contradicts Mr Liddle’s claims that claiming disability benefits “is easy”. Whilst a few sufferers will be able to hold down a job with these conditions many more find it impossible and live in constant pain and agony despite the use of very powerful pain relief and pain management techniques.

On its Facebook page, local charity UK Fibromyalgia has called on the British public to boycott News International. The call has attracted a flurry of strong criticisms from its almost 3000 members.

Liddle and The Sun should apologise for this disgraceful article, which has since been removed from the newspaper’s website. It has caused great offence and hurt to the disabled and those of us battling against fibromyalgia and ME.

People like him make life even more difficult for sufferers, setting us back several steps in our struggle to make people aware that these conditions are very real and not all in our heads as some claim.

December 22, 2011

The Hobbit Trailer Released

Posted in Art & Culture tagged , , , , at 12:59 am by potofcallaloo

The trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is out!!

Part one to Peter Jackson’s prequel to the award winning The Lord of the Rings will be released in cinemas on December 14, 2012 and fans are already eagerly counting down the months.

Martin Freeman appears as a young Bilbo Baggins, while many of our favourites from TLOTR have reprised their roles.

Sir Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf, Andy Serkis as Gollum, and Cate Blanchett as elf queen Galadriel. Other cast members include Orlando Bloom, Ian Holm (as older Bilbo Baggins), Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Evangeline Lilly and Richard Armitage).

Whoopsi do! 12 more months to go!

Now Tolkien-ites! stop re playing the trailer! 🙂

September 6, 2011

Fibromyalgia Awareness

Posted in Health tagged , , , at 8:54 pm by potofcallaloo

“Fibromyalgia? what’s that?”, “something to do with fibroids?”, “never heard of.” These are some of the responses I get when I mention the word ‘fibromyalgia’ in conversation with people I encounter.

For a condition that affects possibly 1 in 20 people globally and drastically changes the lives of its sufferers, there seems to be little awareness of it. Fibromyalgia is a condition that’s characterised by widespread body pain and a host of other symptoms including:

-hypersensitivity to pain

-chronic exhaustion which can be debilitating


-regular dizziness

-cognitive issues like short and long term memory loss, problems concentrating

– inability to regulate body temperature

-depression and anxiety

‘Fibro’ means fibrous tissues, such as tendons (tissue that connects muscles to bones) and ligaments (tissue that connects bones to bones); ‘My’ means muscles and ‘algia’ means pain.

There is hardly anyone I know with fibromyalgia who can’t attest to how this dreadful condition impinges on our everyday lives.

Yet, sufferers often find themselves marginalised by skeptical friends, family, co-workers and even general practitioners who many times seem to think the symptoms are conjured up by our overactive imaginations. This has been my continuous experience since a childhood of frequenting my dubious doctor’s office.

“You just need exercise” and “your shoes must be too tight” were some of the responses I got from my new GP, whose office I limped into recently, a couple weeks after I had been unable to walk due to severe pain in the soles of my feet.

Never mind that she had been aware of my diagnosis for over two years, had me seen by a specialist to confirm this diagnosis and frequently writes the referrals that grant me appointments with new rheumatologists (not to mention the increasing prescriptions for pain killers and other meds).

This experience isn’t uncommon among sufferers though. The stories can get quite nightmarish. In fact many of the people I know with FM are in wheelchairs or using walking aids and still face great skepticism!

Many sufferers find it difficult to manage simple lives, relationships and work, and significant numbers have ended up on social care.

A lack of support and awareness only makes living with fibromyalgia even more distressing.

There is no cure for it but I pray everyday for advances in medicine which could put an end to our oftentimes dreaded existence.

Please take some time to learn more about it and spread awareness. It’s fibromyalgia awareness week in the UK but the world certainly needs to know and understand more about it.

June 9, 2011

Teen cancer patient’s bucket list popular on internet

Posted in Lifestyle tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:54 am by potofcallaloo

Alice and her dog Mabel Photo by London Media

Advised by her mother that life is what you make it, 15 year old Alice Pyne decided to pen a bucket list of things to do before she dies of cancer.

She posted her candid writings on a blog which on Wednesday, Twitter trended as one of the most talked about subjects on the social networking site that has an estimated 200 million users.

By Thursday morning #alicebucketlist was the third most talked about term in the world.

Thousands of users including celebrities like Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand and Hollywoodactor Channing Tatum have alerted users to Alice’s blog, turning it into one of the most talked about subjects in Britain.

Alice, who is from Ulverston in North West England has been battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma for the past four years and writes that “now I know that the cancer is gaining on me and it doesn’t look like I’m going to win this one 😦 I’m hoping to write in here as much as I can and I’m also going to show my bucket list which I’m trying to get done before I have to go. Hopefully, I’ll update as I tick each one off the list :)”

Alice has said she’s overwhelmed by the unexpected worldwide support. So far thousands of people have commented on her blog.

On Wednesday, her MP John Woodcock raised the issue with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

“At the top of the list is a call to make everyone sign up to be a bone marrow donor, so will he work with the leader of the opposition and I to address why too few people are currently on this life-saving register?”

Cameron responded that “will certainly do that”.

The popularity of her blog may help her achieve some of her targets, as twitter users urged each other to donate bone marrow, to aid Alice in achieving her second goal of getting every one to “sign up to be a bone marrow donor.”

Also on her list is to go swimming with sharks, meet the band Take That and to “have a nice picture taken with Mabel” her dog.

But Alice says she doesn’t expect to do everything on her list like travelling to Kenya or training dophins due to being sick.

The idea of a bucket list was made popular by the 2008 film of the same name starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman who acted as terminally ill patients who set out to fulfill their life’s dreams before ‘kicking the bucket.’

Alice said it was her mother who encouraged her to make the now popular list.

“Mum always tells me that life is what we make of it and so I’m going to make the best of what I have and because there were so many things I still wanted to do, mum suggested that I turn my ideas into a bucket list.”

You can read Alice’s blog at http://alicepyne.blogspot.com/.

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