Iridescence

Published August 8, 2012 by TheUniverseAndEmma

It is very rare that one will walk out into the world with open eyes when they reach maturity.  I have learned a fair few ways of the world so far – both the negatives and the positives – as I have grown up, and I have gathered enough information and knowledge to know that my journey will never be complete.  I will continue to learn, to grow, to change and to fall until the day I die. The Universe, I am confident, will teach me something new every single day. For that I am grateful.

My name is Emma. I would like my middle name to be Lilly, with two l’s.  I am eighteen years of age, just moved to Cornwall to study English Literature at University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus and I want to travel.

This is the story of my Universe day by day – how I grow up, how I see the world, and how each detail affects me. Maybe I’ll make you smile, maybe I’ll teach you something you never knew – or maybe I’ll teach you something you’ve known all along.

To be or not to be, to do or not to do?

Published November 27, 2014 by TheUniverseAndEmma

TheUniverseAndEmma:

A really great piece on the need for interacting with the world, and bringing harmony to the outer as well as the inner.

Originally posted on nemiradjina:

This is a post about how to live.

The ancient oracle at Delphi advised those who entered to “Know Thyself”, and this is the aim of Yoga, which is all I know anything about and the basis of my blogging.

Yoga brings us to understanding of ourselves as consciousness, understanding of life as consciousness. Consciousness is life, everything in life is basically an event in consciousness (This subject is dealt with at great length in Robert Lanza’s book “Biocentrism“). Essentially consciousness is the unchanging state from which all change is known. It/Us in essence does not change, and must be differentiated from all that does change, including Mind. You are not your mind, not your thoughts/emotions/experiences, you are that which thinks/feels/experiences. This has to be understood clearly, and that is the task of yoga. This is what it means “Know Thyself” , it is the distinction between being and…

View original 254 more words

Getting through the Darker Days with S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

Published November 27, 2014 by TheUniverseAndEmma

kindness1

Around September time, SAD usually begins to take its toll on me. I don’t know why, but it happens. I don’t actually know how long it’s been going on for and I haven’t seen anybody about it (yet) because I am stubborn, basically, and when the dark moments come I feel like I know how to deal with it eventually, even if it takes a day or two. I am very lucky and very grateful that I am able to feel the impacts as mildly as I do, and that I am able to help these as easy as I do.

However, I started University in September this year, and with that came a move to Cornwall in the most westerly part of the South West of England (I’m from the most easterly part of the South East) and I thought it would be best to start really tackling this issue actively, as it’s become a lot more noticeable. The best way to do that for me, I figure, is to talk about it. Plain and simple.

Part of feeling down a lot may be due to stress, maybe due to isolation, maybe it’s just the weather. I have my boyfriend of almost 2 years with me and my flatmates are all lovely and really supportive, kind, great people and I try to keep in contact with my friends and family who are as lovely and kind but I live in my own room now and my own space feels great but very daunting sometimes. I am also an empath – a quality that I don’t particularly understand very well, but other people’s emotions tend to sort of ‘leak’ into my own and I almost always forget to put up a wall to that because feeling is one of the things I cherish most about humans.

Anyway, whatever it is it’s a real nuisance and I just want to get on with life and with University how I intended to; with a quadruple whammy of kickass, ambition, motivation and happiness.

Everybody has dark days and so many people experience stress, grief, anxiety or even depression at one time or another in their lives. I really do genuinely care about people’s states of mind because it’s one of the most important things to nurture properly, and appropriately. I believe that one of the kindest things a friend or anyone can do is to try to help someone in any way you can when they’re clearly reaching out to you. Sometimes it may be someone you love, someone you would have never expected because they seem like the happiest person in the world, someone you dislike, someone you don’t even know. Anybody deserves this attention. Just listening to them, offering them a shoulder to cry on, helping to sort through their anxieties, just sitting with them can help. I value times where I can help people, and as somebody who often reaches out to people for help with my own mindset, I can say that it really does help, and it’s one the most appreciated thing when somebody is feeling low.

Take today, for example. I had a stress dream about my food all being mouldy, woken up at 1am, had been unable to sleep for another hour and a half, woken up feeling sick to my stomach and exhausted, realised I had nothing for breakfast, ate soggy toast, had to be in a lecture for 9am to write an essay in 50 minutes, had coffee (big mistake) went to a workshop on archives that I spent most of feeling irritable, exhausted, dizzy and miserable, and then went to sort out my modules for next term. All before 13:45pm. My morning was sort of stressful (obviously I appreciate that this will seem like nothing to others, but those people deserve a thousand gold stars and chocolatey treats) and I was feeling very under the weather.

I went to go collect my post last, and had a random rectangular package that said ‘M&S’ on it. I thought it was a job application form I’d applied for and forgotten about, but it was actually a card from my family with 2 of the bigger bars of Galaxy in it. I actually cried of happiness on the way back to my flat because I just felt so blessed to have that sort of support in my life. I really liked the pure gratitude I experienced in that one moment from somebody comforting me. Chocolate and love. That is what I craved, and it was like my family just knew. I am so lucky to have people around me that care about me and that I feel like I can reach out to.

Reaching out to people really does help, and I promise you there are people out there who love you and want to help you – the first step is just to get out of your room, or get off your computer or gameboy (whatever the latest thing is these days, but gameboys are way cooler) and just go seek help at feeling better in any way you can. I promise you that people out there want to help because I want to help. There’s no greater feeling than helping somebody feeling better and seeing the improvement in their mindset, even if it just lasts a little while – that improvement FEELS noticeable, and it can always be done again. Reach out for opportunities to engage with people who will have a positive impact on your mindset, and I promise you it will be rewarded.

I tend to get a little hysterical with my emotions at this time of the year – my anxieties and insecurities flare about the smallest things, and I find myself getting irritable, restless, paranoid, emotional, and just generally feel slightly to very crappy. Personally, I do not ever get to a stage where I have remotely suicidal or self-destructive feelings, but if you do please do not be afraid and please try not to feel you are facing your feelings alone because you are not. Ever. I would suggest talking to somebody (please just anybody you want to that you feel will help because they will) or call:

Bipolar UK: phone: 020 7931 6480 / website:  www.bipolaruk.org.uk

Depression Alliance: phone: 0845 123 232 / email: information@depressionalliance.org  / website: www.depressionalliance.org

Get Connected: phone: 0808 808 4994 / website: www.getconnected.org.uk

SAD Association: website:  www.sada.org.uk

Mood Swings: Phone: 0161 832 3736 / website: www.moodswings.org.uk

These people genuinely help and if you’re feeling that low it is really worth giving them a call or even just assuring yourself that there are people out there that want to help you. Not just anybody: you. You call them, you will matter to them – assured. Even if it’s just to get more information or to try to understand how to go in a positive direction from the point you’re at.

The most important thing to remember to get through the darker days is that there ARE lighter days, there are lovely places, lovely feelings, lovely things to do and there are lovely people everywhere that care about you – whether they know it or not they do. You matter, you have potential and you can do this. Kickass every day because days deserve to have their asses kicked. Royally. It does get better and you can pull through – I address short term sadness and low points in my video ‘One of Those Days’ (here) and I hope it will make you feel good if you feel bad, because sometimes it really helps me : )

Here’s some things I do to help any negative feelings whatsoever:

  • Paint
  • Draw
  • Exercise (Jillian Michaels’ videos are great. The 20 minute things are especially good because they leave you enough of your day to go be motivated)
  • Go see friends / talk to friends / facetime or talk to family members / reach out online
  • Eat chocolate (oldest trick in the book, and J.K Rowling knows it – she revealed that in Harry Potter, Dementors are actually inspired by her experience of depression / people with depression, and chocolate, as Lupin portrays, was her favourite way of dealing with the negativity)
  • Sleep. Sometimes (more often than not) it’s sleep deprivation that keeps the cycle of badness going. Insomniacs: get yourself to the GP to seek help because sleep is important (camomile tea or reading a (boring, if it helps) book helps me fall asleep)
  • Inspirational quotes / Rhonda Byrne ‘The Secret: Daily Teachings‘ – it’s like one of those fancy rip-the-previous-day-off square block calendar of motivational quotes and it’s so awesomely helpful at the start/middle/end of the day.
  • Retail therapy. I’m a sucker for cute 99p rings with free postage on Ebay… Sometimes it’s just nice to expect post.

I hope you feel lovely, and if not – and if you experience any particularly bad/recurrently negative feelings –  then I hope you feel lovely soon and that you have somebody to speak to. If not then I am here (I genuinely just love people and will talk about anything) or the numbers/websites/emails above I stated are there and just try to feel as good as you possibly can and just cosy yourself up in your favourite ways.

‘With SAD it really is like the weather. You can’t just tell it to be sunny… It will get better in its own time. So what you can do is give someone an umbrella and a warm drink and gloves and that’s how you combat bad weather. With warm drinks and laughs and distractions is how you combat seasonal depression.’

- Accurate description of Seasonal Affective Disorder, and some of the loveliest cures offered by lovely people:  Joel Crofts, 2014.

Sexual objectification, equality and ‘normality’

Published November 12, 2013 by TheUniverseAndEmma

I feel the ‘moral’ pornographer would ask why, in the modern day, pornography cannot be appreciated like nudity in art, why a sculpture should be more appreciated than watching real bodies act in a ‘natural’ way. Why getting enjoyment from watching modern porn is any less worthwhile than appreciating static art.

Well, why can’t we use modern technology to enhance the appreciation of the naked, the natural, the ‘exposed’? I believe the answer to be this:

In the modern day we have a warped society, where the music industry is generating sex icons, where porn addicts are becoming isolated from any concept of a ‘real’ relationship due to their virtual obsession, where the body and its functions are exploited by pleasure-seekers, and this has become easily available – no longer shunned, hidden and kept behind the bars of society.

HURRAH! The body is free to express itself! It’s no longer hidden and given the label ‘private’! EMPOWERMENT!

Except… no.

In the same society, the body’s image is becoming less and less realistic. The subjects of porn videos, for example, are most commonly ‘shaved’ as this is seen as more respectable, and to be ‘unshaved’ is a quality that seems rare, is pointed out in the titles as ‘UNSHAVED WHORE GETTING LAID’, as out of the ordinary in representations of the human body in front of a sexual partner. Society has come to a point where the body is shunned for having qualities that ALL humans naturally grow to gain, unless there’s some sort of pubic-hair growing disorder. Come to think of it, those people would probably be considered ‘lucky’ in today’s society. Gone are the days where puberty is celebrated. Obviously we’re all meant to be craving the baldness of a baby, which is strange, don’t you think? (Nod because it is. Hair grows, blood flows. Nature. Deal with it).

Airbrushing and photo-shopping furthers this ‘iconic’ image of the body. Okay, Henry VIII (and probably MOST subjects of historical art when Instagram filters weren’t available to cover up their inhibitions) may have told his portrait artist guy to, you know, big him up a little, but he meant getting rid of his chins (this was ignored in most cases) and ignoring the odd blemish because he thought that was the more ‘attractive’ him. Poor Henry.

It seems these inhibitions have been noticed more and more and collected into a list so they can become more of a problem one by one.

Nowadays celebrities are REQUIRED to be tall, have perfect round breasts practically anorexic, be on some sort of personal diet and training regime, have four stone cut off by photoshop and their blemishes and pale skin covered by artificial toning and airbrushing after the photo has been taken.

What is the point in all this effort? Why send out these messages that THAT is what is required to be accepted as ‘good looking’? Why paste that over the minds of society and claim that type of body to be humanity’s goal? Why refuse to show plus-sized mannequins because that’s ‘unrealistic’? Why, when a celebrity requires little editing after a photoshoot, is this marvelled at and celebrated? Why not just accept that being a size 12, a size 14, 18 and not having a six-pack and a penis the length of an extremely expensive and large champagne bottle is most definitely capable of being perfectly healthy, appreciated and normal? Why label skinny as ‘beauty’, as ‘healthy’, as ‘attractive’?

That’s asking for trouble. Social media has made it more obvious that amongst young people there is a SERIOUS issue with anorexia, drinking problems, drugs, self-harm and depression. All because society has made them think that they are not good enough. That them being normal is not enough. That they MUST conform to be appreciated. Sexual objectification is appreciated. ‘Blurred Lines’ was a hit, and the higher popularity of the explicit version as oppose to the ‘clean’ version of the music video says it’s not JUST the catchy beat behind the rapey words that attracts people to the song.

Objectification is a NOW problem. The red lights are flashing THIS second. The body is exploited as prey to desire, to pleasure-seekers, to fetishising objectifiers who crave to see what their mental image of a body and a person is the instant they crave it. To experience ‘sexy’ if and when they want it.

The music industry has increased this issue, promoting the idea of the body – a complex, wonderful and appreciative work of art – as a gyrating, exposed, warped unreality that is hidden behind sexually objectifying lyrics (as in ‘Blurred Lines’) and the cravings of society to have their desires for exposure and sexual objectification to be met. It’s no longer a case of appreciating the body, the natural and empowerment of these through sexual power. It’s a case of being made a thing to be had, not appreciated. A body to be coveted, not worshipped. A toy to be played with and used, not a human to be learned and wondered at.

The modelling industry creates a similar issue. Young, tall, slim people are worshipped and seen as ‘the best/top model’, and ‘plus-sized models’ given their own category, as if they’re something different, something that cannot be enjoyed or deemed as worthy as what society wants to be natural.

We need to ground ourselves and go look back at old art, to how the body was depicted in historical times when there was no modern technology, when a little ‘flab’ on the stomach and an ‘unflattering’ pose was seen as beautiful just because it was human and worthy of being hand painted.

Today’s society is NOT a development, this is a degradation. This is a degrading of humanity in its lowest form. This is objectification. This is what feminism seeks to put an end to, to change and to put right.

No, I’m not saying that males and females are not more equal in a hundred different ways. Women get to vote, women get paid more, women women women equality yadayadayada. MEN ARE NOT BEING DEGRADED IN THIS. WHAT PART OF THE WORD ‘EQUALITY’ SUGGESTS MEN SHOULD BE ANY LESS THAN THEY ARE NOW? It’s a development. It’s change, it’s realising we are people and we are capable of seeing each other as such, not as dolls to be played with and perfected with each new edition. It’s women realising they can be themselves and men can too. It’s men realising they can be themselves too, and that women can also. We are natural and should be celebrated for acting that way.

So applaud the one who says no to changing, to wearing a T-shirt on the beach because people complain that they can see their size 14 stomach, their saggy breasts, their ‘camel toe’ or their ‘moobs’. Is it normal to objectify people this way, with this sexually degrading language? Is their being REALLY affecting you? You don’t want to look like that? I have news for you; you are NOT that person. You are you, so start minding your own business and being your own person. Who cares what diet celebrities have been on to lose weight? You want that cake? EAT IT. YOU DONT NEED TO BE A SIZE 8 IF YOUR BODY DOESN’T WANT YOU TO. THE CAKE IS GOOD FOR YOU IF YOUR LIFE IS NOT IN ACTUAL DANGER. Will you possibly die if you eat the cake? No? Eat it. Cake. Is. Good. Shun the fool who lives by the motto ‘a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips’. Who cares? If your partner cares you went up from a size 10 to a size 12 and tells you you’re a fat-arse, tell them to shove it because your body can be a size 12 if it wants to and is happy. Accept, appreciate and be grateful you HAVE a body. It’s yours, you don’t need to play up to expectation.

Wake up from this hypnosis, this sleepwalk society has put you under. Look around. Is size zero normal? Is pornography ACTUALLY moral? Is rape-culture an issue? Is gyrating the best way to get around?

Here’s the biggest, easiest question, and I’ll give you a hint at the answer: Is feminism important?

Of course it is.

Greyscale

Published October 6, 2013 by TheUniverseAndEmma

A tear down a paper map,  

    Will make far more boundaries

Than it is possible to transcend.

 

Raised voices in a hallway,

    Will make far more noise

Than it is possible to make sense.

 

Eyes, like discs of marbled oak.

Lungs of raging hailstorms.

Pages. Journals of lost and found.

Palms – like windows with cracked glass -

    Make more of a person

Than is possible to comprehend.

Get Out

Published July 22, 2013 by TheUniverseAndEmma

 

Image

There was a day that left me wanting more. A day that gave my mind a new daydream. No – it was not purely down to the ‘pleasure’ of that day, it was not the rush of teenage rebellion. It was the brightest freedom. It was love of the best kinds. It was the prospect of living at least a few more days like this, of ridding myself of any negativity I didn’t know waited for me back in the town I’d spent my life in and taking with me a hope for tomorrow that I’d fallen so completely into – the perfect example of serendipity. 

That day I promised I would not settle for anything less than a life knowing him. That day I saw facets follow me across the water from where I stood. I found places alone, I travelled around a new land that I’d heard no stories of. I wasted no time, I got 4 hours sleep, stayed out until gone midnight, got the train to the beach to see the moon and returned on the last train ‘home’. It was easy to imagine returning to a real home – sometimes I wonder if that means anything.

No, life is not lived for money. A career is not what we strive for. When you stop thinking of such meaningless things you find what it is you seek. A life can be lived to love, to spend all day with someone you never want to lose and cherish every second – catching their eye every so often and each time seeing all you can do and all you have done in one feeling that rushes from the middle of your chest outwards, up to your crinkling eyes. You wonder if this is adrenaline, if this is the feeling you’re supposed to get on a roller-coaster, but that hormone also processes fear, and you realise that this is not fear – this is what The Lucky Ones get to feel.

You live to travel – to see a railway fall out from behind you, to see the ocean pass underneath you, to see clouds envelope your vessel, to see a road run out in front of you. To feel the air change and for your lungs to adapt to that foreign humidity. To see the sun burn through the sky and reach your dying skin.

You live to know what it is not to fear your emotions, to give them over to this one who will give you that day to shape all days upon. You live to admit how the world makes you feel, and scream to the ocean that you are in love with the way that thousand-piece puzzles of relentless hearts piece together to realise that they are one and the same. You are alive to feel the ocean breeze, to feel experience bubble up within you, and to know that this does not make you ‘intelligent’, ‘better’ than anybody or even ‘grown up’. This experience makes you more and more you, and is a constant reminder of your beautiful, fragile mortality.

Do not be afraid of the end. Do not fret the inevitability of time running out. Do not count the hours you have left, for there is no hourglass. Count the words you have spoken, count the faces and voices you have loved, the flowers you saw bloom, the clouds you saw traverse the globe. Somewhere there is a glass sphere and it contains all you have ever been – make it shine because you were made from stars.

I will not forget that day, when I was not once told ‘no’. It was the day I found many things, saw many worlds, pieced together a thousand-piece puzzle and promised to keep it safe. Not once have I recalled fearing what I was to become – in that day it couldn’t have mattered less. That is the feeling we live for and you don’t deserve to settle for anything less, my wonderful mortal – so full of wanderlust, so keen to seek sonder, so knowing of beauty in your eyes – you are always ready.

Santiago

Published July 19, 2013 by TheUniverseAndEmma

 

Sometimes, I get sick of cars spreading gas clouds just outside my window. I imagine a dense yellow fog – the colour of rotting sunshine – each time I hear their engines pass by and though this makes my mind spin in aggravated circles when it’s two in the morning and the never-ending stream of cars on the road nearby keeps my eardrums scanning through the darkness with that persistent roar of tyres rolling over tarmac – the yellow fog choking life that we didn’t make – I’m reminded of a future that I hope to achieve one day.

One day, I’ll see that yellow fog bloom into a lazy – not hazy – sunshine. No longer will I live in a cloud of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and CO2 gas. My lungs will breathe free for the first time and I will step out of my wooden ranch house onto a mud track with no fear of a car slamming into my side. A stream will ripple by and not be contaminated by the rotting sunshine clouds, this water will not be tainted with a warning stating, ‘Danger of Death!’. Hedgehogs, foxes, rabbits and squirrels will thrive in the dense forest nearby and not lay distorted on a curb side, broken by a roar and shattered by a scream of tyres. Families will not fear each time their pet wanders outside to explore, and there will be no talk of the ‘1000/2000/3000 car accidents per year that occur in this area alone’.

I have searched for this place – chased the sunlight up a mountain to see if it was far enough away, followed waves to desert islands to see if that was enough of an escape, trekked through rainforests to find a suitable recluse – but it seems that the yellow fog is becoming inescapable now, and it is not just Santiago, stuck in its dome, struggling to see the sky, wishing to feel fresh air and not a coating of pollution enveloping you at all times. No, it is the whole world that has adapted to an artificial, polluted environment, and those who have not accepted possess no choice but adaptation; they must live and grow in a world of rotting sunshine, hoping for one fresh day before it is all taken away – Native American folklore says that one day the world will have nothing more to give, and maybe these stories are right.

In Santiago, the rivers are too dirty to drink but the new highway carries those who can afford cars away with a choice. Some have no choice; they drink that polluted water and hope God forgives them for the way the body He gave them has been ruined by chemicals and gases that they would give anything but their lives to run from.

‘I don’t know what to do with my life :(‘

Published May 2, 2013 by TheUniverseAndEmma

Image

This was a legit search I made in the hope that somehow all my questions would be answered. Google isn’t that powerful but this did snap me back to determination. Look at all those people. They don’t know who they are either, they have NO clue, and all those times you’ve been told that you’ll get nowhere if you don’t keep up with the rest of the crowd – maybe that’s all a load of crap. What’s the point in keeping up with the rest if you’re not sure you’re a part of that any more?

I don’t know who I am, maybe I don’t need to. Maybe what I need to do with life is learn to live under the sun and the stars and not forget to put my soul into my throat and my spirit into my heart and mind each and every day. Maybe life isn’t something you can map out. Maybe life is not a labyrinth, but a maze – you have to take the twists, turns and run into dead ends. There’s no way of knowing if you’re going right – you just have to run on instinct.

If you’re struggling with knowing who you are, where you want to be or what your life is. DO NOT FRET. I promise you are not alone, and that is the most comforting thing in the world. You cannot ‘fail at life’ if you are alive.

Keep going and you’ll find a way.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 721 other followers