People

“People are people” ~ Depeche Mode

Or, as defined by my dictionary

People (n): persons collectively or in general

 

This week, as part of the Brighton Digital Festival, The Waiting Wall has been displaying electronic messages submitted anonymously by members of the public.

They have also been displayed online here.  (I don’t know what will happen to the site after the festival has ended but I will update this post if there is a further link.)

Personally I have been gripped by this display online. The breadth of humanity, the raw nature of some of the messages, the secret wishes of the heart, the harrowing pain that some feel; never have I wanted to hold so many random strangers so tightly.

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And although those may not be something that resonate with everyone, who hasn’t at some point felt like this?

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But what is beautiful about people is also the joy, the love of life, the happiness, and that can be truly uplifting.

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I don’t know what your message might be or if you have something you want to say and never have. But maybe take some time to think about it; write it down, message the wall, tell the person, do whatever feels right for you.

But let me leave you with this, because it’s true and you are.

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Princess

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If We Only Live Once

“If we only live once, I want to live with you” ~ OneRepublic

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Live (vb): to show the characteristics of life, be alive

 

In the parlance of great romantic declarations “I want to live with you” probably lacks a little something in comparison to “marry me”. As Julia Roberts says in Pretty Woman “But never in all the time… that I had this dream did the knight say to me, “Come on, baby, I’ll put you up in a great condo.”

But that’s really not what that line is about at all. To live is to breathe, to experience, to see and wonder at the world; to cry at the marvels and the cruelty; to stop dead at the sight of something so beautiful that all you can do is gaze. And the very best thing is that there are all these other people in the world that you can choose to share it with.

And choose is a key word. There are all sorts of people we interact with in our lives that we would prefer not to but can’t avoid. They are to be endured. But to choose the ones that we want, the ones we want to turn to say “wasn’t that amazing” or even to not speak at all, just know that there is someone else, maybe next to you, maybe miles away, but experiencing exactly the same thing and feeling it exactly as you are. That’s to live with someone, that’s to have someone in your life.

You don’t need someone in your physical space to live with them, you can be in the same room and still be poles apart, no matter how close you are. I don’t need someone in my space or my life to validate me but I love meeting and knowing people who I can share with my life with. And I’ve never had a more timely reminder of that than this year.

There’s a whole world out there to explore. So, to all the people I know, love, interact with, share with; I want to live with you.

Happy New Year.

 

Princess

Trust

“Trust in me, just in me” ~ The Jungle Book

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Trust (vb): to feel that (someone) is honest and means no harm, to feel that (something) is safe and reliable, to entrust

 

 

We all trust people, every day. You may be the least trusting person on the planet but if you have any sort of human interaction there is an element of trust. We trust people with our secrets, we trust people with our emotions, we trust that the person who says they will be in the pub at 6 will be in the pub at 6. We trust that the driver of the car stopping at the pedestrian crossing won’t put their foot down & floor us as we are halfway across the crossing.

The latter is included as, let’s face it, people can be rubbish. They can stand you up, they can let you down, they can tell you a lie and hurt you. Thankfully they don’t often floor complete strangers on pedestrian crossings though.

But people can also be great. They do turn up, they do keep your secrets, they do hold you when it feels like the whole world is falling down. And without that trust in some level of humanity, we lose the humanity. I’ve had my trust in humanity shattered, scattered into a thousand pieces, but it was the very self same humanity that put it back together again.

I once had a conversation with a friend about some circus acrobats she saw; throwing themselves into the air, knowing that someone was there to catch them. It takes skill, it takes dexterity, and it takes a great deal of trust. If you’re going to fly, you want someone to make sure it doesn’t turn into a fall.

And that’s great, if incredibly hard to do. If you’ve been hurt, if you’ve been dropped, it’s so so difficult to allow yourself to trust again.

But consider this: imagine being the person who is trusted. Imagine being the recipient of a secret, imagine being given a heart, imagine someone who is going to fly and possibly if not probably die if you don’t catch them. I think that’s amazing, precious beyond measure.

Learning to trust is great, but being the one who is trusted…that’s the best of all.

 

Princess

 

People

“All the people. So many people.” ~ Blur

Or, as defined by my dictionary

People (n): persons collectively or in general

 

Everyone reading this will have made a mistake. Everyone reading this will have done something wrong. Chances are, pretty much everyone reading this will have broken the law. I do not cast aspersions but, up until February 2013 it was against the law for women in Paris to wear trousers. A later applied caveat stated it was allowed “if the woman is holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse”. So, you see, it is pretty easy to break the law without even knowing about it.

My point being that we are human. And born to make mistakes, as another lyric goes. And that we all do it.

Equally, everyone reading this will have made another person smile. Everyone reading this will have achieved something. Because, again, we are human and that is what we do. Every single day.

Why then, why, oh why, are we so incredibly awful to each other? Why do we say such vile things to and about each other? Today I limit myself to talk of words not actions, for current news-related reasons, but it’s likely that most reading this will also argue against “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me”. Because words hurt. They hurt so much it’s untrue.

We aren’t ever going to agree on everything. And the world would be worst if we did. Having different views, opinions, wants, needs, aspirations; these are all things that enrich our society. So why do so many disagreements end up coached in terms of abuse and insults? If you have an opinion but you believe others disagree, is it right to talk about them openly in insulting terms rather than engaging with?

Some people do jobs that are unpopular within society. If a traffic warden tickets your car, if a police officer clocks you speeding; these things are their job. Is it right to berate and abuse them? Their job does not define them as a person. And a person they are, under that uniform, same as you and I.

I could go on. I could cite numerous examples. It would just create a longer blog post leading to the same conclusion. We are all people. If you wouldn’t want to hear it, if you wouldn’t want it said to or about your mother, if it would make you want to rip the throat out of anyone who said it about your friend; then is it ever ok to say it?

From the Bard: “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” Yes, we do. Every single one of us.

Think about it.

 

Princess

 

What Would You Do?

“With all your power, what would you do?” ~ The Flaming Lips

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Power (n): ability to do something; political, financial or social force or authority

 

If you know the song this is taken from then all this blog does is reinforce those questions.

If you had power, if you had influence, what would you do? It’s a question akin to ‘what if you won the lottery’ but without the millions of pounds part. That being said, if you had the power would you give yourself millions of pounds?

Power is a heady thing. We all have it, some more than others, but it’s there for everyone, in ways you may not have realised.

We have more power over other people than we think. In work we become managers, CEOs, sometimes run our own companies. We may have a voice in the media or be on the political spectrum. All roles where we can influence and, at times, directly affect other people’s lives.

Leaders, managers; they can lift people up, motivate them, inspire their workforce to strive for their best. They can also bully, belittle, and stifle people, leaving them flat, dispirited, unable to perform. Both actions can be done consciously and unconsciously; what will you choose to do?

In our personal lives, a smile or a frown can change another’s day. We can be so focused on ourselves that we end up clueless as to how our actions affect others. Anyone who has had their spirits lifted by a stranger holding the door open for them knows the power other people have to affect us. And so when it becomes about friends and loved ones that power is magnified tenfold. Who hasn’t been cast up in delight at an unexpected compliment or cried over neglect?

In summary, you may not rule your country, you may not be in charge of your office, you may think that no-one notices what you say or do, but you do have power. Your words, your actions, influence and affect other people. Now what will you do?

Interested in your thoughts, as always, on a comment box-shaped postcard.

 

Princess