It’s In Our Nature. But Why?

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  • 30 people killed in a suicide attack at a market in the northern Nigerian city of Yola,
  • 43 People Killed and at least 239 others injured when a pair of suicide bombings struck southern Beirut.
  • Bomb kills all 224 people on board a Russian airliner over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula last month.
  • 147 killed  in an attack on Garissa University, in the north-east of Kenya, by the Somali militant group al-Shabab. April 2015.

The list could go on and on and on. These too were disasters caused entirely by monstrous militants or ISIS terrorists.

But how many people changed their Facebook profile picture to the flags of Nigeria, Kenya or Russia. How many trending Twitter hashtags were there for #PrayForNigeria/Kenya/Russia? How many of your followers or Facebook friends focused all their prayers on good thoughts and love toward the people of Beirut during it’s time of need just one day before the Paris incident? Or any of the other countless disasters which have hit our world in the past year.

The simple fact of the matter is, we feel more sensitive and give more sympathy towards any terrorist bombing or outright genocides that happen on our doorstep than to that of people living three thousand miles away. And what’s our excuse? ‘Oh, well, it happens all the time over there so we’re all used to it’… Are you kidding me.

Don’t even get me started on the countless people who completely disregard religion and God for most of their lives and then break in to #PrayFor tweets whenever shit gets crazy. It’s almost as if we as humans feel like we can completely shun the idea of religion and then ‘find’ it whenever we feel we messed up the most. It disgusting.

I’m an atheist and therefore didn’t pray for anyone in the Paris attacks, because I don’t believe that I, as a non-believer of God could do anything for those poor innocent souls. Nor can anyone actually help in any way by changing their Facebook profile to a French flag.

This type of thing has happened so many times in the past few years that I can’t actually be bothered to list every single incident. But i’ve brought it down to the ‘snowball effect’; once enough people have seen enough posts, or news stories, or #hashtags, they join in, regardless of whether or not they actually know anything about what has happened, because they need to be seen by their peers to be doing something to contribute to the ‘united front’ against terrorism. It makes them more liked by their Facebook friends. Or GETS them more LIKES, as is probably the case for most people.

One thing I can’t stand is when people actually believe their lie. They actually begin to believe that they care for these people; that they care for those effected by terrorists around the world. But did they care even just a little for all of those other people killed in recent months? Have they taken ANY notice of more than TWO MILLION innocent souls taken by these evil creatures over the past decade? (Yes, I referred to them as ‘creatures’, these things are NOT human). For anyone who can commit such atrocities is not a civilised being.

If we absolutely must stop everything we’re doing to #Pray for a disaster, then how can we, as some of the most privileged people on the planet, really pick and choose which ones we back? How can we stand by and just let the killings of 147 innocent students at a university go over our heads, and then in the next breath completely devote our entire social media presence and  news rooms to a single disaster? However horrible it may be. We can’t, is the simple and honest answer the that. If you’re going to ignore some attacks, the ignore all of them. Otherwise we need to start caring for our world as a species; and stop simply sticking to our own.

Think about it. Please.

Until next time…

Bye.

BINGE by Tyler Oakley

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I’ve read a few autobiographies in my time, most of which blab on and on about how they began from nothing and clawed their way to the top in their respected fields. I’ve never, however, read an autobiography by someone who provides such inspiration and genuine love for their supporters as Tyler Oakley’s ‘BINGE’. In his Youtube videos, Tyler exudes positivity and confidence, but his book tells the story of his life from child to present and positivity and confidence were definitely not always a part of his personality.

I won’t ruin the book by telling you everything that has happened in his personal life and career, but I will give a little insight as to how Tyler manages to take his life, however crazy it may have been so far, and set such a great example for his millions of online followers. A lot of Tyler’s followers are in fact at that age in life during which they will possibly go through a lot of what he went through, and so having someone they look up to so dearly letting them know that everything is going to be OK, is a very warming thing indeed.

Let us be honest, a book with chapters named ‘Thtory of My Life’ (dedicated to his lisp) and ‘What Michelle Obama Smells Like’ (all about his interview with the first lady!!) was never going to be boring. Tyler takes us on a VERY personal journey through his life, from eating disorders of both extremes during which time he was at at all time low, to 2014/2015; two of his most successful and influential years ever.

Tyler manages to somehow inspire his audience with every video he uploads to YouTube, and that’s possibly why he has now got 7,754,141 subscribers! He knows that they love him; adore him and would do anything for him. He says that when he feels he is in a rut he knows that he can turn to Twitter (one of his most prolific social media accounts) and whether it is 3pm or 3am there will always be someone awake somewhere in the world who will be tweeting him some sort of motivational quote, message or gif.

One of the biggest ways that he supports his fans is by telling them and reassuring them all the time that no matter what they think of themselves; or what other people think of them, they must stay true to who they are, and be unapologetically themselves. His struggle with his being accepted by certain people/members of his family because of his sexuality resonates with a hell of a lot of his fan-base, and his influence on social media has helped a lot of those people accept who they are and live with it, again,  ‘unapologetically’. He does go in to his lowest times, in which he did consider suicide.

This is where he found the Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people ages 13-24. He called them and they helped him, like they help countless others who are so lost in life that they can only think of one way out. He now plays a huge role in lending a hand with getting the word out about The Trevor Project. This year Tyler raised $532,224 for the Trevor Project with the help of his army of loyal fans. He is very much changing the world. And in 2014 he met with The President of The United States of America no less, to try to raise the numbers of young Americans signing up for the government’s health-care plan.

The book is outstanding and if you’re a Tyler Oakley fan you’ve probably already bought it and have promptly read it twice over. But the best thing about it is that you don’t even need to have heard of him to love this book. He is a highly intelligent, modest, loveable, hugely influential loon. What isn’t there to love?

Tyler if this ever gets to you, know that I use the word ‘loon’ in the most adorable way it can possibly be used. And on behalf of everyone one of your subscribers/fans and now READERS! because you’re a freaking published author as well now!…

Thank You.

@tyleroakley

Until next time…

 

BYE!

 

 

 

Productive People Watching

People watching is fun, very fun. Mostly, when someone says they ‘people watch’ it basically means that they look at the person and judge what they’re wearing; what they look like; and typically, they will guess their name. But when you really focus on the art of ‘people watching’ you begin to think about some deeper aspects of their character; where are they going? Who are they meeting? Are they an alien life form come to mingle with he humans? (no? just me?).

You begin to try and put together the entire life of this person, and that’s the fun of it all. Because usually, for me anyway, this is the beginnings of a story. I tend to watch people; listen to conversations, things like that and then get home and begin to construct a fictional character from this and put that person in to whatever story I might be writing at that particular time.

‘People Watching’ is very common and lots of people do it without even realising. However, for me at least, as a writer, this can sometimes be the most productive part of my day. I like writing, it’s what I do and if I could do it for a living then i’d be set. So when I go somewhere I believe to be particularly interesting I love to carry a notebook with me so I can jot down all the things I see, and then gather it all up at the end of the day in to something read-worthy.

This all stems from a project I did at University about four or so years ago. My lecturer told me that one of the best ways you will find inspiration for stories is by taking a notebook and writing down what you see and hear around you. This kind of just stuck with me and I’ve been doing it ever since. Trying to work out where the story of someone is going to go simply by jotting down a single conversation-of which you will often only hear half because the person will be on the phone- is so exciting; and it also means that you’re not trying to magically conjour up a story from thin air. See, that’s today’s top tip. Eavesdrop, it’s handy.

I guess it has become a habit of mine. But fortunately it’s not an annoying one, like when I bite my nails too much or when people have a habit of talking FAR too much, even through my favourite songs, at which point I have a ‘habit’ of telling them to “shut the hell up!” This is a nice habit which allows me to be far more productive than I would usually be. It allows me to make notes for blogs, stories, poems while I don’t really even realise it. I can chill out and simultaneously be doing work at the same time.

What I think i’m trying to say here is that people watching can be far more productive than you might first think.

Channel your nosey lifestyle in to something you can be proud of. Try it, trust me, it’s fun.

 

Until next time…

BYE!

 

 

 

 

 

OBESITY…

Over the past month or so, the internet has blown up over a certain YouTuber’s attempt at ‘fat shaming’ over-weight people. Nicole Arbour (I had to google it because i’d never heard of her) uploaded a video called ‘Dear fat people’. Now, i’ll be honest, i haven’t watched more than about 20 seconds, and i’m not going to, for obvious reasons and the fact that I can’t stand that the girl clearly is trying to BE Jenna marbles.

Anyway, she, I believe, tries to shame overweight people for no real reason. So i’ve heard. But, this is a subject that does need talking about and that’s what i’m going to do here.

Let us have a quick look at a couple of statistics from the last couple of years, shall we:

  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014, and 13% of those were obese.
  • In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese *insert unbelievably shocked reaction*.
  • 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2013. *insert ‘disappointed-in-human-race’ reaction*

I mean what the hell, people?

It boils down to something so simple it’s painful to say.   STOP EATING!

The simple fact of the matter is, you become over-weight when you take in more calories than you burn off. Now I know, I know, some people are born naturally larger than average and that’s OK. But to all of those people who spend their days in fast-food chains and who guzzle fizzy drinks, there is no excuse. Simple.

Our intake of sugar is crazy off the charts. Women should have no more than 6 teaspoons per day, which is 25 grams or 100 calories from sugar. And us men?  We can have up to 9 teaspoons of sugar daily, or 38 grams of sugar, which is around 150 calories from sugar. No matter your gender, a single 12-ounce can of Coke goes over the maximum sugar allowance for the day. FOR A WHOLE DAY!

And did you know that that Mango and Pineapple fruit smoothie that you’re giving your 5 year old because ‘it’s a healthier option to coke’ contains 40 grams of sugar. Yeah. 10 TEASPOONS OF SUGAR!  And the choc-chip frappe? 47 grams…

And yet people still allow their children to drink this stuff!!

If we simply educate our children from day one that these products are damaging to their health, and we teach them how to eat properly and bring them up in a healthier environment, where they don’t crave these sugary drinks, or crisps or cakes, then that generation would grow up healthier and so on and so on, surely? It’s not hard!

I’m not for one second saying that everyone should be super skinny and be the same size, because that’d be a bit like communism, really. But to just look after your body and be sensible with what you feed it. If we take these steps together, it CAN work.

Even with people such as Jamie Oliver who tell us to be super healthy and then simultaeneously feeds his customers super sugary food in his multi-million £, massively successful chain of super healthy restaurants.

See, I didn’t call anyone fat, I didn’t ‘fat shame’ anyone. Just pointing out some simple PREVENTABLE truths.

But please, for the sake of the generations to come. Stop it with this excessive eating culture.

 

 

Until next time…

 

BYE!