IBMC #10: The Happiness Challenge

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Happiness is sitting inside on a stormy day, by the fire. It’s when there is thunder and lightning outside and I’m tucked up in a blanket, warm and toasty, watching the giants assert their dominance in the skies. When the rain is pouring it down or it is hailing, and you know you don’t have to go outside that day, so you just listen to the rain hit the ground. Like white noise – it’s calming, and I could listen to it all day. Happiness is drinking a hot drink and watching Netflix while the storm rages outside. The smell after rain brings me joy.

Happiness is dancing the night away. Not caring about what anyone else thinks of my dancing skills but I dance anyway because I love it. It’s being twirled around by people, feeling like a princess for the night and being told I’m a really good dancer for a beginner. It’s feeling achy all day the next day, and knowing that I danced till my heart’s content and feeling muscles where you never knew you had them before. It’s when you get home the night after dancing for three hours non-stop and still hearing the music buzzing in your head, and still being dizzy from all the twists and turns I did. It’s lying in bed and going over all the dance moves I learned and all the conversations I had with the people I danced with.

Happiness is taking photos of pretty flowers. I love taking macro pictures of garden flowers. And wildflowers along the edge of the lakes near my house because flowers are all so different. All the flowers I see are all beautiful and they just make me happy. I love taking photos of flowers because I am good at it. Macro photography is one type of photography that I think I’ve almost mastered. But photography, in general, makes me happy, I love when I take a photo and then upload it to my laptop and it’s a really good picture. It feels like I’ve accomplished something.

Happiness is listening to music. There are so many songs and genres of music that suit every one of my different moods. And when I listen to music, the lyrics just perfectly sum up my life and I find it amazing how someone who I’ve never met before feels the exact same way that I do in certain situations. When I’m revising for exams, I listen to focus and classical music, and when I’m angry, I listen to rock music, or when I’m happy I listen to pop songs. It works so well.

What is happiness to you? Let me know down in the comments!

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IBMC #09: The Be A Baby Challenge

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This is a really hard challenge, not gonna lie, I’ve been thinking about this for daaaayys and couldn’t figure out what to write about. And also I’ve been on holiday with limited WiFi :O I guess if I could look at anything with a fresh new perspective, it would have to be language.

Language is weird. If you don’t understand it, it’s pretty much just noise and nonsense. Like we don’t understand animal language and it sounds like noise, or people talking a foreign language – it just sounds like noise. People who talk English can understand each other, but people who don’t, can’t understand us. Like if you go to another country, say, France, I wouldn’t be able to understand a thing they are saying, and they could literally be saying anything; talking about the universe or talking about their friend’s husband having an affair. You never know. I love listening to it, though – it sounds so fast like there are no breaks in the sentences. How do they breathe?! Oh my goodness.

But then if you live in a foreign country where they don’t speak English, and all they speak is that particular foreign language, you’d get used to it. You’d start to understand what the words mean, and then sentences… along with gestures, just like a baby does. But if you look into it more, letters in words are just symbols; how do we know that the letter a means a? It’s so weird. I’ve even tried writing in Elvish (I have proof somewhere). I think that people understanding written word is modern, because, in the old days, all people needed to know was how to speak really. Like, women did the baking and childcare, and the men went to work – but it didn’t require writing anything down. Sorry about being stereotypical but I’m just stating facts.

English is the oddest language, though. You have words that are spelt the same but sound different, and words that sound the same but are spelt differently. It really is an achievement learning English. If you’re learning it as a foreign language, I congratulate you. And then there’s slang. That’s a whole other complicated language thing. You have slang in your country, then probably in your town, and then you have slang in your family; particular words or phrases that no-one else outside of your family would understand. And then (!) there are accents. I can hardly understand people from up north… actually, people down south aren’t that easy to understand either – I’m talking about you, chavs. But I find it fascinating nonetheless. I can’t imagine what language will be like in 50 years time!

Do you have any weird phrases you use in your family that no-one would understand? Share in the comments!

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IBMC #08: The Nursery Rhyme Challenge

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pretty maids

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

The history behind the rhyme: 

 Mary is Bloody Mary (Mary Tudor), daughter of King Henry III. Mary was a Catholic, and the garden refers to the graveyards, which increased in size with Protestants she had killed. The “silver bells” were thumbscrews which crushed the thumb between two hard surfaces by the tightening of a screw. The “cockle shells” were believed to be instruments of torture which were attached to the genitals (I mean, it’s in the name, it’s not that hard to believe). The “Maids” were a device to behead people called the Maiden – the original guillotine. So, just remember that when you sing it to your kids, it’s quite gruesome.

My interpretation:

Mary was a farmer’s daughter, who liked to tend to her garden – a little patch of soil which was not used by her father to farm. She likes to enter gardening competitions to raise money for a larger patch of soil so that she can increase her little garden. Her favourite flowers are silver bells – which look like bluebells, except they’re a silvery-white colour. On the weekends, her father takes her to the beach, where she collects cockle shells because they can’t be found in the countryside, and she just loves the colours, and she places them all around her patch of soil so that when the sun reflects off of them, they reflect a rainbow colour. She also grows pretty maids on a little bush (above picture) and she thinks they look like love hearts, a few of which she brings to the little old lady down the lane to cheer her up.

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IBMC #07: The News and Paper Challenge

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i'm grateful for

You know, it’s hard to find interesting news in the media today. It’s all so boring, you have to scour the internet for hours to find something you can write about or discuss. I usually don’t watch the news or read it in fact, because it’s boring and negative. And did I mention: BORING. So I found myself skipping all the news about the EU referendum because it’s over and done with now, there’s no going back, unfortunately, and quite frankly it’s driving me nuts. I think everyone needs a little bit of good news once in a while but the news doesn’t seem to be showing much of it.

So I found this which I want to talk about. It’s about the importance of gratitude. Now, this reporter raises some good points:

Lots of us have plenty of reasons to be grateful yet still focus on the negative aspects of life. I think this is true. I think that we all focus on the negatives because negative things and events pose a chance of danger. We are a cautious bunch of people and we stay careful because it’s evolutionary. Caution increases our chances of survival. The brain alerts itself to threats and therefore takes attention away from the positive aspects of life. Everyone around us is negative, and that causes us to be negative too. But we have plenty of reasons to be grateful – a house, WiFi (!), a loving family, food and water (and coffee). We have everything we need but we choose to think about the negatives. Which causes us to think about more negative things – it’s a vicious cycle. But if you think about positive things, guess what? You’ll keep thinking about positive things. If you’ve had a really good day, you don’t tend to think about negative things. We never take notice of the things we should be grateful for because they are things we take for granted – things that will pretty much always be available.

We need to take stock and be grateful for what we already have. Carrying on from the previous point, this is what I want you all to do: write a list of all the things you are grateful for and post them in the comments. Because of the internet, and the abundance of things that are available on it, we have this culture of always wanting more because we think that what we have isn’t enough. There is so much that is instantly available to us with the click of a button, and this leaves us feeling entitled, with no need to “thank”. When you buy something on the internet, you don’t have to say thank you to it; that’s just plain silly. But then we never learn to say thank you and mean it to a real human being.

I feel we’re all caught up in our own bubbles and forget the importance of respecting and appreciating each other. She’s right, today’s population is so self-centered that they have no time to think about anyone else or how they’re feeling. Being grateful for someone else is an underappreciated attribute in the modern world. But, more than that, saying thank you, or “I appreciate it” to someone else makes you feel better. People do say thank you, though, I’m not saying they don’t, I’m saying that sometimes we don’t mean it. Have you ever said thank you to a sales assistant, or to the person who made you coffee, or kept holding the door while you passed – it’s polite to say thank you and we’ve had a lot of practice saying it. So much that it might have lost its meaning. It’s a blind phrase. If you say it and mean it, it makes the other person feel acknowledged. Acknowledging someone else will result in them liking you because they tink you’re a nice person. Someone who is seen as ungrateful is seen as a bad person. If I did a favour for someone, and they didn’t say thank you, I’d be pretty upset and annoyed.

Showing gratitude is a positive psychological characteristic that can contribute to a person’s well-being and can improve your mood. Gratefulness is associated with increased energy, optimism and empathy. You feel better/ happier when you say thank you to someone else, and they feel the same. I think that a positive mood is also associated with high self-esteem. Because you are grateful for what you have means that you compare yourself less to other people – rather than being resentful or jealous of other people’s achievements and things, you become appreciative. You become happy for them. When you feel grateful for something, you think more positively which can make you feel lighter and happier – there’s nothing to be frustrated or resentful about.

What are you grateful for?

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IBMC #06: The Mass Media Challenge

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I’d gone away for a two-week holiday in Thailand. On the second evening, I went out for a wander toward the lake I had heard about. There were a couple of boats on the water, and the men on the boats were fishing. It was such a beautiful view – I always loved watching the sunset; the colours just blew me away every time and I couldn’t help but stare. It made an amazing pink, red, orange and yellow combination of colour. The sky was on fire. Metaphorically. It was quite a warm night, though, so I was happy sitting for a while on the bench just watching.

It was getting dark and I had no phone reception and 3% battery left, in a foreign country. I didn’t even bother learning the language so there was no way I could communicate with a local. Could I remember my way back to civilisation? The hostel? I couldn’t stay out here all alone after dark, my friends would be worried sick. Well, that or they’d probably be too drunk partying to be worried about me.

I remembered how my great grandma used to recite a poem to me when I was a kid. how did it go again? I was always scared of ghosts when I was little, my grandma told me this poem to spook me. In Thailand on my own, this feeling came back. I couldn’t contact anyone with my phone and I daren’t shout for fear of being kidnapped or adultnapped if we’re being technical. If you’re a girl in a foreign country, you need to keep your wits about you because you never know what will happen. I should have been more careful. I stayed still and perfectly quiet. Ssshhhh. I needed to make my way back but I heard voices, loud and rumbling voices. I put my hand over my mouth to cover the sound of my terrified deep breaths until the voices passed.

search of skin,
color no matter,
brighter or darker,
tell no one,
I will take someone,
–  ghost, me!”

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