Guy Fawkes and Novembermas fever

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So you’re listening to the whizzes and bangs screaming merrily outside your window? A flash of brightly coloured light illuminates a room signalling only one thing….it’s christmas right???

WRONG!!

Once upon a time when i was about knee high, i remember a time when christmas began in December. As soon as the calendar clicked round to the magical date of the 1st we knew we could start looking forward to that distant day that Santa came to visit. Few tv adverts and the shops did not start to decorate and sell their wares until the magical date of the 1st came along. With this modern day of materialism and consumerism comes a new form of ‘christmas’ that actually begins sometime in March. Where once before the shelves would have been devoid of anything remotely festive there now lurked a small stash of post christmas goodies overstocked by the stores in hopeful abundance. Nestling colourfully next to already long present Easter eggs and fluffy bunnies, the post season miscreants sit dolefully waiting for some cash strapped bargain hunter to snap them up.

Forward a few months to September. Yes you read right…September and supermarket shelves are stealthily filling with christmas goodies and the usual tinned chocolate mountain lies in wait at the entrance to every store. Overhead banners scream out ‘start saving now for christmas’ making you double take and check that it really is September. Further forward to Halloween and the subtle displays have spawned like a fed post midnight Mogwai leaving a vast array of gifts, confectionary and general festive season frippery weaving its way like some madly growing triffid around every store.

A shame for you then if you dearly wish to be of the old school variety and keep Christmas firmly in December where it belongs. No escape as every corner assaults your senses with some promotion or other making it an impossible feat to avoid them. Forward to Bonfire night when thoughts should be of Guy Fawkes, fireworks and cinder toffee but instead brings the advent of the christmas tv advert. ”Buy your sofa now in time for christmas” it chirps enticingly, whilst little blue aliens on a snowy screen remind us of all those things we do not need but will want anyway just because we’re supposed to. As the gunpowder pops and bangs outside my door i see yet more gift adverts followed by yet more for festive food. Already wearing thin i can feel myself mentally sighing ‘humbug’

I love Christmas do not get me wrong. Perhaps these days though the enjoyment and fun of it all has been gradually eaten away by a never before felt kind of pressure and a commercialism that detracts from the day in a very big way. Me, i think i shall continue to ignore the oh so early signs and continue as i did as a child. My countdown to christmas will begin two weeks before the day and only then will my youthful enjoyment break free and let me again enjoy the day. Sometimes i think we are so controlled by the power of advertising that by the time the event arrives we forget to enjoy it, but instead just heave a sigh of relief that it is over.

Jingle bells?? I dont think so!

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The power of a word

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I wonder how often we ever stop and think about the things we say. Most of us very rarely do unless we are aware, due to conscience, that what we are about to say is offensive or hurtful. Sadly even then there are those with none, who just do not care and will say whatever they wish regardless of consequence or resulting feelings. Even knowing they are causing hurt to others is of no matter since they feel little empathy for the other person and pay no heed to the results of their actions. 

Ordinarily i am not a person to pay mind to the cutting words or tones of others and have over the years developed a disregard for the negative opinions of those around me. Having always been a strong personality with more than a little resilience, i wear a very thick skin with all the aplomb of an armoured knight of Medieval England. Lately however, perhaps due to a very stressful period in my life i find that where once i should smile and ignore, i find i now take more to heart than i did before. Strangers i more easily can forgive but not so those verbal wounds from those closer to me. Unless for good reason one does not expect to be on the receiving end of an unkind comment or harsh tone of voice from a friend or loved one. 

So often lately i find myself biting my tongue and apologising profusely where once a simple heartfelt ”i’m sorry” would have sufficed. It seems these days people are not so ready to accept an apology unless it comes so often as to be almost of begging and pleading proportions. Forgiveable yes when the apology is merely a platitude but is it so forgiveable when the apology is a genuine one?  I myself am not a lover of discord and conflict and often will remain secretly agitated by an unpleasant situation even if i pretend on the surface that i am not. Yes, i confess i am one of those who sleeps badly at the slightest upset in my life these days, perhaps as the result of a metaphoric straw upon an already overloaded camels’ back. Perhaps a lifetime of being the peacemaker and backing down for the sake of harmony is wearing thinner than it should.  Yes i confess i secretly nurse the odd hurt although i hide it well since to confess it often draws out the cause and in turn makes it all the worse.

Yes it seems we really have lost the ability to be nice to each other. It seems that verbal abuse, cutting tones and blatant name calling are the norm of the day with once derogatory names such as ‘bitch’ now being used in everyday language as an acceptable term to refer to ones female friends. Not a term i can say i wish to be referred to by. If it is the norm for you to open your mouth and something unkind or unpleasant come from it perhaps then it says more about you as a person than about me. However often i hear this and no matter how much i try and pretend otherwise i cannot lie and say it does not hurt and even knowing that sometimes the comments were made in jest do not detract from their meaning nor their destination.

Myself i think i prefer to remain silent. I was taught by a very good kind person that it is better to say nothing than to say something unpleasant and i hold firmly to those principles. Whilst i will defend if attacked i will never knowingly inflict on others anything hurtful that has the intent to cause bad feeling. I shall not lie for i believe honesty to be a must in all cases no matter the consequences but i shall not deliberately set out to hurt another with the force of my words.

Profanity and abuse may be the norm in todays society but only if we continue to subscribe to it. Somewhere along the line someone has to take a stand and lead by example by refraining from doing as others do. Words are a most powerful weapon and used in the wrong hands can wound with invisible scars. A most famous quote springs to mind ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ , i wonder had the author seen todays society he might have changed just a little and quoted ‘the spoken word is mightier than the sword’

Words…will yours hurt or heal today??

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