Tag Archives: Scotland

Friendship

“It is impossible to ostracize a lone wolf.” Joseph Annaruma

For all intents and purposes, I am a loner. Granted, since a young age, my personality has been able to adapt to my surroundings and the people around me and I can interact easily. I can be the life and soul of the party if I have to be but on the inside I hate it. I hate people, I hate social interactions and I hate the pretense of friendship. My entire life, I have never truly had a “friend” in the conventional sense. I have had many acquaintances and many of those have been fun and of a stature that perhaps the other person thinks of it as a true friendship. The truth is, I get bored. I get bored of peoples company, I get bored of their inability to realise that I don’t care for any of the things that they say. I can pretend that I care, sure, but I just can’t.

I don’t know what type of person that makes me, it’s not like I deliberately go out of my way to not care about friendships. I just find it emotionally impossible. Sometimes I feel like narcissism is my only true friend but to be a narcissist you have to have an egotistical preoccupation with yourself and that’s something that I don’t think that I have.

I think I just prefer solitude now that I think about it. There are two main types of solitude, there is voluntary solitude and there is solitude which is forced upon you. Mine is completely voluntary. Some people think that loneliness is a horrible thing but when you choose loneliness and you’re happy with it, then is it really a bad thing?

I have a tendency to push people away when they get too close to becoming a friend. It’s like a natural instinct kicks in to go on this path of destruction and I know no limits. I don’t want friends, so why should I try and keep some around? One of my biggest hates is that contacts on Facebook are called “friends” because they’re not, they’re people I know and some of them are my family, I don’t call my brother or sisters my friend.

I know people will read this and think I’m a horrible person, and you’re entitled to your opinion. Lets remember that I’m entitled to mine too. There will also be people who read this who become baffled because they thought they were my friend. You’re an acquaintance at best. I can’t help the way I feel about people.

I have no filter either, which makes me highly unlikable apparently. The upside of that is that I don’t care.

I don’t care about peoples problems but yet people seem to keep telling me about their day and about their money worries and about all the shit that goes on in their lives. When I tell them that I don’t care, they laugh it off and continue to tell me…….fuck off.

People ask me if I’ve missed them if they’ve been away……….I tell them no, they get upset. Am I supposed to lie about it just to satisfy your ego?………..fuck off.

People tell me and send me photos or videos of their animals doing tricks or funny things, then ask me “how funny is that?” to which I tell them it’s not funny and I don’t care………….seriously, fuck off.

I don’t care and it seems like the more I say it the more people think that they can make me care.

If I do something to annoy you, I don’t give a shit. If you do something to annoy me……..fuck off.

I care about myself and my family and that’s pretty much it. I’m quite happy just getting on with life on my own. Getting on with life without a support network of friends makes you (I believe) more resilient, more self-sufficient, definitely more self-aware and far more likely to pay attention to the world around you, to soak in the culture and educate yourself without distraction.

Over the years the word “loner” has developed a strange stigma and that’s quite irritating. There seems to be some misconception about a psychological link to people who society considers as “loners”. I like to think that I, and probably a million others, are proof that it is just a misconception.

When Jodi Picoult wrote “My Sisters Keeper” she wrote;

“Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”

I would go out of my way to say that the statement is incorrect with the exception of the last few words. I do find people a disappointment. I find the entire human race a disappointment. When I look at the destruction that man has caused on this earth, then yes I’d say that people are a disappointment.

“Does that mean you’re an animal lover then”………..before anyone asks that question, no it does not. I hate animals too.

Barry Eisler wrote in “A Clean Kill in Tokyo”;

“I wandered the earth a mercenary, daring the gods to kill me but surviving because part of me was already dead.”

That’s the perfect way to sum me up. I don’t look at “part of me being dead” as a bad thing. I look at it as a great thing, that part of me that should crave for friendship and acceptance probably wasn’t even alive at any point so it’s not a death that I mourn.

This is who I am, I’ve come to accept it and I’m happy with who I am. I don’t give a shit if anyone else accepts me for who I am. I wrote this because I just want a place of reference to send people to from now on instead of repeating myself.

I’m Martin, you’re not my friend and I don’t give a shit about your life.

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A year of beard

Over the past month I decided to let my beard grow out. There was no real reason for my decision other than I wanted a change in look and that I was bored of the “rough stubble” look. In the space of a month, I managed to grow a beard that was rather substantial in size and strangely comfortable to wear on my face.

Exhibit A

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As the recent days have passed and the idea of removing the chin warmer entered my mind, I felt sadness at the thought of separation. So, with much excitement, I announced to my family on Christmas that I was not going to shave the beard until, at the very least, December 25th 2015.

If nothing else, I really want to know how large of a beard I can grow in a year. Granted, I’ll have to maintain some sort of shape to it, otherwise it’ll just end up a fuzzy mess but aside from trimming it into shape, it will remain untouched.

For the next twelve months, I imagine that my chances of finding a woman, a “real job” as my family call it and the opportunity of being given social responsibilities will be slimmer than ever……..

Love, camaraderie, freedom

In my lifetime I have watched hundreds of television shows, I have enjoyed a fair amount and I can count on one hand the amount of television shows that I can say that I “love”. I have never however had a television show that I have felt I can relate to, most of my favourite shows are a bit outlandish and far fetched. There is however one television show that I feel that I can relate to – ‘Sons of Anarchy’

Granted, my life wasn’t as violent or as crime filled but in my teens I made some very heinous choices which affected those around me. For years I was on a path of self destruction, convincing myself that I was on the right path. I brought a gang fight to my parents front door, I was arrested, I caused a lot of misery and truth be told, even for a lot of my adult years some of those patterns stayed in place.

‘Sons of Anarchy’ may not reflect my life as a mirror image but some of the underlying principals of some of the characters just resonate with me. I’ve lost people close to me and then used it as fuel for my anger towards others, I’ve deceived my friends and manipulated people. For a very long time I didn’t care who I hurt, friends, enemies or family. My life was a clusterfuck of bad choice after bad choice for so long that there came a point where enough was enough. I could have carried down that path and ended up in a perpetual solitude handcrafted by my own design but I made the choice to take a different route and thankfully it was the right choice.

I like to believe that I am somewhat emotionless these days. I’m sure that if you were to converse with anyone in my close circle of friends that they will tell you that I tend to never show emotion. However watching ‘Sons of Anarchy’ has reduced me to tears on a number of occasions. The show is hard hitting and it doesn’t slow down to let you recover your emotions. It’s a barrage of kicks to the gut and to me it’s something that I’ve maybe needed.

“Chasing cash we don’t need and spending every dime to stay alive”

If you haven’t watched ‘Sons of Anarchy’ then I would highly recommend it to everyone. Next week is the last ever episode but it’s never too late to jump on the wagon. The first six seasons are on Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch. It’s a show that will tear you apart and put you back together within minutes.

Over seven seasons the show has given some monumental moments. Opie’s death and Tara’s death are two which I think hit every fan just as hard. Bobby’s death was a moment that was unexpected and just left a hole. Without spoiling last nights episode for anyone who hasn’t yet seen it, it was possibly one of my favourite episodes and it sends us into the finale ready for closure.

A side note for SoA is the music. Never has a show had such a perfect soundtrack, where every song choice works perfectly with what it is accompanying.

You’ll be hard pushed to find a show quite as compelling. It’ll be hard to say goodbye next week.

 

One of the hardest scenes in SoA to watch.

The Rucksack Project

Every year thousands of people are out on the streets, sleeping rough and struggling to eat. It’s a sad part of life and one that no matter how hard we try, it’s never really going to go away. What we can do however, is make a small difference to the lives of those who are affected by it.

The Rucksack Project was set up in November 2009 when founder Matthew White saw that the season of goodwill was more centred on people stressing and worrying about the unimportant stuff.

“We have really lost the meaning of Christmas, so I did something in 2009 that was so simple and anyone can do and it will make a real difference to peoples lives.”

The Rucksack Project is a project that takes place on different dates, in different cities throughout the United Kingdom. The aim is to pack a bag of warm clothing, food, a flask, books and any other items that can make a difference to those living on the streets.

Making up these rucksacks and taking them out to give to the homeless is not only a good way of doing something helpful but you’re also making a huge difference to someone’s life. It’s hard enough for someone living out in the streets during the warm months of the year but to live out in the street during the winter months is an entirely different situation.

While the rucksack project isn’t a long term solution to helping these people, it does make a difference and you are helping to keep them warm and give them something good in their lives, even if it only last a short time.

I don’t ever use this blog as a means to promote charity and perhaps I should do it more often, however this is one that I do feel strongly about.

If you want to get involved then please visit http://www.rucksackproject.org/ to find out where your local event is taking place and for help in what to donate.

Some reflection and closing thoughts.

After a sleep and some reflection I think I’m more downhearted than I was at 6am. As a country we made our decision, I’ll accept that but it doesn’t mean that I think it’s the right decision.

Throughout this whole process I discovered one thing, and that is that no matter what side of the fence people fell on, whatever their beliefs, everyone had a strong passion for this country.

We can sit here and say that those who voted ‘No’ don’t deserve to call themselves Scottish but that’s not true. They voted no because they felt it was the best thing for our country, the same reason that we voted yes (obviously we were right but we’ll never find out)

Whatever your emotions are today, just remember that we are all Scottish together, no matter how bitter that may sit on some peoples tongues at the moment (mine included).

We rejected independence but we don’t have to stop the fight for change. To all those who voted for the first time, keep voting. Don’t just not vote because you think it won’t make a difference, if as many people turn out to vote as did yesterday then we have a higher chance of being heard. Don’t give up on trying to change things for the better. We’re all crushed, I understand that. I sat earlier and actually thought I was going to burst into tears because this was such an emotional roller-coaster for us all.

One day the Kingdom of Scotland will live again, this just wasn’t our time. We can now either wallow in our own self pity or we can make sure that Westminster follow through on their promises, we can make sure that we make our voices heard. We can stand together, as Scotland, maybe not independent but damn fucking loud.

I’m nervous, are you?

As we all take our places, on this the eve of what will be the most important day in Scottish history, I wish each and every one  of my fellow Scots all the best. Whatever you mark down on that ballot paper, I hope that you base it off of what you truly believe is right for this country.

Make not your decision based on having had a bad interaction with an overly aggressive campaigner. Don’t vote “No” simply because you don’t like Mr Salmond and don’t vote “Yes” simply because you don’t like the Tories. Vote for what you see as the best possible future for you, for your children and for your grandchildren.

If you vote “Yes” then fantastic, if you vote “No” then that’s entirely up to you, it’s your decision and nobody has the right to belittle you for it. The most important thing is that we all vote and that we all vote for what we believe is the best option based on our own views and what reliable information we can get. 

With such a short time to go until we make our final decision and cement it in history, I’m nervous. I’m more nervous than I’ve ever been regarding anything politically related. Whatever we do tomorrow, it can’t be undone.

“I am keiching ma scants.”

The most important question in all of history

We are nine days away from one of the biggest dates in Scottish history. The day when I, along with the millions of people in my country take ourselves along to the dingy little community centres scattered across the nation and choose one of two words “yes” or “no”

It wasn’t an easy choice to make, this doesn’t just make a small and subtle change to our country, this is huge. It’s not like voting for a contestant on one of those nonsensical reality television “shows”. For millions of people this is the chance to decide if we want change or if we want to stay the same.

I’m not going to bore you with my points of view on why you should vote one way or another because quite frankly there are thousands of blog posts scattered around the interwebs. There are valid arguments from both sides and then there are the people who just want to become mighty warriors for their chosen side.

The amount of aggression and threats of violence that I’ve seen directed towards both sides because of this referendum is insane. I get it, we’re Scottish, we like to show our warrior side but this isn’t a civil war. This is one country trying to make a decision that will stick with us forever.  When I read some of the comments it makes me wonder if I want to live in a country where “if you don’t vote no, I’ll f***ing slash you” or “vote yes or you’re not a real Scottish person you wee c*nt”

I want to live in a country where we can rationalise our future based on the pros and cons of both sides of the debate. I’m not going to be forced into voting one way or another through violence. Just because someone is voting differently from you doesn’t make them an idiot or whatever other name you wish to call them. This referendum is all about choice.

I’m Scottish and I’m damn proud to be Scottish, there’s no better country in the world as far as I’m concerned. Come the 18th of September, when all the votes are counted and the future of our country has been decided then I’ll accept it no matter what it is. I might not agree with the outcome but I’ll accept it, I’ll have no choice.

On a more colourful note, I saw this posted this morning on the back of the news that there’s a new “Royal  Baby” on the way and it made me laugh. Or to use some vernacular borrowed from the youth of today “I lol’d so hard at this”, you see I can still be down with the kids! I’m only in my late twenties, I’m still hip!

scottishpreg

 

On the 19th of September, Scotland will wake up knowingone of two things, either we remain the same or we move on and become our own independent country. The choice lies in the hands of the Scottish people. The excitement in Scotland is high, you can smell it and feel it as you walk down streets. Signs in all windows, flags flying in the wind, campaigners on the streets and everyone discussing the same subject.

On the 18th of September we’re faced with one question and one question alone, “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

I’m voting Yes.

Ghosts of days gone by…..

Sometimes I do things without any reason and those things baffle me. For example, recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Alter Bridge, a band who, for all intents and purposes, I detested 5 years ago. Recently however I’ve been appreciating their music, now that I think about it, I’ve been changing my tastes in a lot of things recently. I suppose that part of getting older is changing your tastes and preferences. 15 years ago I was making my ears bleed and listening to the likes of Slipknot and Mudvayne, 10 years ago I had moved on to Drowning Pool and Saliva, 5 years ago I was all over Joshua Radin and City and Colour like a rash and today my playlist is about as long as an Adrien Brody Oscar speech.

The mere fact that I just used the Adrien Brody Oscar speech as a comparison to the length of something cements just how fast I’m ageing.

Recently my mortality has been playing on my mind quite a bit.  I don’t mean that in a macabre way but more in a “time has flown so quickly” way. I’m not even sure why but I’ve been sitting watching an old film or a wrestling event on the WWE Network and thinking “I was 12 when this was on” or “I was only 10 when I first saw this” then realising that such a long time has passed and yet it still all seems so fresh in my mind. Then I think that if I fast forward the same amount of time that has passed, I’ll be into my 40’s. I don’t really look forward to my 40’s and especially if it’s going to come as quickly as my late 20’s came.

Life passes far too quickly, I know that everyone says that at some point but until recently I’ve never really paid much attention to it. My daughter turned 5 a couple of weeks ago, I’m just astounded that so much time has passed. I remember sitting in the labour suite in shock and frozen to my seat overcome with emotion, it doesn’t seem like 5 years ago, it feels like 5 days ago.

I remember when I was younger, I always dreamt of the future. I always pondered over what it would be like and I couldn’t wait to get there. Now all those years that I dreamt of have passed. My 16th birthday, passed. My 18th birthday, passed. My 21st birthday, passed. My first holiday without parents, passed. My first relationship, passed (and many more have passed too). Now I don’t look to the future, I have a tendency to look to the past. I know that it’s a bad trait, I really shouldn’t. You can’t move forward if you’re stuck in the past but I think that you get to a certain age and you realise that in a couple of years you will be of the age where you start to guide the next generation. Just now I sit on the cusp of that stage of life. I’m out of the teenage years, I’m out of the early twenties madness and I’m not yet in the “must be sensible” thirties.

I suppose, and I hope I’m not the only person who feels like this, that when you get to this point in life you once again resort to the “Peter Pan” phase. Not wanting to get any older. It’s inevitable but part of you doesn’t want to keep on that ever quickening road to Mid-life.

Perhaps this is why I’ve been listening to a lot of Alter Bridge, as much as I hated them 5 years ago, they remind me of a time when I was slightly younger. I’ve also been listening to Lange quite often (yes I have very eclectic taste) and that takes me back to the summer of “Kevin and Perry Go Large”

Whatever the reason, all I know is that I’m not getting any younger and I also know that there was no real point to this blog entry. There is no special meaning or profound epiphany at the end of it. I’m not even going to go back over it to check for errors because the chances are that I’ll end up deleting the entire thing. I do have a habit of writing blogs and sitting for 30/45 minutes on them and then just deleting them. Maybe that’s why life feels like it’s passing so quickly? I spend so long wasting time and leaving empty handed…………….I change my mind, there was a profound epiphany….

One Less Gruff Billy Goat

The idea of fairy tales is one full of intrigue and mystique, almost all of us will have read a fairy tale at some point in our lives and without question every one of us knows of a fairy tale character. With the smallest amount of legerdemain the entire premise of a story can change, heroes can be either unlikely children or charming princes, villains can be witches or trolls. The possibilities within fairy tales are endless and the message is always one of hope.

The very first fairy tale that I can remember from my childhood was ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’. The premise is that three goats, discovering that where they live no longer has any grass for them to eat, set out to find new pastures so that they can become fat. However, their journey must take them across the river, where dwells a troll under a bridge. The first goat passes over the bridge but gets stopped by the troll who threatens to “gobble him up” (gobble him up is one of those lines that makes me laugh for no apparent reason) however the goat persuades the troll to wait for the second goat because he’s bigger and more of a meal so the troll lets him pass. The second goat comes along and the same thing happens as before and so then the third goat enters. I’ll stop it there, because I think that most people know how ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’ ends, if you don’t then go and Google it.

Of course all fairy tales end with the standard “happily ever after” although recently I read “Arabian Nights” which is a collection of Asian fairy tales and they end with “they all lived happily until there came to them the One Who Destroys All Happiness” which I found odd yet poetic. ‘The One Who Destroys All Happiness’ meaning Death, the Grim Reaper as he’s also known. I was slightly taken aback at first, here were some fairy tales full of hope and suddenly they were cementing the fact that nobody lives “happily ever after” because death catches up to everyone.

The very first fairy tales are attributed to Aesop who lived in Ancient Greece around 620–564 BCE (slightly before our time I imagine). The power of fairy tales is so strong and so resilient that over two thousand years later some of Aesop’s’ tales are still being told to this day. I’m sure you will have heard of at least one of them, the main one that I can think of right now is ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’. That story became so popular that two hundred years after it was written it became one of Zeno’s paradoxes (Google them, extremely interesting and thought provoking, the Arrow paradox is my personal favourite)

The Brothers Grimm famously wrote some of the most celebrated fairy tales in our history. Two German brothers, who were academics and even lexicographers, crafted some of the worlds greatest imaginary and magical characters. Although The Brothers Grimm did centralise their fairy tales on more darker hues they still resonated through the years with so many different people, even psychologist who felt the need to analyse them.

The fairy tale is an escape from reality, like most forms of entertainment. I do believe however that fairy tales give more power to the reader and open the imagination slightly more than any other form of literature and I’m saying that as an avid science-fiction fanatic. Whether it’s something written by Alexander Afanasyev or Hans Christian Andersen, fairy tales have the power to take you to a place where good almost always wins. The fairy tale is a door to the unknown world of endless possibilities where life feels good, Walt Disney realised that and that’s why he cashed in on so many popular fairy tales.

Nowadays people don’t write fairy tales, it’s somewhat a thing of the past which saddens me. My Dad used to make up fairy tales for me each night and they always made me so happy. They were tales of a young boy called Billy who lived in a house with a green roof. Billy went swimming with sharks and had magic powers, he loved ice cream and was my hero. My Dad doesn’t remember how any of those stories went and I was too young to retain the proper memories of them which is a crying shame because I would love to remember them in full.

The power of fairy tales will live on because they should live on. Albert Einstein once famously said “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Can anyone really disprove that? Fairy tales are more than just true and not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. Every fairy tale has meaning and every single one is based on the same idea, the idea that peace and happiness can exist no matter what stands in your way.

“In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected.”Charles Dickens