Tag Archives: friends

Art Journal- The Red String of Fate

There are many types of love that exist in the world and I love that the red string of fate, an east Asian belief, encompasses them all. While, typically, romantic love is the most over rated leaving platonic severely under appreciated, the red string of fate can just as easily apply to soul mates, good friends or even crucial acquaintances. This legend also represents the elasticity of the bond between people, tangling but never breaking. It’s enthralled me since I came across it.

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I listened

My schizophrenic mother spun tales out of her hallucinations as if they were bedtime stories.

I listened.

The machine monitoring my fathers cracked heart beeped in the corner of his hospital room like a misguided melody.

I listened.

My friend broke her teeth on vodka bottles and breathed marijuana.

I listened.

My classmate’s mother called and cried that her daughter swallowed forty pills for a midnight snack.

I listened.

Then I cried into the night and it hushed the wails with a soft, clean pillow.

No one listened.

InuYasha was my Childhood

I’m writing this as a twenty year old college student who’s just completed binge-watching the last few seasons of an anime that has and always will be incredibly important to me: InuYasha. Today I finally watched the very last episode and the journey across 192 episodes and four movies with InuYasha, Kagome, Sango, Miroku and Shippo that began at the age of seven has come to a bittersweet end. Towards the end, my heart felt like it would burst out of happiness, butterflies fluttered in my stomach and I could not for the life of me wipe that geeky grin off my face. I cried at the ending, it was perfect.It left me wondering what to do with my life as if an emotional apocalypse had occurred which, for me, is a tell tale sign of a good show or book. It’s world consumes you. That’s the beauty of it.

As I sat there on my bed, I thought back to when it all began. I remember I was introduced to the show by my neighbour and we would role play it in our backyards (she was Kagome and I was Sango). Suffice to say, I loved the show a great deal. But over the years, I’d forgotten about it, left off half way through the series and when I resumed it last year, it was if I’d never left. This left me wondering why things we associate with our childhood never leave us. InuYasha gave me the answer.

Source: Google Images

If you think about it, our hearts are like the Shikon Jewel. There is both good and evil battling within them. As children, our hearts are pure but as we dwell on this planet, growing older, they become tainted with worry and hardship. But that tiny ray of light from those days of playing hop-scotch and marbles is still there, shining ever slightly though we may not know nor remember. If you revisit parts of your childhood like a book or a show, that ray of light beams stronger until the whole is purified again and for that nostalgic, reminiscent period of time, it’s as if the darkness had never been. I think that’s why the things we connect with our childhood will always have a special place in our hearts, no matter how old or mature we believe we are. They’re safe little pockets to be tucked into. For me, InuYasha is one of them. While it may sound a bit over the top, I assure you it’s not. On scrolling through tumblr and reading KagoMay posts where people describe how they were first introduced to the show, many people resonated with this feeling. I think it’s only understandable if you watch it for yourself (which I highly recommend you do).

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Source: Google Images

The characters are unique and heart-warming. InuYasha is one of those protagonists you’ll never forget. He’s hot headed, impulsive and moody but when coupled with that soft spot for his friends, love interests (Kikyo and Kagome) and Ramen noodles, it makes him endearing and badass all at once. He’s so multidimensional. Sango is my favourite female character with her amazing demon slaying skills and sense of moral righteousness.

Not only are they humorous but the characters are also troubled with their own pasts and their own individual challenges looming ahead of them which makes their journey even more intriguing. InuYasha’s life was always complicated what with his tragic love for Kikyo, his being an outcast as a half-demon and so much more and he comes to learn what it is to trust and rely on others, something he never quite understood before. Kagome struggles with the comparisons between her and Kikyo, attempting to assert her individualism and harnessing her own powers. Miroku’s wind tunnel curse and Sango’s troubles about her brother Kohaku are their own burdens to bear. I love how they all overcame their struggles together. One thing this anime teaches us is to keep fighting the demons (literally and figuratively) no matter how hard it is.

I’m aware of the shortcomings of the show but truthfully, I don’t mind. Yes, the fight scenes can get quite repetitive but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Contrary to popular opinion, I enjoy the fillers a lot. They’re a nice little does of humor after a couple of intense battle episodes.

So thank you to Rumiko Takahashi for creating InuYasha and to everyone involved in making the anime as brilliant as it is.

Social Psychology is Everywhere

We know a lot of things about people around us but what exactly makes them tick? That’s what psychology is all about and social psychology in particular is everywhere. It’s in the books we read, the movies and TV shows we watch and the social interactions in our daily lives. It’s funny how after studying the subject for an entire semester, you know the reasons for a lot of common phenomena. So much of what we learned in class was actually something we already knew, just unaware of what it was in psychological terms.

And I just had to connect it to TV shows and books!

Over-justification

Some of us do things for rewards like money, status and grades and they’re extrinsically motivated. On the other side of the coin, are people who do things for personal satisfaction without expecting rewards of any kind and these people are intrinsically motivated. Research has shown that intrinsic motivation diminishes for activities that become associated with an extrinsic reward. That’s called over-justification.
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll remember Jack Gleeson who played Joffrey Baratheon. Well, he said that he wanted to quit acting because it became more of a job and less fun. So once his acting was associated with pay checks and fame, his love for acting diminished making play feel like work. That’s how his acting became over-justified.
Fundamental Attribution Error
This is the tendency to focus on the role of personal causes and underestimate the impact of the situation on someone’s behaviour. This is why we make the mistake of assuming that an actor in real life is the character he or she plays on TV. We think Jennifer Aniston is Rachel Green, Jim Parsons is Sheldon and so on.
Aaron Paul who played meth addict Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad once said in an interview that he’s had fans come up to him asking for some ‘crystal’ and that they genuinely believed that he was a drug addict in real life. He had to clarify that he is the exact opposite of Jesse in that regard. So you see, people didn’t take into account that he is an actor hired and paid to play a character on a TV show and they jumped to the conclusion that he is Jesse.
Beauty Bias
It’s been found that there are benefits to being with beautiful people. Average looking people can benefit from being seen with a physically attractive group, by rule of assimilation. People viewing this group would perceive the average looking person to be more attractive.
Does this ring any bells? It’s quite similar to Barney Stinson’s Cheerleader effect! As a group, people look more attractive because their features average out but on looking at each individual you’ll find it’s not quite so.
Psychological Reactance
When a freedom you enjoy be it in terms of thoughts, actions and feelings is threatened, it seems even more appealing and you try harder to reinstate it.
Remember Joey and his determination to sleep with ‘the hot nanny’? The fact that Ross and Chandler kept stopping him from hooking up with her made the idea of the hot nanny even more attractive.

Childhood amnesia

Ever wonder why you can’t remember anything from your early childhood, like it was some blur in time and then everything became clearer a little later? It’s called childhood amnesia. It is not possible for your autobiographical memory to recollect anything before the age of 3-4.

In a book called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, the protagonist mentions this clearly:

“Except I can’t remember anything before I was about 4 because I wasn’t looking at things in the right way before then, so they didn’t get recorded properly.” – Christopher Boone
*All pictures courtesy of Google

50 Little Cures for the Common Blues

We have six basic emotions and of all of them sadness requires a combination of treatments to cure it. The traditional eating a pint of ice cream whilst sobbing on the couch just doesn’t cut it anymore (or never cut it at all, if you ask me).

So what do you do when you’re down in the doldrums? In addition to my own, I asked around and people have been kind in sharing what helps when they’re feeling a little down. Here goes…

1.) Have a Friends marathon. It’s hard not to laugh at Phoebe’s rat babies, Ross’ sandwich fiasco or Joey’s bag. Even if you feel sad again once the episode ends, just keep watching and watching. Ten whole seasons should do the trick. Plus the bloopers.

2.) Look up pictures of ‘winterscapes’, the ones with streetlights illuminating snow covered streets and Christmas lights adding colour to a white canvas of a park in the middle of winter. There’ll be cabins with fires burning brightly, looking like windows to happier times contrasted against their dank cold surroundings. Remember how the seasons merge and think ‘This too shall pass.’

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3.) Take a blank white sheet and a few vibrant ink pens. Touch the nib to the page and look closely (very closely) as the ink creeps and flows across it. You don’t even need to draw anything, just repeat this and feel enthralled by the movement of ink.

4.) Lie still in bed, tucked under the sheets and close your eyes. Feel yourself, every bit from your toes to your forehead, melting into the sheets, dissolving into the warmth. (This is how I fall asleep at night and it’s a blessing.)

5.) Travel back in time to those days when getting mud stains on your clothes and cartoons on a Saturday morning were all that mattered by re-reading a childhood book, cartoon, anime or movie. ( I find Johnny Bravo, InuYasha and Harry Potter to be quite effective in this regard.)

6.) If you’re like me and don’t particularly love the chick-flick genre, watch these anyway and feel the lightness of the films: Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, It’s a Boy/Girl Thing, Kate and Leopold, 17 Again, The Devil Wears Prada. ( I love Meg Ryan rom-coms as you can see.)

7.) Enjoy the warmth of a piping hot cup of coffee or tea (whichever you like) or enjoy some soda travelling down your throat, cool and fizzy.

8.) Be grateful some people have gotten off of your roller coaster. Perhaps they were never meant to ride it all the way through or they were merely destined to fall off halfway through. Either way, only the worthy will make it through till the end with you.

9.) Listen to 8tracks playlists and be reassured by the fact that they have been made with care and the intent to comfort. This soothing study playlist is a treat for the ears and I found it better for relaxing than studying.

10.) Put on layers of clothes (sweaters, scarves, shorts and tank tops) and layers of makeup just for fun and more importantly for yourself, no one else.

11.) Paint your fingernails any colour you like, blue for the sky hanging like a sheet above your head, pink for the blushing cheeks of lovers or red for the strawberries in your frozen yogurt. Take it a step further and add designs. Be a Michelangelo with ten tiny canvases. Twenty if you add your toes.

12.) Take a black permanent marker and draw along your body, tentative tattoo designs on your wrist, ankle or even go so far as doodling an entire sleeve. Wash it off, watching the black ink dilute into purple as the water drips down onto the floor. Like washing away regret and pain, circling down the drain and forever disappearing.

13.) Don’t resort to drowning your sorrows in alcohol and excess sugar. Instead, enjoy the best of both worlds by making some banana flambe. Freak out about the flame the first time you make it and remember that feeling.  (I made this in a bar tending class and it’s amazing.)

14.) Cry (because sometimes there is nothing else to do but just that.)

15.) Stop crying and wipe your eyes on a pillow case or smear the running mascara on a two-ply tissue. That explosive ache is gone for now.

16.) Spend some time with an animal, your pet or one at a local animal shelter (cat, dog or bird etc.) because they know better about what is important in life. (Eat till you sleep and sleep till you eat.)

17.) Listen to an entire album from start to finish, one that reflects your mood. In order. Because artists put thought into that and it’d be nice to hear the tracks as it was intended. Bands I’d recommend are The Script, The 1975, Imagine Dragons, The Fray, The Killers, oh and Hans Zimmer scores. Music can do so much, take Alexander’s Feast for example.

18.) Sing along to the songs, even if you can’t sing all too well. Scream the lyrics, whisper them softly, it doesn’t matter. Connect to what you’re singing, hearing and feeling. It’s a harmonious moment.

19.) Look back at old photographs featuring friends, family and photo-bombing strangers. Laugh at the good old days or be glad the bad ones are over.

20.) After that, take lots of pictures and selfies. One day, in the future, you may need these goofy ones to make you smile when you’re down. It never hurts to plan ahead.

21.) Dance like a ballerina or a nut case but just get off your bum and move. The released endorphins should do you some good. It’s scientifically proven, after all. (Some good tunes for this are Problem, I Love it, Happy and Shake it Off, by the way.)

22.) Binge-watch Breaking Bad and be thankful that your life hasn’t been ruined by your old high school chemistry teacher like Jesse’s was.

23.) Take a hot bath or shower.

24.) Make something for someone ( a bookmark, a snack, or a sketch) and smile when their face lights up when you gift it to them.

25.) Take a nap and sleep it off.

26.) Slap some cocoa butter lotion on your hands and hold them really close to your nose. Soak up that heavenly scent.

27.) Add extra cheese and/or butter to whatever you’re eating because everything is better with butter and cheese. (Disclaimer: This only applies to food that goes with cheese and butter.)

28.) Take an old magazine and newspapers, cut out the dullest articles and make black out poetry with them. Revel at how the mundane can be made marvelous.

29.) Use an entire stick of Post-its with reckless abandon, posting them wherever you like. Write curse words and tape them to distasteful pictures of distasteful people or write motivational pick-me-ups and stick them on the wall beside your bed so you can wake up to a note from a less cranky you.

30.) Read an autobiography and know that everyone struggles and the words on those pages are so much more than that. They are someone’s life.

31.) Buy yourself something be it online or in a mall, even if it is just a pair of scissors or a glue stick.

32.) Do your hair up in funny ways. Straighten, curl and braid to your hearts content.

33.) Stalk your favourite celebrities on Tumblr (they’ve got the best pictures after all).  Find out what they’re up to even if they’re just going to Taco Bell in the afternoon.

34.) Follow a microwave mug recipe and eat it all up. Shouldn’t take too much time. (Might I suggest a microwave brownie?)

35.) Read The Perks of Being a Wallflower particularly the poem Charlie likes (I find it raw and fascinating but that’s just me) and see how it makes you feel. Interpret and connect to it instead of your own sadness.

36.) Take a coloured sheet of paper and fill it up with inspiring or funny quotes and lyrics that could get you through a run-down day. Remember those beautiful words neatly arranged before you.

37.) Look up some Youtube mash-ups featuring your favourite artists. Maybe you’ll discover some new tunes. I recently found an Ed Sheeran/ The Fray mash-up called How to Save a Small Bump. It’s beautiful. Check it out.

38.) Watch some kids play duck-duck-goose in circles or riding bicycles in the street. Remember that innocence is a blessing.

39.) Start a blog to spit out those wondrous thoughts in your head and meet people who enjoy your lovely drabble.

40.) Watch funny animal videos or GIFs. These bouncy goats are particularly hilarious.

41.) Roald Dahl wrote that his father would take his mother on ‘glorious walks’. Read this passage:

Every time my mother became pregnant, he (his father) would wait until the last three months of her pregnancy and then he would announce to her that the ‘glorious  walks’ must begin. These glorious walks consisted of him taking her to places of great beauty….His theory was that if the eye of a pregnant woman was constantly observing the beauty of nature, this beauty would somehow become transmitted to the mind of the unborn baby within her womb and that baby would grow up to be a lover of beautiful things.

Pregnant or not, alone or not, take a glorious walk so that the beauty of the world (not necessarily nature) can be transmitted to your soul. It’ll learn to love the beautiful just as a baby does. ( I found this passage very enlightening.)

42.) Find a spot whilst on this glorious walk and sit down. Engage in stream of consciousness writing. Write whatever you feel passionate about, be it monkeys in the zoo or parasols in the rain, splattered with droplets descending from the skies above. You will be surprised at the well of honesty your voice possesses.

43.) If real life gets to be too much, play the board game Life. Get married, buy a house and add some kids to your mini car playing piece on that big old board. If that isn’t your game there’s always Parcheesi, Monopoly, Jenga and my personal favourite Clue.

44.) Draw a moustache and horns on people’s pictures in the newspaper. Make them downright hideous and laugh.

45.) Talk to an old friend and reminisce about the good old days even if you’re not old enough to properly call them the good old days.

46.) Write an open letter to yourself and tuck it away. Read it in a few years.

47.) Watch Sia’s Chandelier music video and appreciate the dancer’s fluidity and the simplistic visual artistry of the video as a whole. Allow your thoughts to mirror the same grace.

48.) Clean and organize your desk, closet or entire room. Put everything in its place. Do the same thing with people in your life.

49.) Take a quiz on where you ought to live. Look up the country or city and immerse yourself in a plan for a house or apartment there. Pick the wall colours and kitchen cabinets and where the furniture ought to go. (Do you believe in feng shui? Go for it.)

50.) Print out pictures of far off places that make you feel whole, like Mathew Street in Liverpool, Banff Alberta or castles in Ireland. Stick them together and stare at the board. Call it the Anywhere But Here Window and voila. You’re somewhere else for a while. When you feel better you will come back.

I sincerely hope these little cures help on a rainy day!

What are the things you do when you feel sad? Share them in a comment maybe, spread the cure and heal the world with happiness.

Image Sources: Google

Photography Challenge Day 8- My Happy Place

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Rooftops are always great right? Climb up there when you’re supposed to be studying, sneaking in some booze and cigarettes and shout out at the top of your lungs because you can feel the whole world around you instead of just seeing it. It’s even better when the dark clouds are rolling in and you can almost smell the rain…

Spin offs just spin out of control

Lately spin offs have been enjoying success on the silver screen and I just have to say that I don’t really care for them. To me, spin offs, attempt to ride along the success of the original show and borrow from its success with the masses. It’s as if the network wants to expand without caring much about quality and that is exactly what I think whenever I hear about a new spin off soon to be aired.

My problem mainly lies in the fact that spin offs are rarely ever as good as the original show and this is mostly because they have large shoes to fill. I enjoyed watching The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars (both in their earlier seasons) but their spin offs The Originals and Ravenswood are disastrous to say the least. I loved Friends to death but Joey was average at best. I’m not even excited about the possibility of a Harry Potter spin off.

Perhaps the only spin off I might be excited about is Better Call Saul because I refuse to let go of the world of Breaking Bad. I’ve always thought that Breaking Bad benefited from the comedic criminal lawyer without his character’s presence diminishing the seriousness of the show. Now it would be nice to see the balance between comedy and drama on Better Call Saul, centering around Saul Goodman’s life before having met Walter White. I’m just waiting for this one to be aired but sadly I’ll have to do so until 2015!