Tag Archives: mind

World Mental Health Day

Mental Health, trendy isn’t it? Everyone’s talking about it, sharing memes and copying and pasting posts right now.

What happens when the volume turns down; when the phones are off or the next distraction explodes onto our screens? What happens when the man really has to look in the mirror? What happens when it becomes….”oh that’s so 2018” or “are you still on about that?”

We keep talking, that’s what we do. We keep listening. We keep checking in our friends, the distant ones, the ones who speak to us about the things that matter to them even if it’s not our number 1. We keep on keeping on because doing it saves lives. Doing it breathes life into someone who might not necessarily take theirs but is one moment of frustration away from a breakdown.

Mental Health is more than a medical diagnosis. To have the opportunity to have a positive connection to another human being is something that impacts our ability to live our every day lives as though there really is a tomorrow.

Sometimes the darkness is so thick around us that we push away the candles that are offered. Sometimes it takes persistence from one side to help you understand that the light shining in your life is a genuine one.

I love hugs. I remember there was one guy at university who would greet most people with a hug because he believed in a moment of positivity for everyone. Cheesy as it sounds, a hug has turned my down days where I’m -100 into a day when I’m +10 in how I feel inside myself. A hug has brought tears, opened hearts, allowed friendships to find new planes. Maybe a hug for 10 or even 30 seconds is all it takes. It’s not a magic cure but it’s a start.

No matter how well-intentioned we are, I hope that World Mental Health Day becomes more than a day where we copy and paste. You don’t need to push any social media buttons to check-in with someone no matter how near or distant. Your conversation may be the pressure reliever that they had been waiting for.

May you listen intentionally and without judgment. May your connections grow deeper, may many minds be saved, all because we didn’t just copy and paste.

AJ

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Non Poetic Blogs

Re: Definition?

I’m not the kind of man that can have his manhood away, Jamie Neville, fellow cast member.

Although my body no longer feels the emotional weight of a week of shows, I find my mind is still processing it all. It is still at the checkout scanning everything on the conveyor belt and counting the cost.

Now that I’ve cross-examined masculinity and mental health, what do the words “Man Up” mean? The negative association it had has been vanquished by virtuous relationships. Machismo is no longer the main mode, nor is there shame or intentional repression.

Maybe I was privileged to have encountered so many genuine people at once. Maybe it’s the post-show comedown. What I do know is that there is hope. Man Up is a statement of encouragement to be open and honest with yourself. It is a smoke signal for friendship and fostering positive behaviours. It is men recognising that they are not alone or other men cannot be their best selves alone. To hear those words is to tell someone that you’re ready to serve them, to support them.

I could argue whether the phrase should still exist, I won’t because I know it will outlive me. This phrase is a statement of your attitude and intent.

If I’m committed to using what I’ve learned then I will listen without judgement. I hope to understand the journey and help you along the way. Maybe we’ll see the finish line together. Are you ready for that level of vulnerability? Can your ego and prejudice stand down to help a man up?

If you’re the kind of man that can’t have his manhood taken away, your actions will answer the questions. I live in hope.

Leave a comment

Filed under Just Living

Gremlins and molehills

My home is the stage, or so I thought. Nobody wants to hear me, besides, I’m not allowed to say what I think.

This was me, aged 21 after discovering that performance poetry was the one place where I couldn’t be shot down. The one place where I wasn’t being told that I wasn’t good enough. The one place I wasn’t compared to someone my family or peers knew. The only place where I could speak my mind and people had to listen.

The stage is my home, I don’t get nervous, I come alive when I’m centre stage. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Having written and rewritten my piece for Man Up, my confidence level was always around 8 – 10 on any given day in practice mode. I’ll be just fine for the shows, do what I gotta do.

Somehow the closer I got to the shows, an old gremlin spoke up and asked, “What if I mess up?” Fear of failure, fear of not meeting expectations, fear of letting others down had all shackled me for most of my years. Despite my confidence in my ability to deliver, it caused me to practice even harder right up to the last minutes before I was to step into the limelight.

Despite controlled recovery from a few stumbles, I beat myself up for the rest of the first show. I told myself it was awful, that my part was the weakest out of the solos. I told myself that the crowd didn’t want to hear me talk about race and masculinity, they came for the stories from people like them. They didn’t want someone to rhyme at them with all those hand motions. I told myself a lot of things. Somehow the rest of the cast didn’t see it like I did. They told me they saw me come alive, they heard my passion, they told me they had to remember to hold their applause.

I arrive at the mid-point of a series of performances, so far two nights, two sold-out shows. I was better this time, not perfect but better in the second show. Self-awareness can be destructive at times, yet with 3 shows to go, I realise the importance of embracing the bright. Take the microphone away from the gremlin and make your voice count in a good way.

I’ve got two shows in one evening before the final performance a day later. What matters most? The simple truth is my story is being heard in a way that only I can tell it. At some point I’ll tell it again without the production values, I might even give you the extended version. Simple truths about the best of what I’m doing matter more than amplifying minor faults. Knowing the mountains from molehills will take you far.

Leave a comment

Filed under Non Poetic Blogs

Finding Fruit

I stopped by your poems

Hugged them line by line

Our heartbeats fell as silken petals

This long lost love made Courtney Pine

Silence eavesdropped on mystic kisses

Eager vibrations rekindled the affair

Your swirling prose meditative.

My unchained cadences cohesive

Perceptive curtains arrange our winds though

Love isn’t lost if the heart’s still beating

Is this mine or our evocative secret?

A final kiss on our achievements?

The silence still eavesdrops

The longing lusts evermore.

Leave a comment

Filed under Random Poetics

Clockwatching

clock-watching

They say time is a healer but…

Time has no hands, no feet, and no voice to speak.

With no needs to meet,

You and I create time

Time doesn’t have feelings

It doesn’t have love or hate to deal with

It can’t discern the fantasist from the realist.

It can’t read your reactions

Nor does it have a face to face the consequences

You and I create time

You and I decide between dark and light

You and I decide when we’re ready to walk into the deep

We weep until the drought is fierce

We survive on the fruits of our faith in the reflections we find

You and I create time

Will time test and tell or do you and I indulge in the canonisation of self-preservation

Creating tall tales with foundations for generations

Do we tell many times so that time can tell.

If time talked, we could have a conversation

If time healed, maybe I’d have regular vaccinations because shoulda, woulda, coulda, never turns time’s tables.

Now if time can be bought, how do you loot it, can it be taken?

They say there’s time for everything, but all I see is man’s arrangement.

Like learning English as a foreign language, the context is a maze in

the fact that we are but choices of creation

If eternity is really time, a paradise that we’re awaiting

What materials are you building with if life is simply time that we’re creating?

Leave a comment

Filed under Just Living

5 day Poetry Challenge Day 5 – The Uniqueness of Being Unique

Written circa November 2006, this is the last post for the challenge. It feels good to look back at where I’ve come from as a writer. Thank you for reading,

Every word spoken on this earth is a ritual

Unless it’s inspired by the divine at the time, it cannot be defined as truly individual

Uniqueness is the relative of beauty desired by all

If true love is unconditional

Are the partakers truly unique individuals?

Experience is definitions fly on the wall in the documentaries of our lives

But we find uniqueness essence cannot be repeated

Humans are fruit smoothies – mixture of common features

We try to emphasise unique things, a lot of our plus points

From our personal couture to our cultural standpoints

Pointing skywards

Common concepts are the paternal subtexts that drive us

Culture is our car

Exquisitely designed without a need for eyes

For unique defines not I but who we are

Leave a comment

Filed under Random Poetics

5 day poetry challenge Day 3 – The Dawn

White sands fell between them

The morning tide kissed their foreheads

New palms bowed and curtsey in turn

Clouds yawned for the first time as the sky opened its eyes

The wind smiled like a new-born after its first feed

Time had walked the shortest distance from their wrist to their hands

Steady as the drizzle of summer rain, they breathed

Whispers tiptoed from their lips into the oxygen

Like hydrogen they ignited as understanding embraced

Good Morning,

Good morning to love said the flame

Finding their soul frequency retinas roared

Detonated heart beats battling soon soothed to an echo

Atlas had become compass in a blink

Yet this was Eden and it would be human to think

So they admired

The apple of their eye was a fruit of their spirit

They’d given lives to acquire the rights to the orchard

Merely breathing was deemed eating of the moment and

Building a city of roses required appetite so apple blossom became staple diet

Welcome,

Welcome to life said the Middle Tree

Leave a comment

Filed under Random Poetics