England vs United Kingdom

From Google Maps

From Google Maps

Early in my time in England, I read this brilliant book, Watching the English by Kate Fox, an anthropology text. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the English. Working through what she was saying also made me realize a lot about my native cultures that I’d just absorbed naturally (as you do) without bringing into relief, so it was actually really helpful for me in many ways. I’d love to find similar works on other cultures.

Between that book and other sources, I quickly learned the difference between England, Britain, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom. As time went by, I realized that not everyone – not just my American friends and family, but also some born and bred here – knows these differences. Today I found a brilliant video explaining it, so I thought I’d share:

Happy Music

I was feeling kinda down earlier today.

Whine, whine, whine …

I’d missed two events yesterday I’d have liked to have gone to, because the latest medication I’m trying (in my effort to not have a face that randomly hurts half the time) makes me extra sleepy, so I couldn’t get up in time for the first, and I was so overwhelmingly tired I napped through the second.

Then this morning, I woke up to a glorious blue sky and sunshine – absolutely perfect for the bluebell morning a friend was putting on in her fabulous garden, which I was looking forward to a great deal – with a back in such pain I could barely move. At one point this morning, I stood up and nearly blacked out from the pain. I couldn’t really face being social while in that much pain, so I gave it a miss.

Yesterday and today both I’ve dealt with customer service workers who were ineffective at their jobs, always a thing which grates. Yesterday’s completely unexpected car repairs came out to quite a hefty amount, too, so that was certainly lingering.

But I decided around lunchtime that that was enough, and sought to turn my day around. I filed complaints about the service workers with their respective companies. I enjoyed the sunshine. I revelled in no longer being uncontrollably tired all the time (I started halving the dose last night). Chris had massaged my back, and it was doing a bit better. We swapped the mattresses to see if the guest bed mattress would do my back better.

Happy music! …

Making lunch helped me change gears, and then while eating it I browsed the latest videos from some of my favorite artists. Happily, Alex Boyé has just released a new one, and that really did the trick. The message he wrote in the Description section was really wonderful, and the song is so brilliant for that particular moment. I just have to share:

When my career seemed like it was going nowhere, a few moms and mom bloggers began sharing my videos, and my career was suddenly revitalized. YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE. DON’T STOP BLOGGING!!!!

I thought about sharing that, and then I thought, why not make a post collecting a few of my happy songs together? Peponi remains my favorite song and video of Alex Boyé’s:

Lindsey Stirling’s music also always picks me up. This is my favorite video of hers – when have you ever seen a violinist rock out? 🙂

Artie Hemphill is one of my new favorite country singers, and this is a fun song:

And last but certainly not least, no list of happy music could be complete without the song “Happy”!

Hope you enjoyed! 🙂

Comparison is an act of violence against the self

As I start down this blogging path, today the universe has thumped me soundly to keep something in mind: I must do this for me, first and foremost, and I must not compare myself to others – in general, or in blogs. Thus, the title of this post – a quote from Iyanla Vanzant (who has some other interesting quotes here) – seems particularly apt.

The first thing I came across in this vein was this video (thanks for pointing me to it, Dr. Mabry), particularly the point starting at about 2:15:

We continually edit ourselves to present the best image we can, he says.

Click for more …

I find I can’t disagree. Obviously we’ve done this for thousands of years, but when our worlds were confined primarily to face-to-face interactions, people were more likely to gossip about each other and spread the bad as we worked spread the good. Now, many of our friend sets don’t overlap, and thus each only sees a limited part of us. We have more ability to edit out the less-good-bits, and we’re using it (myself included).

Then came this article: a newly released study says using Facebook can lead to unhappiness. Especially on the heels of that video, that makes perfect sense to me. If we’re all editing our social media to provide the pretty picture of who we’d like to be, then that means when we look at our social media feeds, we get screens full of our friends’ and family members’ perfect lives. I think we look at these screens full of perfect lives and subconsciously or consciously compare ourselves (because it is human nature to do so); since we’re still well aware of our own failings (even if we never talk about them), we find ourselves lacking. Getting this message too often would, indeed, bring anyone down.

So yes, beware of comparing yourself to others. I said this all had to do with blogging; the links I stumbled across today do: Comparison is the thief of joy talks directly about comparing oneself to another when looking at blogs, and was inspired in part by The trouble with blogging, which includes this profound statement from Carmen from Mom to the Screaming Masses:

“We need to stop comparing our insides to others’ outsides.”

What a thing to remember, along with the rest of what Amy wrote, as I embark on this blogging thing. Many blogs, as she points out, are quite professional and polished – and are meant to be businesses. Mine isn’t. I just want somewhere to record my thoughts and doings; somewhere to post my pictures; somewhere to explore thoughts, mostly in medium form; and perhaps somewhere to perhaps keep local people in the loop of things going on about town, as a friend of mine suggested. All of that is what’s right for me just now. And that’s completely fine.

I shan’t compare my blog to all the professional blogs out there; I shan’t compare my insides to anyone else’s outsides. I shall use my blog as I want and need to. I shall remind myself that, just as I’ll edit what I present on here for public digestion, so too is every other person editing their public face, whether that face is digital or corporeal.