# Reality Check

Perspective is a funny thing. How we see things varies from person to person. Is the glass half full or half empty? Is the person positive or negative? Is their perspective tainted because of the way they grew up, the things they were told? Does it matter?

The world is vastly different today from when I was young and even more different from when my parents were young. The younger generation struggle to understand how someone could live without a mobile phone. That once upon a time the choice of car colour was black, black, or you could get black. But now it’s every colour of the rainbow. Television used to be black and white, then colour came into play. Now we’re into the digital age and soon everything will be able to be done with a click of a button.

There was a time there were no computers, no Internet and no social media options which meant there were no personal blogs, no photos of what someone had for dinner or their kids getting into whatever mischief kids get into.

Now though everyone has the option to write a blog, pretty much everyone you know is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites. And everyone, has the ability, to make an opinion whether right or wrong. There’s a lot of good information on the Internet but there is also a lot of bad information.

One can comment on another person’s comment and it can be constructive or it can be negative. The comment can be written, based on whether the person is having a bad day, and wants to share that around, by bringing someone else down.

Everyone who has a camera can theoretically be a reporter. You don’t need a journalism degree. Come across something, take photo, write a couple of sentences and upload to your favourite site. Except that what is written, in all probability, is from your viewpoint and may have nothing to do with what happened. Then there’s the video’s that are uploaded. The majority don’t need explanation as you see people brawling in the middle of the road or having a rant at someone they’ve taken a dislike to, or the drivers who take some incredibly stupid risks.

But we’ve learnt there’s a lot of fake news. There are some photos and videos, that look really good, and it sucks people in, they comment it on, express their outrage or love for it, and then it’s revealed that it was a hoax all along. Ouch.

Then there’s the ads and on some sites, you have to watch them. I get it that there’s money in advertising, and the people who allow advertising on their site get paid if someone clicks on it but to be forced to watch something… sorry, no I’d rather not read the article or watch the video than get stuck watching an ad I don’t want to watch.

What we see a lot of is perfect bodies, perfect stories and perfect lives. Even television programs and reality shows have people that on the outside have this facade. A few break the mould but mostly those on television have perfect bodies, perfect looks, perfect lives. Ads show perfect bodies, looks and that perfection tends to feed on our insecurities.

It can make us feel bad about ourselves. We can look at these people and say they’re successful because they’re thin and pretty or got great abs and looks. Very few speak about the issues they have had in their lives which feeds the facade although some are now starting to come out and say things they’ve gone through.

People don’t like perfection they want to pull it down. People seem to love negativity, maybe because if they can make someone else feel bad, if they can find someone having a worse life or time than them, it makes them feel better about their lives.

Perfection is not reality. Too much negativity, can drag a person down to the point of giving up, and too much praise can give one an inflated ego. A balance is needed to keep one on an even keel.

I personally like stories of people who haven’t had a perfect life, who are prepared to share the pain, the ups and downs of their journey. Why? Because it shows that they are real, that they are just like you and me … human. A human with all the flaws and emotions both good and bad just like the rest of humanity.

You can feel for them as they go through the stuff that life and others throw at them, and you can cheer for them when they overcome, and that is what makes a powerful story, that gives hope and encouragement to others.

And yes, there will be those that have to comment negatively, but they are outweighed by the positive comments. There is nothing wrong with constructive criticism, it helps balance and you can learn from that.

The reality is that life can suck at times but it is how you handle it that matters. The reality is that not everyone is going to like you but it is how you handle the negativity, as well as the positive that matters. The reality is that there is a lot of anger in the world today and not everything is going to go your way but it is how you deal with conflict that matters.

The reality is that perfection is a facade, no one is perfect and the reality is, that one day you will die – how do you want to be remembered by others?




James Arthur – Safe Inside

I don’t normally talk about songs. It’s not that I don’t like music I do but normally that’s all it is to me. Something to listen to. And sure, there are some songs that I like more than others, some whose lyrics I can relate to, such as … Innocent Man by Billy Joel, That Don’t Impress Me Much by Shania Twain, I Believe in You by Michael Buble and others but there was something different about Safe Inside.

They say that songs are written for the same reason a book is written, that there is a message, that the creator of the work, wants to send to people. The only reason, I’m writing about this song is because it has touched me in a way, that quite frankly I don’t understand. So much so that because of how much it stirred in me I had to find out why this song was written.

I never hear of James Arthur until recently, I didn’t know anything about him and sometimes that’s a good thing, if you haven’t read anything about someone then you haven’t got a preconceived idea to draw from. You see the first time I heard this song I found tears running down my face. Not a huge amount but still that was unnerving. How could a song have that effect on me? How can a song still have that effect on me?

Life was not kind to me, and so I shut down my emotions down in order to survive it. One of the things I shut down was the ability to cry. I just don’t do that and yet this song causes me to shed tears. And anyone who knows me knows that just doesn’t happen.

And so I found a video of him discussing the lyrics and what he was trying to get across. The fact that it was about the close relationship with his sister who was abandoned by father.  He took her under his wing. That really says a lot about someone’s character despite any mistakes they, themselves may have made.

He relates to the worry of a parent for a child, he has a deep love for his sister. And he opens up about the drugs that he took and that he was in a dark place, yet he got himself together and hoped his sister wouldn’t go down the same path. He talks about how the family issues created insecurity for his sister. In his Facebook page, he talks about growing up in foster home and he has trust issues.

And as I watched this video of him talking about the reason behind the song I could see that it was hard for him to talk of these things. That it was deeply personal and when it’s personal it can be really hard to talk about it, because sometimes you feel as though you are the only one going through it, when in reality many others have gone, are going and will go through the things you have. And when you make yourself vulnerable by opening up, sometimes people can use it against you so it is not easy.

Many people though, have trust issues, insecurities, rejection, the list goes on. I’m one… I have serious trust issues and insecurities. I know people have given up on me but that’s okay because the few that haven’t give me strength when I want to quit.

Yet I feel that this song has a deeper level. That it is about a deep love one person has for another and that there are times when you either have to let go or there is a separation for whatever reason be that a parent – child relationship, a sibling relationship, friend or partner relationship.

That kind of love is deep, it is protective as well as nurturing and accepting. That kind of love will do anything to protect when they see the person they love hurt. It will give hope and make them want to stop the one they love from making the wrong decisions, knowing that all they can do is give advice and hope the right decision is made. And when the wrong decision is made be there to pick up the pieces.

Some siblings are so close they know each other so well that they can see and feel what the other is going through. They don’t want their brother or sister to be hurt and so that deep love that is protective kicks in and if they see their sibling making the wrong decision they will want to stop them. They will worry about them until they know that they’re okay. But they will love them, wait and when needed be there to pick up the pieces.

Friends are the same. I have friends that are close and when I don’t hear from them I wonder what’s going on? Are they okay? I don’t worry about them to the point I can’t sleep, but I reckon if I had a really, close relationship with them, then I would. I know that there have been times when talking to them and they’ve said things, and I think that’s not going end up being good for you, yet all you can do is tell them what you think and stand back, wait for the fall out and pick up the pieces.

Marriages and relationships fail sometimes. Yet often the couple still love each other deeply and they worry about the other person even if they are no longer together. Or they may be separated by distance because one lives or works in another country. They may chat every day but if the internet is down or there’s a disaster of some kind and they don’t hear from them. Then they worry, what’s going on? Are they alright? And they can’t sleep until they know they’re okay.

Then I watched the video. Thanks heaps, it set of so many triggers. I had flashbacks, but I was able, to not let the flashbacks pull me back too far, which I think is great. It shows I’m healing. I’m allowing myself to feel emotions which by the way suck sometimes, but I’m also liking the nicer ones.

But why does it stir so much in me? Probably because I can sense and feel the depth of emotion and love that he has for his sister and that resonates, because I am learning about that depth of love and understanding that emotion I can sense through the song is the feeling, the emotion that goes with it, which for me is quite intense.

I also read some reviews that were critical of him and read others that talked about him having a breakdown and I thought you know what, this social world of the internet will always have haters and critics, but for a person who writes, be it songs, books or articles, what they write, isn’t for the majority, of the world, although that would be good if everybody liked what you wrote or sang, but it is for the one.

The one person that you touch, that what you say or sing makes a difference, helps them in some way, that is what matters to writers and singers.

I think if James Arthur can stay humble and not fall into the glorification of fame, or let himself get too overwhelmed again, he’s got a great message of hope and overcoming obstacles that he can share with the world.