Man has this year been a fast one! It's actually November, people are actually saying the C word and I realise that I may actually need to start thinking about it sooner rather than later :S
Not that I'm complaining, it is definitely my favourite time of year. Maybe it's just the hype but doesn't everyone seem a little bit happier in December? Unless of course you're that one parent that hasn't picked up a Buzz Lightyear (or whatever the flavour of the year is), you do not look happy! But in general, people smile more :)
I'll be honest I tend to over do it at Christmas. I spend more money than is sensible on gifts, I play the Crimbo albums on repeat and I definitely make merry with the merriment on Christmas Eve :P . And I love every minute of it! Make memories not money, the first one will make you smile when the other one is gone and spent.
Now before we get to the "What would you do?" in the heading, let's talk about some changes since my last update.
1) I am actively looking for another job (as opposed to half-hearttedly going to work hoping something will land in my lap) The current job is fine, it's just...different since being back at it post-op. It seems like the work load is 100x more and the money hasn't upped with the expectations. And apart from that, I'm just not happy there anymore.
If I'm going to spend the bulk of my life in a job then you can be sure I'm going to make sure it's something I enjoy doing. I get that we all have bills to pay and having a job is pretty much a necessity - but if you're not happy there then I personally guarantee you, you could be doing something else, getting paid the same and be a WHOLE lot happier. It's never too late to make a change.
2) My writing has been side-swiped by NaNoWriMo.
For those who don't know, NaNoWriMo stands for 'National Novel Writing Month' and it runs in November every year. The aim is to write one complete and finished 50k manuscript in the month of November - take it from me. This. Is. Not. Easy.
I wasn't going to bother this year round but woke up after an obscure dream (as oft happens) and couldn't shake the idea I had for a novel.
The screenplay and the other projects are officially on hold until December!
3) I have *cough* joined a dating site...there "I said it!"
Not entirely sure what I'm expecting from it but I met a couple when I was at the PTQ in Dundee (which you can read about on manaleak.com) who were awesome together. I got talking to them and it turned out they met on POF.com and armed with that success story I opted to give it a go.
I like the way the site is setup so you can filter out the people looking for 'casual encounters' and the nutters as I'd like to stay away from the 'naughty pond'. That place seems like it'd be full of bad memories and I really don't need to add to my already impressive collection of *cringe* moments.
I'm in two minds about what I think about the whole 'dating site' concept. Anyone who knows me will testify to the fact that I am A) One heck of a talker + B) A flirt.
That being said I just don't think I'll meet the type of girl I'm looking for in a nightclub or pub. No harm in giving this site a go!
On to the serious stuff! "What would you do?"
I know this isn't in the usual "funny/self-humiliating" style of my blog - but something happened on Friday night I can't not talk about.
I was playing MtG in Queen's Park at the shop as I often do. I step outside for a bit of fresh air and get talking to a girl at the bus stop (she is presumably, waiting on a bus). Blethering away quite the thing about nothing inparticulair and a car screeches to a halt in front of us and out jump four guys shouting in some foreign language at the confused and somewhat terrified looking girl.
Now for all I am a confident individual - and consider myself pretty well prepared for most situations, this one threw me. I stepped in front of the girl (who at this point is talking back a bit sheepishly in this other language) and then both she and one of the guys point at me. Do I run? Stay?
Before the flight or fight response kicked in the guy says to me in perfect English (kids, cover your ears)
"Fuck off! She belongs to the family, she doesn't talk to non-muslims so beat it boy!"
Now apart from the fact this guy was ages with me and I really have an issue with anyone who isn't 60+ calling me boy - does anyone else see a problem with the above statement?
I certainly did.
At this point the girl is being not quite pulled, but certainly encouraged towards the car. I still have no idea what's going on so I kick off and do a bit of shouting myself, attracting the attention of some of the guys nearby.
The guy that called me 'boy' stops and turns around a little bit calmer noe he's got an audience.
"Look mate it's nothing personal - this is my sister, she's not allowed to speak to non-muslims, just let it go."
Sorry. Not sold on that tune mate.
So I ask the girl if this is her brother and does she want to get in the car with him. At this point she looks a lot less scared and a lot more embarassed than she did originally and I kind of see the family resemblance BUT, and this is the thing that really gets me...
She looks at her brother first before answering the question, and he nods. The girl then tells me that this is her brother and that the other guys are her cousins. It turns out she is waiting on a lift from him and pretty much re-iterates his words.
"It's nothing personal - it's just our culture..."
(kids, cover your ears!)
Bullshit. It's not culture. It's sexism verging on slavery.
Now please don't get the wrong idea. I am not criticising Muslim culture - I judge every single person I meet on their own merits and I will never have a go at someone because of their creed, colour or race. But I cannot accept that a man can have a daughter and treat her like property to be traded. I've served on ships with multi-cultural crews coming from all walks of life and all types of religion, I like being exposed to new cultures and new ideas - it makes me a smarter man, but Friday night...
It just doesn't add up, at least to me. When did we regress to the stone ages?
So back to the question : "What would you do?" - What lengths do you go to for the sake of a stranger?
The girl got in the car with her brother, her cousins walked away and I went back in to finish my game of cards. But the whole thing has been bugging me all weekend.
To whomever finds themselves reading this, these next words are aimed directly at YOU!
You are an individual. Your own person with your own thoughts, feelings and desires. You are not defined by the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the music you party to or the house you pray in. Don't let anyone pressure you into making choices you don't want to make or do things you don't believe in.
If you want to sing into your hairbrush in front of the mirror, rock on! If you want to dance like no one's watching while your waiting on a train, awesome! I saulte you! And if you want to go against the grain of everything you've been brought up to believe, then you are one of the most incredible people on the earth, and you have my utmost respect. I didn't say being you was going to be easy - but being a 100%, pure gold, star-spangled first rate version of yourself is much better than being a two bit carbon copy of what someone else thinks you should be.
Don't conform to their norm, what is normality anyway?
Being preachy isn't my style, but neither is being a bystander when I see something I don't agree with. I hope I got my point across.
Anyways, my rant is now officially over! Stay tuned for more updates! Hopefully there aren't too many 'dating site' related embarassing bits!
Dare to Dream folks,
Live your life!