Why I Envy A Myth (Relationships)

Oh boy, a dating post. I am in no ways a dating blogger, or  someone who reads a lot about relationships. This post therefore may seem like a non-conventional dating blog post. If you want to see a really good dating blog though; hit up http://evegreenow.com

Also I’m 24 now so it may be time to actually try and figure out what that life stuff is really about.

(Although I may just take Douglas Adam’s advice here “The chances of finding out what’s really going on in the universe are so remote, the only thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied.”)

***

DISCLAIMERS:

 * Let’s begin with saying that I’m not going to reference any single relationship I have had. I had an ex that wrote a derogatory post on a university blogging site about his ex’s and what they thought about him and the way he went about it. Well lets just say he put us all in a group chat and asked us to say what we thought of him in the group chat. As you can imagine it did not turn out well as he did cheat on every single one of us with someone in said group chat. Not cool or clever. 

I am also not saying that ALL men are toxic. I know women are just as bad (cough Cardi B) so if you feel that some of these aspects apply to women too, I totally understand that as well.

Like most people, I feel like I have had a cocktail of the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to relationships. Some ended well, some not so much, but with each one I have learnt something at least. But this post isn’t here to razz on my bad relationships, it’s merely commentary on 21st century dating, and why is sucks…. SoooOoo bare with me friends (please) as this may get weird… *

frozen-lake-lake-pier-38969

Let’s backtrack society a little bit. Back to the Ancient Greeks.

Helen of Troy. I’m sure the majority of people reading this have heard about her; whether it’s from Greek mythology, reading the tomes of the Odyssey and the Iliad, or whether it is by watching the numerous films and tv series about her. (We won’t even start on the movie Troy as I have so much to say… Brad. Pitt.)

If you haven’t heard of her, here is my quick synopsis of her myth:

Now, Helen was supposedly the most beautiful woman in the known world. So much so that she was kidnapped by Theseus, the King of Athens, then rescued by her brothers Pollux and Castor to be married to the King of Sparta, but oh it doesn’t end there.  She was then awarded to Paris of Troy by Aphrodite, which led to a war between Sparta and Troy lasting for years. Some say this war is the reason for the saying that she had “the face that launched a thousand ships.” And with all mythology there’s some strange origins, and shapeshifting and questionable bestiality between Leda, Helen’s mother and Zeus in swan form, but that’s not something I’m willing to dwell upon.

Without knowing the full myth behind Helen, the saying that a woman has a face that could “launch a thousand ships” – can have several connotations here. Thinking about this after reading the Odyssey and the Iliad, much to my father’s delight, I came to my own conclusion about ancient Grecian beauty standards. Either, dearest Helen had a face so repulsive men couldn’t stop themselves from fleeing from her; meaning that this repulsion could indeed mean beauty – Or it is a siren’s song in the form of a face. A twitch of radiant a smile so insatiable, it would make men go on arduous quests to slay gorgons, and retrieve shiny sheep to show loyalty and affection.

Back to the dating. (not even dating)

Where does Helen of Troy fit into my dating life? Well the first people to call me beautiful I happened to believe that they were perfect for me. Oh dear, was I so wrong. as a tenneager, I was not the smartest. Definitely naive, so I was terrible at dating and relationships. (For the good people that dated me that I just messed up being the mess I was: I am sorry, it wasn’t you. The bad people. I won’t even say what I am thinking.)

Plot twist. This isn’t 500 B.C. anymore…

Now as a better, not-as-messy-human, if someone told me that my face could launch a thousand ships I would probably laugh at them*. Romance like that is dead. No one is going to fall hand over foot to get the reciprocated affection. Long gone are the days when people would go on grand adventures or make grand gestures to show their love**. Somewhat tragic really. Yet, also quite relieving as I don’t think I could deal with that nonsense anyway.

The way dating works today, especially how it’s evolved so quickly in the last century, is quite frankly frightening. The invention of dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble (I’m not even going to start about snapchat.), hath cometh the rise of random hookups with strangers. A main consequence of this is the changed attitude of dating. Normalisation of one night stands doesn’t hold a light for the hopeless romantic, or give a majority of women my age any respect in dating. receiving messages that say “DTF” is not what I or any girl want, even if we do choose to be on a dating app.

You would think that with the progress of society, there would be the same level of respect in dating. We now recognise that women are people too, after all this time (surprise). And thankfully kidnapping is not the best way to win a woman’s heart – Yet, this progress does not boast total positivity in the light of the dating case unfortunately. Some men are still acting that it is indeed their god-given right to have whatever they choose. (Not just in the dating sphere. (Hollywood Imma looking at you)). It may not be a necessarily to a “Theseus” situation by means of kidnapping the “Helen” in question; but dragging the girl away from her friends in the club, following them home or surreptitiously sending them inappropriate messages does seem to be the 21st century answer to the Theseus/Helen debacle. But in the original at least Theseus was a king. Nowadays you won’t be so lucky. (Unless you receive that email from a Nigerian Prince).

The main issue with this behaviour is the retaliation. I have had my fair share of awful nights out where I have been physically grabbed by men to dance with them even though I resist and say no. They are relentless. And I didn’t realise how much of a struggle I put up until the next morning and saw my arms were bruised where the man was grabbing me. Saying No doesn’t mean No apparently. It is a gateway for the person to just insult and berate you. Saying No does not make you a whore, so don’t call us that.

At this rate women can never be free from the trash floating around in the sea full of “fish”.

beautiful-hands-heart-5390

Now a positive bit:
I have had some really good dates with people via dating apps, and also made a few friends on the way. Not everyone on there is out to get you which is nice, but you do have to go through a lot of filth and trash to get the better stuff. I know many people who have also found love on these apps and now have families, so they can’t all be that bad?

Maybe I just need to be kidnapped….

_________

The *****s

*It has happened though and I did laugh. Well not the exact words but along those lines

**On that note however, it must have been so easy back then to just ignore someone.then No fast transport or instant messaging. Simple way to get someone to go away would suggest they needed to show their love by going on a crusade for months or maybe years. 

Normal Canadian Things I find Weird #4

Tis 2019. Tis back.
***

Normal Canadian Things I find Weird #4: The Right is right.

Let me explain this a bit better, as it may be more proficient to title this piece, Normal Canadian things only British people and some old British influenced countries, as the rest of the world agrees with Canada on this one… As it is to do with behaviour in the non political sense.

Roadways

Back in November 2017 I got my Canadian driving license. As a U.K. citizen all I had to do is go down to a drive test centre with my license. Here they get you to sign some forms, take a quick eye test, take your mugshot and then you pay $90 for a beautiful new driving license. And well. I look like a murderous potato in my picture.

It seems fair that I didn’t have to take a test or anything as I’ve held my license since 2013 and I like to think I’m a safe driver…. and I have never had any points on my license. Just a plethora of parking tickets. ( I’m sorry parents it won’t happen again). BUT… in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, we drive on the left-hand side of the road. I would love to say we are the original drivers and therefore left is best but it seems to just be a tradition we have carried since the 11th century. Typical Britain stuck in it’s old road time ways amirite or amirite?

car1

Back yonder centuries ago, the passing of left to left was a self preservation thing.  Most travellers were right-handed and scabbarded their swords on the left. Around the time of 11th century, people were not necessarily friendly to strangers. During this time, England was constantly warring between houses, as well as constantly being invaded by the Danish and Normans. This meant when passing a stranger in these feudal societies, you could easily defend or attack a passerby as well as not whacking anyone with the scabbard. Makes sense for 1000 years ago… why does Britain continue this tradition did when 65% of the world did not?

Fast-forward around 600 years to the 17th/18th century. Here we have the expanding european empires, and with them their expanding economics. In America in particular, mass farming meant that transporting goods needed to be bigger and better. Hauling large quantities of product meant larger wagons, and with larger wagons, larger teams of horses. naturally when driving horses you want to be able to control them by flashing to the left, meaning the driver sits to the left on the horses. To prevent clashes with other wagons the drift of driving on the left to the right began.

European right-side drivers began around the same time in Russia. As Russia had grand relations with the other country’s high societies, when driving on the right became official in the 1750s, other countries such as France followed suite. The rest of mainland Europe can be blamed on Napoleon. Conquering nations such as Belgium, Netherlands and Germany  meant implementing laws, including the right side driving principle.

Britain driving on the left naturally meant the majority of her colonies also drive on the left, including that of Malta, Australia and South Africa being countries that choose the left. Japan however has its own reasons of driving on the left, nothing to do with Britain, but kept their 17th century tradition to today.

 

So why is it weird?

I am completely used to the left. I grew up with the London Underground etiquette of sticking the left. I learnt how to drive on the left hand side of the road. Driving and walking means to the left. It is common knowledge that you keep to the left in the UK, but not in Canada. Walking on the left is outright Anarchy. I have walked into at least 40 people due to my unconcious leftness. Walking up stairs I have received so many dirty looks as I took the left hand staircase. Completely bemused by this I have tried to change my ways.

After being in the Canada for over a year now I am used to the whole right side of the road driving malarky, being in the passenger seat of a car is no longer as traumatic. But walking on the right has been a mental strain for me.

Back when I was driving in Europe, I’m looking at you France, I did find it very difficult to get used to driving on the WRONG side of the road. So many times I ended up just sticking left… normally no one was about. I hope. I had to make a mental checklist when taking turns to make sure I didn’t turn and just end up defaulting to the left lane. And Roundabouts. I won’t go there. I’m sure I am not the only awful Brit who has terrorised the roadways of the continent and I won’t be the last either.

Anyway… Now I am consciously aware of the left and right flow of travel I can’t unthink it so I find myself panicking when I’m just walking along the sidewalk minding my own business and drifting to the left. There normally is not anyone around to see my blind panic of moving back over to the right…

It’s not until I got to Canada, I understood the rage of walkers. Now, I am not a fast walker, and having only one functioning leg may have something to do with that, but I am not the slowest walker either. The amount of pavement/sidewalk rage I have received from people in Ottawa is simply bewildering. People walking side by side would rather stick at my pace and make passive aggressive remarks than overtake me. I have to physically move myself out of their path for them to walk past me. Totally not necessary and quite rude to be honest. Then again it may just be a British thing to wander at my own pace…

So maybe this is not that weird really but I just made it weird. 10/10 me.

***
Thanks for reading and stay warm!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

The Importance of Colour Harmony

Elegance, style and balance. When looking at a well designed piece, whether it is a logo, a website or a painting, we are absorbed by the colours. In designing, picking colours for a piece is not necessarily just about what the designer thinks looks good. Countless amounts of research have shown that people can be affected with exposure to colours, whether its a behavioural or emotional. It takes around 90 seconds for an individual to make a subconscious judgement on an item or person, and 60-80% of the judgement is made up by the colours the subject is perceiving.

To really understand colour harmony, you need to look at the basics of colour theory. I remember back in High School when I took Art GCSE we looked at certain colour properties especially the colour wheel and saturation. Anyone who has had art classes or studied design already know the principles behind colour properties and in particular, the colour wheel.

Initially formed in the 1660s by Issac Newton, the colour wheel is built of the primary, secondary and tertiary colours, in a pragmatic way.

Print

This colour wheel shows shades pastels, midtones and brights as well as the pragmatic order of colour. It can easily be split into different colour schematics from simple monotone, warm and cold and complementary.

It’s easier to separate the colours into temperature and saturation to describe their psychological effects so here are some of the emotions portrayed:

Hot – Aggressive and attention grabbing. Normally seen on news based websites, check out BBC, CNN, Reuters etc. They all lean towards warmer colours, whether it is is their logos or web design. 

Warm – Softer reds, oranges and yellows are more welcoming to us. Warmer tones are associated with inviting and welcoming designs, usually accent colours in waiting areas.

Cool– Purples, softer blues and greens give a meditative effect. Usually brings us back to nature with the association of relaxing flowers such as lavender.

Cold – Blues are associated with ice, water and freshness. Think a combination of blue, turquoise and green. Most associated with freshness these colours are often used in packaging for laundry detergent and air fresheners.

Pastels – Used to reflect the white space they are in. Often offices or hospitals will be painted in pastel shades to make the space look larger and more refreshing.

Pale – These colours are tints with a lot of white giving a faded effect. We often associate these colours with youth and innocence. Think to products for young children such as baby clothing and products. These colours are often associated with femininity too, most female products being pastel shades.

Brights – Usually the Primary colours or bold brights of secondary colours, think the use of these combinations by artists such as Mondrian or Andy Warhol. These are attention-grabbers and great for stand out products and websites.

abstract-abstract-expressionism-abstract-painting-1704119.jpg

Now we have the basis of temperatures, it also good to know the break-down of individual colours:

Red relates to energetic, passionate, action, ambition, love, anger, aggressive and determination. In some Asian cultures the colour red is lucky. In India it is seen as the colour of purity.

Orange  relates to adventurous, social, communicative, optimistic, enthusiasm, falsity, superficial and pessimism. It is perceived as a sacred colour in many cultures, as well as eternal happiness.

Yellow relates to cheerfulness, fun, good-humored, confidence, originality, creativity, challenging, academic , wisdom, judgmental, impatient, impulsive, spiteful, cowardly and deceitful. In the middle east, yellow represents happiness and good fortune.

Green – relates to growth and vitality, renewal and restoration, self-reliance, nature, balance, possessive and materialistic, indifferent, envious, selfish, greedy, inconsiderate and calm. In western cultures it is also perceived as lucky, whereas in Indonesia it is a forbidden colour. In the middle east, green represents youth, fertility and wealth.

Blue – relates to loyalty, trust, reliability, responsibility, conservatism, caring, contemplation, peaceful, depressed, passive, superstitious, predictable, aloof and frigid. It also promotes healing and safeguarding from evil in a lot of cultures.

Purple – relates to individual, creative and inventive, psychic and intuitive, humanitarian, mystery, fantasy, royalty, cynicism, arrogance, fraudulence.  Purple has traditionally been associated with royalty and with that wealth. In Brazil and Thailand, purple is associated with mourning and honouring the dead. 

Pink – relates to romantic love, compassion and understanding, nurturing, romance, warmth, hope, calming, sweetness, naiveté, femininity, physically weak, over-emotional, over-cautious.

Brown – represents the down-to-earth, wholesome, practical, approachable, friendly, stable, structured, supportive, comforting, reliable, protective, dull, boring, frugal, materialistic, lack of humor, lack of sophistication, predictable and cheap.

Black – relates to comfort, strong, contained, formal, sophisticated, seductive, mysterious, pessimistic, secretive and withholding, conservative, serious and powerful. It represents masculinity in some African cultures and represents rebirth and mourning in the middle east.

White – represents innocence, purity, cleanliness, equality, complete, simplicity, immaculate, self-sufficient, pristine, terile, stark, fastidious, empty, isolated, cautious, plain, distant and unimaginative. Western cultures the colour white symbolizes purity,  peace, and cleanliness. But in Asian cultures, such as China and Korea, white represents death, mourning, and bad luck, and is traditionally worn at funerals.

abstract-abstract-expressionism-abstract-painting-1150626

Let’s move onto the basic colour schematics. These aren’t necessarily all the colour schematics there are, just the most frequently used ones with examples.

Monochromatic

One colour on the wheel with multiple shade gradients from dark to light.

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 16.23.43

 

Primary

The primary colours: yellow, blue and red.

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 16.29.10

 

Secondary

The secondary colours: green, purple and orange.

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 16.30.17

 

Complementary

Directly opposite each other on the colour wheel. Red and Green, Blue and Orange, Yellow and Purple.

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 16.26.42

Achromatic

No saturation just shades.

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 16.35.15

Analogous

Any three hues next to each other on the colour wheel.

Screenshot 2019-02-09 at 16.25.57

 

References/further reading:

Research on psychology and colour theory:
https://www.colorcom.com/research/why-color-matters

Useful colour scheme tool:
https://color.adobe.com/create/color-wheel/

Why I Love Pigeons (And You Should Too!)

Lets make things a little lighter after that last post… With a pigeon post!

***

animal-avian-bird-1463294
look at this one’s eyeliner

For centuries, countries have aligned themselves with animals in attempt to capture the essence of the animals nature and characteristics to reflect what their country brings to the table. Animals such as the Lion and the Tiger give off the air of predatory pride, other countries choose indigenous species such as the Ganges River Dolphin or the humble Dugong. America may have the Bald Eagle screeching freedom, but the U.K. has the humble Pigeon cooing for empty fish and chip wrappers.

Do not underestimate the mighty power of the pigeon with its long, deep history and long-standing significance. Reader; you may disagree with my writing, but hopefully after you’ve read my post today you’ll have a better understanding about why myself amongst others believe that pigeons are great.

There are literally hundreds, nay, thousands of pigeon breeds. The common mangy pigeon we see strewn about towns and cities are actually a branch of  Rock Pigeons or Rock Doves. We all are accustomed to the mixed bag vermin birds that scatter the world with their silly demeanour and discernible agenda, nevertheless pigeons exist as a comrade to us. So keep with me, I promise this is more exciting than not.

animal-avian-beak-461329.jpg

Reliable Communications

Being the first bird domesticated, the pigeon has been used as a way of communication for centuries. Most notably, the pigeon seems to have a homing device in it’s brain meaning that they can return to a place even when they have been displaced for thousands of miles.

Pigeon post was indeed a form of communication, dating back to the Roman era with pigeons littering popular postal history up until the 20th century. If you have heard of pigeon post, most notably you would have heard about the usage of the birds during wartime, as the use of the birds were indeed a significant advantage in passing secret messages efficiently. (There are many reasons for this, mainly due to the lack of a human delivery component and that pigeons, to our knowledge, can not read.) 

The start of using pigeons as a general use of war communications starts back in the late 19th century during the Franco-Prussian war. After the Prussians destroyed usual form of communication for the French, being wired telegraph, the pigeon stepped in. While under siege the pigeon delivered messages of all importance outside to as far as Tours, a 240km trek for the birds. Pretty nifty little fellas!

Their war time service does not end in 1871, these birds were frequent flyers in both the world wars. Often shot at, the pigeons were mostly undeterred by gunfire often showing up at their designated destination, and in some cases saving many lives. Some famous pigeons include Cher Ami, who received the Croix de Guerre for her outgoing performance at Verdun. She is among the 32 pigeons ever to receive medals for valour and bravery during warfare.

Cher Ami cropped.jpg
Cher Ami, the recipient of the Croix de Guerre. Isn’t she majestic?

Pigeons were also responsible for some of the first aerial photography in the First World War. Pigeon post, especially the use of war pigeons was terminated in 1957 after the dwindling numbers of homing pigeons after the war. I could go on and on about how pigeons saved us on many occasions during wartime, but I feel like that would not be too great.

 

Pigeons are biblical.

Well Doves are, and they are technically pigeons. Obviously the go to here for Dove’s role in the Bible is in Genesis, with Noah’s Ark. Noah sends forward a dove on numerous occasions after the punishing rainfall to find land, and hopefully the recession of the flood waters.

“And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: and he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, till the waters were dried from off the earth. Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned to him into the ark; for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. Then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in to him into the ark. And he stayed yet other seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening, and lo, in her mouth was an olive-leaf plucked off: So Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. ”
Genesis 8:6 – 8:11

Pretty important, but they aren’t just a religious aspect for Christianity. In Sikhism, high priest and warrior Guru Gobind Singh was known for his affiliation with rock doves and so feeding pigeons is not uncommon in commemorating him. Some religious groups, specifically in south central Asia, believe that when someone dies, their soul is carried by a bird, and in most cases pigeons there for flocks of pigeons around temples are fed in the effort to care for ex-loved ones. Another reason to care for these birds; they could be watching over you in a way that’s not just in awe of your sausage roll.

animal-avian-birds-1406506

Emotional

Believing pigeons have emotions is down to the individual, but I see no reason for birds in general not to have emotion. In exhibiting certain behaviours, it is pretty clear (to me) that they do indeed have emotion. Whether it’s pigeons preening each other, sharing food and resources in a pigeon-y friendship or traceable traits such as elevated heart rate and muscle tension when it comes to fear; pigeons display many different traits that can coincide with emotion. Much like us humans do. However, behaviour traits can be linked to emotion, they don’t always prove that emotion is present. So I leave it up to you to make a decision on whether you think these funny little birds can love.

birds-color-fun-166639

They aren’t that stupid.

Yes, they bob around and walk in circles and seem to have no regard for personal space but there is reason for all these inpigeonous traits. There have been studies, the most recent in 2017, stating that pigeons are more aware than space and time than we first imagined. Studies at Oxford university have shown that pigeons share the development of generation to generation cultural development, but instead of means such as behavioural development, efficiency of their nature has improved making them more dynamic in navigation, flight and intelligence.

There are published papers on this topic which talk more in depth about animal behaviours and pigeons with more scientific fact and figures than I can conjure – and I’ll probably leave it to them as well – that are floating about out there. Here is a great example!

animal-avian-bird-860605


Recognisable and Relatable

I don’t know about you, but when I’m off galavanting around the planet I do get homesick from time to time. Maybe this is where my love of pigeons stems from. There is something nice about feeding birds, especially pigeons. The nice thing about feeding pigeons is that it can be done all over the word. Every continent possess the pigeon so being able to have a cloud of grey swarm over bird seed is a sight familiar to most major cities, and for that I am grateful for pigeons. Thanks birds for keeping me a little more sane.

 


Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

How Perfectionism caused my OCD

I know I haven’t been an active blogger recently and there has been a big reason why. And I am going to share it, as I feel like it’s something other people have faced or are facing. This has been one of the hardest posts I have written and rewritten; please be nice and sorry for my absence!

***

Perfectionism.

The ability to not accept a standard less than perfection.

A personality trait that is often characterized by a person’s strive for flawlessness. Along with the setting of high performance standards and often accompanied by highly critical self-evaluations.

The ultimate problem with perfection is that no matter how hard you try, 9 times out of 10 It is completely unobtainable. True, you can be the best at something, but that does not equate to perfection. So, having any issue with perfectionism ultimately creates the paradox of striving to be perfect but in doing so you become imperfect.

I was diagnosed with Perfectionism and OCD in my final year of university. At first, I did not take it that seriously; until I developed anxiety like symptoms and subsequently developed habits to try and counter them.

“Perfection is the enemy of the good”
– Voltaire

The Lead Up

Before all this happened, I did have trouble with my self-esteem and confidence, as a consequence for being horrendously ill with a plethora of infections. I don’t want to delve into the heavy details on it now as it’s a good few months of my life I wish to forget, but the illnesses lead to some pretty nasty scars that I still have two years on. Over the summer of 2016 when this happened, I also struggled with trying to make myself less of the ill mess that I was and back to some form of attractiveness – something that is so stupid now I reflect on it. One of my main forms of income was with a Brand Ambassador company, I won’t mention the name, that were meticulous about appearance. The uniform included red lipstick, perfect hair, manicured nails and at least 2-inch heels. I was informed that as I did not upkeep my blonde hair regularly, I would have trouble finding gigs with them when I had roots showing, so I dyed my hair brunette. The jobs were not fantastic, it was mainly standing outside stores handing out flyers and encouraging customers to come into the store. But it paid very well for what it was, and quite frankly that summer I needed the money.

This was not the first not good enough feedback I got that summer. I was constantly reminded of this every time I caught my reflection. This took a negative turn on my opinion of myself, especially my appearance. When I had my blonde hair I had more confidence with myself and who I was, after being so very sick; so embracing the brunette change did not happen easily. Along with this change I convinced myself I needed to lose a lot of weight as I started to see myself as a fat dumpy girl with boring brown hair. No one would want that. I did start to miss days of eating and when I did eat it was once a day. I replaced food with coffee, anxiety for exhaustion day in day out. I started to sleep for only a few hours and night and wake up every day at 5am full of anxious energy. It was not good. I hit my lowest weight and dress size that summer, being 114lbs (52kg).

You can imagine my self-esteem and self-confidence was shattered. 

 

Returning to Uni

I had to make the decision of going back to university to complete my degree, or abandon it completely. At this point, I was already £40,000 in debt to student loans, most of my peers had graduated and I had no faith in myself.  I would be going back completely fresh. It sounds awesome now I look back at it, but unfortunately back then, I saw it that I was a failure in comparison to my peers. I would be the laughing stock for taking extra time to get that little piece of paper. I would be alone.

Registering to continue my studies meant I had to go with all the new first years to the main hall to manually register my courses and attendance. Something that I was definitely not ready for. I remember being so anxious that I ran up and down the stairs in the Arts Centre twelve times before going and registering. But I did it and I was going back to study.

Luckily, due to my involvement in clubs and societies, I did know a few people still knocking about at university, and actually made friends. I started to worry about having anxiety when I started to stop making myself run upstairs twelve times or clapping each hand twelve times. I caught myself doing it when in lectures when I missed something or during archery practise when I forgot part of my form. It was not the greatest of moments for me.

This vice was not sufficient for my written work. I found myself rewriting paragraphs in essay’s multiple times, and this perfection notion grew and grew until I just deleted the whole essay and started from scratch. Over and over. This would add hours onto my library sessions taking them to the small hours of the morning. I was overworking myself to the point I made myself have a sit-down talk to my personal tutor. I told him about the rewriting and the anxiety and I was referred to a university counsellor and was made to see a doctor.

“Imperfection and perfection go so hand in hand, and our dark and our light are so intertwined, that by trying to push the darkness or the so-called negative aspects of our life to the side… we are preventing ourselves from the fullness of life.”
– Jeff Bridges

Counselling

People say that talking is the best therapy, and I concur with this, just not with my first counsellor. The doctor I initially saw before Counsellor No.1 offered me medication for anxiety, in which I refused as I didn’t want to be taking any more pills. The doctor diagnosed me with a perfectionism-based OCD and referred me to No.1. Before this, I have had no interaction of experience with counselling, but was definitely not ready for the first few sessions. The very first thing the counsellor said to me, after knowing had issues with perfectionism and my image, was “You can never be perfect”. That was that. I disregarded everything he said afterwards as he clearly did not understand. He also asked weird questions about my family that had no relevance to the matter at hand which gave me good reason to just stop the counselling right there.
Instead I saw a counsellor from the university who got me to talk about situations that made me anxious and just confront them without using my vices and see what happened. Seemed completely insane to me. How can I just walk into a building I’ve never been to before without counting to 12 in my head? The craziest of notions, but I started doing that and also taking elevators to avoid the whole running up and down stairs issue. After a while it got a bit better, until I had an incident with my roommate. (Another topic that I will write about in a different blog post). I rewrote the 14000 words 12 times. But that has been the last thing I’ve rewritten 12 times.

Counselling didn’t help with the concept of my body image now that was something I needed to fix on my own accord and not by over or under eating. (Again thats something I will cover more on in a different post.)

 

The Positives

Not everything about the perfectionism was doom and gloom and here’s a quick summary of the best bits:

  • I got some of my best marks
  • Archery PBs were constantly broken
  • I cared less about my appearance *
  • Cleaning and organisation are arguably on point
  • Anxiety changed to confidence through perseverance
  • I moved country!
  • I can work in guest services everyday and not flounder

*I say this as a positive, but I did go up to 178lbs… so maybe too less caring.

 

 And now?

Well it’s now been almost 2 years that I was told of my perfectionism and OCD, and well some things are better. I don’t do the stair thing nearly as much and can happily go into new buildings without hesitation. Of course some days are worse than others. That is just how the cookie crumbles for me.

 

***

Wow that was really hard to write as I have not told many people about this or the diagnosis and said it was anxiety as that seems to be more prevalent and accepted in society. Having perfectionism is a positive curse for me as it has led me to flourish and achieve my dreams while counting to twelve alot….

Please feel free to comment, like share or even ask me anything about this. I’m putting myself out there so you don’t have to.

 

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

7 Easy Rules of Photography Composition

It’s been a while since I’ve written about photography and it is still one of the biggest parts of my life… so here are some of the things I have learnt over the past 8 years.
***

Photography composition takes a beautiful photo and makes it great. It also makes you slow down the snapping and get you to think about the subject and also what you are trying to convey. After all, photography is a form of art, and a great work of art does indeed take time. That is part of the beauty of it.

1) Don’t Restrict Yourself to Landscape.

The only things that should ever be kept landscape is phone pictures and video. Then again these are just unspoken rules, but vines would have looked so much better if people just turned their phone 90 degrees to fill the screen.
Using a Vertical format for a landscape image does something magical to a subject.

1
Aberystwyth Jetty, Ceredigion, UK – July 2016, Canon 6D 70-200mm f/2.8
In Landscape photography it is expected that you deliver landscape shots. However, to make your photography have an impact, there needs to be an element of the unexpected.
Additionally, a vertical frame gives you a taller area to deal with the foreground and the background. This really got me with seascapes, especially as sunset as it meant that I could pull down the colours of the sky and pull up the colours of the sea to create this balanced equinox of blue sky, blue sea melded with the sun’s evening display.

2) Lines!

 Lines are hands down my favourite thing to photograph. If you look at works by Rodchenko and the way he use lines in his black and white photographs, you may too be converted to the line life.
ALEXANDER RODCHENKO 1930
Aleksander Rodchenko 1930
Straight lines can be beautiful, but don’t limit yourself there! Try to find a converging point, get lower to the ground and take the risk of getting a bit dusty for a shot. Or just try out several framings for a certain line. Find a line that makes your eyes follow into the depth of your image.
PS-OTTAWA
Adriana, Byward Locks, Ottawa – Canon 6D 50mm f/1.8
HardKnott Roman Fort
HardKnott Fort, Cumbria, August 2017 – Lumix G7 (standard kit lens)
A good way to start with lines is to find a good building and play around with the lines against the sky or finding the lines within the building itself and take many many photos of different compositions to see for yourself what works best for you. Back in 2011 I did this in a Sainsbury’s Carpark in the UK and found some crazy shapes and lines I didn’t think I could find in a carpark!

3) Patterns & Symmetry

We are drawn to balance. This is what makes patterns and symmetry so powerful in any form of art, whether it is written word, traditional art, photography or even music. Patterns can be found in anything from manmade materials such as fences, buildings and pathways or naturally occurring such as plants, landscape and skylines.

IMG_5229-21
Llandudno

In this example of the pier in Llandudno the use of leading lines only emphasises the symmetry of the pier. What makes me really happy about this photo is the colour palette of muted blue and grey that balances the symmetrical properties. (Of course this is just an individual opinion and some may not like the balance and colours of this image, but of course art is individual and the artist does indeed know best 90% of the time.

4) Negative Space

img_2372-2
Le Mont Saint Micheal, France – Canon 6D, 18-40mm f/4.0

Negative space can be anything from a plain blue sky to a low aperture mush of colour. It is space that is not filled. We want to focus on a single subject the majority of time so use this to your advantage. Arguably you can use patterns as a negative space element, so long as it does not detract from the main visual, you’re good.

IMG_0021-12
Lake Windemere, UK – Canon 6D 24-105mm f/4.0
Don’t be afraid to use backgrounds as well like block colours, walls, floor for negative space with a subject. Also filling the frame with the subject/object can also have an effect much the same as negative space.

5) Natural Frames

Let things get in the way once in a while. Sometimes not having a “clear shot” is more interesting. While trawling the internet for examples of frame shots its always pictures of people in doorways and windows and I feel thats not a natural frame. Sure it looks cool and creates a frame in the photo, but it is not the kinda image that challenges the artist to get.

img_5729-4
Blue Planet Aquarium, Ellesmere Port, UK – Canon 6D 50mm f/1.8

img_0017-10
Lake Windemere, UK, Canon 6D 24-105mm f/4.0

6) Focus Focus Focus

Where is the focus at? Are you concentrating on something close up or far away, and if so what levels of depth does your potential subject have? In this instance, take off the auto focus on your lens and really get in tune with what you want to capture.

7) Make Mistakes

This may seem like a stupid point, but I can not implore how important it is to f*ck up once in a while. If you don’t then how do you know you have grown or improved? There needs to be the balance of amazing yourself at what you can do as well as having the ability to review your work and realise what you can do better or what needs to be improved on.

success

Back in Black (and White)

One can not begin to explain how excited one is now the hellish cold of winter has thawed and the promise of summer is heating our frozen souls…. So why not celebrate with all the photoshoots around the beautiful city of Ottawa! I am very lucky to have a great model friend to join me on my escapades, so big thanks to Adriana for your stunning face and patience of a saint.

PS-OTTAWA

Perhaps one of my favourite parts of the city now is just behind the Chateau, above the locks due to the big sky, the Gatineau hills in the background and of course the consistency of the lines and style.

PS-OTTAWAPS-OTTAWA

Something I wanted to try out was playing with a figure on stairs. After being constantly inspired by Rodchenko’s work from the age of 15, it is time for me to actually try it out for myself. In this case using the organic lines of my model in contrast to the consistent solid lines that are created with the architecture of the stairs.

PS-OTTAWA

Another thing about spring and summer is the warmth of light and the depth of shadows that are created.

PS-OTTAWAPS-OTTAWAPS-OTTAWA

PS-OTTAWA

Safe to say I’ll be using the lines the city has to offer a lot more this season, as there are so many opportunities I can not say no too.

Stay tuned for more!

Normal Canadian Things I Find Weird #3

And so the saga continues. After being introduced to various aspects of coffee in Europe, see back to my Café and the Continent Post, I thought it may be good to share my thoughts on the Canada Coffee culture as its certainly…. different.
***

Normal Canadian Things I Find Weird #3 Canadian Coffee Culture

img_0008
So I can not say Briony anymore when it comes to ordering coffee at starbucks as no one can spell it so I go for Molly. Which isn’t always heard right…

Ordering Coffee – The Fast Food Coffee

(Not sure if this is just an anxiously awkward me thing or something others have faced as fearful foreigners.) 

Ordering coffee is a simple transaction. This statement has been challenging to me for a few months of being in Canada. Some uniquely Canadian thing, you can not escape from is the Double Double. What is a Double Double? It happens to be a coffee served with 2 cream and 2 sugar. Logical, if you understand the ordering system in this country. I wondered for a while why people would perpetually give me the funny look when I just wanted coffee.

img_0660

What I did not know is that in most places in Canada that do the coffee put the milk or cream and sugar in while they make it for you. This is madness. As someone who is used to getting the coffee and faffing about with sugar packets its completely mind blowing. More words to say at the cashier?! Outrageous. 
However, I understand the reasoning behind the order the sugar and milk; it does save the individual the faffing time… yet it is still a concept I need to get used to. And admittedly it does stop the days where you accidentally pour the sugar in the bin, and the paper into your coffee. This does happen more often than I would like to admit…

Roll Up the Rim Season

I mentioned this briefly in my previous post and I don’t understand the hype behind it. It’s all about the chance of winning – winning a doughnut, a coffee of a Honda Civic on a years lease. As I don’t understand it I asked my Canadian friends their thoughts…

“Roll up the rim is a Canadian classic, a Canadian pass time and overall a gamble to begin your day. Even though the coffee may be anywhere from weak coffee like water to week old cigarette butts juice the gamble of getting another coffee or pastry keeps us going.” – Mirre

I am like the wrong person to ask haha I hate Tim Horton’s! Even when I go and its roll up the rim I still get cold drinks. But I think people like it because it is cheap and good (I guess). And People love Roll up cause its like the chance to win on something you would probably buy anyway. It’s like if tampons came with a prize people would be like – This makes buying these more enjoyable hahaha – Maggie

I tried this phenomenon and did not win anything. Plus the whole concept of rim rolling is confusing and not easy to do if you haven’t heard of it before. Where is this hidden message? How do I unravel the secrets of the cup? One should not overthink these things.

The Rival $1 Coffee

So what I noticed while this whole rolling rim shenanigans is going on, across the road in McDonalds, there is a $1 coffee promotion. Coffee for $1. Thats basically 55p. Why would you go in for a roll lot of disappointment when you can have a large $1 coffee that actually tastes nice? Additionally you can collect the stickers on the cups so when the season is over you have copious amounts of free coffee. Thats a win win situation!

Cafeteria Coffee

I’m not sure if this is just an Algonquin College thing, but it kinda blew my mind. So there is a large variety of flavoured coffee. Not like vanilla lattes and caramel macchiatos… Nay, as in its flavoured coffee beans and that is something I’m not used to seeing regularly. I’m sure it exists elsewhere in the world but not as open as this.

coffee art
Some fancy coffee art from Bridgehead

*And finally*

French Vanilla

Why do we not have this back in the UK; and when we can get it, why is it so expensive?! I don’t know exactly what is in french vanilla, except for the vanilla of course, but it is pretty much a hot drink that rivals the godly status of hot chocolate on a cold rainy day. I suggest to anyone who like sweet things to go out of their way to try french vanilla as they will not be disappointed.

***

I am an avid coffee drinker, and these weird Canadian coffee credentials seem to make the experience smoother and more enjoyable so I don’t think I can complain too much!
Thanks for reading and enjoy the nice weather before 6th winter comes!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

Normal Canadian Things I Find Weird #2

After getting positive feedback on my potty post, I thought I would continue my series of awkward britishness abroad and bring you the second of the series…..
***

Normal Canadian Things I Find Weird #2 Precipitants

So I found a definition of precipitants on the Met Office website and now am slightly alarmed: 

The definition of precipitation is any form of water – liquid or solid – falling from the sky. It includes rain, sleet, snow, hail and drizzle plus a few less common occurrences such as ice pellets, diamond dust and freezing rain.

Weather is weather right? Wrong. From my experience as a seasoned British person I can confirm the weather stereotypes are true. Having issues with engaging conversation? Talk about the weather. Need something to complain about? Talk about the weather. Need an excuse for something? The weather. See the unfurling trend?

The average annual rainfall is apparently around 133 days for the whole of the UK which amounts to around 36% of days are rainy. But this indeed varies from area to area, for instance Wales sees 167 days (45%) of rain, and that is when the sea doesn’t want to be part of our world.

I can safely say I know rain, hail, sleet and snow as the staple precipitants. And sea water if you want to talk about coastal living, but again that is a different kettle of fish. So why do I find Canadian precipitants weird? Well. Buckle up because I just experienced my first Canadian Winter. And survived. (edit: I apparently it’s not over yet…)

Snow

The most magical of precipitants. We all know the drill in the UK that a small white dot falls from the sky masquerading as snow and the whole country gets its knickers in a twist and literally shuts down. Panic Stations everyone, its started again. Bring on more snow and it’s just a mess. There are bread shortages and crisis after crisis, people put milk in their tea before the water; generally not a good thing.
As a younger human I did enjoy the idea of snow and doing the snow things as school would be cancelled, like tobogganing and snowball fights. A snow day was a magical thing that came out of the blue. Well the grey.

BUT snow is not the same in Canada and people just carry on with their lives as they muscle their way through 20 ft of snow on the sidewalk as they need their Timmy’s as its roll up the rim season. I should also mention that when it snows here in Ottawa, it is not bad as other places in Canada.

My issue with snow is that it is deceiving and tricky. After settling being all nice and fresh and dusty the temperature will drop, freeze your eyelashes together and turn the snow into a nightmarish hell. It looks so innocent, being all untouched and bright but do not be deceived by its siren like appearance as that sh*t hurts when you do the slip and land in it. AND the snowbanks. Yes the Canada is efficient at clearing the roads and sorting out the sidewalks and doing the grit thing but it mounts up to a wall between cars and people. Crossing the road doesn’t get tougher than this.

Then there’s the snow removal. Just overnight teams just clear up the snow into big trucks and it disappears. Where does it go? Is it recycled as icebergs? Do they sacrifice it for a milder winter? I am sure there is a rational explanation that I am not asking the right people for…

One last thing about snow. When it goes to the blue sky sunny days the snow blinds you. If you don’t have sunglasses you might as well be staring into the abyss of hell as it freezes over.

Freezing Rain

I was warned about freezing rain and I merely laughed it off. My relationship with rain and complaining about the rain made me believe I could handle anything rainlike coming out the sky. Until I got caught in freezing rain. At first it was just like rain, refreshing, wet and very much rainlike. And then it changed. It disguises itself as normal raindrops until it lands. Then it reveals its true icy form as it changes roads and paths into skating rinks and physically freezes your clothes in place.

The best way to describe freezing rain to people who have never had the horror of experiencing it, would be to say it’s backwards hail. Hail comes down as ice and melts when it hits the ground. It does sting a bit but it just leaves places damp. Freezing rain is the opposite. It comes down damp and freezes everything it touches.

img_0229-1

What is the best bit about freezing rain? It ruins lives. That may seem a dramatic response, but it does form icicles in a blink of an eye weighing down trees and plants and powerlines. Something that can be potentially dangerous. And it doesn’t runoff like water. Once it hits the ground, it sits there. And as its ice and not snow, plowing does little to tame the behaviour of it.

I thought I had a good understanding and relationship with rain, but now I doubt going outside when the heavens have opened. What if it’s that fake rain malarky again?

***
I could quite happily talk about the weather for another 1000 words. Maybe I should have gone in meteorology…
Until next time friends, make sure you make the most of the sunshine!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/