Never give up…..

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My mum bought me this card last year. It was at a particularly difficult time in my life, when I was questioning nearly everything I had grown to understand and trust as true in the life I was leading. It really made me think and has almost become my mantra ever since.

It is obviously true to say that everyone experiences hardship in their lives. Whether it be financial hardship, poor health or loss, we have all experienced it at one time or another. Some of us seem to suffer more than most, however. I know that I have met people who sail through life and always seem to be in the right place at the right time (even if they don’t deserve it) and others, like me, who suffer at almost every turn. Don’t get me wrong. This is not a pity party of one I’m starting. It is just the acknowledgement that life is different for everyone. On my better days I truly believe that the harder life seems the more rewarding it can be.

That seems like a strange statement to make and I know that I have tired of the hurdles and uncertainties of my own life on more than one occasion, but I also know that when I’ve experienced something positive it feels really well deserved. Continuing to fight for the life you want, in spite of negativity and barriers, is the most rewarding thing a person can do. It is when you lose the fight that life loses all of its potential rewards. I don’t believe in making your own luck or any of that nonsense. I believe that good fortune is hard won and should never be expected or taken for granted. Those of you who always get what you want and live an amazing, lucky life are not living a truthful existence UNLESS you have fought for it. I honestly believe you need to experience true misfortune to be able to appreciate true fortune.

My fortune is my family. Without them I probably wouldn’t try as hard as I do to keep jumping the hurdles that my particular life throws at me. They are my backbone, my solace and my most trusted counsel. They are ceaseless in their belief that I will “get there in the end” as I have so much to offer and always offer encouragement and a reality check when I need it the most. My sister and mum are always on hand to instill a sense of perspective in me when I’ve lost sight of what’s important. They are family in the true sense of the word. Pulling together when it is the most necessary, and yet natural, thing in the world for them to do. They have never shielded me from the harsh realities of this world, but have done their best to prepare me for the hard knocks of life and have always, always been there to pick up the pieces, even when I’ve gone against their wishes. Not expressing disappointment or passing judgement have been essential tools they have incorporated into their roles as caregivers, even when they probably feel those emotions internally at times.

That being said, I have to live my life on my own and face things that I don’t want to face at times. I will have to struggle and learn throughout my entire life, but knowing I have had the best start to life and the best support network is my most treasured possession. This all may seem a little obvious, but it’s sometimes important to recognise the things we can’t control in our lives that make us the luckiest….and the richest. Family is one of those things.

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox

Gypsy blood…..

 

 

ImageFor as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with the circus. Not so much the poor offerings of the modern day, but the fabulously faded ones from the past. The circuses of the 30s-50s have my specific interest and that leads into carnivals, freak shows and beach entertainment of those eras as well.

As a child I was fascinated by the animals and the people who seemed fearless in the face of those unyielding beasts. I also remember, as an adult, going to a circus when I lived in France. It was something that would be hugely frowned upon in British society, as the animals were not treated with the respect they deserved, however it still fascinated me nonetheless. I think what I love the most about the circus and travelling world is the uncertainty of it. These people, and their animals, travel from place to place in the hope that people will want to see what they have to offer. They play on the natural curiosity of human nature – the fact that people want to be transported from their mundane, everyday lives, into a world of mystery and playfulness.

Having read the ‘Electric Michelangelo’ by Sarah Hall I was transfixed by the lives of the freaks and show(wo)men of Coney Island. It elicited a sense of sheer nostalgia in me and I got butterflies. I know I wasn’t alive during the early 1900s, however there was something about the characters that made me think, for just one moment, that I may believe in reincarnation. A feeling deep within me made me think that I had once been a part of such a wonderful AND sinister world. It excited me to believe this and I was saddened when, a few years later, I visited Coney Island and was shocked to discover the ramshackle buildings and faded carnival signs. It highlighted that this was a dying breed of people and a way of life that no longer suited modern culture. With technology and amazing cinematography, people no longer need to use their imagination when they want to see something spectacular. They pay for the thrill of being transported to a digital world where anything is possible. They don’t need to woop and gasp at the tremendous risks people are taking with their lives as stunt men and women, as well as a huge team of safety experts, are on hand to make sure nothing goes wrong. It wasn’t so in the time of the great circuses of the past. People lived, and died, doing what they loved or had been forced into.

I’m now also recognising that not everyone got a choice about being a part of the circus. Some were forced into it, bought into it or just didn’t know any other way of life and so were trapped in a world where everything else was seen as “odd”. Freaks were bought into the circus and had to face atrocities – not all at the hands of other circus workers, but by the paying customers. They saw it as a safe haven where they could gain money from their disfigurement or body modifications. Others lived brutal and cruel lives at the hands of their captors. There are always two sides to the circus coin and I am aware, and have researched, both so that I don’t live in the idyllic, top hat and tails world where everything was glamorous and rosy.

It is probably the fact that circuses exude glamour, but are not all they seem, that attracts me to them. We all want to be seen as something we may not wholly be, but it doesn’t mean we can’t candy coat it. The circus is all about that – presenting something to the world that is, in the cold truth, fake. However, having read oodles of books and seen countless films and documentaries on circuses of the past, I have to say I am still a huge fan and find it absolutely fascinating to read about the things that went on. The shocking horrors of times gone by and the courageousness of the people who were involved. It is them that I am most interested in – these strong minded, strong bodied people, who lived by a strict code of “we’re in it together” and always supported each other. There were times when things were fraught, even amongst the performers, but they always came back together in the end. The circus taught me to understand that sticking to your guns is important and pursuing what you believe in is essential if you are going to be true to yourself. The perceived glitz and glamour of it is just a ruse, but the truth behind the curtained windows of those little trailers is where the most fascinating stories of all occurred.

Looking beneath the layers of something is so important in our modern world of fakery. Giving people a chance to shine, and looking beneath what they present to you, is really important. I will always love the circus for teaching me so much and allowing me to believe that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. It also taught me to be grateful of those who believe in me. They are few and far between and are treasured for this very reason.

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox

Pom pom heaven!

It hasn’t escaped my notice that pom poms are seriously IN right now! I remember making them ad nauseam as a child and not knowing what exactly to do with my finished products. Now I know. With serious insomnia occurring at the moment, I decided to use my time wisely and get crafty. Having bought a pom pom headband from ASOS for about £10 I realised I was missing a trick by not making my own. I have a craft box that is fit to bursting, enough glitter to make a unicorns lair look naff and plenty of ideas. Where headbands ended, rings began and here is just the start of, what I hope, will be pom pom heaven! Please excuse my less than glamorous self. Blame the aforementioned insomnia!

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I’ll post more as I create, but I feel very happy at that start! Let me know if anyone wants any pom pom action and I’ll make you your very own.

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox

Happiness is…..

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There’s an advert on television at the moment where the narrator asks what it means to be happy. It is a very interesting question and one that has no right or wrong answer. Happiness means so many different things to different people. There are those for whom it means a fleeting moment of intense joy, others who are happiest when they are with people they love and then there are those who are unsure if they have ever been truly happy. These are the more interesting answers that people can provide.

I think it is fascinating to understand the human mind. It is something I know very little about and struggle to understand on a regular basis. How can we all be considered human beings when we all feel such different emotions and struggle to understand the emotions of others?

If you think about it, when was the last time you felt truly happy? That’s probably the toughest question you’ll be asked today as it has no singular answer. There is no formula to work out or tangible evidence to suggest that at this moment, on this date, you felt happiness. It is merely how your memory lets you believe this was what happened. For me, the last time I was happy (as an adult) was when the following things happened:

  • I was sat at the Basilica, in the sunshine, whilst living in Lyon and I remember thinking “this is my life. I can do anything with it” and I felt blissfully happy
  • I walked out of various loveless relationships
  • I snuggled my puppy on the sofa while she fell asleep
  • I stroked my cat, concentrating on his contented purrs until I felt at peace

These are all such different experiences of happiness and yet they all felt as powerful as each other, at that moment. I think, in all honesty, happiness is what you make of it and nothing else. There’s no mystery to it. It isn’t a tangle of emotions waiting to be untangled by knowing fingers. It is yours, alone, even if you experience it with someone else. Neither of you will feel exactly the same thing within that moment. For those of you who think they have never or will never again feel happiness, know this. Happiness is like beauty – it is in the eyes of the beholder. Sometimes you may look back on your life and realise how much happier you were once compared to now. We probably all need to stop worrying about being happy and just BE. When I’m miserable I know I’m the only one who can change that. Stop concentrating on what you don’t feel and concentrate on what you DO feel. Then you can make better decisions on what you need to change about yourself or your life to be the person you want to be. Knowing yourself can be happiness enough.

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox