One of the best decisions that Disney has made in recent years is diversifying their films more. The way our society is slowly becoming more accepting of people who are considered ‘different’ is the ay films are starting to include LGBTQ characters. It’s the little things like including characters of the same gender dancing together or including a transgender student in a high school rom com that give films a lighter look at the future of acceptance and moralisation of LGBTQ people. Our future will be full of people that like the same sex or are different to a conservative societies expectations, so should be characters in movies.
Beauty and the Beast is a corner stone of live action movie reboots. As soon as we are introduced to Emma Watson's Belle you know that there is something there. You are assured that the story is a fresh take on the tale as old as time. I’m sorry. The visuals are amazing, the songs are, the artistry and nostalgia is all there. This seems like a perfect movie for everyone, but for some, it has caused uproar. They will not see it, they make a conscious effort to stop others seeing it. They write extensive, expletive filled blog posts with accusations of destroying morality and confusing children. All because there is the suggestion that LeFou is gay. We know for a fact that he is. The character was always intended to be gay, even in the original animation.
Here is where it gets ridiculous though. I went to see the film for myself. It was one of the best films i had seen in quite a while and I was nearly in tears in parts. LeFou, depicted by the already great Josh Gadd is seen to be slightly, really ever so slightly camp. In the films that spans over two hours, there are two instances where there is even an inkling of this character liking the same gender as his own. In Gaston he winks at a male henchman, near the end when Emma Thompson (the teapot) sings a part of tale as old as time, he is seen dancing with another man in the ballrooms where we see many men and women dancing together. That’s all, thats everything that has caused an uproar, led a country to say they will not air certain parts of the film, and probably made an old ‘Christian’ women in the deep south of America to cry about the state of her precious world where people can’t freely judge people about pathetic differences anymore. Poor lady, it must be hard. Eugh.
So basically, i’m all for freedom of speech but sometimes you just need to shut your mouth and understand that the world is changing slowly for the better. This is happening and it’s great. Unlike many things that religion seems to dictate as except able to judge, LGBTQ people are here to enrich and bring light to the world that is growing darker with outdated views. WE want to see these characters in entertainment, so please just sit down.
Yesterday I got on a train, something I needed to do because I had an important hospital appointment. It was quite an ordinary train journey regardless of the weather being a bit odd. It was kind of sunny, but then really cold.
This isn’t the remarkable thing about that train journey though. I suddenly came to a realisation that people are really unfriendly, like remarkably unfriendly. I have no idea whether it is a generational thing or just the type of people that live in the area that I have to live, but its odd.
Why are people so closed off? Is it technology? Is technology something to blame? Thats what we tend to do though, as humans, we blame others, we give in to our narcissistic urges to please only ourselves and we are getting worse.
We are electing narcissists into power and promoting narcissists into high power roles. They are the people choosing what news we are fed, what we watch and read and judge other people on.
It’s not that i’m against the establishments or anything, because that would trigger people to think of me as crazy. No, I just want people to be friendlier. I mean, sometimes i fear that one day I will fall down and nobody will help me, that i will be left, and even thought thousands will go by me in a busy street, they will be too obsessed with the consumption of vapid media and unnecessary evil news. It’s sad, and it needs to change.
Talk to people more. Remember we are human and we possess the amazing ability to speak to each other. We are all alone at some point in our lives, no matter how popular we think we are. Popularity is an odd thing because even the most followed people on social media feel like they are alone, that they are shut out from the society around them. Don’t you agree?
This year the National Trust that oversees many historical sites and old, peculiar and absolutely amazing houses around the United Kingdom is progressing. They will be hosting exhibitions and events centred around LGBTQ history and queer history surrounding the sites/houses. People will be able to go and learn about the persecutions and dangers of sexuality differences in the yesteryear. Academic experts will be working to uncover stories on the subject that have perhaps never been heard. This is not just a chance for the public to enlighten themselves on the morality of different sexual preferences and identities, but also learn about individuals that may be hidden, not shown in the oil paintings, or noted in the cursive writing in leather bound books shown behind thick glass panels. Hidden forever because of their biology.
The national trust will also be getting a lot more involved in pride parades and events around the country. To me, I think the conservative, stuffy and traditional views that some people have about the national trust’s decisions to do this is quite disrespectful. As a human race, we will always be equal, that is the case when we are gone. The time we spend on Earth, judging people, will eventually be told in history books of the future, about how we left a legacy of fairness to others and respect. We can change how we are seen by humans in the future simply by institutions of the country like the National Trust giving LGBTQ people the normality that they are still fighting for.
I’ve always been very curious about the history of LGBTQ people. I just find it interesting how there must have always been people with different sexual identities in the past. They would obviously have been hidden and it was an underground thing, but what was life like. It’s something I could research for hours. I could read many books on the subject. Imagine knowing what a neanderthal mans reaction would be to homosexuality. Imagine that there must have been homosexual and lesbian ancient Greeks and transexual and transgender tudors. It isn’t even a possibility, there would have been quite a number of people like this. After all it is said about 10% of the worlds population are LGBTQ, so this statistically would have been the case in previous years, despite the attitudes and dangers.
On their website the National trust say;
‘We have adopted the approach taken by Historic England in their recent Pride of Place project and acknowledge that ‘in the past, as today, there is no single LGBTQ community, terminology or uniform identity that defines all LGBTQ people or heritage’.
They are simply trying to share the stories that were never shared because of obscure views. Now, in a time of liberation and fairness, we can be proud to see them sharing these stories for us all to enjoy. After all, that is what the National Trust is about. Since I was little I have enjoyed days out at National trust sites, made memories, read about interesting histories and smiled at the similarities of the child who used to live in a priory near where I live, Nostell Priory who’s drawings can be seen emblazoned over bibles and expensive looking books. This is something I would have done had i been a rich kid living in a big house in the 17th century.
As we get older, people say that Christmas seems to get less magical. I've always been excited about the 25th of December. Even now as an adult. When I was counting down the days this year i was thinking more about the purpose of the whole event.
I wrote how Christmas for me would be spent doing more happy things that made me feel better about myself. I figured that Christmas 2016 would be less about caring about what other people think you should do for the event, and the things I actually wanted to do.
For the past 2 years I have spent Christmas in a state of being quite sick. I would start to get ill in the days before Christmas and then, like last year, need to take long nap during the day. I felt like this would be a waste for my Christmas but it is something my body wouldn’t let me get away with. It would also make me feel a lot less christmassy. When you are suffering with a serious cold and painful aches, it is understandably hard to get into any kind of spirit. I wouldn’t be happy either which wasn’t good. I rely on being happy even if it’s just a little bit at least for Christmas day.
Yesterday I woke up happy that the day was finally here. I lay for a moment to assess whether I was actually sick this year and to my pure joy I really wasn’t. There was no cough or aching, sickness or headache. It made me feel incomprehensibly happy.
I had a light breakfast and a tasty hot chocolate with whipped cream to boost my morning spirits. I wore a Christmas jumper with pom pom baubles that used to light up but now no longer did. I was ready. My mum was upstairs putting on her make-up for the day (there would be many photos). For gifts, I received many different art supplies, technologies including a virtual reality headset and a make your own robot kit as a novelty present.
Quite convenient as a practical present, I also received a knitted mermaid tail that was immediately put into use to keep me warm. I liked to feel comfortable and warm on Christmas because that reflected what i felt inside. This year may not have been the best but even at this point in the day I knew that this Christmas was the best I had in years.
At about 9pm, my eldest sister came round with a bag full of presents to give other family members and a small, book shaped one for me! My other sister was at her stepmothers house with my two nephews until 12pm. My brother would also be arriving at ours about that time. They were coming to ours for Christmas dinner. Until then, at a time where we would give the majority of presents, we relaxed.
We watched Christmas television like The last dragon slayer, which prepared us for the day ahead by injecting even more of that spirit into us and our environment.
In the kitchen my mum was busy cooking and stressing at different points throughout the morning. She shared the very mum like anxieties of if there would be enough food and if it would be cooked in time. I always gelt such stresses only distracted from what the day is actually supposed to be about but throughout this I kept myself occupied by working on a large scale drawing using some colouring pencils I had received that morning.
The Christmas dinner was a success. As always I ate my dinner with a paper party hat on my head and a focus on eating the meal knowing how much hard work had been put into it. Christmas dinner should never be just a meal. It’s about having family close to you as you eat. It’s never just about food. Who cares if you can’t afford a turkey or don’t have the cooking skills to prepare a 5 course meal for many people.
You don’t need to. It’s about having a decent meal with people you care about and love or people who you know care about you in a way that makes you feel warm inside.
I had gradually become a lot more focused on progressing with my pencil drawing that had now evolved in to an intricate work in progress around an original idea. when I get into something, regardless of what other people consider as important I dedicate myself to it until I can’t anymore. This has become quite frustrating for me when I get fatigued from being ill. I always thing I can do more than is actually possible for me. So it’s upsetting when you realise you can’t finish something you used to be able to.
When everyone had arrived we proceeded to open presents. The day was now mostly for the younger children in our family. It was great to see them open all the presents they had and see their faces light up every time they received another gift. I sat there thinking this is what Christmas was really all about. It's not supposed to be hard or serious. Christmas is happiness.
From my sister I was gifted a sponge bob squarepants themed monopoly. It may sound odd, but I like sponge bob squarepants and I maintain my childlike innocent. There will never be anything wrong with that. That evening I tried out the new game by playing a 2 hour game of monopoly with my mum, she won.
Christmas this year was great. It will always be about family. At least for me it will be anyway. I maintain my view that Christmas doesn't necessarily need to be about celebrating the birth of somebody I think is a fictional character. It's not about religion for a lot of people and that isn't a bad thing. Maybe people just want a celebration, a time for happiness. Relief from the mundane of reality.
I'm looking forward to 2017 now, I hope for a better year.
When we think about Christmas it tends to evoke a sense of nostalgia and magic that can't be equated to in the rest of the year. For many Christmas is a time of happiness and celebration at the end of the year, a time to reflect and look back on what the year had given us. It's this pattern that gets us excited about counting down to that date each year. It's knowing and expecting what is to be. This is what makes it feel so magical.
Much like a trip to a dream holiday destination or your favourite theme park, the aim of Christmas is to have an event that the majority can celebrate. It's about coming together, putting up lights so everything looks bright and happy and sparkling. It's about decorating our houses with tinsel and baubles and trinkets that a family has had for years that tell stories of previous Christmas times.
Christmas is much more than religion, it is an inclusive celebration for everyone that makes us feel wanted and special for at least a day. This is why in life I think we should aim to include everyone in Christmas, whether this be by giving a charitable donation, being kind to a homeless person or even working a few hours in a hostel for the less fortunate during the festive period.
Simple acts of human kindness should preferably come natural to us all, but we do have busy lives. With the happiness and warmth that we feel at Christmas time maybe it's time to start becoming less narcissistic and selfish and actually taking action if we see a lone stranger of an old person who needs the warmth of a fire and the symbolic warmth in human kindness and interaction.
If we think about people who are not immediate friends or family, our world would generally be a better place, I think this year has shown us how hatred can spread quickly like an out of control wildfire. So if you have felt like you are a person who has caught the disease of being a hateful person, maybe start the detox you need to go through to be a decent human being again and spending Christmas seeing life in a new, alternative way that won't hurt anyone. Can you do that for me? Thanks.
This is how Christmas can be magical. Not being unkind or stupid when it comes to simply doing what is morally right. Stop using religion to live out a fantasy about what is right and wrong, and don't ever use religion as a way to take Christmas away from the many who consider this an importance time of the year even if they are not religious. I have talked about the 'belief in happiness' in a previous blog post, and I think we all believe in something. Sometimes, and I know this is shocking and something some people cannot except, we don't have to believe in a godly figure to get us through life. Some people do, and that's completely fine too. You know, as long as they promote a sense of loving.
Around this time of year there is always the same kind of nonsense. It goes along the lines of 'Christmas is only for christians', as if Christmas wasn't actually a pagan holiday bastardised into the religious celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. I mean, Jesus, in the bible, wasn't actually born on December the 25th. He was born in the spring. So why are christians so dedicated in their beliefs to the point where they actually want to ruin and simplify what Christmas really is?
I personally have nothing to do with christianity nor do I want to. I think the whole notion of following rules from a book written thousands of year ago makes as much sense as the idea of a giant bunny that gives your children chocolate eggs, a fairy that trades your child's teeth with change or a fat man that is somehow able to magically deliver billions of gifts to children around the world. Of course, much like these fictional characters of most children's maturing imaginations, we have to allow believers of the bibles teachings to believe. Much like a child believes in these beings for comfort and belief there is more magic in this world than what is seen on the surface, religion is just this but for grown ups.
With that being said, I have a belief in happiness. Even if you are like me, an extreme introvert who prefers a good book and warm hot chocolate to vodka and a night on the town, you will understand where I am coming from. It makes sense that to truly be happy we have to believe that we can be happy. By this I mean that even on our down days where we despair for what life actually is, we feel like a failure in the eyes of all who know us and we just want to maybe press the reset button to possibly stat again. That is when you can truly get quite depressed, realising that there is no reset in life and that you just have to wade through the thick deep mud of life problems that get in your way daily. For some that mud is thin, it can take a bit of effort tot get through but you can always get through it with little to no effort. Then there are those who find the mud to be quite thick, its hard to walk through, takes a lot of effort and time, and sometimes even when you have successfully made it through the mud, there is always the stains that the mud leaves on your clothes.
Happiness is a great feeling because we get happiness when we feel like we've been deserving of happiness. That is wrong though, because whatever choices we make in our lives that we think are right are always right to us. No, I don't mean to be awful to another human, or cast prejudices to people who are undeserving, I mean kindness. If we make an effort to be kind than why should we ever feel bad for putting ourselves out there. It should never be considered failure if we are unsuccessful at something at a certain moment in time. Failure is a good thing, it's great in fact. If I fail I will have achieved. Happiness comes from achievement, so happiness comes from failure.
So it's quite simple really, if you ever feel lost thinking there is no one there to really understand or support you, believe in something you can really use to change your life. Believe in your own happiness, that you can achieve great things in life, because i'm really confident that you can. Nobody should be unhappy, especially around this time of year, that just shouldn't be. The point of Christmas is to experience the magic, to believe that we can all be happy for just a moment at least. Christmas is about taking all of lives pressures away, forgetting them for a bit, having a meal with people you care for, do something kind for another person or living being. Treat a friend, a family member, a lizard, a dog, your cat, your fish, an ant, a slug, it should be Christmas for everyone and everything. PLEASE, BE HAPPY.
It has long been my dream to achieve success when I am young. It will be a task but I want to achieve great success at a relatively young age so that I can have the influence on the world that I want to. A goal i'm sure many millennials have. There are many famous wunderkinds that you will have heard of. Oscar Wilde could be characterised as one, as well as the Bronte sisters. Moving away from literary wunderkinds and into the more modern day examples of these people, Mark Zuckerberg was a billionaire by the time he was just 23 years old. In fact Zuckerberg actually became a millionaire when he was just 22, a remarkable achievement that shows how talented he is.
So How Do I Plan To Do This?
Well I plan on writing an in depth life plan that will chart the next 2-3 years in my life. I will be meticulous in planning how and when I will do each thing and if I will be truly able to reach each goal in the time frame i give myself. Of course, plans are made to be broken because that is just life. I think a failure is just a part of success, because you have to try doing something in order to fail.
Work Yourself To Death For Success?
when a person puts themselves out there that is the only way to success. Talent is not just being able to do something because you were born to be able to do it, you always have to work. The most talented people in the world are actually some of the most hardworking too. It confuses me though that people think you have to spend your life working. There are elements of all parts of education and human fulfilment that contribute to life. So when a person condemns art as pointless, they are living a faux life of misery and self deprivation. I think the happiness that comes from success has to also contain satisfaction that you have lived the life you intended. No matter how much success a person achieves, they will, sadly die just like every other person that has comes and gone on this planet.
If You Are A Wunderkind?
Of course I will be happy. With success will come money and that will enable me to do what I have always wanted to do, live a comfortable life of happiness and treat my chronic wanderlust that pains me everyday I can't travel the world I live on. I have always wanted to live in Norway and I would like to live there within the next 10-15 years while I can still have adventures and really appreciate the amazing, magical place I would be living in.
When I get older and my writing is known worldwide (this is my hope) I have always wanted to start a charity that helps people who feel like they are different. I want to start it as a kind of institute to educate and house children with high aspirations and creative thinking that deviates from the social norms. The charity would work as a sanctuary agaisnt every bad aura in this world that might effect the develop of the next wunderkind.
Have we lost our Christmas spirit?
Each year seems to get less and less christmassy in its feel every year a child maturs into an adult. It seems weird that we used to not be able to sleep in excitment and used to believe a man would come into your house, eat your mince pies and milk and leave your presents. I used to remember being offended by the fact that I would never get any presents off my parents yet there was a fat man out there who would get great pleasure from giving out multiple presents to children on the eve of christmas.
I have this feeling that I want to buy that christmas spirit concentrated in some kind of elixir I can drink. That would give me back the childhood inncoence of Christmas and give me back some of that happiness and warmth i used to feel waiting for santa and his famous reindeer to come to my house to deliver gifts to me and my siblings. It was exicitng, why would that not be exciting for any child who breathed air and was a human?
Recently I have been trying to get the spirit of christmas back. How do I go about doing that? I hear you ask with a genuine interest. The best way is to eat alot of christmas type food and listen to great legendary christmas music that vibrates through all your body and stimulates that warmth and inner happiness. It will never be the strength of warmth and happiness that you felt as a child, but much like a milk alternative, it does the job of whitening your life coffee.
The house behind me in the picture above is Nostell priory, a large English country house owned and run by the National Trust. Every Christmas, as with tradition, they have several holiday themed events that run in the weeks and days running up to Christmas. I attended with my family on a day where they were serving mulled wine and if you went in the house, there were many things to see and do, especially for children. Old houses always have a nostalgic feel for me, probably because my parents used to take me and my siblings to them all the time when we were growing up.
With my youngest nephews (One is Oliver pictured to the right to me) and my nieces, we made paper chain shaped like gingerbread men and posed for obligatory pictures near to the giant Christmas trees. These activities were designed to draw younger children into the curiosities that these old houses provide. I have always found old English homes like these great places to go for days out because, although on the surface they seem like boring old buildings, there is so much history in them that can be learnt. Beyond the roaring fires and old style vintage Christmas decorations, there were displays containing books with hand drawn and painted sketches in them done by the girl who lived there long ago. A person that will now be long gone. It gives you insight into a life that came and went before you were even born. It gives you perspective in that there was many lives before yours, how can that not be exciting?
I love everything about history, and so physically being able to look at and sometimes touch displays containing artefacts and relics from these periods is a great way to get history to appeal to the masses too. I think in theory history can be quite dull, but if you were to take trips to destinations of particular history signinfacne like i did, then maybe you might have as much passion as I do as an adult about the history of our world.
The day at Nostell Priory was a great, particularly because I could spend time with my family. something I love to do and that I embrace.
Do you have to be religious to celebrate Christmas? That is the question that is on everyones lips at the moment, whether they like to admit it or not. It is true that Christmas in the strict traditional sense used to be about celebrating Christ and his birth on Christmas day. Now religious people are saying the holiday has been hijacked and made into a commercial travsty of what it once used to be. They say we should instead call our celebration 'Xmas' to devite from the religious connotations that are given by calling it Christmas.
In my personal opinion this is all a story, and that is the feeling of many people who simply do not have a belief in a transcedent being that dicates how they live their own lives. Christmas is supposed to be a celebration of family and togetherness and a time of year where we look back on the year that has just gone and to reflect on all the good things in life. This is why we decorate trees, bringing them inside and making them look beautiful and bright. Twinkling lights make us happy and the tinsel gives us a sense of luck about life. I actually think it is shocking that anyone would even want to take away that magic and imagination inducing apsect of the Christmas period. It relly isn't supposed to be serious in any way. Christmas is supposed to be a great time, a period of unity to give us all a sense of hope that we may have slowly been losing in the time between this Christmas and the last.
Without Christmas life would truly be dull. 2016 has been a hard year for us all, we have to admit this. The happiness and satisfaction that is given with the giving of gifts and finding other people to share a meal with cannot be replaced by a cheap alternative with fake smiles and unjustified reasons to not join in with the whole idea of Christmas.
So lets call it whatever we want because all Christmas is about is to be nice to one another, the work up to it is the most important thing, not the actual day. I mean, a festival centred around appreciating that a boy that might of lived a few thousand year ago? Who might have turned some water into wine? Who came back alive in a miraculous resurrection? Come on. Who actually sits there at christmas thinking about Jesus for 24 hours? I certainly don't. I spend time with my family and get involved in an event of happiness. Just how Christmas should be!
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THE STORY OF ODDLANDISH
ODDLANDISH is a place for me to write my own thoughts about life. I would consider myself quite a unique person and someone who has experienced more than their fair share of problems in the short time they have existed. EACH MONTH will be different in theme so don't forget to leave a comment, like and subscribe to get an exclusive first look at written works before they are seen by others. :) Enjoy my magazine of the worlds oddity.