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Stinkin' Thinkin'

Written by S. Bowyer

     We can manifest anything, be it our greatest dream or goal, as long as we believe in ourselves. From there, we develop a plan, make actions towards it, and then focus on amending the plan as we find the bumps in the road or the turning points. However, sometimes it's not the actions that falter, but the unsupportive thoughts themselves. Perception is reality, so it's too true, that what we believe of ourselves can help or harm us.

     Of course, this isn't new information. We've seen musicians, professional athletes, and political leaders tell us to believe in ourselves, only there is still that wall of knowing how and what to demolish within our self-definition. Where do we draw the line between fact and fiction? It can be an ongoing struggle we face.

     Perls, the grandfather of Gestalt practice, stated that living is much like eating. An event comes along, such as a piece of cake, and we have to take it in, consider it, then decide how we're going to eat it. How we chew it - or live it - determines how it affects us. If you devour the information too quickly, you'll choke and find a hazard in determining what you should have learnt or concluded. Too slow and we're going to overthink and get sick of the situation. However, when digested correctly, we can analyse a situation suitably without having too much that makes us feel ill, nor too little that leaves us deprived.

     Understanding this, the question then becomes, how do we tell what is fact or falsity? How do we measure what we believe to what is real? While the answer is not always clear, we can uphold certain litmus tests. Humanity and our emotions are on a continuum but can be analysed like true statements.

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Jem and the Rebooted Holograms

Written by S. Bowyer

 

Jem and the Holograms

     Once upon a time in the 80s, there lived Jem and her popular cartoon. Young girls would spend thousands of dollars on the merchandise. It was the 80s answer to Josie and the Pussy Cats. Over the 65 episodes (3 series), a total of 187 music videos – 151 unique – were published  within the cartoon, and on cassette samplers sold with Jem dolls. Surprisingly, most of the music catalog was never sold on cassette or CD, despite the heavy marketing success it would have been.

     Jem, known during daylight hours as Jerrica, was the lead singer of the animated band. Her keyboardist and songwriter was her sister, Kimber Benton. Then came Aja Leith, her guitarist, and Shana Elmford her drummer, both girls being foster sisters to Jerrica. The series highlighted the importance of Jem living a double life, very few people knowing the girls were the band, Jem and the Holograms due to their disguises on stage. Synergy is also kept secret. Over the years of the series, the group changes, as well as their circumstances, such as their ongoing battle with rival band, The Misfits.

 

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Picking on Yourself

Written by S. Bowyer

     Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder of picking oneself. Traditionally, it's considered a hair-pulling condition, however Trichotillomania can include other body-focused repetative behaviours (BFRBs) such as extreme wound picking, pulling eyelashes, biting nails past bleeding, and other mutilating actions. While it's not widely spoken about, the condition affects 2-4% of the population, which is three times the amount that suffer from anorexia. Average age of onset is said to be between 9 and 13  years. It's believed the first reported case was mentioned by Aristotle, and the name of the condition coined by a French dermatologist, Francios Herni Hallopeau in 1889.

 

    The Roots of My Trichotillomania by Douglas G MacKenzie sought to share the experience of the disorder with his readers, starting at very early onset, and through his life to an adult. His case began at the age of sixteen during exams, when he was highly stressed and focusing heavily on success. He recalls the moment that his obsession began. when he was reading a book.

     "I had been spending some time twisting hair with my fingers, wrapping individual hairs around my fingertips, and then with no forethought I yanked a hair out. It caused a strange sensation – none of the pain that you would imagine, but rather more of a slight high feeling," he writes.

     "I found that I pulled out a second hair, and then a third and a fourth, with what seemed like no volition at all on my part. I got really scared. I told myself not to pull another hair out, but as I continued reading I noticed that my left hand went up to my scalp again, found another hair and pulled it out. The neutral feeling I had when pulling out the first few hairs was replaced by fear and anger. I berated myself. I told myself to stop, that no good could come of this. I tried sitting on my hand but that didn’t work."

     His testimonial shares the great difficulty and shame that someone with Trichotillomania can feel. He has dropped university courses and jobs and avoided relationships because of his discomfort when people have seen the balding from the obsessive hair-pulling. His family thought he suffered alopeica before he came forth to tell them the real cause when his father confronted him with a collection of hair he'd found.

     Additional health problems can result, including infections where skin is disrupted through pulling or picking, RSI in hands from the hours of devoted picking, carpal tunnel syndrome, and in some cases trichophagia, where is where the person swallows the hair, causing a stomach hair ball that can extend to the intestine, which can be fatal. Some cases can be so severe they act out in their sleep, known as sleep-isolated trichotillomania.

     MacKenzie explains to his readers the many tricks he has used to try to limit his pulling, as many sufferers do, which included limiting hand freedom when he's indulging in activities that encourage his pulling. In his case, this was when he was reading a book.

     "I can honestly say that hair pulling destroyed my love of literature and of life itself back then," he recalls.

 

 

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Sand of Thine

Written by S. Bowyer

 

 

    In 2009, Keseniya Simonova won Ukraine's Got Talent for her original, soundtracked sand-painting depicting the movement of civilisations during World War II, of which caused judges to cry and the world to take notice of a new form of art. Described as a sand animationist, she shocked her audience by making her drawings blend one into the other to display the changing lives of the characters she featured, a young couple dragged through the years of battle.

 

 

     Online, videos of her performance hit over a million views in one day. She was invited to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest and was asked for autographs constantly in her local area. She was asked from all over the world to appear for their functions and shows.

     Other sand artists feature their work on their websites.

     Feng Xian, a Chinese artist, created this work featuring the story of Titanic and the musical track, My Heart Will Go On.

 

 

  

OTHER STYLES OF SAND PAINTING

     While the above are all done the same way with the same look, there are other forms of sand painting, where the medium and materials differ. Joe Mangrum, a New York artist, creates his with coloured sand on the sidewalks of America, his designs resembling Buddhist mandalas with his own unique inspirations woven in.

 


 

 

 

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New Year's Reprieve

Written by S. Bowyer

 

 

     The ringing in of the new year is often considered the "fresh start" or the time of transition, when in fact it's not. For it to be the time of change, we'd have to suddenly alter our ways on the strike of midnight without any struggle or further planning. But in truth, this cannot happen as humanity doesn't work that way. We are not machines to suddenly accept a new programming within seconds. We need to have our reflection and game plan ready to go before the 12 is struck.

     The preparation phase is when we reflect on our lives, consider what changes we could make, and begin mapping out what must happen for us to be more satisfied. This is normally what we do on New Years Eve. We might sit wistfully with the coming 365 days in mind, imagining what we want to happen. We have not planned how we can achieve our new goals, or plot how our internal or external resources will persist or resist our intended changes, only fantasised what we'd like to construct.

     Is it any wonder New Years resolutions are normally dropped in the first few weeks? You cannot build a brick house without mortar.

     Some people will find themselves teetering around the second week of January, avoiding the new action they brainstormed, blaming their lack of willpower, strength or commitment for the failure, when there are other reasons the new actions have not been impregnated into your lifestyle. I wanted to talk about the model of change in regards to how it should be implemented for the best results - with the person you are, not the person you could be.

 

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The Pregnancy Project

Written by S. Bowyer

 

Pregnancy Project

   

      Today's society overall is more friendly to pregnant teenagers, and many believe we have enough systems in place to support their physical, medical and educational needs, but what about the opinions of the school environment they're in? The Pregnancy Project is a real-life event in Washington that has been remembered in this American straight-to-TV movie, The Pregnancy Project.

     Gaby Rodriguez, 17 at the time, grew up in a family where teenage pregnancy was already a factor, and it was believed that because it was already at their door, Gaby would be the next girl pregnant. She had all the traits that would increase her chances of giving birth before graduating high school. However, Gaby decided she would flip the opinion on its side, and make her society question their predictions. 

Gaby Rodriguez

     Rodriguez, a senior high school student, decided to give people their version of truth. As part of her social studies curriculum, she had to do an investigation, and she planned to fake a pregnancy and write her paper on how people reacted. Of course, being a social experiment, she had to limit affecting factors, including people knowing the truth and becoming immune to the rumours and societal pull. To avoid dilution of effect, Gaby limited her network of supporters to her boyfriend, best friend, mother, a supervising teacher, and the school board. The people she couldn't tell included her angry brother, other students, other teachers, her community and her friendship group.  

     The Pregnancy Project, the movie by Lifetime, was a well-depicted journey of the young Hispanic student. We are taken every step of the way through Gaby's difficulties in having a fake belly, keeping track of dates and the milestones of pregnancy, and the conflict and consequences her boyfriend faced also. Pregnancy is never impactual to one person alone, and the movie gave great movement of the characters, and the circles they belonged to. 

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Weight-Loss Joke Loses Support

Written by S. Bowyer

     In the world of literature, there is always room for humour, creativity and alternative viewpoints. As a civilisation, we seek to find materials that push boundaries on our knowledge of ourselves and our world. However, a recent satirical novel caused great excitement when readers were confused by its nature.

 

Eating Air

 

     Food-Free at Last: How I Learned to Eat Air by Dr Robert Jones MD PhD DDS ODD was written as a humourous look at dieting and terroism. The book reads as a diet control guide, where the message is that food is the evil and should be completely cut out of ones life to give them freedom. While mixed with some medical facts about food, the overall commentary is driven by exaggeration of food controlling our lives, the dangers of foods, and what it means to be free. It could be likened to gaining a belief that battery hen farms are abusive, so let's just blow up any properties with sheds large enough to house several hundred hens -- even if they only contain gardening supplies. It appears the author relied on the severity of his comments being unbelievable and didn't add any note of satire in the book.

     The book contains amusing comments about severe weight loss and terroism mentalities, such as,

     Thank you, Dr. Robert Jones, MD, PhD, DDS, ODD! Oh, thank you! I’ve eaten nothing but air for the last two months and I’ve lost eight hundred pounds! My husband says I’ll make a fine skeleton! I can’t wait!!!

     Like our Founding Fathers of old, let us take as our rallying cry, “Live Free or Die!” Only then can we cure obesity once and for all, end the influence of the calorie cartels in our nation’s capital, and inaugurate a new era of freedom for all Americans.

     Fat People were infecting my faith with doubt! Was being fat contagious? What biological or psychological process did this involve?

     As a result, those of us righteous enough to eat air live in terror of Fat People. Do you understand? These Fat People are agents of terror. Of the Terror of Fat.

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