A Caged Bird (Poem)

{I see myself, but it doesn’t look like me,

I see myself – but what should I be?

Yes, what should I be? And what should I become?

Be a dreamer – or achiever – you can only pick one.}

Ohhh, you want the bullet train to fame my boy?”

No, no, no! Just the mega bus away from plain and tame, would be a joy!

Well fucking stop that thought.”

Nothing good happens here.”

Oh, you’re into the arts? HA, HA, HA, must be a queer!”

Fuck off to London if that’s what you want – but know this,

we all think you’re an absolute cunt.”

{I want to think outside the box,

but I don’t have the keys to this cage,

I try every possibility in the locks,

that get rusty with age.}

HA! You don’t know about life! We struggle and strive, 9 to 5 that we hate, but we can barely survive, we buy things that we don’t want with credit we can’t pay, we turn on the television – it’s shit – but we watch anyway, we can’t wait for retirement, man that’ll be the day! We‘ll get to sit on our arse till we’re dead – ahh, bliss, don’t ya say?”

{I can see this for myself, but it doesn’t look like me,

I can see this for myself, but it’s something I don’t want to be.

Yes, there’s what I should be, and what I want to become,

I don’t want to cut my roots…I just want to grow: till my days are done.}

~~~

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Bucket List

I have been seeing nothing but bucket list posts recently, I don’t know what it is…or why…the guess that makes the most sense to me is that perhaps there is a bucket sale down at the bucket store…so everyone has bought a bunch of buckets for really cheap – so to get some use out of said buckets they are throwing them on a bucket list and filling them with hot air balloons, camel rides, tattoos, and whatever else they can squeeze into them.

This is all well and good naturally ~ I mean it isn’t for me to tell you how to use your buckets, but I feel that rather than a tick box list it is better to try to alter our behaviour in order to create the best version of yourself you can be…this all sounds a little Blade Runnerish…but what I mean to say is that if we try to alter certain negative behavioural patterns then the rest will fall into place – e.g. Be more adventurous>travel to Egypt to see the pyramids>ride a camel>get back home and high five your now proud Grandma>plan next trip. etc, etc, etc! SEE WHAT I’M SAYING?! 

So in that spirit, here is a foolproof bucket list you can follow, in order to live a better life:

(Oh, and let me take the time to say that no buckets were harmed in the making of this blog post, thank you.)

#1:  Be productive with your time, but don’t overlook the importance of fun.

Bill Bucket GIF

Bill Gates ~ “I love doing crazy shit when I’m high as a fucking kite.”

Your life is finite, unfortunately – which is a fucking horrible, horrible thing to dwell on…I mean…who wants to think about that? The fact that someday a worm will be chomping on your dead and buried corpse, whilst a dog pees on your neglected gravestone  – urgh, grim I know…that’s why we tend to try and block that stuff out.

But we should use it to power us into productivity, in order to make the most of what we have! It’s a small window of time after all! So if you are focusing on the what ifs? and not what you will ACTUALLY do – then you are wasting your time, point blank – so cut the shit, make a plan and stick to it.

DISCLAIMER: I’m all for lounging about in your undies eating pizza, that is obviously a great time – however you have to have balance if you want to get anywhere..unfortunately that’s not a viable career path (sobs). 

With that said I implore you to have fun…fight against the pull to become yet another self-depreciating, bitter adult body. There’s far too many of those about already.

#2: Don’t waste your life spending it with those who don’t value you.

Bucket Car GIF

2Pac (and this kid): I’m in a bucket, but I’m ridin’ it like it’s a Benz.”

So you’re being productive…good job so far! No doubt you are feeling an enormous sense of well-being and purposefulness…and you are making sure that you have fun with everything you do, so you don’t turn into a dull grey drone…but what’s this?! Certain members of your circle appear to be trying to cut you down with talk of you can’t do this and you shouldn’t do that – basically negativity. Who needs it? Not you – get fucking rid, hop in your bucket and drive off to a better less shit-cluttered life (see above for most stylish way to make your exit).

You want friends who push you on and help you get where you want to be, ones who want to be by your side – in turn you should attempt to be more like the friend you would want yourself…pay it forward, and all that. 

#3: Take pride in your appearance – no, it’s not everything…but it’s not nothing either.

Bucket hat GIF

DJ Buck Toof: “I’m so pleased that I can pay off my student loan with this SWAG.”

We live in a heavily appearance driven world, this is just a fact – so there is no point denying it. Whilst I wish we lived in a fairy tale world, where people meet you in ten year old gravy stained sweatpants, and only see you for the gold-hearted angel you are – let’s just be honest and admit that appearance DOES matter. Especially when it comes to first impressions…and as you never know who you will meet at any given moment, well…yeah, exactly – you get my point.

#4: Treat yourself, you honestly deserve it.

Bucket chicken GIF

Precious: “Is it wrong for someone to steal bread to feed her starving fam-GO, GO, GO!”

How shit can regular life be on a daily basis? Jesus Christ, if it isn’t the prick cutting in front of you in the supermarket, the boring conversations you are socially obligated to have with your neighbour, the price of everything going up at your favourite restaurant for no apparent reason – or…well, this could go on forever…but safe to say you have earned that little extra something-something – have a beer, have a cake, whatever, no big deal – you already know you are beautiful as it is.

This may seem like a small thing…because it is…but often it is the little things that matter in life! How amazing is it when someone brings doughnuts to work? Or offers special chocolate biscuits with your cuppa? That’s a sign people. 

#5: Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd, better to be noteworthy and interesting, than bland and boring.

Buckethead GIF

Buckethead: “People used to say I couldn’t wear a bucket on my head…fucking look at me now.”

Don’t live your life pretending to be someone you are not…after all, you don’t want to be on your death bed yammering on about missed opportunities, how you wish you had just picked up that KFC bucket and learned to play that fucking guitar – but because people said that would be stupid and borderline insane behaviour you opted not to. Come on. Be weird, you’re wonderful. Try not to pay so much attention to what other (negative) people say, the ones that count will be surrounding you asking for a piece of chicken and asking whether you do requests…

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A-Z Of Our Lives…

A-Z of Life Pic

Here is a quick run down of the average person’s life…in the form of an A to Z…

A – ‘A’ is for alien; as we were all once part of this weird science fiction scene were we grew inside another person, took sustenance from all they ate until we were ready, and then thrust ourselves into this new and unknown galaxy…weird, right?

B – “B’ is for bare faced lies…as no one likes to admit that recently born babies look like red faced Popeyes that literally have no idea what the hell is going on, (probably because they don’t, obviously.)

C – ‘C’ is for cute…because, well, admittedly…most of us get there eventually, with our chubby bulldog cheeks and fat bootys (for some reason it’s okay for strangers to mention this – I mean, no wonder babies have low self-esteem…)

D – ‘D’ is for diahorrea…yeah, deal with it…because you know the kid isn’t going to.

E – ‘E’ is for expected, like “I expected it would be a good thing when he/she started talking – but now I have a never ending headache, and due to all the weird questions I get asked, I realize in fact I know nothing about this world at all!”

F – ‘F’ is for “I’ll flip you – heads – you have the birds and the bees talk, tails – I do it.”

G – ‘G’ is for grown-ups; and that moment as you are ‘growing up’ when you realize the entire concept isn’t even a real thing – everyone is just kinda wandering around doing things, and going places – hoping it will all work out in the end…

H – ‘H’ is for “how cool would it be if, rather than have to decide what we want to do, a random  long lost wealthy Uncle came out of nowhere and gave me a massive inheritance, so all I had to do was hang out with friends and eat things for the rest of my days!?”

I – ‘I’ is for “I actually have to work? Fuck, this is awful. I miss childhood already.”

J – ‘J’ is for “JESUS FUCKING CHRIST?! I HAVE TO PAY HOW MUCH IN TAXES?! CAN I JUST OPT OUT OF ALL THE STUFF THE TAX MONEY PROVIDES?!”

K – ‘K’ is for “Kids are the last thing on my mind – I want to get my career on the right path first…”

L – ‘L’ is for “look everyone – we’re pregnant – I couldn’t be happier, wooooo!” (Cries inside.)

M – ‘M’ is for “maybe if I just pretend I have everything under control people will believe me…okay…I’ll join a yoga class…and a…book club…that’s what real grown-ups do, right?

N – ‘N’ is for “never in a million years did I think I would go jogging and basically cut out all  unhealthy food…apparently I’ll die twenty years earlier if I don’t…but…err…cake…just one slice won’t change anything…”

O – ‘O’ is for “Oh, God! Why are you so cruel? I thought we agreed I would be the hip and trendy parent? But apparently using the words ‘hip and trendy’ in the first place makes me unfathomably embarrassing to my kids…what has happened to me?! Is this punishment for me wearing Crocs that one summer?”

P – ‘P’ is for “Phew, I can’t wait till they leave home – they have taken everything I once had, my money, my youth, my passions, they’ve left me a hollow burnt out husk. Maybe…just maybe…I can return to my early 20s once they’re gone…”

Q – ‘Q’ is for “question – how old do I have to be before I get one of those cool mobility scooters? No…I don’t need one…I just want one…fine, I’ll come back in ten years…”

R – ‘R’ is for railing…as eventually you find yourself needing to use that railing on the stairs…and forcing out an “AHH-FF” with every step…“AHH-FF”, “AHH-FF”, “AHH-FF”…”should have taken the elevator.”

S – ‘S’ is for spending time with your Grandchildren – and delighting in being loved for spoiling them, aka annoying their parents by giving them everything you know they’re not allowed ordinarily!

T – ‘T’ is for “too many daytime dramas, not enough time!”

U – ‘U’ is for understand “I don’t understand the kids of today…and I don’t fucking want to!”

V – ‘V’ is for Viagra…or “very limp penis.” Your choice.

W – ‘W’ is for “well at least I can get away with saying just about whatever I like…”

X – ‘X’ is for xylophone…like, “why does it feel like some horrible bastard is playing the xylophone all over my body…but instead of little sticks they are playing it with baseball bats? Argh! My back…Argh! My knees…Argh! The inside of my eyeball itches…God, I am so over this life.”

Y – ‘Y’ is for, “YOU YOUNG WHIPPER SNAPPERS! I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH MY DAY SO I AM GOING TO TAKE STRANGE JOY IN RUINING YOURS, GIMMME THAT BALL! I’LL TRADE YOU THIS FOR A VIAL OF YOUR YOUTHFUL BLOOD! COME ON HAND IT OVER! I NEED IT MORE THAN YOU! I’M DYYYYYYING!”

Z – ‘Z’ is for zwieback…which is (apparently) a slice of sweet raised bread that is baked until it is hard and crispy…okay fine, I didn’t have anything for ‘Z’…but hopefully your life was, errr, sweet…and not too hard.

Scratch that, that’s shit…instead hopefully you are riding a flying zebra in the afterlife…wow, yeah – that sounds good, can’t wait for that one actually…that’s a great way to end things!

Of course I am just joking around…there is much more to life than this…but life is short; so get out there, and fill your pages with love, happiness and terrific memories…I mean, it’s not like you get a re-write!

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Happiness – What Could Have Been…

I am fascinated with life, and the idea of each and every person having their own pathway on which they follow… 

It’s not that I believe in fate, or that I think we have any kind of predetermined outcome by some fella upstairs…instead I think of us as paving our own way – desperately struggling to lay the yellow bricks in front of us as we attempt to navigate through our lives. Sometimes we stumble across good eggs like Scarecrow, Tim Woodman, and Cowardly Lion – and then occasionally there are sadistic witches and flying killer monkeys who rip off all of your limbs…

Wizard of OZ GIF

Swings, and roundabouts I suppose…

 I mean granted not everything can be cheese, back rubs, and new posts from Storytime with John, right? There are shitty moments too – it’s just all about finding those happy moments, and treasuring them, whilst also trying to derive some purpose from our small window of life (wherever, and however that may be!); after all we all want to be happy!

But you know what? I have some rather backward advice (which just so happens to work!) when it comes to being happier with your present situation…it’s not particularly to look at the things that you are lucky enough to possess; a loving family? A great set of friends? A job you actually enjoy? A really comfortable pair of socks? Whatever! No. 

Although naturally…good for you – especially the socks thing.

But I do find that spending some time considering what could have been (for the worst), really helps pump you up, and give a greater perspective on your life as a whole. It’s basically like you are looking backwards down the yellow brick road, and viewing the different paths that you see were no available…but you didn’t take. And as you are older, and hopefully a smidge wiser you now see they would have led to doom and gloom. I find this gives confidence in going forward…PUMP UP DAT CHEST, BRUH! 

Judge GIF

For me I look back at past relationships that would have anchored me to one spot…limited me…and kept me in a closed community, with a minimal amount of opportunity – so I look back at that, and then examine the present day…and I feel more positive about meekly edging forward. Or perhaps I peer pack down the yellow brick road again, and see friendship circles centered solely around drinking, drugs, and a lack of ambition…then again I look at the now…and feel a stronger person for being where I am today.

If I had made certain other choices, my reality would be totally different. 

I could of course ramble more about this for a lot longer, but it wouldn’t make much sense to you…after all life isn’t always a cohesive narrative, it is actually a very personal story which is only ever reported as a polished epilogue – one with which we can perhaps relate, but never truly experience – each of us walk in our own shoes, on our own path. 

But just try it, look back and see where your life could have taken you…not for the better, but for the worse…it should bring a wry smile to your face – and hopefully more faith in yourself, and your future…

Spiderpunch GIF

You’ve got this my friend!

(This post is dedicated to my very good friend over at Pixelated Lifestyle – keep going, just keep going…oh and watch out for the flying monkeys.)

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Go Compare…

I don’t know what it is…but I can’t help it – it’s hard to resist…and the easy access makes it all the more simple – and therefore all the more difficult to avoid…

I’m talking about comparisons. What did you think I was talking about? Anyway….yeah, it’s like an addiction of sorts – fuelled by the little cartoonish angel, and devil that sit on either side of my slouched shoulders…neither of them are helpful if I’m honest…

Angel Devil GIF

Devil: hehehe! Look John, LOOOOK! Check out his wikipedia…by 21 he was doing comedy shows around the country, what are you doing, huh? Huh? hehehe…just quit now – and eat some cake.

Angel: Oh, don’t listen to him! Look! Look! Check out his story…he was addicted to heroin until his late 20s, you’re doing great…in comparison…sort of…but if you don’t make it – then…well yeah…heroin?

Thanks guys, but kindly fuck off – will you?! 

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Please buy my collection of stories! Get it in paperback here – or on Kindle here! ALL proceeds go towards Macmillan Cancer Support!

How Do I BEAT Anxiety?!

This video request is from Rehma Aziz – she asked a great question, which was “why do we feel anxiety?”

So in this video I explore that topic, and have a good old root around in my messed up psyche! Enjoy! 

CORRECTION – Rehma is not a gentleman…she’s a gentle…er, lady! I’m just an idiot as per usual. Sorry about that, but thanks again, Rehma – keep em’ coming my friends!

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Please buy my collection of stories! Get it in paperback here – or on Kindle here! ALL proceeds go towards Macmillan Cancer Support!