Friday, March 23, 2012

Le sisters

Lately, I've been having many of those silly, lame, laughing-for-no-reason, totally childish moments. My sister's been around.

I'm a middle child, sandwiched by two sisters who are my real life support-system (not the fake system that involves a heart pumping blood and all that). 

Each of my sisters has a specific role to play: my older sister (older than me by a little less than two years) is there for me to be a total jerk with and still feel loved. To get all life's lessons second-hand without having to go through the teaching experience. To joke and have laughing fits with about things that seem normal to the rest of the world. To allow me to relieve all stress and frustrations with in endless arguments and still not have a single ill feeling against each other. 

My younger sister (younger to me by five years) is there for me to feel like I am making a difference in somebody's life. Someone I'm ready to sacrifice the most precious things to me just to see a smile on her face. Someone I'm willing to spend my life protecting. 

What would we do without sisters?

 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What's your positivity ratio?

I'm in the middle of reading "Positivity' by Dr Barbara Fredrickson, one of the millions of self-help books out there. This one stands out as different to me (although each of these millions of books will tell you they've got something new to offer you) because it is written by a distinguished professor in psychology, and all the ideas she offers her readers are based on her own various and repeated research findings.

According to Dr Barbara's research, as everything has a tipping point, so does positivity's impact on our lives. The positivity to negativity ratio of 3:1 is the point after which natural resilience, open-mindedness and all the other impacts of positivity mentioned in detail in her book come into the picture.

Reading this was personally relieving to me in two ways:
-She isn't telling us to rid ourselves of negativity completely. Nor is she saying that harbouring negative thoughts is destructive in an irreparable way.
-For those of us who find numbers reassuring, having a measurable ratio is a good way of gauging whether we are going in the right direction, and how much progress we're making.

You can find out your positivity ratio over here. The ratio you get really depends on your day, and your mood at the time, so for more accurate results, calculate your ratio over a period of two weeks and then figure out the average.

My positivity ratio was 1.3:1 which is low considering the tipping point of 3:1, so I have a lot of work to do :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Meeting Jackie Daydream

I once wrote about Roald Dahl being one of the few writers that understood children's minds so well. There is one particular author, born thirty years after him, that can do this abit better. Jacqueline Wilson's books were my drug as a child- the sense of euphoria they gave me...and the increasing dosages I needed to get the same level of satisfaction. I never really outgrew them- if there's a new Jacqueline Wilson novel, I'll make sure I read it (even if it's under the pretense of buying them for my younger sister).

What I loved most about her books were the little things her characters did or wrote about that I could so relate to- and that adults wouldn't give a second thought. She has this special ability to make a reader laugh out loud, burst into tears and nibble their nails all in the same page.

So it was a significant moment today morning when I sat in a hall at the Emirates Festival of Literature, with my sister and her two school friends, all of us clutching books to be signed and almost crying of excitement waiting for her to enter any minute. In she came then, with short humble steps- a typical elderly English lady, white cropped hair, glasses perched on nose, shabbily dressed in a wide shirt, trousers and a million enormous rings and clutching on shyly to her big black bag.

She sat down on stage and instantly began talking to the audience: stories of her childhood, her ambitions of becoming a writer, the little experiences she's been through and where she gets her ideas from. It went on for an hour and although I knew it all, it was such a great feeling sitting down and having your favourite childhood author speaking right to the kid inside you. It almost felt like I was listening to an audio tape of one of her books- it hit me how similar she was to all her made-up characters.

When it was my turn in the book sign-up, I really wanted to ask her how she managed to write so accurately from a child's perspective. I wanted to tell her that her books remind me of how I used to see the world back then, so how can she so easily right all this down- does it come to her naturally, or does she have to travel in her mind and reminisce how it felt like to be a child?

But then it struck me that it would be like asking her if she still thinks like a child or is just pretending to for writing sake. So instead I just ended up telling her something she already knew, "I love your books, Jacqueline Wilson. I know you must have heard this a million times." Oh, *chuckle* I'm so pleased dear.



Have you ever met somebody who has been a big influence in your life?

(This is my hundredth post!)



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