So, yer man above, is running this small project aimed at a couple of people around the globe. I really don’t know why he bothers. I mean, it’s not like anybody is going to read any of his stuff. Where does he get off running a global communications project single-handedly and canvassing opinions from every corner of the globe with a view to worldwide enlightenment?
What a fucking brilliant idea. And I use my French selectedly. Pass the word, word by word, mouth by mouth. See the difference. Feel the difference. Accept the difference. A bit of respect please, if you will. It may go a long way to encouraging a more respectful world. That’s if anyone reads, of course. 🙂
Twitter: Got one. Don’t use it.
Facebook: Got one. Ditto. But it’s in my real name!
LinkedIn: Ditto for Facebook. Why do I bother with them? Whole other post, I think.
Question 1: Please provide a window into who you are, some background information in a not too overwhelming profile here. I am allowing you as the writer to immediately connect with your audience so take advantage. Remember the point of ordering these questions is to arrange this project so it is easy for comparison and not to constrain you as the writer. Write as long as you need to for each question to get your point across just remember not to lose the reader.
I am a 52 year-old working mum. I have 7 children ranging in age from 24 to 6. I live about 5 miles outside of Glasgow, Scotland. I have been married to the same lovely guy for 26 years. And still fancy him! Thank God, it’s reciprocated. Or, so he tells me often enough. Which is nice. 🙂
I believe love makes the world go round, otherwise what’s the point?
I went to college at 17 to study to become a teacher although most everyone I know just thinks I was born one anyway and I probably wasted 3 years of my life. I get kids. I mean, I really get them. And I love that I do. Mind you, once they start growing into adults I get them in a whole other way. Right in the back of the neck mostly. But, that usually only lasts until they’re out of the awkward teens.
Question 2: If you haven’t already done so please provide your country of origin, whether you are male or female, an age would be nice, and where you currently live if that differs from the country of origin. If you are in America this might be a nice time to explain what state you are from. Also try to give us a brief view of your current neighborhood and what it is like in as specific terms as you like. Why is this important? I believe our surroundings and where we come from have a strong impact on our development of opinions. It would also be highly likely that depending on the safety of the country might also determine how willing one is to express their opinions aloud. Does sex also have something to do with this, as well as age? These are all characteristics that can definitely affect a person’s outlook.
I live in the hometown of my birth and was actually born in a ‘room and kitchen’ less than a mile from where I now live. As it happens, my husband lived in the same street although a number of years before me.
My town was once the biggest village in Scotland and was a thriving mining community surrounded by loads of countryside that my dad explored with us. As he had also been brought up here, he could tell us every nook and cranny we visited and the history behind them. He introduced me and my brothers and sisters to long walks and rambles that embraced nature in a loving fold. We learned from him to protect and care for our environment and all living things.
My mum was a townie when she met my dad and had to adjust to a life where she was deemed an outsider for many years. My mum was an amazing and intelligent woman who instilled in us a love of others and of God. I could and did talk to her for hours on every subject and we would often share a dram, chatting into the wee small hours about all sorts of everything. She was a great friend.
Both of my parents came from large families and their upbringing reflected how they raised their six kids. My mother lost three sisters to TB when they were young women and was heartbroken at their loss, for herself and for her own mother.
I remember very clearly both of my grandmothers, one was very much the matriarch (my dad’s – whole other post) and the other was a strong, loving woman who defied convention in a number of ways, once by beating up a drunken wife abuser next door to her. When the drunk called the police on my wee granny – all 5 foot of her – she batted her eyelids at them and said, ‘What me? Look at the size of me. How could I?’
As the police knew the score with the guy they just smiled and said, ‘Quite right. You couldn’t possibly have done what he said. He said you caught him unawares as he came up the close stairs and gave him a doing.’
And she did. That’s what my wee granny – my Godmother – was like. Her sense of injustice at her neighbour’s hidden injuries overtook her usual placid self and she meted out the punishment. He, apparently, did not beat up on his wife after that.
These are some of the people who made me who I am.
I am the oldest daughter with two older brothers, two younger sisters and a younger brother. I am very close to one of my sisters but don’t see as much of the rest of my family now, although we still get together for family do’s.
Question 3: Recount the first time you remember having a differing opinion from someone significantly older than you. Do you remember what the topic was about? Did you voice your opinion or hold it to yourself?
I was in my early teens. My dad and my eldest brother were discussing politics. My dad was a strong Labour man, working class and held very strong opinions on what was fair and equitable. I was listening to their chat and disagreed on a point. I don’t remember what the point was but my dad told me to shut up until I knew what I was talking about. I was livid and humiliated. How dare he think I didn’t have an opinion worth listening to! Because I was young? Because I was a girl? I had thoughts. I had feelings. I worked things out. I made more bloody sense than their biased, one-sided observations. But, I held my tongue. My dad was the head of the household and that was that. He was not my mum who valued discussion and differing viewpoints and argued her side while letting you argue your own.
Question 4: What levels of respect were practiced around you when you were a child? Was there bowing involved, handshakes, “yes Sirs and yes Ma’am’s,” or some other equivalent respectfulness in your culture’s tongue? Is an honorific given to someone older than you and do you often respect and practice that? How might the culture you were brought up in have affected the growth of your own opinions?
Are you joking? Did you read any of the above? Respect was the order of the day. Love and respect and a healthy dose of arse-skelping if required! And that wasn’t much, thank God. It stings a bit!
Respect precedes opinion, in my opinion. I might disagree with you but I respect your right to give one. Please extend the same courtesy. Respect first.
Question 5: How traveled are you and to what degree do you keep up with international news? You might also provide an educational background if you wish and if that education was gained from somewhere other than your current location. How available is the news and what goes on in the outside world to you in your country?
Up until the age of 18 I had never set foot out of the UK. But we had a holiday every year and we went to loads of parts of Scotland, camping and caravanning.
At 18, I got the opportunity to work in Greece with a friend whose brother was a travel agent. So my first long summer holiday from college was spent working on a Greek island. I loved it. I had already fallen in love with Greece through reading and seeing films about the myths and legends of Ancient Greece. I adored and, still do, all that type of fantasy.
We planned to return the following year and booked flights through her brother. At the last minute, she was not allowed to go as she had just failed her college course and was not being allowed back. So she was banned from going. I never let on to my parents until the night before I was due to go. There was no way I was being stopped. So I went by myself and had the most amazing three months working and befriending complete strangers.
On graduating the following year, I saw a job advertised in college for teachers in Athens. I jumped at the chance and spent my first year as a teacher teaching English as a second language to classes of kids ranging in age from about 6 to 18. As I was only twenty myself, it was a bit hairy at times but manageable. I met a couple of other girls from Glasgow there and we shared a flat for over a year. I travelled to Turkey while I was there because my visa had expired and, in my ignorance, believed that I would pick up some work for a couple of weeks and then return to Athens before deciding whether to stay on for another year.
I started to say more here about that experience but that’s a whole other story and unnecessary here.
I decided to come home and travelled five days on a bus to do so. Dorothy had her red shoes. I didn’t.
Apart from a visit to Lourdes and a couple of other jaunts to Greece and once to various parts of Germany, the extent of my travels has been Scotland. All over it. Hitch hiking once and many times in a minibus with my gang. And I love the place. It is simply stunning in parts.
I either devour news and scream at the TV and politicians on it attempting to justify or explain world events or ignore it when it all feels too much. A real balanced approach, you know?
Question 6: If you could share an opinion on a single international incident or topic that you either feel strongly about or that might not be known to the rest of the world what would it be? You have our attention.
I get so pissed that power corrupts and that people seek power for self-seeking ends. I get pissed that politics and religion are used to perpetuate injustice the world over. I despise adults who hurt children in any way, shape or form. I could probably throttle those who are so stupid that they actually believe their own hype about what matters. Love matters. And I don’t mean sexual love (although, mmmm). As much as eros love is grand, the love I speak of does dare to say its name. It encompasses all who hold it dear. Or not. It forgives and shows mercy. It respects even while it does not understand. That might be more than one, do you think? Or might they all be rolled up into one? You think.
Question 7: What does the right to an opinion mean to you? Is it essential to freedom to have this right? How far would you go to protect that ability? The world is on fire with people of passion, how passionate are you about things you value?
I am pretty much passionate about everything. I think that might be why I am a bit of a ‘lunatic’. I suffer from depression badly, at times. But, I am also extremely optimistic. I’m still trying to figure out whether I am classified in some psychiatrist’s manual but I keep coming up with a blank when I go, ‘Naw, that’s not me’. I think I just feel everybody’s pain and it gets to me and I go on a downer. I feel my own pain and I go on a downer. The rest of the time I’m as happy as a pig in shit with an outlook on life to be envied!
Question 8: Is it ever right for you to be allowed an opinion while someone else is denied that same right on the same topic?
No. And NO! Even my own kids are allowed an opinion. We discuss things. I may have the final say or not, depending on other factors but they have their say. I know the world is full of places where this not the case and again, see above, for how I feel about other people’s right to respect.
Question 9: The last question, upon completing this template and hopefully contemplating the issue what does this project mean to you? How can Project O potentially enlighten or help the world?
I was in two minds about taking part in this project. You know, busy, busy, busy. And then I read OM’s rant about not everyone having the opportunity to have or express an opinion.
Well, F.U.C.K., if there is one thing that is guaranteed to get me motivated is the idea that I NOT be allowed to do something. I have the freedom to express myself in words, in my chosen faith, to self-determine, to think, to act, to be. Anyone who threatens that has a fight on their hands. I might just beat them up and then say, ‘Who me? Look at me. I’m just a wee Scots lassie with a big mouth’.
But, I’ll defend my right to open it. Even if I do talk shite, at times.