Sunday, 27 November 2011

Panic attacks & thanatophobia

Imagine you know for certain that tomorrow you will die. There is not a thing you can do about it, tomorrow will be your last day on earth and tonight will be your last night. How would you feel? I can’t imagine many people, if any, would answer with anything that isn't fear, frustration, anger, confusion or sheer panic. Well I don't know for sure that I will die tomorrow. But what I do know for sure is that there will come a night that will be my last. Following that last night will be my final day on earth. It may not be tomorrow, it may not be the next day. It may not even be for the next 50 years, I don't know. But it will come.

I guess the best way to sum up my thanatophobia is to explain the feeling you would probably be overcome by, knowing you are about to die, is how I feel almost all the time. It is a constant state of fear, of worry, of anxiety. Sometimes the sheer desperation of the situation, the situation that everyone who is born must inevitably face, manifests in what I am forced to call a panic attack.

Panic attacks are defined as "episodes of intense fear or apprehension that are of sudden onset and of relatively brief duration." To clearly define a panic attack, many specialists believe that at least four of the following symptoms should be experienced:

  • Clear intense panic
  • Palpitations, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Muscle tension
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Feeling of choking
  • Feeling waves of being flushed
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • Derealisation (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • Fear of losing control or going insane
  • Fear of dying
  • Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations)
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Weakness in the knees
  • Confusion
  • Tunnel vision
  • Blank mind
  • Sensing time going by very slowly
  • Feeling the need to escape
  • Feeling of warmth inside, expanding from within
  • Head pressure, unlike headache

In my moments of thanatophobia-induced panic, I have at some point, experienced all of these symptoms and consistently experience 15 of the 25 symptoms. However (and this is very much a point of interest to my psychologist and my psychiatrist) the most glaringly obvious sign of my panic and distress that he hasn't heard of before is my uncontrollable, piercing and blood-curdling screams. I actually reach a state of such frenzy and desperation that I scream, so long and so loudly I often lose my voice for up to four days.

The sound of my screams, usually somewhere between 1am and 4am, would wake my father up with a chilling fright. He has often marvelled that our neighbours have never called the police to report a potential crime. He's explained this as being due to us living on acreage or thanks to the Genovese Syndrome, the bystander effect where witnesses often tend to believe someone else will help. It is because of this that I even found myself in the uncomfortable situation of explaining to my new neighbours, who shared apartment walls with me in my new unit block, that if they were woken by my late night screaming I was simply having a panic attack. I actually had to promise my neighbours that if I was ever in danger I would scream real words such as, "help me, please!" so they would be able to assist me.

I don't remember much about these intense screaming panic attacks. My psychologist is even wary of calling them that, but I have no other word for them. I've been told I scream 'What if I'm wrong?' This alludes to my Buddhist beliefs but obviously, if I am wrong, what is there? Is there nothing? And that is ultimately my base fear. Ceasing to exist. And then I scream.

I do not have these panic attacks in daylight hours – although I have come dangerously close in cinemas. I do however have the traditional panic attacks. I will feel as if everything is closing in on me, the sheer inevitability and overwhelming desperation at my lack of control of death renders me unable to function. I will gasp for breath, my heart will race, I will sweat and I will need to call someone to talk. I often choke down the phone, “talk to me! About anything!” My network of friends and family know not to ask questions and to just start rambling about the first thing that comes to mind – their job, football scores, traffic, the weather, anything to distract my mind. I focus on their voice and their words until I feel it’s safe to open my mouth without a blood-curdling scream escaping.

Miss SAMawdsley xx

PS: For help with Thanatophobia, please join my Facebook support group: Thanatophobia / Fear of death

  • Have you ever had a panic attack?
  • Have you ever perhaps lost control and started screaming?
  • What are your thoughts on thanatophobia or anxiety?

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Who is Samantha Mawdsley?

I am the girl who loves so deeply she has panic attacks about losing people.
I am the girl who cries listening to both ‘Perfect People’ - Pennywise & ‘What a Wonderful World’ - Louis Armstrong.
I am the girl who owns nearly every Tim Burton movie ever made.
I am the girl who was taken to a llama farm as a surprise 18th birthday present.
I am the girl who is Miss Leyburn 2007.
I am the girl who sleeps with a large hunting knife hanging on her bedpost and knows how to use it.
I am the girls whose favourite Christmas CD is by Hi-5.
I am the girl who still believes she’d be happier if she got that walking dinosaur in grade 6.
I am the girl who has two trophies to prove how smart she is.
I am the girl who swore at age 16 she’d write for The Courier-Mail, did so at 21 and had a book deal two years later.
I am the girl who drove around Mount Panorama at Bathurst on her Learners.
I am the girl who has never smoked a cigarette or tried drugs.
I am the girl who has 717 Twitter followers and has tweeted 40,176 times.
I am the girl who has been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
I am the girl who pretended to flash her boobs in a grade 11 film project that is still shown at her school.
I am the girl who once had second and third degree burns on her butt and her hand. But not at the same time.
I am the girl who is going to be the Anna Kournikova of golf.
I am the girl who wanted to be a palaeontologist and a marine biologist but hates studying science.
I am the girl who will do almost anything to prove she’s not scared.
I am the girl was was the voice of IKEA Queensland.
I am the girl who was the 'after' photo on the front of a magazine.
I am the girl who is allergic to being touched.
I am the girl who handed in English assignments typed up on a typewriter. In 2002.
I am the girl who tried to grow a peach tree in my backyard.
I am the girl whose first crush was Jim Carrey.
I am the girl who has seen more football matches than girly movies.
I am the girl who will one day know “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe off by heart.
I am the girl who collects snow globes from places she has been.
I am the girl who had the courage and strength to beat a dependancy on anti-depressants.
I am the girl who has been kissed by a dolphin and Michael Buble.
I am the girl who owns over 350 LP vinyl records.
I am the girl who believes in love and magic.
I am the girl who is going to be a star of the literary world.
I am Samantha Mawdsley.

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Who are you?

Friday, 18 November 2011

Speak out against domestic violence!

"One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. That is way too many. The aim of this event is to bring awareness to the cause and encourage victims to speak out and seek help."
- Wanderlust and her Speak Out campaign.
One in four women will be physically and/or emotionally abused by a partner - somebody they love or trust. I am a 'one in four'. But of the many 'one in four' women out there, I am one of the lucky ones because I was able to walk away.

I was 18 and in my first "real" relationship. I was in love, as most people aged 18 in a relationship are. We don't know what warning signs to look for and we don't really have a benchmark for what a healthy relationship looks like. As it turns out, nursing your boyfriend's hangover every Saturday morning after he left you, his underage girlfriend, at home is not a healthy relationship. But ignorance is bliss and I was blissfully happy.

But one night after an argument in a pub, I stormed off outside. I had only recently turned 18 so I was finally able to join in with the Friday night drinking sessions. But I didn't enjoy it. Drinking to get drunk every week is not my idea of fun. So I was happy to leave and walk the few blocks home. It was still daylight.

Well my boyfriend followed me. He called out and I stopped. Words were exchanged. I'm not one to call names as I know how much they can hurt. But he had already started drinking and he yelled names at me. Many names. I don't even remember what the fight was about. But I do remember him practically spitting these words at me: "You are scum." And he hit me. It was one of those half punch, half shove motions that forced me to the bitumen in the carpark. I hit the ground hard. I was too shocked to scream. Or cry. Or say anything for that matter. I just stumbled back to my feet and I ran.

I ran towards home. I could hear him yelling at me to come back. He yelled that he was sorry. He yelled lots of things. But I kept running. There was no force on Earth that was going to make me face him but since we lived next door to each other, I quickly realised I had no where to go. So as soon as he'd safely lost sight of me, I dashed into a random backyard. I sat against a stranger's house and that's when I was finally able to cry - sharp, racking sobs that I desperately tried to muffle. I heard his voice getting louder, and louder and then fainter, and fainter.

I don't know how long I sat in that backyard but eventually it got dark. I snuck out of the yard and made my way home. I peeked into his bedroom and saw it was empty. He'd gone back out drinking. I dashed into his house and grabbed everything I own and ran back to my own house. I locked myself in my bedroom and refused to come out. Late that night, he knocked on my door. He yelled for me to come out. He yelled that he was sorry. Again, he yelled many things. I hid under my pillow and I cried.

The next morning I did the bravest thing a girl in my situation can do. I called for help. I asked my Mum to come get me... and my stuff. I left uni. I left my friends. I left my boyfriend. It was one of the hardest things I'd had to do in my life so far. But it was also the easiest decision I've ever made. Because no girl should ever have to put up with domestic violence. And I Speak Out against domestic violence.

'Sorry' doesn't heal grazed hands.
'Come back' doesn't wipe away tears.
And 'I love you' should never, ever, ever leave a bruise.

Miss SAMawdsley xx

PS: For the record, seven years later my ex-boyfriend contacted me. I felt enough time had passed that I could see him. My only justification was that if he needed the chance to say sorry, I would give it to him. I'd heard through mutual friends that he had changed a lot. And it's true, he had. Apparently his act of violence and my reaction had shocked him so much that he'd become the ultimate peace-loving hippy. He'd not had a relationship since and is now so anti-violent he is a vegan. I'm glad I gave him the chance to say sorry.
But I did not, and never will, forgive him.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

"And try not to hurt yourself..."

It's my boyfriend's birthday on Thursday. He has planned his whole weekend out from Thursday to Sunday night. Yesterday he told me all the things he wants us to do - dinner, movie, golf, etc - and he's really excited about the whole thing. At the end of the conversation he asked me to do something for him. He asked me not to hurt myself before the weekend.

I wanted to be offended but honestly, looking at my recent history, he's right. I just asked my dad and he said I was never a clumsy child. I was once able to stand on my dad's hand in the air. There's a photo of him holding me at head height and I'm there, in a little pink jumpsuit, standing on his hand. I was nine months old.

I had childhood accidents like all other kids. I fell on top of eight glass milk bottles once - three stitches in my knee. I fell onto a chair in preschool - two stitches in my lip. I sliced my finger on a cat food tin once. I cut my pinky knuckle slicing cheese too. But in years of trampolining I never once fell off. I also never fell off my horse or my bike either. In fact, I can actually skate ramps and bowls on my rollerblades! I was always the co-ordinated one. But recently, something changed. And admittedly, Clumsy-Samantha is the only Samantha my boyfriend knows.
  • We met in March. Our first date was going to be mini-golf. But I had to cancel when I tried to cook burritos. Yes, somehow while cooking burritos I ended up with second degree burns all over my left hand. I spent a night in hospital and two months as an outpatient.
Second degree burns
Bruised knee
  • While playing football, I managed to kick myself in the knee. I was only chasing after a ball.
  • I was brushing my teeth in my bathroom. I forgot I'd closed the door behind me and when I went to leave, I walked straight into the door.
  • I was dancing in my shower when I slipped and fell into the shower screen. Thank God it didn't break or it could have been much worse.
  • I walk into doorframes regularly and often simply turn corners too early and walk into walls.
  • I so badly bruised my knuckle knocking on doors that I couldn't make a fist.
Swollen knuckle
    Scratched cornea
  • We were playing golf last weekend and while walking towards my ball, something flew into my eye. I ended up in the emergency room for the second time this year. Scratched cornea and three days of recovery. (That one wasn't clumsiness but these things just keep happening to me.)
In fact, it had become such a joke how often I hurt myself that the radio show I was a co-host of introduced a new segment: Sassy's Accident of the Week. There was not a single week that I did not have an accident to report.

But back to my boyfriend and his request that I please not hurt myself before the weekend. Well not two hours after my boyfriend and I had this conversation, I went to football with my dad. We were warming up and Dad kicked a ball at about shoulder height to me. I could have ducked and headed it, I could have jumped and chested it. But I was lazy so I caught it. And in the process of catching a ball, (yes, simply catching a ball) I managed to stab myself in the eye with my own thumbnail. I wish I was kidding...
Stabbed eye
So now I'm paranoid about it getting infected or something. I'm actually scared that I am going to ruin my boyfriend's birthday weekend with my clumsiness. If I don't hurt myself beforehand, what if I hurt myself while I'm with him?

But it makes me wonder, why am I suddenly so clumsy? I know when kids are growing they lose track of their own lengthening limbs and can become quite klutzy but I've been 167cm for about 10 years now. I'm fairly used to my size. Dad thinks it may have something to do with my anxiety. Like maybe my mind is so busy stressing and worrying that it doesn't properly process my surroundings - or only enough to survive but not remain uninjured. I just hope I live until Sunday night so my boyfriend can have a happy birthday...

Miss SAMawdsley xx

  • How clumsy are you?
  • Have you ever injured yourself in a stupid way?
  • Do you have any theories on how a person could "get clumsy"?

Monday, 14 November 2011

My Pet Raptor

Do you know what actually makes me sad? I will never own a dinosaur… This is actually a thought that really does consume some of my time and headspace! I really, really want a dinosaur. A tyrannosaurus-rex, an australovenator, a brachiosaurus, a velociraptor, a coelophysis... I'm really not picky. I was seven when Jurassic Park came out but I already loved dinosaurs. For as long as I can remember I imagined owning my own. It was kind of an impossible dream.

Do you know, once, I was home alone and I heard a weird sound out the backyard. Now I'm twentysomething but in the nanoseconds it took me to properly process the sound I heard, my brain had already made careful calculations and used logical reasoning to decide that it was a velociraptor. In my backyard.

Now you must realise, I fully believed this thought. In my mind, it was 100% fact. So I was super-excited. Like every single one of my wildest dreams had just come true. As far as I was now concerned I had a raptor, my very own raptor, in my backyard. It was going to be my pet, I was going to name it and train it do all sorts of neat tricks and I was going to be deliriously happy!

It was a tarp blowing in the wind. The sound, it wasn’t a raptor. I just thought I should clarify that in case anyone got over excited and started emailing me offering me money in exchange for my raptor before getting to the end of my story. So calm down.

Now in the ensuing nanoseconds, I was imagining the new awesomeness that was my new raptor-filled life. Seriously, just imagine for a second, that you had your own dinosaur. I hope you’re as excited as I am otherwise I might just start sounding ridiculous. But I was imagining how to tether the thing, I mean I couldn’t just have it running around Brisbane. Then I imagined riding it around Brisbane, because it can’t just run amok around the city, but my properly-harnessed raptor and I could totally have our own shenanigans. You know, raptors are OK under adult supervision, and after all, I am a responsible twentysomething. But I was probably going to be famous for having a pet dinosaur. Of course the fame would never get to my head. I mean really, it would just be a way to pay the raptor feeding bill. Whatever that would be… How much do dead goats go for these days...?

I didn’t name my raptor.
I didn’t get that far.
Because it was a tarp blowing in the wind.
I don’t have a pet velociraptor.

Miss SAMawdsley xx

  • What is the wildest dream you have ever had?
  • Have you ever believed in something crazy, even for a moment?

{Note: Initial 'My Pet Raptor' logo borrowed from a band of that name.
Follow the link, I'm sure they rock!}

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Check your emotional baggage!

Emotional baggage is something we all have. Sometimes we have so much we struggle and other times it feels like nothing more than a cute glo-mesh sling purse.

I'm one of those people that takes on so much emotional baggage, my own and others'. If somebody has a problem, I add it to my long list of things to worry about. My mind can race so fast that in all actuality, I sometimes can't recognise what it is in particular that I am worried about, just that I am worried. Sometimes if you could see all of my emotional baggage, I would resemble a Clyde Valley donkey...

There are other people, weird Zen-like creatures who, like miniature Buddhas consider emotional baggage and either deal with it or discard it. They hold onto nothing. I once read a story by a stressed out man who told of a conversation with his young daughter.
"Daddy, why are you sad?"
"I'm just worrying about some things."
"Well, if you can change it, change it and don't worry. If you can't change it there's nothing you can do, so don't worry."
That is an amazing attitude and I get that, I honestly do! But really, I just can't put it into practise. I can't quite explain why but I just can't. A sentiment I do understand is 'A problem shared is a problem halved'.

Well I stumbled across this site today. Emotional Bag Check. It's a site for everyone - as long as you love music, but really, who doesn't? When you click the link it will take you to a site with two options.

For the worriers, the donkeys, the stressed out, highly strung jack-in-the-boxes just waiting to unravel in an explosive and teary meltdown, there is this section. Once you can admit you have baggage, you check it here. It's a simple text box and you just rant. That part alone is a catharsis. I poured out everything. I just let it all out. I felt like crying as I wrote it but I kept going. Some things, as I wrote them down, I felt like there was no escape from - that I will be tethered to these problems forever. Others, seemed trivial. I imagined a stranger reading them and thinking to themselves, 'so what?' Perspective, you know? So after unloading as many problems as I could in what is probably a non-sensical rambling diatribe, I felt marginally better. I also gave them my email address. Nobody will see my email and I wasn't asked for my name or any other information. That is all I, the emotionally crippled, have to do. Easy and freeing.

For those peaceful free-thinkers with all the headspace in the world, there is this section. This person does something really wonderful and amazing. They read - the internet equvilant of listening - the problems of another. This person will be a perfect stranger and they will know nothing more about them than their problem. Now these individuals who live in their own personal Zen garden are usually great with helpful advice so it wouldn't be fair to deny them the chance to offer it. They do so in the form of a song. They think of a song that would cheer, uplift, inpsire or sympathtise with the emotional cripple. There's a database of songs on the site, you type in the song you've thought of and it will find it and you send it to the emotional cripple (without seeing their email address). You can add a short message if you like but that person will receive this song and message in their email inbox.

The exchange of baggage is now complete.

I tried out both. Quid pro quo. I checked my baggage in the hopes that someone will read it and send me a song - maybe every time I hear this song I can remember to be Zen-like and take two minutes to be calm and still. (I actually received two! See the songs I received below!) And to balance the Karma, I also sent a song. The baggage I am now sharing was from somebody who has had medical problems and now has another problem added to it. I sent them 'Beautiful Day' by U2 with the following message:
"The world is a beautiful place. It is even more so because you are in it. Be strong. xx"
Perhaps I should take my own advice sometimes, huh?

Miss SAMawdsley xx


  • Did you 'check your baggage'? What song did you receive?
  • Did you carry someone else's baggage? What was the problem and what song did you send them?
  • How do you deal with emotional baggage?

"Strong Enough" - Stacie Orrico
"As I rest against this cold hard wall, will you pass me by? 
Will you criticize me as I sit and cry? 
I had fought so hard and thought that all my battles had been won 
Only to find the war had just begun"

"When I'm gone" - Eminem
"Have you ever loved someone so much, you'd give an arm for?
Not the expression, no, literally give an arm for?
When they know they're your heart
And you know you were their armour
And you will destroy anyone who would try to harm her
But what happens when karma, turns right around and bites you?"

Friday, 11 November 2011

Pining for pineapple! (Or 'How excited a girl can get over chocolate...')

Cadbury Snack chocolate. It's awesome because there's something for everyone.
In order of my favourites, it's got:
Cadbury Snack
Pineapple - a delicious fruity flavour with just a hint of tanginess
Turkish Delight - a sophisticated jelly like filling that's very sweet and palatable
Caramel - an old favourite from such familiar chocolates as Caramello!
Orange - a zesty and flavoursome filling with no overt citrusy flavours
Strawberry - a sweet filling. It tastes like pink!
Coconut Ice - a textured, Summery flavour with just a hint of sugary goodness.
Now of those, you'd expect at least the top three to be available as a block on their own. And you'd be right. Except for pineapple. The most delicious of all the flavours of not only Snack, but possibly the entire Cadbury range, is only available in a block surrounded by yummy, but lesser flavours ...Or at least, until recently!

Tonight, the following exchange took place in my local supermarket between my friend @Davefect and I.
Me: What block of chocolate do you want?
David: I don't know, what's your favourite?
Me: I usually get Snack just because I love the Pineapple flavour so much. I really, really wish Cadbury would make an entire block of just Pineapple. Ah well, we'll just get Snack.
*Suddenly, while looking for a second block, high on the top shelf, almost out of view I spotted the Holy Grail of chocolate. Cue emotional breakdown of happiness and much shrieking and jumping...*

FINALLY Cadbury has released a 'Limited Edition' Tropical Pineapple flavour!!!


Cadbury describes it as "Dairy milk chocolate wtih flowing tropical pineapple flavoured centre". I describe it as "The best part of Snack, now in it's OWN BLOCK!!!"

This is a happy, happy day for me but Cadbury doesn't seem to be advertising it! And like I said, it's a 'Limited Edition'. So it might go away. I can't cope with this. I've wanted it for too long and I'll be damned if Cadbury is going to take it away from me!! So please, I'm begging you, I need everyone here to rush out and buy many, many, many blocks of Tropical Pineapple so that Cadbury realises there's a HUGE demand for Tropical Pineapple and continues to keep it as part of their permanent range. Please!

Yes, your homework today is to go buy and eat chocolate. Lots of it.

You're welcome.
Update: Upon further research, this seems to have been already deleted from the range and sold out everywhere. The blocks are now selling for $10 on ebay (click the link, I'm not exaggerating!) There is also a Facebook campaign entitled 'Pineapple blocks should be permanent, not limited edition' (join the cause, dolls!) and pineapple-lovers are announcing locations that have stock and even asking lucky finders to mail out the goodies to remoter locations.  I'm trying to start a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #KeepCadburyPineapple (I've had a few retweets) but in the mentime, tomorrow, I am going to "my source" and buying every single block!!
Miss SAMawdsley xx

PS: I've not been paid or asked to post this blog, I just really, really, really love Cadbury's Pineapple flavour!

PPS: A big thank you to @Davefect for helping me with this blog post and dealing with my minor happy meltdown in the middle of a supermarket!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Top 10 movies I could watch over & over & over...

I just finished alphabetising my DVDs. I have something like 500 DVDs so this was no small feat. I had fun looking at all the old DVDs I haven't watched in ages because I spend so much time watching the same few over and over.

You'll notice a few Tim Burton movies on this list. He's my idol. I love the darkness of his movies. I love when he teams up with Danny Elfman and Johnny Depp. If Helena Bonham Carter is involved it just becomes sheer perfection.

So, in no real particular order, here are my Top 10 DVDs I could watch over and over and over and over and over...

1. The Nightmare Before Christmas
I've lost count of the amount of times I've seen this movie. When I was about 10 I used to hire this on VHS from the video shop and watch it over and over for a week. When I finally owned it myself, I did the same thing. It's a Tim Burton movie. I know this movie word for word and I have the songs on my iPod. My room is covered in Nightmare merchandise, my most prized being the soundtrack on LP. It's one of only 100 ever made.
"There's children throwing snowballs, instead of throwing heads. They're busy building toys and absolutely no one's dead!" - Jack Skellington

2. Jurassic Park
Dinosaurs. Need I say more? I first saw this movie at the drive-in and it always takes me back! I remember getting the showbag from the Ekka too! Sometimes I make a marathon of it and watch all three. The special effects still amaze me and the jokes still make me laugh. What do you call a blind dinosaur? DoYouThinkHeSaurus! Comedic gold!!
"Clever girl..." - Muldoon

3. Independence Day
Will Smith and aliens. What a combo! I love action movies and this is one of my favourites! I saw it at the cinema three times. I rarely see a movie twice at the cinema but this is the only movie I've ever seen three times!
"Welcome to Earth!" - Cptn Hiller

4. Alice in Wonderland
The 1951 Disney classic, my oh my. My dad recorded this off TV for me when I was about three. He'd even gone to that effort of stopping and restarting the recording to skip the ad breaks. I watched this at least once a fortnight. Whenever I was bored I'd whinge to my parents and they'd say 'why don't you watch a movie?' So I did. Alice in Wonderland. I love the storyline, it's also one of my favourite books.
"Curiouser and curiouser..." - Alice

5. Repo! The Genetic Opera
It's a gory rock opera and I absolutely love it. It may have Paris Hilton in it but I manage to overlook that. The music is amazing and so catchy. I find myself randomly singing songs from it all the time. That's usually when I end up throwing it on, because I want to hear the songs better than I sing it in my head!
"Come up and try my new parts, go on and break them in. We both know what we want, shut up and try my new parts." - Amber Sweet

6. Beetlejuice
Another Tim Burton movie. The camp over-acting, the cheesy special effects and the sick humour just make this a joy for me to watch. I am scared of death so watching a movie that has a premise of life after death makes me feel comforted. The movie also casually pokes fun of death and I just adore that. And really like Winona Ryder so I think this movie is awesome!
"I am alone. I am *utterly* alone." - Lydia

7. Wayne's World
This is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. I remember loving it when I was really young. Then I bought it on DVD and watched it again. Truth be told, I don't think I got it at all when I was young and just laughed because everyone else did. I did that a lot. But now that I'm older Wayne Campbell and Garth Alger crack me up! Mike Myers is hysterical and c'mon, who doesn't love the 'Bohemian Rhapsody' scene? Speaking of which, the music? Oh, it's just amazing!
"I once thought I had mono for an entire year. It turned out I was just really bored." - Wayne Campbell

8. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Hysterically funny. That's the only way I can really describe it. The Monty Python team rock and The Holy Grail is just the most superb example of their talent. The guys play multiple roles, like they usually do, and there's so many great skits. Even if you've never seen the movie, no doubt you've heard it referenced somewhere.
"Oh, but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you. Oh but if I went 'round sayin' I was Emperor, just because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away." - Dennis

9. Mars Attacks!
Another Tim Burton classic. This is one of his lesser known movies which is ironic because there is an amazing list of huge stars who were in it! Michael J Fox, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jack Black, Christina Applegate, Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnan, Tom Jones, Martin Short, Glenn Close, Danny DeVito, Natalie Portman... The crazy sound the aliens make gets stuck in your head and the stupidity of the humans is hilarious, yet scarily accurate...
"Guess it wasn't the dove..." - Taffy

10. Batman
I refer, of course, to the first four Batman movies: Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever & Batman and Robin. (It's not cheating because I made up the rules!) If you don't know, you won't be surprised to learn that Tim Burton directs the first two and produced the third. The darkness, the action, the humour, the music...
"Where does he get those wonderful toys?" - The Joker

So tell me, have you seen any or all of these movies? What do you think of them? Could you watch them over and over again? Do you have your own favourite movies that rarely leave your DVD player? Perhaps you're one of those people who hates to watch a movie more than once! Let me know!

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Which of the five senses do you value most of all?

Traditionally, humans have five senses and for the purpose of this article, I'm only referencing those five.

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Over the weekend, I played golf. I ended up in emergency. Now normal golfers may complain of a sore shoulder after a dodgy swing, sprain an ankle searching for a stray ball in the rough or suffer severe heatstroke after too much sun and not enough water. But not me. No, no... On the third hole, after a pretty damn good tee shot, I... well, I don't actually know what I did. I was walking along and then my eye was agony. I couldn't blink, I couldn't hold it open, it watered and it was agreed that I soon resembled a severely sleep-deprived panda after a night with the wolf pack from The Hangover...

Long story short, it turns out I somehow scratched my cornea. I've never felt such unbearable pain and discomfort. I say discomfort because I could not open my eyes. On the way home from the hospital, my boyfriend bought me a McFlurry - a delicious, caramel and choc bicky McFlurry with gooey goodness and creamy yumminess... but I digress! I couldn't eat the damn thing because I couldn't see if I was dripping food all over the couch. I could only guess where the cup was and finding my own mouth wasn't much easier!

We curled up on the couch to watch football. I don't know about my boyfriend, but for me, that's one of my favourite parts of my week - watching the Liverpool match. Have you ever tried to 'listen' to a football match? I love football but listening to a football match is about as fun as sitting in on a 13 year old sleepover when the topic has turned to Justin Bieber. My dad argues that he 'listened' to Liverpool win the European Cup back in the 60s - but as he himself admits, the commentator on the radio was concious that his listeners could not see so made necessary adjustments.

I got up to go to bed and blindly made my way towards the hallway. My poor boyfriend quickly got up to frog-march me to the bedroom. I'm not sure if this was to save my poor struggling self or to stop me putting my hands all over his wall. But I felt bad when he had to do things for me. I currently wear braces so have to brush my teeth a lot. Putting toothpaste on my toothbrush is not fun when you're blind.

The doctor told me in order for my eye to get better I was not allowed to read, watch TV, look at a computer screen or drive. Do you know what is left to do when you take those things off the table? Not a lot. I 'listened' to a documentary on nuclear submarines. I tell you, hearing about how impressively huge a submarine is does not equal seeing it. Not even close.

Now I wasn't even blind. Other than the pain, my vision was only slightly blurry in the bad eye and my other eye perfectly fine and functional (once the pain I felt when in a state of permanent wink subsided). I enjoy watching DVD's with only subtitles on, I watched most of the 2010 World Cup in silence at 4am and could communicate by reading. I would miss smell and taste but really, life would go on. Touch would be a really difficult one to lose but I'm not entirely sure it's even possible to lose your sense of touch, is it? But after those few days, I have decided one thing. The one sense I could never live without is sight.

So I ask:

Please leave a comment below!
Miss SAMawdsley xx

PS: I want to tell the cutest story about my boyfriend! He drove me to the hospital late on Saturday night, all prepared to sit with me for hours. My eyes were closed for obvious reasons and the following conversation took place.
Him: "OK, we're here. Where do I go?"
Me: "You're looking for the signs that say 'emergency'. Park near there because we're going to emergency."
Him: "Emergency? Sam, your eye is sore, you aren't dying!!!"

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

How to get published? Just ask!

For the last two years, I've been writing a book for the 100+ Club, a completely unfunded social club exclusively for centenarians. I interviewed members of the club, all of whom are aged 100 or more. I can honestly say that during this time I've enjoyed the acquaintance of some of the most amazing people I have ever met, and will ever meet.

Ivy Bean, 104
Ivy Bean lived in Yorkshire, England. I was lucky enough to be in England last year and I borrowed a car and road tripped with my brother for four hours to meet Ivy and her daughter, Sandra. My brother had never met a centenarian and he was awestruck by Ivy's vitality and sense of humour. As a Manchester United fan, she even teased my Liverpool loving brother! Ivy told us all about her trip to London to meet the British Prime Minister. Amazingly, at 104 it was her first ever visit to London! Sadly, Ivy passed away in mid-July.

Olive Webber, 102
 At 89, Olive decided she was going to fulfil her dream of becoming a singer. And she did. Olive has a wonderful voice and often regales her fellow club members with songs of old at 100+ Club functions. At 99, Olive competed in Senior Idol and at 101, she produced and starred in her own play!

Ruth Frith, 102
As far as inspirational goes, you can't look past Ruth Frith! At 101, Ruth is the oldest competitor at the Master's games. She trains and competes in shot put, hammer throw, javelin and discus. I've lifted her hammer and trust me, it is heavy!!!

Gertrude Volker, 107

At 107, Gertrude was the oldest member interviewed for the book. She told wonderful stories about her childhood and even had a sewing project from primary school to show us.

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So how am I going to get the stories of these amazing people published? Simple. Just ask!

You can donate (as little as $1) towards getting the 100+ Club book published. Donations from $5 upwards are rewarded with such things as a thank you from the 100+ Club, your name &/or photo published in the book, a signed copy of the book and even lunch with a centenarian and me! Please give what you can! I know centenarians aren't as cute and fluffy as babies or puppies but they're simple (yet amazing!) people who deserve to have their story told and to see their name in print! "Every little helps!"

(Alternatively, please become a fan of the 100+ Club on Facebook!)

Sister Brenda Browne, 104
Edna Frank, 102
Marjorie Bostock, 102
Phyllis Thomas, 101

Sally Davis, 103
Thelma Kennedy, 103
Miss SAMawdsley xx

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Haters gonna hate

"Honestly, I don't have time to hate people who hate me, because I'm too busy loving people who love me."

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First of all, I am proud of my "I heart my body" post. My boyfriend is proud of my post. My best friend is proud of my post. My dad is proud of my post. Of course I don't regret it. The point was to join in with the 'I heart my body 2011' campaign and to proudly declare "This is my body! It may not be perfect but it fits me just right!" (I've included links to some other amazing bloggers who love their bodies at the end of this post!)

I've been told I received some petty bitchiness negative responses that likened my post to porn and declared the sole reason for my post to be seeking attention. I think I was also called a whore, but don't quote me. I didn't actually read it.

Well I'm flattered that a photo of me in comfy boy-shorts and a bra, sans make-up, with a simple plait and bare feet can be misconstrued as porn. I really am. Fellow-'I heart my body 2011'-bloggers, you can now add 'Porn Star' to your resume because we be sexy!

I believe I was called 'attention-seeking'. To that I say, "duh'! It's a blog! If it was a secret journal just for me, it would be my diary and it would be hidden under my pillow with a padlock keeping it safe!" The purpose of my blog is to raise my public profile! I've received 241 views on that post alone (correct at the moment of publishing.) This is from links shared on two Facebook posts and three tweets! Interestingly, less than I normally publicise a blog post.

My other thought is this. I have a BMI of 21.5 and I'm a size 10. I wonder if the comments would have been the same if I had a BMI of 31.5 and was a size 18. Perhaps I would have been applauded for my bravery rather than scorned for 'attention-seeking'?

Perhaps not. Haters gonna hate, right?

And in the immortal words of Mr Gump, "That's all I have to say about that." I only have time (and the desire) for positive things in my life!

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Some bloggers who heart their bodies: