Thursday 25 June 2009

A Budding Romance?

It was such a lovely day. A magical day in a magical garden. The birds were singing, the bees they were a buzzin' and the 'wee folks'could be seen amongst the blossoming flowers.
My favourite garden gnome, a happy chap whose hat lights up at night, had gotten ever so close to my garden's beautiful fairy princess. Could this be a budding romance building in the budding blossoms? Could this be the start of a garden gnome having a fairy affair? Indeed, dare I dream that this could be the start of a wondrous love that leads to holy matrimony? A garden gala wedding for a garden gnome? A flower festival for a fortunate fairy?
If this be true, then I am thrilled for them both. However, when they moved to another location, hiding behind them were a couple of rather curious looking garden gnomes. Perhaps they were competition for the affections of the fair fairy. Maybe they were just well-wishers, (although I do not have a wishing well), who wanted to express their happy thoughts to them. Whatever the intentions of those other garden gnomes; if there is indeed 'love in the air' (well she can fly), then that is cause for joyous celebration.
So if there is to be a magical marriage, in that magical little world, that is just beyond my flowers; I wonder who the guests might be? Playful pixies? Enchanting elves? Gracious garden gnomes? Fabulous fairies?
Oh, to dream the dream of the love between a garden gnome and a beautiful fairy princess. A budding romance? Why not, I say. For us and the 'wee folks' must be seen for our inner beauty. Whatever is written in the hearts of garden gnomes, fairies and humanity, is all that matters.

Thursday 18 June 2009

Mister Zany.

He wakes up. Just like every other day, he challenges his anxiety. Does he go out and brave the world he fears? Or does he make a hasty retreat back under the safety of his duvet? Everyday he battles with the duvet or doorway dilemma.
After much deliberation, he decides that the enticement of the reclusive state must be confronted. This day, he will go out and be his alter ego. He looks at his reflection in the hallway's full-length mirror and thinks: 'Right then, time to go out, time to be 'Mister Zany'.
Mister Zany is a friendly guy. He makes 'em laugh, he makes 'em smile. Mister Zany attempts to exude a positive demeanour, usually with wonderful results. People always seem to remember him. They say he is very funny. 'How are you today?' they ask. 'Never one to complain...unless you can spare me ten years' he states in a jovial manner.
So Mister Zany goes out and about, doing the best he can in spreading a little bit more positivity to our world. If only they knew what a life of extremes he led. For as he walks off into the distance, he walks back into his other life. Would they find it hard to believe that Mister Zany could go months without visitors? Would they believe that when somebody knocks on his door, that it's most likely the meter reader? Surely that funny, friendly chap must have folks lined up just to come and visit him.
He is house-proud, matter of fact, he is garden-proud. He considers a neat and tidy home and garden, a most therapeutic endeavour. He would love to show off his home and his beautiful garden. Yet instead, he wanders around alone, restless and confused, thinking of what might be. He sits on his lawn, feels the breeze on his face, listens to the music of the wind chimes and wishes he could share this tranquility.
He has turned staring at the four walls and thumb-twiddling into a fine art form. You might call it a case of 'thumb enchanted evening'. Yet despite it all, he is grateful for what he has. He knows that there are others who know the pain of loneliness and relentless isolation. He knows that he is not house-bound and has the choice of going out the front door. He finds contentment, that even with his life of bizarre extremes; when he does venture out, he can impact the environment with his noble intentions. This man of contradiction is happy with who he is.
Mister Zany or klahanie or Gary Philip Pennick wishes you all peace and contentment.

Thursday 11 June 2009


"Whoops", stated the lady that bumped in to me at the supermarket. I believe that might have been some form of apology. Still, based on my own experiences, 'whoops' is better than no recognition at all. Maybe it's my imagination, my perception, that makes me think that quite a few people these days are too busy, or just can't be bothered, to display common courtesy and manners to others.
I was reading a letter the other day that went on about how this chap was most dismayed at the indifferent attitude of a lot of folks out in public. He said that he tired of opening doors for people and not being thanked for his politeness. His response to this indifference? Well, this fellow decided that he was no longer going to hold doors open for people. He was going to be "just like the rest".
I have to disagree with his line of reasoning. For to become, "just like the rest", only compounds what I consider to be a growing inconsiderate society. I will do my utmost to continue to be polite and courteous. It saddens me to think manners might be construed as some kind of weakness. It saddens me to think what sort of message, lack of manners, sends to our children.
Why are so many people angry? Why are so many people in a hurry, too busy to spare a second to acknowledge the kindness and consideration that has been bestowed upon them? Why do they walk in front of me in the supermarket as I'm about to grab the jar of organic peanut butter? Why is it so difficult to say 'excuse me'?
Not too long ago, I was walking along the pavement in a busy section of town. A group of older, 'wiser', folks were blocking the pathway, much to the inconvenience of other pedestrians. The topic of conversation? How rude and inconsiderate the youth of today were. I thought to myself: 'What a fine example these older, 'wiser' folks set for our youngsters. The hypocrisy, the double standards, beggared belief. Perhaps one day, based on their observations, the youth of today, who I think, in many cases, get unfair treatment, will become like them. Then, they too, can be in too much of a hurry to take the time to say 'excuse me'. Maybe they might just think that 'whoops' is good enough. I hope not.

Thursday 4 June 2009

Stigmas And Stereotypes.

It seems to me we have some ways to go. The stigmas and the stereotypes, the foregone conclusions that certain segments of society perceive about mental health issues, is still prevalent.
There are people who are suffering with mental illness. They will not seek the help that is available. For, because of society's perceptions, they are too ashamed to admit they desperately need help in their world that is falling apart. To suffer is silence, out of fear of people's reactions; is a sad reflection on an indifferent, dismissive society.
It makes me wonder, and, perhaps it makes you wonder, just what it takes for the stigmas and the stereotypes to be eliminated. Mental illness can happen to anyone. Those that would mock individuals with mental health concerns, who think it is a form of weakness, I would urge them to think again. To those who think we should 'get a grip', it is not that straightforward, it is not that simple. To those who think that they would not be vulnerable to an overwhelming negative environment, think again.
Once upon a time, I thought that mental illness only happened to others. I was a 'tough guy', tough enough to overcome any obstacles that blocked my pathway. I was wrong. I was overwhelmed with a hysterical sense of doom. I fell apart, my confidence and self-worth became an insignificant speck, deep inside the mind of a tormented man. Relentless workplace bullying took its toll on my ever increasing fragile state of mind. I became a failure to my wife, I nearly broke the heart of our little boy who saw his Daddy becoming a weak, frightened little man.
Through sheer determination, and the vital help of those who empathise, somehow I stifled the flames of a mental inferno that came so close to engulfing me. Yes, I am still not very well, yet I realise that my mental illness is only a small portion of who I am. I can choose how much of my life it controls.
So this tough guy got humbled by his illness. To those who know me, who mock me, yet fear me; I wonder what the mocking is all about. Do these people who think me weak really believe that they could handle a negative environment that tries to drown their humanity? Do they fear me because they think I might have a funny turn and attack them? Do they think my mental illness is contagious? Do they fear me because they have concerns about their own mental health?
It is our responsibility to create a more positive environment. The mental health wellbeing of all of us depends upon it. It is time for those who continue to label us with stigmas and stereotypes to understand that a friendly, more understanding, more compassionate and respectful society will benefit all mankind.