Here's another list of ten things, following on from my series of ten things that I've been doing inspired by the actual song Ten Things by Paul Baribeau.

This one is a little bit more uplifting than the last one I posted, and the lyrics in question go a little something like this:

Think of all the things that you love about your life, be thankful you are blessed with them
— Paul Baribeau

There are so many things, so many things and to be honest with all of you I didn't really realise how many things there were until I sat down in the middle of myself and did a bit of a self assessment as to where I find myself in my life at this moment; where I wanted to be and where I hoped I would be.  

It's a fucking great feeling to be able to do a stock-take of all of the things I've got to be thankful for and slowly come to a realisation that wanting MORE is actually, probably (almost definitely) a bit of an illness. Now is good, and it has been for a long time.  Even though there are probably 10 million things I have cause to be thankful for, I'll only list ten, and in no particular order here goes:

  1. This body.  In the immortal and prophetic words of the band, Tool: "This body holding me, reminds me that I am not alone, this body makes me feel eternal, all this pain is an illusion." I sometimes look in the mirror and I'm discouraged by what I see looking back at me.  Too tall, not tall enough, too brown, not brown enough, too hairy, or not, too fat here, too thin there, too much of this, not enough of that.  when I think of what this body *can* do though? Wow.  Hip and knee reconstructions aside, I punish this body with a lot, stress, exercise, ramen and in return it allows me to do everything I want.  It's a radical idea to look at yourself in the mirror and say 'yeah, I'm alright' because EVERYTHING in society and advertising is telling you the opposite to sell you rubbish.  I'm ok: rebel.
  2. This brain. This brain is remarkable, I mean not just because of what it is, but also what it does, for me! Enter, Fiona Apple:  "When the pawn hits the conflict he thinks like a king, what he knows throws the blows and he'll win the whole thing 'fore he enters the ring." I might well and truly be a pawn, definitely in my ability to influence things on a macro scale but my brain has never, ever allowed me to think like one.  When I hit the hustings, I think like a king, not a pawn and I hold my own and stand my ground and sometimes do things that are remarkably stupid (or brave) because my brain hasn't allowed me to stand back and be a spectator.  Thank you brain, I love you back.
  3. My friends.  Very few in number but with a quality that is unsurpassed and unrivalled.  You cannot find a better example of more excellent human beings than the people who are close to me.  Really, not that many of them, so few in fact I could probably dink them all on my bike and still have enough room for some of you to jump on if you wanted.  "I owe my life, to the people that I love"- Ani Di Franco
  4. The music, the film, the books, the art.  All of these things make my life richer, the pain bearable, the happiness insurmountable, the passion more heated, the loneliness less so and the joy unbeatable. "Music, makes the people come together" according to Madonna, it also makes living so much better.
  5. My job. A very wise woman told me that you can't be everywhere at once and maybe where you are right now is where you should put your energy until being there doesn't feel right anymore. Throughout my career I've been trying to do impossible things, like be everywhere at once and fail miserably.  As soon as I arrive at a destination I think and feel that I should be elsewhere because that's where everyone is.  I got caught chasing prestige and status over chasing my values and beliefs.  My values have led me to the job I'm in now and I never, ever want to lose sight of that again, because "the times, they are a changing" and I get to be a part of that.
  6. My past.  It hasn't been easy getting here, today, in these shoes, right now.  Homelessness, domestic violence, crippling mental illness, insecurity and despair in the past (and not too distant in some instances) have given way to incredible opportunities, happiness and remarkable levels of calm and satisfaction.  Apparently you can't get one without the other,  "with all the love, alive in me I'll stand as tall as the tallest tree, I'm thankful for every day that I'm giving, both eh easy and the hard ones I'm living... I'm beautiful and I'm here."
  7. The future.  The future looks fun hey?  Ultimately, the worst things that could ever happen to me have already happened.  Come at me world, give it your best shot. "I ain't movin from my place, from my race, from my history"
  8. Vanilla slices and other baked goods.  If you don't love vanilla slices, you're probably not a good person, or long brunches with newspapers on your lap. "I'd rather have a piece of toast and watch the evening news."
  9. Ingenuity, human ingenuity.  Have you ever looked at an Airbus a380, I mean REALLY looked at it?  Or an iPhone, or walked into the Sagrada Familia?  How great are human beings?  Sure they also made atomic bombs and automatic weapons but don't ever stop marvelling at the incredible things around you. "We are living in times of progress."
  10. Melanin.  It's taken me a long, long time to love the melanin rich skin I have, or the features that come with it.  It's difficult for a brown child living in a white, white world to feel that his features are attractive let alone desirable.  Even when you grow up in a brown world as a brown child, whiteness and its features are what is considered attractive and therefore desirable.  I like this brown skin, liking this brown skin is another rebellious act and I am happy to be guilty as charged: rebel. "God bless the child, that's got his own"