For Love or Money

On Tuesday night a name flashed up on my phone several times. In all its random and magical timing, having not spoken to him for over a year, and after I literally just mentioned his name only 5 minutes before. 
The bizarre coincidence left me waiting to open the messages until the next morning.

 But just seeing his name flash up, sent  me into writing mode as I captured all the thoughts and feelings that came into my mind on the back of it. So many things in just seeing one name in the right moment, without even reading a single word. I shared them with him the next day in my response and thanking him for helping me to “reconnect” as he had said in his original message. Perhaps my name had come up in conversation and prompted him to get in touch or perhaps my thought had travelled through the universe. I prefer to think it was the latter. I will ask him when I see him. Either way, it really helped to shift me in all my current lack of confidence and feelings of small and less. It didn’t create a sudden surge of wishing to reconnect with many. But it did find me reconnecting very strongly to myself.  In who I was, who I am and who I have the potential to be. A similar feeling that I felt when I was the same age as my girl. 
Finding myself championing the heavy work I have been undertaking over the past 2 years and the 2 years before.

Feeling both my warrior and soft gentle and loving versions from all my own experiences. You can grow so much from others experiences but to live them is to really feel them. As opposed to looking in through a window which I was doing with my girl as I wrote. We are connected in a way that  feels so strong and intimate and I feel really proud of, but you can never really feel everything that exists within another person no matter how close you are. We are always a deep ocean of so much unseen beauty. Only we can really find and see it within ourselves. The seen part is just what we put out in the world every day. Ripples that sometimes become tidal waves but are just the surface image of the life that exists underneath in all its quiet power and colours and mystery. We are always alone in the extent to which our minds and feelings are always at play. It feels extraordinary to wonder how much lives within the outer shell of just one person. So much attention in this world given to just a shell and yet all the amazing stuff that is really worth seeing, is hidden inside. Unless you really look for it within yourself. That’s a real adventure of discovery. 

Some of the things me and my girl have experienced together in this illness have pushed against everything our relationship has always been. As I had to become what has been required for her most basic well being, while pushing against what is our normal. The easy stuff that has always been so fun and happy. I have worried and questioned whether our relationship can withstand the moments of conflict that exist as I put myself in a role that doesn’t come naturally, easily or with any pleasure but has been required. And yet when it’s been required I have found it. And finding it for the greater good. It’s been so hard but when I think of the deep love that I feel for her, it always feels worth it. A beautiful and pure love that is reciprocated and matters so much to both of us.  Without that shared love and care it’s just a relationship built on quick sand. Eventually it will just sink and disappear. Because it isn’t worth fighting for. Our relationship was her reason for taking responsibility in controlling her own eating plan. She didn’t wish for this illness to come between us. There is something wonderful in knowing that the time and effort and love that we have put in to what we have shared since she came into this world is rewarding us by providing a reason for her to fight harder. 

In moments this illness tries to undermine that. Feeling it in those momentary responses where that powerful voice of not wishing to eat comes at me in all its force and shakes me to my core. But my love is strong. Holding the line with boundaries as solid as they need to be. And I stand tough and resolute in doing what needs to be done. Never wavering, as a mothers love should. In the moments after, feeling breathless. Feeling my fear of losing the person I love most in this world. But there is loss and then there is loss. And I have chosen to risk what we have now for what we can always have in the future. With those solid foundations of love in place, I always believe that they will be enough to ride any storm. Her massive progress and permission to return to uni hitting a tricky week. A dip in her fighting spirit. A wearyness in continued effort and trying. Wanting to just carry on without caring about it all anymore. And yet she chose to delay. She chose to stay for a moment longer rather than just running away from it all. Staying because she knew  that what she needed in this tricky moment was still here. A choice that has seen her finding her way through it and now feeling stronger in trying to do it alone. I’ll still be here. Who loves you more? The anorexia or me? Feel my love within you. I’d like to think that love always defeats hate. And our love  is so solid. She needs now to find hers within herself as I am doing too. It’s a climb but we are both winning. She climbs a little higher each day knowing I am there to catch her if she falls. Until she reaches the top and can just fly. 

As I dropped her off she  looked  happy and confident if still very tiny but no longer skeletal. I felt so proud. Just in her being her. It’s still work in progress. But she has a network of care around her to help. And I believe in her. 

I am reading a lot. All sorts of things. I love reading right now. Anything and everything. Sometimes to take me somewhere else, sometimes to help myself and sometimes to help me learn more. A solitary person who has felt very lonely in moments. Reaching out to relieve that before moments later realising that I’m doing ok. Isolation can veer between peaceful  and lonely. 

Isolation .. I guess when all those people were “all in it together” it felt a little easier. Lots of people easing their isolation by bumping each other up to get through. Were they doing that for themselves or for others? I just stuck with my few. 
Now those same types  doing the same back out in the real world. I guess at some point I’ll be out there again too. And yet for me it is still all about my few. 

In moments I feel like I’m in it all alone and find myself limping. But I also feel like I’m growing and getting stronger In doing it for myself. Knowing there are many others out there doing similar. I feel the invisible solidarity in that. Being in it by myself requires me to look much deeper within to find what I need. And the deeper I look the more I find. 
I sometimes have moments, usually when I’m out and surrounded by people, when I get this horrible sensation in my stomach and I feel small and insignificant again. Easily replaceable and forgotten. A feeling of being used. It just catches me without warning. Hearing the voices of others who have left me feeling like I’m not good enough. That there is something wrong with me because I feel things in the way I do. ”Unhealthy”.

Some people have the ability to make a person  feel smaller as a  way for them to feel bigger. I have felt that, and in lots of those moments, haven’t had the strength to fight back. Now I feel stronger I don’t feel a need to. 
My own voice is getting louder in reminding me that I’m none of those things.

I’m a person who has always been really open hearted, loving and has always really cared. Who has her few long term friendships that are built on reciprocated love and care. I’m a person who fights for others and often gets hurt in that but still keeps fighting because it matters. I’m a person who gives everything of myself and because of that it also includes the ability to find all the joy and magic and happiness in life. I have felt that often in life. I’ve just been worn down by all the battles, but survived them all. I don’t need  to feel bigger. I just need to feel like me again. 

I know that I feel my own worth a little more each day. It helps in seeing the progression of my girl. Knowing how I have poured myself into her treatment and recovery. With every kg that has been added I have felt a sense of victory. Hers and mine. She is doing it, and of course there is other specialist support there. And yet I know I have been on the front line of  it every single day. The dedicated constant in it all. Nothing and no one being more important than her. And at some point every single day my girl has thanked me for it. I don’t need it but I keep them as badges in what success looks like for me. Along with the other things that I have done over the past four years and in my life before that, where my big and small actions have made a difference. Not in that way that others see and congratulate each other for. Or comes with any reward other than feeling glad in making those differences. And rarely heaped in the admiration and respect of others or being seen as more. Often without an ounce of gratitude. But I know. I know what I’ve had to find within myself to do that. And those badges are sewn into the fabric of who I was and who I am and who I have the potential to be. 

Somehow for a moment in all those feelings of being small and less, I confused my version of success with others versions. The girl who never really compared herself before but found herself doing so in being told she needed to be more than she was. Because that version was so much better. And I believed them. But I’m not them. My world and the way I grew up and the way I am, comes with the kind of sparkle that isn’t seen. It’s just felt. Those heavyweight values always have  helped me to make a life beyond just what I want and need. And that has always felt really good even when it hasn’t. It’s what always created my inner sparkle. Having to work that bit harder for the things that I have wanted and needed and because of it those things have always really meant something to me. So much. In a way that I often don’t see in this instant and disposable world. Just another thing.  Who cares! I did. I’ve cared about all if it. Which makes me so grateful  and appreciative of everything. Every little moment. Every difficult time. Every kind gesture. Every thoughtful thing. I have cared about it all as they are etched in my heart. But never more so than in others who care about me too. Valuing what many others just take for granted. 
Being around that other version has made me feel smaller and less. Why? Is the question I have been asking myself. 

As for the name that flashed up.. He asked me the same question as he reminded me of his reasons for caring about me. None of which were related to the version of more I bought into. 
As I hear from others about career, money, popularity, external admiration and respect and being seen, I find myself disconnecting. It’s definitely the more of the majority. And yet my whole life I’ve always been more interested in the more that is hidden. The people who are interesting and genuine and kind and often unseen. 
And why I’m beginning to see my success again in the big and little differences I make in the every day. The stuff that often goes beyond my own life. The stuff that doesn’t come with any gloss or sparkle but requires lots of qualities that others might not possess, or maybe have not found yet. But make me feel really proud in the way I’m made. My success is having the ability to love. I’m really good at it actually. Have been ever since I was a kid. It’s a very different feeling in giving love to taking it. You can’t be taught that. You don’t find that. It’s just how you’re made. 

Regret what you do and not what you don’t. I’ve made plenty of mistakes for sure but I have or will never regret loving and caring so much about others. Others that are part of my life and those that aren’t. It will never make me rich or see my name lit up in lights but as I reflect more on all those big individual challenges as well as that four years combined it certainly is allowing me to live more comfortably within myself. Knowing that I have really tried my best and looked beyond just me. And I have fought for it. Wounded and crushed  in the process but just like the Cinderella man, I will find a way to come back. One fight at a time. That’s the way it works in my world. As I was reminded as I watched that film. 

Its the stuff I see others now trying to fine or create, but it’s always just been a given and the basics where I come from, and is totally a part of me, my life and my relationships. It’s the stuff that money will never be able to buy. It tries of course. But it’s a very different version. 

As for money.. well who knows. Maybe this time next year I will be a millyonaire. But whatever! .. sometimes you are more without it. I’ll just continue to duck and dive. Cause I know I’ll find a good way with or without it. Always have. 
Because when it comes to real life and love,  I’m the real deal. 
And it felt so good to be reminded of that 


Good Vibes Only

I bought a new mug. A big hearted mug with the capacity to hold so much T. It has a picture of a shiny red bike on it with Two hearts in the front wheel. Red blue and yellow flowers in the basket at the front and the same on the back. In side the rim are the words “Good Vibes Only”. 

”If I may be so bold to ask for someone  to hold that shudders my skin”

Sent to me in the form of 3 year old A, who I met and made friends with as I lay under the tree in the forest. Wearing her sunshine yellow dress covered in blue fish and a submarine, teamed with leggings, filled with leopards and their spots. And new blue trainers. 

She was a complete reminder in what joy looks and feels like as I soaked hers up. She said hello and goodbye to me many times as she took adventures around the tree I was lying under, before lying down next to me on my picnic mat and giving me a hug.

 “You have a lovely smile A” I said. “You have a lovely smile M “she said back. 

And then she looked at my book in which she found my heart shaped post it note book mark which she stuck on my arm before looking at my phone with a picture of my girl. We talked dancing, singing, round the tree adventures and her baby in its little pushchair. And then we sang “you are my sunshine” along with her mum. 
Her mum who was lovely, apologised several times for the disturbance of my peace. No need. I was really happy for it. A, was pure sunshine.

If only it were possible to stay like that forever. Real life and death has a way of crushing it .. unless of course you change yourself or armour up. When you don’t have to worry about the nitty gritty of survival and real life practicalities and money, it’s so much easier. As an adult I’ve always felt that I’m not really made for this world. A constant conflict in what is required to survive and protect others in contrast to who I am. I’ve often in life protected who I really am. She might have really flourished in a place where she didn’t have to worry about the basics. But she doesn’t exist in that world. And so instead she got crushed in all her open hearted and loving naivety. 

Its why I love kids so much. They always talk to me and I like their company more than being around a lot of adults. There is a pure sincerity. They respond to the same. They can tell when you are “putting it on” or just being you. You don’t have to guess or read between the lines. There is no polite pretence. They don’t care about your status in life,  They either like you or they don’t. It’s visible and you can completely trust in that. 

Little A was a beautiful contrast to two men I encountered the previous day when I was driving in my car. The road was busy and chaotic. The first man shouted at me rudely from his flashy motor. “Get out of the F’ing way you stupid B” and then five minutes later as I tried to squeeze through a small gap between park cars and the bus coming the other way, the driver rudely said  “you have so much f’ing room”. I just didn’t want to accidentally hit someone’s car. 
As I pulled into the car park I felt myself cry behind my sunglasses. In this sparkling new world where everyone is “being kind” I was struggling to feel it. Extra sensitive right now in all my stress and worry for my girl. 
I wondered if they would have been so brave if I was a 6ft 6inc bloke with bulging muscles. But then the bullies of this world always tend to pick on those they see as smaller and weaker. Does it say more about them than me? or is it that I have to toughen up and become like them. I wouldn’t want to be like them and I wouldn’t want them as a friend either. 

So the experience of A felt a much needed antidote. Just a sweet and happy kid. Warm and friendly and chatty and curious. “She likes being around you” her mum said. I liked being around her.
Her happiness was eventually spoilt when another little one turned up that she wanted to play with, but couldn’t because they had chicken pox. She was no longer free to just run over to the ducks and then run back. Her sparkly smile turned to distress as she rolled on the floor crying. Her patient mum looked for the antidote to her sadness which after many attempts took the promise of buying new play doh from the shop on the way home. After much comforting her tears finally subsided, as no doubt she was imagining what she might create. 
Not knowing that what she created for me in that little half hour moment was a beautiful happiness in feeling like me. Able to find the joy in simple happy, that was shared. 
Thankyou A. You were a remedy that only a child’s heart is able to create. And a reminder that mine is still in tact even if it is currently locked away for protection in my Gran Torino. 


Before and After

As I lie in the early evening sun on my swinging hammock I look up at a clear pale blue sky. Not a cloud in sight. In my ears there are Ibiza club sounds coming from the girl on the top floors flat. Craig David as I write. One for you L ❤️
It’s nice hearing someone else’s music. I struggle to find ones I want to listen to on my play list. Too many reminders of songs that mean something to me as I constantly skip.
Blocking reminders of happy moments or memories is the only way I am able to sustain my fighting spirit for me and my girl to move forward to a better place.
The thing about being very happy and not sweating the small stuff is that when the big stuff happens you feel it with equal force.
Trying to avoid the memories of little things that made me feel happy is must right now. They just make me feel sad.
But it’s hard. Reminders coming in all shapes and forms.
I wish I didn’t care so much In that way others don’t .
It must feel so nice to be like that. I try, but unfortunately I’m just not made that way.
Sensitivity means that things hurt very deeply.
Even when I hide from it, I still feel it and in lots of moments it catches me as I quickly try to distract myself.
But happy distractions are harder to come by right now.
Anyone who has known me for a long time will know that I’m a person who has always really lived and loved life.
Never really wasting it.
Been a part of this and a part of that. Throwing myself into everything and anything whole heartedly with everything I am.
Always happy and fun loving and having so much energy. .
To find myself in the polar opposite place feels really difficult. To feel so tired and sad and not wishing to be around anyone.
It’s like I’m creating an force field around myself that is impenetrable.
When I have nothing to give elsewhere I just don’t go.
I would feel more alone in that and using energy in trying to create what has always been so natural but right now feels a million worlds ago.
But she existed. My friends know who she is. I know who she is.

People that haven’t seen me for a long time would not even recognise this version.

I talk to myself a lot as I try to push through what this is. My own inner battle that is hidden from view but is being felt inside with such force.
I don’t want to feel like this but the tiredness of all those previous and current challenge have crushed me.
I’m pretty resilient but I’m still just a human.
Everyone has their limits .

I can produce a character to be what is required but what I can’t do is produce the real thing that has always found the joy in life.
Sometimes I feel like I’m being so harsh on myself. There has been so much. Am I not allowed a moment to feel completely and hopelessly sad when I have spent the majority of my years feeling positively joyful.

Where I struggle to be madly in love with life.
I have a T-shirt in my drawer that says exactly that thing. The last time I wore it was when I was in Milan on an amazing adventure to see a pianist I love.
I can’t listen to those songs either.

I tell myself to hang in there. I will get through this. We will get through this.
Feel grateful, feel hopeful, feel proud, feel anything that helps us to climb this mountain.

But sometimes like now as I lie here and swing and look at that empty pale blue sky I wonder when that day will come. The day I will be that really happy and fun girl again. When my girl will be well and flying freely and becoming whoever she wishes to be.
Where we will both skip along dreamily and find the joy in everything that surrounds us.
Where we will be in the company of others and have all that energy and love and care and joy to share with them too.

It must feel lovely on a beautiful day like this to be all those wonderful things and be able to share in that with others that feel the same.
I feel happy for you.
Which does feel like me.
And I feel grateful for that feeling.

Back to Basics

What do I love?

I love moments like this. Sitting under the big tree by the pond when it’s pouring with rain.
It’s pure romance.
Not a single person passes by in these moments.
I am completely alone.
In these moments the forest and its inhabitants completely come to life in a different way to when it’s fine

And the parakeets that hide in the trees on sunny days, become completely visible, as they surface like a forest carnival with their bright and luminous green wings. Flying around each other with such a freedom above the tree tops.
It’s a beautiful magic to behold.
They look so playful when they find that perfect moment to emerge before the rain ceases and they disappear again.

It’s impossible to capture and retell everything I see and feel as I sit here.. but..

In these moments I feel completely alive. In these moments I feel happy.
In these moments I feel a part of something more.

Whispers from Beyond

They say that timing is everything.
Like sitting in my garden as two white butterflies danced around next to me or the two wood pigeons that spent ages walking round on the grass, cooing at each other lovingly as I sat on my swinging hammock.
I could not help but think of M & J as I watched.
There have been a lot of times lately when I have felt their presence.

Even the magpie in the forest that sat right next to me and seemed to know me as we looked at each other for ages.
Despite my movements he didn’t. He just sat on the edge of my picnic mat and looked at me.
I feel like I’m crazy when I say these things but they feel very real in that moment.
Magpies .. One for sorrow they say. A sign of bad luck.
Well it sat right beside me as I felt my sorrow.
I find it so strange at how close the woodland animals come to me.
Perhaps it is the same as children and dogs.
They always come up to me too. What do they sense?

Despite the fact that when I saw an image the other day and looked up the place it told a story of the devil disguised as a woman.
I’m certainly not perfect but I am a kind hearted girl. I’m certainly not the devil unless I’m so completely unaware of who I am.
I’m very aware of my many faults and imperfections. Often messing up as I try. Ive never been afraid of saying sorry.
I’m always grateful for those who aren’t afraid to say sorry too.
But I also know that I’m a very loving person.
Probably too much for my own good.

I love that the tiny ducklings run towards me every day when I sit down but the other day especially they all converged round me like a little fluffy army as they gathered in behind my back and at my feet.
It’s not like I ever have any food with me.
I love that they aren’t scared to come so close and touch me. Feeling then snuggle into my back. It was a very strange feeling in being surrounded by them.
But who can be scared of an army of fluffy ducklings
They knew they were safe with me as their mothers looked on.
I felt the belonging in just being another element of the forest.
Incorporated into that world without having to change myself in anyway. Without needing to be beautiful, or clever, or rich, or successful or whatever else is deemed as more.
Just being me feels enough in that place. Maybe they sense my gentleness and good nature.
Maybe in the forest world it fits perfectly.

Not long after I reposted what I had removed yesterday I was given a letter by P.
The timing of it coming after listening again to the accompanying song of that post.

As I was given the letter I thought of the words
“no man alive this planet can illuminate your path”.

This letter illuminated my path.

The letters had been found as work had continued yesterday in going through the belongings of his parents home.
A job that has been put off. Everything just as it has always been even before J died. Her clothes still hanging in the wardrobes. Finding my girl up there on the day of M’s funeral as she tried to find a garment that still held the scent of someone who made her feel so loved and safe.
A security coming from things but a lack of closure in holding on to them.

A realisation by all now that in order to move forward, practical things have to be done.
But it’s easier said than done.
Like all things. What is experienced is always very different to the idea of what might be experienced.

These practicalities and feelings being a discovery that no one wishes to make but will inevitably happen at some point in our lives.
The Buddhist theory of remaining unattached!
Yep I haven’t quite grasped that.
I did not grow up with that way of thinking and I struggle to really grab hold of it. At this point in life I’m not sure I ever will.

I’m not attached to things but I do get attached to people I love.
It does hurt me when they are no longer there.
I understand the concept but to feel it is something else.
Perhaps I will never be so enlightened but I certainly do know how to feel Love.
But when I love people then I always miss them.
I learn to live without them. But the love never disappears.

I investigate a lot of different versions of the same thing. Attachment, loss, love. Different versions fighting and clashing with each other.
Open to change my way of thinking but changing my feelings is a completely different thing.
I’m supposed to control them. Tell me how you control your heart? By being rational?

I guess it all depends on who you are and what you believe in.
I can’t say I’m fixed to any one thing but I have always believed in love.
Even though it tends to be the feeling that creates the most pain.
I feel more unenlightebed with every word I write.
But If we were not meant to feel or have emotion then surely we would not have been gifted this wonderful ability.
Do we find a theory that allows us not to have to.
So we don’t have to feel any pain.
I can’t imagine a life lived in such complete control.

The four letters had been stored in a box file. All starting with the same words but each one personal to the recipient.
My one handed to me just as I finished work, knowing I only had a day to go before my extended leave of absence.
An extension that I requested that lasts
for just under a month..
Feeling so in need of it.
My plan in being to have as little a plan as possible but to use every day for something good. Simple works for me.
Looking for a deeper sense of well-being that I can feel as opposed to an artificial version where I retrain my brain. It will still conflict with my heart.
I’m made how I’m made.
And I feel free in being that.
Having more time to put all my efforts into helping my girl.
And the relief in having more space to do that.

The letter was beautiful to read. A man who wasn’t a sharer of his feelings in life and admitted that in his letter but when he was no longer here felt able to reveal his inner most pride and joy and sadness.
Thanking me for being a part of his family. For being who I was and looking after others. For being so loving and making others happy in that. For being a lovely mum and how she was a credit to both of us in how beautiful and caring and warm and funny she is.
What joy she had brought to his and J’s lives and how proud he was of her.
And how much he wished he could be there to see the wonderful things that lie ahead for her.
His letter made me feel like a lovely person in this world despite everything. And so hopeful in being able to help my girl to a better place.

She found the letters. I think she was meant to.

It is the most I ever felt like I had a dad who cared about me. Who was proud of me, who loved me and felt the need to write to me in the same way as both of his own children and his grandchild.
I will treasure it forever in knowing that I was loved. Just as I am.

In a moment that I really needed to feel that ❤️

Bow and Arrow

Sometimes when I post I think .. “Do I appear to others to be some flaky and messy nutcase?”
I kinda felt that last night after sharing that I was alone and scared in trying to deal with something that feels so difficult.
Feeling like I’m letting my girl down by not having the answers, not being able to fix it.
And then wanting to remove my post as I felt embarrassed in being seen as a “rubbish mum”or a “rubbish person”. That I would be judged for not being up to the standard of all the “amazing mums”and the “amazing people”
The same embarrassment my girl feels as she tries to deal with this. As though it makes her lesser. As though she is letting us down, herself down and being selfish.
Only I never see it like that when I look at her and neither does she when she looks at me.
We both see someone who is fighting hard every day in all our gentle sensitivity. There is nothing less about either of us.
I love that she is my daughter and she loves that I’m her mum.
I tell her how very proud I am of who she is every single day and she tells me the same.

What we need to do is give some more of that same very beautiful, understanding, and kind love to ourselves.

So this afternoon I thought “ I’m putting it back out there because I don’t wish to feel embarrassed of who I am or who I’m not.
I want to feel proud of me at any moment in any time. whether that time is easy or hard.
Because I do feel scared and alone sometimes as I try to deal with something that feels so complicated just like she does but we are trying our best.
And I love her more than anything in this world. Just as she is.

Thats where all the courage comes from.
Love is Courage ❤️…

… My gran told me two things when I was younger that have always stayed with me through my whole life

  1. In order to be happy with others you need to be happy by yourself.
  2. Your children don’t belong to you. They are on loan to you from God. You can feel so much joy in what they give but your job is to take care of them in order that one day they can fly away freely and live the life that they choose.

As I sat in the forest tonight feeling depleted and like I was in no mans land I spoke to my gran in my head asking her for more courage.

I found this poem that reflected her words and gave something to this tired soul who feels like she is failing in it all.
I’m trying.
Feeling scared and alone as I search within for the best parts of who I am in order to be what she needs.

“Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you yet, they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them,

but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children

as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,

and He bends you with His might

that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,

so He loves also the bow that is stable.”

By Kabila Gabran

My Very Small World

It only takes two minutes for me to walk to my favourite spot.
The pond looks gorgeous especially this morning in this sunshine. Such a peaceful place surrounded by trees especially after returning from swimming and just before I start work.
Last night feeling a different version as I sheltered under a tree from the rain as the thunder rolled overhead. I felt incredibly small and inconsequential in this big world.

But this morning everything looked just right. A natural elegance that was enhanced by the sun. The way the light made the water sparkle and created different shades of green on the long reeds that fill the whole pond. Theres enough room for the ducks to swim and their babies to explore.
I heard someone say the other day “this isn’t one of the special spots. There are much more beautiful places”
To me it could not be more beautiful in all its simpleness.
I never get tired of being here.
It always provides what I need as I sit quietly and take in all its details as my woodland friends run around me like I’m sitting in a Disney movie.
This place Immediately instils a sense of peace within me.

And I need it as I try to deal with what in moments feels like an impossible challenge in helping my girl with this life stunting illness.
It breaks my heart every day, leaves me feeling completely impotent in being unable to make any significant difference and feeling so sad in how she got here.
Feeling all my own guilt in whatever part I have played in that alongside carrying the guilt of her dad.
And on top feeling a sadness in that important loss that has triggered what this now is.

It’s really difficult for me not to feel completely responsible.
I do feel completely responsible even though I know there are many other big factors.
But I’m her mum. It was my job to protect her and make her ready the big world.
I tell myself that I could not have tried any harder to protect her, be there for her and always take care of her.
Giving her so much freedom and independence. Letting her make her own choices.

And then questioning the validity of that approach. Maybe I should have held her more tightly. Been more controlling.
How do you get it right?

And then of course immediately feeling that domino effect in my choice to go in search of more. Now playing the killer hand that is leaving me wishing I could completely rewind time all the way back to that point and walk along a different road.
But I can’t. What’s done is done and I can’t change it.
No matter how much I wish I could. No matter how much I leave it behind me.
It’s still there in seeing the fallout. I can’t run from that. It hurts so deeply that I wonder st times how to even keep going.
But I must.
Having to suck it all up and bury my own feelings so that I can be the strength required to be what she needs.
Remembering who I was before that chapter.
I really was happily drifting through life in my easy going way.
Never thinking for one second that my life would end up being slowly destroyed like another form of cancer.

It’s like a roller coaster. In moments scrabbling for the right words, the right thought, the right action that will allow her to eat. Feeling a sense of relief as I see her eat anything. As though I am just keeping her alive.
Finding every ounce of compassion and understanding and calmness required to get through those sticky moments where I gently and pain stakeingly encourage her to make the right choices for herself. Gentleness at its most powerful.
Being the place for all her frustration.
Getting more help but they don’t know how to help either.
It feels exhausting.

But in the moments after when we get to the other side of it and I see her pain subside until the next meal, it all feels worth it.
And then other lovely moments where she feels happy, or she goes out with friends or does something fun.
I feel a pure joy in her being able to just be 19 for a moment. And wishing that moment would last forever.
I’ve never dealt with something that is so complicated, so unexplainable, so beyond my realms of understanding and so completely linked to things beyond what this illness suggests.
An image I saw last week that made me feel so incredibly sad. As though it were an attack on my girl.
Only she’s never hurt a fly.
Always keeping faith that we will get there as I look for more specialist support. Whatever it takes for her to get her life and herself back.

In the meantime I find myself taking greater care of myself in order to have what is required to help her.
Feeling the sadness of letting go of someone that really mattered to me and I love while having to accept that I didn’t and I wasn’t. Feeling sadness as opposed to bitterness.
I know how to really love.
Bitterness can never consume me.
But sadness hurts.

As I wrote that Bella the dog came running over and snuggled up for a moment before bouncing playfully into the water, as her owner shouted after her to get out.
Run Bella Run I thought as I looked across at the owner and he looked back at me with despair at her lack of care in following his instructions. When she finally came out, all dishevelled and covered in dirty water she found herself straight back on the lead.
Her happy freedom taken away.
But in that moment in the water she looked very happy and free.
A lovely feeling that kept me there for another ten minutes despite seeing my bosses name flash up on my phone as if putting me on a lead to to my laptop.
I ignored it.
Run M Run I thought….

As an end of day addition … as I find myself back in the forest I received an email from the forest bravehearts …

… Turns out sometimes when little people stand and fight together for something that matters, they win.
Plans to build on our little flats community has been rejected.
All that hard work made a difference.
Providing the much needed familiarity and security for all.
My own feeling of relief rather than power as I breathed in the magic of this forest and carried on in my very small world ❤️

Gentle Souls

Today as we travelled back after my second vaccine we stopped at the sweet shop. The sweet Muslim man that owns it was there. He was away for a long while leaning his son holding the fort.
He has been there since my girl was at little school.
Originally from Bolton he is what for me is the perfect version of a really gentle soul.
Always friendly, always kind, always remembers who you are, always remembers what you buy.
A real genuineness to his way and a real care in the questions he asked.
Always checks in on my girl whenever I go in there on my own.
Often not there because he hasn’t been well as the pressure of life and work got to him and he just disappeared for a long while.
Getting little updates from his son who must have felt the affection for his dad.
Just a lovely man.
It has been nice to see him on the odd occasion back behind the counter even though he has lost some of his sparkle. A real tiredness. But when I go in he always makes an extra effort in being chatty and warm.
I told him how much I missed seeing him when he wasn’t there and would always look in if I passed to see if he was there.
I don’t know him beyond our chats in the shop and the things he has shared about his family but I have a genuine care for him despite the fact that our lives don’t cross beyond the sweet shop.

He hasn’t seen my girl for ages until today.
He couldn’t believe how old she was now.
She looks so young. You would never know that she was 19.
She still looks like a girl. A very fragile girl right now who who feels very lost and doesn’t know how to be the gentle and wonderful and beautiful girl in the wider world.

Feeling it all deeply inside in all quiet gentleness.

When we look at each other we recognise each other.
Sitting in the forest sharing thoughts and stories.
I told her about my Nan who was another truly quiet and gentle soul.
Always looked beautiful in pink against her comfy trousers and running shoes.
Loved watching the teletubbies which always made me smile, cleaning my mums skirting boards whenever she came. Loved Christmas with the family, loved going to the boozer on a Saturday afternoon with me and my mum for ham egg and chips. The same boozer that would always have fights outside in the night.
I remember her sitting next to her when we all went to the pub one night at a pub near my mums with my brothers and my sister too. They had a disco going on. She was sitting right next to the speaker. My mum asked if It was too loud for her but she didn’t care at all. She was as happy as Larry just watching all the laughs and holding my hand. She would laugh when anyone asked something that she couldn’t hear and then I would repeat it to her in her ear.

Always friendly and polite to anyone.
But behind all of that she was so strong. This little person who was so unassuming and quiet had such a grit to her.
No one could tell her what to do. She would listen and then go do it
In her own way.
When I used to go to her to put in her eye drops she would always tell me that I was such a good girl inside my beautiful shell.
I loved the care I felt in gently placing the eyedrops in her eyes and then giving her a cuddle when they were all done.
A simple shared experience of young and old and feeling her proudness in me being her grand daughter.

The man in the sweet shop chatted to my girl like he did when she was a kid buying some sweets. She told him what she is up to now.
Talking about finishing her first year at uni but not mentioning that she might not go back or all the things that she is trying to deal with at the moment in all her frailty.
They laughed together with such kindness and warmth on both sides.
Two very gentle souls.

When she came out she mentioned that he seemed so sad and wondered what was happening for him.

It is true he is sad. I spoke to his son who works in there with him now.
He explained that he had left for a while because he was struggling in life. It had worn him down.
This beautiful gentle warm and kind man had got beaten down by all of life’s challenges.

As I’m sitting here working thinking about this I find myself wondering why life feels so difficult for gentle souls.
That being a gentle soul can leave you feeling very alone in this world.
I see it such a lot.

I guess it’s why there is the phrase if you can’t beat em join em.
But rarely do those gentle souls choose to join em.
Sometimes feeling alone and sad than try to become what feels unnatural.

When I lay under that tree last night feeling sad and alone it hurt. As quietly behind my glasses I felt the tears I had been holding release themselves where no one could see them.
But I also felt like me.
In its purest and most sensitive version.
As though my Nan was putting eyedrops in my eyes.
Feeling all the beauty that surrounded me in that quiet and natural place and not having to try to be a tougher version.
I don’t like the tougher version.
I don’t want to be that.
And I don’t have to be when it’s just me.

I’m sure the tougher version would make life on the surface feel so much easier and better.
Would make me more successful and admired. But inside it would make me feel like a fake.
Because the fact is that I do feel everything. I do care and I do love.

Perhaps to others that makes me appear weak and stupid.
But despite how much it often hurts and how that hurt can make me react in ways I don’t wish to be or feel proud of I’m still glad I’m made the way I am.
It’s certainly not perfect, it’s certainly emotional and makes me irrational, but in the end it’s me.
My little sign in the bathroom says
“The bravest thing you can ever do is just to be yourself”.

And today I feel proud in returning to being me. A quiet and gentle soul ❤️

The M M Mouse

As I sat as quiet as a mouse under my umbrella in the garden yesterday morning an old song I like found its way to me from my random playlist. I love this tune. It has such power, hope and motivation in moving forward. It gave me that once before.

The rain poured around me as I sheltered. Just feeling the tickle of its spray on my bare shoulders.
Looking at the red rose bush that I cut right back a few weeks ago but is growing back up again with healthy new stems and accompanying leaves of red and green that look so vibrant in the rain.
The combination of everything gave me a feeling that I love. Like a beautiful simmering fire building within me from the depths of who I really am. My voice telling me that I can do anything. If I want to.
And I am.
As I finally start making plans to see people that I love. Just “say yes to adventure” as my new hammock cushion says with a picture of a bike with wheels of daisies. The reappearance of the vanishing lady commencing with chocolate and ice cream on Thursday.
Feeling real movement within as well as beyond as I start to move and reengage. Feeling the connection to myself as well as a connection to what surrounds me. Of course I got a little help from my beautiful friend who helped this little person put her shoes back on. The little person who was actually once a mouse.
The mouse who knew how to fearlessly navigate a maze.

The battle that immediately exhausted me got a boost as I received beautiful wild flowers from my neighbours and a reminder of what my care can do in listening to the young woman in her twenties in the next block. She was feeling the pressure. The flat she inherited a few years ago when she lost her mum. A larger than life woman who had old school east end fight and would see prospective builders running away with their little tails between their legs.

This young woman who was once a little girl when I first moved in. Stunningly beautiful like a young Lisa Bonet.
“Let’s just do what we can. It’s all we can do. We are totally in this together. Just enjoy your day.” These words said quietly with big concrete meaning.
Feeling that powerful solidarity in a group that care about each other and are fighting as one.
Funny how and when and where you find the things that you always look for. Suddenly feeling like I fit with a group of very random and different people that have one thing in common. We all care about something more than just ourselves.
The old boy who has vowed to lie in the road and the giant polish guy in the next block who said he will hang like a cross on chains from the buildings should they try to take it from us.
What a fucking army this is.
I have to find the comedy in another ridiculous episode in my life.
The forest bravehearts.
This is a group I can be part of.
This I can connect with.

Conformity is like a prison for me. A way of making me the same, like a robot on a conveyer belt. Doing what I don’t wish to do. Making me fit into a box that I don’t want to be put in. It just makes me feel trapped. I thought for a moment that I wanted to fit. To be part of the many. To be part of what on the surface looks like more.
But really I just want to be dreamily happy and have fun.
I know how to have fun. I’ve had a lot of fun in my life. But the fun is always related to who I am sharing it with and the kind of energy that I feel in that. I’ve felt the different energy in different crowds, groups and individuals. I can be doing exactly the same thing but the difference is made in the feeling I get from those around me.

In those perfect moments when I find myself somewhere at the right time with the right person and the right surroundings then that feeling of fun doesn’t have to be searched for. I feel it inside myself and in who I’m with and I am completely lost in it.
It’s real, it’s felt and it’s memorable and epic.

But trying to be part of the many just the sake of being part of something “more” just doesn’t provide that feeling. My heart has to be in and so does theirs.

I thought maybe I avoided it as a protection for not fitting. Feeling sad in moments because I don’t know how to be part of it.
But I know I’ve always found many times people and places when I’ve been completely part of it.
Times when noone fits which makes them fit. When no one has to adapt. Just be you.

I feel more alone when I have to become what I’m not… minus the energy and fire I have when I’m alone and I don’t.

My heart rules my head. Sometimes I have to follow my head to survive in this world but when I follow my heart it is to live and to love.

It’s easy with people I love. It wouldn’t much matter where we are or what we do. They’re there. It’s all I really need. And I love sharing what others love.

When I am on my own and feeling that fun and happiness I always know who I wish to share it with.
Wanting to transport someone in just so they can feel it with me.

I found myself feeling that perhaps there was something wrong with me because I don’t see things the same way or I don’t get it.
Or that I don’t have the ability to be part of groups and enjoy all that comes with that.
But it just depends on the group and how accepting they are of what’s not like them. Groups that allow you to be who you are without consuming you or owning you. I don’t like that feeling of being smothered by a majority who place me in a role that I have to conform to. No room for evolving as the demand to be what others want from me steals away the freedom to just be and give what I want. Feeling their disappointment when I don’t deliver and feeling my frustration in having to be a one dimensional version where all the rest is suppressed.

A selfishness and arrogance perhaps in not wanting to just do as I’m told. Only I don’t think I’m either. I don’t require others to do what I want. I’m happy to avoid what isn’t for me. Less rebellious and more just wanting my space to just breathe and live.
To be as I am without all the constraints that come with fitting.

And I like the quiet. And often it can all feel so crowded and noisy. You’re in or you’re out. With everyone telling everyone what they have to do and be.
A lot of white noise
Don’t do it like that. You need to do it like this.
I can disconnect from that very quickly.

I don’t always know who I am or what I want. So how do you know?

I guess I like peace. I like space. I like to be just as I am without being told who I should be. I like doing things spontaneously just because I feel it. I like feeling free and autonomous.
I like living life in my own way, in my own style and without feeling the need to do what others want me to do.
I like having people around me that understand that and don’t feel a need to control me.
I’m my own person. I came into this world on my own and I will leave it on my own but in between I would like to feel all the love and fun that makes this life worth being a part of.
That makes me feel connected to more.
Caring for those I hold dear in their moments of need but trusting in their ability to do what they want when that need isn’t there.
I’m just there.
I try to give what I wish for.

I spoke to my best friend from school yesterday.
One of only two people I remained friends with from that time of my life. Love them both. This particular friend has always been lovely bubbly beautiful. And she looked out for me when we were kids. I say I kept in touch but in fact she always reaches out to me when I go missing for a while.
But yesterday I reminded her.
Her response being as ever to address me by my full name. The name that was given to me at birth before i got married.
It always makes me laugh that she calls me that. Like a reminder that I’m still that same girl.
“MN We’ve always loved your smile laugh and your kindness. You’ve never changed” she said.

And with that we made a plan for me to go visit her in Suffolk in September.

In order to run I have to leave the past behind. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t take some of that with me into my future whether that be what is held inside me or in the special relationships I have that can be shared in a new time and a different place.
Because I love to run on my own but as I run I always find myself wishing to share it with those I love and who love me too.

Run with me ❤️