Reminders

Nice things said to me by a few, who still see me in all my invisibility, quietly trying to help in different ways and places, makes such a big difference to me. Their thoughts coming from perceptive and unobtrusive eyes, give me a lift In the moments I stop and sit tiredly on my own feeling like such a let down in so many ways. Even though I find myself trying even harder to take different practical actions of change. Never questioning me, but catching brief glimpses of what happens behind the curtain away from the show, which often leaves little time to focus on those changes for me. But early starts and late nights providing me with the time and space to try. I hear their words about  me, even if I skim over them and change the subject. But inside I feel them and I’m so grateful for their care. Those quiet little shares providing reminders of who I actually am away from the crowd that only those few eyes see. And help me to see the real me too and to keep trying. 

❤️

30 December No Strings Ramble

Every Christmas I receive a card and letter from an old friend of mine. A friend I met at work as a teenager. A friend I used to go clubbing with on a Wednesday night and then stay over at her mums house after. We would all go to work together on the train the next morning laughing about the night before. The same club (but with a different name) that my girl will be going to on new years eve. My friend once, in that very same club, spectacularly stacked it in her high heels as we came down the stairs. It was like slow motion as she stunt woman rolled down them into the dance floor. I can remember it so vividly.She got up pulled her dress back down and then got out her compact mirror checked her hair and touched up her red lipstick and carried on. What a pro!!!! Another week as we were hungover on our way to work she exclaimed “I’ve got my trousers on back to front”. We laughed so much. She was so much fun and so very lovely.

As with lots and lots of lovely people through my life, we lost touch. Changing jobs, new relationships, changing homes, kids, parents, family, life, Time! Basic living takes up so much of our time especially if you have kids. There isn’t time to keep in touch with everyone in a way that has any real substance. And I always wonder where people find the time for social media. Strangely even without social media there is still a thread of connection beyond the busyness of life. Sometimes the old ways have their own romance as I love reading her letters at Christmas, all of which I keep. It’s a very beautiful thing actually. 

She had a son long before I had my girl. Complications during the birth left her son being born with cerebral palsy. Her boyfriend couldn’t cope with it and left her. But being the girl she was and with the lovely family she had around her she became the kind of mum that any kid would wish for. Leaving her job in the bank to take care of her son full time. Always being told that his life expectancy probably wouldn’t see him into an adult and yet here he still is with that same beautiful smile he has always had in every picture she shares with me. She updates me on his progress as well as her other son that she had after she fell in love again and got married. They are doing well but lockdown has been tough with no respite care and none of the usual activities he had in place. She eventually had to give up her job working in the kitchens of a school, which she loved. It was too much to cope with it all. But she always puts a positive spin on everything. Saying how much she loves getting time to go out for walks. Her letters inspire me. I mean really inside me. What an amazing  woman she is. Spectacularly amazing.

 I can always rely on my mum to give me a little lift as I picked her up early this morning to bring her back for the night. My girl is taking her to the ballet. Her Christmas present to her nan. There is something very beautiful in what is shared with grandparents. Family has always been an important thing for me especially looking after parents and grandparents. We are sharing a girly spa night altogether at mine with a Cajun chicken dinner and chocolate cake to celebrate my mums birthday which falls on New Year’s Eve. Of course my party girl mum is out and about in the evening but I get a chance to celebrate with her over breakfast before I drop her home again and the others get a chance to spend time with her. She is going out with her boyfriend to some do where hopefully she will get a chance to dance. She’s such a girl! The “One hundred club Oxford Street Girl” back in the the day. 
Oh M your eyes look very sparkly this morning” she said as she followed it up with the story she tells me at least once every year. Usually if she knows I’m in need of a little extra love. When you were a baby a man was looking at you in your pram said “I’ve  never seen such big sparkly blue eyes”. I laugh every time as my mum takes great delight in sharing it. I don’t know who that fella was but he sure did have an impact on my mum. My eyes aren’t that sparkly! But it always makes me smile. Thanks mum! 

Christmas has felt lovely in some moments and really difficult in others. But I feel like I’m really pushing now for some happiness too. I think I deserve a share of that. Trying to find space and freedom feels easier said than done but I won’t be dictated to by anyone now or put up with being spoken to disrespectfully. I’ve think I’ve earnt some respect and won’t put up with being shouted and sworn at. I may not have many choices financially but I’m not taking that shit now. It’s creating some tensions as I find myself pushing back in others having to take responsibility for themselves.  I don’t like conflict but I won’t be a doormat neither. I’ve found my mojo again. The security of a home and my girl are my priorities. If I’ve learnt anything it is that I deserve more than I had previously accepted. Practicalities of money not providing a vast array of options that feel attractive to me at this point in the show. I love my home and I’m holding on to it. I worked really hard to keep it. But I do have choices in how I spend my time and how I live life within the confines of what this is. And just in that I believe the new year is full of hope. I may be a dreamer but I’m totally a doer .It’s just that sometimes all the stuff that I’m doing isn’t particularly news worthy. I’m just a normal girl. I don’t get thousands of invitations to exciting events or have money to splash out on constant entertainment and distraction. But I love being able to share things with those I love. 

Life changes and as I move into this new chapter I realise I want different things to what others might be looking for.  I’m not in my twenties anymore looking for someone to kiss on New Year’s or in my thirties looking for a man to settle down with and have kids. In fact I know I don’t actually need a man. Because I’ve  been doing it all for myself for such a long time. But love and romance are part of my make up. So I guess that’s feeling more of a want than a need.
When I was walking through London on 27th after ice skating at Somerset house with my girl, I found myself reminded of just how much I love in life.

Yesterday I saw my friend L who I loved  spending the day with. we also went to the ballet and then the pub after. She is a little teeny tiny Christmas rockstar of a friend who I was very lucky to find all those years ago now. The kind of person who has so much unseen potential to her which is so very visible to me as a friend. The kind of friend that anyone would be lucky to have and I feel proud to have as a bestie. I wish so much for her. Spending time with her is always such a treat. 

When I caught up with my mate BH just before Christmas he said Thankyou for the lovely message. He also said he had been very stressed. “Stop” I said jokingly “you’re ruining my version of you that is cool and collected.” Being a parent changes so much in who you need to be and can change who you are in amongst that. But it doesn’t really change who you are deep down. That part still exists underneath it all. It can very easily be lost and forgotten in all the various demands and realities of life. Yes it can feel very stressful as others demand something more of you when you are already trying your best. Being a parent is the job that lasts forever. Pretty easy to fuck up in a job that is every single day. Can’t help feeling a massive solidarity for other parents who try their hardest but often feel like they don’t quite hit the mark. But we do our best in amongst it all. 
I’ve heard a lot of non parents through the years who talk about how much better they would do. Until they are in it and realise that their kids are actually real people with their own personalities and minds and many other outside influences that shape who they are It’s impossible to know what that will really look like. Trying your best feels as good as it gets. And enough is definitely where I’m at. Feeling quite at peace in “enough”. Anything beyond feels like a bonus.

Perfection is hard to maintain for a whole lifetime but definitely comes in moments. Like golden times. Me and L reminisced about such a moment in the pub as we remembered all the fun of that time when me and my two besties worked together. We chuckled in how that bloody system that we were left in charge of and caused us all sorts of headaches also became our little moment of rebellion when we gave ourselves back some holiday in being able to delete it without anyone knowing. Even angels have their moments of being little devils! Sometimes it feels nice to have a bit of control. Aaahhh golden time! 
Anyways my friend BH comment made me think about how life’s  challenges and responsibilities can’t  help but change me but at the core I’m still the same girl that I’ve  always been. Like a dreamy kid with lots of heart who has an independence of mind with that bit of hidden feistyness. My life has been full of all sorts of crazy little capers. 

What I actually want is  to find more opportunities for me to be happy and do things I’ve never had the time or opportunities to do. I know I want to do things that make me feel free. In fact anything or anyone who wants to control me won’t see me for dust as I quickly reverse  back round the corner like the fast and the furious and disappear into the distance with my engine screeching. And I don’t want to be around anything that  leaves me feeling undervalued, unappreciated or taken for granted. I think I am worth more and those that really love me will know that. I’m trying to grab hold of the essence of who I am as an individual. All the stuff about me that  sits behind the various roles I often have to play. But being a kid is the easiest thing in the world for me. I could be that all day every day. Because that’s pretty much who I am really. Who gives a shit about being grown up and wise. I’d rather just be happy and have fun. 

As an actual kid  I created my imaginary friend Jerry. Aaaahhh Jerry I miss you. Having many conversations with myself down at the bottom of my bed. Me and Jerry existed in my own imagination which is a lovely place indeed. Fantastical and beautiful  and full of sparkle. A playful version where anything and everything is possible and magic can be made from nothing. A creative element that isn’t made from anything tangible but made me happy as I skipped along creating a whole other world beyond the one I lived in. Psychologists would describe it as an escape. Probably. The real world can be a bit shit. But Christmas lights tend to brighten it up. My imagination is more a place where I can just be who I am beyond the confines of the real world. Always looking for my own opportunities to be that version in the real world in different moments, at different ages, in different places. I’d really like to stretch my potential in all the unseen. Finding inspiration in myself when thinking about my moments of life where it has come out even if just for a brief moment. 

As we drove back in the car from my birthday outing in November with my friends I told them about my time at school when I put together my own show. Years of being cast as a farmyard animal in the nativity when I wanted to be Mary or an Angel  had taken their toll on me and I decided to cast myself as the star of my own show. The Sound of Music.  Catholic school… I am just a by product of my early influences. But I loved that film. Remembering seeing it the first time with my gran on one of those many rainy seaside holiday days. Went to a sing a long version with my friend K which I loved. My version as a kid was a moment of taking control of my destiny. I auditioned all the kids in my class for parts. I adapted the script for a condensed version, I made the costumes, the scenery, collected the props, made the programme in which I gave myself the main part of Maria and then listed myself for every element of the show including director. I guess a massive moment of narcissism in its most visible and comical form. I was so in complete control of MY show. For that very brief and fickle moment my popularity grew and I was noticed. Suddenly everyone wanted to be a part of my world. Ooooohhh the Power! But it wasn’t really about that for me. It wasn’t really about being seen by others,  or being popular, or being in control of others. I think it was more about seeing my own  potential beyond the confines of the box I had been placed in and what could be achieved, if it was given an opportunity beyond. The people that I really wanted to see it weren’t even there. My mum and my dad. Despite the fact that all the other parents came, who had been sent tickets, that I had made and distributed, and rocked up on the day of the performance much to the surprise of all the nuns, who I had failed to inform, knowing that they would have said no. Instead the nuns called in other kids from different classes to lay out the chairs for this quiet but purposeful 11 year old nobody in her directorial debut. 
My friend M said to me “what a big thing to do when you were 11”. When I think of it now, it really was. Especially when I think about who I was back then and where I lived in that hierarchy of popularity and influence. Nowhere!
And since then been thinking about other things I did around that too. The really shy and quiet girl who lacked so much confidence in the crowd but in my own strange  and wonderful 11 year old way had some version of creativity that was random, without any hype but just made me happy. It makes me smile as I collect inspiration from within myself in what I might be capable of. 
It’s funny when I  think about it.  There’s all sorts of moments. I was the most uncool kid but I didn’t care when others laughed at me. Ok well maybe I did. I guess deep down I wanted to be as cool as the people I saw on top of the pops. But it didn’t seem to stop me. Perhaps in my own mind I thought I was super cool!
Like when they had the fancy dress competition at the school summer Fete that had lots of perfect looking princesses in their  costumes bought from holidays in Spain and Florida. I instead rocked up in my home made Pinocchio costume complete with a  long putty nose that kept drooping down limply as I paraded round the school field in the hot sunshine. Street cred minus a billion . I don’t know whether I won for  pity or originality but I didn’t care. I was just happy to win something as I trotted home holding my prize , my putty nose and my annual bags of goldfish. A costume made of my brothers rolled up tracky  bottoms with buttons sewn on, braces, white top, big bow tie and an Alpine  hat that I borrowed off EL who had brought it back from that school trip to Switzerland. It certainly didn’t  increase my already non existent chances with the popular boys but I felt really good. Oblivious to what a knob I must have looked. I like to think now, a lovable little knob. 
A similar feeling that I had when I entered myself into a talent contest  at that infamous and special caravan park holiday that my mum maxed a  credit card for, and as the only single parent in that place, for her efforts was pulled out to judge the hairy chest competition. That must have been mortifying for her but she took the laughs. I meanwhile sang Hello by Lionel Rich Tea  as my brothers came in from the pool table  room looking incredulous. Once again the shy girl finding her confidence in crazy little moments. Although I won that too I might add. Dream big they say. I’ve said it too.  But really I just liked doing stuff. Most of which no one knows about or would care, but I know in all it’s random little Episodes  in life that make me laugh to myself. Not with an externally version of cool but feeling pretty cool and epic to myself at the time. What is cool anyways?!Who decides?! 

I’ve always been very playful and fun. A version that felt quite stunted in that last chapter but still showed itself in random and magical moments. And I find myself once again wanting to find things that can pull at any potential in a part of a brand that has got lost behind so much. I’m not even sure where to even start but feeling that quiet and hidden excitement in anything being possible. It’s on me! Not needing to be a success. I just want to see what else I might be capable of if I give myself a chance to try. 

Feeling the uncool 11 year old girl calling out to me again and asking me..

 “What you made of M?”

Easy Company

I love my family. 

Christmas Day full of real, in all its laughs and love and lots of lovely Christmas food lovingly prepared by my mum. No big presents given. All just little thoughtful things that might make someone smile or laugh. No pressure to have to give. Always tokens. It’s all in the thought as opposed to the designer must haves.

My friend talked about people having a brand. And what mine looked like. I’ve seen some learning at work about self branding. Who and what and how we need to brand ourselves for success. Only I don’t really care about creating a version beyond the real one. Preferring to stick with the natural brand that just is what it is. Realising how different that brand can look depending on where I am and who I am with, and what parts of myself can exist more easily in different versions in different ways. Knowing some people might appreciate some elements of myself more than others. The girl who often exists in isolation in all my own childlike imagination can very easily look like a fish out of water when surrounded by this company. Although my mum always gets it. 

This version exists in all its easy going, nothing fancy, have a laugh which also comes with lots of heart and lots of invisible presents. Some might describe that invisibility as blessings but in my mums house it’s a version of blessings that I would describe as laughs. But it’s nice to have a little combination of everything. I show my love in all sorts of different ways. At Christmas and birthdays I like to give gifts. Little things and to people who mean something to me.
In all the blessings of those laughs there is never an intention to offend anyone, but there is also no walking on egg shells either. Lines like “she’s a big old unit” would send the feminists out there spinning into a frenzy. This is old style say it like you see it and where any sensitivity has to be put aside in being able to take a joke. It’s what I grew up in and where you need to be able to give as good as you get. But none of it is malicious. All my strange and dreamy little ways can easily leave me as a perfect target for laughs so I tend hold that version back a little more as I talk and instead provide the down to earth version that can hold her own. I mean in moments where I do share something more “dreamy” without thinking, I feel the energy rise in the room in providing them with a gift for comedy. But I’ve heard it all before and it doesn’t bother me. Although I have also learnt how to switch off when it reaches that point of them getting carried away in their entertainment and not knowing when to stop. Everyone has a limit to how much they want to be the joke but I always know that it isn’t meant to hurt me. It’s just easy laughs. In fact I know I’m very well loved by them. I’m the soft and gentle one who likes chatting with others about all sorts. But of course it can get a bit tiring sometimes when the whole room are laughing at me. They just don’t really get some of my ways and anything that is a bit floaty is seen as woolly. “Keep it Real” being the way things flow. An element that is part of my root of which I understand in all its subtleties. Humour being a massive part of this world. I could imagine that some women would probably be offended after five minutes. But everyone is fair game. And “don’t give it out if you can’t take it”. You’ll get slaughtered. I have certainly learnt through my youf in how to give it right back to them in moments, in a way I would never do to others beyond. Knowing that often beyond, people know how to give it out but struggle more in taking it. It is a safe place to be able to laugh at each other which often feels like a welcome relief for me in a world that can often feel so serious now in so much “triviality”. What can you say now? I can’t even keep up. So I find it easier to say nothing despite the fact that I have really good bones, take as I find, happy to be friends with anyone as long as you are nice to me and mine, always have good intentions and I wouldn’t wish to hurt or exclude anyone. Just come as you are. 
Towards the end of the day when I was tired I felt a little pummelled, as everyone was laughing at all my new hopes and dreams that were given a comedy fuelled vote of no confidence. Gotta have a plan I was told. But what do they know? Reminding them that for me it’s all about giving things a go, and enjoying the adventure  along the way. Be nice to succeed but it’s not my driver. Because maybe it might make me happy while I’m on the way. A comment that resonated a little for a about a second, in a day which provided everyone with some much needed fun and laughs and warmth and kindness and Love. Did it look like the perfect Christmas versions that I see on those tv adverts? Absolutely nothing like that. But did everyone feel at home in it? In all its imperfect, unflashy, down to earth, on a budget version where no one dressed up other than me in my sparkly dress, where no party games were played, with no expensively decorated table with candelabras and name placers … but a lovely well cooked turkey, mums home made stuffing and the best roasties ever … absobloodylutely!!!! A little ceremony but with a lightness of touch. 

And that’s a brand for me, that for me that creates Easy Company. 

❤️

Love Dad x

I love early morning as I sit quietly alone and watch the candle flicker. It has a life of its own as it grows and shrinks and changes shape, and moves in different directions, and sways and dances, and every now and then just for a moment rises up like a perfect and elegant flame and just flickers with a quiet and calm and beautiful strength with very little movement. The wonder in just watching a small beautifully sunshine coloured flame. It’s one of my favourite moments of the day at the moment. Feels so very peaceful surrounded by all the many fairy lights that exist all year but come to life surrounded by lots of green and red berries and a Christmas Tree filled with a lifetime of decorations that have been collected and given through the years. The ultimate tree for a child filled with fairies and pixies, one with big wings sitting on a swing, and candy canes and Santa’s and snowmen, and reindeers, ballerinas, and a red dress, and random Disney, and a Glittery Big Apple and LOVE that was given to me a few years back by my friend K and a big golden star that sits on the top. I love love love stars. Mainly all red gold and silver with some random extras of things that my girl has made through the years, and brought to life with lots of soft white fairy lights. Very simple in all its busy and random. A toy shop Christmas tree that looks completely magical in all its lovingly decorated fake green tinsel branches. A tree that I’ve taken care of as I wrap it warmly after each Christmas as it sleeps again for another year. A job that my girl took care of for a couple of years. A tree that is 25 years old but has a dreamy feel all of its own and feels impossible to replace in all my sentimentality.  I’ve loved a Christmas tree ever since I was a little kid. My love of real trees perhaps being a part of that but never wanting to uproot a real one to decorate my home. But to walk through a place of strongly rooted and untouched snow covered Christmas trees somewhere beautiful feels like a place that I know would make me happy. 
I love Christmas Eve. It’s my favourite day of the year in all its anticipation of Father Christmas coming. The child in me never losing that feeling within. 
This year’s Christmas coming with lots of sadness and surrounded by others strong feelings of loss. A subdued version that also has a peacefulness to it without so many battles, but holding my girl in the difficulties that she is feeling. Covid taking away so many of those things that she had planned and had kept her going. Trying to help her to accept that things don’t always go to plan and our need to find the simple happiness in what can be shared and enjoyed. Only feeling the impact of Covid in others struggles and just wanting them to be ok. Spending Christmas Day with my mum and brother which will provide me with a warmth and love that will help me to be all the things that I need to be as we find our way through the trials that Christmas can bring. Christmas food in itself coming with its only difficulties. She might not be able to hold the label but she feels all the effects. What a horrible thing. Makes me sad thinking of all those beautiful young people who have been affected by this pandemic. “Hang in there” I think. “Don’t give up”. 
The early mornings with my candle always provide me with what I need to bring warmth and love to a version that can feel so difficult in moments. For all my blog rambles of inner turmoil, out in the real world I know I am bringing calmness, patience, understanding and care for two people who are struggling and often use me as a place to put their frustrations. I’ve learnt to protect myself in that in removing myself at different times but it often feels very lonely. But I’ve got used to that feeling again and feel more at peace in that. But holding on tightly to my newly found again positivity in life as I keep moving forward quietly, to get to a place where I can find some more of my own happiness again. Continued little steps in finding that in different places, with different people in different moments. Always with my girl being my priority. She shares her worries with me in being scared she will go backwards with all that fear inducing catastrophising  media talk of restrictions, lockdowns and a “growing storm of covid”. The off switch I find very helpful as I rely on friends to keep me updated in what I have to do. Reassuring my girl that she won’t be alone in that. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that she feels secure, safe, loved. And feeling a growing strength in myself in being able to be what is required in that. I just won’t let her go back to that place. 
And somehow in amongst this build up to Christmas I’ve been given a dad. I find myself smiling in all its ridiculous but true. My phone pinging with messages from him that share the results of his hospital appointments and looking for that warmth and love that he knows I possess. And all signed off with Love Dad x. I will be flying over there sometime in the new year when it’s possible. It all feels strange, but as my heart has completely thawed from all the various trauma of the past few years I find myself completely philosophical about life in all its randomness. In my lack of real control over anything. I can fight with it or I can just flow with it. I choose the latter. It will take me where it takes me, with a hope that I might feel a little love too in amongst it all. That my warmth and kindness and care and love will also be rewarded with versions that see and appreciate it. But as I sit quietly by myself before my peaceful existence is broken, I’m trying to appreciate myself for all my simple and random and childlike magic that sits invisibly behind a very caring woman who always tries

❤️

New Inspiration

This post is a crossover of after the before.
After … 
I’ve been watching Band of Brothers again. I’ve seen it before, quite a few years ago now. You can tell how long ago from the young faces of all those actors who went on to bigger things. From a young unknown who was killed in one episode to becoming the young Charles Xavier years later.  I loved this series at the time. It’s depiction of life within Easy Company from 1942 to the end of World War II. There is something about this time in history being relatable in thinking that my grandparents lived through that and then carried on beyond. An inspiration for me in watching extraordinary “ordinary” men’s fear and courage in their ultimate risks and sacrifices. This particular version depicting a camaraderie between men as well as a wish to not get close to new people, in seeing the rapid and many losses in the new and inexperienced. Protecting themselves from the trauma of constant loss. If you have never watched it I would recommend. It’s most vivid versions of human emotion can so easily be transposed into the every day emotions of normal life. It has an amazing ability to create perspective. A perspective I guess that we could all use. In this country we always seem to be crying about something or other.  No wonder everyone has mental health issues now. This place is crackers! Bringing it closer to home, it is definitely an inspiration for me to stop me crying from all those hurts. 
I find myself feeling a wonder and immense admiration as I watch these men risking everything as they run towards the horror and the danger, It’s hard to even comprehend. Trying to survive in their overall insignificance in the bigger picture whilst trying to take care of others. All the while having to take other men’s  lives. The enemy. And yet in the end they were all sons and husbands and fathers. The senseless waste in war.
Surrounded by so much death and loss and misery against friendship and enemies, courage and fear, strength and vulnerability, sadness and humour, oppression and freedom. 
Motivation a plenty for me when I have the headspace for it. I’m less late night party girl and crazy Christmas shopper and more quietly reflective, and magical early morning cosy with a candle as inspired by my friend and her cat. And enjoying the odd random and intimate meet up with special people. Just planning on doing quietly sparkling activities over the Christmas season. I like this more quietly gentle version this year. It has an air of dreaminess to it in all its simplicity with some London lights in a much quieter than usual version which suits me very well actually. Just enough for atmosphere and anonymity but without the crazy chaos of a crowd let loose. Many people falling out of love with this city but I bought a badge yesterday declaring MY love of it. It just holds an invisible something in the air that feels magical and makes me feel something, beyond the perfect and glossy consumer version that I see as I walk about. But some twinkling lights always help. I guess I know how much easier I find it living in imperfect and that feeling of being lost and unseen is often nice in feeling a freedom and an escape, even if in lot of moments I can feel that loneliness. I guess home is always where the heart is and I I feel closer to it in a city of so many wonderful memories for me. 
Anyways I’m going to allow myself a final moment to lay out that chapter in its entirety without crying. To have it somewhere that  I can see it as a breadcrumb before I get to Christmas. Yesterday meeting my friend L that I met  right at the very beginning of that journey. That journey that as I’ve retraced my steps often feels like my own personal war. Rolling in on day 1 with excitement and nervousness. Such a wonderful 10 weeks. That first day of year 2 of 3 saw me hit by a lightning bolt. Never had that feeling in such an impactful way that left me going home and sharing it with a friend. 3 months later providing end of life care to P’s beautiful mum who was gone in a matter of 3 months, from diagnosis to death. Shockingly fast, with images I couldn’t have imagined and wasn’t prepared for. Left in not knowing what happened. But seeing someone die so very gracefully was in it’s own sad way, so inspiring to me, despite the difference in what that must have felt like for her in being so totally and completely dependent in every basic way possible on people who loved her. I miss her in so many moments but especially right now as I think of her. And then the fall out of what that was. A previously gentle and fun man  who in moments could be controlling changed into a completely different version in all its “punchbag” anger and frustration and dislike. All those previous feelings of unfairness and disappointment with the world, being magnified, and turned onto me with its fullest force. Grief brings out so much in different people, me included. Leaving me needing to find safety and calmness and kindness and warmth in order to be able deal with life. My moment of decision in walking away from that journey changed by someone who thought I could do it. And that I would be supported by others in that. It was too big to cope with in so much hostility at home, while trying to marry all the demands of being a best version of a mum, working and trying to continue on with something so difficult and all consuming. I was not prepared for any of it. And then falling in love with that lightning bolt that was on their own journey too. So happy in the closeness of emotional intimate connection  alongside a joy in being seen and understood in all those dreamy and magical versions that had always existed in isolation. Being able to share in that beyond in a way that felt  like a home in a dreamy place of belonging. And  intrigued and fascinated by a version of similar but very different and the adventure in experiencing that in someone that felt so special and unique took me to places I wanted to go to. Feeling so lucky in finding them. While still  trying my hardest to be everything in all my tiredness and hard work whilst losing my home that I had put together with so much love and care. Taking away my security, my every single day and night with my girl, whilst stretching myself to my limits in all those lessons, all my efforts with every single client, whose sadness and difficulties I held as though they were my own and giving everything of who I was to help them to get to better and safer places, and seeing the scars on myself in every one of those individual battles as I kept pushing forward. Whilst trying to manage my own feelings, insecurities, vulnerabilities in a room full of people where everyone was fighting their own individual battles, whilst keeping up with academic requirements in between running from here to there to here. And all the while dealing with the continued anger and fall out from a safer distance but being injured by every bullet that was fired at me in their lack of understanding or care in how it all looked for me. Finding magical moments sprinkled amongst it, as I kept pushing on and trying to get to a place where it would all feel much better. Finding every happiness where I could with people who were nice to me even though they couldn’t see my hidden struggles. And feeling completely rubbish in others from those who were not so kind. And for a moment feeling I had reached a better place when I finally completed that journey. A journey that left me completely shattered. But thinking that I could begin to build something new and better. A moment of swimming in the sea with my girl and saying “things will start to get better now. I promise” Famous last words as I received a message about money invested with good intentions that was lost and leaving that future security falling away. Trying to find another way to deal with what lay in front of me. Thinking through every option but having no alternative but to pack all my things into black bin bags and one by one all by myself moving the whole lot back feeling that awful desperation. Absolutely broke. Keeping that security being the only thing on my mind. As for months I ran around trying to put together paperwork that would allow someone to lend me the money to keep the home we had spent a lifetime working for. Having no money and worrying whether I had enough to even get to work or buy shopping. Whilst picking up a  baton of seeing someone I loved and still cared about going through depression. Pulling us all through such a dark moment, to the other side. Sitting on my swing in the early hours of every morning  in the dark and the rain all alone wondering what the hell happened and trying to find what I needed to cope and be all the things that I needed to continue to be. Painfully watching everything I had worked so hard and tirelessly for, through so much difficulty, and with so much heart and courage, fall away in a moment alongside the the negative and heart crushing impact on new relationships I had built. All in a need to hide all the mess and chaos, sadness and embarrassment. But surviving and finding my way through again. Allowing myself a moment to find my strength to be able to rebuild again and work out how to start again and where to go. No money giving me less  choices. Just the flat and a whole load of debt. But still feeling like I could turn things around and find that better life. But of course nature had other ideas as a pandemic left me trapped. Feeling traumatised in finding myself in a place of no choices. Spending hours alone in the forest to find my freedom from all the demands that just kept on coming and feeling myself start to break down. Pushing on. No time to stop. P’s lost  job making mine more important and then P’s wonderful dad being diagnosed with a more severe version of cancer that had spread. A pandemic providing new realities of care. Very little hospital intervention and no carers. And finding myself in that position again in wanting to help take care of someone I love. Only this time much more slow and painful and over a prolonged period of suffering. The kind that feels soul destroying as you see the fear and sadness and loneliness in their eyes alongside the very real and basic versions of care that feel like they will continue forever without making any difference. And holding it all inside with nowhere to really share what the reality of it all looked like. Just brief moments of tears that I couldn’t hold, as my hand was taken and held. They not realising that there was a tidal wave  of tears  sitting behind those. Providing instead a watered down version of myself that could just enjoy those snippets of happiness and dreamy magic in tiny moments that were given to me like beautiful gifts. A life of my own feeling like something from a whole other life ago. Holding on so tightly to what felt wonderful rather than letting it drift away like a dream I once had. Feeling the relief and the grief in seeing someone who was so important to us all finally freed from their pain and misery and again feeling the fallout within myself in having nothing left to give. But needing to find something extra again in helping my girl with hers. As her grief triggered a huge weight loss from previously undiagnosed anorexia that had already been triggered through her isolation at university but had been hidden. When I thought that life had done its worst it gave me its very worst. As we battled to get our seriously ill girl of just over 5 stone to eat again and regain that weight. Still work in progress. But that last 8 months of life have passed without me even noticing.  And in amongst that no longer able to just continue on. No longer able to just carry on working and getting on with life. Complete annihilation of a person who was once so carefree, fun, happy, kind and open hearted and filled with warmth and sunshine and all things good. A person who never had bad bones. Feeling  a person I love drifting  away towards better and more and feeling the sadness in losing what I had felt so lucky to find. And then with an ending that stole all those beautiful moments that meant so much to me and had seen me through so much. But in that moment feeling  like they meant very little to them in all their “many”. What we risk of ourselves for the same thing. But since, reclaiming my own version of what that was for me and how much it was really valued. How much they were loved. It feels good to put a timeline to my own battle and what that has looked like. Something that I feel able to do after yesterday. Giving myself the right to feel so much in all my early morning quietness, with my girl returning  for Christmas and that feeling of relief in seeing her looking well. And thoughts of the lovely things that can be shared while she is home. Giving myself acceptance to not have gotten anywhere. That just keeping going has been worth enough when I lay it all out and look at it. Feeling like I can stand up as an equal to my own dad that has returned, but feeling a real compassion in what that is as I feel that past hurt, but trying to let it drift away in my want to find something better in that, and wishing for a life and relationships that are made of all the best parts of who I am. Where I can be everything I wish to be. I don’t want bad bones. Wishing to live in my own sunshine again. A sunshine that over time I have to create within myself. It will happen. My heart is in it. And when my heart is in it, anything and everything is possible. A healing process is under way and I will take some time in that as I try to just live again. Life really is too short…… 

Before…… 
Yesterday, I met a friend that was the very first person I met at the very beginning of that journey. In just a few hours I went from looking like a failure to looking like I was a superhero as she told me that I was ”incredible.” If only I could really feel that about myself. But I accepted it because it was given from such a genuine and heartfelt place. Our worlds being very different. Reminding me of how prior to that two year experience I never really thought about those differences. Just taking people as I found them and treating everyone with the same thought and kindness. Only ever really wishing to avoid people who aren’t very nice to me. Always trying, but sometimes having to accept when people don’t really like or care about me. 
Her beautiful kindness and warmth and genuineness was what I saw immediately and really liked. It didn’t even cross my mind that her life was better than mine. Because she didn’t treat me like I was less. She treated me like I was someone worth knowing and being friends with. And maybe because she didn’t flaunt her world, or didn’t give off that vibe of superiority or subtly throwing a power around. Wanting to understand what others worlds looked like and seeing it as a different kind of wonderful. Possessing a natural calmness and feeling like such a grown up. Another mum like me who wanted to do something more and feel like she might make a difference to others and still feeling like that. She made a difference to me back then, as we bonded before anyone else entered the room, and she made a difference to me today in seeing me in a way that I have struggled to feel in myself and  with some other people. Telling me by what’s app on my way home what wonderful  company I am and how she had skipped back to the station in a way that I always said I did back then, and how happy she felt that I had wanted to reconnect with her. I had felt so happy in that moment she had contacted me again. It was like being given something very golden. What a wonderful person. What a wonderful reconnection. What lovely company.
It really did feel like I had only seen her yesterday. It felt so easy and full of that same trust I felt with her back then. I had such a beautiful feeling when I got home. I really needed that and hearing about her beautiful life made me so happy. Such wonderful sharing. Her response to me left  me feeling the most proud I have ever felt since finishing that training and then having to deal with so much beyond. The most I have felt in someone really getting it, despite it being a million miles away from her world.  Left thinking how much I would rather sit in a room with an “untrained” person like her than some of the “trained” people with those pieces of paper. Her completely natural and beautiful ability in just being warm and accepting. A really beautiful vibe and something quite maternal in seeing me in exactly the same way as she did back then but with a real and genuine proudness in me for “going all the way”. The energy that surrounded us must have carried as the waiter came and chatted with us for ages too. What a sweet fella. 
It was just really lovely to chat with her. It reminded me so much of what that ten week period was like and how much I loved it. But what I found really reassuring was the fact that she still feels a lot of what that ten week period was even after six years. How impactful it was on her and her life and the changes that she made just from that short time. And how she still holds on to that time and thinks about it in lots of moments. And how she often wishes she could find that same genuineness of what was shared in that ten weeks,  in relationships beyond, in the real world. We both certainly felt it yesterday. It was wonderful. 
Being able to talk about that 3 years of trying to do something so big surrounded by all the normal things of life with so much big piled on top as well as all the stuff that came beyond. In her company I felt like a soldier that had been through a war and had come out the other side victorious. Achieving something that she said she would like to find the courage to do and to do it in a way where she invested everything of herself in the same way I had. 
In her company I felt for a moment like I was amazing. Whereas for so long  often feeling like I’m crazy, or that there must be something wrong with me in not being able to just carry on like others. But as we chatted it made perfect sense. Feeling the scale of what I have gone through. As I travelled back on the tube I thought about all those other people who had struggled through in moments, or felt the impact of what that experience was, or gliding through it as though it was just another day in the office. Wondering how much of themselves they had invested, whether they went through the motions just to get a piece of paper, or whether they wondered what that same journey looked like for themselves and others, or whether they had other big things that they were dealing with beyond, or  whether they had suffered in silence or hid what it ready looked like in just trying to reach the other side. That same journey I imagine looked very different for different people. And the impact of it to a greater or lesser degree. But in feeling the proudness and admiration in me from my friend in being able to live and work and survive through all of that and complete that whole journey with that same piece of paper as everyone else, left me feeling like a real somebody. In a way that I have really struggled to feel before yesterday. And remembering individually with such affection all the different people who had sat in that original room that had inspired me to feel like I was good enough to keep going. What a very beautiful moment of my life that really was and all held together by a wonderful Irish lady who had the ability to create a group of people who held each other with such a kindness and warmth that I’ve never experienced  in the same way before or since. A reminder of why I started in the first place and giving me the belief that I have what it takes moving forward. And that same kindness and warmth that I felt yesterday.
An antidote for all those that have had the ability to leave me feeling the complete opposite. Finding myself slowly rising again in being around people who see me for all the good things that I was before having to fight to get through so much. Which is really helping me to feel good about myself again. 

And as for covid… Well that’s all feeling like a piece of cake. Feeling small fry in comparison, as I find myself  just going with the flow. Last night feeling like I could take on the world and win. A calming warm bath really soothed a tired soul and left me feeling more bubbly.  

❤️

Words and Images

I saw an image today of a toxic plant where every part of it can kill any human or pet. A horrible and poisonous plant that is hard to dispose of. When I read about it I found myself wondering if that might be how I am seen. Whether confused and mixed up feelings that come from both really caring and wanting to show that, against thoughts and feelings that come from darker places of fear and pain and hurt, translate into being poisonous. My inner struggles in wishing to feel the best parts of who I am and acting on them, are often helped from me being able to express the bad. Wanting to be the version that fixes something that is broken but sometimes struggling to know how to do that or even feel it. I was thinking how I don’t have a place to share all of that. My blog being my outlet as opposed to it just spinning round and round in my head with nowhere to go. No money to pay for that non judgemental space where I can show the bad and the ugly and be accepted and understood in all those not so nice but very real feelings for me. Perhaps I was able to give that acceptance and understanding to others if it didn’t impact on me personally as I listened. When I am in my own “day to day, up close and personal, impacting on my life relationships”, then am I always completely  compassionate and empathic and non judgemental and with unconditional positive regard. I have always tried. Always! and my wish to not want to hurt others definitely always makes me reflect on all my thoughts and my actions. I’ve certainly sat in a room full of people where I imagine they also provide all those qualities by the bucket load with clients, but in lots of moments in the room I sat in with them, weren’t present at all. 
Feels so much easier in that professional  version. I could be the devil himself and if I pay 50 quid then all those dark and evil thoughts would be ok. Less toxic and more misunderstood or understandable from living in such a dark place. 
When I compare my blog to my day to day life the two things look very different. My blog often being a place to be able to express different  thoughts or feelings. An expression that helps me as I try to find my way to the person that I truely am and wish to be. To allow those inner struggles to have some space and visibility where  I can see them in all their messiness. Where I can see them! Like a trail of breadcrumbs that I am able to check back on as I journey forwards. Less a place for hurting others and more a place  for me being able to see things a little more clearly. 
Call it my own therapy room where I am both therapist and client. Its why it is anonymous, I don’t name people and only a couple of people I know have access to it. I guess those that read it, which I imagine are very few, can make their judgements or not. It’s a safe enough space  in all its anonymity but not quite the version that is held in a room of confidentiality where a relationship is built with a contract in how that will work. 
In real life I’ve never had such a contract in any long term relationship. Well I guess my marriage contract but those words have a lot of scope for interpretation. “For better or for worse”. The water feels a little more murky in the real world of relationships where there is a bigger risk involved for both in what isn’t a safe and controlled environment. 
The sago palm leaf that I saw looked so beautiful and inspired me to investigate further. And then on reading about it’s completely toxic nature and it’s horrible descriptions by others, left me feeling like “I wouldn’t want one of those!” And then thinking, I’m glad that I don’t have a picture of me on my blog. 
I am a sum of many parts. Most of them I think are made of really good stuff. Some lovely things actually.  I’m neither an angel or the devil. I’m just a person. What I’ve really learnt is that when times are easy it feels so much easier to be an angel and when times are really difficult, I could very easily become the devil. But the fact that I try to explore both the light and the dark in both myself and in how I experience and respond to others is my way of trying to get to all the very best parts of me. And also remove any toxic or poisonous feelings that are held within me that could so easily spread. 
I may be many things both light and dark but I’m pretty confident that I’m not toxic Not perfect but not poisonous. I guess we all have that capacity depending on our experiences. Its impossible to go through so much difficulty and sadness without feeling hurt, and that hurt creating feelings that would previously have never existed. It helps me to show that hurt. But feeling like anyone who knows me well and over a long period of time in my real life would absolutely know that I’m way more good than bad. I guess my blog containing the very worst parts of me enables me to exist in my real life, day to day, in trying to be the very best parts of who I am. The best parts that on pretty much most days I put out in the real world. But in those moments that I struggle I tend to hide away.

The Mosh Girl

Christmas Angels come in all shapes and sizes and this mornings was a tall elegantly dressed and handsome black man who I would say was in his mid fifties and stopped me as I was walking back to my car after coming out of the pound shop. I was carrying  all sorts of little bits and pieces that make other little bits and pieces that I’ve bought on a budget, feel a little more special for the people I love. It’s the thought that counts and I’m full of them right now. Trying to replace my own thoughts of disappointments and sadness with things that might make a difference  to others beyond me. I’ve had different moments of life when I’ve not been treated  so nicely or in a way I deserve. But I’m realising that it says more about them than it does about me. 
“Look at you, looking so gorgeous in your cool outfit with your cool vibe” he said. He looked pretty cool  himself in all his thoughtful and confident angel. Providing me with a moment of feeling like a person too in a way that I really needed  and felt really nice. In my more confident times I think I would have given him a  big hug  for being so nice to me but with restrictions, my lesser confidence and arms full of stuff I  smiled back and said “Oh Thankyou. That’s so nice” and walked to my car smiling and feeling like a somebody. What a lovely gift that didn’t even cost a pound. I like to think that he was sent to me in that moment this morning to remind me of my purpose in this world even if that was just having a cool vibe! I’ve never been cool in my life but in his eyes I was. How lovely! 
It’s so easy to say that I should give that to myself but when so much time has been spent trying to give to others who have needed it more than me,  and so much stuff has come my way that hasn’t been made of perfect, it often feels enough to just try to keep going and feel like I’m not just a disposable extra in a world where more is often seen as more. It is nice to be noticed. Even for a brief moment. Especially by a lovely someone who saw that more about me too. Christmas sparkle just in that. Thankyou Angel! 
With a whole lot more sparkle added on top in spending time this afternoon with my two besties who I treasure so much and never ever let me down and I know will always be there. Warm cosy fun at its very finest. And a massive reminder in how lucky I am in them and the other beautiful people I have in my life. A life that would feel less without them. 
And my song?… a little gift of memory to self, for the crowd surfing mosh girl covered in beer. 

❤️

Just a Person

Sometimes I wonder what the point of me is. 

Today I set about trying to sort stuff out and clean and clear the flat, in order to make it lovely for when my girl gets back. Making everything really nice for her so that it feels warm and cosy and homely. Waiting till she gets back next week to put up the Christmas decorations so that she can share something that she loves to do. My mind always ticking in trying to think what is nice for others and might make them happy or feel cared about or just smile for a moment. It makes me happy in seeing others happy and ok and well. 

But as I was cleaning I suddenly and randomly burst into tears. I think perhaps the overwhelming feelings that are sitting silently underneath and have nowhere to go, after receiving that card and letter, came out without anyone there to see it. It feels a little overwhelming if I’m honest, on top of everything else that I’m trying to find my way back from. I can feel it draining me in its timing. So much emotion attached to this that I have previously been able to squash down. I don’t have time or energy to really feel it. 
So I took myself outside with a cup of tea and a cigarette and this tune came on. A tune I used in a presentation that I put together a long time ago now, that contained my whole heart. A song that said what I thought I could bring to that job as well as what I brought to life in general. And thinking as I was listening that I can’t even lift myself up. Feeling the reality of where and how I find myself at this point and finding it so difficult to see a way forward for me. I just feel so exhausted from everything life has thrown at me. Too much! Finding myself feeling  the need to be the daughter that holds her arms out because of a late birthday card and a letter of apology. I want to. I really do. Life is too short and we may not have very long for me to find something better in that, for me to hold on to in time to come. But all those years of hurt and heartbreak in all sorts of ways are beginning to swirl around inside me and and thinking of him and others who have hurt me since, wandering  on happily without a care in the world. While I have been left behind feeling the impact. And today struggling to think of a way to finding my way to something more than cleaning. It’s just  having a moment of self pity. Of tired feeling in “what’s the point of me”. I’m my own worst enemy in always being more of a giver than a taker. But I really like giving to others. It’s a part of who I am and making others happy also makes me feel happy. But then left feeling very alone today in so much mess. 

Should I not give? Should i not care? I don’t want to be the kind of person who doesn’t. And it feels a bit late now. I’ve been doing that my whole life. Even though tonight I’m feeling a little less substance and a little  more down trodden. My forgiving nature and my tryer colliding hard,  as I wonder what lies ahead for me now and how I get to anything when I feel so worn out by life. Whatever that thing is that always just kept me going and pushing on, is struggling to do that. “What’s the point?” A question I’ve heard others ask me and I’ve been there to try to help them find that point, as they say “thanks very much” and leave feeling a bit better. 
I think it is just tiredness and wondering how I managed to work so damn hard through a whole life and end up getting nowhere. What a loser. 
I just can’t  quite work out how to turn it all around and get myself to somewhere better as well. Telling myself to take little steps. One step at a time till I can get to another point when I might be able to do something for me again. 
The realities of life have taken their toll in every way possible. Nothing about anything is a version that I would choose beyond creating safety and security. But knowing that is so very important. I guess the flat will feel safe and sound for my girl when she gets back and that feels good.
Feeling like I need to protect myself in not caring about what sits beyond so that I don’t feel any more disappointment from what I don’t have the necessary “whatever that thing was” to get me to a version where I too can be really happy also. How often I wish I were made a different way. Where things don’t hurt me so much. But I’m not and they do. 

 I can imagine so many people laughing tonight without a care in the world. Maybe I will get to that again. I hope I will get to that again. 
Because I’m just a  person too. I’m just a person! 

Really feeling a need to be seen as that tonight.

The Extra Mile

Today I received a birthday card. A birthday card that has come a month late and many many many years after it should have but so much better late than never. A letter filled with regrets. Regrets that I needed to hear along with an acknowledgement of how painful that must have been for me. I cried like a little girl sitting on my bed. Feeling the sadness in his letter and his wish to see me. Too much disappointment from all those years of absence to have held any hope in receiving such a response. When someone has hurt me so deeply I feel a need to protect myself in trying not to care.  

His response is currently sitting with me, despite my immediate response in my willingness to travel to him. To literally travel across the water. 
His health and covid restrictions making that more difficult right now but in his willingness to give more I find myself happy to give it all. Needing very little from him beyond feeling a real care. A care that says I am worth more to him. A worth that I have been trying to feel in myself in me trying to be nice to me. I am worth more. I couldn’t have been a more loving daughter when I was younger. Showering him with so much love  despite the lack of it in return. All I needed was to feel like I mattered. Mattered enough for him to make the effort. Mattered enough for him to not just think of himself. To find me and meet me somewhere near the middle in trying to fix what he broke. His willingness to do that has immediately made me willing to go the extra miles required. Because I know how much that must have taken for him to share a vulnerable version. To say sorry! Three words that do mean something to me. A version that I can relate to in real feeling. And in that real feeling I can see something that is worth the effort in trying to fix. Something that is more real and meaningful for me and makes a difference to both of our lives. I’m not complicated at all really. I give out my love so very willingly. I just need to feel like it means something. 

❤️

Fix me

There are moments like last weekend that provide something good that takes me a few more steps forward in being a me that feels better and that I feel proud of. It can feel really difficult to get to that. So much has happened  and I feel more of a pressure now from others, mainly P to be a particular version of me that carries all of the responsibilities and all the expectations. Things I tried to free myself from but my life has been such, that it has felt very difficult to do that long term. External things and a pandemic on top have felt insurmountable, despite, I think, my very valiant efforts. I think at this point after so much difficulty and challenge I find myself looking for a much quieter and easier life. It sounds like a cop out but believe me when I say I proper went for it. Following my heart in every way possible, risking it all, only to find that I was just a fool. A dreamy fool who believed in fairy tales. But a fool who still believes in magic, what I felt and everything that was shared. It has left  me lashing out, licking all my wounds and feeling completely broken and covered in rubble. But I’m as real as they come and I show it. In time things will feel different. My love doesn’t just vanish. As for a quiet and easy life… it’s no cop out. It’s just called reality and it bit me hard. Don’t judge it till you’ve lived it. 

And now starting to rebuild again from scratch which feels slow and quiet work. Going backwards in many ways but quietly inside unravelling all the mess and little by little trying to create  the version of me that encapsulates all the very best parts of who I am. It can feel like a constant conflict in being two people in one person and trying to balance what that looks like. Trying my best to merge the best parts of both together, but it’s easier said than done. It’s so easy to just say “do what you want” but I have seen the impact of trying to do that, on others and myself. I know I’m made of more. I’m trying to get to that more as I put myself back together. 

A friend I finally caught up with last night, and started that journey with me from the very beginning, described that experience as “traumatic”. Make you right. It really was. Devastatingly damaging for me and with everything else on top and since has left my  head in a complete mess. Trying to balance all my feelings and all those practicalities has not been easy. I wonder how it might all look now if it had been. The only think that I was never confused in were my own feelings of the heart. They were as solid as a rock.

A pandemic and so much difficulty and loss  making it impossible to just push through. It feels incredible really when I look at it all. So much to deal with. I’m still playing catch up I’m seeing so much of my journey to despair. It can feel painful to revisit it all when I remember who I was when I started and what my intentions were. Weirdly I was contacted a few weeks back by the first person I ever met right at the very beginning, and we arranged to meet for lunch before Christmas. I think that will be both lovely and helpful for me. She never continued on. Other responsibilities holding her back. She would have been amazing. A really lovely lady. I adored that ten weeks and I liked her so much. Instant connection as we sat there excitedly and nervously wondering what it would be and stayed friends beyond. I can remember skipping out every week. I loved it. I felt so at home, safe and held in that group and I really prospered in feeling so much genuine love and care. It had so much trust and a cosy warmth that was a big part of who I am. A part that got squashed further along the road, in the need to armour up and try to survive it all in a very different version.  One that felt much darker and harsher and pulled out those versions in me. Somehow along the way surrounded by so much challenge my light went out. Leaving me wondering who the hell I was anymore. Thoughts of others merging into mine and leaving a distorted version who never thought so much about those things before and left me feeling angry with so much. Where did my warm and cosy, easy going, happy, sunshine, fun, gentle and dreamy girl go? I feel her a little more again every day left to my own devices. The cynical beginning to dissipate in favour of friendly and warm. Wanting to rebuild again from my basic version that has a loving and kind heart. That part still in tact as I feel it starting to thaw again. 

Distance is really helping me to gradually find some confidence in being around others again. Getting myself back out there a little more at a time. Sticking with people I really trust and I feel safe with. Impacting on my work and a wish to leave so I can have a completely clean slate. Where no one knows me. Avoiding anything that has the potential to undo what is feeling better or knock down  my confidence. It’s gonna take some time. It’s strange to find myself on a similar journey to when I was 19. But feeling a bit better every day. And smiling more again. 
Sometimes I feel like I am a victim of myself in trying to be a version that I feel proud of. That people I really cared about and have lost would feel proud of. I made all my choices along the way with so many wonderful intentions but real life in the world I live in, demands such a lot and I try my hardest to live up to that. But in moments I hear my voice in my head telling me that I’m more than the life I lead. 

I try to find my more in a version that many others looking in would see as so much less. But I’m not Less. I’m actually a stand up girl who tries to do the “right thing” which often prevents me from doing the right thing for me. It’s difficult to blend those worlds. They feel on opposite sides of the ocean. I find myself writing as though I am justifying who I am. I think more I try to justify it to myself. Knowing that very few of those sitting on the other side of that ocean would really understand it. I talk about the privilege of money because it really does make a difference. It’s easy to be free and  easy and make any choices you like when you don’t have to worry about it or consider your impact on people that you love and care about. I often feel such an arrogance that comes from those types that don’t  have  to consider that. Their arrogance is their ignorance. A safe home of your own feels so basic but isn’t just a given. How lucky for you If it is. The oppression of making choices based on security can in moments feel tough and the need for me to compromise are great and at times soul destroying but I know why I make those choices. It’s just the living with them that feels hard sometimes especially after opening Pandora’s box.. And why I often wish I could rewind back to a time when I didn’t question things, when I didn’t know any different , when I thought that who I am was all I was. 
But I look for my inspirations in the confines of my choices and it helps me to keep going and keep moving forwards. 

In this case two inspiring individuals who are made of so much care and are struggling in their own different ways. 
A moment of travel to see my girl who said as I started my journey “It feels like Christmas Day”. What a lovely feeling to journey towards. I felt such a longing to be with her just to give her the cuddle  that she said she needed and feel the loveliness  of that myself. A cuddle that says more than a million words ever could.
My impractical, unplanned, completely disorganised and dreamy version kicked in as I sat on the train by myself in all its haphazard chaos. The variety that makes me chuckle to myself and look like a dizzy day dreamer. In the  confusion and last minute panic of being kicked off the train early with all my stuff everywhere, I found my purse on a lone trip to the seaside  in not so sunny Bognor. Call in reinforcements as my purse was found and handed in. Enter my girls housemate number one who took us in his car to pick it up. Made me laugh in his little boy chat and his continued circling of the route while I tried to explain to the army of station staff. Comedy gold bunch in finding my little purse. They were all on it. What a lovely bunch of fellas. Then leaving my phone in the back of the cab which my girl noticed before he sped off. And to finish off on the way home discovering that I had left all my Christmas shopping on the station platform. Call in housemate number two as she drove my girl to see if it was there. And unbelievably it was. As my girl spotted the big red lips of my favourite shopping bag sending her a  kiss from a distance. What a nutter I must have looked. But I didn’t stress in the slightest about either. This is the small fry stuff that doesn’t even break me into a slight sweat. When I returned to London I reached my tube station and saw a man lying on the floor being given CPR after some kind of incident as the police rushed us by. It looked pretty bad which felt incredibly sad. And yet I still felt that feeling of home. Sparkle and perfection appearing  in shorter supply here but feeing more at home in that imperfect version. I realise how little I am made for perfect. I’m a little more rough and ready with a dreamy head. I can’t conform to that “better” version. Others are much more suited to that world. Too much real going on in mine. Perfect would require me to change myself completely and then who would I be? All glitter and no substance. I don’t want to be that. Which leaves me preferring to just be on my own. 

But I am slowly building some confidence and a real feeling of independence of mind and an inner strength. You can’t see it but I feel it. 
I am feeling my roots very strongly. My nan and gran were always different gravy. As is my mum that has never followed the stereotype. She totally has her own individual vibe. Probably why I love individuality more than those who fit. It’s more interesting and has so much more unseen stuff that sits behind it. My mum is still like a rebellious teenager even in her seventies. She inspires me and reminds me often in who I am. Seeing the restrictions in where I am, but a proudness in me of what to others is invisible. She knows!!!!

 And then Sunday  afternoon spent in a place of jazz that has a sophisticated elegance and history of a time gone by, while scoffing a giant Yorkshire pudding. Of course for me it’s all in who you share these things with and my friend was the perfect companion for such a day. Looking like she belonged in a bohemian world of music and artistry with her own unique and cool vibe and a skirt and scarf to match. A weekend of loveliness with people I love and care  about. And real feeling that was shared in both. The kind of relationships that life is about for me. The stuff beyond being  distractions and time fillers. I neither want to be that or have that. I can end up feeling  more alone in that version. Surface chat leaves me disappearing within.  
But  in that deeper and more meaningful version I am finding moments of feeling the other me and it makes me feel better. Feeling more capable and together than I might appear.  Feeling like I have so much more about me  that has been  hidden underneath for a long  time now. A strength gained from living through so much real  that makes me feel like I have the ability to do anything and go anywhere. To do all sorts of things I might want, even though I  have to rein it in. Learning to just find my freedom in moments quietly where it isn’t seen. 
Thinking of my gran as The band played and remembering what an amazing musician she was but living  a life of duty.  And yet always playing  to her small and loving audience that still wanted to hear her. 
The instinct and learnt behaviour to really care coming from women that I really admired in their heavyweight qualities. More so than anyone would ever know. No big crowd of people at their funerals. Just family. People who really loved them. That same  care  being a massive and fundamental part of myself that I don’t wish to ever change because it feels really important to me. But that care can also leave me feeling caged. But real care is the  stuff of life that actually counts.  And I’m really proud that I’m made that  way. I like to think, Less down trodden and more a woman of substance.

A similarity I share with women I am closest to and are part of my life. That inspire me in their versions. Noticing after going  through so much that I need very little from the world at large. Especially the types that think they are better. Feeling that same independence of mind that I saw so clearly in those women that came before me. I don’t  think anyone can push me around now. I am totally standing up straight with my head held high although in a moment it can drop. But trying to let that happen less as I remind myself that I’m more. I just need more time and moments to figure out who I am and to find my strength again. Still work in progress but definitely a person  who is feeling more comfortable  in doing my own thing in my own way. Feeling a little more of my feisty and my frivolous. Again quietly hidden but shared in moments and with people where  they can exist more easily. 

Being with my little flats community the other night in the pub felt nice in all its down to earth. Lots of different in a variety of ages but with their fighting spirit showing as the developers keep on coming. They will continue to do so until they get their way but I like seeing people come together to fight against greed. Something real and uplifting in the little people saying NO! I like that vibe. 

I’m a mixture of so much but without being loud and in your face. I don’t care what anyone thinks of me but I also don’t feel a desire to upset others. My angry feelings are gone and I can now keep annoyances to myself. I don’t have to engage in what’s not for me or I for them. Besides it achieves nothing in expressing them. Most people don’t care cares for real. Positive and energising is where it’s at. My words would just fall on deaf ears that don’t like to be challenged. Especially by those they see as less. Ivory towers come in many shapes and sizes.

 But I know who I am on the inside. And I know I’m a “goodun” who is worth way more than I have felt. Feeling that inside. A slowly growing quiet confidence that is more accepting of who I am and what I bring because I’ve always been a good person. Not needing to be seen but feeling a need to share for a moment on my blog. To validate myself for a second beyond the confines of my own mind. To be nice to myself. 
Remembering that I have never cared about money, success, power, popularity. It feels more important for me in how I live life than what I have or what I do.. it’s all about the How. It means something to me in how I treat other people and how I get to the things I wish for. Not because I give a shit what others think. But because I care about being a person that I feel proud of. Knowing that I’m not perfect and I make plenty of mistakes. But I always have good intentions and I always try. And that’s the  bit feels really important to me. I know, and that’s what matters. 
Why would I wish to step on top of others in my attempts to be happy. But In moments where  I have, or it has gone wrong or I’ve messed up, I do try to fix things. It can often take more in fixing something that’s broken than just replacing it with a new and improved version. I get it. It’s so much easier with new. Who wants to deal with lots of difficult crap. But some things and some people just can’t be replaced by a new version. I call them my family and friends. 

I’ve never  wanted my life to be a trail of destruction  behind me. Because I do look back. Memories are everything to me. Otherwise what’s the point of having those moments. I’ve never wanted to live a wasted life. I don’t think I have. Wasted time would leave me feeling empty. But the memories that mean something to me replace any emptiness and that feels good. I love feeling those beautiful memories. The here and now is a wonderful thing. Covid inspiring that way of being. “Live for the moment”. But somehow in this new version I struggle to  find any real connection in certain places. It can all feel very surface  with not so much substance. As though we are all supposed to come out the other side feeling amazing. Not everyone does. I guess that positive and energised version being better for some. We all have our types. But not for a girl like me. It just leaves me disappearing. I’m a girl who wants and needs depth in relationships. Realness. With all the other beautiful and fun stuff on top. I can easily do frivolous with the best of them but if it’s just that then it’s just the acquaintances brigade. Small talk and keeping in touch. I don’t really do that  much. Just feels like less to me. I’m the wrong girl for that role. But there are many much better versions than me to fill that void. I guess I know where my  strengths lie and where they don’t. Always looking for those deeper connections. The  versions that thread through a life are my preferred version. And why I value my closest so much. Those connections mattering way more than anything else. . An investment in maintaining a connection over a longer period where it demands something more of you. A piece of you that is given to them for keeps and holding theirs in the same way. Knowing that for them to exit from your world will cause a pain in yours. Less about what you share and more about what you mean to each other and  how much you feel their joy and their pain. That’s what intimacy looks like to me. Those strong connections that stand the test of time and distance. Just a fragile but strong thread that holds you together. A similar and reciprocated  give and take of investment and real care. That’s what I believe I share with those who are closest to me. Knowing that if broken it will impact on me. I haven’t felt that often in life. Perhaps in my discernment in who gets close. But when I have it really hurts me. 

I suppose that everything I’ve ever had, that has been really wonderful and memorable for me in this life, has come from shared caring. Caring beyond myself and them doing the same. Meaningful relationships. Where you can share the good the bad and the ugly.  This is everything that matters to me. The rest is just the scenery that surrounds it. 
I’m finally starting to feel that this period of sadness and difficulty is beginning to pass which will eventually lead me on to better times. Times that I will still wish to share with those same people who have been part of the bad and vice versa. Still things to deal with but more manageable. 
When  I have really struggled harder to get to something whilst still caring about those around me, and when I achieve what I hope for, it comes with such a gratitude in knowing what it took to get there, and who was part of that. What I had to give in order to get the same thing. Knowing that nothing has ever been handed to me  or walking over others to get it. A pleasure and enjoyment in knowing that “I did that.” And I did it in a way I can feel proud of. 
Feeling proud of me is a recurring thought and feeling. But it belongs to me.

But that doesn’t mean that sometimes I feel really hard done by. Or that I don’t feel angry with both myself and others who make it more difficult for me to get there, or feeling the unfairness in watching others constantly land on their feet as I struggle to get up off my knees. I’m a human not an angel. But we are dealt our hands and have to journey according to our means. Everyone has their own versions of struggle. And I remind myself in what those different journeys to the same thing look like. I can sometimes feel good in knowing what my version looks like.  And thinking how In an easier version I could do it  blindfolded and with my hands tied behind my back. Maybe I will get a chance to test that theory out. But it’s always  good to remind myself of what  I have achieved in life in doing it the hard way. It’s so easy to forget in the bad times. And even easier in the bad times to forget what others have given to me too. Buying myself a little vintage elephant brooch with a red coat from a second hand market for a fiver, which I saw when I visited my girl at the weekend. Will wear it as a reminder of who and what matters to me. Funny that I forgot it in my bag on the platform. Sometimes I’ve just been trying to keep my head above water and as much as I wish I were limitless and the greatest friend or family member on the planet,  I know that at times I’m not. But over time I will try to remedy that. I can’t always be everything to everyone especially in amongst so many big challenges, but when I can I always try. When I get it wrong I try to right it. Can’t say fairer than that!

 I’m a person who has never much sweated the small stuff. But what I’ve been dealing with hasn’t been small. It’s been an overwhelming mountain of so much BIG  that I have had to face head on. And I’ve got through it all and still am. And I’m still here and still trying. If that isn’t strength I don’t know what is. Forget that marketed variety that makes me roll my eyes in all its bullshit. This is the real deal of real life, where you don’t have the time or energy to whip your hair like some diva without a clue. And it also tells me how much I’m actually capable of, given the right circumstances and time and space. When I feel like me without so much big  I know I can do all sorts. Finally feeling that belief in who I am that still currently resides underneath where no one can see me but is quietly and slowly rising. And being given a voice on my blog. The pure grit version that comes with bucket loads  of dreamy. “Don’t stop me now” as Freddie sang, even though I’ve not been having such a good time. But I’m planning to burn through the sky. In all that continued trying, seeing more clearly who I am and what I have, and beginning to give myself what I need whilst still helping those that I care about. Even if invisibly in moments. I’m feeling myself get back on it, but doing it out of sight

Finding the stuff with my dad helping in this moment despite the fact that he has disappeared again five minutes after his reappearance. But feeling ok in it. Putting myself in his shoes and my girl in mine  has helped me to see our difference in what love really looks like and what it means to me to be a parent. His reappearance came with conditions. Conditions that I am no longer able to meet. Knowing that my own version in being a parent doesn’t come with any conditions. That it requires nothing of her but everything of me. But in that everything she meets me all the way. Finding myself being the parent to my dad. Hearing in his message that he wants the perfect version of a daughter who runs back into his arms, as I would have as a girl after he hurt me. But I can’t give him that version now. I’m not that girl anymore. Instead I found myself thinking of P’s dad who stepped into my dads shoes for all those years and was there for me in the good times and the bad. Which made me want to be there for him when it really mattered. In taking care of his beloved wife when he struggled to cope and then caring for him during that painful ending to his life. His letter to me meaning so much in his effort of care., no fancy or big words. Just heartfelt. I feel glad that I was able to be like a daughter to him. He was  absolutely like a dad to me. Wishing that I had thanked him for being such an important and special part of my life but feeling like he knew it anyways through my actions. Actions will always speak louder than words for me. A thoughtfulness that comes in effort. Time and thought mattering to me more than three little words. My own dad unable to do that. Not wanting to have his boat rocked by  any kind of conversation of real and only wanting to know he is loved. Without requiring any time or effort. Those three little words  thrown at me in a text message but nothing concrete to substantiate them. They feel meaningless. Just words. I don’t doubt that on some level he loves me. I told him that I have always carried him in my heart and that I love him but also giving him the choice in whether he really wants to meet me and have that difficult conversation. His silence over the past week providing me with my answer. A momentary connection via text being enough for him. Maybe he is thinking about it. Or maybe he got what he needed. But I’m just going to get on with my life again. He doesn’t leave me feeling like my life is less without him. He hasn’t been there for any of the good times or the bad.  There is such a difference in that for me. A big difference that I have noted. 
What have I really missed? A version of a dad that doesn’t actually exist and never has, but I was able to find in P’s dad. I wonder how I haven’t been able to make  that connection until now. I guess sometimes it’s harder to see when you are in it. But it sure makes sense at this point in the show when I think about how sad I have felt in his loss For over half my life quietly and without fanfare providing what I needed in a way that my own dad was unable to do. 

I feel a sense of closure in all those dad feelings of small and rejected in knowing that I don’t actually need him. That there is no loss in what I have spent the majority of my life living without. Wanting to make things right between us but it takes two, and feeling his lack of need in that, in his silence. Happy to meet him still and leaving that door open . 
But I am now the woman who is feeling completely his equal in a very different way,  as opposed to the girl who didn’t think she was good enough. 
Knowing that this girl, this woman has always been incredibly loving and who always will be. And he has missed that even if he doesn’t realise it. I couldn’t imagine missing that with my own girl. My life would feel like a huge failure. 
It’s no fairytale movie ending with him, but at least I can feel like I tried. And that feels enough.

❤️