Inbetween Chapters

I have been watching a new show. Borgen. A political drama set in Denmark that depicts the behind the scenes world of politics. I like it in its very simple depictions of how politics, business and media come together in influencing people, and the real lives that exist behind the power. Where good intentions get lost and sacrifices leading to painful outcomes. It’s an easy watch, if painful in parts. It makes me think and I like things that take me somewhere. 
This particular episode really catching me in the death of the father of the prime minister’s spin doctor. A complicated character. It turned out he was abused by his father when he was a child. Sending his father to his cremation, and asking for him to be dressed in the same pyjamas that he had worn when he abused him. A bleak image in no one else being there as he sat their alone, feeling the magnitude of a loss that no-one else knew about. He looked numb and lost like a boy. Until the woman that actually meant something to him, but he continually let down, turned up. Sitting down next to him and just holding his hand. It was a really beautiful and touching moment of real care. A care that was elevated above all the crappy realities of life. She just cared about him because he was him. I felt tears in my eyes in seeing such a simple and pure love that was made of care. And, as is often the case, becomes most visible in times of death. It has sat inside of me ever since. Relationships can be so complicated despite attempts to keep them simple. I have felt weary by complication. Wishing to just vanish into thin air and never be seen again. A little like this character, I would quite like to create a brand new identity with a different name in a place where no one knows me. 

The show is actually about 9 years old. I’m the worst reviewer of anything because I’m always trailing behind the “right now” as I dawdle through life and discover things a million years after everyone else. Something I was often told off for doing by my own dad. “Stop dawdling and day dreaming”. I liked doing both. It made me happy. It just made him angry. But I was never so bothered about where I was getting to. More enjoying what was around me as I dawdled. And then taking it all inside and playing with it in my head. Funny that right now I am feeling as though I should be getting somewhere but not knowing where I’m going or even where I want to. Can I just spend my time dawdling and day dreaming? I realise how tired I’ve become of real life. Its worn me out in so many different ways. I am feeling a lot of  disappointed with so much. Myself included. 

I have been thinking about the two distinctive versions of who I am. The Dreamer girl and The Down to Earth girl. They both sit alongside each other. The Dreamer being the more dominant version. She can spend a whole day just thinking. Down to earth fits in much more easily with my real world life. But Dreamer always having a big influence in how I experience and see the real world. A kind of spin doctor in my own mind. They always existed together really happily and easily in my life. 

I’ve been thinking about P. When I met him when we were young he most definitely had both too. Down to earth being the much bigger influence but he had the ability to become part of my dreamy version. And he liked that. It was a huge moment in my young life when I found someone who loved me for all the things that he said made me “special”. 
They say that you end up marrying your parent. I have only been married once. I have thought about it in relation to different relationships I have had through the years. Tending to avoid what felt like my dad. 

With P there is a massive difference between him and my dad. My dad was a Ladies man. A complete charmer and womaniser. The serial adulterer until finally leaving my mum for his young blonde secretary who he married and travelled the world with. He’s on wife number three now. But he has been unfaithful all the way along. Treated my mum like crap along with his kids but to the wider outside world he has always been seen as charismatic and charming. 
It’s no surprise then in how that affected my ability to trust other men. With an even worse step dad that followed, my early role models of men/women relationships was severely tarnished. Without even going near the father/daughter aspect where control and abuse existed. Giving me a warped version to refer back to and clouding my judgements in comparisons and similarities that provided similar feelings and vulnerability. It certainly explains early relationships with older men. 

I do try to see behind the surface. We are all full of complications. It’s so easy to feel like I am damaged. To blame myself because of a past that makes everything easy to pin on me. Complicated past obviously resulting in a messed up adult! And yet for 20 plus years I had a very simple and happy and drama free life. My life was as averagely normal as they come with lots of  sparkle thrown in. So instead I’m trying to see me evolving through a life lived. Trying to understand how and why the events of the past four years have impacted on me so much. It has really hurt me more than any other time in my adult life. And now I’m trying to fix what’s been broken in me and begin again. But this time feeling I have a safety net that has helped me before.  

Over the past 25 years I had learnt how to build and maintain really good relationships. I have really good long term friends. Lovely people I have met in different places and shared something special with. I had a long and happy marriage. And I loved people generally. But my confidence and trust  in people was severely damaged in that chapter. 
I have always looked for the inner version in people. The child version. The purest version. I tend to connect to that part and rarely to the part that sits on the surface. Maybe because that is the part of myself that I am most connected to. Whatever existed in my early life, I was always really loving. So loving. I feel really grateful for that and even more in the fact that despite real life it never disappears. It just grows  bigger. 

Back to that theory of marrying your father. I wonder then how I ended up with P to whom I had been married for 20 plus years. Most of them very happily. Of course there are some similar elements that exist. He’s not a man to show and share his emotions through chat. He found it easier to when he was younger. Now I think he finds it all too painful. And that made it easy for it to become anger. And in that anger, for me then to disconnect from him. Although that anger has now subsided. He has mellowed again through these difficult experiences. Like a caring and gentle giant again. He has always been very gentle and loving with our girl. And with me his expressions of love were always physical. But he has never been afraid to tell me that he loves me. I remember the first time he said it. He has definitely felt controlling in moments when I’ve wanted to try I to be more. But a very different type of control to that of my dad. P’s being more the traditional bread winners role where he is supposed to take care of everyone. We grow up how we grow up. His dad was similar and the best of the best with such a big golden heart.
I think perhaps that my dreamy and flighty nature that makes me exited about new things made him feel insecure. Maybe my way of being made him feel how I’ve felt in other relationships. He feared the loss which then created the loss.  Knowing that the more he has tried to hold me back the more I have pulled away. Whereas left to my own devices I always would find my way back. Because he was always where my safety lived. The element that is most important for me. And that trust and safety forming a solid  foundation for my love. 

But in contrast to my dad P has always proven himself very loyal. As loyal as they come. I am a person who can very easily feel insecure in relationships if I lose a feeling of trust. But he always made me feel completely secure and completely safe. Never doubting his fidelity. Never worrying when he went away on trips abroad or went on nights out with the boys. Encouraging him to do the things he wanted and enjoy himself. Because he never gave me a single reason to doubt him or worry. And I think perhaps it is because he is very much a mans man. It’s not that he doesn’t like women. He just prefers time with men talking football and racing. And he said that he was happy just sharing with me. And when he was around other women he would happily chat but was never flirty.
I remember very early on when I first knew him that my best friend tried it on with him when she was drunk. I remember watching it happen from the other end of the pub we were in. I was heartbroken in that moment. She was my best friend. But my disappointment in my friend also left me happy in seeing him turn her down and then walk over and put his arm round me and say “shall we go back to yours”. I think from that moment on I knew I was in safe hands. His friends always telling me that I was the only girl ever for him. 
“You’re different to all the other birds” are words he always said to me. And for me it was always nice to feel special. Reassuring. He had an ability to help me to love myself. Loving me he has always told me , “just because you’re you”. 
How easy it was to take something so simple for granted especially when that kind of safety and security was a massive contrast to the version of my youth. Perhaps it reveals my flaws in needing that but at least I’m very self aware of them. 

Real life can be tough. With young love It was all about that dreamy magic. It can be lost along the way with so much pressure and responsibility. So much time that is spent apart and you can’t be what you were when everything was more simple. It was so easy when it was just the two of us. Everything was like a movie. The kind of romance where you don’t need anyone else. You are swept up into a bubble all by yourselves. A world of your own creation amidst a bigger world that you enter in order to pay for the life you have. It was so easy. 
We travelled a lot together. He being a little more seasoned in that from travelling about from when he first started worked at 16. He’s been to some amazing places when he was in his teens. I imagine him in the places he went to around the world. He always found the international language of football as a bridge, everywhere we went. He being the true adventurer out of the two of us. But in meeting me wanted to only share those travels with me. Always making me feel like I was the most beautiful girl in the world even though I wasn’t. Ordinary with freckles. But when holding hands with him it made me feel like I was more. 
Over time that deeper bond and feeling of security enabled me to find the confidence that I lacked. He helped to give me the confidence to try to be more. But then he felt insecure when I tried. I realise as I write that I understand how this looks from his side. I’ve felt that too. 

So what did I provide? “Love” he always told me. “You’re the most loving person I ever met”. We were a good match. We both loved and felt loved. I never searched for him he just turned up like a lucky penny. Very independently minded. Not needing or caring about being part of the crowd. He can chat to anyone and people always like him. He has always had more of a cheeky chap charm than the charm that makes women swoon. Old girls love him because he makes them laugh and is genuine in his way. Modern women I think would see him as an old fashioned dinosaur with all his nice manners and getting up on the tube to let a lady sit down. Misogynist is probably how he would be clumsily labelled now. He’s not. I think seeing how much he loved his mum, nan, my girl shows that. But he grew up in a different time. He’s just not one of those hipster new men types. 
My Mum, Nan and Gran always saw him as a proper old style  gentleman. Which is what he is. It’s just a second nature in what he believes a decent bloke with nice manners does. But not in some creepy way… more “do you wanna seat luv”. But he has been put “in his place” by a few women who have taken offence to his mini chivalrous acts as they have taken him down in front of others. 
“I don’t need someone to open a door for me”
I know it has upset him in making him feel stupid when he was just trying to nice. 

What I do know is he is way more intelligent than he realises or others know. He’s not educated in the traditional sense. He doesn’t read loads. But he is interested in what he is interested in. Knows loads about our great city, watches lots of documentaries about everything. Loves history, loves architecture, loves sport, loves travel. Follows politics. Loves to chat and share but has very few outlets for that kind of talk. And on the occasions when he did attend a couple of courses in things he was interested in, he didn’t enjoy it so much with the people that he was surrounded by. The “know all’s” “the up their own arses” as he would say. People  who made assumptions that because he was a cab driver, who talks with a particular accent and didn’t go to uni that he must be thick. Standard stereotype. I had a friend I worked with who once who said to me “what were you doing with a thick cab driver”. He had never even met him. We weren’t together by then, but I really took offence. He’s certainly not thick. Not by any stretch. In fact I’ve met some very clever people through work. And I know he would very easily hold his own in many different topics in a way I can’t. He certainly gives those university challenge kids a run for their money. 
When P talks about things I hear his interest and passion. As opposed to when I’ve listened to some others who just tell me facts as a way of showing me how clever they are. There are different ways of sharing knowledge. One is like a gift to you and the other is like a gift to themselves. Look how clever I am. I tend to switch off from that type too. Things always feel more interesting to me in what sits behind it, how it is shared and why it interests them. 

So what happened? Where did it all go wrong? Why am I thinking about it all again now? 
Because I’m at a crossroads. Feeling very lost. Not sure what I’m doing, what I want, where I’m going. Looking to move forward but not knowing where. I’m not stuck. I just don’t know what I want anymore. Existing in the main. Still happy being quiet. Wanting to be there for my girl. Having a long term plan of going back to school next year to learn bout something that I love which feels exciting (but a bit scary because of my last experience). But what about right now? It’s a strange feeling in just standing still. A feeling that I should start to move forward and make decisions but without any idea of what they should be. Exploring myself I think is where I’m at. Things floating around but nothing concrete. People getting in touch but not being sure if I wish to reconnect. So holding it. I know I wish for change but not wanting to rock my steady little boat. I feel safer and quite like drifting. Perhaps I may drift through autumn to Christmas just doing nice simple seasonal things. I loved visiting my girl at the weekend. Planning on going again in a few weeks. She will be coming home next week. Seeing my friend and having dinner at mine felt lovely. Simple, easy and without any pressure. Feeling lazy in my lack of progress but not knowing what I want progress to look like. I could have a whole year like this. I do know that I will be leaving my current job sooner rather than later though. That is a decision I have made. Needing that clean start. Fresh canvas. But comfy in not having to care in it so much. I think the last time I felt this freedom of work was when I was on maternity leave. Anyways this is all part of my process of working it out. 

I had thought I would avoid these feelings of ambiguity and vacuum when I enrolled on that course. I guess it was a future plan of sorts. But more so I had also thought that I would be left with all these many beautiful and deep and meaningful friendships. Something that I had been looking for. 2 years in that kind of environment. How could it not. A lovely addition of a group of people sharing something special to my few close and treasured friends. Thinking that I would have this group of people I could share things of life with in all their good and bad. And yet that has felt like another huge disappointment. It could have been so beautiful. So enlightening and life changing in finding a version of more that matters to me. A group of different people bonding beyond the normal superficial way of life. Instead it was just another popularity contest with the same types sticking together, minus any real trust. I’ve felt more trust with people I’ve worked with in every day life. Two of my best friends I met at work, and our relationships are more open and honest than what existed in that room. Those who had courage to really share not making the cut by revealing too much and taking away from the main focus of getting that piece of paper and moving on. In the end it appears to be additions to social lists within various smaller cliques for nights out. Or a complete detachment. It says a lot about the dynamics in who has kept in touch and who hasn’t. There feels a whole lot of learning just in that. In the end it will always feel like a really huge source of sadness for me. Deeply sad actually. A sadness that I think that I will always feel. I guess it shows the value I placed on that one experience and what my expectations were in that. Perhaps they were much higher than others. For me it had felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience something that should have been epically amazing. Instead it feels like a wasted opportunity in learning about ourselves and others. Perhaps I might find something closer to that within a group of writers. I really hope so. 

Back to where it all went wrong. Life can be tough. It can really grind you down. Especially when you are just normal people with normal jobs and lives and money is a stretch. And when big stuff happens it obliterates everything including you. 
I guess going all the way back, it all becomes much harder when you add kids into the equation. It changes everything. In so many beautiful and wonderful ways. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me in life. But it does change who you are and who you need to be. All of a sudden your importance and the importance of the two of you becomes secondary as your wants and needs are lost behind someone else’s. Someone who is more important. The dynamics change. People say “kids won’t change us”. Yep come back to me in twenty years. They can’t help but change you and your life and your relationship. 

My version will of course look different to others. Initially when she was younger and before she went to school it was so easy. Well at least in my experience. Its tiring when they are first born and you’re not quite sure what to do with a baby, but once you settle into it it’s easy and magic. Loved it. Still in our own bubble but with another wonderful little person. Seeing life through their eyes. Purpose in being a parent. Having a reason to do all sorts of lovely things. You still feel in charge of your own lives. We were lucky. We were both at home a lot. Working arrangements permitted that. Able to spend quality time together as a family, have some time to ourselves as well as being lucky with family who allowed us to have valuable and required time in just being a couple together. I remember the two of us going on a trip together to New York when she was really small. Leaving her with P’s mum and dad. Different  to the version we had experienced before she was born when we were 21. But still wonderful in being a little older and enjoying it all in a different way. But with a real magic in having that time to ourselves. To still be two people as opposed to mum and dad. We were able to do lots of things until she went to school. A really beautiful time of our lives. The best actually. Loved every moment. And miss it now. If I could go back I would definitely relive that all over again. It was perfect

And then the extra element of parenting suddenly kicks in. The bit where the outside world interferes. And within that some of those versions that feel monotonous and dull. Where you are tied to the school timetable. You can’t just go where your want. Do what you you want. Some love it. Being part of the school community and going round each other’s houses. We both hated that stuff. School was her thing. Loving going to her assembly’s and plays. She loved it. Her friends. Her life. I’d take her and her friends to everything. I was happy to do anything she wanted. But I didn’t enjoy all that parent small talk. It bored the life out of me. School runs, kids party drop offs, clubs. I loved having her. Loved doing things with her. I loved being a young parent. Loved being a mum. Everything was fun. And a big reason I think in why me and my girl are so close. And why she also misses being a kid and wishes she could go back.

But you are lost behind someone else’s life. I didn’t begrudge that but I need some version of my own life too.
Finding a new job. Making new friends of my own. Time spent doing other things and being just me. It made life busy. Lots of time spent as a family, lots of time spent working, lots of time spent doing our own things and all of them wonderful. But very little spent with just me and P together. No real time for that. Does date night really work? it feels just another element of routine to add to the list. It’s hard to maintain that spontaneous magic amidst all the daily routines. Those trips away curbed in favour of money to pay for her dance lessons, school trips and family holidays. It’s very easy to lose yourselves as a couple amongst it all. Easy to drift apart in the monotony of “putting the bins out” which is just a metaphor for the basic realities of a normal everyday life. Especially if you’re not rich and can’t just throw money at everything. It’s why many people have affairs I think, even rich people!
Real life demands more of you. A more that can feel so much less at times. The balance of being a perfect parent and perfect partner is a tricky one to maintain. Someone misses out amongst the daily grind. It’s easy to find yourself very lonely in that. Your once best friend being the person you see least in life.

We are still married. All the chaos preventing us from changing that 2 years ago but more and more feeling glad that is the case. Technically we have been married for 23 years. The reality is that we have been more married in moments that we haven’t been together than when we had drifted apart. Just like education that little piece of paper doesn’t really mean a thing. I guess people celebrate it as an achievement in surviving a life together. Like a badge of honour. 
I see it as an extra layer in making it a little more difficult to just give up. A layer of admin that you have to go through in order completely exit. If you asked me and P if we are married we would both say No. we haven’t been married for a long time. 
And yet here we are. Two people who have been trying to help each other to get through the difficulties that have happened. The stuff surrounding us with his dad and now my girl. And knowing without question that he will be there when it comes to my mum. The real stuff. The stuff no one thinks about in those early days of romance when it is beautiful and dreamy. I certainly didn’t. I just fell in love. But those things  inevitably come beyond with real life. It’s certainly good to know I have a friend in that. 

But what of a relationship beyond that? I really don’t know what lies ahead for us. Life would certainly be financially easier for us both together. It’s a basic and very real fact which at this point in life feels pretty important. Neither of us are kids. But it can’t just be about that. Some people start their relationships like that. Lifestyle choice. It would feel a very shallow and soul destroying way to live a life for me. Perhaps it makes it easier. Compatibility, same interests and precision timing in wanting the same things. We were none of those. Just two kids who fell in love. Perhaps I was very spoilt in what we shared. True young love where you grow up together, are best friends and are known for everything you were and everything you are now. 
I know for me life has always felt lovelier when it is shared.  I’m feeling very safe again with the person who has also changed through all these experiences but most especially in what has happened for our girl. A massive healer in drawing a line in the sand in what hurt us both. And there is certainly an opportunity to make life wonderful within all the years that we have to come. Who knows how long that will be. With time and space for us both to evolve together in a new version. Perhaps to be like teenagers again if we wish to. The responsibilities of “putting out the bins” decreasing in favour of shared exploration and adventures in new things and new places. Maybe timing is everything. I don’t know. Like everything else I’m exploring.  Something fundamental changed within me when I found myself questioning what I want and need while feeling neither safe or secure. 
Other feelings that have been pushed down deeply within me. Hurts that left me questioning who I am and whether there is something wrong with me. Knowing that I’m actually a very simple person with big emotions. I’m not fickle in those. I don’t just fall in and out of love. I never have. I know my heart. There is a real sadness for me that sits underneath it all. A wonder of what a life might have felt like in a completely dreamy version. I caught a glimpse. I paid a high  price for it but I caught that glimpse. And I really loved it. But I loved it because I loved the person who existed behind that. Left with a sadness in wondering if any of it was real. That’s such a horrible feeling to be left with. It leaves me feeling really stupid. Even though it felt very real for me in my heart. My true feelings will never change in that. What I feel is what I feel and nothing ever changes that. But protecting my heart is something different.

I’ve only ever fallen in love twice. The first time when I was crazy young. The second time when I was crazy reckless. I wasn’t looking in either moment. And I certainly don’t wish to look now. 
If I fall in love again, it will be because I make a choice for a life that can be shared just as we are. Where I can be the woman and the girl. Where I can be everything I am and wish to be and support someone else to do the same. Where I feel like I’m part of something that really matters and is filled with love and fun and happiness but also a commitment to taking care of and looking out for each other. That is about give and take and making each other happy as well as doing things that make ourselves happy. 
I don’t really want to spend my life alone. But equally I don’t want to spend it in something less than I have known. A version that feels special. The world is full of single people looking for company and someone to share life with. I’m sure if at some stage I put the nets out wide enough,  and really put myself out there, I would find “somebody”. But somebody has never been enough for me. I’ve never been a person that just needed anyone. When I’ve fallen in love it’s because it was them. And in a full life of so much and so many different people I’ve only ever felt that feeling twice. 

So what happens next? I hover between the chapters, just wondering as I dawdle and daydream.


The Risk Factor

This is probably my longest post. I had a lot of thoughts that I needed to put somewhere so that I can start to very slowly move forward again.

Allowing myself to stop for a moment is really helping me. I’ve had a job of some description through my whole life since my first paper round when I was 9 years old. To disengage  from the daily grind for a moment while  taking care of my girl, and now me, has felt liberating. Not having to try to be anything that I’m not.

It makes me think what the equivalent looks like further up. When you sit at the top of the ladder you don’t have to please anyone. When you sit further down your livelihood depends on pleasing others so you can keep your job and pay the bills. I’m a decent and very friendly person. I get on with most people. I’m always kind to others I work with because that’s just the way I’m made. But I hate office work. It always feels so boring and meaningless and of course it always comes with its share of self important people who like to throw their little bit of power around. I would have liked to tell a few of those  where to go through the years but you learn to just hold it. Knowing that they can easily mess up your life because they have that little bit of power. 

It’s very easy to be outspoken when you don’t have to worry about basics. But I always clock who they are more out spoken with. They never burn bridges with what might be useful to them at some point. And they don’t like to be challenged back. And if you do, it is not seen as being confident and outspoken. It’s seen as being troublesome. Which is why instead I just completely switch off. It’s just not worth bothering.
I would like  to earn my living where I am completely in charge of me. I’m totally looking at making changes. But doing it gradually as I don’t have the finances to back up anything with risk. I do however have some fanciful ideas that can take me along new paths. At this point I  would like to try to test my potential beyond the 9-5. I think I have the potential to be more in ways that will make me happy. Already signing up to go back to school next year. A degree in creative writing is my goal. I never got the chance to go down the route I wanted when I was younger but now I’m feeling brave enough to take the leap. It’s all evenings so I can work around it and  have ideas in how work might look too. I don’t want to follow the designated path anymore. One life and I still want to do stuff with it. I’m making a bit of a 5 year plan which includes a puppy at the end of it. I’ve never made a plan before. Let’s see how that works out for me. 

Been thinking about Jealousy 
“An unhappy feeling of wanting what someone else has”
It’s a strange feeling when you think about it. The opposite I guess of gratitude, in being happy in what what you do. I think I’ve been on a little journey in both. 
It looks different for different people and I guess in its simplest form, the feeling of jealousy comes from looking over the fence and seeing what it looks like on the other side. “The greener grass”. 
I don’t very often feel jealous. In fact it’s been a very rare feeling for me in life. But one I’ve felt in only a few moments. Only ever in respect of relationships. I absolutely see and feel the inequalities of life but usually feeling that through the  eyes of others who are worse off than me. But that feeling not jealousy, its the feeling of Injustice. 

When I have felt jealous it has been in relationships where I have a feeling of insecurity,  low self esteem, distrust and fear of loss. And feeling those when I have felt vulnerable. That vulnerability will always fuel the deeper feelings. I really struggle with that feeling in all its unfamiliarity. I don’t like it and don’t want to feel that anymore. I’m not feeling  so  vulnerable now and those darker feelings are starting to fade away as I begin to come out the other side of all the really difficult stuff I’ve had to deal with.

 With my girl, it’s work in progress. Taking it one day at a time. She’s doing ok. Regular chats and messages and a day trip planned on Saturday to see her. We are tackling and squashing all the various issues before they turn into more. She is steadily moving forward. Fragile and vulnerable but physically, psychologically  and emotionally getting stronger. Sometimes taking steps backwards before she moves forward again. I feel huge proudness in who she is. I wish she didn’t have to go through this. It makes me sad. But I can’t dwell on that. Instead I put my effort into helping  her get through it. But I know that when she blossoms  she will be a beautiful force for good in this world, in all her kind and caring loveliness. A proper old fashioned sweetheart. Her inner strength will grow with age and experience. And she will always be my number 1. 

The result in me is someone who is beginning to function in a way she used to. Which is very independently. Trying to put some focus on my own life and what feels important to me and those that I care about. Trying to live “a good life”,  and making choices that are more suited to the confines or my position in this world. I know what makes me happy and also what really does not. Seeing more clearly the realities of this life where some have more choices than others. Which is ok. I have been reminded of what it takes in real life. It’s not always that simple  to follow your heart. My life, my way of being and my experiences giving me a very different perspective. Safety and security is now much higher on my priority list. I know what life has felt like without it. Scary, tiring, worrying, damaging and full of unhappiness. 

When it comes to “stuff” I don’t actually care. I don’t feel a jealousy in that. I like nice things, but I don’t need them. They don’t make my world turn and they have never been a motivator for me other than the basics. Struggling to make ends meet is something very different. That’s just about needing safety and security. I think I have felt  the unfairness in that. As probably many others have in a similar positions. Others take those  basics for granted. I spent a lifetime working for them. I feel a very basic lack of understanding from some in what that actually looks and feels like. 
And yet you never know what life holds in store. I certainly didn’t see what happened for me coming. But my beginnings in life has certainly helped me to get through and manage it. I wonder what it might look like for those who have never known it. How would they cope? Broken down I may have been but I still get back up. If I was grateful before I have whole new level of gratitude in where I sit now. 

I love my flat which has a little garden that backs on to a cricket pitch (it is very peaceful, with the sound of leather on willow in the summer and music and laughter from the clubhouse. Rarely go over there these days. But through the years have crawled through the hole in the hedge for a few drinks with friends on a summers evening. The same place where we had a party when my girl was christened. Old style. Free bar, buffet and a DJ to make up for not having a big wedding. The people I know didn’t take advantage of that. The gesture was enough for others to put their money behind the bar too. It’s all about the balance in people who give and take. P always said to me that you can tell a lot about a person in how they are at the bar. It’s true.  I always notice it. My mum dancing to Hero by Enrique Iglesias which was her favourite at the time. I can hear C shouting across the dance floor… J this one’s for you. It had all the quiet gentle summery breeze of a sophisticated garden party but with all the kids kicking about the footballs I gave them and blowing bubbles. Alongside the energy and fun of unsophistication that takes it to a whole different and more real and wonderful level. Less standing stiffly on ceremony like you’re a cut above, and more of an old fashioned knees up, where everyone is welcome just as they are, with a glass of cheap plonk and warm and comical chat. I’m much more at home in that vibe which exists without all that pretentiousness. But that’s just me. Each to their own version. That’s just what I know and love. And I’m very proud of it. 

My little Nissan Micra gets me from A to B (when it’s not being commandeered by P. Losing my little white cloud of freedom again for a moment during the craziness of others greed in petrol.  I don’t mind. I’ve always been happy to share whatever I have. In fact I really love sharing. I’ll share with anyone.  But I can tell the difference if someone is taking the mickey out of me)

And I have 6000 acres of the forest that sits across the road from where I live. The biggest reason for choosing this location in the first place, (as well as being near my Nan) for which a budget was pushed at the time for 2 people with half decent jobs. And only a ten minute walk away, a down to earth and reassuringly average little high road, with everything a person needs for every day life. It’s got a bit of everything and everyone. And I like that. I like that there are still businesses that have been here a long time and survived. 

You can jump on the train from here and be in the city in 20 minutes. I like the balance of both. Although recently staying at home has been enough. I’m sure at some point I’ll reengage with the great lady again. Knowing that old London girl will still be waiting there for me, even if she has changed. The ultimate people pleaser as she changes herself to become what the people of the moment want. But at the core always being the old and eternally special relative that I have always loved and has a special place in my heart.  I know what she has given me through the years. I’ve definitely enjoyed  her at different ages in different ways. She provided so much fun for me when I was young, and working was just the reason for the fun that came after. I feel so lucky in living through that. A time that felt so much more easygoing without targets and time management. Who really cares about that stuff?

Her true magic and sparkle often hidden now behind a lot of glass and gloss. It’s progress and modernisation and yet St. Paul’s Cathedral is still my solid mark of survival in what really makes me love her. It always feels like her beating heart even though I think I’m more spiritual than religious. Its more about the solidness of a beautiful building that has survived hundreds of years. I represents an immovable and irreplaceable soul that doesn’t need to compete with all the flashier versions that surround it. It just holds its place without comparison. For me It will always represent the everyperson. The “Little” people,  The people who aren’t seen but are the true beating heart of this city. 

Of course I never knew I had it so good back then. Words that suddenly make me sound like an old girl even though inside I still always feel like that same kid. The kid who was never a “live to work” kinda girl. It was always about working to live. And I always did that. And enjoyed it so much. Another chapter in a life that has been full of a bit of this and a bit of that. This chapter requiring me to be a grown up and I have stepped up. But the excitable kid in me will eventually find her way back out. She’s always been Irrepressible. She’s just had to take a back seat in tough times in order to protect herself.

Anyways the point being, I have always been really happy living here. For many many years. Not really needing or wanting a more fancy pants version. 
In different moments of life I have experienced what the high end has looked like. Not in stuff but in experiences. Pouring whatever money we did have on trips together. Exciting moments in places I always dreamt of going to and then sharing those in later years with my girl. Stuff that had to be saved for and was appreciated in every single way. Providing memories that live in me forever in a way a new settee will not. Or saving to go to lovely places in our beautiful city that were the everyday playgrounds of the rich. But were enjoyed even more on those odd occasions especially when I could treat my mum. Places that as a kid felt untouchable but in those moments allowed us to dress up in our finest with high heels and swish in as though we were rockstars. Just for a moment. Loving every moment of it, but not really needing it as an every day. It would only lose its sparkle. Always feeling more at home with the people who worked there than the other clientele. And they  usually looked after us with much more care because of it. Appreciation and gratitude goes a long way.. I always grew up thinking that manners were just a basic but I’ve seen on many occasions where it isn’t. How hard is it

to just say  “Please and Thankyou”. And how often I hear people without any appreciation or gratitude, complain. That sense of entitlement that comes from thinking that if you flash the cash then you own people too. 

When I think about “stuff”,  most of it has  been the same since I first moved. My settee being a bit battered, with a rip in one of the seats but it’s really comfy. The little garden shed my girl played in which now is full of garden stuff, looking worn out with bits falling off, but given some extra life with a lick of new paint, while my other shed has completely fallen apart and needs knocking down and replacing. Who knows what rubbish lives in there? The old style heavy weight tv that reminded me of the one my mum paid for when I was kid, on a weekly, with radio rentals. My one replaced more recently after 24 years, by a modern version that was given to me. The bathroom (well let’s not even go there). The ceiling that is a complete black mess and tiles that need replacing. It just needs sorting. But no money to get the necessary work done at present. All money being used right now for my girls treatment. It’s all about priorities and investing where it matters. 

Iguess when there is a bit of extra cash then I can start to work through a long list of things that would make this place more “aesthetically pleasing”. And yet I’m as happy as Larry in here even in its broken version. It’s amazing what fairy lights and candles can achieve in making it feel like it’s more. 
When my girl asked me this morning “did you sleep well” I said “yeah perfect”. As I write I decided to compare my basic £99 mattress to a top of the range version on google “the ultimate sleep indulgence“ “ten  layers of the most advanced mattress Three tiers of up to 6000 titanium Aerocoil® springs which deliver unbeatable airflow and breathable bamboo wool top surface that offers unrivalled temperature and moisture control.”£1462.11 for a new customer. I had to laugh. 
Anyways my point being that stuff has never really bothered or interested me. I lived somewhere plush and brand new for 6 months following my other 18 months in the hole in the ceiling place that reminded me of the garage I lived in when I left home at 16.  Me and my girl both preferred the hole in the ceiling flat. It felt more homely (well before the rain water washed over us in the middle of the night as we slept. So unless that ultimate sleep mattress had a secret inflatable canopy it would not have improved that sleep). 
But I never felt at home in the same way as I do again now in my own “gaf”.  I call it mine but it belongs to both of us. With a will on both sides to keep hold of it. I really wish now to keep hold of it. It makes me feel safe. 
I’d like to get lots of stuff fixed and have money to buy some new little touches that make it “more me”. With time I’m sure that will happen. But I live perfectly well in it as it is. It’s a home. And a cosy one at that. 

As ever others judgements can impact on me although surrounding myself less with those types. I feel happier without them. So I only really invite in those who I believe won’t. Those that are able to see all the lovely qualities I described, and like it just as it is, but also have the ability to see the amazing potential of what it could be, with a little more investment. Without losing sight of the fact that some things don’t need to be changed because they  are still wonderful even if they are a bit battered and broken. Its all in the eye of the beholder. Some  would only see all its issues, faults and how much better they could make it, and how much better theirs are. A perfect version. But I’ve never wanted to live in perfect. Perfect always appears very bland to me. I’d have to spend all my time trying not to mess it up. And that would just feel exhausting and not like a home. And as this is my little safe haven of peace and tranquility from the world of “more, more, more” I tend not to let the energies of their world’s infiltrate the energy that exists within mine. We all deserve a Safe place like that don’t we?!

Despite my own  struggles at different times, I always think about how that looks for others who have it so much worse. And I feel really lucky. I know how hard I have worked for it but so have others in their versions which often doesn’t equate to what they deserve. The rich always get richer. They have the means and mentality for that.  But in the end it’s always about what more looks like to you. 
To some mine wouldn’t look much. To others it would look amazing. To me it is perfect in all its imperfection. 
What I do know is that I’m never jealous of those with “more” stuff. I find it so easy to feel pleased for others who are lovely and have all the stuff that makes them happy. I never feel jealous of their success or good fortune. Whereas I don’t much care for the ones who aren’t so nice. The ones that flash it in your face as a way of making them look and feel better. Go away. I’m just not interested. It doesn’t impress me in the same way it does for others. It has it’s power. Because people like that assume that everyone wants to be them and have their life. I never have. Maybe my lack of being impressed was the problem. 

But I do know what does impress me. The way people are and how they treat others. How far they are willing to go for what they believe in or how they help people. What kind of grit they possess to push through difficult obstacles to survive and sometimes become more than they were told or thought they could be, or how people grow through their own lives, experiences and adversity to find something new within themselves, or are able to find contentment and happiness without all the bells and whistles. This is the stuff that has meaning to me. This is the stuff that makes me connect to others. This is the stuff that really inspires me and makes me want to be more like them. I’m trying to be more like them. 

Money can buy so much. Where no talent, effort or risk is required. It’s just a given. The various professions that are awash with people who come from money. A few specials that possess more,, but mainly a blanket of those that can afford. It takes time and money to train to be these things. How many without money find themselves amongst them? And even if you try you first have to navigate the difference in what that world looks like. A world that they are completely at home in and own. To live in it means adjusting your way to theirs. Because they certainly won’t adjust theirs to yours. Well unless of course they are told to. As they were during the pandemic. But how deep is that adjustment. It still looks a very superficial version to me. Money talks when it cones to choices and social mobility

And then hidden amongst that is motivation and a drive. What does that look like? I know for me, beyond the essentials, money is never a drive . It’s a passion and reason that isn’t enough for me. My passion and reason is lost behind that because it can’t complete in a world that is driven by money. And yet the passion that I have comes from a much deeper and more meaningful place . Wanting to make a difference, wanting to be the best version of who I am and use that for others and really caring. We all have our own reasons. That passion being the very risk I took that started the whole mess. And yet I have learnt and experienced so much. More than money could ever buy. Even though it is meaningless without a piece of paper attached.

In the end it’s all about risk. How much do you have to risk for the same thing? 

For me the biggest risk was always in giving out my heart. But when there is also a risk to your way of life on a very basis and practical level, then that’s a version of risk that is called “going all in”. Who does that? In this case “Juliet”. Betting everything you have and who you are. And it can only end one of two ways. And that win or loss will be huge. In that moment I was a reckless player without having the best hand to back it up. Taking the biggest gamble of all. 
There is something for me in knowing that I had the courage to do that. To know that has been a  part of me, and my life, provides a small consolation. I had always lived life much more carefully, making lots of sensible and well thought out decisions. Taking small risks here and there but always keeping in mind the hand I was dealt. That one moment of reckless risk undoing it all. I often wonder where my head was in that?! 
When people talk of “following your heart” I often laugh inside in all its easy words . But I know I did exactly that while risking it all. It’s taken me a long while to really accept that. To know that my heart took me there. It feels easier to accept as I start to find my way back. The guilt gradually decreasing in all my “good doing” as I try to atone for what now feels like a mistake. But a mistake in my lack of judgement as opposed to my reason. My reason was completely true. Never venturing far from my small world  that felt safe. I could have just stayed in it without exploring more. Was it worth it? A question that provides an answer that often goes back and forth. Finding out that a straight flush of hearts is never a match for a Royal  flush. 

I am now feeling grateful for that lesson. In understanding what I want and need in contrast to others. That when I took a risk it wasn’t about a better lifestyle or creating a life that fits with this world. It was about Love Care and Sharing. It was literally just about a feeling. That’s one crazy reckless risk for which I have definitely paid the price for. 
But as I start rebuilding again and seeing the things I lost through new eyes, I can also see exactly how much I have and have always had. And what is still there for me if I wish it. The things that were right there in front of me that maybe  I took for granted too. The stuff that always made me really happy and had everything required for a really happy life in this very real world. Where through those challenges and difficulties and changes I am now seeing it all with very different eyes. Seeing both myself and others who have changed. And all those changes are helping to move me towards a place that feels better and happier for me and my girl. Finding myself focusing on what feels important than what others are doing. 

I was reminded for a moment about someone who helped to squash my confidence in kicking me when I was down. I realised how little I actually cared now. I didn’t hear anything that I wouldn’t have expected. Predicable in how that world works. Realising that I had zero interest or jealousy in what she was doing.. It felt lovely to finally rid myself of those last feelings that were left in the forest to be blown away into insignificant history. 
I have no wish anymore  to compare my life to others. It’s all relative. Instead I’m just gonna quietly try to do my own thing in my own way. To hold on to the safety I’ve worked so very hard for and to try and  find a  happy version within that. Because I’m all done with battles. Never wishing to risk my heart or my life again.  A peaceful life is what I wish for now. And if I’m really lucky I’ll find or create a little M magic just in that. 


Dark Sky Hidden Sparkle

On Monday, late at night, I stood alone outside in my garden, in the dark, looking up at the stars.

I was thinking about Light and Dark. Battles and Peace. 

Standing there for a long while under a clear dark sky where those famous clusters were so very visible. But instead I found myself searching for the stars that were hidden amongst them. The harder I looked the more I found. And a couple of times I saw those almost invisible stars shoot through the sky, and then like far away fireworks fizzle and sparkle. 

Did that happen or was it my eyes playing tricks? Who knows. But it didn’t really matter. What I saw was so beautiful and along with the Light version in my ears, created such a beautiful and powerful surge of wonder from deep within me, as I felt the enormity and power of the universe beyond. A natural creation of depth of feeling within myself,  inspired by the extraordinary natural force beyond. 
Sometimes it only takes a single breath, a tiny movement, with a moment of complete magic, to find myself  feeling more. Even if it is momentarily. 
That’s the thing when you are constantly battling. You never get a chance to really stop and feel how far you’ve come or how much you have changed until you just stop and breathe. 
I am breathing. Quietly. On my own. A very slow and gradual process in feeling me. A me that has evolved and grown. Grown in a way that is starting to make me feel more. My version of more. 

I have so much love for the people who matter to me. Thinking of them as I looked up at the stars.
Peaceful space allows me to feel. Whether that be through watching a cloud float in the sky, or feeling the suns warmth as it pours in on me through my window as I read, or hearing and smelling the rain as I stand in my garden, or touching the soft and comforting purple fur throw that I wrap myself in, as I cosy up alone and watch films. Gradually feeling my stress begin to subside in just being able to quietly exist. 
Believing in the quiet power and beauty of my girl who is out there fighting for herself, knowing that I am just a heartbeat away. Love travels

Noticing as I looked in the sky that the most beautiful stars for me weren’t the biggest and most visible. They were the hidden ones that caught the eye of someone who always looks beyond. Seeing them sparkling in all their invisible magic. 

Life is like the greatest love. It’s easy to fall in love when it’s perfect and beautiful. The effortless version that requires very little and is filled with so much visible brightness and big promise. Its when the going gets tough and battles have to be fought that it is really tested. Seeing exactly what it is really made of. But when it does survive it provides a whole different and more meaningful reason to fall in love all over again.

That’s the path of life that I’m beginning to walk along.


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 ❤️