Very often actually. A few days ago as I put my earphones in a song was playing out of nowhere. Not on my play list. Where did it come from? Find Me. The rational version is that it was a connection that my phone picked up from the same artist that had accompanied my sadness which has been disguised as anger. A sadness that I don’t want to show or feel anymore. A sadness where you just want to exit because it hurts too much. But I can never exit my own heart. A heart that I carry round with me everywhere I go. That never lets me forget. That holds no rationality. It just feels what it feels without a single reason. As my head steps in to try to protect it. But it ignores and continues to feel its own version of castles in the sky. Quietly where no one can see it. But my heart sometimes combines with my head in all its rationality to tell me who I need to be. My girl needs me. More than she ever has. In a way that I wish she didn’t. Not because I resent or begrudge it but because I love her so much and it makes me sad to see her have to deal with this. I feel so lucky that we are so close. But I wish more than anything for her to have the life that she wishes for and I want to do whatever it takes to help her to make that happen. Wishing that she can have all the love and happiness that she wants beyond me and her dad. She will always have that but she deserves the kind of love beyond that makes her feel special and happy.
Love can very easily become selfish. A version where it becomes about what we want from another. But that’s not a love that I wish to subscribe to. How easy it is to subscribe to that when it provides something so wonderful. But to really love someone is to wish for what they wish for. To wish them to be happy. I have never wanted to hold on to her life no matter how much it makes mine more wonderful. We were always borrowing her. We had the joy and the good fortune to be the people who were given the gift of taking care of her until she was ready to fly away and explore this world beyond the safety of our wings. Beyond home. Even though we will always be her home. Her place of love and comfort and safety. But somehow despite all our efforts we managed to let her down. To not provide everything that she needed in order to fly confidently out into the world. When we talk she says often how much she misses us both. How much she misses that love. How much she misses the easiness of life when she was a kid. How she wishes she could just go back to the life she had at home. Where she felt safe and happy. A victim of the love that she felt as she grew up where everything was just fun and cuddles. I wonder sometimes if the transition between childhood and adulthood is easier if you are running towards something better. As I try to soothe her distress from a distance I wonder about all the things that I’ve got wrong. Regrets in how my choices might have affected her. How my happiness might have led to her sadness. She always says she was really happy and how much she has loved the time she has got to spend with us individually. Close to both of us. Maybe if she had been desperate to get away she might have found what she was looking for. She was looking for different but still wanting it to come with genuine and love. But she is struggling to find that genuine and love. I think so much about how much freedom she had. But that freedom came with a warm hug when she returned. Encouraging her to explore and do the things that she loved. She had such an independence. But none of it came with any pressure to succeed or go down any particular path. “Life is all about being happy” we always said. The safety net in place for her whenever she fell. Loving her exactly as she was without a requirement to be anything more. But perhaps to function and survive in this world requires more structure. The structure at home was always love and care. But the security fell away in the chaos. Did that affect her? all the sadness that came from loss that none of us were prepared for. I fought hard to get it back but it’s a real basic. I know it hurt me.
In my book she said “first my mother .. forever my friend” Lots of photos reflecting both, in ways that remind me of similar images in my mind with my own mum. Feeling that combination as I spend time every week with my own mum and also my younger brother who have been exactly what I have needed. I feel really safe and at home in that. It just feels like a constant warm hug. We’ve been discussing a trip we wish to take together to Ireland. A road trip all round Ireland but with a focus on visiting the the birth place of my grandad in Waterford. Just the three of us. What a crazy adventure that would be as my mum dreams of feeling closer to the “best man of her life”. A man that was so full of fun and twinkle and always made her feel really special. If there is a stereotype of an Irish fella he would have been it. A giant who loved the crack. I feel there is some magic to be found in that shared experience.
My girls sadness fuels my own. I think I would feel differently after all those challenges if she was ok. But as a lovely lady once said “you are only as happy as the happiness of your children”. Yes I feel that. My love for her superseding anything beyond. Her need being greater than mine. I have very little to give beyond, including to myself. Her sadness that often makes me regret my own moments of happiness. She deserves it way more than me. I will do whatever it takes to even up the odds for her. Finding myself disappearing back into my own world again in order to find what I need. It feels even lonelier there now after feeling able to share it. My heart is in charge of that place and reminds me often of what it felt like to share it even if my head tries to squash it. My head doesn’t live in that world. Never did.
The song left me feeling so much. One of those strange things that seemingly comes from nowhere but mirrors the feelings that sit deep within me. In a place that I feel I need to bury so deeply that it can no longer mess with my fragile head. A head that often leaves me wondering if I really am crazy. What a bookcase. A song that pulled at every string of sadness that I feel as I try so very hard to move forward. It’s very very slow progress that doesn’t much look like progress other than crying less, feeling more and trying to feel the peacefulness in complete simplicity. Another page in my girls book with photos by myself which was described as “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. What a darling she is. That simplicity is helping me to make changes that might allow me to find a way forward in this real world. Trying my very hardest to be a version of me that feels good. That I can feel really proud of. A version that consists of all the beautiful parts of myself. Disappearing to do that.
“Because I’ve always believed that the odds of finding what you seek tend to favor those who are open to seeking them in the first place. And I for one have never quite understood how odds stand to get even without that frame in mind”
Those that are open to seeking! I’ve always been completely open. I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve my whole life. My heart ruling my head. Never more so than in that chapter. The odds being evened when others meet me half way. I feel that with the people closest to me.
“the love I felt beating inside my chest was nothing more than my mind playing an unfair trick on my heart”
My head can never play a trick on my heart. Ever!!! Love comes in many forms and sometimes that love conflicts. And my head steps in, in all it’s rationality. How easily I can be swept up in a dreamy version that throws caution to the wind. I know what that looks like. But … It’s so easy when I only risk myself. So easy!!! If it was just me I was risking I would risk it every day of my life.
I was told by my brother in the week that my dad had been in touch with all of my siblings. Individually they have all met up with him. His hand being held out at 78 years old in wishing to find his sense of peace before he reaches his final exit. His heart attack triggering a need for something. The request from him coming via my brother in wishing to see me. It felt like a strange request after hearing my brother say that my dad said “I have no regrets”. Leaving me in a position to have to make a choice. I hate making choices. I always seem to get them wrong. I either completely overthink or am completely spontaneous. Rationality is not really my gift. But I find myself asking what would it provide? No time, effort or fight has been provided by him. Just showing up at the end. Am I supposed to run into his outstretched arms? Like a beautiful ending to a movie. I sound cynical. But I’m not. Just very resigned to his absence in my life. Resigned to his absence in times that I really needed one. And he picks now. In a time when I’m just so tired of caring about people and then being hurt by their lack of it. I needed him to fight for me because he really cared. To swallow his own importance for a moment and try to imagine what it might have looked and felt like for someone who loved him. This version feels something very different. It feels less about caring for me and more about caring about himself. About getting what he needs as he moves towards his exit. Knowing that whatever choice I make, it will hurt me more because I really do care. Really caring about him. I always have. Loving him from afar without him knowing and wondering if he did. Waiting patiently but it never arrived. Never having a single wish to hurt him. But if I’m completely honest a part of me would wish him to understand what the pain of not being cared about feels like. But I don’t think he will ever really understand that. And I’m not sure I’m prepared for the version the others got in him talking about how wonderful his life has been and how brilliant his two young kids are and that this time “he got it right”. I’m glad we provided a valuable lesson that you wish to share at 78.
And so as I write and try to work out what feels best I find myself in the position of being caught somewhere between my heart and my head. My head feeling let down and not wishing to feel that again but my heart wanting to provide him with what he needs. I’m made how I’m made. In the end it only ever hurts me, no matter what all those books and people tell me. Knowing that I won’t get what I need from him but hoping that by giving maybe I will give me what I need. A reminder of the Girl in the Red Coat. The girl who loves with her whole heart … and not wishing to lose that. Because in the end thats the thing that always made me special!
The build up to my birthday this year felt difficult, as I found myself reflecting on the summer and my girls illness, the four years of that chapter, and the losses and difficulties, as well as my life before that chapter happened. It all left me feeling like I didn’t want to celebrate me.
The thing I have always loved and felt most proud of in this life is being a mum. As I have watched and helped my girl deal with this illness I can’t help but feel that I must have let her down. No matter what those experts or my girl tells me I don’t think I will ever be able to shake that feeling. Wondering how much the stuff of that chapter has affected her. I’m not unaware. Going to uni has been isolating for her in feeling her difference to others. But the chaos brought about by me getting on the wrong train must have had an affect on her. It’s completely damaged me.
It leaves me in moments feeling so angry with the people who didn’t give a shit about me. Knowing that I was a nobody, a game, another distraction. But their game really hurt me. In every way possible. To feel their arrogance in moments out there makes me want to hate them but I can’t. I find it impossible to feel differently. I’ve never been a hateful girl. And those beautiful feelings that belonged to me are cemented in me no matter how much I try to chip away at them. they make me feel stupid and that feels hard. Instead I find myself just feeling angry with the world. It feels easier to be angry with the people who hurt others I love, than those who hurt me. I’ve always had a forgiving nature but I know when I have to put distance there in order not to continually be hurt. Caring less in what affect it has on me. Just don’t come near my loved ones.
I also feel angry with myself. For being so stupid and easily played and for being made the way I’m made. My girls caring sensitivity comes from my side. But it doesn’t really cut it out there in the real world when you are all alone and vulnerable and trying to be part of more. It’s part of what makes her so very special but also makes her so much more vulnerable in a world that can be harsh and fickle and where some people will come along and stomp all over you. But I love who she is. She is so beautiful. Like a little angel who is completely protective of me and those she loves. She is wonderful to spend time with. Genuinely caring. She’s completely my best friend in the world. The world would be very colourless without her in it. And she doesn’t have a clue just how beautiful she really is.
On the morning of my birthday I received lots of messages and calls from family and friends who know it has been a really difficult time even if not knowing all the details. Feeling grateful but overwhelmed by it and spending the day quietly alone. The week surrounding it spent with people I really love. Some really wonderful magic moments that provided what I didn’t know I needed without me asking for it. My best friends L&M always being so thoughtful and kind. A little planned lunch round the corner actually turned into a surprise afternoon tea on a yacht before flying through the sky. It was wonderful to share that day with them and M’s gorgeous baby girl. Our worlds might change but what we share never does and that feels such a wonderful thing. I always feel lucky and grateful that I found them. They are very special in all their love and care.
And my mate S who I spent the day with in the pub chatting about everything. Needing to try to get rid of all of these feelings so I can leave it behind. But this stuff is huge. Like a giant meteorite crashing into earth. It obliterated me and my life. She gets it. She knows the realities of life only too well also the effects of people who hit and run. “Don’t worry babe. Next September you can come back to Ibiza with all my lot”. Yes harmless crazy chaos feels like a version of me I remember. The one before this chapter.
K sent me a moonbeam which now alongside those fairies, lights up my front room. I’ll get to have fun with her in a couple of weeks. Food and drink a lovely vibe that comes from live music. And then Swiss M who got me completely hammered when I rejoined the crowd for a moment (I think I needed that) and is now encouraging me to come out for more fun. We danced and laughed all night which felt lovely. London is back in my sights again and feeling a new love for it after being with L&M Like my girl .. London is where I belong. I’ve just not been ready before to reengage with her. But little by little I’m feeling her pull. But only with those I trust now. I’m having to take my time in it. I’m not ready to throw myself back out there. Still feeling very quiet and still holding a lot of sadness. But I’m trying.
My siblings all shouting out to me. My mum sharing the reality of their sister, who over four years has been taken back to the feelings of the 19 year old. They remember what that looked like for me and it reminded them that I’m still here. Feeling their gladness in that and a new found love in wanting to share with me more. Not realising that I had hidden so much. How isolated I had been. I’m a very private person and live more in intimacy. I haven’t wanted to be the stuff of gossip or judgements. And not wanted to worry my mum. But now I need that love from those who actually care about me. To remind me of who and what I was before I walked in that room.
And then others I have known through the years randomly remembering me and wanting to reconnect. Lovely people who knew me before that chapter and who liked me just as I was. Not needing a better version. I was enough in all my kind and warm and fun “average Joe”. It feels nice to still be able to have those few people in my life without the aid of Facebook. I don’t need everyone to know what I’m doing and be admired by many. Does it really make people happy? Are we all so desperate for attention? Anyways, these people who messaged are really nice. All very kind and caring. I definitely have a type. I’m sticking with that type now. I know where I am in that and trust in it. Which helps me to distance myself ever more from that previous two year period. Happy right now to send the care I still have for some via the post office. It’s all about the few stopping me from wishing to connect beyond. Connection to them by association. I don’t want to be anywhere near them. Wanting to leave them so far behind me that I can’t even remember their names. I just want nothing to do with their versions of that world in all it’s arrogance and self importance. How quickly you can become what you despise. I’m so aware of that and why I feel a need to remove myself from what makes me what I don’t wish to be. That experience with various individuals has created such a massive loss of trust in people. The girl who had learnt to trust and was so open hearted now being much more wary. Especially of those who believe they are wise. As Socrates said “the wisest person is only a person who is aware of their own ignorance”. But that would require a person to be self aware.
So I’m sticking with those who I know and trust and feeling much safer in that now. No longer wanting to put myself in positions that make me feel vulnerable. Trying to let it all drift away gradually with other things that have hurt me. Hoping eventually those very deep wounds will heal and I will feel like the me again that was really happy in the world just doing her own thing. In some ways it helps in knowing that at least I’m human. That I have the capacity to really feel those wounds. That my heart is still in tact even if my soul has got crushed as my life fell apart. I guess If I never cared it wouldn’t bother me. But who would want to live a life like that. Such an empty life without real feeling. I guess for me it’s a case of Live and Learn. Although my lesson in that chapter feels like a very harsh one indeed. Especially sometimes when I see how others live their lives in comparison. I did at least have a trueness of heart for all that counts in this world. But I often wonder… “Did I deserve it?” I question often now whether I must be a horrible person. Being called bitter made me question if I am. In reality I’m not bitter. I just feel very sad and wondering often what must be wrong with me that would see others treating me that way.
Of course my girl is like an antidote to darkness as she brought home a beautiful book last Sunday night. An appointment on the Monday giving me a treasured couple of nights with her. The book she put together was so beautiful. Her message inside it reminding me of everything we share and how she sees me and feels about me. And what I have meant to her through this difficult period. Still in it, but we keep moving forward. It made me cry it was so touching. “I wanted you to know how much you are loved” she told me. She is very aware of the things and people that have hurt me during that chapter. She was with me through all of it. The time and care that was given in obtaining photos from my life and messages from those who have been a beautiful part of it and who really matter to me. Like a little detective finding people she has never met and messaging. All those different contributions meaning so much to me after such a difficult period. She knows how it has looked and how hard I have fought. I would like to think perhaps that seeing me fight is now helping her to know how to fight harder too. I’m always there to help lift her in those moments of doubt and difficulty. “I’m so proud of you mum” are lovely words to hear from a person I feel so incredibly proud of. I try to feel prouder of myself but it can feel hard sometimes. I felt so lucky and grateful in the kind and generous sharing, the pictures that took me back, the memories of lovely moments and the thoughts of love and friendship that were shared. Like the conversations people have at funerals that you never hear. It was nice to hear them. A book that came after a week that symbolically felt like an ending and beginning. A new year. Moving towards a new chapter. I’m not quite there. Still inbetween but I’m trying. Knowing that I have in these years so far, lived a life full of everything. Knowing that if I died tomorrow I would know that I have felt all the feelings I wished to feel as well as the ones that I didn’t, but are part of real life and the pain of love and caring. I know I have jam packed so much stuff into this life. Even amongst the challenges, difficulties and sadness. Alot of it unseen and unknown but so full of different and random and crazy and beautiful things that feel pretty spectacular for the girl who came from nothing. And so full of love and sharing. The ordinary and the amazing coming together like a wonderful symphony. A rhapsody of what life is really about and what feels important and meaningful and memorable and creates music that threads through a life. When I heard someone say to me in the summer “Just Live” I thought “I don’t know how to do that right now” When I think of it now I think “I Have!”. Because I know I have spent my life creating a whole lot of sparkle from nothing and everything. I know that I have put my whole heart in to everything I’ve done and every relationship I have built. Reminding me that I have that ability. Good to remember in a time when I have doubted it.. When I have felt small, disposable, used, worthless and stupid. Feeling the unfairness of life, in how it often rewards those who don’t give a shit against those who really care. I can feel angry for a moment but a second later it just turns into sadness. Sadness because I’m a lover not a fighter. In the end, in my heart, I always wish others to be happy. That’s how I’m made really. It’s just not nice when you feel like others don’t really care and that feeling of being used is a horrible one. But I care and that’s what matters.
I remembered that the impact of others when I was younger made me wish that I had never been brought into this shitty world. More recently I have kicked myself, for putting myself in a world that resulted in a such a sunny and loving and fun person ending up feeling so rubbish. The photo of that trip with my besties to Barcelona a stark reminder of the girl I was before that chapter. She was a carefree and happy and confident. She talked to everyone and had fun everywhere she went. She didn’t see what was coming. If she had she would never have got on that delayed flight. But you can’t rewind time. And in amongst that there was lots of wonderful moments. But some of it got rubbished and that has really left me struggling to trust ever since. One of my biggest sadnesses of life as it happens. I think perhaps because I took such a massive risk for it and feel so let down now. Not wanting to be used anymore. No interest in being picked up in various moments as the Rolodex spins. A massive sadness in investing so much of myself only to find that it was completely meaningless for them. Perhaps overtime it will become equally as meaningless for me. But I doubt that. I don’t function that way. I know what it meant to me. A meaningless piece of life feels such a waste for me. And I’ve never intentionally wasted my life.
What I do know is how I thought when I walked nervously into that room on the first day from one hours sleep. “They must be lovely because they want to help people.” A school girl error I guess which played a big part in crushing me. What an idiot I must have looked in all that dreamy magic. Even though I’m not an idiot. I’m actually just a girl in a red coat. I can’t pretend that this stuff, these people haven’t hurt me and made me feel like nothing or that in moments it won’t still hurt me as I move into a new chapter. That last chapter shattered my confidence and has left me continually questioning who I am and what’s wrong with me. Picking up labels and placing them against myself. But the fact that I wonder tells me they don’t fit. It’s so easy to say I allowed myself to be treated that way. I guess I grew up with the notion of treat others like you would wish to be treated. But it always appears now that no one has to take responsibility anymore for their impact on others. Why then do I always feel so responsible?
But I am wanting to leave it all behind me now. This birthday felt like a good time to try to draw that line and leave it behind. Wanting to move into a new chapter that is filled only with people that really love and care about me, that value and appreciate me, and treat me in a way that I deserve. The same way I feel towards them. The same way that I treat them. That feel as lucky to have me in their life as I do with them. As I wrote, this song came on and it felt completely apt in how I feel today. A vulnerability and sadness that has delayed me visiting my mum until tomorrow. Just needing a moment to be alone in what I feel.
Knowing that the wrong train ended up taking me to despair and now catching a connection which feels like it is taking me to love and care. A station that is home to people where I do actually matter.
I wrote this post for my two best friends and my girl. Inspired by their resilience and the trueness of their hearts and minds. Alongsude thoughts of other close friends I have, who I treasure so dearly. Written in solidarity for people I care about who are affected by the hidden unfairness that is so often overlooked and ignored. I sent this for them to read and asked for their permission in posting. These realities feeling important to share. These normal stories of real people who have to live and work within the game. The game that you make a choice “to play or not to play.”
I choose to play my own version that comes with truth and love.
My girl sent me a video of her singing at the cabaret night. An amazing achievement given every thing she has been fighting with. Still looking so frail but improvement every week even if not at the rate and speed required. But balancing the various practicalities, emotions within the world she is currently trying to inhabit. A world she had such high hopes and expectations for but is nothing like she thought. Some say that uni was the best years of their life. Were they crying out for freedom or was it just that same right of passage that they knew. A path that is laid out for them. She being the first on that path. Entering a world that wasn’t familiar in their shared ways of being. Their freedoms in being around others like them creates her restriction. It’s not always easy.
From further investigation and exploration it has become clear that going to uni has been the first point of trigger for her illness which was exacerbated by the illness and death of her grandad who she was so close to. But her isolation in this world resulted in a trigger for control. Her life now comes with so many challenges but she is fighting hard in all of it and it makes me so very proud of who she is. It feels much easier when she is back in the safety of home. Where she able to say how she is really feeling and talk openly about what feels hard for her. A constant connection of reassurance helps her to manage it but she always has a calendar that tracks when she will be home. A conflict in wanting to live life and do something she loves against wanting to be where she feels safe and happy. “I’m a London girl” she always says. “That’s where I belong”. Especially at home and around family and friends where she feels loved and cared for, in all the wonderful things that make her the person she is. Knowing and understanding exactly what this different version takes for her In all her quiet, gentle, sensitive and thoughtful ways. Where all her fun comes to life. Her differences feeling so much bigger in being surrounded by a crowd that feel the same.
Her difficulty in being able to connect to the other professional support around her. Feeling that they make assumptions and judgements based on their way of being which looks and feels so different to her version. “They just don’t get it” she says. Different worlds create different people. Placed in a box that looks nothing like her version and leaves her feeling like an alien. But in her own world she fits very easily without having to try or become what she doesn’t wish to be. There’s a skill I think in trying to understand what another’s world looks like. A skill that I think many but certainly not all of these professionals lack. Their one size fits all approach because their version of one size is very often the sane one size version of the majority. Her ways shown to me so clearly in the book that she put together for me with so much time and care. Finding and calling on help from those she knows who are important and matter to me. I will write about that another time. But it showed so much to me in who she is and what feels important for her. But at uni she struggles more. Finding it hard to make any real and meaningful connections. A girl whose kindness had always made her lots of friends. But living in a different version that she often finds difficult to trust. “There’s so much Fake” she says. “Welcome to the game” I think.
I guess in a world of performing arts where you are surrounded by lots of performers it will always come with a lot of pretence. She loves to sing and dance where others just want to be successful and famous. Different drivers indeed which require very different attributes. She quietly progresses and shares her excitement in moments where she sees and feels her own progression and growth. Lovely moments when she grows in a little more confidence. Her potential in not having that same prior training sees her natural ability growing at a faster rate and sometimes overtaking others. But as we often talk about, she is trying to focus on herself. No need to compare. You do what you do and let them do theirs. But it can feel hard when others do the comparing. Especially as she isn’t one to big herself up in the crowd. The louder voices being seen that can make her doubt the magic that she holds. That inner confidence slowly rising and falling in different moments. But she keeps on trying. Sometimes looking for reassurance from people she knows who just love her. Nothing required for that.
Without question this feels like a transitional period for her. She is at her happiest every time she returns home. Able to just relax and be herself. No need to conform to any version beyond “ just be you. YOU is wonderful” The loneliness in being surrounded by lots of people who she struggles to join in with. That leaves me feeling very sad In knowing that anyone would be lucky to have her as a friend. She’s the kindest and most caring person you could ever know. She would help anyone. But she keeps working hard to try to find people she can relate to and find the happiness she so wants and needs, in amongst it all. Finding moments of fun which helps. She lacks the loudness required for the crowd and can easily feel very lost in it. But she tries everyday for happiness. She feels lucky for the opportunity and it provides her purpose. I often wish she would just come hone. I only ever want her to be happy. I guess this is her battle and. I have to let her fight and overcome it. I often think she is happier when she does her little shift in Greggs on a Saturday morning where she chats to customers as she serves them their sausage rolls.
Yesterday, I was feeling a frustration at work that comes from a usual place for me. Disappointment that comes from my high expectations of others. Especially those on lots of money who don’t deliver value for that price tag. Should I lower those expectations? Life and experiences tell me I should, but I never expect what I’m not willing to give. It made me think of my friend K who said she always feels like she could be doing more. The fact that thought crosses her mind tells me just how much she gives. A person who really cares. A very beautiful and valuable quality for me as a friend and I imagine those she helps. Why then does it seem to have so much less value in the game.
When I returned to work I was told not to feel any stress or anxiety but within three weeks finding myself in the usual position of having to clear up the mess that was created by others further up the chain during my absence. Only this time I’m feeling less understanding and forgiving. And no longer wishing to knock myself out for others who don’t care. Saving what I have for the things and people who really matter to me. No longer willing to take the strain for all those people that get paid an awful lot of money and aren’t doing what they are being paid for. The slippery fish who never get caught because they have the ability to wriggle out of anything and still come out looking like they are amazing. While others further down the food chain pick up the consequences of their mess and find solutions to fix their fuck ups. The people further up who are full of bullshit and arrogance. The big “I am’s who spend their time having their egos stoked in order to prop up the lesser version that actually exists. But usually find their success off the back of people who are actually more capable and have more. People who care, take responsibility and get stuff done. I guess we could all be a slippery fish. They’re laughing aren’t they, in all their success as they use each other and other people to get where they want to. But they are also arseholes. (Well every now and then you find the proper gems amongst them but they are so rare) Can’t say I ever feel inspired to follow the slippery fish way. Don’t love money or arseholes enough to want to rub shoulders in their world. I would have to sell my soul for it as opposed to sometimes losing it in moments like yesterday when I am reminded how this game of life and work is played. I’d rather feel a proudness in who I am, have less, but be surrounded by genuine and lovely people. It left me thinking about two of my best friends who in different ways have been treated so rubbishy by their workplaces.
L who worked tirelessly and with dedication through the whole pandemic as she covered for other people being paid more by using all the better skills she has but isn’t paid for and having to constantly step in to ensure things kept running. Picking up for others that were very often treated with favouritism. The you rub my back I’ll rub yours crew. And of course what does she get for all her efforts. Nothing! Being treated with a lack of care or appreciation for all the time she has conscientiously worked hard and cared. While others who didn’t give a shit come up safe and secure and smelling of roses. Usual story! I’ve worked too many years to know how it all works. There is no loyalty or appreciation. But it still makes me angry to see my wonderful friend being treated so shabbily. Just because she doesn’t play the game of the slippery fish. Because she is clever and decent and kind and hard working and she cares. Because she cares about those around her and wants to always help. And do a really good job. Because she values loyalty and will always try her hardest to be the kind of person that you would want to work with. She is the sort of person I would wish to be. But if she complains or challenges it is just seen negatively. Because it’s taken for granted that she does what she does without receiving back any appreciation or care in return. Rocking their little boat that they sit comfortably in while she does the work. Well I certainly care. I know her value. Could not feel luckier in having her as a bestie (my person). Could not have felt luckier when I worked with her. That golden time. That time when we looked out for each other rather than just ourselves. She has a way of making a person feel like they really matter and her thoughtfulness has no limits. A person full of the really inspiring stuff.
And then my other friend M who found herself being discriminated against at the heart of that perfect little world I’ve heard about. And sadly proved right in my lack of surprise in knowing how it looks beneath the surface in hearing what it has looked like for her. Being told In the glossy diversity and inclusivity brochure that interview panels would now be representative of diversity. In reality finding herself being interviewed by 3 white people in a middle class world. Knowing my friend as I do and having worked with her for four years I know how qualified she is for this internal promotion. Easily. The hard working Oxford grad with loads of experiences in both work and life. None of which held any weight in blatant racial discrimination, as the young white girl without similar credentials but who who plays the game and is a favourite amongst similar was given special projects in advance of this promotional selection. Projects that would provide her with the specific requirement of the role, that provided her with an unfair advantage. The same young white girl who had been fast tracked through the ranks and ended up getting the job. Leaving my friend so upset by the unfairness of this age old problem. With very good reason. To hear the words she used to describe how it made her feel upset me so much inside, and has left me fuming ever since. Because despite all the marketing and the fake smiles and politically correct comments this is still how it really looks behind the scenes in its reality. She is bloody wonderful. Amazing I’m so many ways. A person who spends her time working really hard as opposed to schmoozing. One of life’s total treasures in all her Clever and Kindness. Hearing her wonder how much time it would take to wash the colour from her skin. What a disgrace that she is left to feel that way behind that facade of being equal and inclusive. Hidden decisions outside of the process that created hidden unfairness but allows them to cover their tracks and justify decisions. We all know how this game works as they made sure they got who they wanted for that internal promotion. As for my very talented and hard working friend who doesn’t play that game, I would like to tell these people how beautiful her skin is. That her cultural background forms so much of her wonderful, through her religious beliefs, her importance in family and her accepting and warm and kind way that makes me feel so very lucky to call her a bestie. Her beauty that lies on the surface and within. Again she is made of the stuff that actually inspires me. A person that has always been there for me in good times and bad She has felt unable to complain until she leaves for fear of how she will be treated in the meantime. But leaving she is. Who wants to live and work in that world. Finding a new role in a more diverse place where she doesn’t have to worry about conforming to a version that allows her to be there but doesn’t want her to overtake. Instead she can be exactly who she is in all her wonderful in a place where hopefully she will feel more valued for all that she brings.
To say I’m angry in seeing my friends treated in these ways is an understatement. Unfortunately age and experience has shown me a lot in how this game works and I’ve felt very jaded from that. The superficial version I hear doesn’t really cut it for me. It’s all hidden behind gloss and fake smiles and presence. Less cynical and more just keeping it real. A real that when you get older can easily see you being labelled as bitter. I think I’m too far gone to feel bitter. It’s more a disappointment that I replace by being around people I love and who love me back and playing no part in those games. Instead just trying to live my life in a way that feels right and makes me feel like me.
In the end actions always speak louder than words for me. I’ve had my eyes opened in so many ways in how some people treat others, especially through that previous chapter. And why I often struggle now to always see the beauty in everything and everyone. Realising, that was a beautiful fantasy world that I had created in my own mind when in the real world it doesn’t deliver in the same beautiful way.
But in our smaller worlds that we create, where our game is called LOVE and CARE, it will always be beautiful.
This little snail popped her head out of her shell. As she found her way moving towards the crowd…. ..
.. Inspired by my Italian friend S who messaged me as she sat in the car on her way home to Rome from Milan. Sharing all the difficulties for her and her family. Sharing how sad she has been feeling and wishing that we will be able to meet up again soon. Aaaah such good times with her in Milan!!! The thoughts of a lonely Italian girl shared with the English girl who has definitely known that feeling too but is at my snails pace moving forward. Very slowly, but moving. A beautiful back and forth in sharing the emotions that don’t fit with the party. All the trials that were understood in our matching ways of being. Our immediate connection some six years back when we found each other in a brief moment in a fantastical place. How time can fly past when you are dealing with challenges. Remembering lots of wonderful and easy moments. Trying to feel proud of in all the things I have managed to do and be, through all the harder ones. The stuff that builds character and shows what and who you are really made of even when you are on your knees. I’ve always been a worker. I feel a tiredness from that.
The connection with S that has stood the test of time and distance in all it’s beautiful and dreamy real. One of those close few I stayed connected to in the pandemic. A trust created and shared in heart. It left me thinking about all those google found versions of self help that I find as I surf. The ones that provide the theoretical and rational ten steps of how to get you and your life back on track. All rooted in moving you back onto the conveyor belt of real life. Enabling you to rejoin the crowd, be productive and be happy. Because if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. Just wind me up like a toy and let me go as I pretend to be a version that keeps functioning but feels nothing. Couldn’t do it. Can’t be part of superficial when I feel so much emotion. I know what the superficial looks like and how I feel in that. Nothing!
Those steps often have a little mindfulness thrown in. That version of “letting the weight drift out of my fingertips” All the weight still left in my fingertips despite the c a l m i n g tone which maybe was just lacking a bit of pan pipes. Thankyou .. I feel so much more mindful now!!!! Did I miss the boat on that one. I feel myself smiling in the need to be mindful in order to get back to a crowd full of mindless. It made me think of the phrase “stay connected” through the pandemic as those virtual forums got a boost to their economies and people clamoured to be together. The mere thought of disconnection being just too horrible to contemplate. Except for the introverts who happily found the quiet and space that they craved. Only really needing intimacy than the crowd. Someone to share that disconnection with. When I’ve done the test I always have come out 52 per cent extrovert. Did I just learn how to be that 2 per cent in order to join the crowd. Needing that tiny bit of external energy which I would redefine as fun in order to find my balance. In many moments of being “the party girl” craving the more intimate connections. I guess that’s what I went searching for when I went back to school. I love to have fun but enjoy it so much more when it is shared more intimately with people I love and who love me too. The crowd just background noise and atmosphere as opposed to the main part of the show. I can pull out an entertainer if required but there’s a reason that I usually connect more with the introverts. I don’t feel a need to have to entertain. No need to try to fit or be crazy or exciting. It’s more about just sharing. Sharing who you are and what you have. I’m naturally a sharer. But more a sharer of love and care and fun.
It was followed by a walk with Swiss M in the forest who grabbed my little feely tentacles with both hands as I mentioned that I probably need to get out again a little more. She asked me to come share a night with her and two of the boys I know. J of which I have known for over half of my life. An old friend who knows me pretty well. Definitely an extrovert but with hidden sensitivity and emotion. Met him when I was 21. Felt nervous in that first meeting as the contrast in our lifestyles was huge. Not wanting to mess up or sound stupid or look common. Wanting to fit in and be liked. Of course the Irish in me kicked in and I ended up getting blind drunk and throwing up in his back garden. But he still liked me. The rich boy who has always had a soft spot for me in all my chatterbox of thoughts, despite the fact that I have challenged him often through the years. And he has challenged me right back. But always with a kindness and care on both sides that gives a confidence to just keep it real. A longevity of relationship resulting in a solid trust. He likes to share ideas. He knows he is completely out of touch with the real world in his millionaire life. The gritty realities of life are something he has never experienced. But he has a respect for what others often don’t see.
I was given a spare ticket for a gig in Kentish Town. A venue I have spent lots of nights at and the only place I have ever crowd surfed before I was dropped on my head. I was in my own little crazy jumping zone at the time as I was being pummelled by the crowd and was just picked up before being unceremoniously dropped. I think perhaps being dropped on my head again might be good for me. Something that I have in common with the other boy M who I’ve known for less time but still a lot of years. A sweet and funny gentle giant. Happy doing his own thing and looking out for his two boys. Remembering at the end of a different night that was over ten years ago now, and five minutes after I had said “goodbye and get home safe” had fallen all the way down the tube station escalators also landing on his head and ended up in A&E needing stitches. Drunken mindless is sometimes the antidote for real life mindless. Certainly has worked for me in moments as I certainly have felt the weight leaving my fingertips. I feel my nervousness in the thought of being back in the crowd but also feeling the comfort of a small group of people who I know well and trust, and will look out for me. Hopefully without major incident or injury. Not sure how I will fair but sometimes you just have to start somewhere. This version I know.
I’ve found myself thinking a lot about intimacy and the crowd. What it takes. What it takes of me. Very different parts of who I am and what it does and doesn’t give. Somehow needing to find a balance in real life. That balance has changed a lot for me. Time with my close crew makes me happier. It takes so much effort to build something new and meaningful beyond and I have seen in more detail how some others function and also that sense of entitlement that can come with financial privilege. I saw it as a kid in that very white suburban world I moved to where things were very often about how it looked on the surface but with not much substance underneath. Knowing what it looked like on the other side where you didn’t have it. I know what the different shades of white looks and feels like. Beneath all the perfect. The versions of what’s being said in comparison to what really sits beneath. And the differing power held in those different shades. Why is it that all the people who seem to head up equality and diversity in the workplace seem to be posh white birds. Where did all their expertise on the subject come from? I’m not imagining it. And also how easily I can be seen in the same way. A shade of many differences despite our similarity of look. As a white girl with blonde hair I would perhaps be seen as the mean “prom princess” who owns it all, despite the fact that my version looked very different. Blonded up in a journey to find some confidence. In the end what sits inside a shell has its own individual look and feel. You have to get closer to understand the differences. I see what feels important to others in their identities, understanding more in how important that is and why. But beyond that I’ve always looked for what sits inside. The stuff that makes us individual. Whilst always remembering what surrounds that. It can influence a person to be and feel a certain way where life hasn’t afforded them the same privileges. In any version. It’s easy to be an angel when life has put you at top of the tree.
I’m certainly no perfect article. I don’t even wish to be. I have so many flaws. I get so much wrong. So much. I’m a mere human. I’m always learning and growing and trying to understand what I don’t. I make mistakes and have no doubt I will make many many more before my life is over. But I do try my best and my heart is in the right place and I always have good intentions. I guess that has to be enough.
What I do know is that I’m so very lucky in the beautiful people that really matter to me. It’s all I need and want. I still love to chat to random strangers. Connecting for a brief moment in something beautiful that comes from within them. I’m a mixture of all sorts inside but the red of my heart being the most prominent colour in this pallet. Even though it’s truest feelings are often hidden very deeply away. I can share that more easily with people who really know me. I realise that my needs are met in the relationships already built. It feels nice not to have to chase that. It feels like a tougher version for me to chase now. Beauty, youth, money and power is what the crowd loves. I have none of those. I often wonder if those that do are happier? Or maybe they just fit into the crowd a little more. But I do know that I’m definitely much happier in intimacy. I find that so much nicer and easier. Comes more naturally for me. It feels like more. It has more substance. It provides a feeling that lasts. A depth of feeling that comes from a place where all the trueness of who I am really lives. That feels like I become intertwined with something more beyond myself. At its most beautiful and intimate it’s a closeness that moulds you together. Where as the spice girls once sang “2 becomes 1” although I believe they call that co dependency now. God forbid you should ever feel dependent on another person in this life! Tell that to the mum taken care of by her son as she died. Total dependence. Through a life the give and the take evens out as the care is given and taken with the same depth of feeling. Belonging just in that. Intimate connection that comes in so many different forms. Sexual, emotional, familial, maternal and so on. I have known it in all different versions. I feel so lucky in that. Relationships have always been the most important thing for me in life. Investing in those few more than any other areas of my life. They make the most meaningful difference to my life. The rest feels like smoke and mirrors. It’s why I love the people I love so much. They’re the best bit of life for me. I treasure them. The rest being a nice to have. I’m also aware how much life can dictate how those relationships look and work. Or perhaps that’s just my life?! Time and distance can easily result in disconnection. I’ve seen that with friendships of the moment where I can easily drift away in the lack of mutual love and care. And yet my feelings aren’t fickle. The people I love most are still the people I love most. Investing in the few rather than the crowd. Creating some of my own limitations and restrictions. Wanting relationships that are weighted in values. The kind of values that enable me to be a person I can feel proud of. That I respect. To live a life that is about more than just me. Meaningful rather than Many works best for me.
I feel more lost in a crowd. Knowing that it doesn’t really care if I am there or if I’m not. It survives in its need to survive. It moves along with or without me. It tells me in moments that I am a part of it but if I disappear it doesn’t notice. It can easily replace me with a new version. It changes often and if I don’t change with it then I can easily find myself no longer part of it. It holds all the control. Ever more so in this modern world. I don’t like being controlled. Especially by a world that often feels fickle. The crowd where everyone flows together or clashes. The clashes leaving me wishing to retreat from it all and the flow often moving me in directions I don’t wish to go. Knowing what really matters to me but struggling to find it in a version that looks good on the surface but is just made of words and no action. I often feel the hypocrisy in views that are expressed against actions that show something very different. Although I don’t have the energy or inclination to challenge now. It’s like being a gladiator trying to fight the mob. It only takes that powerful thumbs down and you are done for. I think I’ll leave the angry podium for Greta. How I would like to take her for a few beers. Has she ever had a chance to be carefree? Or just a kid? although she doesn’t strike me as a girl who has grown up in poverty. I wonder if one day when she reaches my age she will be more disappointed by her lack of carefree fun, the world still continuing to put economics before a planets survival or how big her own carbon footprint has become as she tries her hardest to beat an invisible monster that’s way more powerful. I hope you smile sometimes G more than I hope you help to save our planet.
At this point in life I feel more happy in the flow within myself. It comes from a good heart that believes in what I believe in. It doesn’t travel in one direction, often feeling more fluid in working things out for myself. But always comes with a whole lot of real and a whole lot of care. The world is complicated. Differing ideals clashing against each other in the need for survival. But if only there were a little more care and share. Where everyone could have a little piece of happiness that comes from safety and security and a fairness of opportunity. My care that tries to look beyond my own version of life. I have always tried to fight for what I believe in. But it can wear you down when you still have to survive yourself and take care of others. Sometimes you have to know when to stay out of the ring. I know exactly how I feel and what I believe in. I try to live my own life in a way that reflects that. Which is what I’ve always done. Never have needed the crowd to tell me how to be. My own mum always told me to be kind and respectful to all. And to try to help others who need it. I followed her lead. It feels simple but cuts through so much.
Existing and surviving in the crowd can create a lot of conflict for me that is the equivalent of trying to travel up escalators that are going down. And yet in that moment I surfed above the crowd, I enjoyed that feeling. A feeling of freedom and flying. In the crowd there’s a collective energy that lasts for just that moment. I can feel a moment of belonging or a feeling of being completely lost and lonely in it. But in those moments I really feel part of it, that feeling of belonging can very quickly disperse before completely disappearing. Leaving an empty feeling. The crowd is an energy that lives for just a brief moment in time in contrast to the longevity that is felt within me from intimacy. The moments of life that I really remember. The person or people who I shared things with and how they were shared and the feeling created in that. I love that feeling so much more.
And then thinking about the contrast in my feelings when I feel that force of the universe. I feel an intimacy in that as I connect to something that feels so much bigger as I stand there completely alone. An invisible power that seems to move me from beyond and yet I feel a sense of intimacy within myself. A feeling of something that lives within and beyond me that is just made of feeling. A universe of feeling. An unknown and invisible collective that becomes a part of me. Manifesting and rising and providing an energy that crashes together within me that leaves me feeling a part of an incredible and dreamy more. A more that feels so very real. A more that makes me want to fight harder for life. A feeling that is created within myself lifting my soul higher than any visible crowd has ever been capable of. Always left with such a deep feeling of being so small and insignificant but with a powerful feeling of something so much bigger than me. Do others get that feeling too? It feels steeped in humanity. A collective in that very basic version. The moment passes and the feeling disappears but those moments come with such a slow and gradual build up of feeling before a beautiful climax that can leave me feeling so much wonder. And all created from abstract and untouchable. A true and deep connection is everything for me.
As ever, none of my thoughts have any purpose. They are just random rambles about nothing and everything. The stuff that I often have nowhere to share so I just put it here. Out into the invisible crowd who might catch and feel it for a moment in all my anonymity.
Something that has been on my mind a lot. The love and care I have for others that are special to me. My version that is not fickle. How easy it is to make an assumption. To look at me and make a judgement. I have spent two years in a world that has dictated so much for me. I can’t run or hide from these things in the way others do. It’s a part of me. How I was brought up and what matters to me in this real world. I can’t live a life not giving a shit beyond me. My heart sits squarely at the core of who I am. What a complicated place that is. It’s so easy to judge what isn’t understood. I’ve never wished to hurt anyone in my life. Being as human as they come. My life not being the be all and end all. Sometimes some things are just more important than me. There are people who would understand that and those that would not. But life has a way of testing you at some point. Never have I felt the importance in providing safety and security than I did this summer. Feelings and choices that felt complicated by so much. But now I would say don’t judge me on what you have never lived or understand, I know who I am and who I have always been and how I feel. Choices that represent a version of real against my dreamy hopes. But it feels good in knowing that I’m a really decent person in this world which feels like a good place to get to.
I love a films. New ones and old ones alike and sometimes watching them again in new moments. Sometimes by chance, sometimes because I really love them and sometimes because I don’t remember but something about it calls out to me to watch. As though it wishes to share something with me that I need to feel. I’ve had that feeling quite a few times especially recently.
On my girl’s birthday it was the new Bond Film. “A Time to Die”. My girl loves Daniel Craig and I have loved Bond films ever since I was a girl. Glamorous locations around the world, action, adventure and beautiful women in gorgeous dresses. Casino Royale is my favourite, Daniel Craig my favourite Bond and Vespa my favourite Bond Girl. That’s the shell I would like to have been given in this life, if I could have chosen. But I wasn’t and yet what sits inside is way more beautiful because it will stand the test of time. I’ve heard bad reviews but for me it had everything required. I’m not sure what they were missing? And I think the memories of past, and endings, and time and death, couldn’t have provided a more relevant cocktail on such a significant day.
And then me and my girl watched Chocolat as we finished eating her chocolate fudge birthday cake the next day. (Something so simple making me really happy) Chocolat is another favourite of mine. Takes me places in thinking about who I could be against who I should be. The pleasures and indulgences of life and the joy that comes in sharing. It makes it feel so easy, but life continues after the end credits. And yet, in that part that came before those closing credits I found myself wondering and imagining what it would be like to be part of such a simple warm and welcoming version of a party that just feels so accepting. With food and music and a freeness of spirit. Where everyone is welcome in all their unique and individual ways. It shouldn’t feel so hard to find and yet I struggle to find it. A fickle crowd that I struggle to even want to be part of. The crowd that decide whether you are in or out. I’ve always been a warm and friendly and caring and loving person but that doesn’t really cut it in the big wide world. Feeling so lucky in my close friendships, so lucky, especially because I struggle to connect beyond that now. While I was taking care of people life moved on, people changed and I was left behind. And that feels hard because I’ve never really fitted with the whole “cool vibe” or those superficial circles where everyone fits. I’m just me. Doing my own thing in my own way. Trying to look out for my girl and my mum. Always since a kid looking out for anyone who struggled or was left out. I can’t do that version where “we are all in it together”. They weren’t in it with me other than those special few who looked out for me all the way along. It feels like you are only really welcome beyond, if you have something they want or need. Where you provide something that fits with the party. If not you may as well stay at home. You don’t have the right vibe in the world that has changed and you’re no longer part of. That feeling of belonging feels ever harder to come by unless I change myself into a different version. And that feels sad that I’m not enough if I just come as I am. The person who always cared and was always kind but has no place in this new and improved version filled with all the better people who have so much more to offer. It can feel very disappointing and disheartening to feel what is really valued in this world. Makes me feel stupid for caring so much. Even though I’m not stupid. Never have been. I’m just a real person with real thoughts and feelings.
I feel like I want to try but I felt the negative effects of not fitting. Not sure I want to put myself through another version of that now. A massive loss of trust in learning how other people and the crowd works. But I know I would still like to be part of something beyond my own small world. Maybe it isn’t possible or maybe it will be somewhere? Everything feels more disposable from where I’m looking. Whereas the things and people I love most have been around for ages. A depth of feeling growing and constantly evolving. I can’t can’t grab hold of the version that shouts next, next, next. It would just feel like I was on repeat. But I still love the idea of being at that end party in all its old style spring time easy breezy and down to earth sophistication. I would feel so happy in that. Is it just an unreal version that doesn’t exist? Although I guess I’ve had that. at different times, in different ways. I miss it and struggle to really see and feel that version now. That end party in Chocolat was magical! Everyone was included. Everyone!!! How amazing is that!
But I was reminded of a version as me and my girl walked through Petticoat Lane Market on Sunday morning And really feeling those good vibes that I’m talking about and really matter to me. That market that has changed very little through my adult life. Always had a diverse mix of stallholders but with a commonality of friendly, down to earth that came with a little light hearted banter that made us feel part of it as opposed to the butt of their jokes. The stuff I really warm to because it feels more real. And because it doesn’t differentiate. You’re just part of it without having to be anything other than yourself. And realising that my girl felt the same as we bypassed Spitalfields because the Lane had provided us with exactly the sane feeling and everything we wanted and needed. I know I’ll be attending that party a little more. I always liked it there. Maybe because I never had the money to keep up with the crazy rich kids who can go anywhere they want. I’d rather to there. But it felt good to be able to share all those simple pleasures with her. Her happiness growing a little more again each day. It will take time but I have all the time in the world for her. She is moving forward and growing and that does make me really happy.
The film that actually inspired me to write was Million Dollar Baby. Another boxing film but a different version to Cinderella Man which is another favourite of mine. But this one not being so memorable to me from when I first saw it. Maybe I just wasn’t ready for it back then. I’m not even a girl who enjoys watching boxing. Although as a kid I did always like the crazy world of wrestling. Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks on a Saturday afternoon. “Easy Easy Easy”
I guess I am drawn to these films more because of the cultural connection. Boxing traditionally had always been the sport of the lower class that I cane from and feel more comfortable in. It represents so much for me than a sport where two people knock seven bells out of each other. It’s about the stuff that sits inside a person. The stuff you can’t see. That isn’t visible in that way we define in other cultural categories. And you have to have lived it to really know it. The subtleties of how it looks and what the differences are. All the colours and shades that live in that. A version that can definitely be seen and felt by me in actions. In boxing it takes a lot of bravery to put yourself in the ring in the first place. Not to mention all the hard work and dedication required to get there. And a real discipline and care. So much care that gives everything of who you are and what you have. And then that thing. That spark, that passion, that fire. That sits inside where no one can see it but keeps it driving. That fighting spirit. That heart!
“Some people say the most important thing a fighter can have is heart. Show me a fighter who is nothing but heart and I’ll show you a man waiting for a beating”
I’ve felt that beating I thought. Had the shit kicked out of me at different times but never more so than in the last couple of years. This film touched me so much this time round. Maybe you have to really know what it is to fight to get close to it. Connection is everything. Hilary swank playing Maggie. A girl from nothing with real fight! Remember her?! Packs a punch! And Clint Eastwood providing a bit of old fashioned grit. And Morgan Freeman who only has to speak to make me swoon. If I were looking for an older man he would be it. There is just a warmth and beauty that oozes out of him. A massive favourite of mine.
“ I don’t train girls” Frankie said.
I was left thinking so much as I just paused the film for a moment to make a cuppa as lightly on my feet I gave a couple of jabs and a right uppercut to my girls birthday balloon as I passed. Caught a glimpse of a few faces that I would have liked to have knocked out through the years. Even though I couldn’t be bothered now. Who were they anyways. Some privileged types that felt like they owned it all. And wanted things how they wanted it, and had the power to make that happen. But in the end it was their loss too. Perhaps with a little more compassion kindness and understanding we could have found a version that allowed us to find more beyond our own worlds. Instead it left me confirming those original perceptions. Those small versions having the ability to corrupt a wider version. Why would I believe it any different beyond. Confirmed and reconfirmed in each version. Perhaps that is just how it is.
But as I watched the film I felt my own fighting girl who came from nothing but has lived a life full of so much. A real life full of love. And for a moment I connected and felt good in that. It felt something good to connect to. And it continued rising as the story played out despite knowing how it ends. Phrase after phrase that resonated with me in ways that only I understand.
“The magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you”.
I felt it impacting on me so deeply as I watched her confidence and excitement grow. Seeing the difference it made to her in someone’s true care and belief in her. Sometimes you need that. I need that. And the difference again in those who didn’t. Two worlds colliding. I know how that feels. How quickly on either side you can be brought down to a place where you question whether you have what it takes. Caught somewhere in the middle. Not fitting here nor there. But fitting with myself in who I am even if I don’t know who I now wish to be.
For all those special people I love… Mo Cuishle… My darling my Blood
I am filled with so much emotion today. Feeling very tearful. Perhaps it’s in knowing my girl is coming back tonight for a week at home. A feeling of relief I think in her making it through this first part without any big incident. Holding and hiding the worry in knowing where she was only a few months back. That fear I had in seeing her at her most emaciated and psychologically troubled sits inside me now as I look for any signs of her going backwards. The very real fear at the point of her lowest weight which plummeted so fast as the illness took a grip. Finding herself on the critical list and having a mental battle that feels like forever ago but was only a few months. To see her so psychologically distressed left me on my knees and not knowing what to do or how to help. It has changed me forever.
I think because it’s her birthday tomorrow it’s a reminder of all the special times that we have shared in this life. Again it makes me feel emotional as I wait for p to bring her home. She has created the most happiness for me in this life in just being who she is. She has to be nothing more than her. She doesn’t want a big celebration preferring to just keep it low key and simple with just me and her dad and a trip to the cinema. I totally get it. Her life feels something worth celebrating but for her just being a family feels enough right now. It makes her happy.
I thought about my own birthday which I would prefer to pass without a single thought. I don’t much feel like celebrating me. I struggle to feel really good about myself now. A lesser version of the person I thought I once was. But perhaps in time I will feel more proud of the things I’ve got right than thinking of all the things I’ve got wrong. I certainly know that I always have tried my best. I’m a tryer if nothing else. I find myself remembering a beautiful pre birthday version last year in lockdown and also the year before. I felt so lucky in them.
I try to give the appearance that all is well and good but in reality I am very lost. Trying to find any motivation and care for anything beyond simple and safe happy feels hard. I don’t even go swimming which I love. All my thoughts and choices are rooted in wishing to keep my girl safe. I’m trying so hard to do and be all the things that make that possible. Not much caring about my life anymore other than making sure it impacts on hers In the most positive ways. Looking after me so that I can be the best version for her. I’m sure there are people that would tell me that’s the wrong way to live a life but look how well it went when I tried to think of me. Carnage and chaos. I’m lucky. I’ve had a very wonderful life in so many ways. But her life is more important to me than mine. I just feel like I want to look out for her as I quietly get on with life.
Now I feel that safety and security I know I’m just hiding in my own world. I struggle to trust anymore. I want to but my confidence in people was seriously dented. I can’t do that polite pretence version. Good vibes and kindness is where I’m at. Just wanting to be around people that I know really care about me as much as I do about them. I don’t want to put myself around anyone who will judge me now. I just don’t need it. But the safety of where I am is allowing me to take down the barriers and remove a lot of my armour. Not needing to worry so much. I can feel P’s gratitude and care in seeing how much all of these challenges and difficulties have hurt me. I know he feels sorry for that. He also knows the version of me that came before all of this. I know he wants to help me get back to her. And I don’t feel a pressure with him in that. I just know he feels sad in seeing me so tired and worn out with life and wants to help me get back to the version that real lived and loved life.
I’m trying. I feel like I’m slowly getting to a better place. Making plans with those in my close circle. It’s a good start. I feel like I’ve been such a rubbish friend amongst all the chaos. And I really wish to be a good friend to those people who have been there for me. The best friend I can be. So much has hurt me and although I am accepting of what those things are it doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped feeling the effects. As I take the barriers down I am really feeling them and it makes me really sad. Sometimes I feel the waves of gladness in getting to a place that feels safe and where I am able to rest. But alongside it I am also feeling all the waves of of tiredness and sorrow that catch me in all sorts of moments as I feel my eyes welling up when I’m in a shop or driving my car or walking in the forest. That same sensitivity is what always made me so warm and loving and caring and happy but I am also feeling the reverse of what that is. But trying to feel more of the relief and peace and smiles amongst those floodgates opening. The kid who exists happily within these four walls. Trying to get her back out a little more beyond.
It can all feel a bit overwhelming with so many thoughts. My brain not completely engaged as I stopped at a red light while all the people could cross. Getting caught in my thoughts as I sat there and when they had reached the other side, starting to drive again before the lights changed to green. it’s hard to function while I’m feeling so much. If I’m honest it makes me in moments want to draw back again even further and put all the barriers back up. But I know I have to feel it all so that I can move past it to try to get to that better place. I can’t push it all down in the way others do as they put out a perfect version. I have to keep it real.
How I would love in moments like this to be the kind of person who doesn’t feel like this or have to cover it up. The people who without a care can just move straight on to the next better place. Fresh and new versions. It must be lovely to be like that. I’m a simple girl who comes with so much complication and feeling. Whereas others are just made of smiles and light. Although I remember being exactly that smiles and light version. But life can be so harsh and just squash it. I like to think that I still have lots of smiles and light in me. They’re trying to get out again.
I know for me any loss really hurts. Because of course I always love and care too much. When I read about what the “right” way to be is, I never fit into any of the right categories. Overly emotional, sentimental, irrational, and so the list goes on. I can’t be the only one made this way. “Can I?” Are we all our there somewhere thinking “what’s wrong with me then? Why do I care so much?”
I had a very dark dream last night about a serial killer. A dream that felt like it lasted through what felt like my entire sleep as I felt the figure I couldn’t see choosing a victim that was close to me. As I looked to escape out of the window or hide in the forest I could feel him but I couldn’t see him. A feeling that he knew where I was but was choosing people that were close to me as a way of telling me that he could get me anytime that he wanted. Keeping me in a state of absolute fear and distrust in all those around me as I didn’t know who he was . I was awoken by a sound and had that moment when you are half awake and half asleep and your mind plays tricks, as I imagined a shadow of a figure walking towards my bedroom doorway. I took a deep breathe and it vanished. What did it mean? I would think that there was so much wrapped up in it. Thoughts from the past? People who have hurt me. My fear of death? I think that’s my least fear now other than leaving my girl in the world without me. Or is my minds way of processing all the loss I have felt close to me. All the fear I have in losing people who matter to me. Fear Of being left alone in this world. Feeling like I walked into a stage of life where it seems to have happened in all versions of what loss looks like. Impacting on my life in every possible way. And leaving me feeling an emptiness in missing all those people and things that had made my life and world so wonderful. Seeing it all disappearing. Leaving big holes everywhere. And as result leaving me in a world that in lots of moments feels like it holds very little that I have very much care for. Just the people who are really special and who really matter to me. Mattering more than they could possibly know. The world and its people just moves along. It feels like a soulless version. Or is that just how I am moving along in the world. Feeling soulless? Losing my ability to connect to anything beyond nature and those few people that I really love.
Even on a gorgeous day like today it just seems filled with people rushing about and caught up in the importance of nothing. Just killing time. Or is that just what I’m doing? As everyone else is “living”. Sometimes it’s good to just throw the dark out there in order to make room for a lighter and more dreamy happy girl. Knowing that all the sadness and difficulties have created a lot of dark feelings that have to go somewhere. All four years of them. Holding me back with their tight grip on all the beautiful parts of me that used to exist in their entirety. That were hopeful and bright and positive and like sunshine. This stuff feeling like a dark cloud that feels really hard to shift. Maybe because it also holds some things and people that I find it hard to let go of. My moments of feeling like a kid who feels safe being clouded by the memories of all the things that can’t be unseen or unfelt and are no longer there. On that pendulum that swings back and forth as I continue to slowly process it all and try to become who I wish to be. Evolution to devolution to evolution to devolution. Unable to just paper over things in order to just function and keep moving. Life and it’s meaning for me was squashed. It took me twenty years to get to a place where I learnt how to really open my heart and trust. And I felt that for over twenty years beyond. A life and friends to prove that. And just like that it was wiped out in a chapter. I guess it’s all grief in its different versions. And as I try to deal with my own version of that I continue to feel that need to live in a safe and quiet world.
Maybe eventually I will get back to that same excitable, joyful and completely open hearted girl again. But my fear is that she no longer exists. That life wiped her out.
As I finished writing I received a very long message from my own mum. The most beautiful message of all the things she loves about me. The things that have made me feel stupid. It made me cry in knowing that all those things in all their sentimentality and loving nature, are the things that she most loves about me. I’m a human. Sometimes I need to feel that too.
I was thinking as I was walking in the forest yesterday that Im not sure that I’ve actually evolved at all.
I guess evolution tends to happen when life requires it. And I think for me during that whole chapter I evolved, as the reality of life demanded it. I had no choice but to really “grow up.” Which sounds hilarious considering how old I am and that I’m a mum. But the truth is that as a kid I had to grow up fast in order to survive it. The moment that I felt safe and I didn’t need to be, I was very happy to just be a kid again. And realising I’ve never really grown up again since. Never wanted to. Didn’t really need to. I was very happy being the eternal child. I mean I’ve always been able to look after myself and others but in the main the dreamy girl has always been enough.
What has been clear for me is that I can’t run away from responsibilities and promises and duty. When faced with the big stuff I went from dreamy girl to Warrior and I evolved in that process. I had to be the proper grown up version of me. Just in that moment of time. Including the the grown up mum as opposed to the friend. The grown up mum that showed herself in moments she had to when my girl was growing up. But were rarely needed. Always there to catch her if she fell but always trusting in her ability to be able to fly. And she always did. Really happily. But in her big fall she has needed the full, solid, heavyweight mum that has it all covered. The one who has all the answers and is completely in charge of what’s happening. In fact I don’t have any of the answers, only sharing in the stuff that I’ve learnt along the way. But it gives the impression of having the answers, which when you break it right down in terms of what she really needed, it was just a whole lot of big love and care that provided the feeling of being completely safe.
To feel safe. The most hidden and underestimated commodity in life. Ask anyone who hasn’t felt that. In this moment she has needed to feel rock solid safe. She knows I would give my life for hers. In that way I can be completely fearless and strong. The grown up protector of what is the most precious gem to me. The benefits of that protection are beginning to show as I see her confidence very slowly build again. Little by little. The back and forth in helping her to work things out, as she gradually relearns to trust and believe in herself. It’s constant connection at a distance. I must look like I’m addicted to what’s app in our little chats and constant reminders of my belief in her. Less looking after her more reminding her of her own ability to take care of herself and make her own choices. Sometimes in life you have to go back to those basics. The stuff that cancels out all the other crap. And I really feel like we are moving forward. Very slowly but really surely. Showing her what the grown up version looks like but without having to lose all the good stuff.
Because when that need for the grown up is not there and it’s just me left to my own devices, well I revert very happily back to being the kid. More like devolution. Loving and feeling all the same things in the same way as when I was younger. Not needing to be a grown up. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s just necessary sometimes. I can totally do it. But when I don’t have to worry, I just like being the carefree girl. That’s just how I am and I like being that way.
I don’t think I will ever relate to the “strong and powerful women” that WANT to be in charge. In charge of what? Please don’t put me in charge of anything unless it’s absolutely and completely necessary. I could not have any less interest in being in charge of anything. Other than my own life. But I like to help. I imagine the “strong and powerful people” are the best matches for all the kids like me. Yes please to someone else being in charge of all the grown up stuff. Knock yourselves out I’d say. And yet they would probably end up being in charge of me and trying to make me grow up too. Bringing me into line. I think I’d rather deal with the grown up stuff myself. Or the grown ups who both want to be in charge and need someone to spar with in the battle for supremacy. That version just sounds so tiring but I guess different strokes for different folks. Whereas just taking care of me on a daily basis feels so easy now. Knowing that the only good things about being a grown up (other than being a mum which I love) is booze and sex. The rest just feels like a big old headache. Peaceful dreamy world for me. I know to many a modern woman that would sound like so much less. Being strong and powerful being a mantra that I constantly hear now. But to be honest, I don’t really give a crap. Feeling like I’ve done more than my share of warrior woman as I sat there like a happy little kid on my settee last night eating my fish n chip dinner watching Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark. My girl always laughs at me when I’m watching films. She says my eyes are so big and glued to the screen with my mouth open when something exciting happens. “How old are you?!” she says laughing. Yeah about 9 years old. Beautiful!
I don’t think I was ever really made for this grown up world of cut throat career and ambition, big decisions, home furnishings, and illness and death. I’ve shown I can do it when necessity requires it and totally have the ability to overcome challenges, survive and keep going and trying. And always being whatever is needed and wanted as a mum. It’s just a given. That’s unconditional. But really, I’m just a kid at heart. I’m just happy riding my bike and listening to music and dancing in my kitchen and giggling with my friends. I feel happy just in that. And I’m starting to feel that again as I find the time and space to just be me. With some extra sparkle thrown in with the different things planned with my special few, for fun and sharing. People that have been with me through all the tough stuff and are still there having waited patiently for me to get to a better place. It’s been a while but I’m definitely getting there.
It’s so easy to feel like the dreamy happy me when I feel safe. Without a million responsibilities and worries weighing down on me. When I have a safe home and all the people I care about are ok. When I have some freedom to make choices. Stuff that is easily taken for granted but is feeling like a massive gift for me. I’m sure all that grown up stuff must be easy for the “powerful and strong women” who thrive on being in charge. But for me it’s like turning a Goldfish into a Great Dane. I just like to swim about in a life that feels simple and easy and fun. And why I often feel like I’m just not made for this world. I mean I couldn’t be a grown up permanently. It’s bloody exhausting!!!! Saving my warrior woman for when she is actually needed. The rest of the time dreamy girl has it covered. And thankfully I have my little flat with its twinkling fairy lights where I can exist again in my very own childlike way.
And gotta tell ya.. that’s feeling so nice Here’s to devolution!!!
I love music. All music really. It’s one of my most favourite things in life. Why all my posts come with a tune. I like most stuff. Some styles more than others. Always have loved the electro dance vibe, love a film score or some of the classics and have those tunes that come on at a wedding or such like that can see me running from the girls toilets to the dance floor in a matter of seconds saying OMG I love this tune and then dance in my own little world. “Only girl in the world” by RiRi being one of those classics as L&M would know so well. I can get completely lost in all sorts of tunes which often hold some meaning for me whether that be a particular time, place or person. And to hear that tune will take me straight there. Songs are a complete thread through every part of my life which s why I found it so difficult to listen to them.
I’m not a big Queen fan but I do have a couple of their songs that I have always loved for many years. Both of them have lots of meaning for me in different ways. “Who wants to Live forever” and “The Show must go on”. Trust me to pick the sad ones while everyone else wants to “be the champions”. But I like the music and the words of both. They feel like they have an internal fight to them in giving up and continued trying in this one life. And I feel Freddie in all his vulnerability in these. There always appeared to be such a gentleness that existed behind the showman. Their depiction of life could not be closer to the feelings that I have for a world that can very often feel so superficial but in moments that are personal and special to me, have not. Sometimes I have struggled to be part of the superficial and sometimes in being part of what is so very real.
“We don’t have forever.”. which always makes me want to live a life with moments that I will treasure forever because they mean so much to me. That make this life feel like more. And yet of course we have to survive in it all too. I know how to survive. As a kid and an adult. My survival showing In constantly forging my way in the real world but in a way that is compatible with the values that I hold deep inside of me. I never let go of those. Without them it would all feel meaningless to me. Trying to live a life following my heart is complicated. Sometimes following a heart doesn’t take you to your hearts desires. Sometimes it’s just about living life in a way that feels right to me.I know myself pretty well. I think about this stuff. Having a family was definitely the biggest of my hearts desires. Falling in love and being loved. When I put it like that I’d say I have been so very lucky. I know what feels important to me. I know what and who matters to me.
One of my hearts desires was to be the best version of who I am and use it for something good. And I still feel that way Wishing to try to live to my potential and be a more that I will feel proud of. Wanting to make a difference in the things I do. Not wasting time in what doesn’t interest me or take me somewhere. I think that’s where I now am with work. It has served its purpose to this point in trying to survive on a practical level. But I’ve done my time in this version. I’ve nothing left to give to it. The motivation in that has changed. I can’t do it anymore. I need safety but I can’t just live a completely safe life. So I have to try. To try for my version of more. Otherwise what is my point in still being here. Am I scared. I most certainly am. If there is no fear then I’m not really trying. I can feel myself starting to try. Trying to find my way back to the things that I wanted. The stuff I worked really hard to build but all got knocked down. A good rest from the bump and grind of life has really helped my in clarifying what I don’t want anymore. Creating the vacuum needed to try to work out what I want to be in this world.
On days like Friday when the weather was autumnal beautiful and the sun shone through the empty forest I was able to really feel more. I have been holding so much inside. The ability to keep functioning through everything while trying to protect myself has meant that I have needed to keep so much of myself back. Dreamy happy wouldn’t have stood a chance in dealing with so much basic real. She would have been completely crushed and destroyed. Instead she got crushed but not destroyed behind a really big heart that went into full protection mode, as all the tried and tested barriers went up. Sometimes those protective barriers are needed in life. It’s all very well pulling them all down but then what do you do when you feel under attack from the realities of real life and the real world. Sometimes these protective barriers are necessary in order to survive. They have their purpose. And here I am. In all my evolution. I am feeling my heart reopen again very slowly. I caught a glimpse of my dreamy happy against a beautiful backdrop of a magical space. Listening to different pieces of music that I just couldn’t listen to a few months back.
I walked with so much emotion rising, in memories of others and of a life lived. A wonderful life lived. It felt lovely to reconnect in that way. Remembering who I have been at different points in my life. Ending up here there and everywhere as the non plan leaves me finding my way to places that I never intended or was looking for. Some of which are just for a moment, a stop gap or a stepping stone to something else. But the special stuff, the special people being much more than that, In always wishing for them to be a part of what cones beyond. It feels a more natural evolution for me in life, that the social media address book clashes with. I think perhaps I need some of those endings in order to have new beginnings. And sometimes I don’t.
Right now so many feelings relating to my girl as I listened to “slipping through my fingers” by ABBA. A song we share and love and she had chosen to sing in her weekly vocal showcase as a mark of what we have. It touched me so much. Her upcoming birthday in my mind and thinking how difficult this past year has been for her. Watching her having to battle with this feels so hard. The saddest thing that has happened in this life. It hasn’t felt fair. To see someone I love more than anything in this world, in so much pain feels so difficult. A person that is so wonderful and beautiful and caring. But unfortunately life can really hurt us. And it has hurt her. Somehow we have to find the ability within ourselves to overcome what life throws at us. I feel huge sadness in having not been able to completely protect her from the sadness of life. A complete jolt from all the fun and happiness that she was used to. Sometimes the price of Sensitivity and Love is a share of Pain. She has and is feeling that but we keep pushing through to get to the happy stuff again.
I read some quotes on what it is to be human. I liked this one.. “To be human is a given. But keeping our humanity is a choice”
Life is precious. I have had moments in life when I have wished I could just throw that precious gift away. And then I am reminded in what actually makes it so very precious. How grateful I am for those reminders. I feel super sensitive to absolutely everything right now.Life a walking volcano that has quietly and invisibly erupted but is throwing out so much unseen emotion. But none of it the fiery angry stuff that destroys everything in its path. It’s the gentle and loving stuff that makes me want to hug every passer by. Sounds crazy I know. But there is just so much sadness and darkness in this world. I’ve felt moments of both in my own life until every empathic and compassionate cell in my body comes alive to fight against that. Just wanting to only feel love, the purest variety until the day I die. All the rest of it just feels like a waste of my time and energy. Let it crumble into dust. It’s just meaningless. It serves no purpose. Love is totally where it’s at for me. It’s all I really care about. Fighting for what I believe in.
So I find myself continually going back to basics in just wanting to help. As someone special once said “There are many ways to help”.My own beautiful girl’s experiences and way of being taking her down a similar road of wanting to live a life where she can help others too. I am working out my ways as I go along. Sometimes they are more visible than they are in other moments. But the value of them can’t always be quantified. I find myself starting small again. With the little things I do everyday as I slowly work my way back towards the version that I chose. This being my own journey in understanding what help actually means. What it means to me and why I want to. What intentions sit behind that and how that makes a difference to what I give out and to whom. What does altruism really mean? How easy it can be to throw that word around where my selfless part can get very lost in it. I may not know where I am going but change is the direction I am travelling in right now. I feel it.
So I find myself now biding my time in my current job up to Christmas. A phased return starting this morning that will see me reengaging a little more beyond my own small world. I think I need a little of that again. Just a little. But backed up with a feeling that it’s only short term while I prepare. Taking my time to earn what I need in order to put in place the practicalities required. And also allow myself more time to explore, heal and get stronger. I’m not in a crazy rush. More knowing what I don’t want than exactly what I do but finally adding myself as a member. It’s taken me ages to get to this point. Just to start to put the basics in place. I’m feeling a little more brave in that which has been helped by P wanting to support me right back. Starting from scratch again feels scary, daunting and a bit lonely. Knowing the people I started with are miles ahead of me as they were carried along by the momentum. I feel like I’m having to hill start with a couple of flat tyres on a sheet of ice. Trying to get that biting point without sliding down the hill and crashing. But what’s the alternative. To just sit in my stationary car waiting to be towed away. No one else is gonna drive it for me and so I have to just start the engine and give it a go.
Just starting the engine feels enough. Something that both me and P are doing. Working out what we want our own lives to look like and trying to help each other in that. Feels like an important thing to do after all the difficulties and chaos. It’s certainly easier to change directions or take risks when you don’t have so many responsibilities and worries. When you are in your twenties or thirties it feels like you have all the time in the world. Although it’s so easy to waste those years. I feel lucky in feeling like I have wasted very little. The balance of what I want against what others I love need has always been a choice I was happy to make. Survival and living rolling along together. As I remember again, I am able to see that it has been full of so much. Meaningful and beautiful things that have made me and others so happy. The same special people always coming to my mind. And that wonderful was all created completely from scratch with lots of hard work, sacrifices, compromise and care. Right now my priorities are in those I love and care about with my girl sitting right up at the top of my “to do list”. Nothing having greater importance. And then somewhere in the mix, me, as I work myself out and take little slow and practical steps in different directions that have the potential to take me somewhere. Who knows where? I realised that I don’t need to know. I’m a Happy Dawdler and Dreamer in this world. The five year plan scrapped after five minutes in favour of my tried and tested version. Work it out as I go. It always takes me somewhere and I can take in and feel the beautiful moments along the way. It’s a gift in its own right. But that puppy is still firmly in my sights. When the timing is right and I have the time to be able to take care of it. It will happen. I have no doubt in that. I even know his name. MiM.
I’m like a silent volcano river flowing. Watching my girl go through this has changed me in explicable ways. Life has a way of doing that, when it throws the unthinkable at you. Something I could never run or hide from. Alongside everything that has come before. Feeling so much growth in who I am and who I can be. Inner confidence in the quiet and often faltering strength I possess. But never completely giving up. Finding myself only caring about what actually matters to me in life. LIFE LOVE PEOPLE Looking out for others. Trying to be a force for something good. Feeling the real and very down to earth version of what that is which comes directly from a very big and dreamy heart. A heart that says I love you and we can make good stuff happen. Come what may. Whatever life holds we can sort stuff out together.I know what that looks and feels like. And if I can get through it then so can you.
I made a decision as I walked. To be all the best parts of what I have to offer this world in my very small and insignificant way. But maybe that small and insignificant way has the ability to make a difference. I think it does. Without a whole load of “clever clogs” attached. Just by being me. And some bravery in taking some risks for a chapter that can hold so much wonderful. My kind of wonderful. So I find myself starting to put my little W pond ducks in a row. Getting finances sorted with help from P. The return care for all those battles that we have fought in. I only need a simple existence with the odd nice thing thrown in here and there. I’m a pretty low maintenance girl, but I have been known to make a whole lot from nothing. Not caring about being rich in the money sense. Can’t really give me anything that I can’t find or create on a budget. I have a proven track record of that too. But who knows.. Maybe I might end up writing a best selling book that becomes a box office smash. But if that happened then I’d just end up sharing it anyways. I don’t want to live up in some ivory tower surrounded by all those others in theirs. Where’s the fun and happiness and love in that. I’d rather share it with people I love And care about and people who need it.
So still going slow, as I dawdle and daydream but feeling a little more purpose and reason…. Bringing my girl along with me as I go, as she continues to try to find her way to a better place. We have a long way to go yet and feeling the ups and downs in that. But I completely believe in her and I’m so in it with her. And within that I’m also finding a little more about myself. But underneath still always the quiet and sensitive girl who knows how to be happy and have fun. Who feels the all of the magic in the air. Who loves with her whole heart and when she is in it she completely in it. No half measures. Her whole heart being thrown at this thing called life. I don’t care about having power over others. It’s always been about feeling empowered and wishing to help others to feel the same. But in our own ways. Not the ways dictated by others. And as I distance myself from anything that looks to control me, I feel more of my own inner power to march to the beat of my own drum. My beat has always come from very deeply within.
So despite any real clarity or concrete plan in place and at my own pace and rhythm, I begin to spin and skipmarch like a quiet little magical snail. But that beat is very much sounding and feeling to me, like the Courage to Change. And in that courage maybe I can feel my Dreamy M Woman
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.
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.