Appreciation

Last night a very dear friend of mine shared her experience of being part of the ceremony of saying goodbye to someone.
As she put it, she didn’t know him well. And yet she had shared with me who he was to her which in itself said a lot about both of them.
Through the time she had spent with him and what she had observed and felt it warranted the need to be there to be part of that celebration of someone’s life as well as being part of all the emotions that come with that, whether that be for that person, or the feelings of others who that person was very special to, or remembering and thinking of the special people in your own life.
It confirmed much of what I know about her. She has a genuineness that comes from a very special place. She is individual and beautiful inside and out with a huge awareness in both herself and others. I feel truly lucky to have her as a friend. She teaches me so much about the sort of person I want to be.
There is such an integrity to the way she thinks and behaves and is one of the things I love most about her.
I felt so happy that she shared and I took so much from her words which related a lot to how I’ve been feeling.
Did she know that? Maybe not but it sure helped me in how I was feeling.

Why did the man in the bank make me feel so happy this morning. Because he saw me smile and that was enough.
I didn’t have to be interesting, or amazingly beautiful or do anything for him or be anything other than a person that smiled. And he showed his appreciation by telling me I was beautiful. That one sentence made my day. It made me feel beautiful and like someone in the world appreciated me.
What a lovely thing that is to be appreciated for just existing.

I made a decision in something this morning. It seemed small. But these things sit with me for a while as I work out exactly how I feel and where they fit with me.
It went against the majority but that wasn’t my purpose. It was all about doing what felt right for me rather than what was right for everyone else. I took some time to explain it in the best way possible. My intention was not to segregate myself but to assert my own need rather than that of others. I care about them. It wasn’t about caring about me more but doing what felt right for me. Because strangely I feel like I got so much more from being pushed to the brink. Challenged beyond what I thought were my own limits. It made he see how quiet strength and resilience and pure care and love can win out and also leave you feeling good in the way you did it. I can hold my head up and be proud of who I was in that even if I made mistakes. I’ve always owned them.

Just after I sent my thoughts I received a response from my friend. The really special friend that I have struggled with very much lately in our differences. And yet they were the only person to say something to me.
Having felt so angry with them lately it made me cry. That small thing meant a huge amount and reminded me how much I misunderstand their way. That’s why I hang in there in that friendship. I think that in all our differences of which there are many, just like fairies, I believe in them. Because I think they believe in me.
I guess sometimes it’s hard to keep that faith when you don’t see them.

I have realised lately that I have a need to feel the same appreciation as I give. I don’t expect a carnival. Just little reminders that I matter.
Another very dear friend indirectly reminded me of the importance in that a couple of weeks ago and has made me look for the balance in having more time for those I love and care about. It’s important. Actually it’s essential. Because this world can make you feel like you don’t matter and it’s very easy to start believing that no matter how much you believe in yourself.

It’s why really loving others is worth so much more to me than all the superficial distractions of life. I’ve always known that but how easy it can be to be blinded by those lights.
I need them sometimes for some balance but not as much as I need love.

So where am I left tonight.
Still supporting said friend at work who feels so sad and said she wishes she was like me which she described as the bubbliest and sweetest person in the world.
Didn’t I say that about her!!!! 😊
Only Wonder Woman can explain that battle to rise. We are all only human.

And yet even though I feel very small in this big world, more than ever I’m wanting to treasure what really matters to me. With everything I am. Whether I get it right or wrong or somewhere in between. And perhaps for some it might not be enough and I have to accept that but it won’t ever be for the want of trying.

Sometimes you have to take it back to old fashioned basics.
Sending out every bit of love that I possess tonight knowing that there are people out there that care about me too. ❤️ and caring about each other is the only thing in life that really matters.

Blowing bubbles next to a blue sky

Today I was up very early. Things to do.
The sun is shining which makes it that bit harder to stay in doors and sort the things that I’ve been putting off.
Those practicalities of life that require a laptop.
I just about manage with that at work.
But not to be deterred I decided to put on a holiday dress. I may not be going to the beach but I can look like I am. Completely not fitting with the wardrobe of the local high street but fuck it, I love it and I feel like wearing it in the sun.
I saw it in the window of a charity shop last year and it was always going to be mine.
A strapless maxi dress. Sky blue with white tie dye that makes it look lit it is covered in fluffy white clouds. I was a walking sky.
I had a couple of jobs to do one of which was going to the bank. As I wandered in there was a queue. I was standing behind a tall black man with a beard. He was older. Late forties at a guess. But he was blowing bubble gum bubbles and he looked about eight. It made me smile.
As I smiled he said something to me. I didn’t quite catch it.
I said “sorry what was that?”
He said “you look so beautiful”.
What a lovely thing to be told in the queue of the bank. .
“Thankyou so much I said”
I commented on him blowing bubbles. He told me that his family always tell him off. He’s too old to blow bubble gum bubbles.
“How can you be too old for that” I said.
We both decided that you can never be too old to do anything if it makes you happy.
He went on to show me a picture of his young son and his new baby grandson. A handsome boy and a cute baby. He looked so proud.
As we were chatting an old lady came in with her walking stick. Come to the front he said. We can wait. She looked pleased and off she went to the front of the queue before our counters became available.
As I left I said to him how lovely it was to meet him and he checked that I had my sunglasses. I did.
And behind those glasses my eyes felt like they were sparkling in feeling some sweetness from a stranger.
Little things make such a huge difference in my world.

The Curse of Superficiality

The curse of superficiality..
The thing about being surrounded by people and all their troubles is it can wear you out. I was completely worn out by other people’s stuff and having no time for myself or those I really love.
But I danced my night away last night and today I feel differently.
It’s all I need sometimes. I’m human and I so so so want to be a decent one. I have huge amounts of compassion but I’m not limitless. A life of other people’s stuff can really get to me. I have a need to feel light and happy and free and it can grind me down.

Sometimes I find myself apologising in having a reaction to what people say or do. It can upset me. And when I say that I always end up following it up with an apology. Why do I do that? Apologise for feeling upset, for having enough, for having feelings.
I’m always aware of what my actions have on someone else but why is is that others don’t? How rare for anyone to apologise to me. Do they not give a shit? Or is it that I am the only person who gets things wrong?
I don’t get it?

I sometimes i feel like that about my friend. On the one hand I always think they care about me and then other times I question that.
Sometimes it feels like they got so caught up in theory that they lost their compassion.
That was the thing I most liked about them when I first knew them and yet often feels missing these days.
We are the complete opposite and I often think are completely the wrong friends for each other in every possible way.
They can make me sad often in their oblivious way. Which based on the stuff I’ve learnt tells me to remove them from my life. And yet I have this strange connection to them and I care about them so much. What an idiot I must sound.

Actually they are much more matched to their own type. Cynical, privileged and players of the game.
As opposed to loving, emotional and open.

Compassion!!! You can’t learn it on a course! It’s inbuilt and natural and I know exactly what the real version looks like. It’s priceless, under rated and you can’t switch it on and off.
It’s fuelled by emotion.

I find myself wanting to walk away from this friend all the time but like a mug I hang in there thinking that I will be seen for that very thing.

Perhaps my way to them is so much more difficult than the bright lights camera action stuff they so love. And that’s fine. Sometimes people are better fits with some people rather than others. Maybe I’m not the right friend for him.

But here’s a lesson in compassion my friend. That lights camera action stuff is completely superficial…

Real is what I am!
For all my apologies, I’ll never apologise for that. Its worth so much more than the other.

And that’s what makes me a Firework.

The Full Time Counsellor

The full time counsellor….

I’m starting to find that I am spending a lot of time being a counsellor in day to day. I don’t mind. I like helping people if I can. What’s the point of helping strangers if I can’t help people I know. It can feel a bit topsy turvy building connections with people who have no relation to my life and not being there for the people that do. But it can end up feeling like a full time job.
But what’s the alternative? The reason I became a counsellor was because no one listens to other people in this modern world. Am I gonna become one of them. Only listen If I’m paid to. Not that I am right now. 12 hours a week of free labour. Its taken almost 400 hours to realise that that is something well overdue.

What I realised in the week was that the thing I really love love love the most is moments of frivolity, fun and laughs and trying to make tine for that can feel like a challenge in itself.
Balance balance balance.
A party in the sun on Saturday night feels like a step towards that and something worth looking forward to. I’m so happy in that.

So how did this happen?what is it about me that has encouraged people to talk to me other than the fact they might know I’m a counsellor. But even more, that I find I have very few people who listen to me. My blog is my place to share and say what I’m feeling. Who cares?!

I spent so much time sorting out all my shit, clearing my head and understanding what is right for me and what is absolutely not, that I’m now seeing just how fucked everyone else is. And perhaps they are seeing that I am not and so they don’t need to bother listening to me. But I’m the place to go to hear theirs. I mean things cone up for me of course. With this job and those around me how can they not. And when they do I try to voice them to the person concerned so they don’t hang over me like a grey cloud drowning out my sunshine.

A lot of the big stuff I have totally got to grips with and I feel good. Happy within a happy life that isn’t perfect.
Life is busy and tricky and as one of the not privileged few with a comfortable and secure life who can drift along doing as they please, I have to totally fit my desires around my duties. But I’m pretty much always smiling even if I struggle very much to find any time for those desires.

I’m noticing how much of the precious time I have for me is being lost on others and that I need to claim some it back for myself. But without becoming a person who only cares about myself. I would rather be a giver than a taker but I guess it would be nice to feel that a little more give than take. I’m guessing you relate to that L.

My special and close few always have my ear anyways. It’s a given..even though sometimes like myself, I feel like they got lost amongst my time stealers and I don’t have enough for them. The people that are most important to me. How does that make sense.
What I know is that with the others I need to learn how to take a step back.

As an example I had a day where I was thinking about how little time I have to do stuff I’d really like. I was thinking about how much I’d like to do a photography course. My ultimate aim .. to travel the world taking pictures of smiles. Good dream right!
But it’s hard to work out how I can fit that in. I also have seen some writing groups that I could go to. Sharing ideas and thoughts and being inspired. Every time a day comes up I realise I’m committed elsewhere and it goes to the back of the queue.
As I was thinking about this and starting to write about it I got a message from someone I work with.
M, I think I need a counsellor. Ok random!
I asked her “what’s up?”
“Stupid guys making my life hard”.
I really like this person. They are like bubbles. Infectiously happy and very sweet. She is beautiful inside and out. She was like a little honey pot when she first arrived and there were bees buzzing round her from all round the building. The sort of girl that would make other girls jealous I think , as she could have her pick of a million boys. But she chooses the ones that treat her a bit rubbish. Why? Normal reason. She doesn’t realise her own worth. She’s wonderful and she doesn’t know it. Thinking she is the problem and needs to change herself to fit with them.
So I sent her Katy Perry Firework and told her that perhaps she needed less stupid guys and an easy life and then she wouldn’t need a counsellor 😊 but if she wanted to talk about stupid guys I would always be happy to listen.
She sent me back a smile. Maybe I’m creating smiles rather than taking photos of them. Which would provide me with more pleasure?!

I then walked through my front door and my housemate caught me before I got upstairs. She had been crying. Got a new job and told her boyfriend in another country but got a less than enthusiastic response, which left her feeling unloved, unappreciated or cared about. Another stupid guy? I just sat and listened for half an hour. She didn’t want advice she just wanted a shoulder to cry on so I gave it until I got hungry and needed a cuppa with a thought that I have stuff to get done.

When I got upstairs my girl was there. She had been contacted by a member of my family. This one was way more complicated and my first thought in this was I don’t want my girl caught up in this big fat mess. Second thought was I don’t want to be caught up in this big fat mess. This was family stuff. The complication of life that I have spent time and effort removing myself from. It’s always full of so much drama it would make an episode of Eastemders look tame.
I always love the perception and stereotype of a family like mine.
You have no idea.

What to do? I said I would speak to them instead. The deal breaker is she is a kid. Always wins out for me. Adults can change their stuff. Much harder for the kids. They live in what has been provided for them so it’s about surviving and trying to flourish within that, than an ability to change their circumstances. My only concern in this was her wellbeing. The drama that surrounds it I have Absolutely no interest in. Those messages I will avoid in every way possible.
Having listened to what her world was looking like I asked her if i could share it with the ones that have the power to make if different for her. Yes!
So stepping into the lions cage I shared what I knew and left it firmly in their sight of vision before jumping back out.
I’m her ear now but nothing more. No way im getting tangled in anything beyond.

By the time I got to the end it was 11pm. Miss L wandered in. She has become a little source of jealousy for my girl in the attention I give her. Saying there is no comparison does not wash. So extra love and attention for my girl in that moment and little miss L looking at me with sad eyes as though I’ve lost interest in her.
I can’t help but chuckle to myself inside in how strange and crazy we all are and I’ll include dogs in this too.

So 12 pm and completely cream crackered and ready for my bed.
Another day that I will have to dream of all those desires.
I totally need my sleep.
After all I have to be a counsellor tomorrow!

Change is coming

Come rain or shine

How can someone know what they don’t know. How can you imagine what something different looks like if you have never lived it. You may try but you will never know how it feels. I can never know how that feels for you however many questions I ask, however much I care or however much I want to know.

But it doesn’t stop me trying, or learning or loving you for all I know and all I don’t.

The throw away lines from your own way of life can cut deeply. It gets us all doesn’t it?! ..in ways that another would never know.. not that we say.. they are hidden from view but they sink in and are kept in that deep place of hurtful throwaway lines.
Even when they are not meant, or not said about you. “I mean those people”.. never knowing that those people might somehow fit in your world in some way and although you don’t care much for their views or beliefs the love that you have runs much deeper than that.
You love them beyond what you don’t love. That’s the thing with love. It comes with light and dark
It’s funny how on the one hand we are just who we are but on the other we are part of where we are from. I would like to think that the more I go forward the more I rely less on what has been and more on who I am. What sits right at the heart of me. In fact beyond that. What fills my soul.
The true essence of who I am.
I knew it the day I made the decision see you in the funeral directors.
I remember walking in that room on my own. Looking at this tiny person who had been a huge part of my world and my heart. Someone who had such charisma that she was so unaware of but was so clearly evident to every single person who ever entered her world. Not in that way that makes the ground shake or causes a commotion. Quietly, in the way that really matters. You just had it without doing anything more than being you.
Did you even know just how much I loved you. I adored you. I know you always knew how much I loved.
As I stood there I knew I was looking at an empty shell. This small, broken and cold body that had acted as transport to move you around in this world was no longer required. It was draped in your clothes, with the same colour hair as you and all the same features I loved. But it looked nothing like you. You were gone. You no longer lived there. An empty shell of what it struggled to contain. The very essence of you  had flown to somewhere new. Out into the realms of the unknown where the magic is made. Held in the breeze that ruffles my hair or the raindrops that fill my heart with romance. I feel you every now and then but never so strongly as the day I flew with you or when that robin appeared and fluttered around and quietly watched. Yes. I felt you. What were you thinking?
I think you were smiling in my happiness. I think you knew.
You spoke to me in whispers just as you did when you appeared in the moment between awake and asleep as the tears rolled down my face as I lay alone in my garage knowing I would never see you again. You gave me one last secret moment when I needed to hear your voice. Did I imagine it? People would say I did but we know better don’t we.  You made me believe in the magic, in dreaming of more, in love.

And in those moments where I’m sad and I feel it has disappeared you send me exactly what I need to believe again.

Lying on my bed in the dark, your tunes are surrounding me tonight and guess who just turned up to keep me company. Little Miss L in search of cookies or love or both. So we are now lying together listening to Ray Charles with a little light coming through the skylight. Love and nice biscuits…

Just the way we always liked it.

 

Live to Laugh

A first for me in quite a while. I randomly met someone I liked today at something I couldn’t be bothered to go to this morning.
I was feeling sad and conflicted about something I didn’t understand and wondering why can’t life just be simple. It makes me just want to sit on my own.

Added to that I had left a cookie on the table and in the middle of the night miss L had strolled up and I was awoken by her crunching. She can’t have chocolate and I panicked that she might choke or be ill while G was still out. So I sat up with her until she came back so I could make sure she was ok and let G know. I felt so guilty. Miss L was ok though. And she sure did enjoy that cookie.

I did manage to drag myself out of bed eventually and go there, but I arrived late and had to find an available seat. There was only a seat in the corner with someone who was sitting on their own. Probably also late. As I sat down in all of a kerfuffle, as the opening chat was already underway, he looked up and smiled and I did a double take. Nice looking fella. With a stubbly beard 😊.. tick ✔️ if I have a type then nice eyes stubbly beard, someone who can make me laugh and is easy and interesting to chat to would be it. Two out of four wasn’t bad. I smiled to myself.

The group separated early on and he trotted off with the other group and I stayed where I was. Meanwhile I sat through a magic show. The disappearing handkerchief and the changing playing card. All part of the learning but like a kid I was of course caught in the magic.
When the other group returned he came back all chatty like I was an old friend and he had been on a little trip. From that moment we were laughing. His Liverpool sense of humour matched mine.
It felt nice. Easy. And I was just me. In all my simple way. Chatty, smiley, fun. Where I feel happiest.
I rarely get that extra feeling of liking someone. Its very unusual. But today I did.
We went and had lunch together. Didn’t talk shop. The chat was all about our lives and who we were as people. He told me he was a rockstar for five minutes once, Lead vocals and guitar. Went to America with his band and was signed up but it was over within seconds. An exciting time in his life though. Came back and got a “proper” job and had been there ever since but I could tell he was still a dreamer. he was interesting and funny And he made me feel like I was too. That sure felt nice.
For the rest of the afternoon we laughed in the corner like we had known each other forever. They took photos of us as it looked like we were loving the training when in fact we were just having fun together. It was nice having that unexpected flirty but comfortable vibe.
And despite everyone “networking” around us we just stuck together and enjoyed the laughs. He had to leave a little earlier to get his train back to Liverpool.

Who knows whether I will see him again. We know how to get in touch if we want to, I’m not sure if I do, but either way it was lovely to meet someone I liked, but even more, that they actually liked me back. I was starting to wonder if I was even worth liking.
I know I’m no Victoria secrets model, I’m just a normal girl. But i did look girly and nice today and I am kind and chatty and lots of fun.
And I love to laugh.
And today someone lovely saw me in that simplest form, just as a girl and they liked it.
And it made my day magic 😊

 

Have you met String?

Sometimes a string of things happen that make you reevaluate where you are.
I have had a strange few days filled with all sorts.
It started when I found
a tune for 3 musketeers when I was looking for something else. It made me laugh in its old skool style and I thought of my mum who absolutely loves Rod Stewart but not quite as much as I love her. She was the heart that I followed.

I then found myself wandering around inside my head. Top hats for lampshades, musical notes around red curtains and showtime in neon lights.
It prompted me to stand up and ask 2 questions which left a few people commenting on my insight. What normally would sit in my head came out under the spotlights and elevated me to a new place of being more than I might appear. It was a nice feeling and I skipped home.

By Saturday I heard from a friend whose dream had been elevated to whole new levels. Never had I felt so so happy for someone. I had quietly been wishing for that dream since hearing the words “alright mate” on a park bench. It stayed with me for 2 years and I believed in it.
But I was left uncomfortable in where that dream would be realised. Sitting on different sides of the fence can sometimes feel like gap year students travelling round the globe and thinking they understand all those different cultures. But people are more complex than a cultural dish. It left me feeling very protective of someone leaping naively into an unpredictable animals cage. I can’t help worrying or caring but hoping that it makes them happy.

I then heard from a friend who had been involved in an accident. She is lucky to be alive. I felt tearful when I spoke to her. For a moment I imagined the world without her in it and how much magic would be lost without her.
She is being brave as I know her to be but it feels like she has a long road to recovery and I feel sad in thinking how close she was, to feeling ready to start pursuing her dreams only to find herself in yet another challenge. I will try to be whatever she needs.

This afternoon as I walked through the forest I randomly found myself on the set of some tv filming. A whole array of camera crew in vans and trucks and cars.
As I wandered along I heard “ok final take”
I found myself following along behind the two lead actors. As they turned round I saw one of my favourite English actors who I have seen in a whole array of tv dramas.. Little Dorritt, my nans favourite book and the park I visit frequently and Being Human.. “the story of a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost trying to live together in a house where their supernatural powers challenge them but their desire to be human bonds them”
As I passed he smiled and I smiled back and said hello.
There was something very poetic in that random and unscripted meeting and it gave me a little more hope that all would be well.