It’s all about the smiles

I’ve got quite a lot to say. So I’m just gonna ramble on like someone is listening.

It’s all the little stuff .. only it’s not so little to me. It’s those little things that are always the big difference. Those little things that keep me going. Those little things that make me believe in more. Those little things make me smile.

It can be so easy to wander through life so focussed on the big stuff that you can miss all the little smiles.

I remember reading about something similar once. I think it was described as big waves and little ripples.
It’s always been more about the little ripples for me. The ripples create the big waves in me. Because a little like being quiet, they are an illusion hiding all that sits underneath. I always see beyond what sits on the surface. There is always a whole lot more than meets the eye when you look a little closer.

I have always believed in the concept of “it’s the thought that counts.”
Whole heartedly.

Missing the small smiles is one thing that I definitely don’t struggle with. In fact every time those difficult things merge together and turn into something bigger I find that I notice the smaller things even more. They become even brighter, even more vivid, even more beautiful and awe inspiring.

I find I have to reboot all the time so that I can break down the big stuff into lots of bite size pieces that I can manage. I mean sometimes they are a little more chunky and tough to swallow but then if I woofed the whole lot down in one go I would most certainly choke and I would definitely miss all those other beautiful and subtle and magical flavours that you need an extra special pallet to taste.
A little like celebrity master chef where the chefs try too hard to have it all on the same plate at once only to find that it doesn’t quite work.
“I couldn’t quite taste the flavour or this or that” the judges say or “it overpowered and took away from the main element of that dish.”
Unless you are a master of flavours like Santosh.
You knew it would taste amazing but more than that I completely loved his laid back way of cooking. “I think you need to get those in the oven now” Monika said. “Yeah I will when I’m ready” I imagine him thinking. I know exactly what I’m doing. It tastes better when I cook it in my way in my own time.
It just all looked sooooo good that I felt like I wanted to put hand into the tv to taste it. I certainly imagined.

Quite funny that I’m writing about food when I hardly cook. Ripples of inspiration from a wave I love surfing on.

In reality I eat better when my girl is here. When she isn’t, like Nigella, I do heat alot of stuff up in the meecrowavey.
But of course when looking after others I can of course knock up some flavourless classics that everyone loves… shepherds pie, sausage and mash and a nice roast dinner. On a revolving conveyor belt.
Fry a bit of mince, peel a few potatoes, throw it in a pot and cook at 180 degrees (the standard temperature for, well everything) and bobs your uncle, empty plates five minutes later being handed back for me to wash up.

Love a cooking show though. I think I’m the Greg of this outfit.
I’m no chef but I do love to eat … Other people’s food 🤪

Anyways veering away from food I have found that in amongst all the tiredness, stress, and upset I’m still functioning and finding little smiles all over the shop.
I do have moments where I feel like I want to scream.
The constant demands coming from trying to contain others stresses. As frustration and upset overtakes from different directions I find myself saying “give it to me, I’ll sort it”.
I find it easier to quietly and happily just get on with things than feel all their anxiety and stress.
Their vibe can easily overpower mine when I don’t have the time and space to be in places that balance me. I find it easier to keep things feeling as calm as possible. I really like peace even if often it can feel difficult to find.
And I feel this need from others for me to be around constantly so that their worlds function a little more easily and they don’t have to worry. I don’t mind. I really don’t. It makes me feel better when I see them feel better, but it also leaves me with very little space for me to just be me. So I end up disappearing inside.

So without all the little things I think I would eventually disappear into the walls like the missing boy and the monster in “Stranger Things”. I’m so captivated by this show. I think L knew I would be. It has a touch of the goonies about it with the lovely friendship of the misfit kids who meet the weird girl, mixed in with x files which I never actually watched but I imagine had a similar feel.
Like a little kid I’ve held the cushion in front of me a few times now. I know.. I’m such a scaredy cat. This is a kids show. They’re harder core than me. If I struggle not to let my imagination run away with me when I watch this imagine how I would be with some really scary horror film.
I don’t even go there.
This is like Doctor Who hide behind the settee weeping angels scared. The other would give me proper nightmares. No thanks. I prefer happy dreams.
Anyways I’m hooked.

Could I be any more contrasting in my ways.
The grown up adult who takes control of the real stuff and holds it all together in all its practicalities and responsibilities.
It has never felt like there are a huge amount of perks in being a grown up. But I have always loved being a mum and sex is a lovely pleasure I know how to enjoy. Other than that I’m struggling..,

Come in the dreamy girl who likes exactly the same things as when she was a kid. No change at all. No new grown up sophistication. Even when I’ve dressed up and gone to fancy restaurants in my head I’ve always been a child in a grown up dress pretending.

Happy to cosily sit watching a kids programme with a cushion to hide behind, munching on chocolates with a straw in my tea 😂 I love straws. Especially the slurpy bit at the end.

If I think about the last couple of weeks there has been all sorts of dreamy little things that have made me smile.

Like that Friday when I had that moment of feeling lifted as I saw the incredible sunset from my garden and just for a moment it gave me something extra. It made me remember a part of me that feels so hidden but somewhere inside still exists. Not really having the time, means or place right now to show up. In fact it feels like most parts of me are wanting to hide behind each other. Pushing someone else to the front but no one really wanting to show their face. Not being seen at all right now suits me perfectly. From anonymous Pixie to just a voice in MS team meetings, to having zero interest in virtual meet ups. I am an expert at hiding when I want or need to.

Or a couple of weeks ago walking home through the forest when I saw something hanging in the bubbles tree.
It was late and there was no one around. I went to check it out.
It was a present inside a plastic bag with a note saying Thankyou for making my wish come true Bella xxx

Is it for me I wondered?
Pixie Bel or Bella? Is it too much of a coincidence? Same tree 1 week later. My message being “blow some bubbles and make a wish, some of which were written on Belle tags. Just the change from an E to an A making me question and re question. What if it is meant for someone else? I found myself trying to be logical about it and then messaging L for her take. It must be?
It has probably been there all day and no one had taken it.
But I left it on the tree. And then couldn’t stop thinking about it. What if I just leave it. Then they will think I don’t want it or I don’t care.
I really wanted it. It felt like such a wonderful thing for someone to share their happiness in something that I was happy to give and had made me happy just in that.
I didn’t need anything back but the surprise in finding it created such excitement in me, in the same way as maybe I did for them.
I ended up walking back into the forest with my torch in the dark and collecting it. Crazy pixie!
And yet I didn’t feel scared.

When I got home and opened it there was a really beautiful message in a card that made me feel wonderful actually. And with it was a gift of a stone with a picture of an angel on it that said Ein
Schutzengel.. I did German at school but I didn’t recognise the word schutz so I looked it up. Guardian.. A Guardian Angel.
What a lovely thing to be given . It made me feel so happy and also very beautiful. A word that was used to describe me in their letter itself. I found myself wondering what her wish had been?

The day before I had received an unexpected call from my friend as I was lying cosily in bed. I was half asleep and for some reason their name didn’t come up. So I was surprised when I heard their voice. But really happy surprised.
There is something so different for me in that . I only actually have to hear their voice. It sounds different to a message. Softer, warmer, funnier, familiar and completely easy and comfortable. Seeing them on a screen would only take away from that.
Whereas with just their voice I was lying on a cloud chattering away about somethings and nothings and not noticing the time pass until I realised I was late and was rushing.

And then my friend K who sends me images of things in exactly the right moment that they capture something I’ve said or I’m finding harder to express. Allowing me to say it as I feel it in that moment. Creating a little wave in the vast expanse of the ocean that will soon settle.

And of course my L and M who were once again my last people to see before another lockdown. It’s no coincidence. My original plans changed again in favour of a festive pizza but it was the extra toppings that my girls provide in all their warmth and realness and beauty and fun and love that makes all the difference.
I couldn’t imagine a life if I had never met them or the other special people that I love so much. What I share with them brings so much magic to my life.

With my girl it’s a constant stream of them, from brushing my hair when I tired or sending me a pg tips competition.

Oh no!!! Not another monkey 🐵 I had one appear on the internet earlier in the week that sent me into an irrational spin but also enabled me to finally leave that group. I have felt so much better in knowing that I no longer have to feel those knots. Perhaps it’s running away from feelings that sit inside me, or perhaps it’s running towards something new that won’t make me feel like that anymore. Either way I feel better.

A feeling that was also captured as I found myself watching Field of Dreams the other day. An older film about baseball that was about so much more.
More being the power that is held in belief.
Belief in more, belief in magic, belief in love .. belief in things that can’t be explained.

“Go the distance”. words whispered in the air.

“Is there enough magic out there in the moonlight to make these dreams come true”.

Yes I believe there is. I’ve always felt it and right now it feels like it is surrounding me and protecting me and reminding me that it’s all about that the little things and the smiles they create

A Different Space between us

Last night I did something I’ve never done before. I messaged my next door neighbour to ask him if he was ok.
This isn’t something I would normally do but after seeing him looking so down the day before and thinking about how sad he has been looking for a while now, I felt like I wanted to put my hand out. I know how tough that job can be but also how tough life can be with real life grown up responsibilities. Life is much easier as the dreamy kid I know that much.

It’s a funny thing actually. I’ve known him a very long time and like all my neighbours we are always really friendly and we would help each other out. It’s always been a given.
But I don’t get personally involved. What I mean by that is I always hold people at a safe distance. I don’t share the ins and outs of my life with others. I guess living in flats with thin walls we often hear the arguments.
I’ve been called for everything by P in moments that people must have heard and has made me feel small. Someone did once say to me, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be spoken to that way.
All that made me feel at the time was even more stupid and small than I already felt. I didn’t want to tell her that I had no money and in order to keep a roof over my head that I had no choice but to do what I had to do. I didn’t really need her judgement on top. Because frankly if I was already feeling small I didn’t really want to feel even smaller.
Things are not always how they appear but people like to assume they know.
Financial independence is the difference and as noone was going to pay for me to live somewhere else, and I wouldn’t be entitled to anything, I had to do what I had to do.
Funny what people don’t understand when they’ve never had to think about these basics.

For someone who can be very open with people I’m close to which creates much deeper and more intimate relationships, I’m actually in general a very private person.
You’ll catch the fun version but you’ll never know what sits behind it. Keeping most things very close to my chest. Not many people would know anything about my life. I hide it all. I’m expert at it.
It’s why I write this blog. It’s my release rather than holding it all inside.
But I’m especially private at home.
I would do anything for anyone and I always say hello, but I also really like to shut my door and disappear. I’m not one of those neighbours who is in and out of each other’s homes. I tend to avoid those things. I did a little of that when my girl was younger but I found that once you crossed over that line you were fair game for gossip. Something I really hate. People talking about other people behind their backs. Using what they know for conversations with others, to feel bigger and more important.
The stuff of kids but I’ve seen it sooooo much in adults.
I have no interest in being a part of that.
I rarely take that risk with people and even less so now. And certainly not close to home.
My home is my peace from the world beyond.
When I’m on my own I feel a freedom in not having to be anything.
I can just look after myself without having to worry about being what others need. I really like that feeling. It’s something that I find really hard to find when I’m out in the world. I can only really give to myself when I’m all alone.
But last night I broke that rule. I had a need to make sure someone else was ok. Why did I have that need? Perhaps because I know how much I hide and how lonely that can feel. And because he does that job where you help everyone else but is oh so draining for yourself.
And I’m a safe place. It always makes me feel happy when people share their sadness with me knowing that it will be held safely . That they trust me enough not to feel like they have to hide it.
It feels different actually to that job. That job comes with a sticker that says “ I won’t judge you, I will empathise with you and I won’t tell anybody”.
But the difference in that room is you are more protected. There are rules and boundaries to protect you and them. It’s not real life. I never realised at the beginning actually quite how important they are. That person is in that room because in that room there is protection. What a huge hidden element of power that is in being the protector. It influences how that relationship is built. A trust coming from that person believing that they will be protected in there. That you have their best interests at heart. I wonder how often that is abused?

Whereas in real life its a little more even and a little more risky for both. You have to develop a trust without that safety net. You are both less protected and therefore you are both vulnerable.
Because there is no governing body protecting you. It’s a real life relationship full of consequences. The only governing body of how that relationship works is your own.

He shared back. With all of life’s grown up stuff.
I felt so glad that I asked. The space between us was two thin walls and a stair case . But there was something reassuringly human in knowing that on both sides of those walls we were dealing with real life shit and surviving it… just.

No hidden agenda, no what’s in it for me.
I just wanted to make sure he was ok.

The Space between us

A couple of days ago I heard that my dad had a heart attack and was in hospital.
I carried on working until 7pm more focussed than I ever am normally.
I heard today that he is ok. I knew he would be. He will probably outlive us all.

But what happened in between those few days has changed me. It’s not like I’ve never wondered what it might feel like to get that news. I always felt like I would feel full of regrets and sadness and be desperately rushing to try to find a connection with him before it was too late.
And yet when the moment came I felt completely indifferent. A lack of feeling from the girl who feels everything. As though it was nothing to do with me.
It isn’t really anything to do with me. I have no contact with him, he has no involvement in my life and he doesn’t know me.
I hoped he was ok but I didn’t feel any want or need to be anywhere near him.
In fact I wished I had not been told. When he has surfaced it has only ever caused me pain.
In a time that is feeling difficult in its own right it felt like he was stamping his importance in being the real dad as opposed to the substitute version. Disguised as the helpless and vulnerable victim.
Leaving me looking like the villain in my lack of compassion.
Because I’m expected to care about him even though he has had no care for me. Where has he been through all these years and in all of my struggles. Completely invisible. Nowhere to be seen. Non existent.
It took numb to a whole new level as everyone assumed that I would be beside myself with worry and upset.
I just went Christmas shopping.

After a nights sleep, numb and indifference turned into angry.
Angry with myself as I started to beat myself up in not caring. In the end he is your dad. The only one you will ever have. You have cared all this time, why stop now?
Wondering if I’m a monster because I have no wish to contact him again even in his moment of need.
Perhaps I’m just tired of being the unconditional parent.
Of saying that it is ok that he hasn’t bothered or made any effort, or taken any responsibility for letting me down so badly. Perhaps I don’t feel very forgiving at this point in the show.
You haven’t cared about how much you hurt me through the years and will go to your grave without rectifying that in making me feel loved as a treasured daughter. But I’m supposed to care about you.
All that time you could have made the effort. To try to be a dad. I never needed perfection, just effort. But you couldn’t be bothered. You had your nice comfortable life with everything you ever wanted and all new replacements to enhance your world. You certainly haven’t needed me. But the point is that it isn’t about being needed. It’s about being wanted.

Perhaps I would only be wanted in your moment of need. To take away any guilt you might feel?
Or what? .. be left carrying it after you are gone if I refuse to take it. I refuse!
I’ve spent most of my life caring for someone who didnt care about me, or in fact anyone, as much as you do for yourself. Every thing you ever do is with your own happiness in mind. You wouldn’t even understand the concept of doing something for someone else without there being something in it for you.
It’s always been about what’s in it for you.
So it appears that I do have a limit. I’m just a normal girl who has constantly felt the repercussions of you bullying me as a little kid and then when you had squashed me and made me feel so insecure about who I was, disappearing and becoming completely absent. Without ever offering an apology for any of it.
But I no longer wish to feel any of that.
You can take it back. It belongs to you. You live with it and take it with you.

Rather than needing to fix or resolve what this is I need to feel comfortable in letting it go. The relationship we could have had was lost many many years ago and not because I wasn’t good enough.

Because if you really knew me you would know that actually I am something you neither have or understand.
Im sensitive and caring who loves with all my heart. And the people that matter to me and who love me back, know that.
They may not share my blood but they will always have my care in good times and bad.
Because they make the effort. Just a little is all it takes with me but without it it’s not a relationship.

I grieved for your absence a very long time ago but the loss has always been yours.

Flames

Tonight the sun set with such blazing .orange flames that It stopped me in my tracks.
As I sat on the settee I caught a glimpse of orange through the hedge in my garden. It was like it was calling out to me. I couldn’t take my eyes of. Like a warmth that was urging me to step outside. I found myself walking across the muddy grass in my socks with my phone in my hand and as I looked through the gap I saw a sea of flaming orange trees merging into a deep pink sky. It was mesmerising.
It’s timing being just as incredible as it’s colours. What the hell was a sky like that doing behind my back garden?
A vision that was so out there and on fire that made me feel something against the contrasting numbness in remembering who I am and where I’m from.
In seeing my continuing real life struggles played out in front of me and feeling so embarrassed in being that rather than the successful and confident types from that group.
Feeling so exposed in al my openness and wishing I could take it all back.
Struggling to get back on my feet. Feeling those constant money worries. Reverting into someone I was previously in order survive in this world and be what others need.
Feeling all those insecurities and anxieties. Worrying about messing things up or being looked down on.
Feeling the fears of being hurt by those I trust. Irrational swirling and swirling around me as I try to find my way through all the pressures of real life.
Why does that bloody group chat always surface in the moments I feel like I’m struggling. When life feels even tougher. Why does it have the ability to create knots in my stomach without me looking at a single message. That just seeing names makes me want to vanish.
And yet leaving me with the complete inability to remove myself from it. Less wanting to miss out and more wanting to get out without anyone seeing me go. Why can’t you do that? I mute but I would just like to disappear. Sometimes I wish I could switch what’s app off completely but I can’t because of work.
Why is it that when that group resurfaces it always leave me feeling like such a loser, a nobody, Less!

I tried to capture the vision of that sunset with my phone. Even my phone had no storage left on it.
But I did manage to take one picture and despite it not quite capturing the beauty of what I saw in that moment, it was still a pretty amazing picture. Perhaps all it was missing was my feeling… like flames..
As I came back inside and the sky darkened the golden flames intensified. It made me feel like I saw a part of me that I can’t get to right now. She definitely exists. A version beyond the normal.
I had a brief moment of feeling something more.

Last night P arrived at the flat with his dad who was let out of hospital after having two operations.
I wasn’t expecting them. But they had released him under the proviso that he had some decent arrangements for care.
Apparently I was that arrangement.
I didn’t ask any questions. I just sorted out my room for him with clean sheets removing all obstacles to avoid him having a fall and then set about making a shepherds pie.
I wasn’t sure who was in more need of care as they both sat there looking like lost and tired kids.
He is so frail now that he has very little strength. But he hates being in hospital and if he can get out, he will. I think they came to the flat lookimg for warmth and care. The kind that comes with alot of attention.
I certainly saw the relief in both of their faces as I just got on with the job of caring.
I live in a world where thats what women do.
And the men imagine that they are looking after the women. I felt like I was looking at two little boys who wanted their mum.
If I’m honest I was glad that they came to the flat rather than the other way round. It’s much easier to create cosy in my own home and I felt better knowing that he was safe and cared for.
As I went to sleep I could hear a symphony of snoring echoing through the flat.
I had to smile. Bloody kids. But I was so tired that I just fell asleep in my girls bed feeling happy in knowing that everyone was ok and safe.

I feel myself preparing for this next part. It feels hard now but I know what is to come. And last time I found it very traumatic. We all did.
I’ve been here before. It is difficult and painful and comes with no time line. Holding on to them like precious jewels but not wishing for them to suffer.
The pain of love at its most brutal.
I find myself numbing everything else in order to be what is required.
Feeling like I just need little happy moments and to feel others care.
Hiding in not wanting others to witness a lesser version, a version that in that previous experience was difficult to control. Distancing where I need to as protection for myself and others. All my fears magnified on the approach whilst on the surface I look completely calm and in control.
But the cracks showing in only being human. wanting to plaster over them as opposed to sharing.
Please Let me find my way through this and come out the other side feeling proud.

As I saw those orange flames I imagined J sending them to me as a sign. I know she would feel proud of me in trying to take care of her boys.
I just need to feel proud of myself.

Le Voyage Des Mots

The most inspiring person in my life is my girl. She is surrounded in magic. She doesn’t realise it of course but I feel it even when she is miles away.
She makes me believe.

The tough little cookie who is no nonsense and just gets on with it, but hidden underneath is the kindest most thoughtful and caring young woman. She doesn’t yet recognise all the strength and power that she holds in that teeny tiny body.
If she ever does I think she might take over the whole world and be unstoppable.

It takes a lot of core strength to stand en pointe and make it look beautiful and effortless.
That’s how she appears to me all of the time.
She has a natural grace to her. She definitely did not get that from me. There has always been an elegance and style to her which always seemed different to the norm when she was growing up.

But then of course she opens her mouth. “ I definitely get noticed by my teachers”she said. “ I make them laugh when I chat.”
Yes I imagine she does. She can morph with ease between Broadway show stopper to the girl who will serve you a nice fry up and a mug of tea mate.
She has a cheeky wink that spins back to a bygone era but comes with that gentle and genuine kindness in looking out for others.

Finding herself amongst alot of girls from very affluent backgrounds who went to prestigious ballet and acting schools. Well trained in technique and confidence.
There isn’t a huge amount of diversity going on here she says. Something she discussed with one of her flat mates. He is aware and she asked him what that felt like. I remember noticing it at all the auditions.
She is seeing lots of people falling at this first stage with all the pressures of uncertainty and restrictions. It’s a tough time to be at university even though she has been very lucky in her experience.

But it’s also a tough old real world and a tough game to want to be in. Dog eat dog. You need to have a thick skin, be resilient, keep on trying and be able to take rejection. And in the real world they don’t care if you are having a bit of an off day. The show must go on as they say so either toughen up and dance or make room for the next person who will.
Blimey I don’t think I would cut it.

“Good job I’m a tough cookie” she says.
“My classes are often half full because everyone is suffering with anxiety. Do they realise they are paying 9 grand for not turning up?”

So spoken by the girl who knows the price of milk. This thing wasn’t a given in life. You know, the thing that we just all do. No one in the family to chat to about what it’s like to be at university. Learn as you go and tell us all about it. She’s a star in the family just in that.
But to be doing what you love. Well that’s unheard of.
She’s positively maverick.

If ever I saw a person grabbing an opportunity with both hands then I don’t need to look further than her. While a pandemic swirls around and has us all spinning she is busy catching up on the technique she missed in the scout hut where she learned to dance or her bedroom where she learnt to sing. When she spins it is pirouettes that are graceful and controlled. As well as a big smile knowing that she has been given this chance.
No not given… earnt.
And I hear her continuing to earn it. She is certainly not feeling that entitlement.
It’s not like she ever went without. We always tried really hard to give her what we never had. It’s what you do with your kids. But she didn’t grow up in a big house with a flash motor. And she never asked for stuff. She was always just happy with whatever she got. She’s always grateful. She definitely does not play into the stereotype of the only child. I always think they get a rough deal. She’s independent for sure but she’s also very caring and kind and a sharer.

They had said they were looking for potential. Natural talent that can be trained.
Every time she contacts me she shares something new in her progress. Taking every tiny bit of instruction or feedback and trying to use it to become better.

Hiring dance and music rooms everyday in a place where facilities are in a different league to what she has been used to. She must feel like she walked into some kind of fantastical movie.
Realising she has everything she needs to get where she wishes to go. Wherever that may be. Right now she’s just enjoying every moment.

I hear her excitement when she sends things that have great feedback attached.
“They don’t butter you up here” she says “so when they do it really means something.”
Basic recordings on a phone offering an insight into her increasing confidence.
From “should I be here” to “I’m right up there at the top of my class.”
Another opportunity that she has seen and is now applying for.
Her motivation seems off the scale. Like someone gave her a gift and she isn’t gonna let it go until it’s completely worn out.

And right now in a time that is feeling really difficult and tiring and I sometimes wonder what life is all about, she provides me with so much inspiration as she shares all her successes and excitement. Giving me a feeling of pride and satisfaction in having played a small part in that.
Knowing that she got there in her own special way.
Always wanting her to enjoy the whole spectrum of wonderful things in being a child and all the freedom that comes from just playing with your friends and going to parties and being at a regular school doing regular stuff.
Perhaps she missed all the technique of those full time ballet and performing art schools of her now peers, but I think she learnt so much more than just the dance steps.
Because what sits behind that is her wonderful character.
That’s what makes her a proper star … and what is so inspiring for me about my girl.

Of Mist and Magic

Last night I went back to the tree to clean it up. Strands of sparkly ribbon and loose tags from Pixiebel. In the main it appeared that people took the whole gift. I liked that in itself but also because of their care in looking after the tree.
A tree which my girl played in when she was little just like many other kids before her and since. A tree that owns that magical quality that comes from small people having the ability to climb inside it.
When you can climb inside a tree it becomes a home, a safe haven that can lead to adventure. At which point anything is possible.

I’m feeling my connection to working with children but in a different format. I’m not sure how yet
I found myself rewinding to a time when my girl was a new born baby and I volunteered for a charity that ran after school clubs for kids that were struggling with very low self esteem. Relate .. I was all over it.
Kind of like the misfits club for all the kids that were either in trouble, being bullied or had troubles at home and so the list goes on.
As ever, with all things that I really care about I put my heart and soul into it. Putting so much effort into the preparation of things we were going to do during that 90 minutes. From the carefully selected snacks of the world that we would try, to the games we played, to the things we created. Everything had a purpose and a meaning and were filled with lots of care but mainly loads of fun. I created a whole fairground one night out of cardboard and things i found in my home, in charity shops or shop windows. I remember putting my head through a cardboard cut out of Stuart Little that they gave me from a Rental video store, and all the kids took turns at throwing a wet sponge at me. I remember how much we were all laughing. It was like a party every week with silly fun, which when life is la bit shit as a kid sometimes it’s the little bit of love and respite that is needed to make those things more bearable. Laughing is very therapeutic.
There were no misfits in that room. We were just kids laughing
And when the kids chatted with me and shared things about themselves or told me about things that they were interested in I would try to capture that and look for things when I was out and about. Tiny things that were specifically related to something they loved so they knew they were special and really mattered.
I didn’t realise it back then because it was just my way but when I look back now I realise that All I was actually doing was bringing the kid in me, and because of that so did they.
In a similar way to in that room.
But I feel I cam offer more, in a less formal and rigid environment. And perhaps in a group where the focus isn’t just on them. Because I always see the “quiet” ones. They never get lost in the crowd with me. In fact if the truth be told, they are always my favourites. I know there is so much beautiful Stuff that no one takes the time to see or feel but that most definitely lies underneath. While the loud ones are crying out for attention. What is it that they are missing?

I feel like I’m playing with ideas and imagination. At the minute. Inspired by lots of things. Going in circles, backwards and forwards but getting closer to something. Experimenting in reality Not quite sure exactly where I’m trying to get to but I’m definitely sure it’s not a place that is going to be driven by money, or rules or prestige. It’s mot that I don’t think I’m worth it. It’s just that what inspires and motivates me doesn’t ever come in that kind of nice neat professional package.
Maybe I’m priceless 😂
But I’ve definitely got something to offer even if it is all in disguise.
I never say this about myself but I know that I was good at that job especially with the kids. And it was more about how I’m made than what I learnt. The draw back is that it wasn’t so great for me. I care deeply and in that format it hurt me.
So I need to find an alternative that provides a similar effect but has a little more balance.
The weekend showed me that it’s possible.

Anyways I waited until dusk to return to the tree. Trying to wait as long as possible but not wanting to be alone in the forest in the dark.

When I got to the tree there were still some people there with kids. So I walked past and waited.
Finally they moved along and I walked back. when suddenly another family arrived. I took a spot underneath another tree and pretended to look at my phone.
The girl who I think was about 8 or 9 was reading al the left over tags and the card that said “Please take .. blow some bubbles and make a wish”

“ they all say that” she said .. “what does that mean?” She took a tag.
I wanted to tell her or be able to produce some bubbles from my bag but perhaps her wondering was enough.
Sparking something in her imagination.

And as I saw them disappear into the distance and I went to clean up the tree in near darkness, I was so glad that I had been there to hear her in that moment….
… . And I knew that Pixiebel isn’t ready to stop flying. In fact she is just getting off the ground. And realising she just needs a little more space than a restricting room to spread her wings.

I love that when i messaged my girl to share it all she said to me ..
“Oh mum I so miss your weirdness”

And I miss your wonderful, I thought.

Blow some bubbles and make a wish

I thought I would want to write about Today like a lovely and perfect experience .
I may get many things wrong but I absolutely keep it real.

Last night I happily sat there preparing everything for today.
It was an idea that popped in my head when I was out walking about a month ago and had originally planned to do on my birthday. But I wasn’t really feeling it when it came closer.
It was inspired in part by the memory of something a friend of mine shared with me about a festival she worked at. I remember loving the idea of it.
It felt like something I would have loved when I was a kid. I decided I would do it instead during the last weekend of lockdown.
Hanging bubbles on a tree by the pond with Christmas notes From Pixiebel (a name given to me randomly the other day by C) and hung with sparkly ribbons.

This morning I woke up at 6.30 am feeling tired but excited. Got out of bed and sat at the kitchen table looking out at the dark sky drinking my tea.
Feeling nervous excitement with butterflies in my tummy but also questioning if it was silly.
I left for the forest when it was still dark but with enough light to be in the forest safely on my own.
As it turned out I found myself walking behind two women who also had got up early.
I didn’t want anyone to see me but they stopped at the tree I was planning on decorating and with time ticking I couldn’t delay. The forest fills up early with people on Saturdays and Sundays i wanted to have moved on by then. anonymity being the name of the game. But in my happiness I did share it with two friends.
I asked where the two ladies were going and if they were in a rush and if they wanted to help me.
They did. It was lovely actually. To be able to share it in the moment. They were mother and daughter. Both teachers. They said that the kids they taught would love it and it was a lovely idea. In hearing that little reassurance i felt more able to enjoy it.
They told me a little of what it is like to be a teacher right now. I felt for them In their fears and sad for the lack of freedom at school for all the kids, in a time of their life where it should all be about freedom.

My motivation had been about exactly that actually.
Sometimes these things have a hidden therapeutic value for me.
It can often fee like that magic is missing in this world now and for some has never even been there.
I remember a little boy who had a major impact on my life because of the complete non existence of love and care and safety in his life. It took me a very long time to come to terms with being unable to help him. I think of him sometimes on my walks especially when I see other kids like him. I can still see his sweet little face very clearly.
Without question one of the saddest and most distressing things for me. I still have the picture of his cake on my phone.
I know I did a good job in the time I had but I’m not tough enough for that work.
The thought of feeling like that again has been a big element in not wishing to jump back in the ring.
I put myself through quite a lot during that time.

Im this moment i was wishing to create some kind of beautiful frivolous and magical experience that is in books but never really comes true.
The thing I loved most about being a kid and the thing I loved most about being a mum was all the freedom that came from imagination. Turning it into some kind of reality. A lifeline as a kid and my joy as a mum. It always made me so happy. As a kid I was often in it all by myself but as a mum I shared it with my girl. Her whole childhood was spent in wonderful and loving make belief. It’s no surprise that she is singing and dancing and acting all day every day at uni.
Everything was about fun and pretend. Never a pressure to be or do anything and yet she always tried her hardest in everything.
But more so when it was things she loved. Of course. Because it’s only natural that you will have more energy and motivation for things you love.
She was happy. It was all that ever mattered to me.

I suppose I have been missing an outlet for my type of simple childlike creativity.
I tend to connect with kids. I probably have more in common with them than I do with most adults. Always feeling more at home with adults that are young at heart and have a genuine kindness to them. All my besties have that in common.

I connect with most people on a very superficial level. Like today.. I was so happy after putting all the bubbles on the tree and it looking so simple and magical that I walked round beaming. I could not stop smiling. Had all my happy club tunes playing as I walked along with a dancing spring in my step.
I must have looked happy. I literally got a smile from every person I passed. Proper beaming smiles back.

When I got closer to home, and the tree that is only 2 minutes from where I live, I found myself not wanting to be there. I had imagined what might have taken place at that tree in my head. How my girl or I would have reacted to bubbles in a tree. Or that little boy. Or you L. We do love to blow bubbles in the forest don’t we.

But I didn’t want to see it. In fact I felt completely awkward as I passed by. I could see that about half had already been taken. somewhere 15 kids were blowing bubbles and making wishes. I stopped for a moment to watch as I saw some kids running towards it shouting “there’s bubbles, daddy I can’t reach. Can you help me?”
It felt lovely but I also felt uncomfortable. Like I was intruding. Like I was surplus to requirement. Like I shouldn’t be there. That they might see me and if they did all the magic would be lost. And I didn’t want that magic to be lost.The illusion Of magic ruined by me being a mere human rather than Pixiebel. What a let down.

I moved along quickly and went home.

But was left thinking later about why I struggle to connect with a lot of people in a casual friendship way.
Perhaps it’s a time thing? If I’m gonna spend my time with friends I’d rather be with the ones I really care about and I can be myself with.
Or do I feel less trusting of others now? Have I heard too much in that room with clients?
Did I see and feel too much in that training? Have I hurt myself in taking too many risks?
Have I opened up and revealed too much of the darker elements of who I am and my past which leaves me feeling ugly?
And having removed myself from that professional world for a while am I now just another lesser human with all my very human fears and insecurities that cant compete in such a perfect world where everyone apparently has all the answers to everything . They don’t have all the answers. It’s just an arrogance that makes them think they do. After all who would have the courage to challenge them? Especially when their audience are the most vulnerable. Do I need to point out the power differential.

I may be just a normal person but I have lived a life of both wonderful and sad full of all sorts of experiences.
I’m loving and caring and kind and thoughtful and clever and creative And dreamy and fun.
But I’m also a little irrational, and emotional with darker elements.

It just makes me whole person.
I get stuff right but I also get things wrong but I own it all and fundamentally I like who I am. I have a really good heart.
I’m scared of lots of things but I still try to take risks and I feel happy most of the time.

When I got home I bumped into my neighbour who asked me if I was interested yet in taking up the room he has offered.
I haven’t wanted to up till now.
But today when he mentioned it I found myself saying, Yes.. .. in the new year.
Out of nowhere and in not “the perfect place” I felt ready.
Because I really do know and understand what it is to be the client.
To feel the vulnerability of what that is.
To understand about power differences and the absolute importance of self awareness.
Because Im not there to fix or turn them into a version of me, or to feel as though I have all the answers to a life and a person that they know so much better than I ever will. I’m a human just like them. With flaws and imperfections.
In a world full of people who think they know better there are also people who really care, who really listen, who really want to understand and who will keep on trying.
I realise that to change anything requires courage. Its easy to just give up. I didn’t give up. I just needed to give myself a little bit of time to heal not to be the perfect model. In fact the person who thinks they are the perfect model probably has even more flaws than me.

As for all those questions above.. I don’t know all the answers but being able to ask them is what makes me stronger.
I understand now how much more I need to take care of myself if I wish to do this job really well.
And a little bit of yoga isn’t self care. Not even close.
It goes so much deeper. I didn’t realise till I stopped just how deeply and how much it had all impacted on my own sense of self.
If I do this it means taking care of myself and being able to ask for help. So that I can help others to take care of themselves. It’s all about paying it forward.
I don’t care about looking like a somebody. I only want to be a somebody to the people I love and care about and who love and care about me too .. and to people who need some care and support in their difficult moments.

And to do it all just as we are.
And feel proud in exactly that.

It’s taken me a little while to get here.

Sorry I’m late!

The Pianist’s Tale

The highlight of my week is my piano lesson. I love it so much. I’ve had 3 now. My teacher is a darling.

I position my laptop so that A can see my fingers on the piano keys and talk me through the basics.
I’m learning faster than I imagined despite the fact that there is a lot of logic involved. But I guess when it has a real purpose that I care about, it seems that I am able to engage that part of my brain. Proper finger placements as I play my scales. I love the intricacy of it. Being able to move my fingers along the keyboard in a particular way means that I will be able to play more difficult music in time to come. However as my teacher keeps telling me, it’s much more important to be able to feel it. Forget the metronome, you need to feel the beat inside yourself. I like her even more.
I totally feel that beat.

It feels so exciting to learn something completely brand new.
That doesn’t involve taking care of others but is about creating something wonderful for my own inner happiness and pleasure.
I happily share everything, but right now this is just for me.

It feels really amazing when I sit at the piano and I start to play.
I know that polish R in the flat upstairs will be hearing me. I love listening to him. Oh to be able to play like that.
Practice practice practice.
I’m also remembering how to read music which I haven’t done since I was at little school and I played recorder and violin. I say the word “played” loosely. I hated playing the violin. Probably because I didn’t choose it. It was just a given.
Really I wanted to be a drummer.
I rarely remember details in facts but I have always loved music so much and I guess what I really love, are the things that stay inside me and I remember. It didn’t require much prompting.
And It’s really helping me to move along more quickly and get the most from my lessons and means that I can use my girls old piano books to practice other tunes.
I would wish to book five more lessons if I could but I can’t afford them right now. . I found this in a very lucky moment and am making the most of my time.
I will learn as much as I can in the next two lessons and then take over teaching myself. There are always freebies on utube. Plus I ordered a book which should help.
I feel like I have finally found a hobby that I love and really suits me and it is just making me really happy.
I wonder often if I had opportunities to try things I loved when I was young what I might have done with my life.
I guess that’s why I always encouraged my girl to try different things and when she found things she loved to follow her passions and be happy in the moments she feels happy. A phrase that was given back to me a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been holding very close to my heart.

Perhaps I will never be a concert pianist but as with everything that I have a care for, I put my heart and soul into them.
I guess if you judge success by the outcome then I will never be a winner. But if you judge success by the happiness and love that is created and felt along the way then i think you will find I’m a simple girl in a little league all of my own.
Feel my music! ❤️

Pixie

“Say hi to the Pixie in the tree” said the dad as he and all the kids waved to me and I smiled and waved back.

“I like your tree” said one of the kids. “Thankyou” I replied “Its the best one in the forest”

In fact it is my second favourite tree in the forest. The other one broke or was cut at the end of the last lockdown. But I feel safe here. It’s been my new forest home for a while. It’s a little more tucked away and can sometimes feel a bit dark but today the sun found its way through and it looked really pretty with all the leaves on the ground.

PIXIE..
“A supernatural being in folklore and children’s stories, typically portrayed as small and humanlike in form, with pointed ears and a pointed hat.”

I like that I’m super natural.

On such a beautiful day I had been struggling to engage with the forest. Even though the trees looked amazing and lots of people smiled at me. Maybe they smiled because I looked like a cool little pixie in my jeans and leather jacket with my shiny newly washed hair beneath my pixie hat.
Or perhaps in fact they were all feeling sorry for me being on my own which seems to be a very uncommon thing in this lockdown. Everyone seems to be with someone this time round. I didnt see anyone else on their own. Did everyone rush to find people in the gap between lockdowns?
Does it now make me stand out?
Poor little lonely pixie.
Yeah I was feeling it today but I think because I’m just so tired. The stuff with P’s dad is just so sad and draining, and then on top Ive been sitting with “feeling small”.
And this little pixie just can’t shake that feeling off.
Reminds me of when I used to be in that class.

As I sat here quietly writing, a squirrel has started coming up the tree and is sitting only a metre away from me.

Could I be any more Pixie?!

My Heart

My heart

I’m a pretty simple soul by all accounts.

As a kid I didn’t grow up with the privileges others take for granted.
Having to constantly endure the arrogance of those rich kids that assumed they were better just because they had more. They sure enjoyed letting me know that.

As an adult I worked hard to try to make a better life for me and my family. I didn’t really need more than I needed and I’ve always been really happy to share whatever I’ve had.
For a moment I tried for more. It went a bit pear shaped but I learnt a lot and found some special people.

The past few years have been tough financially and I am right back where I started.
Most of what was worked for being lost.
It’s been hard to reconcile that. Life feels so much harder because of it, but you just have to accept it and get on with it.
I made my choices and I am living with them.

What I don’t lack though is heart. Those rich kids could say what they liked about me but when it came to heart I blew them all out of the water. And I think they knew it.
Because I know how to love. And my love is pure and genuine. When I give it, it has nothing to do with how much or little you give to me. It can’t be bought. Its given just because that’s how I feel.
For me the people I love have something unique and beautiful and special that often they can’t even see in themselves. But for me it shines out brightly.

There are those who are unable to accept that love and I understand why.
But the fact remains that the love I send is real and doesn’t come with conditions..

… Because of course giving love is not merely a choice, it’s a feeling . .. whereas accepting love and feeling it will always be a choice.

Funny how I’ve always found it easier to feel than to make choices.