Thoughts from an early morning swinging hammock

I love the early morning. It’s once again become my salvation as I swing on the hammock that looks so good… as if it’s been to the Bahamas for a month. Standing so proudly against all those beautifully revitalised emerald green leaves from all the rain.
I moved my umbrella over a little. I sit here in the morning rain or shine.

God I love the rain. I’ve said it before, it’s old news but I really do.
I have a selection of umbrellas that I’ve picked up at different times. I just like them. Not the practical sort that sit in my bags for work. But the ones that stand by the door. Not efficient in being able to fold and put in your bag but they just have something more special about them.
My favourite one is a bright red umbrella with a red handle and black and white stripes underneath, that I see if I look up. It feels so Parisian.
I used it yesterday as I took two walks to the shops with my girl. Once to pick up my new books and order another two more recommended by two friends. I plan on reading all of them, plus two my friends gave me, over the summer.
Hopefully finding some days to myself amongst some various plans that my girl has now made.
Each of them a dilemma when they come closer but with encouragement she enjoys when she gets there . As well as days when she works at the cafe. That helps her too. She likes the structure. Right now my previously very confident and independent girl has lost so much of both. A massive loss of confidence in her ability to make choices. Even the simplest decisions.
Repetition as we try to unscramble them when she gets Overwhelmed. None of it life changing. Simple little things. My “make it up as you go along” version coming into its own for once against the planner who struggles more with change and currently needs to be in control of everything.
Control and loss being the key words at the moment. I won’t lie. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with. One because she’s my girl and it is just so horrible to watch someone you love struggle and hurt herself in this way.
But also because I feel like I need to be “on it” all the time. There is very little respite. She is very needy right now.
Giving her space but finding her looking for me wherever I am.
It is tiring and she is aware of that. Beyond her moments of anger and frustration and other times a deep sadness, I feel her love with such a power. I feel so connected to her even beyond our normal. It can feel hard to differentiate what’s hers and what’s mine at times.
She likes the security we share in a home she has always been in.
At this moment I never felt so relieved in working so hard to keep hold of that. I feel both of our versions of the fall out from all the chaos and difficulties. It’s been a tough couple of years.

Over and over again I question my decisions and actions . But always coming back to the same. I did my best in it all.
And I can only deal with what is in front of me now.
Doing my very best in that.
And secure in the knowledge that I have always been right there for her the whole way along. Trying to protect her from the chaos and sadness that has swirled. But she’s a human. She has felt it along with all her own changes beyond.

As I am writing this I heard a little thud on the window and a little garden bird (a baby great tit) fell onto the paving stones in front of me. I got straight up to help it. Giving it some water and some crumbs whilst thinking about how to keep it safe from the crow that looked it was ready to pounce on it. “It’s ok you’re safe with me” I said. I won’t leave your side. It let me get so close to it. A little concussed I think. 15 minutes later it flew up to meet its mum.
I looked up their symbolism. Love hope and faith.
Do I imagine it when these things happen in these moments. Do I see what I want to see or are they messages from the universe, sent by those that care about me. Whatever the truth I feel them.
I need them right now.
I took a photo of the little bird. A name that was once given to me by another friend from my past.

We also yesterday went to pick up cocoa powder for a devils cake we decided to bake together.
Even if she didn’t eat it there felt something good in just the process of baking it.
We ended up taking some to her friend and her family who are currently isolating.
That same little friend brought flowers when my girls grandad died.
I love their old style care.
We were too full up from a dinner we cooked together. Chicken, dauphinois potatoes and brocolli and carrots. It was delicious. She was then upset that she had eaten too much and that she didn’t just have a piece of chocolate cake instead. “We can have it tomorrow” I said
I stroked her hair all night until we went to bed.
Another small victory in her eating a full meal. I hold on to all of those.
But I can’t tell you how sad it makes me to see her like this.
Sometimes I find it so hard and exhausting but I just keep trying my best.
“ I believe in you” I tell her.
I believe in both of us.
Extra support coming on Monday.

Thinking of food reminds me how much I love the images that come through on pretty much a daily basis of various dishes from different places.
I quite like that they don’t have recipes.
Just an image. This is what it looks like. Now you imagine what it might taste like. Sometimes they tap into something of my world like the ham and cheese burger or the baguette boats.
Just an image. Nothing surrounding it.
I really like them.
I receive a variety of different images from my friend K. Always relevant in that moment. They make such a difference to my world without any words. But I love hearing her version of them.
Get that same feeling with a different version in images of places around the world.
Quite often remote, hidden and empty spaces. I love them too.
Falling in love with a red spiral staircase surrounded by books with light coming through a stained glass window. It had such a beautifully romantic feel to it against the pure pleasure of a jacuzzi on some decking next to the sea where you could feel water cascading over you as a relief from the heat. A strand to inspire dreaming of travels.
But the narrow street in France hit some kind of nerve.
I think because of the various thoughts my friend shared with me that then left me questionning myself and the choices i make.
Joining in or being left behind. It wasn’t so much about being left behind. In those first five years with my girl
I was completely left behind. People and Technology moved on without me. I was no longer part of the world they inhabited. My world held no interest to them. I was playing in boxes and having tea parties with all our teddy bear friends.
When I returned to work my history of high pressure and large responsibility roles in big organisations counted for nothing.
No one cared. Can you use Microsoft office? Do you have a degree? No on both counts. In that case go away.
I had to start from scratch again.
Working part time to begin with opening the post. Literally that is exactly what I did. Hundreds of envelopes and a letter opener. Slice slice slice.
And then dividing the contents into two piles.
But I loved the chats with others every morning. Another random bunch made mainly of students and old timers.
There was a lovely comradeship between us.
One of them was a jobbing actor. Went to see him when he was moved up from understudy to one of the main parts for a night in The 39 Steps in the west end. Such a nice unassuming fella.
He liked my Enemy cd as I would often drop him to the station on my way home. I wonder what he is doing now? Words I say every now and then about random people I liked. He was one of those people I met along the way who saw beyond the job you do. Talked to me beyond being the letter opener. Not a pretentious bone in his body. I wonder if that’s because he was northern?!

I gradually over time worked my way back into a job with more responsibility. But never interested in managing anyone else again or progressing high up the ladder. I only wish to be in charge of myself.

In the right places I love joining in. I’m a really friendly person who loves to chat.
I loved that place. It was my favourite of anywhere I’ve ever worked. Would never have left had it not been for those dragons.

I actually question often my reasons for not joining in with the new mediums of connection that everyone uses now.
I have joined in with lots of other things without a single thought.
I think perhaps because I’ve never really had time and I like my anonymity. I joined linked in because it was work related and I did find a new job on there.
But the social stuff I’ve never bothered with. I suppose I’ve never felt a need. I question it. But find it difficult to see what it would give me.
And too many work online meetings to wish to spend my free time on those. I just find that stuff draining. Computers equals work to me.
And i guess as It becomes this monster that seems to be in control of everything I feel less inclined to be involved. I’ve never much liked anything that makes itself the majority.
Besides those old timers who don’t have access but I bump into in the coop provide something more in those brief encounters. I’ve always loved an oldie. I’ll be one, one day.
But that picture of the narrow street made me question my openness.
Even though I’ve always felt very open to so much in this life. And yet am I being narrow?
I love those images on those blogs but I guess I like the anonymity of it.
I often wonder who posts them and that very secret and unknown element is part of the wonder.
I don’t know the answer to the question posed by another but has been on my mind ever since.
I suppose I just haven’t felt a great need or desire for it.
I know I read an article that said it you aren’t on there and don’t join in then it is as good as not existing in this world.

As I sit on the swinging chairi that is soaking wet, as it soaks through my shorts I find myself not noticing beyond the first couple seconds.
Instead I just feel that moment of stillness before the day begins when I feel rooted to a spot and can just feel who I am inside.
Less dreaming but more alone in my tiny quiet insignificant and invisible space in this world. Just existing.
Before life requires something more.

Its just a moment of peace as I prepare myself for another day where I might help someone I love to find her smile again.
She has such a beautiful smile ❤️
The sort that when we find it will make me smile too.

Diary of Small Changes … Day 11

I listened to this song last night after sitting in the forest with my girl as we shared over a bottle of wine. Girl to Girl .. Woman to Woman.
Feeling like I turned a little corner in finally understanding a little more in where she is at and where her sadness lies.
All of it steeped in so much loss.
Silence and whispers and tears. Not that gushing variety but the type that Is so controlled on the surface but inside felt like an explosion of all that pain and sadness that sits inside her as a few tears ran down her face behind her sunglasses.
I felt it and it cut through me in not being able to protect her from it.
Tears that held so much in so little as I Istroked her hand. Her face showing all the pain of sadness she is trying to hold.

My own pain in not being able to scoop it all out of her so she doesn’t have to feel it anymore.
Feeling helpless in that.

Instead just sharing my versions of similar with her with honesty and openness which prompted her to share more of hers.

It was so honest and heartfelt with such a deep connection that held all of our sadness.
A connection in sadness with someone that you truly love is filled with so much strength and love and trust.
Being able to cut open your wound and show it to someone you know who truly loves and cares about you is just so real.

Sadness isn’t something you can just fix. It takes time. Has to run in its own course.
I don’t mind swimming in it with her or her swimming with me in mine.
A plaster is just a way to keep going.
Whereas the real healing can only start when you allow yourself to really feel it. And it’s painful and tiring and makes you feel rubbish.
But you don’t have to be alone in that. Sadness shared with Sadness is sometimes easier than sadness shared with happy.

I felt so lucky last night to have that connection with her. 19 years in the building from the moment she was a baby in my arms looking into each other’s eyes in the quietness of night as I would stroke her hand to soothe her to sleep.
For a moment like last night when she needed less of a mum but more of a friend. Her words not mine.

No clever words spoken, no silences in the right moment or well thought out questions.
Just pure love and care that can’t fix it but could most certainly leave me feeling it in a way she needed me to.
As we were packing up we hugged and she said that she was glad I was her friend and proud of me for everything I had done over the past two years and before.
In an instant my feelings of whether all those decisions and struggles were in vain were rescinded. I knew inside in my heart that I had made the right choices for the right reasons in those moments despite the costs to my own wellbeing and happiness but to hear it from her gave me the validation I needed.
It could not have come from anywhere else.
All those sacrifices and losses in order to try to protect her and provide future security.

She laughed for the rest of the evening when we got home and had our baguettes 😊

Today with a lighter feel to her. We are only at the beginning I know but as the song goes it was a very good place to start.

Just as I finished writing she walked through the garden like a sunny little vision carrying red roses for me.
“Thanks for being so nice to me”
“You’re my girl. What else would I be.
I love you. ❤️

Diary of Small Changes … Day 10

Day 10 Strange Dream

Last night I went to sleep early. I sat in the garden to work yesterday. It was such a nice change.
But the hour and a half at the ms teams meeting at the end of the day in my kitchen drained me.
A meeting on lessons learnt from a project I was involved in.
The only lesson I learnt in that meeting was to try to avoid online meetings.
Noone was Interested in learning any lessons. And I wasn’t interested full stop as I sat and looked out of the window.
Thank goodness it’s pay day today which reminds me why I sit on this laptop doing what I don’t enjoy and I’m not really made for.

I rose at 6 this morning. Second day morning swimming. It feels good to be back to that and to start the day with a sit in the garden when it’s really peaceful before I swim at 7.
It feels like a good foundation to build on each day. A different feeling to swimming at night.

Anyways I had such a vivid dream last night where I was in some kind of cave which felt like part of Willy wonkas chocolate factory. I know this because as I was navigating the rocks to get to the spiral path leading upwards I fell into a pool of chocolate.
I liked swimming in it but I got out and started to walk up the winding path where I saw a child with a tricycle. I didn’t recognise who it was but I was sure I knew them. They appeared to be trying to escape. I picked up the child and the tricycle as we ran from whatever we were running from. I didn’t even know. As we reached the cliff I didn’t know what to do. I know I had struggled to climb it and wasn’t sure that I had the strength to carry someone else as well. In the panic I picked the child up and put them on my back and told them to hang on very tightly, along with the tricycle hooked through my arm. I needed all my strength to make it safely.
Hanging on to the rocks as tightly as I could with all the strength I could find.
I could feel a strength in me coming from somewhere. As though someone were watching over me. Helping me.
I woke up suddenly with such a strange feeling and in a complete daze. My mouth was dry and my head heavy. The window had shut and it was sticky and hot.
Half asleep I checked my phone to see what the time was. I didn’t see. I just saw an update from a blog I follow. It has had a lot of images that have resonated with me so much especially lately in exactly the right moment. In this moment an image from Italy. Venice to be precise. One of my most favourite places because when I visited the first time, a very long time ago now, it was out of season. And it was Beautiful. Magical Quiet. In the evenings strolling along little paths containing no one. Nothing open. Just a maze of deserted paths and every now and then catching the romance of the light from the water or two lovers alone in their gondola.
I’ve been since in the summer. Still lovely but not with the same charm and feeling of that very peaceful and intimate version.

I fell back to sleep but looked at it again this morning. A spiral tower behind heavy gates.
How strange my world feels sometimes.

Diary of Small Changes … Day 8-9

Day 8 Protected

I woke up early with the sun shining and a hot day ahead.
I felt the tiredness of all the work from the day before and also from trying.
Trying takes effort. Effort is tiring.

Trying to get to a place where I feel like me and I can be around others again.
Underneath all of it I miss people.
People that I love to be around. But holding myself back from it all.
Scared to put myself back out in the world again even with those I trust the most.
I think right now it all feels like a place where people will hurt me. Where no matter how much I try, someone will see me trying and without a thought will squash me.
So I am avoiding getting squashed by hiding away. In my own little garden world where I feel safe.

As I looked at my phone the first thing I saw was a memory created by my phone of St. Paul’s Bay. I remember the feeling of walking onto that balcony and watching the sunrise over the sea.
It was a moment where I felt very free
Omg It was so beautiful.
I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. I felt like I had worked so hard for that moment.
It was like I had finally made it to the other side and would have time and strength to sort out all the other things so that I could move forward.
Only to find a few months later that I was still in it with writes and rewrites. Will this thing ever end?
But I loved that summer.
Two trips to beautiful places. Lovely memories from both alongside some digs that squashed me in that moment that I stopped and could be happy.

It’s very hard not to go back through this stuff. That time is all so connected to this loss as I feel both losses in their entirety.

I then saw a message depicting something I love to do.
Ride my bike..

I love riding my bike.
Adventure and freedom.

I’ve always been captivated and Inspired by their adventurous spirit since I met them. They have that in abundance.
Free spirited in a way I am inside.
Connected in so much.
I have that adventurous spirit too. Im just not as brave in it as they are or I once was. They have had more practice in that but I’ve had my moments. When did I lose that? During those three months and beyond. And then I started to find it again in a new place with new people. Building it slowly as I remembered who I was and how to be that.
But I feel like I’ve lost it again.

Even though I know I’ve been brave in other ways.

I still feel that fight with myself. Push forward, stay back. Push forward. Stay back.
It sounds like I’m not trying
I really am trying!

In my tiredness I took a hot sunny day to sleep in the afternoon.
In the past I would have found a million things to do but I just didn’t have it in me. Just tired.

When I woke up it was cooler and I painted the table and hammock again with varnish before accidentally kicking the rest of the pot over.
Or was it accidentally on purpose.
No I think just clumsiness in my rush to finish.

A day of no big shakes and yet I wanted to shake myself .. shake myself out of what this is. Trying but there’s such a sadness in me that resides deep down inside. Guilt washing over me in feeling like I didn’t try hard enough even though I know that I couldn’t have tried harder.
I said I felt embarrassed. More silly
in revealing myself in all that dreamy magic. The stuff kids laughed at when I was younger and I always kept to myself beyond. Letting it loose there because I thought it safe.
How silly I must have looked to others.
Silly just being me.

I have to tell myself that it’s just tiredness talking but I know it’s more.
Wondering in these moments if I’ve lost the very essence of who I am as I wish to remove myself from everything and everyone I love.
Feeling like I don’t want to care so I don’t have to feel any more loss or rejection but trying not to lose and reject in the process.

Varnish me up!

No lesson just feeling .. but Perhaps it’s easier to feel this stuff myself when my girl isn’t around.
I’m so proud of her trying.

Day 9 Try again

Woke up early and finally went back to swimming at 7am. It was wonderful. Little change .. from night to morning every day.

Diary of Small Changes… Day 5-7

Day 5 DIY

I quite love a bit of painting and decorating. I find it relaxing (well if you don’t have to paint a whole house in 6 days) At a slower pace I feel my Mr Miyagi.
When I’m doing it myself, With a focus on something productive that I like doing It allows me to let go of all the other stuff which drifts away as I get absorbed in the task at hand.

Today it was the garden table and hammock that have been given very little love despite that hammock being a place I have used often. A place to feel numb, think, feel, cry and write. But in better times, a place I’ve felt really happy and peaceful. In those times I really loved to lie and swing and dream.
I was so happy when I bought it.
Seeing it in a sale and just buying it on a whim.
Putting it together by myself with bits of wood falling on my head as I tried to balance it all as I screwed all the pieces together.
The original green canopy got ripped to shreds by two cats. I’ve never been a fan of cats. I like dogs. Faithful companions that give unconditional love.

Anyways that canopy was beyond repair and too expensive to just replace.
But yesterday I ordered a cheap double forest green coloured fitted sheet. It will do the job and fits with the naturalness of my garden which is currently getting the star treatment on a budget. A poor alternative to next doors that is gorgeous with all its decking and astro turf. Nice work!
But ever the fixer upper it’s amazing what a bit of elbow grease can achieve in just creating a nice space.
I’ve never cared about having a perfect show home even if I appreciate others.

So sanding was the first job. Never the glamorous part of the show but necessary.
Preparation is everything.
Smoothing it all down so its primed and ready for a new coat of paint. I bought some varnish for added protection. Sometimes a little protection is required to survive the harsher elements.

With sand block in hand and my girl wanting to help too, we got to work.
It’s hard graft it you do it properly. We spent a good couple of hours quietly working on them taking little rests every now and then.
When we finished my girl commented in how satisfying it felt.
Hold that feeling I thought. And wait till it’s finished and you get that feeling of “I did that”.

I bought paint.
Oak colour for the table and hammock and some redwood for the fence and little shed.
Autumnal colours all year round. I also splashed out on
pillow box red paint for the little shed door and the top of the two toadstools carved out of wood that I once bought for a fiver.
Natural with magic is the look I’m trying to achieve.
When it’s finished I want to find some lights.

I know I also need to replace the other fence panel, buy a new shed round the side (the current one collapsing as I write) I need somewhere to put the bikes, instead of under that car cover in the garden. Proper eyesore. But can’t afford those at the minute. I’m trying to save for bits here and there and wanting to go on a couple of trips and see people in the coming months without dipping in to that tiny bit of money I am trying to put aside for life beyond. It’s growing very slowly.

This feels like such a nice little project to keep me occupied and happy right now.
Somewhere nice to be while I create somewhere nicer to be over the coming months.

Still trying to work out how to fix up these paving slabs that were once a lovely autumn yellow but are now a dirty grey with weeds coming through. No budget for decking but someone told me about dry cement that you put straight in without having to mix it and then just add water. Perhaps I can paint or clean the paving stones? Google at its finest.

What I do know though is how much I love just being outside. How much I love nature even in its smallest version of a tiny garden.
How much happier I feel in places and also with people that feel natural.
Where I don’t have to look the part, act the part or become what I’m not just so I fit.
I just feel happy in nature. That’s a world I am made for.

When we finished sanding the weather had started to turn a bit cloudy so we decided to continue in the sunshine on Saturday.

Instead I turned my attention onto my bedroom.

Wanting to create another nice space for myself.
If I need rest then let’s rest somewhere lovely.
I’ve gone into organising mode. Needing to get things straight. All these jobs take time of which I had very little up until now.
Concentrating on basics so that I can concentrate on more when I’m ready.
Tidy home, tidy mind as they say.
I feel my momentum build each day.

Feeling happy with hearing that I can have my car back again soon.
I’ve managed without it and haven’t begrudged it. In fact I love walking. But I have felt a loss of freedom in being able to get to places especially more recently visiting my mum.

My lovely friend L and her bro are also gonna let me tag on to a short trip for 4 days to Devon in the middle of August.
I felt so excited.
I want to make more arrangements but I’m not quite ready at the moment. I’ll know when I am.
But that feels something lovely to work towards.
Today felt like I took lots of steps towards better.

Lesson – doing it myself does feel satisfying and takes away my feelings of being needy and messy. Sadness is something that will evolve at its own pace.

Day 6 Stand Tough

I don’t want to write about today. I felt that moment when all my care and trying was disregarded and forgotten as I try to give some care to myself.

Lesson.. In moments when words and actions are used that pull me back down, remember that they are only coming from a place of tiredness and sadness. Rise higher. Believe in who I am. I’m worth fighting for. Fight harder for me.

Day 7 Quiet Happy

Ok so you know im feeling you universe!!!! You’re on fire right now!!!
But I’ll come to that later.

I took a long opportunity to swing on my hammock this morning knowing that I wouldn’t be able to later as it would have a sign of “wet paint”.

As I sat there a little baby fox passed by close behind me. He was on his same route as every morning and every evening to somewhere?
I wonder where? Hope it’s somewhere wonderful.
I like that I am part of that route. Today he wandered past quietly comfortable in my presence. I didn’t even notice until I saw him exiting my garden.
We had our first encounter one night at the beginning of this week. He was right next to me looking at me and I thought can I trust you? .. I think he was feeling the same. We looked in each other’s eyes for a moment without moving Sensing each other’s fears of will you hurt me?
Since then every day it has felt more and more comfortable. He stops and looks at me and then carries on his way.
It felt nice today as he wandered past easily.
I love that we co exist in this same space.

Beautiful colour. I’ve always loved foxes ever since I was a kid.
I’m not sure I’ve never been so close to one before. I’ll see him again.

I then noticed a marking on one of the paving stones. It looked like a monkey smiling next to my garden table.
Made me laugh to myself.

I’m very aware of the simple nature of what I am writing at the moment.
When I was in a similar position four years ago I found myself in a place where it was all out there for everyone to see. No place to hide. Having to fake that I was coping when inside I was all over the place.
All the confusion and craziness and sadness that I was trying to deal with was right there in a room for everyone to see and hear. Whether they actually saw and heard it was another matter. Some being more perceptive than others. But I saw it in myself. It’s taken me a long time to really process what that experience was like for me. The same amount of time that I was in it which makes perfect sense to me actually as that is how I learn.
Drawing on previous experience is how I work out how to deal differently with what’s in front of me. We all learn differently. I’ve never faired well with text book answers. They tend to make no sense to me, not to mention how bored I get reading facts and figures.
But books that inspire me through others experiences or magical and fantastical adventures full of mystery also absorb me.
Like for example all the Shardlake books I read that are set in Tudor London. I feel the history of a period I find fascinating but concealed within a story where I follow an unusual character.
I felt such a connection being in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
Feel excited waiting for my surviving local bookshop to give me the call to tell me that the final two I ordered are in. Could have got it cheaper and quicker online but worth the extra couple of pounds for being able to wander in and marvel at all the kids books 😊
Enid Blyton was my girl.
Plus I’ve never minded waiting.

When I think of feeling so vulnerable at a time when I was already feeling so vulnerable I realise how well I faired. But it wasn’t something that I was prepared for. I did not handle it well inside. I had nothing to compare it to. No previous experience to draw on of putting myself and my life so out there for all to see especially at its very worst.
I’m much more private by nature. Normally you have to really get to know me and I have to get to know you.
It can take some time for me to get there. It requires an investment of time and care from others which I happily reciprocate.
For me to really trust at a level that can feel more intimate requires patience.
I have to feel like I’ve built something more solid and substantial before I can let you get to the good stuff. Its good and bad that sits behind my friendly but that’s where all the shades of colours lives.
I can do beige with anyone. From experience I find most people I meet prefer beige. I guess it blends well with anything or anyone and is easy.
But I like all the colour. It’s so much more more interesting and wonderful.

In moments I have wanted to leave the whole of that time behind because Ive felt embarrassed in coping so badly in all the stress and chaos.
I’ve never felt like that for such a long period of time.
Overriding all my lovely qualities that I prefer. Always trying to find something more in order to deal with everything.
Isn’t that what I wanted? To be more. I guess I had thought more fun more adventure more good stuff. But perhaps it’s good stuff but in a different way.
I felt it well beyond it ended and fuelled by more difficulties could never quite get to a place when I could stop and breathe and just be happy.
But finally Ive stopped.
Stuff to sort, things to deal with but still able to stop.
And I felt that exhaustion from keeping going.
But since pulling myself back up again and living in more quietness I am starting to feel my energy grow a little more every single day.
Haven’t felt this sort of peace within myself for a long time. Where my head isn’t completely all over the place and I’m just trying to balance.
This feels slow paced and one little step at the time. Without placing any demands on myself. Still living but in a very quiet and simple way. My way. Every day different but not in big exciting things to talk about. Just in little things I do or how I think. Boring to many I’m sure but not to me. Well not right now. I need adventure when I’m bored. On work days without question but on my days, I’m just happily doing simple stuff that make me happy. Building them slowly. No need to go at warp speed and then overwhelm myself. I like this pace. Makes me think of “yeah man”. We would get along famously right now.

I have often wished at different moments that I could leave that whole time behind. So as not to be reminded in what it all felt like for me back then. I think I’ve said before that I wished I could erase it.
I wouldn’t really.
I do however like the growing distance I feel from it as time passes. Not feeling any desire to be part of what that was again in its entirety. Thinking fondly of people who would now feel more like acquaintances in the same way as others I have met through life and work.
Feeling happy to see them should I happen to bump into them in this yes “small world” but not necessarily wanting to initiate nights out or meet ups.
Other than a few. But they haven’t resided inside of that room for me for a long time now.

They were the people I felt closest to, easiest to be around but especially found most inspiring.
Way too special for me to leave behind. I’ve never been a collector of friends. To take three forward with me is lovely actually. Rare and wonderful. A fourth that I don’t feel that same openness with but I admire and like so much.

Interestingly 3 of those people having that sense of dreamyness to them with very different versions of creativity and inspiration that i feel so drawn to. And the other a real doer with a very soft and warm heart within which I don’t think was seen so vividly behind all that confidence but I felt it during that whole experience. From when I first met her she always championed me and highlighted all my qualities.
I liked being around her.
Often felt like a strong and powerful mum figure.
If I’m really honest I doubt I would have met any of them if I hadn’t gone there. Their worlds looking very different to mine. Mixing in different circles to where I’m from.
When I hear about their lives they often feel world’s away. Finding myself feeling like a blank sheet of paper of basic against theirs of creativity and experiences.

Sometimes in life and work I’ve been around people at parties as they all share how clever and knowledgable they are on everything. Left feeling like a cultural idiot because I don’t know about that food, or never read that book or visited that far away destination that they have all been to. I love to learn and understand new things but sometimes it can feel daunting and intimidating in ending up looking like an unsophisticated idiot because I spent a long period of time just making sausage and mash for my family.
I never feel like my friends look at me that way but I do often wonder what I bring to the party in what must appear very simple and provincial. It can feel scary in navigating what is unfamiliar for me knowing that others can just stroll in, comfortable in having taken a similar path full of similar experiences.
It’s that horrible feeling of being like a kid standing in a room where you don’t know who to talk to because you don’t know how to join in with a way they all seem to know.
They are all at home in it while I feel like a fish out of water. Had that feeling a lot in life in places where I’ve strived for more.

The fact is that despite different worlds these were friends I wished for when I was a primary school kid.
I had to wait 3 more decades to find them.
Rare and special in my very different and individual feelings towards each.
I think of them now as people I love as opposed to people from that room.
They may not be part of my every day existence but they are absolutely part of my life and my world.

This time round I feel able to deal with it all in a much more organic way. Where I don’t have to share unless I wish to. I can be real in that without feeling I have to disclose it all. That I can hold most of it inside and process it at my own pace in my own time avoiding that feeling of leaving myself feeling completely vulnerable in that.
Right now trying to help someone else and being completely clueless in it. But finding my way and as ever doing my best.
But my grief and finding my own courage? well that I know. I’ve been here. Understanding it all a little better and not feeling so scared in it. Feeling my own various emotions now as I have handed others theirs back. They need to feel them too.
Totally there for them in different ways but without responsibility beyond my girl.
I feel very free today just in that.

Not feeling that same worry about people seeing how I feel but more knowing that in my own environment without 26 eyes watching me, able to deal with it all in my own quiet way.
I’ve learnt a lot from last time. It is really helping me this time round.

Finding the release on my blog helpful in just random thoughts, knowing that only a few people that I trust and hold close to my heart have access to it. And confident that they won’t sit and judge me but know me enough to know it’s all part of how I’m made and thats good enough.
It feels less about not being able to talk about it but preferring right now to find my own way through it without trying to explain the various details or my ever changing feelings, which evolve rapidly left to my own devices.
Inspiring shares taken in with pleasure as I find my version of what they mean to me.
I love that so much. It helps me more on a very abstract way.
Trusting in my own ability to do what needs to be done.
Sometimes I don’t have that ability and I have to find it. Which invariably I do even if like now I have to take the longer route while I find routes that works for me.
I feel a confidence in my self sufficiency.

FOMO .. an expression given to me a while back and one my girl mentioned the other day in how she was feeling. Fear of missing out.
It’s ok .. I felt it over those couple of weeks I couldn’t get up.
Hearing everyone laughing and having fun in the sun whilst feeling so sad. It felt so hard.
Worrying that there will be no one there when I lm ready to re engage with others.
Everyone will have new fun people to hang out with as they move further forward at a faster pace.
And yet, while I’ve been alone Ive felt more and more that if people really love and care about me then they will still be there when I’m ready. And if not then I’m not the right friend for them or in fact they are not the right friend for me.
People move on and sometimes it might mean I’m left behind.
But I can’t fear that anymore.
Since looking all the way back I’ve realised that there is no real loss in those who don’t care.
Of course I feel the sadness of that but it doesn’t hurt much these days.
Perhaps because over time I have met others who do care.
It’s a no brainer in what holds more value for me.
When I love someone I would like to think that it can be felt no matter where they are. It’s held somewhere inside in a belief in what is shared.
Like that feeling of time passing and not seeing someone but when you do it’s as though no time has passed.
I love that feeling too.
And a lovely sentiment that was reflected back to me by a magical mermaid who by her own admission isn’t like all the other fishes.
No she isn’t.
She has qualities that make me feel comfortable and safe.
She messaged me yesterday after a few months break. Its always wonderful to hear from her.
Special people always remain special.
When I briefly explained where I’m at she understood and told me to let her know whenever I’m ready.

I feel that from all those I love most and that feels very reassuring for me.
In fact that very thing speeds up my process because I feel no pressure.
That lack of pressure will enable me to catch up with them more quickly.

So today was all about painting. As I opened the first tin I realised it was completely the wrong colour. So while others were heading to the beach or the all day barby of the teenage boy next door I headed to B&Q and two lovely ladies who worked there as we tried to find the best solution for my dodgy patio while I bought the correct paint.
Loved them both as we talked kiln dry sand, and masonry paint. In the end I chose to clean it with some kind of patio cleaner which doesn’t harm animals and a power jet cleaner that I’m gonna borrow from a friend.

As we drove back and I felt all pleased with myself in being Miss DIY as the universe spoke and this tune came on the radio.
Omg I love this tune I said to my girl as I turned it up and laughed as I listened to the lyrics.
I can’t make it up.

I spent the rest of the day painting the hammock and table with my girl. The wrong paint now used to spruce up crappy garden pots. No waste round this gaf. And painting the bottom half of the mushrooms.
More to do tomoz.
Feeling the Ibiza vibe coming from over the fence as I poured a glass of Pinot as I worked. Now I’m feeling summer.
Perhaps I’m missing out on the party vibes in cool places but today felt pretty cool to me in all its simple happy.
I’m easy pleased when I have time and space and freedom.

As I sit and write in the garden feeling the vibrations of that heavy bass reverberate through me in a way I love it made me smile. I bet the older lot in the flats are doing their pieces. But I just feel quietly happy.
“I did that”.

Lesson … Don’t know? Maybe “Just Live ”

😊❤️

The Diary of Small Changes … Day 2-4

Day 2 Wipeout!

So I can safely say this isn’t gonna be the ABC version of 1 2 3 HAPPY

It started well. A beautiful morning as I woke up. I liked that early morning feeling when it’s so quiet. Sitting in the garden watching a little green spider trying to navigate my chipped and battered garden table. Stretching its legs to get across the gaps. Sometimes it was just too far to stretch so an indirect route was taken to find a smaller gap. A larger green spider appeared following the little one. Found myself thinking about being behind my girl. Not too close but just watching out for her and I thought about myself and others looking out for me from a distance with enough presence to be a comfort.

And then more green spiders appeared. A hustle and bustle of the garden table world where they navigated each other. Often looking at each other to work out how they would pass each other. It all felt very polite and civilised. The biggest green spider walking across the top of one of the tiny ones. Squashed but still surviving. Maybe it was so small that it wasn’t noticed.

I sat there for half an hour watching and then listened to a “ramble”
I’ve been chuckling since thinking about wet “not made to last” primark socks from water permeating holes in not aesthetically perfect trainers that provide excellent heel support.
What a beautifully funny description that was probably throwaway and trivial but was the thing that stayed in my mind and made me smile at different times in the day. Yes words can be used so beautifully if you have the gift.

I spent the majority of my day sitting bored at a laptop with people moaning at me. Patience is a virtue and knowing when to make the big moves is something I’ve learnt from experience.
As they all moaned I responded thanking them for their patience and understanding even though I should have been thanking myself as they were neither.
We all have stuff we are dealing with. I try not to take mine out on random people elsewhere.
We are all just trying our best aren’t we?
Sometimes I love people and sometimes I find them so draining and ignorant.

Perhaps all the gardening wore me out too.
Perhaps I need to pace myself from doing absolutely nothing to then clearing a whole garden.

Lesson – Take your time building up energy.

Day 3 Little by Little

I went to open the window and saw a yellow butterfly fluttering on it looking in.
Yellow butterflies represent fun and joy.
Im definitely feeling that universe looking out for me right now. It feels reassuring.

A little like top gun I feel the need, the need for speed in getting to the good stuff.
The fun and joyful stuff.
We are over the worst but now stuck in the practicalities. They are messy and tiring and will take time.
It’s hard to really move forward without getting them sorted. Anything nice just being a momentary distraction from the real stuff that needs to be dealt with. I’m in it and I’m hearing my voice. Finding this part uncomfortable but necessary in trying to secure a future that has been worked so hard for. Having to remind myself often as I try to feel my own sense of integrity.
This feels tough in a very different way.
But it has to be done. I can avoid it or deal with it. But it’s going to take time.

Note to self … adventures and fun are somewhere ahead.

And then hear the Cincinnati kid in me..
“You’re just not ready for me yet”.
And I know it’s true.

Films Films Films.
Yes I find my inspiration in films, my own imaginings and sharing from others that I hold dear.

Being energyless is something I’ve not experienced much in life. I’ve always been full of energy. Bubbly fun.
But a lot work required to get to that and emerge as a “superstar” as my mum called me yesterday. More likely falling arse over tit with set backs, falls and fuck ups on the way. This film is a little more gritty true life story right now than magical fantasy.

My mum is my biggest fan. She reminds me often what a beautiful and magical person I am. Life cant stop you she tells me.
Well it kinda did to be honest.
But I appreciate her encouragement. Getting up was the hardest bit.
I have felt a little more energy today.

My head is in planning mode. Well I say that loosely. My version of planning is imagining. Trying to work out what I want, what I need and how best to get it by dreaming what that looks like.
No nicely put together list. Think it then do it.
I know what I love.
But I also like trying new stuff and I love to share.
Given the finances I’d probably have if all sorted by the end of the week.
But one stepping stone at a time.
Taking the Long route.

I’ve always been a pretty joyful person in life. Stuff hasn’t bothered me so much in the past. You know all the crap that winds people up.
It’s only when I’ve been squashed down to the bottom that it’s really got to me. Ground down.
I didn’t think it possible but there you go.
Unlike others who have been bored through lockdown and have found new hobbies, new lives or themselves, I haven’t stopped. It’s just been relentless.
I think that might be why I’m imposing a little of my own lockdown so I can try to recharge and find some space and peace.
And somehow try to get a sense of myself again.

Im certainly being self sufficient.
I know how to take care of myself. I always have from when I was a kid.
Quietly without anyone noticing. You had to just get on with it and with my mum working all the time I had to grow up and sort out what I needed whilst navigating all the shit that I didn’t.
No one waiting to catch me and sort things out.
It’s why I try so hard for others.
Sometimes I wish someone would catch me before I realise that’s my job.

But I certainly do appreciate the care of others.
Its not their job to look after me. Its my job to do what needs to be done to change things.
But their care and inspirations I catch with open arms.

So firstly for me I think, in the same way as my battered garden table, I need a little bit of a makeover. Eye check, dentist, need my haircut. Total Basics.
Thought it Booked it!

Lesson – Doing as I go works for me.
Small, trivial and insignificant is so much more than it appears.

Day 4 Wonder and Opportunities

Wow those daisys grow fast or maybe I only flattened them when I was mowing and they bounced back up. But there was a sea of them this morning.

Where am I at?

Changing my approach.

Last night me and my girl took a walk in the forest. It was nice to be back in the home I love.

I then shared Wonder with my girl last night. The trials of life and how each character experiences these things differently. How things have a knock on effect. How easy it is to miss what might be happening for someone else.
The only thing we can really have control of is how we respond and try to deal with them.
It’s not easy. I don’t care what the books say.
When you care it adds another layer.

We are on our own journeys right now but we are in it together.
I’m feeling the strength of that as she looks to me to see how it’s done and I look to her to see how it’s done.
Inspiration in just that.
Helping and loving each other as we go.
It’s a roller coaster but I am trusting in what we share and hers and my ability to help ourselves.

Ok .. I got this! Or sometimes not when the tiredness of doubt rolls in. Trying to drown it out with belief.

Yesterday I mentioned to a colleague that I had thought of applying for a job in the area of the business she heads up. I didnt apply for it because I had too much other stuff going on. The timing wasn’t right.
Today she replied knowing exactly which role I was interested in. Good sign. And then advised that it was still available. They hadn’t managed to recruit for it and it was going to be re advertised shortly.
Was I still interested?

It was one of those moments when an opportunity shows itself twice. It doesn’t happen that often but when it does it says second chance.
I said I was still interested.
It feels new, interesting, different. It’s not even the point if I get it or not. It’s me striving for change. Where might that take me?
All of a sudden just in putting myself out there I felt my courage. I told my girl about it.

My girl then made her call. Resistant but guided by trying.
Little steps. Little changes I say.
I felt so proud of her In what for her was such a big brave step.
It gave me a lift.

As she went off with her dad I immediately picked up my phone and played this tune, hearing the words of that Foxx in my head.
And danced in my kitchen, next to my laptop with the fan blowing my hair like a Beyoncé music video.
Superstar for a moment.

I didn’t need to try lovely friend. In that moment I completely felt it ❤️

Lesson – Share the SideWalk.

The Diary of Small Changes … Day 1

Introduction

Yesterday I had a message from my lovely friend asking me how my week has been for me.
I looked at it and thought about it but I just didn’t know how to respond.

That’s one of the things I have found hardest through everything over the past few years.
Thinking of myself as some sad, needy and messy bird who can’t sort her life out.
And probably looking like some kind of crazy nutter who can’t cope.
Actually at times I haven’t been able to cope. But it’s ok. I’m human. There’s been such a lot of real. I’ve been trying my best.

My beautiful friend who recently became a new mum said “nobody tells you how hard this is”.
Words I’ve said many times after becoming a mum and in the years that have followed as the responsibility levels are ramped up by being sandwiched between a child and ever aging parents. Life no longer being about what will I do but more what will I do and how does this impact on others.
Yep no one tells you how hard it is or more so, how to deal with any of it.
I can confirm that none of that stuff looks like the glossy version in the adverts or films.

In the end there is no manual for any of it despite all books that I see containing a whole lot of theory. Believe me, when you are up to your eyes in it and use the F word it never has the letters “reud” after it.
You are winging it all the way and hoping for the best. And when things go wrong you try your best in what that is. Trying to find the best in who you are.

For the past couple of weeks, ever since the funeral I’ve felt mentally exhausted.
Thinking in moments that I wish I could also just rest in peace.
I know what the every day reality of it all has looked like.

But I have also discovered I’m made of more than I ever realised or that other people ever see.
I’m much stronger than I might appear from all my rambles and then sometimes I’m not.
I’m giving myself some credit for keeping going and getting back up.
Giving myself credit is something I often struggle to really do.

Even though on this occasion I am finding it so much harder to get back up.
Although I have managed to keep working and to still look out for others. But the rest of the time I’ve been sleeping. Completely and utterly exhausted in every way possible and feeling so negative.
Not even the energy to walk in the forest or swim which are things I love.
Everyone has a limit in how much they can take and I most definitely reached mine.

The moment that I opened my eyes the next morning I had nothing. Empty tank. Even that shit stuff that congeals at the bottom of the tank that they say will fuck up your engine.
Yep my engine has felt completely knackered.
Trying to be kind to myself hasn’t been a choice it’s just been a necessity.

But I’ve certainly also been getting on my nerves. “Sort it out luv” are words I’ve said to myself many times as I’ve felt like a tired and boring victim.
Crying and feeling sorry for myself.
I hate feeling like that. Sick of it actually. I don’t even want to be around myself so why would I want to put myself around anyone else.
I’m tired of being that girl talking about sad stuff. I want to talk about fun and happy things. I want to laugh and dance and play.
But I can’t pretend. Real is my middle name. I don’t want to just fake happy.
Sometimes life is tough and life is sad and you just have to deal with it and feel it.
It’s shit to be honest.
But I do have the will to work it out, make changes and grow.
I have grown already. I have the ability to sort things out and also to soothe myself.
A child at heart but a grown up when I need to be.

Perhaps when I apply for my next job I should put in all the stuff that I’ve dealt with in all my other unpaid roles that requires so much more than I’ve ever needed whilst doing any of those boring office jobs that pay the bills.
And yet you show a piece of paper saying you read a book and wrote a couple of essays and you are seen as more qualified.

In the end when I feel like I’m struggling to cope I know that it is only because I am tired and I need to rest and sleep.
To find some solitude and peace.
Unfortunately you don’t accumulate paid holiday for that either.

Anyways I asked if I could save that question and answer it when I felt more ready.
Wishing to share a different version of my week.
A happier and more interesting version that I wish to put out in the world. A person who is still real and gentle and vulnerable in my own very human way but also with a confidence in who I am and can be.
To be the light hearted and easy going girl who has fun but still mixed in with the deep thinker who doesn’t want to just be an empty head.
I want to be able to show all the lovely qualities I possess that have been hidden away underneath all the difficulties and challenges
The stuff I love about myself but hasn’t had the space or opportunity to really come out and flourish in the way it has previously. The stuff that makes mine and other people’s lives happier. The stuff that is filled with dreamy magic.
Just for a different flavour can I be that version again.

Its not that I wish to be an island or that I don’t need help and support sometimes, but I need to find my own courage to take back control of my life again and make it what I wish it to be.
Talking about it works to a point and then you have to do.
Doing is where I’m at now and this morning I finally woke up to a little more energy and I used it.
Not life changing stuff in that way where apparently winners are rational and measured and can do anything.
It’s not who I am or who I wish to be.
But in a quiet way where I breathe in the air and I see the sun breaking through the clouds and feel all the emotions that come with that.
For me this is more of a gentle journey back to happiness. More of a lazy river leading to a field full of daisys.
I doubt it will make it on the bestsellers list of self help books because the only achievement I’m looking for is to skip happily through the daisys again with a smiley face.
I know that girl certainly still exists. I felt her when I saw that white butterfly.,

It’s just that life has happened and it’s not easy to skip through a minefield.
So I’m taking the long way round which wont get me there fast but as life doesn’t come with a timeline at least this route is one that will allow me to take in the simple sights and pleasures along the way.
Thoughts of travel entering my head again.
The mere thought of possibilities feeling like a leap with wings. I’ll get there if I’m meant to.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m certainly not ready for any of that yet. I haven’t even stepped outside of my flat for two weeks.
I like the feeling that comes with just maybe.

Yesterday when I replied to that question I said that I would save it until a time when I felt ready to answer it.
I then slept on a lounger for the entire day in the sun because I didn’t have the energy to do anything more than that.

So where to start?
I have to start somewhere.
Somewhere small and achievable.
This is the diary of small changes.

Sunday Day 1 Start Again
Today I have been in my garden all day cutting back all the weeds and the long grass and the overgrown ivy and the red rose bush I planted when I first moved here.
The roses are a beautiful deep red colour. It’s the only plant that has ever survived due to my lack of interest in gardening.
I just like swinging on the hammock or Lying there looking up at the clouds and hearing the birds sing.
But this stuff has to be done and I cleared it all up and bagged it before
mowing the overgrown grass which made all those daisys disappear.
Every time they grow again I think I’ll check in to see where I’m at.

When I finished I stopped and had a cup of tea and a miniature bar of dairy milk. I felt so pleased with myself. Not because my garden looked nicer but because I finally felt like I got up again and made my first little change…
Just to try.

White Butterfly

Call me a nutcase but having seen a picture of a tree house today after seeing a string of other images that felt bizarrely relevant for me over the past few days including a Rainy New York on my sad and jealous sunny day, alongside a few food images that have made me smile, I walked tiredly out into my garden for some sunshine and solitude and was greeted by a song I don’t know coming from the flat upstairs

One Direction Night Changes


I looked across at my messy uncut grass and saw lots of daisies.


If the universe is calling out to me then you caught my eye and my ear…
but I’m gonna need more than that.
You’re dealing with a very sad and negative version that is tired and has retreated into her home.

Dreaming and Magic feels a whole world away from this girl.

Even if the positive voice in my head definitely raised her voice from a whisper for a moment with the words MAGIC!

… Oh come on … a white butterfly fluttering in front of my face as I just wrote that .. ok I felt that.. You have my attention.

Courage

I’m fighting with myself. Messed up in a tired head.
The whispers of positive rattling negatives cage right now.
Wanting to be set free.

I’m scared to be set free again. Not in the world. Just in a life of my own.
In fact I’m finding it hard to get to that point of even being able to free myself.
Practicalities still at play.
Choices hindered by new responsibilities and financial challenge.

Are they just excuses?

No. This is real life. And I know the value of security for me and for others.
It’s easy to not care about such things when you just have them.
If it was just me then it would all look different. But I have to consider others. I want to consider others.
But I feel like I have spent so much time captive in responsibility that I think I’ve now become dependent on it for safety.
I feel controlled by it.
Losing everything previously built shattered me and distancing myself from most people so my life wouldn’t be seen and I wouldn’t have to explain has left me isolated.
Starting again is starting again. It feels tiring, scary, lonely especially in this new world that I don’t feel part of and surrounded by lots of people I have nothing in common with.

Why are you scared?

I don’t want to be despised again. Or called selfish. I’ve tried my hardest to be a good person. I don’t want to feel that sadness in their disappointment and anger in me again.
Everything I’ve tried to help with lost as though I did nothing and leaving me feeling like I’m a nobody. Like I’m no good.

You’ve been here before. You’re not a nobody. You’re a good person. You couldn’t fight any harder for others.
Fight harder for you.
In the way you are still doing for others and always will.

For what?
What’s the point of fighting for me.
To get knocked down again?
I’m tired of getting knocked down.
No rocky fight left.
No motivation to pull myself back up again.
Wishing to just stay down and hope for the closing credits to come soon.

That’s not who you are. You have so much more to you than this. Get up and do something. Just one little change. Just Try!

I AM TRYING!!!! I’ve been trying and trying!!!! Can’t you see that. Can’t anyone see that?! I’ve been trying since the very start. I was completely courageous in it. Four years of getting up and getting knocked down and getting back up and getting knocked down again. Continually.
It has bloody hurt.
Hidden behind closed doors but fighting so hard.
Watching others who don’t have to try so hard always falling on their feet.
Don’t you know how soul destroying that can feel.
Leaving me thinking “what’s wrong with me?”
Always trying to give and then watching others who only ever take.

And even with all that effort to be back exactly where I started. Worse than where I started.
All I can hear is noise, demand and expectation.
overwhelmed by others sadness and more sadness. Holding all their struggles.
Only whatever I do it never seems to be enough.
And unable see a way forward.
Every direction I look in appearing like a dead end.
Leaving me in moments wishing I could take the exit from this life. Feeling like I’ve had enough.
Wanting to just disappear and sleep.

Then just find a quiet place and rest. There’s no hurry. One move at a time.
You’re doing so well. Dont you know how well you are doing?
Don’t you know how well you have done?
You’re more than you ever give yourself credit for.
You’re more than others ever see.
You should be so proud of who you are.
Don’t give up on you!
DONT GIVE UP ON YOU!!!
Somewhere ahead when you are ready and the time is right there is a whole new adventure waiting for you. The sort of adventure that only you can create and others will wish they could have been a part of. The right people will be there for you when the time is right.

Somewhere buried deep down I can hear my voice shouting out for me. Trying to motivate me to get back into this game called life and fight for me.
And while I hear it, even in moments like this, in just a whisper to myself, I know I still exist somewhere…


… even if I can’t find my courage today.