Juxtaposition. What a brilliant score at scrabble that word would be!
This week almost earns itself a very famous film title in our life but ours would be 2 birthdays, 2 funerals and a wedding.
Juxtaposition. Feelings of contradiction at the same moment.
My Nains funeral fell on my birthday. It was a sad but dignified send off and I was glad for the memories and the ninety years she had. Names of all her children and grandchildren and her great grandchildren were read out. Tesni heading the latter as the eldest and my heart felt so very sad as I hear the word ‘late’ before her name. It feels so wrong and I am glad my 6ft 2 son is standing next to me, for somehow he on occasion, now, feels like my support and that’s a beautiful feeling and it makes me feel so proud of the person he has become.
Juxtaposition. Feeling loss yet gratitude Feeling sad but proud. Like a beautiful but lonely flower.
I also get to see most of my brothers in one room and I get to cuddle 3 month babies and meet a new nephew with lovely cheeks.
I think that’s the hardest part of loss for me. On my birthday for splinters of time I kept thinking. How lucky am I? Lots of friends visiting and texting. Family nights out and lunches. I’m loved so much. I feel lucky. But I also feel like a third of me is missing. With grief there’s always a but.
We will finish this week off with a family wedding that I’m really looking forward to. I get to see most of my gorgeous cousins that I see far too infrequently. For all of us I’m sure there’ll be someone close to our hearts that we wish was there but I am reminded of the writing literally written by Tes on her bedroom wall. Make every day beautiful.
We must certainly try.
Lots of love this Sunday
I was listening to my favourite radio station, Radio 6 on Saturday morning and I caught the end of a poet talking about writing his poetry. Surprisingly he said it was a wrenching difficult job for him because it had to be about the truth. He opened himself up to the world with his words and sometimes it led to criticism but he went on to say that’s the place we need to get to as human beings was that we need to face our truth.
Sometimes I think we live in a world where it’s a bit like having backache. If something isn’t right and we have a pain many people take a pill and the pain goes away. But the cause of the pain hasn’t gone away. It still there. We don’t face the issue. The truth.
When I wrote my blog two weeks about my mental health I was really scared and I only skimmed the top of it. It’s hard. I was worrying that people would look at me different or maybe a potential employer would Google and think oh dear she’s had anxiety. Steer clear. And then there’s the uncomfortable truth that you’ve kept this big part of you away from people you’ve loved and the biggest part is letting the world know I’m not perfect.
To say I was overwhelmed with the messages after I wrote it doesn’t cover it. Some people messaged me with their own secrets and stories about their quiet suffering and others opened up about their own concerns about loved ones and there was stories of overcoming really difficult bouts of mental health issues.
The main factor in these stories and mine is we are all different, different ages, gender, background and also we are not just surviving but we are living. We are all doing stuff. I manage an organisation that serves a population of 11000. Just because I have anxiety issues doesn’t mean that I can’t hold down a demanding job or have a fabulous large bunch of friends. It doesn’t mean I can’t have a meaningful relationship. It doesn’t mean I can’t deal with stress and it doesn’t mean I’m going mad. It doesn’t mean that I’m not dependable. It doesn’t mean I miss work. It doesn’t mean I’m down a lot. It doesn’t mean I’m weak.
What struck me most when I wrote that blog was that people were shocked. You? But you’re strong? You’ve got a good job. You’re always laughing. You never said anything. And I am all those things and so are most people with mental health issues, we just need to stop skimming around those two words like they’re an infectious disease. Reality is we all have Mental health and sometimes it can be good and sometimes it can make us poorly. Mental issues does not mean failure, in fact when you face it… You move away from the cloud you thought was protecting you and finally begin to live and face your truth .
It was really important to me to write a second part to that blog and I want to thank you for your support and also your bravery x
Lots of love this Sunday x
When’s the last time you stood still for more than 30 seconds?
When’s the last time you stood still for more than 30 seconds outside?
And closed your eyes and let the sun glow through your skin and feel the warmth on your cheeks?
Not often I’d bet.
We are much more relaxed and have been normalised by being slave to our morning alarm, rushing breakfast, getting to work with seconds to go, having half conversations with people because we’re too busy, shouting at drivers who get in our way. It’s far easier to throw down a sandwich and rush a text when a call would be so much nicer. We do three things at once and live to work rather than the other way around.
We’re sleeping less due to the stress and then feeling impatient while doing more the next day. There’s no wonder most of us are exhausted. Rushing around is a far easier state of mind than taking a moment for yourself. A real moment. Not one with the phone or tv.
I tried it this week. It was 6pm and I was at the end of my normal 12hr shift of dogs work drive family food dogs kind of day ….and as I walked along the path towards the field bathed in sunshine I realised I didn’t know how I’d got there. I couldn’t remember the walk. So when I got to the field. I stopped. The dogs looked at me funny. I looked to make sure nobody could see me! Then I stopped. I turned towards the orange rays and closed my eyes and stood still. I felt momentarily silly however this was replaced quite soon with a feeling of calm and serenity. I stood there for about a minute. Eyes shut. Just taking it in. The warmth, the peacefulness, the quiet, the me!
When you take a moment to be still and you find it difficult it’s surely telling us something. To take more moments?
Happy Sunday xxx
I should have known better!
I saw her walking towards me. We don’t know each other that well but we say hello and sometimes exchange a few words about the weather. That morning the wind made my cheeks burn a little but the sun also made a strong appearance meaning I could leave my hat at home for a change.
As she approached she made no eye contact. Like I wasn’t there. We passed each other and she barely saw me. She was gone again. Weird, I thought. Rude, I thought. Then of course I wondered what I could have possibly done to her. Because it had to be that. Despite hardly knowing her. I must’ve done something.
It was two days later when I found out her mum is really poorly.
We’re always learning things aren’t we and that was a reminder to me that sometimes I need to remember to simply ask, are you OK? Not walk on and chat to myself about how this is obviously my fault. Not helpful to anyone!
We make assumptions all the time. Sometimes we need to dig a little deeper and the next time a colleague is in a mood or that child next door is being ‘naughty’ or a friend is being distant. We need to be brave and think what’s going on for them and if the chance comes up, ask. Are you OK?
Hope you’re all OK this morning and if you’re not that’s OK too xx
I drove to work this week listening to the radio as usual, there was a woman speaking about role models, she said everyone girl should have a role model. It made me think about the importance of influencing each other and also I have to say I feel that boys need as much as ever to have positive role models particularly when we look around at the males currently dominating our media.
What is a role model?
Are you one?
Am I one?? I thought to myself.
Taking on the position of a role model isn’t an easy task. If people look up to or admire someone that role model has to constantly be on their best behavior don’t they. Look at David Beckham this week… a few emails with a few expletives (I have to be honest I haven’t seeked out the full story) – he seems to have gone from an untouchable unquestionable respectable man to one now viewed with suspicion and mistrust. He’s not allowed to be human.
Role models are not allowed faults – which to be frank is absolutely ridiculous.
A role model to me is someone real, with imperfections and weaknesses but who also is striving to be the best person they can at that moment. A role model is someone who wants to encourage other people, who resists jealous and envy, someone who generally see’s the best in someone and wants that someone to succeed. A role model tries to be kind and compassionate not just to who they know but who they don’t know either. A role model treats children with love and devotion and know that animals are an extension of the human race to be cared for and cherished. A role model is a decent and good friend, withholds malicious judgement and is inclusive. A role model is someone wanting to do all those things while accepting that all those things aren’t always possible, but keeps trying.
I don’t find myself wanting to be like anyone else. For me that breeds jealousy but I do know that I am drawn to people I view as positive role models, from Mrs Thomas my kind primary school teacher to a friend who put a pair of trainers on for the first time, to a woman who despite enormous loss found a way to happiness, the group who stands up despite adversity for what they believe in and especially the encouragers in life where resentment doesn’t exist.
I think we can all be role models and by acknowledging yourself as a role model it gives you some responsibility because there’s no choice – we do all influence everyone around us. It may sound nonsensical but if you’re a role model anyway, isn’t it worth trying to be the best one you can be?
Lots of love and a happy Sunday x x
I got to see Trainspotting 2 this week. It’s totally different to the first but just as powerful. I just wanted to talk about it for ages afterwards and mull over the characters and the way their lives had evolved. It particularly resonated with me because the characters are now my age. I’ve grown up with them!
20 years. It’s a long time and yet seems a short time. In my 20 years I haven’t ended up in prison or taken a concoction of drugs like my trainspotting friends!! It has made me think about what has gone on though. Two beautiful children, new jobs, loss, house moves, relationships, divorce, pets, coming out, holidays, break ups, love, graduation, furry friends, learning to run, rows and making up, self acceptance, old friends and new ones… …. twenty years. 20 years! What will the next 20 bring? I hope for calm and fulfilling, exciting and relaxed, healthy and beautiful. I imagine it will be again nothing as I expected because although we try our best to have some control over our future we don’t.
We can try to control some of it.. how healthy we are, how we make an impact today, how we approach life today.. but tomorrow will bring what it wants and that has made me think about trying to stop worrying about what I’ve got absolutely no control over. Most of us worry about things we can do nothing about and it’s probably time to stop!!
To help me be a bit more thankful for what I’ve got right now and stop worrying about the inevitable unknown of tomorrow I’ve downloaded the app gratitude garden. It encourages you to write down three good things from today. It keeps them all so if you’re ever feeling a bit negative you can go back and remind yourself about the good stuff too!
It’s worth a go! Anything to help with those irrelevant and unhelpful anxieties. Concentrate on what we can change and not on what we can’t.
Happy (non worrying) Sunday
Lots of love xx
As I did a quick dash around the local supermarket last week I encountered two mums with two children in different aisles. The little ones were demanding sweets and the other a magazine. I want this magazine said the young girl with her brown hair tied up, looking longingly. No. Shouted mum. I need this said the two year old blonde boy pointing to some purposefully brightly coloured packets of sweets. Mum tells him loudly that he’s stressing her out. He starts to cry. Both mums look so fed up and really tired. I caught second mums eye and gave her a smile while making a joke that it’d be bed time soon. She looked grateful that she wasn’t being judged for her short fuse.
I continued with my mad dash picking up some reduced rocket and thought about that wanting. I want this. I need this. We see it all the time. And we’re also doing it all the time aren’t we? We’re doing exactly what we did as kids but on a far greater scale. We want. We demand. We want a new car. We need new clothes. With this we’re working all hours to pay for the new house, the extension, that holiday we need because….. .. we’re working so hard!
We’re designed to want. When I looked at the two kids and worse when I looked at the two stressed out women I thought. Enough. Something has to give. Why are we doing this to ourselves? Working ourself so hard just to get what we’ve been told we supposedly need. But how do we stop?
I’m not sure! It’s a hard habit to give up… being constantly on the go and having a life that revolves around want. It’s almost addictive. And then there’s guilt for daring to do nothing. Doing nothing is actually really good for us you know? It lets your mind wander, imagine and rest.
I’m hopeless at it. More than ever the last few years I’ve busied myself. So. I’m going to make a few changes… beginning with going to a yoga class because I don’t see myself having enough steel or determination to have an hour and a half away from life without some help!
It’s a start. Not sure I can change drastically from wanting but I’m going to try to be less about what I want and concentrate more on what I have!
Lots of love,
Happy Sunday xx