Meant to be

Up until 2pm on Saturday nothing had really grabbed my attention in terms of what I might write about this week for my blog.

I’m feeling a bit better than I did last week but it’s been a slow improvement this time away from ‘the fog’.

I did though pick up my new ‘toy’ which is my Orange Crush mountain bike last Sunday. I’m not one for fads but I had to admit to myself that buying a fancy new mountain bike after having only been mountain biking seriously once was a bit extreme but I know in my bones I’m going to get use out of it.

I was quite nervous getting on it! I know they say ‘it’s like riding a bike’ but if you haven’t ridden a bike for a while it’s well – like riding a bike when you haven’t ridden one for years!! Wobbly!

I bought some cycling trousers from Aldi and kept trying to move the padded bit to the side when I then discovered there were two padded bits, one for each cheek!!! I put my new pink and black helmet (matched my jacket!) on and off we we went towards the canal on what was luckily a beautiful autumnal warm gorgeous day.

I do love getting to know a different part of where I live. Having lived in this area all my life I had never taken the whole path down to the aqueduct via the canal. It was absolutely stunning. We had to stop at one point to take in the view and that says something living in Wales! A blue and cream canal boat bobbed at the side of a bench where someone had planted roses all around it, the bench looked over a vast panoramic skyline, slightly hazy but with strong emerald and rusty colours of trees swinging quietly in the wind. Below the trees, the river Dee was quite spectacular due to the recent rain and with beautiful force went on its journey as far as the eye could see.

We continued onwards, passing a few people and a few dogs, but not many. We were heading towards a cafe that we’d discovered, it was actually a cafe inside a boat and as I cycled I mulled over, what would it be? Almond slice or a scone with cream and jam!

We eventually got to the cafe, the October sun by now was pressing down on our skin and when we stopped I had to loosen my jacket to cool down. We queued and I finally decided on the scone, I wasn’t disappointed.

We’d stopped next to an elderly woman and her dog. I am addicted to dogs. I can’t pass a dog without comment or a pat on their head. We asked if the woman minded us sitting next to her on the long wooden bench. No, she said.

It wasn’t long before we made friends with the beautiful golden Labrador who reminded me of a lovely dog in my life years previously. He had the most handsome face and he looked hopefully at us for a crumb of the scone but his owner rightly wasn’t keen on him developing that habit. He sat with his head on my blue and white trainers, a trick that many dogs like to do, if you move – then they’ll know it!

We got talking to the fair haired, slight woman and I noticed she had a thick gold wedding ring on her tiny hand, for some reason I knew already that she had been widowed and that this dog had come into her life because of that. In the fifteen minutes or so we spoke it transpired that after saving all their life for their future her husband had died suddenly over 3 months, before he retired and 5 months after she had retired. They had been together for 50 years. This had happened 8 years ago. Her dog was 8 years old.

As we were leaving, the woman who was now in her 70s looked at us. Really looked at us. Don’t save for the future, she said. Don’t put your money in ISAs or banks. Live your life now, she said. You really need to live your life now, she said.

I left her, feeling a little sorry – not in a patronising way – just that she had made all these plans and in the matter of months they were taken away from her. I also left her feeling that sometimes, you bump into people for a reason. I felt like I was supposed to meet her this day. I was meant to hear what she said. It was meant to be.

I hope I get to meet her again some day.

Have a lovely Sunday x

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Dancing in diversity

I’ve figured out the answer to world peace!!

On Friday night I was invited out to an all women’s ‘disco’. It’s actually called the ‘shit lesbian disco’… which comes apparently from the fact a lot of the those types of events historically have ….. well… been a bit shit!

This one certainly wasn’t.

800 women filled this alternative music bar and it was magical. From the second the friendly organiser ticked our name off her list and we were offered a free shot from a woman with the happiest smile that was impossible not to respond to enthusiastically.

Making my way to the cloak room the line of women did not sit silently. We chatted easily and the woman who took my jacket sat on the floor cross legged as she labelled it for my collection later.

The staff running the bar were oozing energy. There was no frustrations at queuing just an opportunity to dance gently whilst waiting to be served.

And so to the music. Three women. Two laptops.  One music deck  (no idea if that’s the correct description!). Two of the women alternately chose a track and every time just got it so right as the crowd responded whooping as they danced. Later the tracks stopped and made way to the most amazing wordsmith who’s narrative was mesmerising and it was impossible not to listen to every letter within every word. The band then took their place debuting their new EP filling the room with rap, drums and guitars that compelled the crowd to stay and move their bodies in appreciation. The music then returned and everyone just continued. To dance.

This room was brimming with culture, diversity and more importantly love and acceptance. From the sari wearing DJ to the traditional dress of the wordsmith, to the women in heels and those in trainers. Women with make up and those without. Women in dresses and women in jeans. Black women. Muslim women. White women. Chinese women. Women with red hair and those with pink. Women holding hands and women just there for the music.

And that’s world peace in one room.

Music. Love. Acceptance. Dance.

Simple.

Happy Sunday everyone x

What’s your role?

​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

Where’s me?! 

I read a few words that got me right there this week. It was simply a few words by someone that described the desperate  need of wanting  her old self back.

This time of year can sometimes magnify loss. I still love Christmas but of course I still want Tes to be in my Christmas. The Facebook annual review is doing the rounds. Mine was full of favourite pics.  They made me smile. There was none of Tes and for that reason I couldn’t post it. I was actually a little envious of some, that doesn’t happen often. 

So…. wanting your old self back when you’ve been through trauma is natural. I remember sitting with a nurse before the surgery had even opened 2 years after losing Tes and saying those exact words through tears and gulps. I want me back. I want me back. 

I didn’t want to be this person that found every day so tough.That smiled when I wanted to cry. A person that worried  about everything all of a sudden. An angry person. A person without patience.  A person who couldn’t  laugh. 

That day changed me. it was a mixture of the help I got and the fact I admitted that I wasn’t ok. I wasn’t ok. 

Did I get the old me back? You’re  changed forever after some experiences and losing a child has to be one of them.  I recognise parts of the old me but I have a layer of sadness and ‘hiraeth’ (only that Welsh word fully covers it) that I wear like an invisible coat. Every day. I can feel it.  

But…. There is also the new me. Some of it is a pain because I don’t have the same drive to please or be liked which has made me a little bit selfish. I find it hard to be around unwarranted  negativity or meanness and end up taking a big step backwards from those situations.  I strive to be happy.  I overwhelm myself with trying to do it all… but I’m also loving trying to do it all. I’ve become really  good at having some time  for me…..now and again I even go back to bed for an hour after walking the dogs because  …. I want to! It might just be an hour here and there of proper doing nothing but it’s more than I used to give myself. I’m more relaxed about work. I feel way less stressed than ever before. Of course these things may change again. The old me and the new me will probably always keep changing. 

So for those wanting the old you back….. there’s bad and good news. The old us doesn’t really exist to have back. Every day we’re a new me. With that new me we can make it what we want it to be. It may take time and even help but if you’re on that journey I’m sure  you too will eventually find the new you that makes you happy too, in a different way but nonetheless in a new way. 

Lots of love to you all xx Happy Sunday xx 

Shut up?!

I was reading an article about a woman who writes a popular blog yesterday. She talked about the fact it came with the territory that because she writes publicly she’s also abused and ridiculed on occasion. Shame isn’t it? No wonder so many people say to me they wish they could write but they feel they can’t. Of course they could. 

Everyone has something to say but the problem is … can you get over the difficulties.  Are you prepared for someone to throw a comment back at you that you wrote 6 years  ago!?  I am. But it can be difficult.  

Write about being a positive person… .. then dare to feel down for a few minutes and you may well get someone questioning you about it! I tend to respond with. .. I’m human!! Just like you!

Anyway the point is this kind of attack is designed to take our voice away. Particularly women’s voices. How many fear to voice an opinion on Facebook or Twitter or even real life because you could be ridiculed or you feel a thousand eye rolls ? How many want to write but can’t because they think they’re not good enough.  How many are worried of the reaction from others?
I say be comfortable in your skin and confident about what you have to say.


Say it. 
Write about it. 
Talk it!
Particularly women. Women need to.. not shut up!

 

If you write a blog about parenting and it’s joys it doesn’t mean you won’t feel like locking yourself in your bathroom for 4 days because you just want some peace! if you’re passionate about being healthy and then find yourself tempted by a cream horn (oo remember them – are they still going?) ….then that’s because you’re human!

I’m not sure if this makes sense but I’m more aware and have experienced the lows and fortunately the highs of writing or voicing  an opinion.  I suppose what I’m saying is I’d like to try and encourage you to have yours. 
Stand up and be proud of what you’ve got to say.  You’ll never be remembered for being quiet!!

Happy happy Sunday.  it’s lovely to be back properly xx

The message

I receive her text early in the day. I read it quickly. Time stops for part of a second.  I close my phone and I park the text in the part of my brain that means I can only go back there when I can give it my proper time.

After a 12 hr day, a presentation, two dog walks, caring for my boy with a temperature, cobbling some dinner together, putting away some washing, getting the bins ready….. I think about dealing with the text.
First I open some post. There’s one for Tes from the bank. They say now that she’s in Uni would she like to know about the right account for her. It’s my fault. I’ve still not found the courage to go in and tell them. And sometimes, I like getting post for her. 

I pour a glass of wine and get my phone out. I read her text again. 

She. My counsellor says. It’s been a while since we met, is it ok to close your file now? 

She says I can go back anytime.

I want to text. You saved me. But I know she’d say. No. You saved you. 

That’s what she’s like. She takes no credit.
She’s wrong and she’s also right. Her safe space and insight gave me hope and she taught me that answers and strength lay within me.

I’m scared to sever this tie.
I know it’s right after three years to let it go. Sometimes I’ve had as much of a break as 12 months.  Then I had to go back.  It’s taken 3 years, 5 months and about 9 days to finally feel I can let her go.  Properly.  My counsellor.  With that I wrap myself in guilt which I also know is ridiculous. 

I’d like to share my reply. I meant every word

Hi. Yes that’ll be OK as long as I know I can delve in if I ever need. It’s not an exaggeration to say that you helped me survive. I’ll never ever forget your kindness empathy honesty and humanity. That’s not just someone doing their job. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

My blog has never been to advise or to preach but I do believe in learning from each other. Good and bad. If you ever find yourself in a place where things remain heavy and blurry always ask for help, it’s not weak. It takes strength.

Love to you all this Sunday.

Xx

A piece of peace.

International Peace day happened this week on the  21st September.

Hmph I thought.  Not much peace in my life at the moment.  Waking up at 5.30am unable to go back to sleep mulling over various solutions to current life problems. Cancelling dinner plans because of having to work late.  Not running because I couldn’t be bothered and I’d rather a glass of wine due to all of this paragraph.  A proper self indulgent poor me moment.  

I sat down to write this blog and I thought what does  peace mean to me?  I often think peace for an individual is about solitude & time for yourself.  Sometimes I worry I’m not getting enough peace! Now adays you’re almost looked at as some kind of odd bod if you spend much time alone.  Buddhism encourages times of solitude (I’m not a Buddhist by the way but I do enjoy much of their strategies on life – as an aside I did go to one meeting with someone I shall not name many many years ago, during one mantra I turned to said friend and said ‘does it sound like they’re singing I want a chicken korma to you’.  Our fits of giggles were pure nerves at the time but it didn’t go down that well, understandably!)

 As I was saying Buddhism encourages solitude because if you are ease with yourself then there is nothing to fear from being alone I guess. A great place to be.

I am digressing rather a lot in this blog – as I said I thought about this word peace and what it means to me.  

I did eventually get my a*** out of bed early Wednesday morning and ran (slowly) 7k with my pooch.  Despite being out of breath I felt happy inside.  On Wednesday at lunch time my mum called over and a favourite song of hers came on the radio.  She turned it up loud (so that’s where I get it from!) and we both danced in the kitchen until the end.  The pooch joined in.  My son did not.  That moment of getting away from it all just for those few minutes gave me a free mind.  I immersed myself in a film at the cinema one night, as I chewed on my cola bottles and crunched at the pop corn and laughed out loud, my mind was feeling very stress free. Peacful. 

 I think my point is that peace can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.  Yes it can be solitude, it can be time on top of a mountain, it can be yoga or meditating but all that is not always possible in our busy lives.  

How do you find peace?

Peace for me is when I’m at ease with myself whatever the situation, dancing, laughing, walking etc etc. Anything that gives my brain a change of scene to one free of worry whether that’s a  few minutes or a couple of hours. 

It’s so important to give your mind a break from the daily grind. As the saying goes.. dance like nobody’s watching.  It feels great! 

 Happy peacful Sunday everyone xxx

 Ps  I’ll be panting my way running 11.5KM around Llyn Alwen from 9.30am!!! Wish me luck! X