I will, always.

I’m into Whitney Houston at the moment.

I was driving along to meet my very gorgeous friend during the week and had ‘I will always love you’ on LOUD! I drove through my small town towards the traffic lights passing the painted white houses and the restaurant with the blue chairs outside.

And Iiiiiiiiii will always love you…..I SING out loud, I even dance a little in my seat Also in those few seconds I have my usual little day dream while singing. Though this one was an extension of my normal one. The daydream is the one where I have had secret singing lessons and all of the sudden I can actually sing because I do know I can’t sing even though I sound like I CAN sing when I’m singing along. I know I can’t because I’ve done that thing where I’ve pressed mute during the song and I actually then hear my cat like screeches rather than the Whitney esque tone that I think I sound like.

Anyway, in my little day dream I’ve had some singing lessons and I’ve applied for X factor secretly and I get to audition for Simon and I go through the story in my head and the fact he rolls his eyes at my age and then I start to sing and the whole judging panel smile in awe of this Welsh beautiful perfect sweet voice and they get up on their feet and the audience is dancing and it ends with a standing ovation. In addition, in this little day dream, it’s televised too and I imagine the faces of my family and friends watching me on TV, shocked at my new singing talent.

We all have these daydreams right??!!

Anyway I drive towards the traffic lights, I’m so excited to see my mate – we haven’t had a proper catch up in months and she’s one of those that just makes you feel good inside, you can cry with, you can laugh until you almost pee yourself with, you can talk politics or talk lipstick with. I’m singing along and I’m going through the X factor dream and I catch myself thinking, I’m happy. I’m feeling happy.

I am happy much of the time I’m sure but I rarely catch myself knowing and recognising that happy feeling in my belly.

BANG!

The whole world stops for the tiniest of seconds and there it is.

GUILT.

This won’t be pleasant to read but I say it as it is – a voice comes into my head and immediately tells me off. Don’t you remember your daughter has died?… it says. Don’t you remember you are a bereaved mother? How can you be happy? How could you feel happy? Don’t you remember??

It feels like my life has stopped, it really does.

It feels like a breezeblock has been placed on my head and it has the word GUILT painted on it.

I can’t hear Whitney any more as my happiness drains from my body through my feet making a dart for the car door, I almost forget where I am but I realise I’m at the traffic lights and it has just turned green, my concentration is poor for a portion of that second because I think I can turn right but just realise in time I can’t and I have to give way to oncoming traffic. Because I’m distracted away from guilt for that split second, I gain a little bit of energy and I have slightly dented GUILT because I had to remove focus from it to concentrate on driving. It’s all it takes, it has taken many years of practicing to get here but I have just gained the upper hand against guilt because I have taken away it’s power by focussing on something else. With that I gain momentum and I kill the last bit of guilt by turning up the volume to the highest level, imagine myself back on the X factor stage and continue to sing (using that term very loosely) out loud along with Whitney.

And I… will always love you, ooh…..Will always love you…You….My darling, you…

I will always love you. We always will love them. Those we loved who aren’t here. We will always love them. We are also allowed to be happy.

Guilt 0. Happy 1.

Happy Sunday XXX

Destiny

My mind constantly hurtles from one concern to the next…. am I doing a good job? Do I spend enough time with my dogs? Can I stop Brexit? How do I stop thinking about mushrooms and Trump? Or more random things like does the sign on the motorway telling people to drive responsibly make any difference?? to…should I get a piercing? (I’m sooo in the throws of an almost mid life crisis).

It also jumps from one idea, this week’s is I’d like to become a photographer… (if you know me you’ll know I’ll probably end up doing it!!)… just signed up to a 10 week course since writing this first draft!……..or maybe I should be a counsellor… or write that book.. . Or actually turn that idea into a business.. …

I get a new job and I’m always wondering is there something else better out there. I move house yet I still get new property alerts.. . just incase! I can be impulsive yet careful… risky yet risk averse. My mind is rarely on pause.

I give myself a hard time quite a lot. I often feel I don’t quite fit in to my surroundings because I’m always wondering what’s next, is there something more?…what else could I do rather than stand still??.. but I’ve learnt my inquisitive, impulsive, busy, sometimes risky mind has led me to many many happy times and life experiences too that I’d never ever give up.

The road to where we are standing right now is the most complex narrow windy full of potholes journey that we could ever imagine. Yet we are very much programmed from school to all be the same and with that I think many of us lose our individuality, conforming to what’s socially acceptable in relationships, work and beyond.

We are programmed to believe power, exams, money, security are what’s important. Most of us are paying a large proportion of our wages into a pension pot, when people my age are destined to work until they’re at least 67. We, on average, are only expected to live until we’re 77!!! What the actual hell is that about??! Working hard and saving hard (which therefore renders us mostly skint now) for, if we are lucky, ten years of life away from work that to be frank is not going to be at the time in our life when we are likely to be feeling as well as we do now!!

Our destiny has been written out for us, unless we choose otherwise. Exams. University. Money. Power. A big house. Being in a relationship just because. Newest car. Design labels. Being the busiest. Having the most important job. Are these the most important things in life? I am not saying the opposite is true either or that some of it can’t make us happy ….it’s just about choices. Knowing there’s a choice.

Caring, kindness, making the effort, making time, sharing, empathy, loyalty, loving, being fair, witholding judgement, make people laugh, positivity, be in love, make a difference. Care for each other, our planet, our animals, nature, the environment. These are so important too yet are rarely taught in school or set out as things we should aspire to be.

The foundations of being a successful happy human will never lie inside a wallet, house or a car…its the essence of who we are that’s important, choosing our own life path …make your own destiny.

Happy Sunday x x x

Gremlins

**This post contains swearing**

 

I like to think of myself as a positive thinking person despite spending  about 30 years living with anxiety. Actually make that my whole life. My first 15 years were spent being petrified of what my dad was going to do next… get another gun out.. lock us in the house… hit us… throw something at the wall… torment us… smash something… shout.. lock himself in his room for 3 days….(I’ve revisited and considered deleting this bit of the blog ten times but decided not to) …so those 15 years then led on to a life battle with anxiety and looking back it’s not hard to imagine why. I rarely talk about that abuse in detail. Ridiculously I still even now worry about repercussions. Crazy.

I spent ten years from about 16 to 26 fighting debilitating panic attacks… mostly on my own. I had really got to grips with my anxiety thanks to amazing books and my work at Women’s Aid…until I lost Tes… having spent the last few years in a war with A I’m beginning to feel more ‘normal’ but it’ll always bubble.   I like to think I’m a fighter… trying to make the most of every day. Getting up every day after losing your child is really hard. Walking around with a permanent pain the size of a boulder inside your chest is exhausting but I’ve managed it and I’m proud of that strange achievement.

But… I caught myself this week walking around just going to do some shopping and I caught it.. that bloody voice in your head that’s not happy you’ve managed to keep going…that you’ve managed today…. do you know what it was saying??!.. you’re such a fuck up.. . you’re so fucked up.

For a few seconds my subconscious mind nods along in agreement but I stop in my tracks and question this voice…Excuse me?!? Fucked up. Who are you calling fucked up?!? What even is fucked up and more importantly why the hell am I telling myself horrible things about me when there’s enough of that going on in the world without me adding to it.

So.. just a little reminder really to watch out for that gremlin in your mind that tries to ruin your day or tell you you’re not good enough … watch out for it and when you hear it .. well…tell it to fuck off and remind yourself 3 good things about yourself and kick arse for the rest of the day!

Happy Sunday.. x x

Sticks and stones..

Sticks and stones may hurt my bones but words will never hurt me.

I can’t imagine who came up with this saying, surely sticks and stones may hurt my bones but that’ll heal however words could hurt me forever is more apt?!!!

I am not minimising physical abuse in any way however during my 15 years at Women’s Aid, women often stated that the emotional abuse was far more difficult, demoralising and long-standing than the physical side.

In a week where I have been called ‘a disappointment’ (which I probably did deserve) it got me thinking about words and what we say to each other, whether we realise the impact of those words and more importantly how little time we spend talking face to face.

Talking is disappearing fast, when’s the last time you picked up your phone to speak to someone and have a long conversation. On the radio this week it said we are spending over 11 years of our life on gadgets. 11 years!!! I don’t think we can fight this phenomena nor do I want to, technology can be amazing – however we probably need to start fighting to keep our language, our words, our expression, our books, our letters, our conversation, our time.

With this in mind I want to relay a little story that may seem insignificant but it was a short moment this week that encapsulated how words and time can change someone’s day.

I was driving to a meeting, I’ve been going through an ‘e-bay’ phase lately. Selling all that stuff that I’ve bought either without trying on or when I was feeling ’hopeful’ about my dress size, anyway I had a couple of packages to send and needed to get to the post office. I usually end up in those larger post offices – perspex screens, talking through a sliver of space, large queues, people frustrated at the wait, minimal chat. However, as I drove through a little village I noticed a shop/post office which I have passed many times and decided to pop in there.

It reminded me of my village shop when I was little, a tiny space of a couple of square metres but packed with the most gorgeous stuff, cards, cushions, drinks, food, home made cakes and even jars of sweets. No perspex, no barriers, one side for the shop and one side for the post office.

There was only one woman working, I was second in the queue.

The lady in front was at a guess in her late 70’s, she was obviously local as they chatted easily. The shop keeper was one of those warm gorgeous people, lovely red long hair, softly spoken, kind. I realised very quickly that I was not going to be ‘in and out’ of this post office as I normally would. They chatted while money was withdrawn and I stood half-wishing that I had gone to another post office at this point. I looked around and read the posters in the shop – local fundraising events, community meetings, sport events, it would be impossible to feel lonely in this shop – it was clear it was the absolute hub of the community. As the pair carried on talking the tiny shop now had another three customers waiting behind me and that basically filled the shop. The money was counted out and I looked at my phone and saw I had plenty of time to get to my meeting thinking I was next in the queue and I’d be on my way in a few minutes.

The lady put her pension money away and got out a shopping bag. Can I have a few things she said to the red-headed shopkeeper? Of course, she replied and moved from post office counter to shop counter. Oh god, I thought. How long is this going to take?!!!

The red-head was up and down in the fridge, measuring out sweets, discussing cakes, comparing pastries, reading out the sell by date on the milk, ordering newspapers. Eventually it seemed the lady had finished what seemed like a weekly shop for eight people. I can’t lie that I wasn’t a tiny bit frustrated, we aren’t used to being kept waiting are we these days – everything is ready in a minute. However the time spent between these two people was really beautiful, it almost made me cry and right there I thought – we don’t do enough of this any more, we don’t stop and talk and really make time for people.

The shopkeeper packed up the shopping and offered to carry the bag home for the lady! The lady refused and said she’d be fine. Finally, the interaction seemed to be coming to an end when the lady decided she wanted one more thing. Some beef. Ooo that beef looks nice, she said as she pointed at some pre-packed slices under the counter. I’ll have one of them. I kid you not that the shopkeeper brought every packet of sliced beef (about nine of them) on top of the shop counter and asked the lady to pick out which one she’d like. Ooo, I don’t know the lady said and then started to play the game – eenie meenie miney mo!!! The shopkeeper just stood there smiling. The lady finally decided on one pack and with it started laughing, really laughing – belly laughing at the whole scenario. I turned around and the whole queue started laughing quietly too, including me, because her laugh was so infectious it was impossible not to.

The lady left with her shopping, still laughing and saying goodbye to us all, the shop-keeper came back to the post office side and looked at me apologetically, smiling, I’m so sorry about the delay. Please don’t be sorry, I said – and found myself adding – it’s so nice to see people actually spending time on others, speaking to them, helping them, we don’t do enough of it and with it reminded myself that the words we speak and the time we spend with people is what is remembered and what’s so very important in life.

Happy Sunday to you all

Xxx

stone

FYI

I contemplated not writing a blog this week and that can only mean one thing – I’m not doing too good.  Those close to me often message me after I write a blog like this having no real idea that I am feeling down and I (of course I do) feel guilty about that too!!  I also feel guilty for over sharing on here and I question myself a lot about why I do it.  I know most of my friends and family don’t do it, I know lots of people that suffer in complete silence about really serious things and tell almost no-one about it.  Writing about yourself can feel very self-centred but I hope that by writing when I’m happy, when I’m sad and when I’m just OK means it’s alright and even perhaps may make it ok for one of you to share something with someone in you life, if you want to.

My blog has been a window to talk about all kinds of things and if I only ever wrote about the positive bits it wouldn’t be right, life is not like that.

So at times this week,  I’ve been feeling sad, overstretched, stressed, confused, anxious, tearful.  I have been doing quite a lot of self-searching lately, it feels like I’m looking into myself properly for the first time in years.  Anyway I am here, I am going to be ok and I have still written my blog x

FYI. You won’t get your time again.

I sent this in a text this week during a deliberation of discussions around our jobs, our happiness, conformity, searching for happiness, financial strains, making do.

I am reading the new book by Ruby Wax  – How to be Human… I’m a few chapters in.. I’ve just covered evolution and it is truly mind blowing to be reminded that we evolved from fungus!!  That explains a lot about some people 🙂

In it she explains that evolution is full of trade offs. One example being that the giraffe evolved to have a long neck to be able to eat the leaves that nobody else could at the top of the trees, however the trade off is that if they fall over, they can’t get up again.

It made me think about our trade offs, we have evolved into the most amazing intelligent multi faceted beings yet with it we are sometimes wreaking carnage on our minds and in our world.  Like the giraffe, we have evolved, we have large brains and complex minds, the trade off perhaps is now we find ourselves in a world of so much choice and distraction we have lost what’s important by searching for more. We have traded away a simple life for one of debt, overworking and diversions.

It got me thinking, what are we all searching for?  What is it that would stop us to keep looking for something else.  I stopped and sat in the park and thought if I had a choice right now to do anything, what would I want to do?

I know immediately what it is.  It’s to sit wrapped up on a North Wales beach in the Autumn, listening to the sea and watching the waves crash, putting my fingers through the sand, picking up shells, watching my dogs with the breeze lightly sweeping over my face, holding hands.

It has taken me this many years to realise what is really important and what I really want in life.  What makes me happy in life and what I really need are free.  To everyone.  Love, friendships, stars, the sea, meaningful conversations, flowers, fields, seashells, walks, rivers, wildlife, trees, smiles, kindness, respect, honesty. All free.

This brings me back to the title of my blog. It was in response to a message I received that started with… if I had my time again.. . to which I said….

FYI. You are never going to have this time again.

So…. this is my time.  This is your time.

Eat the juicy leaves at the top of the tree ….and try not to fall over.

The best things in life really are free.

Happy Sunday XXX

 

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Be more.

I’ll firstly apologise to all the humans in my life for leaving them out of this blog, mostly!

On Wednesday this week I felt pretty blue, crap actually. I got home after 14hrs had passed already into the day, I’d been up since 5am. I was tired. I was battered and a bit bruised (psychologically). All I wanted to do was get in, do what I had to do and get to bed.

 

When I drive home, before I get to where I park I have to pass the porch on my house, I always look in and there they lie, waiting. My two dogs. I am immediately lifted, I grab the keys to the house, I occasionally remember to put the car in gear (how it hasn’t ended up in the road I have no idea!) and grab my unicorn flask, my love island water bottle and my blue rucksack covered with birds, I throw this over my shoulder and walk to the house.

 

They’ve started to recognise my car, the sound of it I guess, the routine of it stopping and then my footsteps. They are now on four legs and I say through the glass – HELLO! Now I have verified my presence they dance around crazily, on two legs mostly and I can’t quite get in because they are jumping on me, they are squealing, they are besides themselves that I am home. In five seconds I am made to feel like the most special person in the whole wide world.

 

I sit down and I let them mouth their little teeth on my wrists, for some reason they like to do this then they’ll get a toy and show it to me. Their bums waggle 100mph, this goes on for a few minutes before I get ready to take them out which gets them even more excited of course. We go out for an hour every morning, the most beautiful part of the day where there’s almost nobody else around. In the evening due to the long day I often take them over to the field for their favourite thing ever to do. Ball catching, ball chasing, ball chewing.

 

I fear the neighbours probably think I have lost it a bit as I get a bit over excited during this half hour of the day. Inevitably my work will have been stressful – productive, rewarding, even fun – but inevitably stressful. So this is where I wind down, with my dogs, in a field, red ball thrower in hand.

 

Towards the end when they get tired we play ‘catch’ and every time they catch the ball I put my hands up in the air and shout ‘wooooooooo well done’ and laugh out loud as they proudly bring the ball back to me, wagging their tail feverishly and dropping the ball at my feet to do it all again.

 

This is the time of day when I often feel my best and it sets me up for the evening. The stress has almost vanished, replaced with – well a whole lot of love!

 

I got my first dog just a few weeks after Tesni died. I felt guilty about it (of course). You can’t replace anyone. You certainly can’t replace your child. But having my new furry tiny pooch made me get up in the morning, it made me walk, it made me care, it gave me focus, she needed me, she wouldn’t hurt me, she loved me. So much.

 

As I watch them jump to catch the ball and as I catch myself giggling out loud in the field, it made me think about love. I love them so very much and I realise that is hard for some people to understand, but I do. It got me thinking, what is love?

 

I made a list in my head of why I love the dogs and as I got through them I realised it isn’t dissimilar to love in relationships, the reason the dogs are so happy is not by chance, the reason I love them doesn’t just happen when you get your furry friend, the two-way healthy love bond is only there because of a whole lot of work.

 

The ingredients needed for love whether animal or human are the same.

 

Love them truly and they will love you back. Want the very best for them and they will protect you. Be kind to them and they will never hurt you. Look after them while letting them be free and they will respect you. Provide them with safety and they will do everything they can to keep you safe. Be loyal to them and they will never distrust you.

Communicate softly and they will reward you with eyes full of love. Have patience and they will grow. Be fun and they will smile (with their tail!) back at you.

 

Because they know I love them so much I can also get away with the odd time of being too tired for that second or third walk and they’ll forgive me because on the whole they know I love them and every day I do my best for them to be happy.

 

Love more, love honestly, love with kindness, love without selfishness, want the best for your loved one, be kind, look after them, let them be free, provide safety, be loyal, have patience and most importantly have fun, ‘whoop’ out loud in a field, dance in the kitchen, take long walks by the sea, respect, talk, listen, smile.

 

Let’s all ‘be more dog’!

 

Happy Sunday xx

T*ts up

I’m not good at asking for help.  It makes me feel vulnerable.  So if I ask for something it’ll mean I’m pretty desperate. I don’t know where it came from or why I find asking for help so difficult, I am fiercely independent, to my detriment at times.

I decided to write about this ‘event’ this week because of the sheer importance of it. Boobs. More precisely, boob checking!

It was about six weeks ago when I first felt a lump, I thought it’d go, I’ve had them before. I kind of forgot about it until someone told me about a radio DJ that was dying from breast cancer, same age as me.

So I made an appointment. I had an urgent referral to the breast clinic which was the Thursday just gone. I didn’t mention it really but I didn’t hide it either, work knew, some friends knew, it didn’t feel like a big deal.

I’ve tried to work out why I refused any support or why I didn’t ask for any support to attend the appointment.

I think actually that I am a victim of my own ‘mindfulness’. Something that I have practised for the best part of 3 years, living in the moment, not worrying about the future, concentrate on now, don’t stress about what you have no control over.

I’m fine I said, It’ll be fine, I’m fine to go on my own.

The nurse calls me in and cops a feel. Normally when I have had cysts before they are fairly reassuring straight away, she made some noises that it ‘could’ be a cyst but she seemed to be investigating for a long time. We need to send you for an ultrasound and a mammogram, we may need to do a biopsy, she said. I stayed in the hospital gown. There is something extremely vulnerable about hospital gowns isn’t there? I go to a tiny room with six other women who look absolutely terrified. The statistics tell us that one of us isn’t going to get good news today. Nobody really talks, most of us look at our phones.

I’m really beginning to wish that someone was with me, I have only just realised that in the next thirty minutes my life could change, I could be told I have cancer and I am here, on my own.

Stupid.

The mammogram was done, I must be lucky, it’s my third and I don’t find them to be painful at all, though there’s nothing flattering about being semi naked having your arms up and your boobs squished into the shape of toast into what looks like two vertical petri dishes while the young glamorous nurse takes pictures of you while instructing you to ‘put your chin up’.

I then go back to the small room and what seems like a VERY long time I get called in for an ultrasound. When I have had these before it’s always been a nurse but she calls in a ‘doctor’. I am immediately alarmed. Doctor?! Hi, he says and introduces himself, I take no notice of his name, I’m wondering why he is here. A doctor!! This is huge he says, this cyst is a big one. A cyst, I say. A cyst? Does that mean I’m ok? Oh yes he says but it’s a big one! While I am engaging my brain to become relieved I’m not going to die yet he asks the nurse to ‘pass the syringe’ over and as she does he says ‘not that one – the bigger one with the large needle’…. Erm, what are you doing?? I say! Just taking the fluid out he says. Is it going to hurt? Not really, he says. I lay there as a needle is put into my boob and into the cyst and 30ml of liquid appears in the syringe. It didn’t hurt, much.

I get up and thank the staff for their amazing empathetic and professional care, I go off to work promising myself that I am going to look after my body so much better from here on in (btw 21 days off the booze!) whilst also reminding myself it’s ok to ask for help sometimes, it’s ok to ask for support, I don’t need to do everything on my own.

Our NHS are bloody brilliant aren’t they, we are so lucky, it’s not perfect and it’s so under funded but when the resources are there its amazing.

I do have one gripe though, during my appointment the nurse kept referring to ‘women nearly 50’ and ‘menopause’.   I have no idea who they are referring to!!

Anyway you females out there, check your boobs please!!!

Happy Sunday xx

 

daisy