Category Archives: Uncategorized

Relationships

I have been thinking a lot about relationships this week. Primarily because it is a big part of my studies in my counselling course. But also because it is making me see what I am and how I have allowed myself to behave and be treated by others. We look at the different dynamics between people, the way we form these relationships and the impact they have on each of us.

Some relationships are strong and unbreakable. They are pure and good and the people we make these connections with are true and loyal. They stay with us through good times and hard, we change together and we cannot imagine them ever not being part of our lives. We feel their joy and pain and they in turn feel ours. We make each other better for being in each other’s lives and we support each other in our choices.

Some are passionate yet transient, intense, burn too brightly and then fade away just as quickly as they arrived leaving holes in our lives that make us feel empty and incomplete for a while. The scars they leave need time to heal yet often we seem unable to prevent ourselves from repeatedly picking at the scabs and opening ourselves up to yet more pain as we relive it over and over again, unable to break the pattern.

We tell ourselves that we need these toxic destructive relationships and that the people that cause us this hurt and torment need us too. We become co-dependent, not able to function without constant attention and contact. We think we have to know where they are all the time and spend every waking moment trying to understand what we could do to make it better because we think we need them to function. We think we cannot do without each other when in reality they need us far more than we need them.

We lose ourselves and allow ourselves to be treated as we would never treat another, accepting our pain is if it is a trophy to take out and gaze upon with pride. We tell ourselves they will change and realise the impact of their behaviour and be what we want them to be. We tell ourselves that they don’t mean to hurt us, they can’t help it and they are doing their best. We tell ourselves that it isn’t their fault that they behave the way they do and worst of all we tell ourselves that it isn’t our fault that we are running head on into yet another train wreck whilst screaming for help.

Every word from them is analysed for it’s true meaning. Every time we tell them how upset we feel at their behaviour it is turned back on to us as our fault. Our neediness. Our misinterpretation. That we are spoiling things and not accepting them for who they are, that they are giving us what they can and we should be grateful for their minimal attention. They come to us when they need us and leave us panicking and desperate when they leave yet again. We are gaslighted into feeling that we are the ones with the problem when in fact it is them that are incapable of empathy and the maintenance of a normal, healthy relationship.

Some people stay and some people go. Some we will fight to keep because it is right and good. Some we must let go for our own sanity before every part of us is stripped away. Our pride, our self worth and our dignity.

I am blessed to have some incredible people in my life who have been through more torment than any human should conceivably be able to survive yet somehow they have made it anyway and come out wiser, better and stronger. They know who they are, what they are capable of and are respectful of other human beings. They are strong, resilient and able to see what serves them well and what does not. They value and respect themselves and me.

I am proud to call these people my friends. They make me a better person for knowing them. We understand each other with no judgment and give each other unconditional positive regard, accepting each other for who and what we are.

Together we are strong.

We help each other grow and we understand that sometimes we will make mistakes but that at the end of it we still love each other because without that we are alone.

I am not alone.

If we have people in our lives that we love and we are able to support each other and help each other grow into the best we can be then we must hang on to that and never let go.

Anything less is not good for us no matter how beautiful and tantalising…if it continually causes us pain and we know it then however sad we are and however falsely we believe that we need it, we do not.

Thanks for joining me on the ride…

Too much

A remembered conversation with my Art teacher in secondary school….I was struggling to deal with the depth of emotions that I was experiencing and I asked her:

“Why am I not like other people? Why can’t I live life on an even keel like they do? It is too much for me.”

She replied:

“They will not experience the lows as you do, they will not feel that depth of emotion but because of this they will also never know the great highs, the huge passion you do….no, they will never know that.”

I was fourteen. 

I sometimes feel as though I still am. 

I am still passionate, driven by my heart always. I love with all of it and I don’t know how to live or love in any other way.  I give all of myself in great enveloping waves…it is all I know. I am intense and driven in my quest to display my feelings. For my husband, my beloved children, my family and my friends. 

I never thought that I would be so blessed as to have the friends I do now. I have some very precious ones who have known me for the longest of times and are still here and I treasure them. I have new ones that I made the decision to make, throwing caution to the wind and being proactive rather than wait to be approached. I am very very glad I did. I couldn’t imagine my days without them. 

There are those who listen to me daily as I do them…finding our way through life’s dramas together. There are those I rarely see in the flesh, but who accept me entirely and call me out when I am not being wholly honest with myself – we lean on each other when needed. 

There are those who’s warmth and kindness brings me to tears at times, the words they share that are unexpected and delightful. The comments on social media of old friends and new, each as valued as each other. Thank you for those connections. 

There are those who find me in my darkest moments and draw me into the light. 

There are those who join me there and celebrate it with me not trying to fix me or label me or call it anything. They stay there with me. It helps me to breathe. 

Sometimes my heart is so full I feel it might explode into a million fractured fragments of joy. Sometimes it feels so full it might sink down…down…down into the darkest of depths. 

It is too much…

I am too much. Too weak, too strong, too wild, too passionate, too caring, too constrained by what society expects. Trying to fit in. Trying to find my place. Trying to find who I am. Seeing who will take this journey with me and hold my hand and not be scared of my too big heart and my too much of everything….

Will you stay and walk with me a while if it is not too much?

Happy days

Well it’s been a few months since we moved schools and it is nearly the school holidays and we are all okay. It hasn’t been without it’s bumps in the road and some of them have felt more like small mountains rather than sleeping policemen but we are still here. 

Funny that it was my daughter that I worried about the most initially, she has inherited my unhealthy desire to please and to be liked and that often comes at a price. She disturbed the status quo in her new class which made for some tough lessons but she seems to have settled in as much as possible and I hope when she goes back in September that she will just be a familiar face. She’s made some good friends and loves having play dates in our village with neighbours’ children. I’m proud of her and her resilience. 

My small boy found it much easier at first and because of that I’m ashamed to say that I took my eye off him a bit. The day I took him to school because the bus broke down was the day I had to accept that he was finding it as hard as the rest of us. We were early so he had time to run about for a bit but he never took his eyes off me. After a few moment he sidled over and asked if he could have a word with me. 

“Of course baby” I replied (knowing that he is still only little I suspected that my clean up services might be required..oh please no…) “What’s up?”

He looked up at me, his little face absolutely deadpan and said “I’ve had enough now Mummy, when can I go back to my old school? I’ve saved all my pocket money and I don’t care if we don’t go on holiday and I don’t want any new things. When can I go back?”. Then he burst into tears. We both sat on the floor in the playground whilst he sobbed on my knee. 

Fuck. 

I felt like the biggest failure in the world because I couldn’t fix this one. I just had to be there whilst he was sad. I still have to be there whilst they are both sad but it is less often and I am learning to stop trying to fix everything. Because I can’t and they need to know that too. But I can love them and I can teach them that I don’t always get it right either. 

I have been very glad of the constants in my life. My amazing husband, family and my wonderful friends. I will forever be bloody grateful for all of them. I have had to dig deep and keep moving forward which has meant that I haven’t been able to keep up with some people as much as I would like to but I hope they know that I am still here, I do value them enormously and I will sort my shit out soon. 

I have mainly survived by keeping my oldest and dearest friends close and they have stepped up amazingly. I am finally feeling really part of our lovely village too and new friendships here are proving to be very awesome indeed. Also I kind of live at the gym too. I have traded my daily coffee dates for multiple gym classes which asides from the obvious bonus that I appear to have lost 2 stone (I must have been eating a shit load of cake) has blessed me with some seriously awesome people. 

Somehow I never thought that at 43 I would make that connection with anyone else and it has come as a bloody joyful surprise that I have. So not only do I have my amazing girls (and the odd long suffering guy) who I never have to explain  my crazy shit to because they have known me forever BUT I now have some more crazy ladies who I feel like I have also known forever. We laugh, dance, grimace and sweat and cope with our mad shit together and refuse to grow old gracefully and I bloody love it. 

My wonderful husband gave me an enormous hug in the kitchen yesterday whilst commenting that I felt tiny (another reason I adore him) and I grinned at him and said “I’m so happy!” and you know what? I am. I can’t remember the last time I said that and truly felt and meant it. All the depression, the craziness, the illness…everything. 

I don’t know how long my body will let me do what I am doing physically but I will carry on whilst I can. I have the support of amazing people who get my kind of crazy obsessiveness. I get to dance, punch the shit out of life, lift weights and laugh. A lot. I love it and it is beating my years of depression hands down over any medication and I am 10 years in remission from my MS. 

Feels good. So….friendship plus exercise..

Happy days!

I am who I say I am.

I haven’t written on here for ages. I haven’t really had anything much to say to be honest, it’s not that I don’t have anything going on, I do but there’s a lot that I can’t talk about because it’s not mine to discuss and it involves family and friends. I’m not going for one of those passive aggressive mysterious Facebook posts here I hope you understand, I just don’t think that it is right to share other people’s stories. That’s up to them. 

So what can I talk about? Well, I’ve taken my children out of the school they loved and moved them to our local school which I know they will grow to love just as much given time. Yeah. That was a biggy. 

The realisation that my husband and I had that we just could not continue financially if they stayed at the Independant school that they had been in since Reception was a bitter one. They loved it, we loved it, we had all made some amazing friends. We cried a lot and there was much heartache. It was not a decision that we made lightly and the tears really were for them not us because we can handle it (or so I thought). Telling them was the worst thing…..the confusion on their faces….even now they talk about their old school and I see the “why?” that goes unsaid. 

They are trying to make the best of it, it’s easier for my whirlwind of a 5 year old son. He is who he is and makes no apologies for it, if people don’t like him he just moves on and finds those who do. I aspire to be more like him. But under that bravado he misses his friends I know. My 8 year old daughter finds it much harder. She misses those friendships hard won over the last 3.5 years. She is struggling to find her place and she has inadvertantly disrupted the status quo in her new class, creating a new dynamic and there are consequences in that. I can’t protect her from that, how do I explain that sometimes children can lash out when they are unsettled or frightened by change? I have tried, I know it will just take time and I hope there won’t be too much hurt along the way for her and her friends. 

Children are fragile whilst at the same time being amazingly resilient. Which is more than I can say about me. I think I find this the hardest of all. I miss my friends, the children mainly take the school bus now so I don’t really see anyone and I feel disconnected from my old life and my new one. I feel in a strange sort of limbo that reminds me of how I felt when I moved schools when I was young. I must be careful not to let my own experiences colour my feelings about where my family is at right now and I try to be positive about it all in front of them.

I have told them that it is okay to be sad too because denying them their emotions and making them feel that they have to be super happy and enthusiastic all the time is really not helpful. It comes out in their behaviour at home though, they are more confrontational and emotional and regress to childlike behaviour and old rituals. They take comfort in watching tv programmes and reading books that they loved as little ones and want more hugs and reassurance. I do too. 

So that’s been one of the biggest things but really it is a first world problem after all, to choose between two really good schools and be in the fortunate position to do that. Really not a problem at all is it?

I just feel like I am constantly apologising for everything though. That I chose the path we took in the first place, that we have chosen a different one now. As well as apologising for what feels like a million other bloody things on a daily basis – that I don’t work, that I have MS, that I am trying to get as fit as my body will allow, that I have completely fallen out of love with cooking and borderline hate it now, that I find it really hard to maintain friendships through lack of confidence and self-belief, that I seem to forget everything and that I am just really tired most of the time. 

Why do we do it? We apologise for someone else bumping into us in a shop, we apologise for not being able to fit yet another thing into our already busy lives, we apologise for not being who we think we should be and who we think others think we should be. It’s like a constant stream of mental torture. I’m sorry for not being whatever perfect idea of me that you had. I’m sorry if you thought that when I said one thing you thought I meant something entirely different – when often these are our thoughts alone. Agonising and over analysing continually. 

We are constantly criticising and judging  ourselves and I have really been doing a number on myself over the whole school and friendships thing recently.

What I really want to say is – If I say I care, I do. If I say I have done my best, I have. If I say that I made the best decision based on the information that I had at the time, I did. If I say I am your friend no matter what, I am. If I tell you I love you, I do. If I say don’t hurt the people I love or you will regret it, then you can’t say you weren’t given fair warning. I am who I say I am. I am going to stop apologising for being me.  

I have found myself starting to apologise for going back to college even though I know it will lead to bigger and better things for me and my family. I feel selfish about it somehow. I love learning though and firing up my rusty old brain, it’s wonderful. So I won’t apologise for that again. 

I don’t think that I am coming to any particular conclusion here but the words of a dear friend came to mind as I wrote this “never apologise for what you have or haven’t got”. I want to add to that –

Never apologise for who you are or who you are not. 

Sorry for the ramble. 

Damn.

I did it again.

  

Work

Recently I ventured tentatively back into the world of work after many years. I had no idea how it was going to pan out but as with everything I went into it with hope and enthusiasm and figured that the best thing to do would be to give it a try. You don’t know until you give it a go do you? Optimistic me had surfaced and was ready for action!

So what happened? Well, I found out that after all these years my old anxieties and fears were still there. Can I do it? Am I good enough? What if I make a mistake? What if I can’t do it? What if they don’t like me? I didn’t realise how much my old fears of failure would rear their ugly heads like unwanted ghosts whispering away at me. I didn’t realise how much my innate desire to please would impact on my performance at work. But it did…..these things still matter to me it seems. I did not enjoy not being able to separate all of this from my daily work and the emotional effect it had on me.

My darling husband is more than aware of how crippling my fear of failure has been all my life and how much it has stopped me from challenging myself and doing new things. When faced with something that I cannot be my version of perfect at, my natural instinct is to run from it, making excuses as to why I can’t do it at the moment and go and hide back under my comfort blanket where there are no challenges or threats. (I do actually own lots of blankets in real life so maybe I should have seen the signs!! But hey, who doesn’t love a warm snuggly blanket?).

The trouble is that when you know this about yourself it is really really difficult to figure out when your gut instinct to walk away from something that isn’t actually working out and isn’t right for you is going into overdrive and is shouting at you “YOU ARE FLOGGING A DEAD HORSE AND MAKING YOURSELF CRAZY, WALK AWAY NOW!” and waving a big white flag at the same time. OR if you are just working through old fears. I think that is possibly the hardest thing to know.

I also still appear to have issues with authority and being told what to do as well as a huge fear of looking silly if I admit that I haven’t quite understood something. I tend to hope that things will become clearer as time goes on and that I can wing it and hopefully not get found out or that everything will suddenly click and I will know what I am doing. Sometimes this works and sometimes it really absolutely doesn’t.

So…..this week I made the decision to walk away. I realised that doing that when I knew something wasn’t right for me wasn’t failing or quitting and that was actually very very liberating. It has been a massively worthwhile experience and I have learned lots about myself which I think is always a good thing.

Things that I have learned:

I am very good at writing and editing.

I am passable at social media and am getting better.

I can learn new things but it takes time.

I have nice hands and am good at hand modelling haha who knew?

I can say no, I don’t understand and I am not doing that.

It is better to do one thing really well rather than lots of things averagely/badly.

I am learning when to walk away.

I am good at making friends.

I talk too much.

I care about what I do and I cannot detach myself from that.

I do not need to apologise for who I am and who I am not.

There are some really amazing people out there.

I have some awesome and very wise friends and you can never have enough of those.

I would really like a job but it has to be the right one for me and not make me into a crazy person.

I am good enough.

So if there is someone out there who would like a slightly sensitive person who is good at writing, cares too much about too many things and talks more than they should, give me a shout. But maybe not today!

My girl

I started writing this as a retort for one of the very funny “You know you’ve got boys when….” poems that has been doing the social rounds recently. 

Predictably my writing never quite turns out as expected so this is what I ended up with. I’m no Carol Ann Duffy or even Pam Ayres but I do quite enjoy a slightly poetic ramble. So here you go. 

My girl. 

Knickers on the kitchen tables, dirty PJs on the chair. 

I just can’t brush those tangles out and sticky honey’s in her hair. 

A feisty girl all spins and twirls with daydream eyes, lost baby curls. 

Pouty lips and hands on hips, dirty nails and bogey trails. 
Glitter pens and sequin skirts all covered in some kind of dirt. 
Fluffy bunnies, kitten paws, sticky sweets and notes in drawers, 
Baby blues with long soot lashes, tangled hair and temper flashes. 
Sparkly stickers everywhere, secret diaries on the stairs. 
Fancy dress, her room’s a mess, I can’t keep up, there’s change afoot – this little girl is growing up. 

I wonder what she will become? An artist, builder or a pilot?

No doubt her hair will soon be violet and I will hold my mouth tight shut and not say the words from long ago…

…no you will not leave the house like that with too small skirts and too high shoes! 

Where’s your favourite cuddly toy?
Please don’t go with that too old boy! 

He has a motorbike you say? Please don’t, I am already grey! 

For now she cares of friends and toys 
And tries to get her homework done. 
She reads and writes and draws and paints,
Plays games and dreams of times to come. 

I know these days will soon pass by
And I will miss her clothes thrown here and there and wonder why,
I spent my time tidying up
and shouting hurry up 
we need to go 
because we’re late. 

She will be gone in a twirl of glitter, sparkles and crazy hair 
And I will miss her knickers on the kitchen table and her stickers everywhere. 

  

Stop shouting Mummy!

Lately I have been shouting at my kids far too much, somehow it has become my default setting – shout first, think later. I don’t like it. I don’t want to be that sort of parent but somehow that is exactly the sort of parent I have become. Everything seems to annoy and irritate me. I have zero patience and virtually no tolerance. What has happened to me? More importantly when did this happen?

How the fuck I have I become such a grouchy parent?

Maybe if I write down the stuff that really triggers a cranky attack it will help me so here goes:

Having to repeat myself over and over again. For example (to Big Girl)

“In the morning will you please put your duvet back on your bed, turn your light off and shut your bedroom door.”

“Why?”

“Because you have eczema and asthma and if the cats sleep in your bed it will make it worse AND I have told you every day for the last 4 years and you get sad and grumpy when you are all itchy and sneezing.”

(To Small Boy)

“Please have a wee and brush your teeth”

“Nooooooooooo aarrrrgggghhhhhh nooooooooo I won’t you can’t make me!!!! I hate you!!!! Nooooooo!!!! Whyyyyyyyy??????”

“Because it is bedtime and we do this EVERY NIGHT!! IT IS THE SAME EVERY NIGHT!! BRUSH. YOUR. TEETH. OR THEY WILL GO BAD AND HURT AND FALL OUT!!!”

“Nooooooooo!!!!!”

You get the gist. It can go on for quite sometime. We use bribery, distraction but it always ends the same way – with one or both of us shouting.

And then there is just the kid stuff everywhere.

Bits of paper, sellotape, toys, bits of toys, stickers, half eaten food, sweaty socks, Lego, broken stuff, unidentifiable sticky stuff, pens with no lids leaking all over the carpet, underwear, dressing up clothes, clothes, books, junk modelling, sticks, more sellotape, CDs, bogies, snotty tissues, cuddly toys, drinks cups, magazines (oh that’s a whole other rant don’t get me started), the junk shit from the front of the magazines, loom bands, hair bands and so on….

Because it doesn’t matter how many times I ask them to put their shit away or put stuff in the bin they just don’t. And they don’t care. And then I start……

“Please tidy up, I can’t see the floor and it can’t be much fun in there for you.”

Then…

“I will give you pocket money if you tidy up”

And…

“If you don’t tidy up there will be consequences”

But it always ends with..

“TIDY UP YOUR RUBBISH OR I WILL PUT IT IN BIN BAGS AND TAKE IT TO THE TIP!!”

They still don’t do it and we all end up in tears – me because I have lost control yet again and them because I am scary.

So…I don’t want to go on like this because it doesn’t work and we all hate it and it is wrong. Ultimately it is wrong. I am not modelling good behaviour, I am not respecting them, I am choosing being right over being kind. I am choosing what other people think about my children and their behaviour and the state of my house over our wellbeing as a family. That is wrong.

They don’t need to be taught to do as they are told, they need to be loved. They don’t need harsh words, they need kindness and understanding and when did I stop realising that? When did I decide that it is okay to shout and bully my children into doing what I want because that is what fits in with my life?

When did I stop looking at them as the incredible miracles that they are and start seeing them as untidy, noisy little nuisances? Yes, I am cringing writing this because it isn’t true, it isn’t and I don’t believe that at all so WHY am I treating them as if that is exactly what they are?

It isn’t okay is it? There are no excuses. I chose to have them. It isn’t enough just to do that and hope for the best. I have battled through mental illness, grief and health issues so why am I not fighting as hard to be the parent that I know they deserve?

I have to try harder. So I am going to. A lovely friend posted a link to an article about stopping shouting. I know that is only part of it but it is something I can try to get better at. So thank you to my friend and to the writer of that post for the idea of becoming more accountable to your children. I have told mine that Daddy and Mummy are going to work harder at not shouting and that they can decide at the end of the day how we have done.

They are delighted and keep reminding us that we are not shouting anymore if they see a situation escalate. Yesterday we did pretty well. Today I am struggling, fighting emotions and feeling tearful. Perhaps I have become so used to shouting as a way of release that my emotions are spilling out of me in different ways now. I am trying to be kind to myself. I am trying to be a better me for my children. I am trying. I will keep on trying…

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