Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Why?

I was having one-of-those-weeks this week. The kind where you wonder 'why'? Why am I here? Do I have a purpose in life, and if so, what is it? 

Yesterday, I took a call from a lady wanting to order some flowers on behalf of her 8 year old son; he was sending them to his 9 year old girlfriend - yes, she's a cougar! Anyway, recently, due to her Dad's job, the 'cougar' had moved almost 200 miles away. Now, when I was 9 if you wanted to keep in touch with someone you did it via Royal Mail, known in this day-and-age as 'Snail Mail' - a service I still use; to me there's nothing to give you a buzz like receiving a letter/card from someone. Having it drop through the letterbox when you least expect it, then reading words that someone has spent time putting together, just-for-you, is a wonderful thing. Sadly though, when you're young, having to correspond that way can eventually contribute to relationships (friends and lovers alike) drifting apart. However, these days we have email, messenger, snapchat, whatsapp, and goodness knows how many other services for sending (electronic) mail. We share photos with each other on all of these, alongside our instagram and facebook, too. The second you hit "send" it can ping to your loved ones/friends and another second later they can be reading your words, or smiling/laughing at your photograph. It's quick and it's easy. Long distance relationships can feel like such a short distance if you facetime and skype (zoom, I believe, is the popular face-to-face service right now). 

Anyway, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, these 2 little love birds have managed to keep a long distance relationship going, and I got to play a part in that when I took the call from his Mum, asking me to make up the flowers for her. Last evening I got a lovely email from the Mum, with a photo of the young lady (very pretty little girl - he's made a good choice) and the smile on her face made me realise, that's why I am here. Yes, his Mum could have gone to another shop, ordered through someone else, but she didn't; she came to me. 

On Monday I had a last minute call from one of my regular customers; she orders flowers to take up to her nieces and her Mum's graves on their birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas. I set up a recurrence on our ordering system for them a few years ago - presumptive of me? Absolutely, however, I was able to say to her when she called, in a panic "Don't worry; your order is here, waiting for you whenever you are ready for it" She collected, paid, thanked me and left to take them to the cemetery. Today, she came in with a huge box of extremely posh chocolates (there's a lemon meringue one.. lemon meringue chocolates, whoever heard of such a thing? truly delightful it is too) and she thanked me for always having her back. That's why I am here.

This afternoon had a call from a guy who had never used his card to make payment over the phone before. He was really nervous. I took his order then went through the payment process with his as slowly, carefully and with instructions to make it easier. When we'd finished he said to me "I've been wanting to use my card for years but never felt confident enough to do so in the past. I can't thank you enough for your help". I'm not sure if it's a good, or bad, thing for me to have made it so easy (who knows how he might fritter away his money in the future) however, that's why I am here. 

This week, with the very smallest of gestures, which really were nothing to do with me other than being the other end of a phone, I made 3 peoples lives a little easier and brought the biggest of smiles to a 9 year old girl. 

The longer I live, the more I am learning that life really does have a funny way of throwing us some curveballs. Right now I am in a really good place; life is good, in one way - I'm quite possibly the poorest I have ever been when it comes to finances yet I am so rich in other ways. I'm well aware at any second it can all come crashing down around my ears (it wouldn't be the first time) however, because of moments like the ones I've had this week, when it does crash I'll know that once I can make it to the other side there will be more days like the ones I've had; days which have brought me such joy, made my heart sing and inspired me to keep on pushing. 

That's why I am here. 




Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Friday, 11 September 2020

Suicide Prevention Awareness Day

I missed it this year; caught up in work and life, however, it shouldn't be just about one day. It should be all days, because every-single-day someone, somewhere, takes their own life. I had a friend who did it, my Mum had a work friend do it, my 17 year old cousin did it, and I, myself, one dark rainy night in December 1996 came as close as I am ever going to get to doing it. Of the 4 of us only my friend's suicide didn't cause any shock. Mum's friend gave no clue or any kind of indication he was feeling that way, and as far as I'm aware, had I gone through with it I believe it would have come as a shock to the people who know - and love - me; they knew I was struggling a bit but don't think they realised just how low I had sunk - even I wasn't entirely sure how low that was. 

And that's the thing with suicide. It's often the ones you least expect who go through with it. The ones who are constantly dramatically throwing out there "I'm going to end it all", or "I just as well kill myself, because nobody cares" are pretty highly likely never going to actually go through with it. They are just looking for the attention. No, in my experience, the ones most likely to do it, don't let on to a soul about their intentions. Obviously, there are those genuine people who talk about it in the hope they may be able to stop themselves, or get help to deal with how they are feeling. There is a world of difference between dramatic attention seeking and genuinely asking for help. 

My cousin (ish, my Uncle married her Mum); 17 years old with her whole life ahead of her. She sat down, wrote letters for her family/friends and left home like she would any-other-day. Instead of going about her usual day though, she walked to a bridge, choosing the exact moment to jump off into the path of an upcoming lorry. Now, to me that is quite possibly the most selfish and thoughtless of ways to end your life; the poor driver of that lorry has to live with that moment/experience until the end of his days, however, to my cousin, it was the only way to ensure her end. She had meticulously calculated the best way (for her) to end whatever pain she was suffering. I wasn't inside her mind to know why she chose that way, and therefore, how I feel about it is irrelevant. I'm just sad she was unable to talk to someone, tell them how she felt. Sad for her that she felt suicide was her only option. 

My friend was slightly different. He'd hit a really rough patch in life. Don't get me wrong, he was no angel, and had been caught cheating by his wife, so she kicked him out. He'd burned a lot of bridges with other friends over-the-years because of his behaviour so nobody was rushing to help him out with somewhere to live. When he finally paid me a visit, I'd not seen (or heard) from him in 4/5 years. That didn't stop me from doing what I could though. I had no home of my own so was unable to let him stay with me (had I been in my own place I would have moved him in with me and maybe things would have turned out differently - that's something nobody can ever know). I did have him come to my shop during the daytime; I was in a different building then with a huge storage, back room area, which was dry, dark and safe, so after feeding him and letting him use the facilities to get clean (one of the girls in one of the beauty shops would wash his clothes for him) he'd bed down for a few hours and have some sleep. He still had a car so would park up nighttime at a local viewpoint. This went on for a few months and sometimes he would chat in a really positive way, giving the indication he was going to try and get himself sorted, not let his current situation get him down or become the course for the rest of his life. Then one day he didn't show, and the next day he didn't show either. After a week of not showing I hoped (wished) that someone had taken him in, or he'd been able to get himself sorted. Sadly, 3 months further down-the-line I learned that he had taken his own life. I wasn't surprised; I was sad for him though that things finally just became too much for him to cope with. 

My Mum's friend was even more of a shocker than my cousin. Nobody (including his wife) had a clue. He was an all-round great guy; one of the nicest people you could meet. He had a lovely home and was married with 3 young boys he absolutely worshipped. He loved working the same shifts as my Mum, and she (in turn) loved working with him. Especially when they were on nights; even more so if there was a meteor shower. It had become a bit of a thing and running joke between them that every time there was some kind of celestial event and they were working a night together it would end up being cloudy or raining. They'd talk for hours about alien life forms, sometimes jesting with each other, sometimes being a little serious about it all. He gave no indication to anyone that he was having a hard time with anything. He worshipped his boys and his whole face would light up when he talked about them. He'd been at work, been his usual self; he left telling everyone he'd see them the next day. They had no clue it would be the last time they saw him, for he went home and subsequently hung himself in his garage. Something inside of him must have broke because the man we all knew, and they all loved, would never have even considered such a thing, even more so when it was one of his beloved young boys who found him. Putting one of his kids in that situation went against everything he was, and believed in. Yet something, in that moment, triggered in him and that was it; he took his own life. For yonks after my Mum tormented herself trying to figure out if she had missed something, if there had been anything which may have perturbed to his mental state - after all, they worked on a mental health unit, they were trained in the signs, knew what to look for. He displayed not a single sign, or brought forth a red flag to anyone. Afterwards, it had transpired he'd been dealing with some personal issues that he'd never told a soul about. Maybe, just maybe, if he'd been able to talk to someone about it he may have been able to work through it all and would still be here; would have watched to see his boys grow into men. Hindsight, however, is a wonderful thing. 

You can't always save someone from their own demons, and no amount of talking can stop some people but I am so glad we live in a world where it is ok to talk about how you feel. For so long, especially among men, it was deemed you were weak if you dared to admit you were struggling - and there is a big difference between someone admitting they are struggling, to the dramatic attention seekers I have mentioned at the beginning of this entry. These days we are actively encouraged to speak about our feelings, and it is so refreshing that so many people are brave enough to. I'd like to think that by doing so, even though they may not end up feeling any better for it, they will realise that they are loved and are worthy of being loved. I know from my own personal experiences it's that feeling that you are not worthy, that you don't deserve anything, which is the hardest to get yourself out of. I'm not just talking about those of us who have been shit on from great heights, abused (mentally and physically) or who have suffered years of bullying; yes, that can be hard on a person, but equally those who have never had to endure any kind of hardship can be left feeling as unworthy and useless as the rest of us. They don't understand why they have been gifted everything, just as some don't understand why they haven't. Whilst those of us without feel hard done by, those with have to try and process why they have it all. I have an old friend who got absolutely everything they ever wanted, and always when they wanted it. One day they were hit by a massive wave of guilt about it, how they just took everything for granted, and they've been in therapy whilst taking a huge dose of pills daily, ever since, trying to process why?

Whatever your thoughts, your reasons, or demons you are fighting, know that you are no alone. There are others out there fighting in the same way; their demons may be different but they are borne of the same place. You've come this far; you are still here. You are brave, and you are a fighter. No matter how alone you may feel when you enter the darkness, you will notice there is always, always, a small flicker of light. You might not be able to see it immediately, but it's there. That light is comprised of all the people who love you; those whose lives you have affected in a wonderful way. That light is all the people who wish nothing but the best for you, those who are willing you to be able to step into a brighter, sunnier day. Look for it; you will find it/them. You may have to look harder than the person standing in the dark next to you, but it is there. Once you find it and allow yourself to be drawn to it, you'll find you're able to cut out those people/things who stand in the shadows trying to pull you back into the darkness. You'll falter at times (those demons can take a mighty good hold and will grip on like nothing else) however, the people radiating that light your way can lift you, can help you break the chains the demons are using against you. Once you make your way to them you'll realise you need not go back to those dark ones, the ones which caused you so much pain, heartache and made you feel worthless. After a while you won't even notice they/it are/is no longer a part of your life. You deserve nothing but the best in life. 

The whole "be kind" thing (sadly it didn't last long) a while back, after Caroline Flack took her own life, was such a good reminder that being kind to people is truly one of the best things you can do with your life. Just because someone else's life may appear charmed in caparison to yours doesn't mean it is. We all have our demons, we all have our insecurities and fear. We are all just trying to survive. You never know if you are crossing paths with someone at the very moment in their lives when they are thinking about going home to end it. Your kind/friendly words to them could mean all the difference; accordingly your treating them bad could also be the very moment they are tipped over-the-edge. I know it's not always easy. I'm one-of-those people who will rant before I think about how my ranting/raving at someone may be as a result of them not being in the right frame-of-mind (there is a difference between someone being a completely ignorant piece-of-shit on a regular basis, to someone who may have just cut you up because they could be rushing somewhere to get to a loved one for whatever reason) but I do try to think before I snap these days - for my own mental being as much as anyone elses. Even the bullies should not be hated; in fact, they should be pitied. They are obviously lacking in their lives somewhere and the only way to make them feel better about themselves, is to make you (the person they are bullying) feel worse. They don't seem to realise that the weaker they get (because being a bully will never make them anything other than weak) the stronger you will become. Once you rise above them they will become completely insignificant beings. Pity them and maybe try to help them see that life could be better for them if they were to just talk about how they feel. Of course, there are those who are just naturally pre-disposed to be arseholes. The only way to deal with them is to smack them one (hard) in front of their little groupies and then walk away. Take back the power you have allowed them to drain from you. 

Remember, also, that some of the funniest people you may know, the ones who are always smiling, laughing, and cracking jokes, could also be the ones sitting at home contemplating downing that bottle of whiskey whilst simultaneously popping the mountain of pills they have been storing up for a few months. We've all done it. Painted a smile on our faces (for whatever reason) when we feel anything but happy. Depression doesn't just show itself in the people who often look sad, or struggle to hold a conversation with you. Suicidal thoughts can be easily hidden behind a smile, or covered with a joke. Some of the best comedic performers have struggled with their mental health in ways we would never have seen, using their humour to hide what is really going on inside of them.

As I sit here today, tapping away on the keyboard, I think back to that cold, dark winters night almost a quarter of a century ago, and I am so glad I wasn't brave enough to go through with the ending of my own life. Our natural human instinct is to protect ourselves at-all-costs; suicide takes us as far away from ourselves as we could possibly be, so I can only guess a little of me was still in there desperately struggling to hold on. I had everything I believed I needed, laid out before me. Somewhere though, in the back of my mind, that inner voice (which had so often taunted me) spoke, telling me I was looking for someone, something, some kind of logic which would tell me to "stop". It couldn't be family or friends; they would be telling me to stop for the wrong reasons (albeit the right ones too). It had to be someone who would know about such things, and that is how I found myself dialling the number for the Samaritans - had someone told me before that night I would do such a thing I would have laughed at them; laughed hard, and loud. I can't remember the name of the lady whose voice answered the phone to me, and for that I am slightly ashamed. What I do know is she pissed me off. Big time. I had wanted someone to tell me not to do it, talk to me about what I could do, how I could get through it. She never did any of that - she wasn't allowed to; they still aren't. Instead I spent an hour literally sobbing down the phone to her. I told her more about myself than I think even I realised I knew. When I finally hung up I was angry; fuming, with that wonderful woman who ended up being my saviour. I'd got so angry at her lack of advice, I hung up that phone determined to prove to her that I was worth something. She will never know how very grateful I am to her (once I'd got over the anger I realised she was an absolute angel and I was blessed to have been put-in-touch with her that night). Don't get me wrong; I have had some pretty dark moments since that night, one night even saying out loud "if this is it, then just take me and be done" (I was really struggling with chicken pox and hadn't slept for 4 days so was feeling a little bit rough). Life didn't suddenly get better and become all moonlight-and-roses (in fact at times it's thrown more shit at me in just a few months, than it had thrown at me throughout those first 26 years of my life when I called her) yet somehow, somewhere from deep within, and which I truly believe is born from my conversation with (my sobbing at) her, nothing has ever pushed me even close to the edge I was on that night. It doesn't matter who you are, what people have told you, or how weak you think yourself, if you're struggling, go and talk to someone. As crazy as it sounds, it really can (and very often does) help.

Call the Samaritans; 116 123

Email them; jo@sarmaritans.org

Write to them; Chris, Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, Stirling, FK8 2SA

They won't judge you, nor will they tell you what to do. They will, however, listen and be there for you. I know this from my own experience. 

I'm a little less sure about Mind (although I know of someone who says they were instrumental in getting them back-on-track and helped immensely when they suffered a breakdown). I just had an issue with them as I knew someone who worked as a counsellor for them; the person is one of the nastiest, most narcissistic and judgemental bullies I've ever come across. However, someones personality and behaviour outside of their work, does not reflect on the good they can do on the inside. The mind website has some links to different places, and for all age groups, which may be able to help. 

On this very day, aside from being angry at myself for still being a fat bint (something I really am working on - intermittently, and I know it all stems back to my earlier life, that I will have to face it, deal with it and move on) I am in the best mental state that I have ever been in. I think part of my getting my rid of my facebook (I will go back because I miss all the funny memes one friend shares, and the great photos a family member shares) is because I have learned I no longer need to look to other people for their approval of me. I realised it doesn't matter what someone else thinks about me. They can love me, or they can loathe me. What matters is how I think of myself. If I allow others to treat me bad then I have nobody to blame but myself when they do. If someone likes/loves me for who/what I am, then great. I am truly blessed. If they don't, that's great to. They are free to move on and find someone they do like. I think back over the past 24 years and look at all the things I would have missed out on had I not picked up the phone that evening. The amazing journeys I have taken, visiting places I thought would never be more than just-a-dream. I've seen my number 1 blossom into a beautiful woman, and now a Mum to 2 amazing children (she bore me a new nephew just this week). I've discovered family we never knew existed, who we've been blessed to get to know, to meet them, and to fall in love with them all. I've made new friends (some of whom are a real joy!!) and found the strength/courage to rid myself of old ones who treated me badly, thus enriching my life further. I've had nights out with Rock Stars, and started my own business (which, thankfully, is currently thriving). I've watched my brother marry the love of his life, witnessed the beaming smile on my Mum's face as she swam with turtles in crystal clear waters. I've seen a bear dig for roots in it's wild, natural habitat, and taken a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon. I've got drunk in Las Vegas, lost my way in the forest, alone, in the dark, and literally had my breath taken away by the Norwegian Fjords. I squeezed my body into lilac satin for my best friends wedding and slid 20 feet down a sheer rock face (that was a wee bit scary and made me cry!!) I've crossed the Atlantic in a first class seat, and swung in a hammock on a Caribbean beach.  That night I made the phone call I thought my life was over. Truth is, it was just beginning. 

Remember, if you are still at the part in your own life journey where things are tough, and you are struggling, reach out to someone - anyone (even the Samaritan lady who made me so angry). I know it may not feel like it right now, but life can get better (and at times it could get really hard again) but you are here, you are alive and there is help out there. Remember you are more than worth it. You were that one sperm who fought off millions of others and won. You have already taken one of the hardest battles to get yourself here. You matter. Your life matters. 


Now, more than ever, with all the crazy going on in the world, and the pandemic which has taken a hold of us all, people are struggling in ways they never would have thought possible. Some of you will have lost loved ones, others will have lost your jobs, some of you will have lost everything (materially and emotionally). Don't give up; easy for me to say when I have a job, roof over my head, and food in my (rather large) belly. I know it may seem as though there is no hope for you right now but if you're still here, if there is still air in your lungs, then you are alive, and if you're alive you can find the strength to keep fighting. Ask for help, tell people you are struggling. Don't become another casualty of life. I know to some of you right now, suicide may seem like the final answer. The fact you are sat reading this though, goes some way to prove that there is, and can be, more. If you're reading this you have the internet and if you have the net, there is hope. Use it to your advantage. Tell google (siri, alexa, bing or any other AI and browser) to find you help; make contact with someone. Reach out. Somebody, somewhere will be able to help you, and they'll do that because you are worth it. 


Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Incognito

 or just plain 'insignificant?'

10 days ago I deleted (deactivated just-in-case I decided to go back) my facebook account. Something I do every-now-and-then, partly because I find myself spending too much time on there, and partly because I have some friends who just bore the shit out of me with the crap they post. I do it for no other reason than my own sanity - I also really hate, in fact despise with a passion, their crappy security settings and the whole "people you may know" - I managed to find people and add them before they shared up anyone-and-everyone to me, so could manage again perfectly well without it. That one really does piss-me-off. I have (had) my settings so nobody else could see my friends; my Mum has hers set to that too (I know because I set it up for her) so when my friends were then offered up as people my Mum might know (and vice versa) I wondered why they gave the option to hide my friends list in the first place?. 

Of course, I could delete these people who bore me, but doing so doesn't make a jot of difference because you still come up in their "people you may know" feed at a later date; totally f**king pointless. The only way to really stop them is by blocking them, then some twat you share a mutual friend with will tag them in something you share and you get the whole "why did you feel the need to block me?" scenario. I just want to be able to add the people I want to share stuff with, and who I am happy to see their shared stuff, and be done with it. I've missed out on a lot in those 10 days which family members I absolutely adore have been sharing (luckily I can still view from my Mum's account, though this means I have to keep logging in as her and that's not a good thing to do). 

Ooh; that's another thing I hate about it. I have my own business, yet can't have a business page without having a personal profile. Ok, fine, I can set up an account as a normal human to be able to run the business page if I have to (although they are getting tougher on people having multiple accounts) and I've added a few friends/family as admin just to be on the safe side. However, sometimes I will click on to the page and use it as I should be (for my business). This means replying to people's comments and more-often-than-not it won't comment as the page, but as my personal account, so then I get random customers adding me as a friend. The whole thing is just so badly flawed I'm amazed it's been able to take a hold of so many lives so easily. 

Anyway, I'm digressing; this wasn't about facebook (not really) although it has contributed. No, this was about me (as my life always is). 

Those of you who have followed my waffled crap over-the-years will know how badly bullied I was as a child, and how I still allowed certain people to bully me as an adult. For a massive portion of my life I felt I was worthless as a human being because of it. I believed I didn't' deserve, nor should receive, anything good. Years of being put down will eventually make you believe such crap. Even among friends I would often end up feeling like I was just there to make up the numbers. My camping group of friends are people I've known years but even being with them I have sometimes wondered why I've bothered, because when it comes to being in a group of people having a conversation, it would appear I must be as boring as I believe myself to be (let's face it, my blog entries aren't exactly riveting). We can all be chatting, and I'll join in the conversation and suddenly another member of the group will talk over me, direct the conversation away from me, and they'll all then continue with the new line of convo, leaving me sitting there like a lemon. My Mum will also do it to me, although she is older and sometimes has to say things as they pop into her head, but having had it done to me throughout my life pretty much every time I've been among a group of people (friends, family and most especially the bullies) I've learned to now just sit there and accept that it's because I have nothing of any insignificance to say, or of any interest that someone wants to listen to. Oddly, once I accepted that, I finally realised how I was being bullied still as an adult by some people (who got kicked into touch) and I started to become a more confident person in myself. I guess accepting who we are is a good thing, even if it's come about through something which has made you feel so bad. 

Turns out I'm also insignificant on facebook as well though - and that one did hurt a little. I'm not one of those vaguebookers who post shit to get attention (you know the ones, who say "I'll inbox you babe" when their friends ask "you ok, hun?"). I don't make a big announcement that I'm deactivating; I just do it. Usually I last 3 or 4 days, so nobody notices I've gone. This time though, it's been the 10 days and I've learned that I really am just another-face-in-the-crowd. I don't know whether to feel happy because it means I don't have to reactivate, or sad because it's just gone to prove how little I am noticed. Sunday my lovely BIL said to me "I shared the photo of the flowers you did for my Mum on fb". I replied "lovely; not on there at the mo so haven't seen". Both he and my brother said "oh, didn't notice you'd gone; why's that?" Ouch, brothery.. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ (they're allowed not to notice as I see/speak to them at least once-a-week, although when he said to me just yesterday "have you seen the photos <insert name of person here - no, I'm not sharing who he was talking about with random strangers; see above about how I don't even share with friends/family> I had to remind him that I'm not on there any more so haven't seen - being the genius that he is he has come up with a plan I shall do some research on which may get me back on there but only for specific people). Then today, a guy I run a group page with asked if I'd seen the responses to the latest post. I replied "no, because I'm not on there any more" and he hadn't even noticed I was missing, even though he's been posting things I would have/should have replied to. It was then it struck me that nobody appears to have noticed. I go out of my way to try and keep in touch with everyone on there as often as I can (not always as often as it should be) and somehow am one of those saddo's that notices when someone does disappear, and yet nothing; not one person has not only not missed me😰😰 I'm just glad I'm not the Sarah from 5 years ago; I'd be crying into a bottle right about now!! 

So, am I incognito? or just totally insignificant? 

Even better question; do I go blond and have a bob cut?





Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Loss of faith

Not in an almighty sense (I have never, and will never believe in a god - as such) but in myself. 

It happens every now-and-then; I question why I am here? What is my purpose, and how can I change the things about my life I don't like? I wonder whether I am a good person (deep down, somewhere inside) or if I'm not really that nice after all (cross me and I can be a real bitch). The past couple of weeks though I've been feeling totally lost. As though I don't know who I am any more, and whilst I still plan on being here at the age of 96, I have wondered what the point of it is all is and I why I have bothered to carry on? I'm sure we all feel like it some days. I also have to remind myself I am a woman-of-a-certain-age, whilst telling myself off for thinking that way, for age should not have anything to do with it.  

I guess, what I've really been missing is friends. I don't actually have any, any more (not that many of them were friends to begin with; they were just people who hung out with me as long as I way paying for them to have a good time, or who just needed a verbal punchbag) however, I can't afford to go out and do stuff with a friend right now, so I'm not going to put myself out there to find a new one. Besides, I think I need to learn to like myself again before I try to allow anyone else into my world. See how contradictory about myself, and my life, I am? Crazily, whilst wanting to spend time with other people, and live in a world where 1, or 2, friends to hang out with would be nice, I went and deleted my facebook because I had got fed up with people (I also hate so many things about it.. I'll go back; a lot of my family and the few friends I have left scattered about the world live in there, but I really do hate it; with a passion). I had to step away from all the politics and negativity that people share there, day in, day out. I had to get away from the people who share the same photos, just at different destinations, of their kids in the exact same pose every-single-time. Share them, by all means, but try to come up with something a little different. I have one friend who you could take every photo she's ever shared of her kids, line them up and play "spot the difference". Another constantly shares those ones which pop up on your news feed under "memories" or some other crap (used to be timehop). It's the same picture she shared earlier that day just taken in a different year. Don't even get me started on the ones who think it's a great idea to share the posts that end "I bet I know which ones of my friends will share this". Yep, and it won't be me. See what I mean and why I say I'm not entirely sure I'm a nice person? Would a nice person house such thoughts towards others? 

I've really been beating myself up about it all and then this morning, something changed. No, I still don't want to see your same old same old, and I don't want to see you saying how amazing your angel children are, when we all know they are truly the devil-in-diguise (another thing I absolutely love about my Number 1 is she calls it like it is; she's honest and upfront when her little one is being a bugger) but somewhere along the way, the nice version of me crept in. Maybe it was because the weather has changed. There was a distinct feel of autumn this morning; that means the heat is fading, the cold is coming. The smell of bonfires will be filling the air, the leaves will be changing, showering us with glorious colours. I always say I love the winter but I think, deep down, I'm more of a late autumn/fall lover. There always seems to be a magical buzz in the air as well once things start to change. This morning, for the first time in a long time, I felt good. I got to work with a smile on my face, and even though a few things went wrong this morning (one of them pretty drastically) I've still kept smiling. 

Then I had a customer in. She's just lost her brother - something I don't ever want to have to experience (being the eldest of the 2 of us I'm hoping it will never happen). we got chatting and for the first time she understood what my job is about. It was so weird and oddly refreshing. So many people tell me how lucky I am (which I am - I will never deny that) to do what I do, but they only see the good side, they have no idea about the 'real' side to it. This lady did. Our conversations then lead us to the spiritual side of life, something which I believed in for so long, then gave up on, finding logic in pretty much everything (one thing did, and still does vex me on the whole subject) and by the time this lady left the shop she could not stop thanking me. She told me I had just helped her deal with her brothers death in a way she didn't know she would be able to. I'm not entirely sure what it was I said, but to know that I have been able to help someone during their most desperate of times, really helped me to get a grip on what I have been feeling. Even if she is the only person for the rest of my time as a mortal on this planet (96 minimum) to know I have helped someone today to feel a little better about their own life was a real blessing, and made me think that maybe that's what my life is about. It's not about me, what I want/need; it's about being there for someone else when they are in need. I know life should not be about personal gratification, however, I cannot tell you what a difference it has made for something I've done/said for another person to actually be appreciated. Not something I get to experience often. Yes, today has been a good day. In fact it's been that good I've even bought a lottery ticket for tonight; and I never do that (euromillions occasionally; lottery hardly ever). You'll know if I've won when I start sharing photos from cold climate countries :) 

No matter who you are, there will always be people in your life telling you that you're not good enough. Don't allow their voices, to become your voice; the one inside your head. Don't allow doubt about how truly unique and genuinely amazing you are, to creep in. It's really not a good place to be. Be your own brightness on the darkest of days. 






Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Sunflowers

Sunflowers seem to be the latest 'craze' - everywhere I look someone is posting a photo of one, so I thought I'd jump-on-the-bandwagon and take a few myself. ⁣

My own didn't grow at home; thankfully my neighbours did. 🌻🌻⁣


Thursday, 30 July 2020

Podcasts

I'm quite 'old school' when it comes to a lot of things (ask my niece and she'll tell you I'm just "old" - not really sure why I like her!!). I enjoy opening up a paper/magazine to read through (not that I bother with newspapers any more as they're either too depressing, too political, or full of adverts). I still prefer the feel of a book to a kindle; I do have a kindle and use it often, however, when it comes to some books they just have to be held and have paper pages (I've had people say to me "well, what about the trees? A book isn't very environmentally friendly". Yeah, ok, so an electronic gadget full of plastic is more friendly than a book that can be recycled and turned into another book, is it?!!). There's something about walking into a book shop (independent, always - although there are very few of those to be found these days). Scanning the shelves looking for the one book you know you want, and getting your eye caught by one you've never heard of, yet know you now have to read. They also have that smell about them; it's kind of musty and not at-the-same-time. Kindles are ok if you're going away - much easier to pack 1 kindle with 30 books, than physically packing 30 books but it's just not the same sitting in the bath holding an electronic device. In my life, my world, Stephen King books will only ever be bought in hardback; there are some authors who should never be downloaded and electronic. 

A few people I know have those audio books - my Mum loves them, although the cost of them does put her off slightly. I looked into that audible for her once; figured at £7.99 per month that was a good deal, assuming that meant she got a book each month for the price. I assumed wrong. That's just for the app; you still have to buy the books. That soon went out-the-window. Thankfully, our local library do a good selection. Yes, Libraries; how those used to also be a joy to walk around. Highly frustrating too when you'd make a trip specifically to get a certain book, only to find someone just 10 minutes before had beaten you to it. I have discovered our library now has online services; I hope that doesn't mean they will end completely and everything will be digital, but I guess that's the way of the world now. I doubt half the kids in my town would even know where the library was. I can imagine the look on their faces if the mobile library was to park up in their area - I used to love walking up to ours once-a-month. It shook, it rattled, a few times when windy it gave the impression it was going to tip over, and you had to be able to breathe in if someone wanted to get by you, but it was great. I loved it. Then again, I've always loved to read, even from a very young age. Hence why coming into the digital age has been harder for me. 

That doesn't mean I'm not a listener. I would have a radio on all day if I could - can't have one on at work as I refuse to pay several hundred pounds each year to be able to listen to it (to be perfectly honest I think they should pay me, for if I did have one playing I'd be promoting their radio station and the artists they choose to play) but the second I get in the car the radio is on (when I've not connected my phone and am happy to listen to my playlists). As I've got older, I've naturally moved away from Radio 1, so radio 2 has been my preferred choice (unless I'm in a good digital area and then it's Planet Rock). On a Saturday morning when I used to commute to work I'd listen to Radio 4 (I know, and that was before I became middle aged). I love how music can take you straight back to a time-and-place long ago. I've always been really good at Mystery Years on the radio, because throughout my childhood and teenage years there was always a radio on somewhere (I find it so much harder to concentrate on anything when it's quiet; stick some music on in the background and I am good-to-go). Again though, it's always been about the music, not-so-much the talking. This is why when podcasts became popular I never bothered to try them. The thought of listening to someone ramble on about something made me feel quite sleepy, and it worried me that if I was to listen to one, I'd most likely nod off.

Last night though, sitting in bed writing my daily crap in my journal - something I've started every year since I was about 10 and never got passed February (until this year and I am still going) - when I thought to myself "I know, I'll try a podcast, just to see what they are like" as it was late and I wasn't really in the mood for music. 

Talk about overload. I had no idea where to look, whether I download an app, use the apple one, or go onto a separate website. There are hundreds of thousands of them out there. I'm going to have to have a chat with my brother (who I know listens to them often) for the best places to find them. I think I could spend all day and still not get anywhere (although I guess I could ask google). In the end I went to the BBC and had a look through some of theirs, eventually settling on a Miss Marple that was being read by June Whitfield (I know, of all the ones I could have chosen; being a complete novice I thought I'd start with something I knew a little about). Not sure if it was her voice, or just because of the mood I was in but I found myself really enjoying it. 

I don't know if they are going to become a part of my life going forward from here; I have just found a ghost stories one that's up to Ep 60 so we'll see how we go with that; after all, who doesn't like a good ghost tale? :) I'll let you know how I get on. 

Maybe one day I'll start up my own. I'm sure there are millions of people out there who would love to listen to a middle-aged woman who likes to rant about things of no significance!!