A hug can make all the difference…

When is an illness an illness?  Or more specifically, what deems an illness worthy of acknowledgement and support from others?

I recently spoke to a friend who has been diagnosed with cancer.   I can’t begin to imagine how devastating it is for her to have received that news.  But also it must be overwhelming to think about the subsequent treatments, surgeries, and their associated side affects & healing times.  I’m sure on the inside she has moments of fear & worry, but on the outside she is showing herself to be positive.  She views this challenge as a mere inconvenience in her life & wants the treatment to be behind her so she can get on with her future.

For some time I’ve greatly admired her strength and mindset.  Seldom in my life have I met a more optimistic & forward thinking person.  Don’t get me wrong, she does have bad days and set backs.  There have been times I’ve spoken to her when she vents about ongoing problems.  She’s a real person; she’s not hiding behind a facade of happy-happy if she’s not feeling it.  But she does tend to see things in a very balanced way & attempts to find the positive wherever possible.

When I last spoke her, a day before she was to go into surgery, she remarked how much support she’s been getting from friends, family, and work colleagues from cards, phone calls, and emails.  She’s even had people offering to pick up groceries or cook her a meal if she’s needs it.  I don’t begrudge her getting this support because it’s not only important, it’s vital.  But it did get me wondering about when an illness deserves support.

I’ve been on a sabbatical for nearly a year, which came about due to health issues.  Without going into great detail, my health had been disintegrating for a few years culminating with extreme exhaustion to the point I struggled just to make it through one work day, never mind a whole week.  While I’m doing better now, I’m still not 100% but feel I’m on the right track.  Looking back I could see just how poorly I was, not only physically, but emotionally and mentally.  I suppose it doesn’t help that I also suffer from depression and anxiety because I’ve learned over the years that these conditions can make you think negative things that aren’t really true.  I was at a low ebb all around!

And while I got some nice comments from people I knew in my work & personal life to wish me well on my sabbatical, there was no real support from anyone.  I faced such a challenging time alone.  It was hard at times.  Very hard.

There were days that a phone call would have made such a difference.  There were days that a visit by a friend or colleague would have made such a difference.  There were days that just knowing someone out there cared would have made such a difference.  There were definitely some bleak days along my road to recovery.

The experience has made me a stronger person and I realise that the only one I can ever really count on is myself.  It is sad, but empowering at the same time.  I’m not wallowing in my friendlessness because I have learned a lot about myself during the past year.  Plus now that my physical health is slowly improving, it has also had a positive impact on my emotional and mental health too.  I am feeling very positive about the future & am looking forward to trying some new hobbies, interests, and maybe even a career move.

Sometimes though I will look back on the me from a year ago and want to hug her and tell her she’s not alone.  And that despite her condition not being immediately life threatening (if she had continued on the same path it would have done) did she not deserve a supportive phone call, hug, or friendly ear to listen over a cup of tea?

I think therefore I quote…

Today I had a mishap.  I lost some virtual notes which I can’t recover.  The notes in question were writing ideas plus quotes.  I collect quotes.  Occasionally I even think of something profound on my own and add it to the list.  I’m quite proud of myself when I do this as my quotes are in good company of the great and good quoters of our times.  I’m passionate about quotes like some are about football or shoes.  Whenever I come across a quote that really speaks to me I add it to my list.  Sometimes I’ll come across a quote when I’m feeling down so looking for solace, while other times I’ll be feeling motivated so looking for inspiration.  The quotes I collect can be from any author, from any era, or about any subject.  The common theme is they all speak to me in some way.

I have quotes for love, sadness, depression, inspiration, humour, and friendship, to name but a few.  While not good at remembering and recalling quotes, I keep my list handy so I can draw on it whenever I’m in need of something to help me in any given situation.  I refer to my list when writing a condolence card, impressing a prospective beau on a dating site, or sending a cheery email to a friend who’s had a bad day at work.

I’m a very sentimental being.  Quotes are like children.  The ones written by others are like adoptive children created by someone else but still cherished by me.  The ones I write are a product of my nurtured and inspired mind and I’m ever so proud of them.

I guess I have some romantic idea that when I die someone will go through my virtual files and find my genius among my quote collection and forever will my name live on for posterity.  Though when I’m back down on earth I realise the truth is that once I’m gone my virtual world will be forgotten or deleted.

When this happened today I was sad, then upset, then angry.  There is still a residual melancholy about it and what I’ve lost in terms of my inspirational directory.  True I can start creating a sequel, but it will be different since there is no way I can recall over five years of my scribbling.  But in the big scheme of things this isn’t as important as real life.  True the quotes can sum up a feeling or thought very succinctly, but they are mere words on a page and can’t be there to hug my friend who just got diagnosed with breast cancer or drink a toast with my friend who just got contracted to write for television.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A picture paints a thousand words…

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Ok, maybe not a thousand words are coming to mind, but this evocative image certainly brings up a good few!  I can relate to this illustration because my mind needs seduction before my body follows suit.

This is going to come across as big headed so I will preempt it by saying that within my self doubt I look in the mirror and don’t see anything worth writing home about.  In fact, I’ve always thought I’ve had boyish features.  However, I have found that I can clean up well in an emergency and that some men do find me attractive.  Some of these men give me compliments, and while I’m hugely flattered, I feel they can’t see beyond the makeup.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel we need to be physically attracted to those we hope to get close to, but as the George Bernard Shaw quote goes “Beauty is all very well at first sight; but who ever looks at it when it has been in the house three days?”.

For me physical attraction is like an appetiser.  It makes me giddy to know a chap finds me appealing.  But I don’t want to stay on the appetiser course, I want to have my mains so I can connect on an intellectual level.  That doesn’t mean I expect him or me to be the brain of Britain; I’m not looking for a fellow teammate for University Challenge.  But I want to know more about how he ticks and to find some common ground.  Do we have similar interests or sense of humour?  Do we share similar experiences of our younger years in where we lived or how we grew up?  Do we relate to each other’s fears or dreams?  Does he collect quotes, like bluebells, or sing in the car?

I also crave to spend time doing the everyday things to get to know him better.  Going for a walk, making a meal, playing a board game, or just sitting in a pub chatting are all captivating for me.

It’s all these cerebral bits that increase the desire within me.  When my mind is stimulated then I’m ready for the dessert course, hopefully a trolley laden with lots of sweet dishes!

An open Letter to the 498 MPs who voted for Article 50

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

The Great British Moronathon

Dear Morons,

So you’ve done it then. To show a small number of little-englander xenophobes that they should vote for you instead of UKIP, you’ve shot your own country and its population in the fucking face  (Note: they won’t vote for you anyway).  You’ve taken one look at the right wing press and a handful of crackpots threatening rioting in the streets, cacked your pants, and sold the people, your people, down the river.

Labour MPs (apart from the rather heroic 47 who put their conscience and country before their frankly nuts party), you’ve handed the most right-wing Conservative government ever a blank cheque to enact the most painful Brexit possible.  Of course, it won’t be you who suffer, but your constituents, so that’s okay, no? Is it perhaps that the bigger the shit-fest May makes of it, the more you think Labour can capitalise? Or is it because you…

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Bee in My Bonnet…

Speaking of bonnets, why do I care what clothes people are wearing?

It seems we are obsessed with what others wear, especially celebrities.

I just logged onto my email account, unfortunately one of those that have lots of advertisements of “news” stories I just don’t want to miss.

What’s the headline for today?  Animals close to extinction? Global warming on the rise? Many face food banks this Christmas?

No, apparently we all want to know which are the best dressed celebrities in 2016.  Phew, now I guess I’ll sleep sounder tonight!

Be A Human…

I feel sorry for men.

More to the point, I feel sorry for the men that feel they can’t express their true emotions.

Having spent my entire life as a woman, I can’t fully understand the pressure men are under to “be a man”.  It must be terrible to grow up being told to “man up” whenever emotions start to surface.

Why do we associate manliness with having a lack of emotion?

We are all human beings, and as such, have come complete with a vast array of emotions, so why not use them as and when they are needed.

A man that lacks emotion doesn’t appear any more manly to me.  However, in some sense he appears less human to me.

Emotions are a way of expressing how we feel, whether we are happy, sad, joyful, scared, content, surprised, angry, or wherever we happen to be in that moment.  How wonderful it is that we can communicate to ourselves and others how we are feeling at any given time.

There have been times in my life when I have suppressed certain emotions from certain people because of their reactions.  For example, if I’m feeling sad, there are some around me that want to move me on from my sadness so I’ll often hear “aw, don’t be sad” as if it’s a bad thing.  The only bad thing is not experiencing that emotion which means I’m not being true to myself.  What is so wrong with feeling sad?  If we never felt sad then we wouldn’t know how to recognise happiness when it came along.  And what if we were perpetually happy?  Isn’t that just as bad?  I don’t want to be a robot, I want to be a human.

Why do we see some emotions as good, i.e. happy, joy, surprise, but others as bad, i.e. anger, sadness, despair?  They are all good in equal measure.  Sure I’d worry about a friend that was feeling sad if that sadness was going on for many weeks or months.  But equally so I’d worry about someone that was happy all the time.  I’d be concerned that the happy they show the world is merely a face they put on in the morning to mask their true self, and that perhaps inside they were in utter sadness.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think it’s great to be happy.  But I also think it’s great to express all the other emotions that come up from time to time as a result of life’s challenges.

In recent years I’ve made my emotions my friends.  I feel what I need to feel and let it take over my being.  I find when I don’t fight back to suppress them, they last as long as they need to get me through whatever challenges I’m facing and I’m much calmer from the experience.

So let’s embrace the fact we have come with a complete set of emotions and we know how to use them and “be a human”!

Losing the Plot…

I have to laugh….otherwise I might cry!

I felt inspired today so thought I’d sit down and write a post.  As usual my mind was working faster than my fingers could type, and I’m a pretty accomplished typist having learned on an old carriage return typewriter.  Ah, the days of speed typing contests in typing class!

Anyway, it was all going well until about three quarters of the way through the post then my mind went blank.  I completely lost the plot of what I was trying to convey in my post.  So there it sits in my drafts until I find the plot again!

The Last Text…

Well I finally did it, I deleted the last text I had on my mobile phone that was sent from my ex-husband.  He sent it in July 2006 and it simply read “I am…..and will always be, in love with you xxx”.  Less than a year later he asked for a divorce and moved out the following day.

Why did I keep the text for so long?  I sometimes would ask myself this very question.  I’m not sure why I couldn’t bear to delete it for so many years, after all, hanging onto the past can sometimes keep us from moving into the future.  Perhaps it carried some sentimental value for me.  Perhaps I just wasn’t ready to admit always was over.

Once upon a time I was one of those romantic types that sought out cards that proclaimed an always love but I’ve since learned that nothing is for always.  The best I can do is love for the moment and enjoy every wonderful experience of being in a relationship until always is over.

It took me a long time to come to terms with this breakup.  The few first years I was in shock trying to get my head around the idea that always could end.  Then came the divorce which was another emotionally charged time for me.  I cried when I had to give my solicitor my marriage certificate.  My ex-husband seemed unmoved by it all, appearing somewhat impatient for always to be over.

But still I couldn’t delete that text.  Something in me couldn’t accept the end of always.

The years have passed and I’ve done a lot of healing.  I now realise I never would have grown if I had stayed in that relationship.  I have become (and am still becoming) a much better version of myself.

A few months ago I learned he remarried.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I don’t know why it was so upsetting because I know I am a better person without him.  But I guess it was one last sad good-bye and a confirmation that always was now well and truly over.

A Brief Intermission…

Ok, I know it’s been a bit more than brief.  It’s been six months since I last put fingers to keyboard.  It was not my intention to leave it so long before continuing with my blog, but real life got in the way.  Or to be a bit more precise, exhaustion got in the way.

I’ve just gotten home from running errands today and while I’d love to sit and write awhile, I don’t feel inspired.  If one could do a MRI of my brain right now they would see the hamster filing her nails and the wheel behind her sitting idle.

I hope to resume normal service as soon as possible…..but in the meantime I’m off to get a cup of tea in the hopes it will inspire some creativity.  Though at the very least I hope it warms me up!