Tag Archives: challenges

You Never Know

You don’t, ever.

Things and people you thought of as “forever” can disappear in the blink of an eye, often leaving a wake of hurt and devastation, whilst some quiet, unassuming folk can offer a strong, tender pair of arms to help and shelter you just when you need it most.

The older I get the more I seem to hear myself say, “But I don’t understand,” feeling both foolish and childish simultaneously.

Life is just too short, too precious, to spread so much hurt and annoyance.

I don’t understand.

So what do you do? What can I do?

I carry on. I hurt, feel sad, can’t be assed to do stuff, but I keep carrying on. The alternative is grim.

I start, very slowly, with something or someone in my life who warms my heart, and remember why it is good to be alive, even in the crappy times.

I Hate Grapes.

After months of putting-off, and one re-booking, I was really looking forward to my appointment with the kinesiologist (Alex) that came so highly recommended. As usual, I was going to be far too early so I stopped at a local convenience store to buy a magazine.

I didn’t have a fixed idea about what this lady was going to be able to do for me, except that I wanted to try something new, something that may help unlock certain problem areas in my life and allow me to move forward.

Well, move I did, but not forward.

I finished paying for my thick, glossy copy of Vogue and headed out of the shop…..and then it got me!  As I lay on the floor, reeling from both shock and pain, with kind people gathering round, offering many helping hands, a man stood up with something in his hand.

“There you are love. You slipped on this,” as he proffered the remains of a grape.

I hate grapes. I always have. Good for your health? I don’t bloody think so.

With voices asking for the manager to call an ambulance, I sat there wondering at the irony of it all. Here I am, attempting to shed feelings of angst, stress, fear and anger, to allow my life to progress in a positive direction and I wind up sprawled on a floor, my knee and hip throbbing, hoping I can manage to drive my car home. If there was a meter capable of measuring my stress level at that moment I think it would have exploded.

Could I possibly have sub-consciously tried to prevent myself getting to the appointment? Self-sabotage? Me?

I couldn’t accept that so, with the help of two very kind men, I hobbled out to my car and drove to see Alex.

It was everything I had hoped for. She was wonderful; kind and caring and I happily arranged for my next appointment.

But the thing is, I want this change, more than anything and not even a grape is going to stand in my way.

Faking It

Have you ever sat in a room where there is lots of laughter and hilarity and people are obviously having a great time, and yet, even though you are smiling and chatting, you wish with all your heart you were anywhere but there? It’s like the room is closing in around you and all you can hear is joined up noise; no individual words, just one ear-splitting clamour.

You want to gather yourself up and make for the exit, find your car and get home as fast as you can. But you can’t. This is a big night out, so you might have a drink and so you didn’t bring your car. You can call a taxi, but it’s Friday night and you will have to wait for ages. So you sit it out and wait for your lift, which is now an hour away. And you fake it. And for all you know, the person sitting next to you could be faking it too.

That’s a big dose of faking, but we do huge amounts of it on a small-scale every day. If any of you are “Charlie Brown” fans you will remember the noise his teacher made and this keeps popping into my head at various times. Times where you could replace the words being spoken in a conversation with “Blah, blah, blah” and neither party would either notice or care. We just seem to disconnect, leave the room mentally if not physically, wanting to be somewhere else.

Okay, so everything doesn’t have to be deep and meaningful. You don’t have to gaze into the eyes of the shop assistant as you pay for your groceries, paying dutiful attention to every word spoken. But at a time where we are being bombarded with instructions on how to be “mindful” in our everyday lives, are we so busy listening to our own self-talk that we can’t really be assed listening to others?

Cold Comfort

As I approach the counter a mixture of dread and excitement are doing battle within me. The old favourites, chocolate covered and sugar-coated, are there. I place my coffee order and hear a voice saying, “No thank you.”

It takes a second for me to realise the voice was my own. Brilliant, another small victory. Like anyone trying to break damaging habits I am learning to take it a day, and as with now, a confrontation, at a time. As I am confronted with my old problem areas I prepare for those old feelings with my newer and stronger desire to improve on where I am now.

Not exactly mantras, just healthier mental processes, run through my mind, coupled with a realisation that these calorie-laden, body and soul damaging confections are not a “warm pair of arms to comfort me”, as I have often quoted as explanation in the past. They are cold comfort, temporary solace and a ball and chain around my ankle, never letting me fly, to become all I want to be.

I am not trying to say that losing weight is going to cure all ills in my life, but just dealing with an old issue such as this has already given me courage, and repaired my somewhat shaky confidence enough, to enable me to look at other things that need work.

Stuff, whatever your stuff is, is never an answer, but it is usually easy; at least easier than dealing with all that ails us, until it becomes the most pressing issue of all.

The inanimate lump of sugar, fat and flour lies on the shelf and, for this trip at least, I win.

Proudman Vs Carter-Silk

Why does all of this, including Charlotte Proudman’s response, leave me so uneasy?

In case you haven’t read about it, Charlotte Proudman published a “LinkedIn” e-mail message from Alexander Carter-Silk, a very prominent solicitor,  branded him sexist and misogynistic and is calling for a public apology.

I have read and watched a lot of the reporting of this issue and I notice that just the first part of the message is being shown in most of the reports.

“Charlotte, delighted to connect, I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture!!!” 

Now, in the ordinary run of things this isn’t a lot to worry about, but he then continues with,

“You definitely win the prize for the best LinkedIn picture I have ever seen. Always interest [sic] to understant [sic] people’s skills and how we might work together.”  

Yeah, right. “The Prize”?? WTF. Does this man have NO sense whatsoever? I question his ability to cross the road unaided.

Then we have Matthew Scott, a solicitor and blogger, wade in with the following comments,

“I think we have to look how this developed… Charlotte sent him a message, asking him to connect so the initial contact was made by Charlotte. He later complimented her stunning picture, so I do think his crime is provoked from Charlotte.”

I wonder what this man’s attitude to rape is?  Might he think women provoke men into this crime too? And then to top it all he says,

“If a man wanted to approach a woman because he thinks her attractive… it doesn’t make him sexist. It is just perfectly natural behaviour”
Matthew Scott

Really Matthew, even if this man is married and this man’s position makes it, at the very least, “awkward” to refuse or rebuff?  What utter crap!

Charlotte’s asking to “connect” on LinkedIn was a “provocation” according to Matthew, but Mr Carter-Silk’s response was “perfectly natural”.

Dear God almighty! And these are the assholes we turn to for help on matters of right and wrong.

But I cannot say I am easy with Ms Proudman’s behaviour either. I understand she is 27 years old, but in her chosen profession I would have expected her to be a bit more savvy about not only what the reaction to this would be ( and I deeply suspect she was very aware) but that lamenting about sexism in the legal profession is an incredibly narrow view of a very serious issue affecting all of society. Just ask some of the girls suffering FGM, or the ones who can’t choose who, never mind if, they want to marry, about sexual inequality and misogynistic attitudes.

I have had my (un)fair share of sexist shit throughout my life, like every other woman I know, and I would love that my daughters did not have to endure the same, but, too late. I know they have and will continue to do so for a long time.

There is a lot of really great work going on to promote sexual equality, but this public and political grandstanding does none of us any favours.

I have answered my own question. These people represent our legal profession. Lady Justice may not wear a blindfold in her post atop the Old Bailey, but some of those inside certainly seem to.

When Will I Grow Up?

Well, permanently I mean. There are times I feel it, feel like I have some of the answers, but usually when I am talking to someone half my age, or find myself part of the older generation at a funeral and thinking, “Uh oh.”  And is that not just feeling old?

Is this an actual stage or phase anyway? Or do we just learn to suppress our childish impulses from public view?

When I was a teenager( yes a million years ago now) I thought that being 30 meant I was grown up. It was as though when you got to this age you were taken to a room and shown the secrets of life, given all the answers to all the questions and delivered of sense and sensibility ( no, not the book). Then I got to 30, looked around me, examined my life and thought, “Oh shit, I think I know less now than when I was 18 and I understand absolutely nothing.”

I am 52 now and guess what, I still don’t know anything, but with one difference, I don’t care!  I think, feel, love, worry, hope, cry and laugh lots……..but I know nothing.

Does this make me a grown up?

It’s Been A Funny Old Year…….So Far

I was lying in bed, thinking back over the first eight months of this year……and wow, how things have changed. The problems I had this time last year are as nothing now beside the events that came after; the dark and dismal summer seeming like a reflection of things going on around me.

It has been life-changing, but, as with most “big things”, good can come out of the ashes. CAN.

Because, as with most things, it’s about choice isn’t it?

I was talking to one of my wonderful friends last night and she told me about a “mantra” she has started using that has helped her enormously, in fact “freeing” her to enjoy where she is here and now.

” I am here, NOT because I need to be, but because I want to be.”

I watched her face as she told me about it and she is right. She looks happier, more empowered and certainly more in charge of her own destiny than I have seen her, possibly ever.

Life does change and some of those changes stink.

So what do you do?  You choose.

Make sure it’s what you want.

Seeing Is Believing….

And enjoying, and laughing and crying and hugging and touching.

A friend has just posted a video on Facebook highlighting something I have discussed before, but feel it needs saying again and again.

100’s+ “friends” on Facebook does not an embrace or belly-laugh or memory bank deposit make!

It should be a supplement to our friendships, not the soul source or mainstay of them.

I had a brilliant non-shopping, shopping day( yes that was deliberate) with a friend of mine yesterday and we laughed again at the days out we have had in the past with her sister; experiences I will recall with warmth and pleasure to the day I die. I want many, many more days like this; many more good memories to fall back on when things get tough.

Okay, we all have busy lives, but busy doing what?

Get your priorities right!

Get off your ass and get out to SEE your friends, your family, feel the air around you and pause long enough to let it sink in, re-charging your spirit with the joy it can be to be alive.

Teeny Weeny Talk

I was just reading an article on small talk and the article’s author “David Roberts. vox.com” describes how he really hates it. Perhaps it’s a male/female thing, but I can usually manage the hairdresser/nail technician/beauty parlour stuff; “Any holidays planned?” “Going out anywhere at the weekend?” kind of thing. I feel quite sorry for them having to listen to some of the crap to be honest.

What I don’t get, and completely boils my brain, is the minutiae, that stuff that is so small and insignificant most folk don’t even notice they do it, the teeny, tiny stuff, being broadcast to the world at such a relentless pace and seemingly without end!!

And before you go there , don’t blame it all on the kids of to-day. I have seen men and women, young, middle-aged and old enough to know better, battering away on their keyboards, telling the world and it’s mother how they have just cleaned their teeth, brushed their hair, emptied the bin, put the dinner on……blah, blah, blah.

Okay, okay, I’m a bitch!! What harm are they doing? Leave the poor souls alone, I hear you say.

Well, you see, my point is this; if they put the keyboard down and looked outside of themselves and their immediate vicinity for just a moment or three, they may well find something of genuine interest to them, something rewarding, something that may help fill that void in their lives that drives them to record the dross and miss out the big stuff, their lives, passing them by.

Remember that well-known saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”?

Well, don’t record it either!

And Finally…….

Just reading an article that explains how the rising temperatures in Australia are causing genetically male bearded dragon lizards to be born female.

Oooh, poor things and yes, I do understand this has serious implications, although the article goes on to say that these sex-reversed lizards can go on to reproduce, and even have more offspring than their genetically female counterparts.

Thing is, the previous news report tells us how Scotland could be in for a ground frost tomorrow morning and even some wet snow or sleet in some areas.

So get the thermals out again guys or the bearded dragons might not be the only species changing from male to female.

Aaah, the great British summer.