Do you remember that phrase from that really annoying TV quiz? Well I do, but I want to talk about it with a slightly different twist.You know, you’re upset about something or someone and you think to yourself, “If I go quiet then they will notice and realise I am unhappy and ask me why and tease it out of me and then comfort me and make me feel better.” In your dreams, and just for the record, somebody else’ nightmare! Life is not the movies! You don’t stand, enigmatically, looking out of the window, whilst clutching at the silk drapes, a lace hanky dabbing at your nose and then have the hero somehow read your mind, come over to you, putting a strong arm around you and tell you everything will be all right. REAL LIFE = You standing looking out of the window while the “hero” shouts, “Where are my underpants?” His version of reading your mind? ” She’s being a moody bitch again.” Sorry men; cheap shot; true, but cheap! Anyway, this isn’t really about male vs female. It’s about us all. None of us have the time or energy to figure out what’s going on in the mind of those around us. If you’re anything like me, I can’t even figure out my own mind. So, when we are faced with someone being quiet, withdrawn, not speaking to us, we don’t immediately think, ” Oh, maybe X has happened and she/he needs me to do Y.” Do we bollocks! No! We think, ” There they go, being a moody cow/git again.” We Say What We See. So ask; ask for help or understanding, whatever it is you need. When people find out your “mood” is not their fault they are usually very relieved and happy to console or listen; but ask. Give others their comfort zones and you may be amazed with what you get in return.
Here I am, back again and very glad to be so.
We all see the good and bad in people in our everyday lives, but usually to a more mundane extent than I have witnessed this last few weeks. I have already written about finding who your true friends really are, when it really counts and your back is against the wall.
Well, very sadly, a remarkably good, kind and much-loved person died last week and I attended their very moving funeral, a service full of love and support for the surviving family and friends. What was mentioned time and again was this persons love for life, right up to the end, their lack of bitterness at the cancer that was taking their life, way too early, and their loving thoughts for those they were leaving behind. What this individual and their wonderful family faced was awful, not deliberate or in any way avoidable, but completely life-changing for all concerned. Yet, despite the palpable sadness of loss, the overwhelming feeling in the chapel was of love for a life well-lived.
Now, I have always had an issue with that certain meanness of spirit I have found in some people throughout my life, the kind of people who take joy in the misery or misfortune of others, seemingly begrudging folk the air they breathe, but, standing in that chapel all I could think was of the total futility and waste of time it is to spend even one precious second of my life carrying anger or hurt in my heart at the actions of others. It changes nothing and that burden weighs heavy, leaving no room there for love and affecting my ability to take joy in the rest of my life.
So I will take some of that positive energy from the way this good person both led his life and faced his death and use it to drive the fear and negativity from my mind and from my soul.
Thankfully, kind, loving and warm people still vastly out-number the shitty ones.
I keep checking the mirror to see if I still LOOK like me, because I sure as shootin’ don’t feel like me! I should be running around , crying, ranting, chewing my fingers to the bone, but I’m not. I feel strangely calm with just flutters every now and then of mild panic, quickly subsumed by this… “peace.”
I highlight this because it is common to a few situations close loved-ones have found themselves in lately as well. They have gone through horrendously stressful times, struggling with a life-changing decision, only to find that having taken the leap this same strange peace or calm descends. Other strong forces (sadness, grief, regret) can still take their toll, but, for me, the knowledge that matters have come to the only conclusion they could and should have, make the rest of it bearable.
But I am very, very fortunate. This could all sound incredibly trite to others without the level of support and kindness I am blessed with. I may yet be typing another entry in this blog with one hand, while tearing lumps of my hair out by the roots, cursing myself for putting my own happiness before my duty as a wife, daughter and mother. But what use am I to anyone without my soul and what example would that set to my adult children. “Yes kids, live your lives but don’t believe that you deserve happiness, or peace, or self-esteem, or joy, or hope.” No, I don’t think so.
I remember when my children were born saying the “only” thing I wished for them was that they be happy, truly happy. Some friends of mine hoped their children would be doctors or dancers or successful….you get the picture. At this stage of my life I look back and think my wish may just have been the most ambitious.
I’m talking about the 1989 movie of course and I forget, every now and again, just how much of an impression it left on me all those years ago. I have a habit of repeating the famous “Build it and he will come” line when faced with a challenge that requires a leap of faith, becoming a mantra for me.
I have just watched it again and it never fails to leave me with tears streaming down my face, but much more importantly, it leaves me with a great sense of peace and a renewed desire to chase my own dreams, to believe that, with enough self-belief, anything is possible; even finding peace with the loss of those you love most.
This movie should be required viewing for anyone living too much in the harshness of reality, having banished their childhood dreams to the long and distant past and closed off their heart to hope.
And, on a more earthly note, a very sweet looking Kevin Costner, the dazzling eyes of Ray Liotta and the honey-rich tones of James Earl Jones do no harm either!
Sunday is the start of a new week. We miss that a bit nowadays with shops open as it seems like just another day. But it’s not; it’s a chance to let go of last weeks frustrations and start a new one with a new and different outlook.
Someone very close to me has just broken up with her boyfriend and he is moving out to-day. It had been bad for a long time but that doesn’t take all the pain out of the finality of this move. But I asked her to think of it as a new and fresh start to not only her week, but her life. All credit to her, she has tried hard and is happy to say she has some hope and a little excitement about the opportunities now open to her.
I have neglected my health and well-being for a long time now and looks like that neglect has lead to an ulcer, causing a lot of pain, nausea and fatigue. I had been feeling really low about it all. But I’m looking out the window now at a crisp and bright Sunday morning and this is a fresh start for me too. It’s time to practice what I preach and value my health and body more than I have to date.
It’s all about perspective, about what you can do, not what you can’t have.
I say reluctant because I am sick to death of all the nonesense around the books and the bloody film, but I have just read something that made me actually cry laughing. Wait for it…
Madonna, no less, has no intention of watching the movie as she thought the book,
“so unrealistic” and “not very sexy”. Pllllleeaaassssse..
You have got to know why she thinks its unrealistic too!
It’s not the fact that this guy is a billionaire and gorgeous and hurts the heroine just enough to turn her on( and not enough to injure her) and that really, he is in love with her and it all ends happily ever after. Not at all…. excuse me but I’m laughing again.. ahem, gather yourself girl.
No, it’s because she reckons, “This is so unrealistic because no guy goes down on a girl that much.”
Yeah Madonna, THAT’S the unrealsitic bit!
Dear God, who is this bloody woman.
I was listening to the radio and, just in case some of you have been on the moon for the last week or so, guess what; they were talking about love letters, Valentine’s Day etc blah, blah.
The guy then started discussing how Johnny Cash’s love letter to his wife has just been voted the most romantic love letter of all time. Now I dislike these kind of “Top 10” things a lot. It is all so subjective and with this topic, even more so. Having read the letter I think it certainly is beautiful, but also very easy for a lot of people to relate to. However I would question it coming out above Keats for example; but that’s just my opinion.
What DID make me laugh and stare at the radio however was the DJ’s next line. Here goes, almost verbatim,
“Well his( Johnny Cash) letter obviously came from the heart, but if we are sending a person a love letter should we write what is in our hearts?”
I stared for a moment, then thought “Que?”
Was he trying to provoke? Was this more profound than my poor brain cells could cope with?
I listened on. No. He was actually just blowing it out his ass!
Most of us can barely manage a text nowadays. We send e-cards rather than write and post the old card varieties. So, if you sit down with pen and paper to commit your feelings for someone you love to “hard copy”, are you going to expend that energy on some half-hearted, meaningless and trite collection of words? I doubt it.
The words should be a personal reflection of what that someone special means to you and there is only one place that stuff comes from, the heart.
I have written many times about my wonderful friends, or my extended family as I consider them. So, it is with a very heavy heart that I now write about a friendship that has waned after many years and many hurdles to overcome.
Funny, but the times of hurdles and shared stressors were a breeze compared with, what should be, a more peaceful time; a time to share a few of the things we had hoped for through all the years. But, maybe that’s the point; perhaps that was all we ever had in common.
There has been no falling out, no arguments; just a distance and a sense of being in the company of a stranger. I embrace that our personalities keep on changing, evolving and, perhaps, by the time we kick the bucket we have become more of the person we hoped to be, but, inevitably I suppose, some of our friendships will not last the course. There is no right or wrong, just different.
But it is sad, and I miss my old friend, terribly.
However, this is where loving someone comes in. Whether or not we see much of each other, or agree with each other, or share the same problems any more; if she needed me, any time, any place, I would be there.
True friends may move in and out of your life, but they will stay in your heart forever.
It’s love of course! Perhaps it should carry a health warning.
In my youth I had no selection process at all, I just loved without question and suffered the consequences, the hurt, when it came along. As I get older I have become aware of keeping the “essence” of me, my soul, safe in my relationships with others. But how can I love with the “safety” on?
Am I now going through life carrying out risk assessments before I decide to invest in loving someone or not? And for those I already love, am I taking a part of me back; holding it in safe-keeping?
Well, I still do love, very much, but with different levels of expectation. I love now in a simultaneously selfish and selfless way; selfish in that I give what I can of me, and selfless in that I give it without demand for anything in return.
The all or nothing approach to love is too exhausting and yet too limiting to be sustainable, and laden with disappointment.
I am thankfully long past the naive love of my teenage years, where I imagined all kinds of perfection in those I handed my heart to, and thank God. What a recipe for disaster. Now, I take people for what they( we) are, flawed human beings; and if those flaws are ones I can cope with, and the positive in them offsets any negative aspects, then great.
I haven’t dropped my standards. I just love those I do in a “perfectly” accepting and embracing way.
Do you ever feel like throwing a wobbly; you know, the spoilt brat kind of leg-kicking, fist-banging, need-a-kick-in-the-ass kind of wobbly??
God, I don’t think I even have the energy for that right now, but inside I feel it. Inside I feel so frustrated with life, with everything. And funnily enough, when you feel like that nothing comes out right. That frustration comes through your words, your body language and the rest!
I feel so tired. I’m tired of not being able to fix the terrible things that are happening to too many of my family and friends. Grief and sadness and worry are flowing down over those I love and cherish. All I have been able to do is listen.
So I go back to the beginning.
I do my very best impression of Pollyanna and remember ALL of the many people and things I have to be “Glad” for, and I feel my world righting itself once more.
With the best will in the world no-one can “fix” anyone else, and so many times in my life I would have given anything for someone to listen to me, without judgement or scorn.
So, onwards and upwards. Carry on MacDuff!