Misplaced emotions …

3d Man And Question Mark by Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have spent the last hour looking for my poetry book … my little book in which I scribe all my thoughts, my poems, my most private wonders.  It was placed next to me last night while I typed ‘A  New Star Is Born’ … after that, I have no idea.  I can’t remember.  Logic says, of course, that it’s here somewhere!  I know I didn’t take it out, so it’s got to be around … it will turn up tomorrow surely.

Except that tomorrow isn’t good enough.  Like Verruca Salt (surely the most brilliantly named fictitious character of all time), I want it NOW!!  I even had a little cry … a release of desperation since I’ve looked everywhere it could be to no avail.  How amazing really that such an innocent-looking, inanimate object can evoke such emotion at the fact that it’s missing.

So tonight, no poem … I mean, yes, obviously I could scribble something out on a loose piece of paper, but it wouldn’t be the same, and anyway my mind is now solely consumed by the knowledge that I am lacking the knowledge of knowing where my book is!!!  *sigh*  Hopefully tomorrow I will write something about the gratitude of finding something so precious …

Have a lovely evening 🙂  Wish me luck with my search!

From calamity to sanity …

Help Key On Keyboard by digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hello world!

Sorry I’ve not been around for a while … I had a break from everything, including my computer screen.  I don’t know … don’t you just wish you could cocoon yourself away from technology now and then?  It’s like the very thing that at times makes me the most happy (emailing, Facebooking) can at other times be the very thing that catapults me into loneliness, to a negative state

 

 (no emails except junk, no contact from friends on FB, not even a ‘like’).  I don’t like that.  I don’t like being in that place and feeling like that … so that’s when the best thing I can do for myself – the best tonic for my self esteem if nothing else – is to ditch the whole lot and get out into the real world.  Log out.  Switch off.  Unplug.

So now I come back to my dashboard and it all feels good, like coming home … with a refreshed mind and with a yearning to talk.  It’s nice.   🙂

I’d been pondering getting myself back on here all week, then things snowballed and the feeling today became more of a subconscious insistence: I just HAVE to download my Service Pack 2 because I NEED to speak, I need to blog!!  Funny.  Even if no-one reads my posts, I am left with the feeling that my voice is loud.

So the point of this post (as I do try to have a point if it’s not a poem or random thought) is to marvel at how easy it is to fall back into old habits – stress, worry, anxiety, drama – when the scales tip away from Balance & Harmony towards Life Screwing Up.

The first thing that went wrong was the washing machine pipe, me thankfully hearing a splash because there sure as

 

heck was no leak to give me warning, so I lugged the appliance out and watched what was happening while the washer did its thing.  Drainpipe not clearing; fairly minor, I can deal with that!  Take the pipe apart!  Didn’t solve it … in fact, after putting the pipe back together I think I’ve made it worse.  But still … only a minor blip in the matrix.  Then the next thing to crop up was some best friends’ comments about the instability of my bedroom floor (it’s a very old house).  I was in conflict when they instructed me to GET THAT CARPET UP AND LOOK UNDER THERE THE MINUTE WE’VE GONE! because on the bright side it meant someone was finally validating my worries that the floor is unsafe (so many times I’ve been reassured by people to live with it, it’s an old house), but on the downside it began to dawn on me that the floor has been the same for the past year … and at this point it’s clear that I was right to remove all heavy furniture from the room and only go in there when absolutely necessary!  The ‘what if’ scenarios don’t bear thinking about … 

There have also been some other problems (this all in the past week, and a few this morning just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse), but I won’t bore you with those … suffice to say that when everything appeared to become a torrential downpour of calamities all the work I have done on myself in recent months seemed ineffectual, and I very quickly became that old person again … my former self, the one who gets in a tizz, weeps with worry about what’s going to happen while simultaneously considering 5 different outcomes – ugh, even typing it makes my head spin – generally someone whom I don’t want to be.

But an amazing, permanent change to my outlook was the constant questioning: what am I supposed to learn from this?  Why is this all happening together, to teach me what?  And when I faced things and began to get them sorted the sun started shining again, only a sunbeam at first, but the rays are brightening.

What was this new lesson?  Shed the old skin.  Don’t waste energy worrying when I haven’t even stepped up to the plate to

Smiley by FreeDigitalPhotos.net

start resolving the problems … just face things, deal with them, and then deal with the fall-out (if there is any).  One of the most alarming problems which arose this morning thankfully turned out to be a mistake, but I have put off seeing a professional to guard me against such a situation for ages.  I didn’t want to spare the time, had other things to do.  That scare this morning was a wake-up call.  An appointment is now in place to deal with things and my eagnerness to be prepared is renewed.  My backside has been firmly kicked.  As for the main problem – the unsafe floor – my fears of going into conflict with my Landlord were unfounded and, quite frankly, a stupid waste of emotion and energy … the issues are going to be swiftly dealt with.  This was a reminder to always see the good in people (a virtue somewhat quashed over time), to have faith, and to not presume a negative outcome.

So the work on myself will now continue with renewed vigour because I lapsed far too easily … I let my old self take over.

Yet the real lesson in all of this is registering that these are all just trivial, material problems.  The victory is always in realising that we are healthy and well.  That we are here.  That life is good.

© www.mypastmademe.com 2011

The Challenge!!

Apologies to anyone who has been waiting for the end of my short story … I will endeavour to get that on here in the next few weeks (latest).  Very shoddy of me, just a matter of typing it; it was written a while ago.

I’ve been experiencing somewhat of a block on both my novel (now well overdue – personal deadline only though, more’s the pity!) and poetry, so I have set myself a challenge for this week: to write another short story.  I’ve only ever written two!  Correction: I’ve only ever completed two and that was ages ago.  So …  time to write a new one.  It will be easy to start; the challenge will be finishing it … and making it any good!  I struggle with short stories  😦

Watch this space!  Oh, and if I fail I will slap myself upside the head with a wet fish  😉

Au revoir

 

Oh, to be as committed as little old stripy!

I have become increasingly frustrated with my dreadful habit of being brilliantly enthusiastic about something and then suddenly being overwhelmed by the need to move on to something else, despite my yearning to finish the project at hand and the inevitable disappointment I always feel in myself for abandoning it.  A bumble bee comes to mind, droning from flower to flower, taking what it can … except little old stripy has one up on me since he will faithfully take all the pollen he can get before moving on to the next fragrant target.

After being told once that never completing something is a sign of anxiety, I was heartened to the point where I avidly dissected and analysed various aspects of my life, as though being told such a thing had given me permission to be so fickle.  For a time afterwards, I made a real effort to stick to things – be it writing a story, a bit of sewing – until I’d finished what I was working on, reached the target, passed the finish line … but it took such effort!  It didn’t take long for me to be back to doing the same thing that I’ve done for the past 20 years (and I’ve just worked out in my head that there is evidence to suggest I have indeed done this for a good 20 years: start something with gusto, only to be distracted by something else which seems more important, more attractive, more fulfilling to do).  It is soul destroying in a way, denying myself the feeling of achievement that only comes with having completed something, be it a piece of sewing to hang on a wall or present as a gift, or digging the garden or doing a bit of DIY.

The past few days I have felt really low – seemingly I am trapped in a cycle where I am on top of the world for 2 weeks, then fall down, pick myself up again, climb to the top of the world, then fall down again – and yesterday I started questioning whether I ought to see a doctor.  Why?  Well I’ve not been facing my responsibilities the way I should, criticising myself to the point where I have no energy, and my ball of anxieties is definitely rolling down a hill at full throttle and gathering every worry-coated blade of grass it can on the way down.  Maybe I need counselling.  Maybe I need anti-depressants.  Maybe I just need a good kick up the arse!!

But then last night, for the first time, I finally did what a few friends (at different times) have said might be worth doing which is to sit down and write about my life.  I have always thought there was no point to it!  I am not a diary-writing type person.  When I write something I think of the reader, or write in the hope that there will at least be a reader!  But who will want to read about my life?, I thought.  What is the point in writing about what I’ve gone through if it’s never going to be read, if I’m not going to attempt to have it published?  My incomplete novels and collection of plotlines are all sat waiting to be finished!  I said I would submit three chapters by June and I haven’t done it, so why waste time writing about my life when there is so much to do?

But last night was different.  Last night I needed to talk.  It was too late at night to pick up the phone to a friend – and I’m not really the sort of person to do that anyway (besides, who would want to be greeted with hi, I thought I’d ring and tell you about my life because I need to!), not to mention the fact that I am trying to be more positive and aware of others after it becoming quite obvious to me that I’ve turned into one of those downer people types … you know, the ones who never really have anything happy to say, always going on about this having gone wrong, or how they have still got this to do, moan moan moan.  It was too late to bother my mother, and besides I’ve put on her that much lately that she’s tired; what right would I have to disturb her just so I could selfishly talk about things in a misguided effort to make myself feel better?  It would most likely only make her feel stressed and miserable in the process, and isn’t an option since there are things I have never told anyone before.  What I needed was indefinable anyway.

Today, however, I think I know what that indefinable something I have been needing lately is, and it is so simple that I’m slightly embarrassed about the amount of thought it took to come to such an obvious conclusion:  I just want someone to listen.  I want someone to hear.  If I’m brutally honest, I just want a bit of sympathy and to be told that I’m doing okay, that everything will be alright.  Because I don’t seem to have it in me to convince myself of that.  And, I suppose, now that I don’t have a partner to listen to my ramblings it makes the need to be heard all the more crucial.

So before I knew it, I realised that a monologue had started in my head … my own voice telling someone about my life, about me, about … well … things!  So I turned the laptop on and started typing.  An hour and a half later I stopped, telling myself I must because I needed to sleep.  Don’t think about who will read it.  Don’t feel bad for writing this instead of your novel.  Don’t think!  Just do what feels right, right now!  So that’s what I’ve done.  I’ve started yet another project, left a trail of incompletion behind me yet again while I embark upon something new … except this time my new project is blissfully easy; no thinking needed, no notes, no checking on plotlines to be sure that I haven’t made any glaring errors in characteristics or what a person looks like, no checking a pattern to see if I’ve sewn the wrong colour or put a stitch in the wrong place … the writing just flows.  Because it’s me.  And the computer screen faithfully listens, absorbing all the words I pour into it without judgement or comment.  It feels … pretty damn good actually!

So today’s revelation is this.  What if my habit of flitting from project to project is simply what I do?  What if I have been constantly chastising myself about being non-committal, never seeing anything through when in actual fact that is just a dimension of me which developed over the years, for whatever reason?  Maybe it’s how I work, focusing for so long on something and then needing a break from it so that I can go back to it?

But the biggest thing I am thinking is this: for all the obstacles I seem to be putting in the way of finishing my novel (which I know subconsciously has a lot to do with the fear of finding out whether I am good enough to fulfill my dreams of being an author), what if the very thing I have put off for so long – writing about myself – is the very thing that I need to do the most in order to expunge my deepest feelings, record my thoughts, my memories, my life in order to get some sort of closure?  What if the biggest story I will ever write is actually my own story?  Maybe before I can complete my novels – fictitious beings and events essentially borne from my own life experiences and personality – before I can write about anyone or anything else, I need to write about me?  So that’s what I’ll do.

Will I see this new project through?  I’ll try.  Will anyone read it?  Here’s hoping.  Will it help me?  I’m damn sure of it!  🙂

© www.mypastmademe.com 2011

 

One person, two journeys …

Serenity by dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I thought I had come so far and learned so much … but I have begun to realise that I actually know hardly anything and still have such a long way to go.

There is the journey of life – with its ups and downs, daily pitfalls, and hopefully joyous moments in abundance – and there is another journey taking place within me: one of understanding and acceptance, the path to finding peace and serenity, forgiving myself and being more forgiving and encouraging of others.  There is much work to do.  I need to find the right key for each door, and in the meantime rid myself of this anger and transform it into love.  There is no place in my life for anger any more … no rhyme or reason, and no excuse.

I was not born with anger and I don’t want it to live within me any more.

© www.mypastmademe.com 2011

Isn’t it funny …?

Isn’t it funny the way we (maybe just women?) sometimes divulge the dramas of our lives to total strangers simply because of the uniform a person is wearing or because of the vulnerability of the situation we are in?  Like a hospital …

Something upset me yesterday and I only confided in close family members and a best friend … no way will I be slipping up and saying anything to anyone who might fancy getting on the gossip treadmill, I can’t be bothered with all that … yet, I sat there this morning in a sterile hospital room – the florid curtains holding my attention only for how desperately they were trying to make the room feel homely – spilling my guts to a lady whom I’ve only met twice including today!  No names, no situation details … just the bare bones of what happened … yet it provided a feeling of cathartis in a way none of the other conversations I’d had on the matter had been able to.

And as I type this now I think to myself that, really, the reactions and opinions of such people, these strangers, seem to matter to me more in a way.  It’s not just that you add their response to the wash cycle of thoughts whirling round your head about whatever drama you’re caught up in/having to deal with, and it’s not that I value their opinion more than those closest to me, it’s just that they seem to hold more weight because often their opinion is painfully honest.  They owe you nothing – other than being professional and polite within the realms of the job they’re doing – they don’t really know you, and because of this they are not emotionally tied to you in any way, so agreeing with you just to please you or not hurt your feelings doesn’t factor into their response.  They can tell you the truth.  If they’ve been able to afford you the time, like this lady did today, they can do more for you in one conversation than a multitude of conversations with loved ones can.  Strange, but it’s the truth.

Truth.  Such a small word, but with such huge meaning.

© www.mypastmademe.com 2011

Can we talk?

I don’t know about you, but I’m a person who likes to talk, if only sometimes to eliminate those uncomfortable silences experienced from time to time.  In the Doctor’s waiting room (any medical/optical waiting rooms for that matter) … in a pub, sat alone while you’re friend is at the bar … walking past an elderly lady in the street who you just know wants to talk to you because you can see it in her eyes.

I didn’t used to talk so freely … I was too scared to.  My heart would pound and my skin would prickle at the very thought of opening my mouth to engage with a stranger.  Instead, I would sit there and squirm, throwing them a strained smile now and then as if to apologise … hey, sorry we’re both here … sorry it’s so quiet and we’re both uncomfortable, but I don’t have the courage to draw attention to myself by being friendly … sorry I don’t have time to share a few words with you and make your day a little brighter before you go home to an empty, lonely house.

But the older I’ve become, the more easily I let the conversation flow … hell, even if they don’t answer, it certainly made me feel better.  At least I made an effort!

I think that deep down, within everyone, there is the yearning to connect … I’m not talking on a deep level necessarily (don’t get me started on soulmates!), but on just a human level … the need for interaction.  So these days I seem to go out of my way to oblige.  I’ll smile back at the lonely-looking soul sat on the bench, a smile that can spark a brief conversation if he wants it to or which can just be left as an offering, no pressure to give me anything in return.  I’ll persuade the very nervous-looking girl who’s sat on her own in the Dentist’s waiting room to talk a little, my sole reason being so that I can tell her everything will be okay (I always get SO nervous when I come here, but today I have to have a tooth out.  I’m scared!).  I’ll chit chat to the lady in the local shop, although for some reason I find this a bit harder, the words don’t come as easily – because at times I’m very shy?  Because I don’t want to give too much of myself away?

And I’ll smile politely and talk for a while to the lady in the supermarket who commented on the pens I was looking at and then spent a good five minutes (felt a lot longer) telling me all about the college course she is studying, clearly desperate to share her excitement with someone, anyone.  And the lady whom I met for the first time a few weeks ago who treated me like an old friend, repeatedly apologising for wanting to talk so much (which only made me want to talk to her a bit more so she wouldn’t feel bad).  She shouldn’t need to say sorry for simply talking, for wanting to pass the time with someone on a sunny morning!  And I still thought this after I bent down to pick something up and inadvertently spotted the brandy bottle nestling in her unzipped handbag, the sickly-sweet smell of alcohol on her breath only faintly noticable as I stood upright again.  I felt even more for her then … heartily waving at me, thanking me for the conversation before walking home to her tomb of a life.  Who am I to judge? I thought … I didn’t know anything about her, save for facts: the names of her children and grandchildren and where they had been the previous weekend.  That brandy might have been for baking; it might have been for her husband who begged her to buy it because he knows he has a problem and he’s ashamed to be seen buying another bottle; it might have been for her to have a sip of at bedtime because she could feel a cold coming on.  I didn’t want to believe that it was for her, or that the spritely smile was just a mask … that the minute she got home and closed the door behind her, shutting the cruel world out, she would wither and retreat into a world darkened by the contents of that bottle.

Sometimes, even if I am on top of the world (which, believe it or not, does happen!) I withdraw into my shell and don’t really want to come out.  Those are the moments when you can end up being the most surprised … like today when I walked into a boutique and didn’t really feel like talking.  The immaculately made-up and perfectly dressed assistant/manager (the only person in there anyway) asked how I was and we exchanged pleasantries for a couple of minutes, although I could have done without it.  I was fine until I said something (can’t recall what) which prompted her to say that the shop had been located a couple of streets away for the past two  years before relocating – in her eyes just providing me with information, but in mine accusing me of being ignorant as to what had existed around the corner all that time – and I ever so slightly bristled.  My life’s been in turmoil, I wanted to shout.  I haven’t had the luxury of looking at anything nice for myself for the past two years! I wanted to snap, feeling defensive for reasons I could not fathom.

Instead, I took a moment to breathe and replied, “Oh, I’ve had too much going on for the past two years,”  … which was all it took for this pretty woman, this stranger, to embark upon her story … ridiculously similar to my own.  In seconds, the dynamics of the situation had completely changed – it went from a service provider/customer situation to two women who have been battered by similar life events (in the same time frame, no less) engaged in enthusiastic conversation, throwing pieces of ourselves back and forth, the other devouring each morsel hungrily before offering up even more … private details which, had we not experienced the same hurt, neither of us would have divulged to someone whom we had only just met … and yet, by a chance thread of conversation (we could have stopped at the pleasantries), we had suddenly discovered we were equals. 

Men can’t possibly be capable of loving as deeply as we do*, we concluded.  Marriage is supposed to be worked at if you truly love each other, we agreed.  Our children are beautiful, we comforted.

* Merely an opinion based on personal experience … not a condemnation.

Through our hurt, we connected.  In one chance meeting, two strangers raised each other’s self esteem.  ‘It makes you feel better talking to someone who knows what it feels like,’ I said.  ‘Like you’re not the only one,’ she said.  And although our conversation was cut short when other customers entered the boutique, I am certain that when I left – each of us having told the other to take care, a worthy escalation from politeness to warmth – she was standing a little bit more straight, her chin ever so slightly raised in defiance, reminding herself (I hope) that she is worth fighting for, that she deserves to be truly loved, and that she will be just fine.  These are the things I tell myself each day.

Funny that, don’t you think?  Connecting in such a huge way with a stranger, when I hadn’t really wanted to talk in the first place …  🙂

© www.mypastmademe.com 2011

A good egg?

As a writer, for me the biggest hurdle (at present, at least) is confidence.  In fact, I have only recently started saying to certain (close) friends that I am a writer because I have come to the conclusion that not being published does not mean I am NOT a writer.  It’s in my blood, it’s part of me, my essence … a yearning … so this is surely what I am.

I have always written poems and have no qualms in labelling myself a poet, but a writer?  When I have finally opened up and told close friends I haven’t said it in such a way that one would normally expect to announce something they love or feel compelled to do; rather, I confess it, as though it is a deep dark secret which I don’t want anyone to know about.  What am I so scared of?  Ridicule, or a friend not having faith in me?  Or should the question actually be this: what am I more afraid of, finding out that a friend doesn’t have faith in me, in my ability … or the fear that I will never have enough faith in myself to put myself out there and take criticism?  The latter has to happen in order to improve, does it not?  It’s a ‘chicken and egg’ situation, and finding out whether the yolk is bright yellow (success) takes guts.  I tell myself that one day having the courage to simply try to be successful will be my big fat sunshine yolk, no matter the outcome.

A good writer needs to be a great reader.  Yet, when I read an exceptional book, or an amazing piece of writing (like some I have found already on here) it automatically inhibits me.  I think to myself that I am not as good as them, so what is the point in me trying?  But what is becoming more clear to me day by day is that finding the courage to share will push me one step further towards believing in myself.  And besides, writing is part of me … I can’t escape it.

So … in the next few days I will start adding a short story I wrote some years ago (not my forte by any means, I feel).  Critiques will be welcomed, but go easy on me please … I’m a first timer 🙂

© www.mypastmademe.com 2011