Since I can remember I have had a feeling that the universe can contract and expand on the turn of a card, a moment’s fortune, a wind change.
There are times where everything and anything is possible: the whole whole world is at your fingertips. You can do and be anything . Not simply in this life but beyond in all directions . A deep dive into a connection on a cellular level.
Sometimes the journey is so smooth we wonder what the catch is. Sometimes to simply stand still involves an awful lot of running on the spot. It feels never ending. We wear out many pairs of trainers.
It feels like one stupid challenge after another . It feels like there isn’t enough power left to achieve even a bit if it.
We need to be grounded.
And it can feel almost impossible sometimes, to have patience and faith in who we are.
This is no vanilla life. I have performed to thousands, and felt kinship with something bigger than all of us, lugged boxes of paint to tiny halls and felt something just as awe inspiring in teaching art with incredible people; lived in a 13 room house and been deeply lonely yet created a wonderland of fairy lights in an Edinburgh one bed: travelled the world seeing famous sights yet most gripped with wonder at the tiny hand holding mine after ten years of waiting for my angel to appear. I have seen New York at midnight, soaking up the atmosphere of a jazz club, thinking at the time I’ll be back soon. And then life got in the way. And the big things we think we can choose, aren’t so easy to just hand pick.
There is much I could tell you about the tribulations over the last few years. Of those who didn’t appreciate Artists in a traditional place, of those who use control or try to dull your shine. But this is our happy space, yours and mine; and quite frankly it doesn’t belong here. Thankfully, with our zoo family and belongings in one piece, albeit in storage, back of car or in a selection of tiny boxes; we no longer need to close the curtains mid afternoon, because we held our nerve and travelled quietly to a different universe.
You forget.. all the little things you know, when you are used to functioning in your spot on earth. Places you get food, places you put your rubbish, post your letters, buy your guinea pig hay…Tip the floor a little, slide a few hundred miles and see if the same rules apply, the same shops exist, the same customs surprise, delight or horrify you ! We might all drive on the same side, but I am sure the roads change shape. In a new territory with a co-pilot intermittently checking a snap map and her messages, it was easy the first few days to feel like we were on Mars! .
But there was no doubt it was ever so pretty. ! Once we had figured out how the ferry worked and how to feed everybody the rest sort of fell into place….
A different view around every corner kept us driving that little bit further .. from a quick pit stop at Blackpool sands on the road through Torcross.
Followed by a drive through Kingsbridge and onwards, ever tempted to pull over with another beautiful view…The vista is beginning to open up once more..
Picture perfect Salcombe with its crowded slow squeeze of an arterial main town road to drive you and your car bonkers! Next time we’ll take the private jet. 😉 but the riviera yachts : how like the vintage posters we’ve loved for years!!.
Kingsbridge, Torquay, Paignton and back to Dartmouth; every stop a different energy under a blue sky.
And behind the scenes….
What they didn’t tell you about the old woman who lived in a shoe; was that she was only in fact 19. The shoe was a chalet in Dartmouth and there was so much daily messy zoo funk, that she spent most of her time, carting bin bags in a wheelie bag and cleaning in ever decreasing circles She just looked 100. !!
All along, at every stage; underneath piles of boxes, sleeping on an air bed in my living room, both of us having to whittle our existence down to a teeny percentage of our stuff, our selves, not having anyone apart from our closest friends to tell our plans to, we kept the light on in our dream. Belief and trust were fed; and we smelt the coffee every day.
Doors may open, they may close, cards are dealt. When all is bleak you get more thinking done, or more creating done. You use it for planning or stopping. Nature abhors a vacuum. Once you make a big life change, in it comes; whooshing back in, possibilities, smiles from strangers, new things appear to see and explore. Our movements feel freer, like a holiday us. When I was asked why I wanted to move, my answer was, I needed to be more Liz. For all of us, our surroundings, our climate, our needs are our daily fuel.
Only you can know what makes you happy. (or what doesn’t )
Our feelings become painted over, like layers of armour. Daily pain, tolerating bad behaviour, or sadness or fear. Sadly, we get used to a version of ourselves, we think is us. My daughter and I knew changes were coming.
Change can be scary, but it can and does, gain us friendships, experiences, joy, and love. With a little patience to ride the waves of all this, the card games are exciting and different each time . I sit right now in a not quite knowing what will happen next space. In trust for what we’ve done so far, in what is to come. And that’s alright with me. Doing nothing? No thanks..
If you can see it, you’re a step closer. I am coveting this Moggy we saw , a beautiful very old lady! As some of you know my first car was a Morris Minor , a turquoise police car called Marmalade. One day, if I wish reeeeeeaaaaaalllly hard…!!!
In fairness, I am already pretty happy….
So as the journey continues its path , and as loved ones are missed, art supplies are stored, and classes are on hold; know that there is still eating well, exploring to do, and finally a little freedom to enjoy, fun as well as the frustrations; and with all these eggs being cracked, it’s promising to be one hell of an omelette.. xxx
Some people believe, that every person or animal that crosses our path does so for a reason. Sometimes it is very brief moment, a look, an interaction, an understanding, or sometimes we stay longer with one another.
Although we can probably agree that the pull of animal company of some kind is often felt, everyone has a definite tolerance level and relationship with certain animals and or species of that animal. ( and yes, occasionally, there is the a heart which not even the fluffiest puppy can crack)
So why do we choose a particular pet? What are we seeing that makes them stand out, hum, reverberate, send out little ‘you need me‘ signals to our brains? I have often wondered why the animals we have are so uniquely ‘ours, who does the connecting?!.’
There seems to be something inherently positive about being in the close proximity of other thriving living things, as we can often see from animal assisted therapies. Their key focus is to improve human psychological wellbeing.
The Medical News today describes the Benefits of animal assisted therapy as;
increasing movement and activity through walks and play
providing companionship and decreasing loneliness
increasing social interactions
improving mood and general well-being
By doing the following
providing comfort and reducing levels of pain
improving movement or motor skills
developing social or behavioral skills
increasing motivation toward activities such as exercise or interacting with others
Having worked in mental health over the last few years, including teaching in care homes; I have seen the joy first hand of how animals can pull a patient back for a few precious moments, in the way music often can, and give such pure, immediate pleasure. I have taken dogs and guinea pigs into classes with me, seen Shetland ponies in dementia wards or birds of prey help to calm adults with long term anxiety issues. .
During the last year, for many people I know, including us, animals have featured in their wellbeing. From caring for pets, as a reason to get outside and shop for food, to get exercise, for children to do the same, an excuse to meet with a friend for a dog walk or run (as essential exercise,) watching wildlife in the garden and enjoying the small but incredible pleasures of hatching eggs in nest boxes, hedgehogs in homes, foxes wandering freely, and seeing on the television animals reclaiming areas once lost to man. We hear some horror stories too, of dog snatchers and fly tippers blackening natural habitats for natures creatures. And we care. Our children’s generation can know every inch of every creature if they choose to from the plethora of information and documentaries available.
Facebook is full of animals. And our houses are. Unlike our actual families though, we get to choose which ones live with us. Our very good friend David lost his beloved Dog Glen last year , and will be the first to admit that the gap left by his best pal broke his heart. But the universe had a plan. Despite doubts that there would ever be another dog as perfect, Glen sent Kiera. A rescue, patiently waiting in the wings at a rescue centre. After a few lockdown hoops to hurdle, David’s perseverance paid off. Kiera recognised him the moment they met. She hung on his every word and gazed at him with pure love. I have never seen a dog that knew its owner so immediately and why they were destined to bring a smile to each others lives.
So why and how do animals trust us?
Many dogs are happy-go-lucky, love everyone and are happy to greet people they meet with a happy wagging tail. But there are also a lot of dogs who appear to like some people, but not others.
Does your dog like everyone he meets, or does he gravitate towards some people and not others? We certainly notice how similar our dog feels about people in comparison to how we do. He can sense fear, ambivalence, or joy, and if presented with an air of calm authority, slips into the role of obedience he feels comfortable in. When people give mixed messages, he doesn’t understand the rules.
Because the rules are clear and body language is calm around all the animals , at the same time, it has helped integrate them into the household together. Bear and Max ( a male cat) could easily have been at each other’s throats, and started out as natural rivals. But sitting with them both at the same time, giving them equal attention, soothing movements and an escape route, slowly got them used to one another. and now they are all pretty good at sharing our attention. I just have to watch that Bear doesn’t lovingly leap on my lap to cuddle the guinea pigs. He still thinks he is a puppy.
I watched as my daughter, already (and this pains me ) she is taller than me.. lolloped down the road with our Bear recently….Far from being an aberration, (which having a large dog one is often made to feel that he is;) he looked, the perfect size for her growing gait. She needed a big dog. I watch them playing together. She needed him. At first their bond was tenuous. She wasn’t sure. He wasn’t the same as what she knew. But now she won’t get up unless he’s had his morning cuddle.
Have you ever met a dog that looks and behaves a lot like their person? The saying “like attracts like” applies to dogs and people, too. Dogs often choose a favourite person who matches their own energy level and personality.
Some dog breeds are more likely to bond with a single person, making it more likely that their favourite person will be their only person. Breeds that tend to bond strongly to one person include:
If you are interested in this subject, and for more information on suitable dog breeds
Looking back on Bear’s early months, is like a film reel, much like bringing up a boisterous child, it flashes up in memory scenes of carpet scrubbing, doggie howling, great escape attempts, ( and victories) pining for company at night and the ever present danger of the gate being left open. At least with a child there was always soft play on rainy days.
Time races on, and if we aren’t careful we lose the magic of the best times inside the worst fragments of clutter, the mess, the noise. the lack of sleep, no routine, lack of control of no kind of order ever again. We yearn for a different life, another one we saw somewhere online, where other people’s kids and animals always behave. We forget to remember the choices we made. And why we and they are here.
What if the animal with you is teaching you what you need right now. What if the lessons being taught by daily experiences are showing up to enrich the life we can sometimes take for grated , and create new directions we hadn’t planned. Because we forgot there was more than one path to go down?.
Our old dog skye was the gentlest calmest dog on the planet. She needed no lead, she just stayed by my side. She was so soft that Guinea pigs could sit in her box with her and be left there. She left the chicken use her as a sun block. Her soul was so pure and kind. It reached out to everyone that ever met her and we made friends through her as soon as we moved here. She was easy to take on holiday and we could leave her for hours quite happily, with food and toys. Building a life and painting things, creating art around Skye was a joy. She was like calm air next to you.
So; losing her was devastating. You’ll know yourself if you love your animals how much of a gap they leave. And out of the blue quite unexpectedly came a message on Facebook. My friend has a puppy. ‘She’s very cute,’ I say. ‘There’s one left in the litter’ Emily says back. Crap It wasn’t the plan. We were going to get the same dog again. Exactly the same dog. But it was what was meant to be.
This little black thing was put in my arms and nestled in. My friend helped co-ordinate the surprise for Leah, and it was wonderful. He was so small and fluffy and had big paws and a little round tummy.
And then the reality sunk in. He was also mad And was not calm air. He was a cyclone.
He didn’t stop. At all. And was very smart, working out to escape out of things very quickly, he literally had me cleaning carpets all day whilst crying for attention. He shouted when I wasn’t in the room (lockdown baby) and he needed a lot more love, moulding and effort than Skye ever did. In short this soul was sent to try us.
It was like going back 12 years with a small needy little baby and no support network to swap mum stories with.
However, we persevered. Through a mix of wierd trickery that dogs are expert at, love that can’t be explained , determination to get some sense into him and a bit of structure back. Two out of three isn’t bad. He has taught us to be in the moment He has been a much better guard dog and actually is helpfully instinctive about people. Although he is very gentle, he can still shout.
He has brought challenges which needed to be overcome, and is very good at receiving and giving hugs, which we are all desperate for just now.
Dogs need fresh air regardless of the weather, and we need reasons sometimes to keep getting outside and breathing it, especially if, like me, the cold affects your body. The days are planned better with the sun grabbed like a precious jewel and savoured between days and months at home.
His presence has encouraged a mindful way of living and possessing things. We have had to have less clutter because he eats it. There is less of a concern with the perfection of our space (not that I was ever Mrs Bucket), because two minutes hater Bear will have charged around like a race horse and messed it up. Just like a toddler he has no concept of what is his to use, as I recall various lipsticks Leah smeared on her cheeks and shoes of mine she plonked about in. It’s ok. This will not be this way for ever. Already he isn’t the same as he was two weeks ago. What you get is to be in the moment with a dog. This was his very first moment of a play date.
Writing this morning there is a big dog lump on my knee, having his morning cuddle, being gentle with the other animals, going through to Leah’s room soon for his morning leap on her bed, I realise he was exactly the dog we needed. Bear fits us all.
Time is spent more wisely when you have less of it, when incorporating a new element into the routine, almost like having a new born again. I had to make art when he napped, clean the house when he was out for a walk with Leah , keep things simple both in structure and in terms of what was around us physically. It was a daily battle. But it also provided a pretty great distraction from all that was awful in the world. Or at least somewhere to put all that love we seem to have around here.
Between a child that is naturally messy and a dog that eats everything on earth, it is a daily ritual to scan everything ALL the time and has been since he arrived. . Socks, books, coal, Lego, plastic or wood of any kind. All small objects below waist height were up for grabs. As he grew, so did his range of edible delights and the strain of hiding more things. Or throwing them away. But in doing that, another thing happened. Selections were made about what mattered and what could go, or be safely given as a new toy, or be saved.
Things become less precious when you keep having to throw away cushions that get eaten. And I love cushions. But there are years of your life that are scruffier than others, more dog eared, more selective. He was in affect, the doggie version of Marie Kondo.
And once he started it became a bit easier to keep clearing out and taking stock of what was precious and needed to be hidden for now!
There were months of stressful bits, but it wasn’t the whole story. Leah magically captured the real Bear so far here .
It was never my intention to have lots of animals! Your heart seems to expand the more beasts and children you squish into your life. From the multitude of cats and dogs, to the guinea pigs, fish, and chickens who have lived with us, all of them have been loved , valued and treasured. However long an animal is with you, if we respect its temperament and fears, the rest follows. And hopefully the time we have together teaches us to slow down and see life through our pets eyes..
I have lessened the time spent online recently, pouring energies into the immediacy of home, creating, animals, future ideas and health. But this quote I saw on face-book captures what animals teach us to do by proxy, and returning to life after the pandemic, I hope will teach us the same.
Even if you don’t have an animal yourself, but enjoy the company of other people’s, there is much to learn from how animals learn from us and how it is possible for us all to co-exist peacefully, slowing down and using our instincts wisely. And maybe oiling our hearts in the process.
Have you been whispered about? Have you ever felt the cold prickles of recognition when you realise your name is being said, but not to you. Have you ever had an opinion about anyone else? Of course you have.
Mostly our thoughts and comments of this and that dissipate like the haar on the edge of the sea, while the kettle boils and the next story is brewed.
Some stories however, stick. And keep on sticking.
Becoming a little legend, which has its roots in a social group or family, cements itself further in the pub or playground and in the judgement of the gathered groups of ”Aye beens” tutting and huffing like they’re auditioning for ”Are you being served… .”
This goes on not just for a blether that day, but gathers snowball momentum over weeks, years, generations.
A while ago I told you a story about an experience we were having. It was told in a way that was honest but also showed the impact on us and the perpetrators for what they were. It had remained hidden. For along time, I had heard things like, That’s terrible, but I don’t want to get involved. Almost as if it was contagious. Being Bullied isn’t catching. I said nothing, so nobody knew.
Sometimes you just got to say no.
Shouting loudly and having a set of rules everyone has to abide by, might be what everyone is used to.
and all that anyone has ever heard.
But not everyone is made that way
When one of my guinea pigs gets a little bit scared, she doesn’t run away. She just shuts her eyes, puts her head down and snuggles in to my arm. I think she’s on to something..
Our move to our cottage was to be our sanctuary. It was our braver than brave thing. Anything after that was just details.
Just like Bonnie, we keep our head down and assume those in our immediate life must quite like us or they would not be there. A good way to live. And ensures everyone gets a lot of cuddles and regular food.
For every action, there are consequences which we must be responsible for also. Some are entirely real… whilst some…
I believe things and people are meant to try us. And teach us.
All of our stories are different . If you ask every one of your friends how they see you it will be slightly different . Trying to hold a picture of who you are is impossible. All you can do is know you do no harm.
We all show a variation to everyone, and not always intentionally. Our velvet selves stay wrapped in tissue for when we can truly enjoy wearing them again. But we are also patchwork, and denim and an old faded cotton shirt stitched over and over.
And in the meantime, in this global pause for thought, while we all lounge in pyjamas and forget how to hold a real conversation, .. we are free to imagine and just be.
In our isolation because of my illness, I have found an honesty in a way of life .
The irony of the neighbourhood pedant believing they can cut you off; is that we actually end up truly connecting with those we like more than anyone. ever !! Our time and our people are precious. Our days are filled with the wonders of modern technology and archaic methods of keeping in touch with those in our tribe, all over the world.
I have also found ; A beautiful place to live in, which; If I could walk further; offers temptation every day.. to look for birds , and wild life and painting inspiration and clouds and just pure fabulousness.
The kindest friends you could ever know, our everyday companions on social media groups, accomplishing my daily Art tasks and keeping us and each other going during these last few months. A few really super immediate neighbours and two minutes down the road an amazing network of folk we could not have got through the pandemic without. Friends who have truly been a lifeline when I am ill , or an animal needs a walk or help.
In every place you go there are a few who think it belongs only to them. There is always a chance at first that unkind people, just like a mistreated animal might be a little coaxing. Getting to know why they are unhappy and defensive is the first step to getting anywhere. Becoming defensive yourself and mimicking them is simply what a lot of angry people want you to do. It proves them right, if gives them a hobby and makes you look as bad, if not worse than them. (Because you then get upset it fuels their game) There is nothing more annoying than someone smiling, ignoring your taunts or being at ease in their world. And gives them nothing to battle you about.
I received a message about the village asking if it was a nice place. Of course it is. And there are millions of reasons to move here, visit, get a holiday home or explore the area. I have been involved in many community groups and educational information resources in the few years we have been here.
It is one of the most beautiful places on earth.
At school I was not very sure if my art was any good. I had one art teacher who thought it was fabulous but also wanted to buy all my vintage brooches from me and get a lift for him and us maverick 6fh formers to various exhibitions in London, and another art teacher who hated all of us, had a mewling cat with no fur under her desk and who scribbled on all my drawings. One day, recounting an extremely upsetting tirade from the second art teacher about colour theory, and moaning about her bitter teaching methods over my herbal tea in the 6th form common room, I looked up, at my friend’s face, sitting opposite. She had stopped replying, and was looking horrified. ”She’s behind me isn’t she?” I said ”Yep,”said Maria.
That cut short my gossip career. My tiny, horrid teacher had a look I hadn’t seen when she’d shouted at me. It was more human. It was as if my words had made her think. I might have been justified but I didn’t feel good. She looked like she was actually thinking about my feelings, but also had some her own. And she left the room. Words have power. She wasn’t nice to me, but I still felt bad !
If we know how it feels to be harmed by words, there has to be ways of protecting ourselves without sinking or losing our selves. We don’t have to become the teacher that persecuted us.
Think of a little bottle of inky poison. Longing for you to write with it. But as soon as you do it gets on your fingers and stains them, and rubs off on your shirt, you answer the phone and then you doodle on the table with your pen, it is contagious… someone reads your doodle, and takes a photo of it . Your ink is everywhere, on their hands now too and even now on a photo on instagram.
You don’t need that kind of inky nonsense ruining your life
Our colours are vibrant and unique
(Be the washable kind)
And walk away from repeating what other people say
That isn’t the same as not getting involved. if someone needs genuine help, drop everything.
A place can be tainted by its stories, its newsreels, its few who seek to cause drama for the sake of drama. Unfairly creating an ink blot on a beautiful landscape. But a place is bigger than that. And given time, and new news stories, a place can recover from the stories built in its bricks and paths and pub bar stools.
Sometimes new flowers grow that you haven’t seen before
and get a whole new heap of fans
We found this picture of our house on instagram yesterday. Our house pre Covid often got photographed by smiling camera laden tourists hanging over the fence. Seeing a different view.
Everybody has a different way of looking at the world and in order to enjoy ours fully we have to break the cycle of judging others.
I decided to take a few things out from my previous post about the incident here. The story remains the same. But we can chose not to be led by it. The place we live, like everywhere has too many pockets of kindness too, too much rich heritage and beauty and too much potential to be dulled down by decades of frustration . Because keeping those attributes of a place alive, even by reporting it, continues its legacy and keeps new vibrant people away.. and guess who would love that?!
Places grow, evolve and change. Or at least they should to stay healthy
So we must celebrate the new and wonderful as well as the old and cherished, just like any family..
And If all else fails, you can always just stay hidden in a cardboard tube.
The light around here has been incredible recently.
As I Flip through Facebook posts recently, I have loved to see the many walks my friends take and the things they see along the way, things that my legs don’t get to. Some of these things I saw before my body stopped playing, some I may get to one day if I win the lottery, and some of them I will never see. All of the above are ok with me.
We can travel the world to see the most glorious of sites. We can trek up mountains to see a new perspective we yearn for. Potential and adventure is wonderful. But if limitations are set, it doesn’t mean that life has to be less stimulating.
If circumstances change the rules, as they have for everybody at the moment, our fun radar has to look closer for things to appreciate. And for inspiration.
I got asked by a woman over the phone, filling in a medical form how many buses I could walk. ( length of) without stopping, and with sticks .. If you’ve never tried answering that one give it a go. I can walk 2 buses.
But, walk two buses, take a photo or two and then walk a couple more. You can get somewhere, or to your car, and then a little further… And then moments as incredible as any rare truffle are waiting. If your deely boppers are on.
And if that has to suffice until surgery or vaccinations happen it is a start.
The new normal looks different for everyone!
For some the routine has stayed reassuringly familiar ……..
And others of the more active variety have been growing like weeds…
And art has been created in the spaces created like little yawns in the day… where children or animals are sleeping, eating or otherwise occupied .
Next year will be a big birthday for me, and although I could probably still get asked for i.d without make up, due to being partly of the faery variety 😉 It will mean that, including teaching in America at 20, I will have been teaching art for 30 years. It has been a rollercoaster, not least for health reasons. But always the best part, the only part that mattered was giving something to kids that they did not have before.
My first teaching job was in a tough school. some of the kids (and staff) were hard work, and I was going to work full time whilst looking after two young stepsons and a big house. I was keen and sparkly, but at the time, was being knocked in more ways than one, both at home and at work.
Now I think that girl was amazing. Then, I taught my socks off in a blur. I didn’t know what the kids saw. But I knew I gave them everything because I always will. And I loved their inspiration as much as creating with them. Eventually the politics of that post got too much. So I moved schools. Before arthritis got the better of me and I taught in high school for 18 years.
Out of the blue last week, I received a message on facebook from a great big bearded man, who I didn’t recognise. The picture showed him on his wedding day. He just wanted me to know, he said, that I had been an amazing teacher. That he still remembered what I taught him 20 years ago, and that he still tells his niece about being taught art by me. How incredible. This was not something this man needed to do, or gained anything by doing. But I did. And how lovely to gift those words to someone years after they knew you. In a time where our identities are in question because we can’t be fully ourselves, always speak kind words when you think them.
Thankyou to the wonderful Mickey. Keep doing those little things, especially in your own home. The universe and your wife will thank you! I know I do.,
This poem was written for all of you who take the time to read this, for your heart and for your own self care.
In amongst the day to day routine keep an eye out for flashes of colour, a chances to reflect on the details when the bigger picture get too overwhelming. Savour every colour. They are only for you.
Children and seasons will change, so will this situation. For a long time my mantra has been to keep going. Clichéd maybe, but sometimes it is all you can do to put one foot in front of another.
Or one bus
Something today matters for a reason you don’t even know yet.
I am so proud of my groups, friends and some of the community helping one another to stay positive. To see artwork, share your Ideas or experiences with us.. go to facebook, liz at the beach hut and sea sparkle.
Sometimes even the sunniest day has a rain-cloud. Having weathered many a storm, I had considered myself fairly immune to those pesky clouds… Well, life doles out surprises when we least expect it and the smallest detail going wrong can be the breaking of us occasionally…
I really don’t mump a lot. But we all need to sometimes, and when you feel the scales of pain or unfairness outweigh your sparkle, it is alright to smudge your freshly swiped eyeliner. People make choices in their communication and perception of others, and twice I recently encountered a drama storm without wearing my rain coat . I have seen that destruction before and witnessed the fallout by hurt people creating more of the same.
I just felt too tired to get through the imminent events about to unfurl.. It was experience and instinct. Having the last word is so rarely a gift you need to keep, and I walked away. The effect was relief and utter exhaustion.
It wasn’t just one thing though, and that is key. Generally we can deal with one or two muppets, disappointments, pain, and grief. But not all at once. Endless circles chasing operations, being told to get a treatment, only to arrive and be turned away on the advice of someone else, having to got to a point where even my lovely physio can’t justify the little he is able to do to help. I felt my hope slipping…..
Now… my glass is usually not only half full, but full of sparkly bubbles..
My path is usually strewn with sparkly stuff
But, here I was in a feeling I didn’t recognise. I had crumpled inside when I least expected it. Trying to be ok lasted two days. I knew I wasn’t ok and so did my lovely tribe.
The wierd thing was, that somewhere right down deep inside myself, I knew I was fine. I scanned the desire to run to Spain (no pun intended) or eat my bodyweight in custard creams, and riding it out seemed the only option. My face just needed to implode.
So without thinking too hard about it, I told my friends on my personal Facebook page. I knew that they knew, it was unusual. It wasn’t awful, but it was a painful, black inky blip and I knew I didn’t want it to spread.
Within a few seconds someone had replied. In fact, someone I know less well than some of my other friends, but her kind words and immediacy were so gratefully received. And the words kept coming, trickling in like a hand squeeze or an extra pillow.. My face leaked, my limbs ached, my head thumped and my eyes went very small . My sofa was delighted and so was were my animals who used my body as extra heating.. And the pain started to ease a bit.. I have suggested to one of my friends, that ordering hugs by courier ( just a hug! ) Might be a new business for them…
Thank you brilliant friends and neighbours for the time taken to give me support that day. The words you gave me were like little precious diamonds. I was asked by someone else why tell Facebook? Aren’t you just telling the world your business? My answer is no. When we can bear to speak about the demons, they start to shrivel away, and already this brief little bleuughhhhh.. became a positive conversation in another forum helping other people. You choose how and what and with who to share and only when you feel it is safe.
Opening up, rather than either taking it out on anyone else or internalizing has to be a good thing. Crawling further inside a body playing tricks on me, analysing and finding emotional pathways which weren’t there in the first place, was not necessary. I quite like my head clear enough to be of some use in the world. I watched as the weather came and the heavens opened……
Once in a while, a day comes along which like a huge gust of wind literally knocks you off your legs… or in my case crutches… The usual techniques which work on cementing the stiff upper lip in place aren’t working, and the floodgates have weirdly not only opened but disappeared entirely… it was literally like drowning in your entire wardrobe..
The mechanical workings you normally see in the mirror safely ticking along, easing each micro movement need oiling and you can hear some vital parts grinding together where once there was an easy flow..
…All you want to do is sleep. Sadness is so heavy …
So let the monsoon come..
Because, after you tell someone it’s outside of you again… you start answering your own questions… it is the start of unbreaking.
I am lucky to have some kind of unwavering determination to stay on this planet to keep being inspired by those amazing and brave souls I come into contact with every day.
For that, I thank whichever Gods are with me…
Today I thank my neighbour for the surprise flask of hot water in the middle of a very long power cut . I literally can’t see without caffeine ! She is worth keeping positive for. And the surprise bunch of flowers from another neighbour who read my post. As he apologised for their store-bought origins, I want to tell him that a bunch of daisies from a grass verge would still mean as much.
We shouldn’t apologise for ourselves. Or our own personal weather patterns. Our big, emotional, colourful, strange, indescribably, wonderful selves… who will have some days sunnier than others.
Create, scream, plant, share, paint, stitch, listen, draw and see which doors begin to open on your path..
Crap days will come.. They just prove how normal the other ones are.
Look for rainbows
If someone you know is having a day like this… just tell them its ok. Don’t judge, question, fix, micro manage, and offer endless avenues of helpful possibilities and comfort, unless they ask you to. You’ll know if they need something. Just be around.
It’s not about you.
Not today anyway. They will be back. And that’s the thing I have learnt, that the folk who help each other are the ones that just let you play it out, without always having to bring their stuff to the table. Because the real you just needed a break to let rip for a bit… you can’t get through understanding your stuff whilst simultaneously explaining it to someone else.
Your brain, like your energy can only cope with so much…
The next day they/you/we will be back in step again…
Sometimes we wonder why our children are acting out and riding unimaginably bumpy emotional rollercoasters . All this drama and frustration and anger at the world not quite being as they think it should be..
How can our funny, loving and confident young person, having coped with a lot already and thriving regardless be so utterly woebegone and angry?
Because they are human. And its a hard hard thing to be, Some find it much harder than others and actually the ones that shout loudest are usually the ones who need most comfort. However, as a very wise friend told me, sadly showing scars on his back from his own childhood, keeping it all in is worse. Inverting the pain and not letting someone show their feelings will only ever end up backfiring.
We can’t go back to childhood but we can be inspired by it and its lack of emotional rules.
My first feeling as an adult when I felt a bit rubbish, was guilt. What if I let someone down? What if I couldn’t fulfill all my roles that day? What if not doing what I usually did and losing my brave face melted the world and everyone in it? What if .. what if…???
Do you know what happened?.. Nothing. Today’s power cut was a bit like that. All the electricity and noise went off. There was very little I could do, no way of communicating, no internet and not many jobs I could do but basic ones and some drawing. Bliss.
Every now and again a meltdown is just a appetizer to a better version of peace. and will free you. Your real mates will get it.
We all have an enormous bag of gifts to offer. I lived a long time with my best ones under wrap, like brightly coloured parcels. Art, music, being allowed to dance and perform and the honest joyous conversations you can only have when you live without fear.
What I know now is that, I may have lost dancing (for now) but the Rocky Mountains climbed over to claim back all the other wonders were not hopeless. It took my inner tiger to get here and she’s still purring. I wear my heart openly in all weathers because these stories aren’t just mine. They are in all of us. In our Art group we share stories and we trust. Seeing other’s fall and not smash ourselves wide open without a safety net. If you feel safe to talk to someone when you are tumbling down, they won’t judge you. Saying it outwardly stops your thoughts turning to negative self spiralling spaghetti.. and worse.
I wish I could turn back the clock and put my arm around the young woman coping, patching over the cracks, and slowly vanishing.
She deserved to feel like a whole person. She might have run a long time sooner!
A friend of mine told me she thinks we are all a bit flakey. We are. We have our coping methods and the right people in your life will understand them. Be sad, but be joyous too. “God mum you are so embarrassing” mini tells me last night as I hugged the car mechanic who delivered my car home.
Quite right..! She didn’t know why. So I told her.
My car is my lifeline. Without it I can’t go anywhere. Disabled spaces are like jigsaw pieces around cities and map out our adventures together.. My car was making a dreadful crunching noise. The man in the garage I nipped into for advice, told me he couldn’t fix it. He has cancer. But his son was up from England, helping with the business and could look at the car later. On a day when the lad was already snowed under, probably worried about his poor Dad, he ordered the parts, drove us home, did the work and delivered the car back, getting a lift from someone else so we didn’t have to go back out. That kind of kindness should be shouted from the rooftops.
It is ok to feel . Sometimes when life gives you lemons, a bit of juice gets in your eye and stings like hell.. All the cold grey mornings, art that won’t work, flopped cakes, screaming children, sore bodies, hurtful comments or worrying thoughts…..Most of us, like another good friend said, hold the wound until a clot forms.
Being strong is admirable…
But it’s always better in company…
For the days when you feel bleuuuuuugh………………………………..
For the moments when you feel like you are leaking……….