Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Don't turn into Gollum

Ok, so, I'm feeling pretty guilty about yesterdays scribbling's now....

But if I cant have a rant and let out some steam on my own blog, where else can I do it?!

(Running to the bottom of the garden and shouting loudly is an option, but puts me even higher up on the scale of crazy.)

We all experience moments of frustration, and in time they often pass.

But, if we don't let out this frustration and anger, I fear we will all curdle into soured milk and generally turn into bitter twisted creatures. Rather like Gollum, or something similar.

Anyway, today I've already been into Bristol to do a computer testy thing, which will soon develop into a course. (Insert small excited face here please.)

And this afternoon I'm off to have one of those scary scan things. (Insert massive scared face here please.) 

Its to check out all this back pain I've been having. I've been reassured that they will probably find nothing. However, my paranoid anxious brain is quite convinced I have a lump or a tumour or something sinister like that. Which I know sounds silly and ridiculous. But there we go. That's my strange brain for you.

For now then, toodlepip.

xxx



Monday, 29 April 2013

27 year old teenager?


Before I begin writing (moaning) I would like to make a few facts clear:

1.       I love my Mum and Dad.

2.       I’m blessed that I’ve got a roof over my head.

3.       I know that facts 1 and 2 make me lucky, and I’m very grateful.

However, there comes a point (or maybe several) when living at home with your parents when your 27 just seems a little bit unbearable.

For example, when you’ve been away for the weekend and you just want some space, but instead keep on getting bombarded with questions as soon as you walk through the door.

“Did you have a good time??”

“What happened?”

“Have you got a hangover? Well you won’t get any sympathy from me!”

“How was everything?”

“What was the weather like?”

“Are you in for tea this week?”

“What are your plans tomorrow?”

And so the interrogation continues…

I don’t want to be rude, yet I can feel myself reverting into my 15 year old self, who would always reply with monosyllabic answers. I feel bad for slouching off to my room to watch my mindless TV programmes, but I need my space.

I don’t want to be nagged about eating my 5 fruit and veg every day, or to be told I should go out and get some fresh air. I want to make my own mind up! Equally I’m sure my parents don’t enjoy the stale smell of smoke radiating from my clothes, or the constant mess in my bedroom. They don’t want to be hearing me crash into the house at 2 o’clock in the morning, and then see me fester in my pyjamas the next day. I bet they didn’t imagine one of their daughters to still be living at home at 27.

And it would seem that I’m not the only person in their late twenties who is trapped in this weird living situation. I can think of at least 5 of my friends who are in a similar situation, which does make me feel slightly better. It would seem the credit crunch has crunched us all back into our parents’ house.

By comparing myself to other friends and acquaintances though, I find myself growing green with envy. People who have their own flats or houses, a haven of tranquillity all to themselves. As I look at these people’s lives, the black dog tells me I’m a failure for not achieving this. For not having a job or the money to move out, for being weak and a loser, for allowing myself to get depression. (Although I know the last one is untrue, the black dog likes to twist things and make me believe them.)

So how do I try and make this situation better? Well, for one thing I cook my own food now. A small change that allows me some independence and control. I also try not to ask their opinion on everything I do. This habit has come about mainly through my illness as I’ve needed their help and guidance. However, it’s not helpful for them (as it makes them feel like I’m younger than I am) and it’s not helpful for me either (as I come to rely on them too much.)

I know the situation isn’t going to change in the immediate future, but I have to hold on hope that at some point it will. And for now, maybe I’m just stuck with being a 27 year old teenager.

xxx

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Hen hen hen!


Here is most cheesy and quickest poem I’ve ever written…

But it pretty much sums up my past few days……

 
Laura’s Liverpool Hen,

A whole weekend without the men.

Curry then Mr and Mrs Quiz,

It all felt very showbiz.
 

A tour on the duck,

Meant that we were in luck.

We weren’t in the water,

Hazel, I looked after your daughter!



Then time for some tea,

Scones, cake (dairy-free for me!)

Chris was our butler in the buff,

And he certainly didn’t look  rough….

 

Wine, shots, and cocktails too,

Games with Chris (whom we all tried to woo.)

Dancing and laughter,

These hens all deserve a Bafta!



A few sore heads today,

But we soon found our way…

Brekkers and tea from mugs,

Then goodbye kisses and hugs.

 xxxx


 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Time vs.Moments


Time, how do we measure it?

In minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years.

Through relationships, marriages, births and deaths.

Career choices, house moves, and holidays.

“This was the year that happened.”

“I want to forget last week.”

“By the time I’m 30, I want to be married and have a child.”

These are all phrases that I’ve heard throughout the years. From friends, family or acquaintance’s (or just overhearing conversations, because I’m a nosey parker…)

Now I’m not saying there is anything particularly wrong with this way of thinking, I’m just questioning the method. It feels as if there is a giant clock hanging over us, that we all have to keep checking.

Throughout the past two and a half years I have gone through periods of focusing on the measurement of time in my own life. But it never made me feel any better. In fact it made me utterly miserable and even more depressed.

By trying to measure up my own time frame to other peoples, I would always end up in the darkness.

Therefore, as you can imagine, I try my best not to think about that anymore. Instead, I concentrate my mind on moments.

Moments of laughter.

Moments of peace.

Moments of light.

Moments of love.

By being mindful of these moments, and trying to live in the moment, (I really want to think of a different word now, but I can’t) gives me hope for the future.

And so, dear reader, I challenge you to do the same.

xxx

Monday, 22 April 2013

Productive(ness)


For those of you who follow me on twitter, you will already know that I spent a large proportion of my day wrestling with a laminator.
I’m still nursing the scars.

Getting something stuck in a laminator despite following all the instructions is terribly irksome. To get the melted sheet out it involved; two pairs of tweezers, a screwdriver, a few drops of blood, and some hidden brute strength.

Despite the 2 hours of wasted time, I do feel like I have gained a new skill. Perhaps a new profession in the pipeline. Susie, the Laminator fixer, at your service.

Today has  been significant for 3 other reasons.

1.       I voluntarily went for a walk on my own and did some exercise.

2.       I had salad for my tea AND ate a banana (healthy food is not usually on my radar, but I am trying.)

3.       After finding out about an organisation that run all kinds of different courses, I rang them up today and have a meeting with an adviser on Wednesday (eeeeek!)

So maybe they don’t sound like much, but to me they’re important little steps. Number 3 was probably the hardest. But it shows that I’m thinking about how I can improve my employability (a silly man in a suit made up that word) and not freak out about it. Because generally speaking the word ‘employment’ scares the bejesus out of me.

And I wasn’t even going to tell anyone about number 3, just in case I don’t go, or it’s a waste of time, or the lady tells me to work in retail again… (I will throw a pie in her face if she does that.)
xxx

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Ebb and flow



For the past two days I’ve had the image of waves impregnated into my brain.

The waves aren’t silent or still.

Nor are they crashing onto the shore.

Instead, they continuously ebb and flow in a steady rhythm.

Creeping forwards.

Flowing backwards.

An unbroken movement.

The waves belong to the infinite space of the sea.

………………………………..

It feels good to reflect on that image, to try and describe it.

I’ve been working on a canvas on and off recently, and it’s the image of the sea that seems to be reoccurring in that too.

…………………………….

The last two days have been a little surreal and disorientating, but also fun and really lovely.

I’ve tried to let the feelings associated with my birthday from the past few years just wash over me. I’ve done my very best to let go of stuff, and just go with the flow. Not something I’m very practised at doing….but it has felt good. I’ve been pushing the critical black dog to the back of my mind, trying not to let his bark get too loud!

Anywho, I must get up and do something productive. I’m still festering in my pyjamas, and I think the shower is calling…..

xxxx

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Nightmares, a living reality


I don’t want to go to sleep tonight.

This morning’s nightmares are clouding my mind. They loom over my bed already, waiting to pounce.

Waiting for that point in the night when I have become at ease in my sleep. Vulnerable and relaxed, that’s when they like to strike.

They won’t stop haunting me.

I continue to question why, what, how. But still they come.

This morning I woke up with a jolt, body soaked in sweat, not knowing where I was. An unfamiliar face threatened my place of safety. As my hand reached for the light switch, I slowly began to realise that the menacing face had appeared from somewhere deep in my imagination.

It’s no good telling me the nightmare isn’t real, that the face doesn’t exist. Because when my heart is spiralling into palpations and I can still feel the terror within me, I know it’s real.
......................................................

I want to write something more tonight, to feel inspired and excited by a new scheme or idea. But it seems impossible. I feel neither inspired nor excited. My mind feels void of ideas. And I hate that. Writers block (or painter block), isn’t that what they call it? It’s like all my creative juices have been used up. Maybe because I put so much creative time and energy into the exhibition, I’ve dried up all my resources?

It does feel a little bit like that actually. Like I need some creative or intellectual nourishment to spur me into action. Probably not having my different courses on doesn’t really help matters. Although I don’t usually struggle to find inspiration on my own.

I’m worried that this is it. (And I don't mean in every area of my life, I'm talking about my creative aspirations here, as well as the hindrance my depression and anxiety can be.) I’ve sold a painting, I did the exhibition, I’ve written my blog for a while, and now I’ve got nothing else to offer.
Nothing else to offer except perhaps myself?
Am I too self-absorbed? Always writing about myself and painting about my own feelings? Shouldn’t I be thinking about someone else for a change? And why should anyone be interested in what I have to offer? It’s nothing different from what any other person says, or writes, or does, or paints, or creates.
Or is thinking about this even worse than my night terrors...To bed Susie. To bed.
 
xxx

Monday, 15 April 2013

Procrastination


Sat in my room surrounded by mess…

Clothes (half my wardrobe including dozens of odd socks.)

Paper (bank statements, sketching paper, bus timetables.)

Receipts (some from three years ago, others a little more recent as I bought a snazzy new dress for the hen weekend.)

Lists (jobs to do, that I still haven’t done)

Shoes (grey converse, ballet pumps and several pairs of tatty heels.)

Books (The art of expressionism, Kandinsky, The life of St Teresa of Avila…non of which I’ve started reading.)

Plus, a lip gloss, a CD player, dust sheets, carrier bags, puzzle book, a pink Eiffel tower key ring, two hairbrushes and a million glasses.

Is this chaos a reflection of my mind? Or am I just a messy slob?

Or am I just writing about all this crap encircling me because I’m totally uninspired and unmotivated to complete all of the millions of things I should be doing?

I think the latter.
xxx

 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Simple Kindness




Painted by Michelangelo, and taken from the Sistine Chapel, this image shows the hand of God reaching out to Adam.

 This image just popped into my head, as I'm sat here on a cold and drizzly Saturday morning. I'm not really sure why it decided to come into my brain, but I think its got something to do with kindness.

Let me explain.

I've just finished reading 'The woman who went to bed for a year' by Sue Townsend. I wont spoil it for you if you want to read it, and its not quite as self-explanatory as it sounds. Its a great book though, very witty and insightful, so do have a read.

Anyway, in the novel, two characters begin talking about the greatest human attribute. They conclude that its 'simple kindness' and quite honestly, I couldn't agree more.

In the many small and simple actions we partake in daily, we are reaching out to others in positive ways that we may not be aware of.

A smile.

A thank you.

A hug.

A cup of tea ('cause we all know that is the solution to everyones problems!)

A compliment.

And maybe some slightly bigger things too...

Sending a text message.

Giving up your seat on the train or the bus.

Lending someone your favourite dress.

Buying someone a drink.

Asking someone whats on their mind and listening to what they say.

You get the picture.

Simple kindness.

The way forward.

xxx

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Time for random


Here is a photo of Joshua and I taken on Monday.

Kind of sums up our mutual fondness for being crazy.

(How ridiculously wide are my eyes?)

Its strange because although he is my nephew and not my son, I can see so much of myself in him. Pretty cool really. At the moment he is particularly fond of dinosaurs, which also used to be a passion of mine. So I'm revisiting my love of the Diplodocus, Stegosaurus and other Dino friends (but not the film Jurassic Park, way too scary for Susie....)

I was going to write about my day, but I've just noticed the time and realised I should probably get cooking....Oh and I was also going to write about my love of plucking hair and about my Narnia dream I had last night. But now that just sounds random and a little bit weird...

Hmm.

xxx

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Waves of memories

Well, I'm attempting to upload a video that I found today as I was trawling through my massive archive of photographs and videos from the past couple of years.

Now I've got my snazzy new computer I can do things like that you see. Its rather fun.

Particularly when you treat yourself to a mouse from Asda, for the bargain price of £3.50. (NB not a real mouse of course, I'm sure they are much more expensive and would be liable to chew through your new computer cables.)

Anyway, when this video eventually loads up, I hope you will have a little gander and just stop whatever you're doing for a minute.

It was taken on a beach in Aberdovy 2 years ago. And looking back, I can see how the remote scenery and bleakness of the beach reflected how I was feeling inside.

I remember spending a lot of time on that beach. Walking, sitting and just listening to the waves and the wind.

I took comfort in the space surrounding me. The infinite endlessness of the ocean ahead of me, and the strong dark mountains behind me.

In moments of anxiety back at home, I remember taking out my camera and watching this video again and again. Repeating the scene in my mind enabled me to feel grounded and to feel some inner calm.

Might sound slightly strange to you, or might make perfect sense...

xxx

Sunday, 7 April 2013

A break from the old routine?!

Family and sunshine are a great combination.

Its been a lovely weekend.

However, I am completely confused about what day it is, as I'm all out of sync with my routine. And I do love my routine.

Now, I may sound a tad OCD here, but routine makes my world a better place. A safer place. I feel much more in control of my anxiety when I know what I'm doing from day to day. Obviously this can then make my brain run into difficulties whenever things change...which I've realised is a lot more frequently than I would like. And it does occasionally turn me into someone who probably isn't that easy going...(although, honestly, I really think I am!)

Never mind.

I have a thousand things to do, and plenty of time to do them in.

I just may have to make myself a new routine.

Of sorts.

Starting with designated nap time perhaps...

xxx

Friday, 5 April 2013

Bonnie and Clyde

After two years of "umm-ing" and "arr-ing" I have finally made a decision and bought a new computer. Wahoo!

Its all very exciting.

Its sitting there looking all sparkly and new. I don't even want to take the plastic covers off. No no.

I think this one might be my friend.

All I need to do is work out how on earth to use it....

Until then I shall share with you a wonderful piece of writing that I discovered in Bath this week.

Theres an American Museum in Bath, and for those of you who know me well, know that I am pretty obsessed with all things Stateside. So much so that I actually like to think of myself as part American (from Virginia, if you want a precise location..) Anyway this museum is really ace, top banana, loads of interesting American stuff, and at the moment they have a great exhibition on called 'Gangsters and Gunslingers'.

I love all the cowboy and indian stuff (Calamity Jane is my hero), so this exhibition really gave me an insight into all those great characters. Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wild Bill Hickok to name just a few.

Then I moved onto the Bonnie and Clyde partnership. Two iconic names that I didn't really know much about, well, apart from the fact that they raced around the country killing lots of people. So I was surprised to see a small notebook belonging to Bonnie Parker that was filled with her poetry. It was filled with words, funny anecdotes, love poems and observations. This is the poem that really stood out for me....

Poetry from 'Lifes other side' by Bonnie Parker, 1932

I'll stay

...I'll cling to you and love you,
and you'll never be alone.

Just like the stars in heaven,
being around the moon at night.

I'll stay with you forever,
whether you are wrong or right.

Just like the perfume lingers,
on a rose until it dies,

I'll stay with you and guide you,
with the love light in my eyes....


Her words resonate with me, just for their sheer honesty. I know little about her character, apart from the crime that she was involved with, but through this poem you are allowed into a very feminine, loyal and personal space. They do not match up with the persona of a female criminal gangster. But perhaps that's why they have intrigued me so much.

Despite actions and appearances, we all keep so much hidden below the surface. Our exterior and interior personalities can often contrast, clash even.  I wonder, what are we hiding? Why are we hiding it...?

Something to think about and explore perhaps.....!

xxx

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Don't look at me

Today it would appear, I mostly want to throw a pot of white paint over my face and chop off all my hair. I would also like to take scissors to all my clothes and get myself a whole new wardrobe.

Its taken me over an hour to do my hair and decide what to wear. My room is covered in clothes flung around from my anxious rage. The room still smells of slightly singed hair from trying to tame my unruly locks with straighteners.

Yuk.

My mum says I'm being dramatic. And perhaps I am. But I cant help how I feel.

I'm not asking for sympathy or compliments. I'm just writing it down in order to gain some sort of release from this frustration I feel.

I spend so much of my time admiring beauty in all sorts of different things. Beauty to me is like being given a gift. To see something beautiful nourishes my mind, I find it peaceful and fulfilling. But trying to recreate that feeling of beauty on my own body just doesn't seem to work.

Instead of being nourished, I am frustrated and angry. Filled with hatred for my annoying face and equally irritating hair. I have so many ideas of wonderful outfits in my mind, but ultimately end up back in my faithful old skinny jeans and hoody.

Why do I have this within  me?
Why am I taunted by such idiotic and materialistic voices?

My mind is pressuring my looks into its ideal of perfection. An ideal that is probably unreal and unachieveable. So why can't I believe that?

xxx

Monday, 1 April 2013

Opening up

Brrr its cold in here, there must be something in the atmosphere.

(Just a little bit of 90s rap thrown in for the sheer hell of it...and because it really is freezing.)

Anyway. I shall not be distracted.

I've just finished reading 'The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry' by Rachel Joyce and I would like to share an extract with you all.

"Harold sat in silence. The silver-haired gentleman was in truth nothing like the man Harold had first imagined him to be. He was a chap like himself, with a unique pain; and yet there would be no knowing that if you passed him in the street, or sat opposite him in a cafe and did not share his teacake...It must be the same all over England. People were buying milk, or filling their cars with petrol, or even posting letters. And what no one else knew was the appalling weight of the thing they were carrying inside. The superhuman effort it took someone else to be normal, and a part of things that appeared easy and everyday. The loneliness of that."  
Copyright Rachel Joyce, 2012. From 'The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry'
This passage has strongly resonated with me and my own experiences over the past few years. I remember first telling people that I had depression, and they responded with. "You? But you look fine! You're young, you're pretty! You're happy, you're fine!" And I guess that was the impression I must have given them for such a long time. I had been pretending to be 'normal' for so long, that they couldn't understand the difficult reality of my situation.

So many of us pretend to be ''fine". We nod, we smile, we go along with the crowd. We get up, we go to work, we put one foot in front of another, because we have to. We hold inside the grief, the sadness, the anger, the fear, that gets bigger every day. No matter how much we try to repress it, no matter how many times we say "I'm fine", the pain that Harold sees in others, can be a part of our lives too.

Sometimes saying nothing and getting on with life seems like the right thing to do. We tell ourselves that we're protecting our loved ones, or maybe ourselves, from the painful truth that lies beneath the surface. But really, we're hurting ourselves even more, and our loved ones too.

For it is those people that love you, that want to help you. And they can't really work with "fine". Its a tricky, sneaky, vicious little monosyllabic word that helps no one.

I believe that reaching out with honesty is the only way. Its scary and frightening, and you have no control over the consequences. However, once you are honest, once you open up that lair of pain inside you and share it with someone, they in turn are able to respond with their own honesty. They may well have a shared experience, a kind word, they might even be struggling with something similar.

I see it as a kind of 'pay it forward' scenario. You're honest with someone, they respond with honesty, and then through that experience, you can both learn to do it again.

Maybe I sound cheesy. Maybe I'm pointing out the obvious. But I have a sneaky feeling, just as Harold Fry did, that many of us are hiding things that need talking about. And I think, our world, your world, would be a better place for getting it out in the open.

xxx