What’s in a name?

At the moment I am stuck. My whole life feels stuck. I keep feeling I am on the verge of doing big things, making big changes yet never actually taking any steps forward. Ever since finishing my last deadline I have felt unanchored and drifting. I feel the weight of all our plans and my work closing in around me, not knowing what to do or how to do it.

I don’t know if it is the reason for this blocked ‘meh’ feeling or a symptom of it but this blog seems to be a big tree blocking my way at the moment. Or more specifically its name is. My blog’s focus has moved away from my little button jewellery business and deserves a new name. It is about me now – my fears, adventures and hopes. So I want to refresh it, give it the new start that I working so hard towards.

Can I think of a new name though? Nope, the inspiration boat has well and truly sailed leaving me stranded here. I have been stuck thinking about this for weeks. I have read articles on choosing blog names, written lists of words, thought about my aims and goals, all that sort of jazz. Yet that name is still hiding from me. I keep getting tantalising feelings like the perfect name is about to pop into my head…and then it doesn’t. Or I think of a good name only to find that someone has got there before me.

Maybe I am resting too much on finding this name and that it is why it is hiding, fearful of the pressure I am placing on its shoulders. All I know is that I am one frustrated blogger at the moment…please if you have any ideas or suggestions, save me from this misery!

 

‘Everyday Inspiration’: wrap it up

Finally I have escaped the dreaded work deadline that has been hanging over my head and sucking up all my time these last couple of weeks! So I am back and ready to blog. First up, here’s that summary I promised on the Everyday Inspiration course I finished what seems like months ago now…


Day Twenty: Wrap It Up


And now, the end is near…yep it is the final day of the ‘Everyday Inspiration’ course that I have been doing over here on lovely WordPress.  Funnily enough they have made the last task a wrap-up piece, a look back over the course…never saw that coming…

I choose to take part of my curiosity about some ‘whats’ ~ what do I want from my blog, what I do want to write about and what direction or focus do I want to take?  Sprinkle in a few ‘whys’ ~ why do I write and why do I blog? ~ and that gives you a glimpse of the me that started this course.

It has given me both answers to those questions and at the same time given more questions about how and why I write and what I write about.  Stretching my writing muscles and trying new things has been an interesting experience.  I have not always been brave enough or pleased enough with the results to publish what I have written, I have though written and learnt **

Has taking part in this made me a better writer or blogger?  I don’t really know and maybe it is not for me to decide.  I am not even sure I would be able to answer, I would be too busy looking at what could be better or what I feel is still missing…the damn perfectionist in me hasn’t quite let go yet despite my efforts.  It has certainly given me ideas and shown me blogging doesn’t have to be simply spilling out word after word from my over active mind.

All tasks taught me something, either about my writing or about myself.  These three are the ones that go ‘hey I was really special though’…

Home is Everywhere and it is Anywhere – based on the single word ‘home’ this piece struck a chord with me and with people I shared it with on social media, it reminded me how home is not one building or place.

Dear Tokyo, I miss you– writing a letter to something rather than to a person is a style of writing that was completely out of my comfort zone and I so nearly backed out of it.  I didn’t and was really rather chuffed with the result.

If we were having coffee right now… – This task introduced me to a new way of writing and I loved it!  I will probably introduce it to my blog as a more regular feature.

So now the course is over and what comes next?  A little part of me is concerned that without the focus and prompts given by the course I may lose my way.  Right where’s that positive hat I don’t wear often enough?  Okay found it, yes I may be a little concerned but what sort of anxious person would I be without some worry?  Worrying is nothing new to me.  Accepting that and with my little hat on, I will continue to write, explore new ideas and share my thoughts with you all.  The focus and style for this blog will come together in time, my little thoughts will find their big voice.

**I may have missed a couple of tasks out…**

Hello…I am still here…

I haven’t forgotten about you all or my little blog I promise!  Life has been a little…well busy…and I was feeling a little overwhelmed so something had to give before my sanity did.  

Feeling slightly more on stable ground now so hopefully will follow this quick update with some more blog posts soon (the doofus that I am forgot that I had a couple of drafts ready to go including the summary of my Everyday Inspiration course…doh). 

Catch up with you all soon!

All in a Muddle with Social Media


 

Day Sixteen:  Mine Your Own Material


social-2217781_1920

Scrolling through the examples for this task, one jumped out and said ‘me, me me!’  Amongst the suggestions for using your own posts on social media as inspiration for writing about how we now document and live our lives online, the one clamouring for my attention was how using social media feels.

This is something I think about way too regularly and still am none the wiser about!  How exactly do I feel about the world of social media we live in and how can I use it in a way that works for me without the unhappiness and stress which so often seems to dog my relationship with it.

My relationship status with social media…well as Facebook would say…’It’s complicated’.  I love and hate it, part of me enjoys the world it opens up to me and another part resents the time I use on it, the effect it has on my mental state.  Looking at social media can so easily trigger anxious or depressed spells in me, make me feel isolated or sad yet it can also make me laugh, feel cared for and connected.  Just what is a girl supposed to do about that?!

I am on the big 3 (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and have different issues/likes about them all.  Twitter I don’t really quite get if I am honest, it overwhelms me and I can’t keep up with it.  I dip my toe in it every now and again generally finding it not my thing and moving on.

Instagram is by far my favourite and one that brings the least amount of issues to the table.  Sure I can occasionally get caught in the ‘how many likes did I get?’, ‘I wish my life was like that person’s’ etc and when I do, I step back and have a little break from it.  On the whole though I find Instagram a happy, welcoming place to be and have found some of my most supportive friends there.  I no longer try to catch up with everyone’s posts and have a little scroll once or twice a day, 9 times out of 10 leaving with a positive tummy feeling (on an aside, why are so many emotions felt in the tummy…or is that just me?)

Facebook is the big one for me, the one I really wish I could sort my feelings out for.  I loved Facebook when it first started.  It was a social place where people shared photographs with others, talked about what they were doing.  It was like meeting up with my friends and having fun, except these friends could be at the other end of the country or even across seas.  Over times though that has changed, Facebook has changed and it has become more bloated.  I spend less and less time on it and when I do pop by for a scroll, my feed is full of shared memes (often at someone’s expense), articles, bad news or people arguing  about the state of the world/the UK/the TV/whatever.

I am all for debate and think it is good that people do get involved in politics or protests and petitions, something though about Facebook seems to say to people ‘hey it is okay to be really rude and offensive’  I find this and the constant sharing of bad news or ‘shocking’ events hard reading and often leave Facebook feeling down or with my anxiety pushed right up.

Facebook to me is no longer about spending virtual time with my friends, ironically sometimes I feel like I am losing touch with them more and more because of it.  I simply can’t be bothered to spend much time scrolling through all the stuff that clogs my feed and so miss seeing actual updates from people.  Nobody seems to tell each other their news anymore, it is all ‘oh I shared it on Facebook’.  Friendships no longer feel so special.

In contrast I have people on my friends list who I never really talk to or interact with yet I feel that I can’t unfriend them because of connections with other people.  I’d like to keep my friends list to exactly that ~ my friends, yet it feels out of my control to do so.  I know I can unfollow people to keep the peace yet it stresses me knowing they are there and I berate myself for not having the balls to defriend them.

This all sounds like it is obviously pointing towards a break up with Facebook however the situation doesn’t feel that straightforward (as life never is).  Virtually all my friends are on it including many in other countries and I feel that if I left it, I would lose touch with some of them.  I suppose there is the argument that is how life is, people come into your life and some stay, some move on.  I like though that I can keep in contact with people this way, I like seeing what my friends in New Zealand or Japan are up to, I like the odd exchange of comments or likes.  I want that connection, the question is can I have it without all that negative stuff?  I am not yet ready to give up Facebook, I need to find a way of making it work for me though or I will reach that point for long.

See I told you I was all mixed up about social media!  What are your feelings about social media?  Do you use it and if so, how do you balance the real and online worlds in your life?  Am I alone in finding it all such a muddle?!

Reasons for Reading

“We read to know we’re not alone” – William Nicholson, Shadowlands


Day 15:  Take a Cue from Your Reader (or not in my case, I picked one of the prompts as didn’t have any suggestions sniff sniff)

Back on day 2 or 3 when I made a disastrous attempt to write a list of things I am good at (it never saw the light of day), Phillip mentioned how he was jealous at how good I was at reading and all the stories I get to read.  I have never viewed my reading as a skill, it is simply something that I do so it felt quite odd to have this said to me.  It is not something I have practiced in order to get better or improve, I simply read, quickly and all the time.

This quote got me thinking about why I read as much as I do, what it is I go from continuously finishing one book and picking up another.  There is always a book sitting waiting for me to pick up and continue our adventure.  I suppose there are many surface reasons for why I read – that I want to be entertained, to relax and to enjoy are some that immediately pop into my head.

Deep down though the main reason I read is because I want to escape.  Reading takes me away from my anxiety and depressions, it lets me go away when I am feeling stuck, it helps me to feel at times when my emotions may be struggling.  Reading shows me new places, it takes me to different worlds.  It shows me all the potential that could be out there, it encourages me to dream.  My world would be a much smaller place if I did not read and I suppose I would indeed be much more alone.

 

Pile of books - from Pixabay

photo by Pixabay

 

You Are Not Alone

 


Day Twelve: Critique a Piece of Work


“Hold on, Hold On.

Everybody hurts.

You are not alone”

~ REM Everybody Hurts


Another day I initially felt very tempted to skip, another day I found myself thinking this isn’t my thing, what on earth would I write about?  Then something came to me, something very personal.  It is not really a critique or a review, more an expression of what one song means to me and how it will play for me at the end of my days.

When I tell people that I want this song played at my funeral, at the start when everyone walks in, the reaction is usually always the same.  It is always something along the lines of ‘wow you really want people to cry, don’t you?’ and accompanied by a look that suggests I am being mean, that I am bad person for wanting to do that to people.  It is a song with a reputation for being bleak, a depressing song about hurt and loneliness, a ‘tear-jerker’.  And to be fair, once upon the time I thought so too.

As a teenager, my brother introduced me to a new world of music, quite different to the boy bands my friends were listening to.  This was how REM came into my life.  I loved REM then and still do, they seem to get how odd, screwed up and yet awesome this life can be.  They say to me that it is okay to be different, quirky and expressive.

‘Everybody Hurts’ was released shortly before I split up with my long-term boyfriend and temporarily moved back into my old bedroom at my parent’s house.  I was devastated.  My world and security had broken down and I was lost.  This song spoke to me of my grief, encouraged my sorrow and let me dwell again and again on how my life had gone so badly wrong.  To me it was indeed a song filled with hurt and sadness.

For years though this song has become a positive message to me especially when life has seemed more than bleak.  It is a song of hope, of finding a way through difficult and painful times, of not being alone.  There is acceptance that life comes with suffering, that everybody hurts and cries.  It is to me the perfect song to be played at a funeral, at a time when grief can seem too much to bear.

It is a song that has held me through many difficult times, it is sometimes the very thing that has stopped me feeling so alone and empty when depression has struck or when I have come face to face with grief.  Everybody does hurt, I hurt and it is this song that has helped me to hang on through some of the worst parts of my life.  Thank you REM for giving me this song, my world would have been a tougher place without it.

Dear Tokyo, I miss you…


Day Eight: Reinvent the Letter Format


Today’s task is to write a letter, any type of letter, to anyone or anything, about any subject.  My first instinct was that I didn’t want to do it.  Once I decided to go for it, my next instinct was to do one of those letters to myself aged whatever or to my anxiety.  Something that was comfortable, a subject that I am used to writing about.  I didn’t want to go down that often walked path though, not today.  I wanted to stretch myself and write something a little more different, more positive.  So I am writing a letter to a city, to my home for 6 months, to Tokyo.

_1150766_Processed_20150328

Dear Tokyo,

It is two whole years since we said goodbye yet I can still feel you, can still smell you.  I know what it was to walk your streets, spend time in your shrines and temples, watch people live their lives.  Yes it is two whole years and I have not forgotten you.

At first living in your sprawling, busy, noisy and so very different city was hard.  It was not what I expected from our brief acquaintances before.  I hadn’t realised how strange you could be, how alone you could make me feel.  Sometimes you were so hard to understand, so alien.  I wanted to run, find something familiar, go ‘home’ to where I could understand and be understood.  It broke my heart because I was so sure that you and me would be such good friends.

And I was right.  At some point I stopped fighting and listened to what you had to say.  The loneliness I felt in your presence turned to an appreciation of solitude, of pleasure in my own company whilst spending time walking your streets.  I opened up to your ways, found pleasure in your odd and quirky nature and loved the traditional ways that underpinned everything you do.  I always felt safe with you wherever I was and whatever I was doing.  My home was small yet outside my door was never ending exploration and adventure.

I miss those days, miss that life and I miss you Tokyo.  Leaving you behind was one of the hardest things I have ever done and the feeling of being there with you has never left or eased.  You still have my heart.  I will see you again Tokyo.

till then…all my love