It’s oh so quiet…

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Does it ever happen to you that you think you haven’t done something for a while and then you realise it is actually even longer than you thought? Happened to me today with this blog. Knew I hadn’t posted for a few days…but a week?! Oh my how did that happen…

To be honest its been a bit of an odd week. Something has simply not felt right. Not the usual over the top anxiousness or the sad depression that sometimes still hits me. This was more an absence. A feeling of not being quite here. Of detachment.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with their dark moments. I have a few. My main one is to switch off. I shut down and step away. Let whatever is up with me pass. Usually it is quite a conscious decision, this time though it kinda felt outside of my choice. Still I went with it, had an absent few days and now feel like a little more of me is back.

So an odd week as I said. My mental health can still throw me a curveball after all these years of living with its ups and downs. What is it trying to tell me this time?

Writing my list for living…

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First of all let me say wow. Let me say thank you for all the wonderful responses to my post ‘the life in your years’. Clicking that publish button was seriously hard. The response I got here and on social media made all the doubts and tears rolled up in that post more than worth it.

Did you wonder if I would actually write my list for living? I know I did. Yet I have. It has moved from a hey-that-is something-I-ought-to-do kind of idea into more than an idea. My list has life.

I wanted to share it with you, partly so you knew I hadn’t forgotten about it. Partly to make sure I stuck to it. Partly to encourage those of you who said to me how much they shared or understood the feelings in that blog post and the need to live this life.

So here is my list so far, be gentle with it as it is still quite young and has space still to grow. And then grow some more. Like me.

As they say on Strictly Coming Dancing, in no particular order…

MY LIST FOR LIVING:

visit the very tip of the Mull of Galloway

buy some posh vegan cheese

go on a Segway

try painting

go on a Buddhist retreat or course

go snorkelling

climb a mountain (a small one…)

try pottery

ride a horse

go snowboarding

see a volcano

do our road trip across US

go sea kayaking

publish my own book of photos

Once I make the move to my own self-hosted site (coming soon!) , my list will have its own section where I can add to it, tick things off and see where it takes me. Join me and lets live this life together.

Photo from Pixabay

 

If we were having coffee right now…big news time!

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Hello! How are you? It is good to catch up again after 5 whole weeks since our last coffee and chat. What is your drink of choice for today? I feel a slight fraud with the title of this post as I am actually sitting here sipping a cup of tea…

If we were having coffee right now, I would be bursting to tell you our big news. We are going to be on the move again – yep – finally! The roots we put down in Cumbria have turned out to be only surface deep. First planned stop is back ‘home’ to Tokyo. Where we go after and whether we do head there first remains to be seen. ‘When?’ I hear you ask. Fingers crossed October – November time this very year!

If we were having coffee right now, we would talk about how this time round it is going to be different. How this time we will not be storing our possessions. Well not many of them anyway. I would tell you how bogged down we felt after our travels by the sheer amount of stuff we have. How tied down and overwhelmed. So this time we are selling most of what we have accumulated in our 22 years together. If or when we settle again, we will start again. Start afresh. I would tell you to let me know if you have your eye on anything of ours!

If we were having coffee right now, I would sadly tell you I will be closing down Mr B’s Button Jamboree in the next few months. Partly because of our plans. Partly because I feel too stretched with the writing, blogging and microstock photography. I would share my disappointment that I never got to develop it in the way I planned and pride in actually doing it in the first place. It took more courage than I actually thought I had. I would tell you this may not be forever, we shall see.

If we were having coffee right now, I would finally give you my exciting news about my blog. I have chosen its new name and am now designing its new look! No you are not finding anything out about it now! Patience!

My! What a catch up this has been with all sorts of big news from me! I feel I have monopolised the conversation slightly…what’s your news? What have you been up to?

 

Photo by ColobusYeti

My Friend, the Inside of my Head

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Me and the inside of my head are very good friends, we hang out all the time.  Nothing happens in my life, from big events to small daily activities, that we don’t spend time discussing and assessing.  Some might say we spend too much time together, that the inside of my head is a bad influence on me.  And I would probably agree with them.

I like spending time with the inside of my head…or at least I used to.  Being an introvert, a thinker and an analyser, it allows me to think things through and get quiet time from the rest of the world.  At some point though, the inside of my head started taking over.  We spent too much time together.  I started hanging out in my head all the time and not in the real world.  Like a possessive partner, it started distorting how I look at the world and myself.  I became the silent friend in the relationship, the friend of a bully who kept me down all the time so it was the powerful one.

I recognised in time my friendship with the inside of my head was not a healthy one and I began to distance myself from it.  It did not want to let go of me though, there was and still are arguments over how to see the world and my place in it.  Our friendship has become toxic and I need space from it.  Yet I still need that friendship, it is my refuge from a world that I find too much sometimes, it is a place of processing and protection.  So I am trying to build bridges with the inside of my mind, to find a partnership with it where we are equals not enemies.

 

Image from DasWortgewand @ pixabay

The Life in Your Years

 


“It’s not the years in your life that matter…it’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln (*possibly*)


I had a completely different article in mind to write today. Instead I came across this article on the BBC website about journalist Helen Fawkes who died earlier this month.  It talks about how she faced her cancer with a ‘list for living’, blogging about her experiences both with cancer and with life. It made me cry as all too often stories like this do, I cry for myself.

This is quite a raw post for me to write and I feel more exposed and vulnerable than normal. I had a bone marrow transplant in 2001 for chronic myeloid leukaemia and have spent the 16 years since often grieving for the life I thought I would live before I received my diagnosis.  I have spent those years torn between fear of living and fear of not living enough. I am often paralysed, stuck between wanting to live, to experience this life to the full and yet unable to do so, terrified of what could go wrong.

I lost me after my transplant, I lost that person with dreams and plans for the future.  I wasn’t that person anymore and it took a whole lot of hard times, of fighting to get back to ‘normal’, to realise that person had gone and I was causing myself harm by holding on to that image of me.  Eventually I stopped looking back so much and looked for who I was now, for where I wanted life to take me.

My mind had other ideas though. It was almost like it saw me getting hold of myself and putting myself back together…and didn’t like it one little bit.  So it threw health anxiety into the mix.  Understandable perhaps given what had happened to me, the physical effects my treatment continues to have on me, the death of my brother and of Phillip’s parents.

Still it is one of the hardest things I have ever had to cope with. Constantly worrying whether this or that is a sign of something that is going to kill me, sheer overwhelming panic that I am going to die and the battling that goes on between my fear of doing anything and my fear of not doing anything, of not doing enough. I am tired of living like this.

So this article about Helen who faced her diagnosis with such a positive and open attitude really got to me.  She lived her life knowing her time was limited and determined to fit in as much as she possibly could. I cried for the years I feel I have wasted in not grasping hold of this life with both hands. It is such a brief, amazing, fleeting life we live and I am so aware of a need to make the most of it.  Too aware maybe.

I can’t do anything about what is in the past. Those years, all that time I feel I have wasted, well that is unchangeable.  And the future, who knows.  All I have is now, I need to stop worrying and put more life into my years.  So I am going to borrow Helen’s idea of a ‘list for living’ and fill it with things from the normal to the possibly impossible.  I don’t want a bucket list, that feels too much like having to achieve a list of things before I die.  I want things to aim for, I want to celebrate this life and I want to live it not simply be alive for it.

When my list is more than an idea, when it itself has life, I will share it with you. For encouragement, for support, for the sheer kick in the backside I will probably need to push through my worries to actually do this.  If you have any suggestions for my list, share away please!

If you are interested in reading about Helen’s story in her own words, take a look at her blog.

If we were having coffee right now…

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Hello!  Let’s get our drinks, grab some comfy chairs and have a catch up.  I’ll have a coffee with oat milk today, what about you?  Biscuit or cake?  Nothing for me thanks, I bought some vegan snacks to sneak nibbles of whilst the staff aren’t looking.

If we were having coffee right now, we would exchange greetings, hugs and the usual ‘how are you?’, ‘ooh I like that top/pin/etc’ and weather comments that form a typical part of any get-together.  I would apologise for sneezing and sniffing my way through our coffee date and grumble about having allergies before sniggering at making people jump with an extra loud sneeze.

If we were having coffee right now, I would be all pleased with myself because I am still going jogging.  I have only managed to go out twice a week since we last met rather than the three times which is my goal and I am fairly happy with that because…I am still going jogging!  The jogging without music and paying attention to my body seems to be working a treat too and I am actually not minding the experience.  Oddly I don’t seem to think much when running and that is quite a wonderful relief from my over active mind.

If we were having coffee right now, I tell you how frustrated I am that I still can’t think of a new name for my blog.  As you know I want to decide the new name before I move to self hosting the blog and am feeling all sorts of ‘grrr’ that this is holding me up.  I have come up with plenty of names ranging from the naff to the ‘ooh I really like that one…oh someone already has it’.  I would ask for your ideas….

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you sadly how I am thinking of closing down my little button jewellery business Mr B’s Button Jamboree.  I am very proud of myself for setting it up in the first place and what I have achieved with it, I simply don’t seem to have to time to give to it anymore or develop it in the way I once wanted to.  It doesn’t really fit into my future plans ~ no I am not telling you what they are right now, those are something for another coffee date so patience!

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that next week I am off to sunny Sheffield for the weekend.  It is not a pleasure visit as such though I am sure it will be a fun time.  ColobusYeti is taking photos at Yorkshire Cosplay Con and I am tagging along for the ride.  I’d excitedly show you their website which has photos scrolling across the main page…most of which are his from last year’s event!  So next weekend will be a interesting mix of cosplay, working wherever I can find a spot and exploring Sheffield.

Ooh is that the time?!  I’d best go now.  Thanks for joining me lovely, it was great to see you!  Lets do this again soon yes?  Big hug and goodbye ❤

 

Jumping = Life


Day 4 – A Story in a Single Image


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Today I needed to pick a photo out of four and use it as a starting point, a springboard into a story, poem or personal thoughts.  All four photos had things I could say about them yet this one spoke to me in a way the others did not.

There is such care-free abandon in that jump, such freedom, such joy.  It makes me happy that there is such joy in the world and yet at the same time it makes me feel so sad and so lonely.  Moments like that seem so rare in my life, my life which feels so controlled and worried about.  I want that type of feeling, I want to gleefully leap into pools, dance down the street and laugh with my friends.  I want to feel such freedom rather than the feeling of constraint and tension that seem to accompany my day to day life.

Wanting and doing though are two very different things.  The very things that mean my life feels it is missing these moments are the very things that put barriers up to stop me moving towards such a place of, if you’ll excuse the language, not giving a fuck and grasping life with both hands.  Every movement towards a life that will bring me joy seems to be so hard fought, involves such effort.  And I am tired, tired of this constant battle with myself.  The me that is so scared, so worried, so doubting vs. the me that sees such joy, such fun, such pleasure in the world and wants it in my world.  There needs to be some agreement, some compromise…because that person in the photograph, that is me, I can feel it deep inside.