Mental Health Insights

Once again, it’s many months since I kept my promise and returned to writing my blog. There are dozens of excuses I could use, but realistically, life just got in the way.

Winter is a notoriously bad time for me. If there is going to be a downturn in my mood or capabilities, the cold, dark months are guaranteed to host them. I don’t need to tell you that this year’s spring promise, faded rather dramatically, with almost the entire world affected by the dreadful Coronavirus (Covid19). Is there anyone on this planet who isn’t affected by it, in some way? I live alone, in the southwest of England, where, thankfully, we haven’t been too badly hit, never-the-less, we’ve had to completely alter our lives. Being in my late 60s, with a host of health issues, I’m one of the many, told to ‘shield’ for at least 12weeks. Thankfully, I’m used to being on my own so it hasn’t caused me too much problem. I’m fortunate to live in a wonderfully supportive area and have people to get my shopping etc, so apart from the inconvenience, I’ve managed quite well.

We’ve been blessed with amazing spring, having bright sunshine streaming through the windows, has certainly been a bonus. Like many, I vowed to use this time wisely, but reality has been very different. I’ve launched into frenzied cleaning and reorganizing, only for enthusiasm to wane, almost as quickly as it began. I’ve attempted to rekindle my passion for writing, for art and other forms of creativity, all to fall foul of apathy. With my voluntary work halted and nothing in my diary, there is very little structure to my week. Daily routines have gone, meals and sleeping are interspersed with far too much time on social media. Wanting to break the spiral, I’ve thrown myself into baking. It’s years since I’ve cooked for a family, but unfortunately, once I get my mixing bowls and recipe books out, I forget I’m not feeding the five thousand! With my freezer bulging at the seams, the only solution has been to eat the delicious offerings myself. Although enjoyable, it’s not a healthy pastime! I’ve also done more than my fair share of thinking. With no desire to sit glued to the television, I’ve spent many hours reassessing my life. It’s certainly been a roller-coaster, with extreme highs and lows. Regret has mingled with happy memories. As for my ambitions, very few materialised.

IT’s OK NOT TO BE OK

One constant throughout my life, has been a struggle with my mental health, I can’t recall a time when it wasn’t problematic. Following divorce and moving to Wells, I took the decision to be open about my mental health, in the hope that it could help reduce the stigma that is often shown to those with mental ill-health. Being so forthright hasn’t been welcomed by everyone, but for me, it has felt the right thing to do. One thing to remember though, this was my decision and isn’t right for everyone. It’s important to do what feels right for you. But whether you speak up, or stay silent, remember – mental health illness is not something you chose – it is not your fault. However you deal with it, be kind to yourself.

Until next time, take care, stay safe and remember you are loved

Rosie xxx.

Four years later…

Hi to old friends, new friends and those not yet convinced.

Apologies for another stalled attempt at posting regularly, but perhaps this time I’ll actually succeed.

After several unsuccessful attempts at completing a new post, I’ve realised that It might be a good time to repost something that I wrote four years ago on another page. I came across it while trying to re-aquaint myself with the ins and outs of using WordPress. Seeing it took me by surprise, I’d forgotten all about it. It seems very poignant, that after the inflated high that I was experiencing at that time, I’ve hit the ground, hard, and am currently clawing my way back up.

As most people with any experience of mental health issues know, complete recovery is often little more than wishful thinking. I had convinced myself that all I needed was willpower, (which I lack at the best of times). Unfortunately, life had other ideas and saw that I needed a lesson in humility, which was then doled out in spades! However, with this lesson, there was a carrot as well as a stick. By meeting so many wonderful, genuine people. I’ve been suitably rewarded for pulling myself out of the hole and not just throwing in the towel.

Rosie x

The following post was written in 2016. That was then, this is now, yet still the words are relevant. Re-reading it has been a good reminder for me.

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When my companion was a kitten, he enjoyed contorting himself into weird & wonderful situations. However I didn’t. As far back as I can recall, I’ve felt out of place, uncomfortable. I just didn’t fit, wherever I happened to be – that is until now!   Now my life is very different. My journey has been a very long, lonely one, filled with a maze of twists, turns, dead ends & feelings of entrapment.  The fact that I have survived this long has been reason enough to want to tell more about my story.  It is one of bleakness , yet somehow I have come out of it, at the age of almost 64, smiling, filled with contentment. Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. Far too many people can’t admit they have a mental health problem. It’s not surprising. There is still a huge amount of stigma attached.

Living with mental health issues is the cause of huge daily stress. Finding the strength to keep going, attempting to ignore the stares, sniggers, finger pointing, nasty comments and worse. At times it feels insurmountable. They are forced to deal with their demons alone, often putting on a mask of happiness, rather than admit what they are coping with.

In the difficult world of people living with poor mental health, waiting & hoping for the time when we are no longer regarded as second-class citizens, feels little more than a utopian dream.

Although things are moving in the right direction, it is painfully slow. It seems that the only way to make change happen, is to start it for ourselves – each & everyone of us. Whatever our social standing, whether we are affected or not, we all need to chip away at the stigma that exists. We need to be offering friendship, understanding, empathy and compassion, not just to those closest to us, but to EVERYONE!

Let’s all work together to be a kinder, more understanding community.

We must all do our bit, not expect someone else to instigate those changes.

Put in a simple mantra: “LET IT BEGIN WITH ME”

Yes, I sound like one of the hippy, peace & love brigade – because that’s exactly what I am! I make no apologies for it. Kindness empowers us, spite & ignorance certainly doesn’t.

I try to practice what I preach, quite often I make a massive mess of things, but still I keep on trying.

How about you?

Rosie x

A Stitch in time

  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  • Better late than never.
  • A picture paints a thousand words.
  • Change is as good as a rest.
  • A watched pot never boils. 
  •  Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

I’m sure that most of us have heard these and the many other proverbs. You may even say them without thinking about it, I know I do.

My Grandmother used a lot of proverbs, one of her most quoted was ‘A stitch in time, saves nine.’  As a child, I though she meant it literally, it made sense since she was teaching me to knit and sew. It’s not surprising that I took it at face value.

[ If it’s of interest, It seems the phrase originated in France, during the 1700’s, and was first recorded in English in Thomas Fuller’s book of Gnomologia (1732) ]

But I digress…

Most (if not all) proverbs were intended to teach the masses in an easily remembered format. However, I wonder if any of them thought about alternate meanings?

The subject of this blog invaded my thoughts, without any form of invite. It wasn’t one of my considered subjects, but never-the-less, it has refused to go away until I put it ‘out there’. So for the sake of my sanity, I shall attempt to quell it’s nagging.

A stitch in time, saves nine.

Scenario 1

In our hectic daily lives, how often do we put off doing things, telling ourselves we haven’t got time? Frequently, even if concerned about their health, many people will use a variety of excuses to avoid seeing their doctor. Even when the ailment becomes more worrying, they ignore it, doing anything to avoid hearing the truth. However, this can easily back-fire. The delay could mean that a simple, easy to treat niggle  has become a more serious problem, with all that entails. Without a proper diagnosis, how can any of us know? Why do we procrastinate over something as serious as our health? Use that first*stitch* when needed, there is nothing to gain by delay.

Scenario 2

Maybe you misunderstand what someone is telling you and you get angry. Your temper rockets skyward, preventing the unwitting recipient the opportunity to clarify what they were saying. The argument gets personal, with you hurling hurtful insults. Later, once the fiery rage has faded, you reflect and realise you were in the wrong. You owe the other person an apology, do you make your peace immediately or avoid it, hoping it will resolve itself? It won’t. In most cases, delayed apologies are less likely to be accepted.

Scenario 3

How many of us have bumped into an old acquaintance – you know the face but can’t recall their name? They are chatting as if you were long-lost friends, what do you do? The sensible solution would be to apologise, then explain and ask them to remind you. But courage is a strange being, it can tell you it will be easier to bluff your way through the conversation. So you smile and chat, walking on quicksand, hoping you don’t give the game away. ( I fall into this category). You might breath a sigh of relief when they leave,  but what if you meet them again? How much more difficult is it going to be then?

Scenario 4

For no specific reason, you are late for a meeting, do you make a simple apology, or concoct an elaborate web of lies? While the fanciful tales might ease your conscience, is your memory really that good? You will be walking on egg-shells, scared of being caught out. And what happens if you are?

Scenario 5

One of the most difficult and distressing situations, is meeting someone you know has been recently bereaved. You don’t want to speak to them because you’re nervous about saying the wrong thing. Few of us can instinctively find the right words, (if there is such a thing) but avoidance, perhaps by crossing the street, doesn’t help anyone, nor does it solve anything. You’ll still need to have that first conversation sometime, you can’t avoid it forever. Pushing through your discomfort by focusing on the other person’s needs is kinder and easier, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time.

Nearly there…

Scenario 6

Relationships can be a ticking time-bomb. Even in a fairly close partnership, it’s likely that at some point the boat will be rocked and by the law of averages, at some point, the blame will be well and truly yours. You’ve hurt the person you love most, they are upset, the atmosphere is dreadful. You want things back as they were but you also want to save face, besides why you should make the first move? They were to blame as well! You realise that you need to talk through your problem but your inner coward is insisting you avoid the truth at all costs. So instead you snipe and bitch, hoping that your partner apologises first. Problems can easily escalate and there is no way of knowing how much damage is being done. While there is love between you, there is no place for pride. Put your partner first. Using the *stitch* in time, can make the difference between healing the hurt, or allowing your world to collapse around you.

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The key in all of these scenarios, is one word, or rather, two – ‘I’m sorry.’ It’s a simple little phrase, but said with humility, it can be the necessary *stitch* that repairs the damage. It can hold things together, even bridging the widest chasm. It’s up to you whether you use it.

In the context of this proverb, I believe ‘one stitch’ means to face up to your problem as soon as possible. Delaying tactics might render your sewing abilities futile.

Sometimes, the remaining eight stitches won’t be enough.

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This is my interpretation but you may think differently, I’d be interested to hear other ideas.

Rosie x

 

 

Why me?

I began this blog, bursting with positivity. I intended to write a post, at least weekly, hoping to inspire others, but despite good intentions, I wasn’t organised enough. Posts were written sporadically, occasionally two in one day, then perhaps a month or so before another. It wasn’t what I’d intended.

I was filled with recriminations, yet no matter much I blamed myself, nothing changed. I told myself I was a failure. I considered giving up, but before I could make that decision, life set it’s own rules. A succession of personal and health difficulties took away my choice. After a period in hospital, I expected things to return to normal (or what passes for normal in my world) within a few weeks, yet somehow, it’s been almost almost 18 months.

Since that period I’ve been unable to write anything worthwhile. My books, short stories, even my newspaper column fell by the wayside. Many times I’ve tried to find my muse, yet it seemed to have deserted me.

Already in the throws of deep depression, I felt bereft. Why couldn’t I write? It had been my coping strategy, helping me make sense of the world, but for some reason, I was left stranded. My self-esteem and confidence were dragging along the floor. Life seemed pointless. Two years previously, I’d been riding high. I live with EUBPD (emotionally unstable borderline personality disorder) so life can be a rollercoaster but this felt different. A long battle with DWP over my PIP entitlement had left me frail and exhausted, a mild heart attack soon followed. There was no point in writing- I had nothing interesting to say. My depression worsened, yet I couldn’t see that it was probably the cause of my writing block.
It took anti-depressants, good friends and a lengthy period of counselling with a wonderful psychologist before I faced reality.

I’m not Super Woman.

No matter what I’d like to be, I’m a disabled woman in my late 60s, living alone, doing my best to make a good life in difficult circumstances. Once I reconciled myself to those simple facts, things began to make sense. The fog began to clear.

There is nothing to prevent me from writing. I may not be Shakespeare or Wordsworth, but I have a gift and people tell me that my words help them, furthermore, my disastrous life experiences mean I have plenty to share with the world. So here I am, back again, writing my first blog in an absolute age. I’m a little rusty and not without a bucketful of nerves, but I’m doing my best.

Once I’m back in the swing of things, I’ll attempt to post regularly, but won’t heap unnecessary pressure on myself this time.

We aren’t given a life rule book, we just make it up as we go along. No one has any other choice. A fortunate few seem to have a comparatively easy ride, sailing through life with barely a blip, while others are constantly on the verge of collapsing under the weight of responsibility. Allowing the pressure to suffocate us is futile.

As far as I know, none of us has superpowers.

In life, some have been dealt a good hand, others not, but while some thrive on stress, others can barely cope. Yet even in the hardest lives, there is something positive to grasp.

We can’t all be highly successful or wealthy, yet we can still be proud of ourselves. Almost certainly you have a special talent. Are you shaking your head?

Let me show you…

Are you reliable?

A good friend?

Perhaps you are creative?

Are you extremely patient with children or the elderly?

Do people turn to you in a crisis?

Is your shoulder always available to cry on?

Are you loving and caring?

Perhaps you gave a natural affinity with animals?

Do you volunteer to help, or raise money for charities?

Are you passionate about the environment?

The list is endless. You might not find it easy to blow your own trumpet, but that doesn’t take away from your success. If even one person truly cares about you, you are a winner.

If you believe you’re failing in some aspect of life, don’t allow it to define you. Illness or circumstance can knock any of us off balance, but it isn’t the end. Lick your wounds if you need to, then get back up and continue your fight. For you, that might mean quietly, perhaps behind the scenes. Do it your way. As long as you don’t trample on others, how you get through your life is unique to you. You might be overlooked, even loved ones may fail to recognise your positive attributes, but don’t let that throw you off course.

You are a wonderful, unique person. Even if you think no one else believes in you – believe in yourself. Stoke the fires to keep your shining light burning brightly.

You are worthy, just as I am. We deserve the best possible life. It’s there for us, we just need to grasp it.

If you want life to change, you need to change it. If you sit and feel sorry for yourself (as I did), opportunities will pass you by.

Remember, success doesn’t need to be measured by income or status.

A good, kind person us worth far, far more.

Don’t just dream it. Live it. Remember, you have the world in your hands. Cherish it.

Rosie x

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Decisions – the cycle of doubt.

With Ill health and constant pain taking it’s toll on me, I’ve been forced to rethink my life. I love where I live, however my home is a second floor flat, which is no longer practical. I made the decision to move to somwhere more suitable.

Choice made – or so I thought.

Apartment on the market, decision made, I told friends & neighbours. Bad move.  From then has followed a concentrated effort to make me change my mind. It’s wonderful to be appreciated & told how much I’m needed & will be missed but it made a difficult decision even more challenging. Eventually the pressure got to me. I gave in.

Second choice – stay where I belong.

Estate Agency duly notified about my decision to withdraw my property from sale, I felt saddened yet relieved. New plans took shape. I couldn’t afford to buy a suitable property nearby so had to consider how life could be simplified whilst still here. With careful budgeting there would be ways to make things easier for myself. I’d need to give up my voluntary job & at least one of my groups but that would allow me time to rest and relax. Yes, good decision. But on the other hand…….

Yet another rethink.

An elderly friend bluntly told me how frustrating it was to see me procrastinating so much. She was right of course. Generally when I make a decision, I see it through, so why is it so different this time?

Fear, pure and simple. Nor fear of moving but of making the wrong decision.

Friends have been giving helpful advice about being careful, apparently due to my age, relocation could be risky. I might not make new friends. I may be lonely. I’d be throwing away a good social circle. Would it be wise? Doubts began to multiply. The infernal inner dialogue got me in such a muddle that I was no longer able to focus on the best solution. New friends continued to enter my life, my groups continued to flourish. Surely everyone was right? Leaving would be foolhardy…….

Tossing the dice.

Just as I felt brow-beaten into a forced decision, I realised that there is no perfect solution. I can stay, maintain friendships but live in an unsuitable environment, or I can take the risk and move away, alone but to a more disabled friendly location. Either way there will be gains & losses. So how do I decide?

I chose to offer my dilemma up to the Universe & now await the answer.

I set a date in which to remove my property from sale if no buyer appears and will trust that whichever way it goes will be right for me. It isn’t a cop-out, I could force the decision, keep reducing my price until I eventually sell, or can put my trust in the Universe & just wait to see what happens. The coming few weeks will be frustrating, not knowing if I’m leaving or staying but I’m no longer going to be running around like a headless chicken. If I sell, I move. If I don’t, I stay.  Patience needs practice.

I’ve lived here for almost 7 years & hopefully have another 20 years on this earth, so what difference will a few weeks make? I do realise, albeit painfully, that I must do what is right for me. Friends, if they’re genuine will want what’s best for me, not themselves. Of course I will hate saying goodbye, if that’s the way the dice rolls, but there will be new friends. As the saying goes : all strangers are simply friends not yet met. I love my friends, they are very special to me but maybe our journey together has come to an end and it’s time to bid them farewell. Deep down I believe I’ll soon be moving but won’t be too disappointed if no sale ensues.

The thought of pastures new came in the wake of traumatic problems at the end of last year. Running away would have been easy. The constant indecision has forced me to take time out and rethink my reasons for relocating. I’m so thankful for that breathing space. Now, whatever happens, I’m ready to embrace my future.

Trust is a wonderful gift.

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Showing self kindness.

Many people, including myself have been brought up to put others first. My Mother was the typical Martyr, working herself into the ground, not expecting consideration or praise. Even when unwell she would keep going, no-one could run the home as she did, she made herself indespensible, but at what cost?  She was constantly drained, irritable, sleep deprived & extremely low in mood. When it was suggested that she took a break, she’d be horrified. When sitting she’d perch on the edge of the chair, just waiting to jump up & continue her work. I don’t remember ever seeing her truly relax. I can only imagine how unworthy she felt. Why else would she abuse herself in this way?

For most of my life I followed my Mothers’ ethos, although illness forced me to take a slower approach to life than I wanted. Even when really unwell, as soon as I heard someone approaching, I’d jump up & look busy. I couldn’t accept that it was alright to take time out, I felt guilty. I was a failure. Maybe if I’d really relaxed in both body & mind, I might not have suffered such ill health? Hindsight is pointless, I did what I did. I followed my Mothers example.

It has taken me to reach my 60s before I accepted that I had the right to relax, to enjoy time out &  that resting was no crime.

Currently I am coping with an horrendous flare up of my fibromyalgia symptoms. It hasn’t been a surprise as I know I’ve been pushing myself too hard. I knew that I needed to slow down, but old habits die hard; I was needed, indespensible, unwilling to accept my frailties. As expected, I’m now paying the price!

In extreme pain & feeling very unwell, I am laying on the sofa with feet raised, yet still trying to figure out how I can fulfil my commitments over the next few days. Why is it so difficult to just say “sorry, can’t make it “? Some people find it easy to pamper themselves & often make the most of sick periods, having people run around & fetch & carry for them. Not me, thanks Mum. No doubt her Mother was the same.

Isn’t it time that we were taught that self kindness is as necessary as kindness to others? None of us are indespensible. If we take time out, the world continues to turn. Life goes on & so it should. I am quite good at helping people & offering advice. It is annoying when people choose to ignore sensible, well researched advice, so why  do I ignore my own wisdom? Why do I simply refuse to accept that I’m not SuperWoman?

All over the Country & maybe the Workd, there are people like me. Sufferers who will happily encourage loved ones to take better care of themselves, to rest & relax when needed, yet who ignore their own advice. It’s no less than masochism!

As I age I am improving. I do relax more. I meditate. I feel less guilty for doing nothing. I eat more healthily, exercise more, sleep more soundly, unfortunately that is only part of the picture – the remainder of the time I run round like a headless chicken.

The moral of this story is simple. I need to take more general care of myself every day of my life, not just when time allows, or pain/ illness offers no other choice.  Hopefully people who read this may look at themselves & question their attitude to self care. If you are one of the fortunate people who find it easy, look around you, is there a harassed person enabling you to do it? If so, perhaps it’s time to offer a little more considerate care. “I’m alright, I’m happy to do it!” is often no more than the hidden message saying ” I don’t believe myself worthy of self care.” Offer to help, insist on it. Make a cuppa. Let that person realise that you love them, not just as a workhorse, but as a human being with rights, needs & frailties.

We all need & are entitled to love , care & respect. Accept it from wherever it is offered & if no-one offers, then take it for yourself. You are worthy.

Rosie Thomas

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Thankyou for taking the time to read this. Although I write irregularly, everything is from the heart & hopefully offers the reader some food for thought.

I you have enjoyed my musing, please ‘like’, ‘follow’ &/or ‘share’. Blogs only really work if there are people out there happy to read our words.

I am happy to receive feedback or other communication, so feel free to respond.

Thank you. Namaste x

 

 

The importance of being popular.

The heading of this post is intended as food for thought, not a factual statement.

As children we strive for popularity, we are desperate to be well liked & be part of the ‘in’ crowd. For many of us it leads to feelings of inadequacy, as we fail miserably. We may well have friends, but for some reason we don’t quite match up to the ‘cool kids’. If we are lucky, we are accepted into the group, but are left trailing behind the popular leaders, never quite good enough to make the transition to becoming one of the central hub.  For many this is the reality of growing up, some don’t even make it to the outer edge of the group, left alone & isolated, their childhood is marked with the overwhelming feeling of being a failure.

The journey into adulthood passes through many differing stages, all marked with their own issues.  Teenagers generally adopt a pack tendency, with everyone striving to find their place in the world, hence the individual & often bizarre fashion statements. This in between stage is all about attempting to find out who you are.

Parenthood, especially the early stages can be extremely fulfilling, but can also turn into a comparison battle, with those annoyingly pushy parents who insist on flouting their childs’ genius or beauty. The majority of us, with our own cute, yet noisy, messy & let’s face it – normal children, are frequently left to question whether we’ve done our best for our offspring. Once again that familiar feeling of inadequacy.

Later years, with battles for promotion at work & the cut throat fight to climb the ladder of success can, once again cause us to question our worth. Neighbours & friends seem to have more income, better homes, faster cars, fancier holidays & often, more harmonious lives. All in all, life can feel like fighting a losing battle. We accept that we’re never going to be one of the ‘special ‘ people, we are just Mr or Mrs ordinary, plodding through life, just tying to get by. Of course this is just a generalisation, there are those who sail through life, seemingly successful in all that they attempt, but they are definitely in the minority.

This brings me to the subject for today – popularity. Throughout life we tend to go in & out of favour, but on the whole, the most confident ‘golden people’ will always be safely installed at the forefront of society, while the remainder spend a lot of time & heartache trying to reach those heady heights. Where on the popularity ladder are you? Let’s be honest, does it really matter?

What makes a person popular? Sense of humour? Kindness? Appearance? Money? Maybe a bit of all of these, but these attributes are only skin deep. Someone who is central to a group could be considered popular, but move them to a different location, where they are forced to begin again, it is unlikely that they will establish themselves so easily. This would force them to begin on the lower rungs of the popularity ladder & attempt the hard climb upwards.

The entire subject has no hard & fast rules, all we can do is try to find our way through the maze of life, hoping that we are accepted at some point.

Following a recent conversation, it made me think about the importance of popularity. Within my own life I have flowed in & out of popularity, although it has to be said that I have mainly been an ‘also – ran’, a nice enough, friendly person, but never on the top of the invite list. In my present stage of life, I know a lot of people & am comparatively well known in the area. It could be said that I am popular because I am the ‘go to’ person, the one to call on when a volunteer is needed, but then again I have only a small selection of very close friends  & am distinctly disliked by some members of society. So am I popular? No, probably not. So where do you draw the line? Is popularity about being liked by everybody? Celebrities are popular, yet apparently many of them suffer crippling depression & the happy, confident face is no more than a public mask. Robin Williams was a perfect example of this. He was much loved, always cheerful, you would imagine him to be fun to be around, yet his life was wracked with self loathing & feelings of inadequacy. He was certainly popular, yet so, so sad. So maybe that is the key – there is no real answer, it’s all subjective.

I believe if we were all able to forget about striving to be popular & instead concentrated on learning to be the kind of person that we would look for in a good friend, the world would be a lot less stressful. None of us is perfect, to some extent we all wear a mask at times, attempting to cover up our characteristic blemishes. We all have aspects of ourselves that we aren’t proud of. We all sometimes say or do things that we regret. In other words – we are all human!

If we stop worrying about what anyone else thinks & work at bringing out the best in ourselves, then the whole issue of popularity becomes unimportant. With a kind, genuine personality, friends will be drawn to you. Be spiritually generous, compassionate & caring, consider the feelings of others, while looking after your inner frailties, be honest & thoughtful. Smile often. Offer unconditional love to the world, yet treat yourself with respect & consideration. Be yourself, ensuring that the real you is a genuinely worthwhile person. If you achieve all of this, or at least make big inroads, you may not be number 1 on the popularity lists, but you will have something less fickle, you will be someone that many enjoy in their company. You will bring joy into other lives. That is worth so much more !

Until next time, stay happy,

Rosie x

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Namaste.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder – or so they say!

I am acutely aware that I have been neglecting this blog site & apologise to my followers for my irregular posting.

Life has been extremely hectic. I have spent months attempting to set up a group aimed at alleviating loneliness in the local community, but unfortunately I have had to admit defeat, it’s been almost impossible to attract anyones’ interest, and without getting people through the doors,I was unable to cover hall rental, so sadly I had to abandon my project. I didn’t enjoy giving up, I felt a failure, but deep down I know that I did everything I think my power to try to get it off the ground. Abandoning it was the only sensible option.

It must be a significant time for abandoning projects – Since I last posted, I have decided to relocate to the coast, prepared my flat for sale & put it on the market. I found a new home, was busily packing, when I suddenly realised how foolish I would be to leave. I have a great life here in Wells. I have a wide support system, great friends & several enjoyable voluntary jobs, I even have a monthly column in the local newspaper. Why on earth was I considering leaving? So I changed my mind & just as quickly as I had put my home up for sale, it was removed.

Changing your mind, or direction is often seen as a failure, but I totally disagree. So many times in my past I have gone ahead with plans, even though I have had second thoughts, because I didn’t have the courage to stand up tall & say that my earlier decision was wrong. There’s no shame in it, in fact I think it shows greater strength. Far too many people behave like sheep. They follow the flock, keep their heads down & are afraid to stray from the expected path. Why? Our instincts will tell us when we are making a mistake, we need to learn to trust ourselves. If we listen to that nagging doubt, rather than attempt to override it, life would be much happier. Why shouldn’t people be  allowed to turn around, or even go in a totally different direction? The younger generation tend to find it easier to do, us oldies are usually too nervous or afraid of causing disharmony to go against the laid down plans.

It’s never too late to change direction, no matter what aspect of life it entails. Of course we need to consider the effect on family members & other nearest & dearest, it would take a steely resolve to totally ignore their feelings. However, when it comes to the bottom line, if we learnt to think of our own happiness & treat ourselves with more consideration & respect, the world would be filled with a lot more happy people. Maybe this sounds selfish, but think about it? We all know people / families where repressed anger has turned to spite & unpleasantness. Sometimes blame & misery has lasted almost an entire lifetime, simply because one partner was coerced into doing something against their will that they had felt unable to refuse. I for one know only too well how that felt. I was blessed with the courage to leave a violent, unhappy marriage & set out alone an unchartered path as a singleton. It has been scary at times, being alone, miles from family support isn’t easy & there have been many times when I almost ran back, tail between my legs, but I listened to the gut feeling. I knew that I was on the right path for me. I’m not sure what caused my little wobble & near foray into relocation, but it really isn’t important, I know that I am where I belong. Hopefully this will be my forever home, but who knows? However if the time ever comes to change my mind again, I will do it & no, I won’t be apologising for it.

Rosie x

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Devonshire Delight.

 

I’m currently having a few days away at the favourite sea-side haunt from my childhood, hoping to rest, recuperate & regain my writing inspirational drive. Too much of my time is given to others, somewhere along the way I lost myself. I knew that a few days in solitude was what was called for, so here I find myself in Exmouth, spending money I can I’ll afford, but the cost of not doing it would have been far higher.

Earlier I met a lovely couple while I was scribbling a few lines, after falling under the spell of the marina. The man told me that he was an artist, yet he too had found himself too busy to take time out for his passion. This drove me to complete the marina piece. It is still in it’s raw state, but I’d like to share it with you.

To the couple who inspired me, apologies, I’ve forgotten your names already   ( possibly Jeff?) To them & all who find themselves being stretched so thin that they are unable to use their creativity when they want. Please, please don’t allow your creative juices to dry up under pressure of pleasing others. Take a little time out – NOW. Don’t allow feeble excuses to flow from your mouth. We all need to be true to ourselves & for those with an artistic bent, that means actually creating something before the drive is allowed to wither away.

Devonshire Delight.

To & Fro they rock, unwanted,  unneeded,  tethered, abandoned.   In comparative calm they bob, side by side, packed tight like sardines in their tin, floating in their bed of brine.

The mass of water still, just a ripple snaking across the surface from the stiff breeze. The near tranquilty belying the pounding, crashing seas, a mere few metres away. Here however, protected by the harbour wall, they are safe – removed from the chaos that nature has deemed necessary to inflict on this quaint sea edged Devonshire town.

Rangers Delight, Cup ferret, Arvor, Quick Silver, White Lady, Merlin V111 ( I wonder was there 1-7?  If so, I can only surmise their fate.) Unlikely names yet some aren’t even granted that dignity, just given a large, garish number adorning their otherwise sleek hulls.

Overhead a few flags flutter furiously. Two seagulls squabble over a discarded crust, their cackles cutting through the evening air, disturbing the idyllic scene. Above, storm clouds gather, racing to blot out the vestiges of afternoon blue sky. In the distance, indistinct idle chatter from couples taking an evening constitutional, heads tipped forward, collars raised against the impending rain.

Soon it will be dark, the inky night casting it’s blanket over the peaceful scene. But when dawn breaks these forlorn boats, with their coats of many colours will be in demand once more.                                                                                                              Trips into unchartered territory for some. Fishing expeditions. Pleasure cruises.   The sardine tin will be emptied until days end, when once again the entire scenario will be replayed.

This picture book scene will remain etched in my memory. Should I feel trapped or drained, I will be able to draw on it for inspiration. I chose to capture it in words, others may prefer pens or paints, others will use more modern technology. The medium doesn’t matter. What does, is not to allow the memory to go to waste.  When we are shown something so evocative, we are blessed. I for one will not waste it.

Rosie x

I hope that you enjoyed this little muse. Hopefully it will be the beginning of more regular offerings.

If you want to read more, please ‘Like’, ‘Follow’ & ‘Share’. Like most creatives, I write for  the love of it, but knowing that it is being enjoyed by others is like Manna from the Gods, food for the soul.

Until next time, take care. Rosie x