Feeling dim?

I saw this on Facebook this morning. I had a whole other blog post in mind, but it stopped me in my tracks. It was one of those : ”oh my gosh, this is a very worthy re-share!” And so not to leave my blogging friends out, here it is :

Nobody’s perfect, all of the time. (I linked the song by Mike and the Mechanics because it is one I really like.

In many of my moments of imperfection, I was cast aside by the very people who were ‘supposed’ to love me. I know EXACTLY how it feels to be in that dark place (sometimes even because it really was my own fault that I was there) and be cast aside, judged unfairly, treated as unlovable.

I wasted many years allowing the anger and bitterness of that influence my words and actions. I excused myself with the ‘why should I’ attitude : why should I be considerate of him when he did xyz; why should I be kind to her when she did xyz? And on and on.
And sadly, I allowed it to form a part of me that became the very thing that had hurt me so much. It didn’t consume me, but there were too many times where I sat myself on a throne of my own making, and cast others aside for what I now realise were actually just honest mistakes and poor choices, because the choices they had to choose from were not so great to begin with.

I now realise.

Intensely painful self reflection, and a soul growth spurt that was remarkable in so many ways finds me in a very different place to ‘way back when’. It has been difficult (because my rebellious side still enjoys a little bit of ‘wickedness’ πŸ˜› ) and my thoughts are not always very well controlled! But true changes only really emerged when I put in the effort to feed the right wolf 90% of the time (old blog post linked for the wolf story… if you want to skip the actual post, the wolf story is at the end πŸ˜‰ ) – nobody’s perfect, hence my inability to achieve 100%! πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰

These days I choose to dish out my attention, affection, acceptance and compassion. I am happy to help with direction too, if I have anything to offer. Sometimes I even find myself extending this to the very people who didn’t give it to me. (nobody’s perfect though, please remember, so I have to be honest and say that it isn’t always done without some grumbling and if there was someone close enough to read my mind, they’d be shocked! πŸ˜› )

Sharing my light is important to me.

We all know that being the change we want to see in this world does have a positive impact, because the ripple in our immediate area often times gets carried and becomes the most beautiful wave.

But sometimes I think we need to also be who we needed when we were younger (for me, that means the period of my life from birth to my early thirties, ha ha!).

Here’s to a week of sharing our lights! πŸ˜‰

Battery light

A couple of months ago, my bathroom scale stopped working. I was thrilled. My teenage daughter, not so much πŸ˜›

My son asked if that meant we had to buy a new one, or is a bathroom scale battery operated? I replied with a hasty, ”battery, will get later”, because I was on my way out the door.

A few hours later, I returned home with two packs of batteries, AA and AAA. I opened up the back compartment and realised that neither one would work. It needed one of those 2032 flat batteries. I’d never owned anything before that used those types of batteries, so it was new to me. I didn’t recall ever seeing one like that either. Yes, you can laugh at me and ask, ”You’re HOW old?” Well, clearly not too old to learn something new πŸ˜›

The following morning, I took the flat little battery ‘coin’ to the shop with me, and was surprised to see a whole section of different brands, right next to the batteries I usually buy! Note to self : be more observant! πŸ˜›
Armed with a matching flat, I returned home and hey presto, our scale worked again! Much to my disgust πŸ˜›

Why the battery story? I read something this morning that I felt I simply had to share with you. So the anecdote was your introduction πŸ˜‰

I identified so much with the first part of the little story I read this morning because I have a torch/flashlight that is busy dimming. It needs new batteries. And thanks to my bathroom scale disaster, I still have some in my drawer πŸ˜‰
The story I read goes like this (no idea who to credit because there was no name attached to it) :

When a torch/flashlight grows dim or quits working, do you just throw it away? Of course not! You change the batteries!
When a person messes up or finds themselves in a dark place, should we just cast them aside? Of course not! We should help them change their batteries!

Some need AA – attention and affection. Some need AAA – attention, affection and acceptance. Some need C – compassion. Some need D – direction.

And if they still don’t seem to shine, sometimes we just need to sit with them quietly and share OUR light with them!

(I understand that there are some cases with circumstances where none of the above apply. BUT in all cases, the above is needed, whether it changes things or not!)

Here’s to being kind! To accepting and acknowledging others! To showing compassion! To sharing our light!

Tired Talk

Most of my day yesterday was consumed with ‘dementia talk’. Six phone calls – three of which lasted only five minutes. The other three were each almost an hour. It was mentally and emotionally draining.
There are also committee issues within the housing complex where I live, and so the interruptions because of that were also rather stressful. (I am not on the committee, but am starting to feel like they should just get it over with and appoint me πŸ˜› except I don’t want to be on the committee! πŸ˜› )

By 20:00, my brain felt like it was shutting down. I was tired. Just. so. darn. tired.

And so I just stopped.

I sat down on the edge of my bed, closed my eyes, and did nothing but breathe. In for five seconds, hold it for five seconds, out for five seconds. I stopped after about ten because it made me lightheaded πŸ˜›
But because I was so busy counting in my head, nothing else was boggling my brain.
I felt a bit calmer when I was done. And all the noise in my head had also quieted to a point that I was able to calmly process all that had happened during the day.

I weeded out the unnecessary, and focused on the parts that actually mattered.
I was then able to determine which things I could actually do something about, and which things I had no control over.
It’s taken me years of practice, but I am definitely a lot better these days at being able to accept that when it comes to the things I can’t control, I need to let them go. And by letting them go I mean this : they’re still there, in my mind and who knows what they’re doing subconsciously….
But consciously? I know I cannot change them. I have accepted that. I need to shift my focus and move away from them.
It’s not always easy… but to keep trying to fix things that I have no control over? Well, it just makes me miserable and frustrated, and I don’t like feeling that way.
Doing all that left me with only two things that need to be attended to today.

The rest of today will probably look something like this … πŸ˜‰

I need to consciously make this an EVERY DAY thing…

And perhaps one day I’ll get them ALL right πŸ˜‰

Here’s hoping you are able to strive for the above too. Here’s hoping you all have a great day! And don’t forget to breathe! πŸ˜‰

Meg’s mind… be afraid… ha ha!

In my late twenties, and then again in my early thirties, there was an extended period of self loathing – mostly directed at my physical appearance, but not so strangely sparked by emotional negative belief systems. It was bad! In fact, in my late twenties, I actually removed every mirror from my house. Make up was quickly applied in the car, in the rearview mirror – before going in to the office – because it minimised having to look at myself. And yet I did the make up anyway… because I still cared how I looked. What a conundrum, right? Not seeing anything good, and yet still making the effort!

And in those awful periods of hatred, the people who knew me and actually loved me, were consistent in telling me that it needed to end. That I was not what I had been told I was. That I was different, and worthy, and beautiful. That in this self loathing period, they still loved me, but they missed me. That I was the sunshine in their lives, bringing a positive attitude to all circumstances… and they needed me back.
And in all of that, something in me was still the ‘never say die, prisoner of hope’, because although I was emotionally self destructive, I didn’t give up.

Nowadays? Those same people are still in my life. We don’t see each other very often, and the pandemic has almost wiped out our social time. But the odd phone call is usually accompanied by the statement, ”I just needed a dose of Meg (Meg is my name, in case you didn’t know). I needed to at least hear some sunshine.”

Sounds great, right? But here’s the thing, everyone who is reading this : I am NOT sunshine all the time.

I woke up with this blog post on my heart, but checked my email first. Regular readers will know that I often share posts from Letters To Pogue… and there was a new post in my inbox. So I went off to read it first, and I guess that in a way it confirmed the words in my heart.

Now let me explain why I made the statement I did, and repeat for those who may have missed it :

I AM NOT SUNSHINE ALL THE TIME.

Yes, if you knew all the things that have happened to me in my life, you would see a woman who definitely holds onto hope like it’s as important as the air she breathes, and you would probably see that my nature – despite everything that has tried to twist it to the contrary – is upbeat and happy.

And I generally am. Funnily enough, the pandemic has made me EVEN MORE SO! absolutely crazy, right?!?!?!

BUT if you could spend a day in my mind – if I dared to write an hour by hour account of the thoughts in my head? You’d be more confused than a chameleon on a smartie box (roll of Rockets, for my US friends)!

I love to make friends online. I love that the world has evolved to a point that it has been ‘made smaller’. I love that I have a heart that can connect with people ‘across the miles’, even if I never get to see them in person.
What I don’t love though is that this has also evolved us to a point where we struggle with trust even more, because people have taken advantage of being able to hide behind the internet and many have proven themselves to be dishonest to a frightening degree. It makes me sad.

In my posts, I am genuine. I promise. The words I write are where I am at on that given day. Honesty is important to me. I try to be as real as possible, without dragging you all down any negative emotional roads πŸ˜›

But this morning, as I reflected on words spoken by someone I love dearly : ”I was just saying that you always find the positive and are just so darn sunshiny, that it is sometimes nauseating, but I love that about you anyway” – this blog post was born. The person who said them? She knows me better than I sometimes know myself. She’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly – and yet she still said that about me? The funny thing is that I got all defensive! I had replied to that statement with : ”No, I don’t! You’ve heard me complain, and be miserable, and be angry!”

Further explanation and discussion revealed to me that ‘she knows those ugly sides of me, but in general my sunny disposition seems to win, and she loves that about me’.

Why on earth am I telling you all this?

Because this is me at my most real – some raw truth about Meg, which may disappoint some, I might add…. and oddly enough, I am telling you as a form of ENCOURAGEMENT! Wait, what?!?!?!

For every person who is still reading, who regularly reads, who is waiting for the explanation :

Yes, I have always been ‘full to overflowing’ when it comes to hope, and not given up when I should have.
Yes, I smile FAR TOO MUCH, that even the staff at the local store and gas station call me ‘Miss Smiley’.
Yes, my general disposition resembles sunshine.

And maybe those things make it ‘easier’ for me?

BUT GUYS!

When I woke up this morning to the USA news (8 hour time difference means that chaos usually erupts while I am asleep!), my heart sank and I swore and I was instantly discouraged when I thought of how this will impact everything, all over the world. (I felt the same way with the UK Brexit news – except with only a two hour time difference I was awake for that!)
For a good half an hour, it felt like all hope was lost. My mind was a browser, ten tabs open, and it crashed.
I will never fulfill any of my dreams! My bucket list may as well get torn up and trashed! It’s all going to be downhill from here. I was afraid : what will the impact be? Every day just keeps getting worse – my own personal circumstances, the circumstances of those I love, the circumstances of people I have no knowledge of, my town, my country, this world as a whole.
And I cried. And I felt miserable. And angry. And I FELT hopeless. Exhausted. Ready to just go back to sleep.

And then I heard that quiet voice – barely a whisper as the waves of negativity tried to drown it – PLEASE STOP!

I still felt all those horrible things. I was still miserable about all of it. But I got up, and made my first cup of coffee. And as I took my first sip, I asked myself a question that I have trained my brain to ask when these moments come : ”Can you control it?”
And because this post is about being transparent, here’s what happened in my brain :

No. And I am f***ing sick of that question. Over it. Who the hell came up with that smart ass concept to start with, anyway? Like it’s supposed to just magically make everything better? I don’t want to play that game! There’s enough depression and anger in this f***ing world already! And now this! I can’t control it, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. I can’t change it either, and that makes me feel worse.
What CAN you change?
You know what? Just shut up! Take your positivity for a long walk off a short pier. I’m done!
No, you’re not.
No, seriously. I am. Everything just f***ing sucks.
Everything?
Yes, everything! I hate this! There’s no jobs here, we’re scraping by with no hope of anything getting any better, my friends are depressed, every time I leave my house I don’t know if I will come home unscathed because crime is so bad, I don’t want to die here, I want a future, I want my dad.
I thought you were upset about the US thing?
I am. But there’s a bunch of other stuff and it makes me just think of everything that is hopeless. There’s just no point anymore.
Hey, take a deep breath.
No.
Yes. And go get more coffee.
Fine. I need coffee.
You do.
What’s going to happen next? I am so tired of it all.
Well, what do you need to do today?
I don’t know… but I definitely need to vacuum my bedroom. I should probably think about what to feed the kids today as well, and I need to check email.
Okay, then that is what is going to happen next.
What?
Sometimes things just suck. You know this. It’s hard to understand when stuff defies logic. You don’t even know the question, but you’re looking for the answer. There might not even be a question. Who knows? You’re upset, concerned, afraid. You’re allowed to be. But it’s shifting you to think of everything else that is wrong. And yes, there is a lot. If you keep thinking of everything that is wrong, you will forget to remember everything that is right. Go write down three things that are right and think of them! It won’t magically make you feel better. You might still feel sad and angry and discouraged. But you still have sh*t to do. So do it.
Okay. *deep sigh*

And here I am. Doing it. The conversations in my head can get quite entertaining – but they DO make my heart hurt sometimes. I let myself feel it all, and process it. And in that process, I seem to calm down. Strange, right?
SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER : your thought processes pretty much determine your life. Yes, circumstances play a big role and can often ‘dash our hopes and dreams’… but that’s why it is so vital for us to practice daily the ‘carry on’ concept. Eating right is important, but so is ‘thinking right’. I haven’t quite mastered it yet… but I am sure as heck going to keep trying!

How do I feel now, you may be silently asking?
I’m still sad, and a little bit worried about it all. I’m angry that this world is such a horrible place. I’m afraid.
But I have drummed into my brain, through daily dedication to doing so : I NEED to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can. I NEED to not dwell on the negative. Even with my doubt and discouragement screaming the opposite, I NEED to carry on, regardless.
I need to remember that my life, my ‘small and insignificant existence’, STILL HAS PURPOSE!
Even if, in an overwhelmingly negative moment, the only purpose seems to be a clean bedroom carpet πŸ˜›

Dear ones, you may be afraid and discouraged. You may be feeling lost and alone. Sad. Angry.
I don’t know your circumstances, or what it is you have to choose from.

But please know this : if you are reading this, you are here for a reason. You have value and meaning. There will be plenty you cannot change. But please change the thought pattern that says that all is lost. I’m living proof that it’s not true.
If you need help, reach out!
KNOW that despite everything, you are loved!

YOUR LIFE HAS PURPOSE!


(And now you know why my brother has always said : Nobody’s perfect, but some of us are closer than others, and you, little sister, are not one of them πŸ˜› )

Because We Are Wrong β€” The Chatter Blog β€” Peter’s pondering

I logged onto WordPress this morning, feeling a bit out of sorts.

Our strict lock down seems to be getting to me. It’s a little strange that it would affect me like it is, because I am quite the homebody on any given day.
Who knew that the trips in the car for school and extra curricular activities for my daughter, and the odd popping in at the shops I frequent for our needs, were actually so meaningful to my everyday life.

(In case you missed it previously, our lock down is a lot stricter than any other country. Not only have our purchases been limited – so you can’t even buy puzzles, or wool, or DIY things to keep you busy etc. but you’re also not allowed to go for a walk. This includes not being able to take your dog for a walk. I’m not even allowed to walk ten metres out of my house within our gated community. Even if you promise to keep the required social distancing to prevent the virus from spreading. Of course, not all are obeying these rules – some get caught, and are issued with hefty fines. Others? They just seem to get away with it, and the virus is still spreading despite the strict rules, and those of us who are adhering and pretty much finding ourselves under house arrest.)

And so me feeling out of sorts is understandable, I suppose. And I stumbled upon the post I have shared.

My life has been a continuous battle of undoing – undoing the words of the past. The journey has often been difficult, and my self worth has always been the most difficult part to conquer for more than a few hours at a time.
I think the frustration of the way things currently are has led to a little too much self reflection of the negative kind – doubt, fear, inadequacy.

I’ve started taking things personally. Like maybe I talk too much? Maybe I just AM too much. And yet some might argue that I don’t talk enough.
I’m feeling guilty for not being the type of person others may need or want me to be, instead of relishing in my uniqueness and the beauty of my soul – as damaged and vulnerable as it may be. I’m feeling inadequate and unworthy.

My teen daughter and adult son are growing increasingly annoyed with each other, and frustrated with the constraints put on them too. I’ve tried to be the voice of reason, and I’ve tried to be fair, with them both. I’m doing my best to ‘mother’ – being sensitive to their plights, and loving towards them, but still maintaining a disciplinary tone when it comes to situations that need it. I’m used to them pushing boundaries – who doesn’t? But this time, things just feel different.

Lock down is making me feel locked out.Β 

All very depressing, I know. But it’s the truth of the time and place I find myself in right now.

And then I read the blog post below. I don’t think it was a coincidence that it happened to appear first on my reader.
I have become a lot better over the past few years at accepting good things about myself – at acknowledging that I have worth, and that I am good enough. Being prone to thinking otherwise has lessened. It’s been a terrible struggle to reach the point of acceptance and to be able to acknowledge my self worth in a good way.

The last couple of days have been ‘bad days’.

And as I read the blog post below I was reminded of this :

It’s okay for me to have off days. It’s okay for me to have doubts and fears. The circumstances are seriously tough and if it wasn’t affecting me at all, then I may have started wondering about myself even more!
I’m not complaining about having time – time is something that I have had little of, and I am relishing the abundance of it that I now have.

But it’s okay to be feeling overwhelmed and a little sad.
While gratitude plays a big part in a happier attitude, and I have been careful to continuously remind myself of all that I have to be grateful for (as well as throwing in reminders for my children) … under these circumstances I am allowed to see the sadness and frustration too. Because if I lie, or choose not to acknowledge it’s existence, then how on earth will I go about dealing with it, and changing it.

BUT… I need to remind myself that dwelling on those negatives and allowing them to have such control over my peace of mind and well being is wrong. That I can stop this argument in my head, and the culmination of negative emotions that are threatening to steal my joy.

That I can still allow myself to accept myself.

And that I need to hold on to my belief that ‘this too shall pass’.

Taking it one hour at a time, one day at a time. Still smiling… and feeling determined about the better things that are yet to come. Reminding myself that just because IΒ feel bad, doesn’t mean it IS bad. That there is always hope – and yes, I am still a prisoner of it πŸ˜‰

I’m searching for ways to see me through this. I haven’t found them yet.. but I am searching… and slowly but surely, something will drag me from this funk πŸ˜‰ . But I DO know that I have been through some really tough stuff in my life… and I WILL get through this!

 

Some wise words from Colleen. Pop over to her blog to find many more! Β© via Because We Are Wrong β€” The ChatterΒ Blog

via Because We Are Wrong β€” The Chatter Blog β€” Peter’s pondering

Pressure to Perform

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This happens to me pretty much every morning. Most of my days are usually quite productive though, but I never seem to get through ALL I would like to accomplish on any particular day. Some say that this is because I set ridiculous expectations of myself when it comes to ‘things I need to do’. I like to say that when it comes to what I do each day, I like to makeΒ every day aΒ Norman Vincent Peale day!Β Every morning, with my first big, beautiful cup of coffee, I think about what I’d like to achieve. And although I accept the realities, I still list those many tasks. I shoot for the moon, and then every night I smile contentedly because I know I have at least landed among the stars! (Yes, my house has a roof and no, I don’t live in the sky πŸ˜› )

Admittedly, a lot of these beautiful early morning coffee goals for the day end with me feeling something like this :

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This is partly because of all the running I do. No, not running as in exercise. I don’t run. I don’t even jog. So if you ever see me running, you should run too, because that means something is chasing me.

(I don’t know who originally came up with that quote, but according to the hyperlink it was Kristen Proby. It seems it was used in her book, and the name of the character who said it? Meg! Although that Meg is described as a sexy rocker chick πŸ˜› but having the same name still makes it mighty coincidental πŸ˜‰ )

By running, I actually mean driving around in my car for what I count as too many hours in my day, playing Mom’s Taxi. There’s the school run, and then there’s the extra curricular activities run. During the extra run, I usually end up hanging around in my car for a couple of hours. I live about 20 minutes away from where her activity takes place, but fuel (like everything else) is very expensive, and I don’t see the sense of driving back and forth in such a small time frame. My daughter is a dancer – she has been chosen three years in a row now to represent our country at World Champs. So I guess I’m a dance mom (just nothing like what you see onΒ that show!) The joke in our studio is that we all ‘live in our cars’.
(We have a non-existent public transport system, and the little of it that exists is far too dangerous to even consider.)
So from the list, I usually select things that I can do from the discomfort of my car.

The reason I am telling you all of this (other than the fact that these were a collection of Facebook pictures I had liked and saved, and discovered and was amused at how they all kind of fit together?)…..

These days there seems to be a lot of pressure to perform. Whether it’s as complex as achieving some greatness and stature in our careers, or as simple as being a ‘better, closer to perfect’ parent, the stresses that come from this overwhelming pressure can be detrimental to our health.
The sad thing is that it is not only society or other individuals that put this pressure on us. We have a tendency to do it all by ourselves, to ourselves.
We push ourselves into overachiever mode, in an attempt to do more and be more. For me personally, this is related to the fact that I am often told I can’t, I won’t, I don’t.
And so there is this itch inside me that often causes an ‘overdrive’ scratch…. the results are usually less than desirable, and I wind up in a place that is nowhere near the achievement goal I had set out for myself.
I don’t go into overdrive as often as I used to, thank goodness.

I have learnt that my brain has limitations and that sleep is necessary. I canΒ never be effective if I am dead on my feet.
I have learnt that it is sometimes necessary to take a step back when I am feeling stressed. To breathe deeply and think carefully. And use the energy that stress can create in a positive way – controlling the stress instead of allowing it to control me.
I have learnt that having a to-do list and planning ahead in certain circumstances does not make me a nerd, or detract from my spontaneity. Instead it prepares me and creates a better environment in which to perform.
I have learnt that sometimes acknowledging the small wins can open doors to greater things.
My biggest obstacle, I know, is to ask for help. When there is pressure to perform, the best thing you can do for yourself, is to ask for help (even if it’s just with menial tasks). For some silly reason (perhaps because I have always been the carer and helper, and it feels weird to ‘have the shoe on the other foot’) I struggle to reach out and ask others for any form of help. I really need to work on that!

I always end my night like this though, no matter how the day behind me unfolded….

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Are there any of these that you struggle with?