You are needed

Somewhere, someone threw an alarm clock, and it caused time to fly, and I am not even entirely sure what day it is today ๐Ÿ˜›

In the last few days, I have packed up my mother’s things, moved her to a new frail care facility, and unpacked everything for her on that side too. My body hurts in places I didn’t even know I had muscles ๐Ÿ˜›
Yes… it’s been exhausting. The ‘teething problems’ have been tough emotionally. It will be a while still till she settles properly.
BUT… I am grateful she is somewhere that she will be properly fed and cared for.
I am grateful that I had the strength and ability to be able to do all that I have done.
I am grateful that I have a home, and a warm bed, to finish my days with.
I am exhausted. But I can still smile. I have so much to smile about, after all. And what I don’t have? Well, then maybe I don’t need it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now on to today’s blog post… whatever day today is ๐Ÿ˜›

I have a wonderful fellow blogger on here who I regularly exchange emails with. A very private person, who doesn’t really reveal too much, and yet there are plenty of things I DO know. And every day, I see something in my few minutes of mindless scrolling on Facebook that make me think of this person. Because it is just who I have got to know them to be – the things that have been revealed are evidence of this sort of character.

The image I am talking about reads like this :

”I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good I CAN do.” ~ Jana Stanfield

One of my friends added in the comments, because I shared the image, that ‘even a small light in a dark tunnel is still a light’. Somebody else said to me, ”Oh Megs, this is just YOU to a tee!”

My thoughts for today on this?

What words do people associate with you? But more importantly, what words would you WANT them to associate with you? And are you trying to live up to the those words, at least? Because trying, and slow progress, is better than no progress, remember? ๐Ÿ˜‰

AND….

Whatever day it is today ๐Ÿ˜› , and no matter what your day holds, try and be kind… try and do some good… because the world needs that, but more importantly, the world needs YOU!

Where are you, Meg?

I am not sure who it was exactly who said it originally, but there is a very well known saying (slightly abbreviated from the original version) :

”Time waits for no man.”

And in case there is any confusion : sorry ladies, it doesn’t wait for us either ๐Ÿ˜›

The last couple of weeks saw me reaching a whole new level of being busy, because as I have mentioned before, life happens even when we are busy making other plans. ๐Ÿ˜› Circumstances out of my control meant that a lot of things happened at once, and I had no choice BUT to give them my immediate attention – trying my best to juggle a multitude of balls, and yes… I definitely dropped one or two. But I made it through the chaos, and that matters.

There were some friends who I remained in contact with during this period, although not as much as I would have liked to. I was honest with them about the demands on my time, and shared a bit of the ‘busy’ side of things. But I only shared what I guess would be considered the ‘physically’ busy side of things. ”Driving from here to there for ‘x’, meetings and endless phone calls to sort out ‘y’, etc.”

I have one particular friend with whom I am in very close contact – as in ‘every day conversation’ via messaging. I started to share the emotional side, I guess you could call it, that was absorbing my ‘other time/free time’ that I get given every day, and unfortunately it opened a door that caused me a lot of hurt and pain.

But it reminded me yet again that I have been shaped and molded the way I am for a reason.
That we are all DIFFERENT and that it is okay. And that my acceptance of that is not a weakness, despite who may think it is, but ultimately a strength.
That the ability to still see immense value in others just because they approach things differently and do what works for them is also a strength.
That still being able to love them with all my heart and treat them with kindness when they are adamant I am completely wrong and need to change my views, is strength.
That choosing to still treat those who have hurt me so very deeply, and tried to pretty much destroy the good in me, with compassion and respect is also A STRENGTH. And trust me, the fact that there is still a small spark of a love that I cannot explain for them absolutely astounds me.

Regarding that last statement in the paragraph above – a lot of people criticise me for it, and provide a host of reasons for it that link back to abuse. And while I can see the validity in what they are saying, and appreciate that abuse does shape certain things in us and spark reactions that are not natural, my ultimate reason for MY conclusion and my feelings is one that defies comprehension for many (including me sometimes) and is also one that is a PERSONAL thing and not something I can tell you how to do or even begin to properly explain.
My ultimate reason is this : part of this very painful emotional journey from the last couple of weeks has been the realisation :

I have needed mercy SO MANY times in my life, especially in times where I have hurt others in so many ways – even if my lashing out was deserved by them. What right do I have to not show it to others, even those who have done nothing other than to try and destroy me?
If I am willing, and live my life, being kind and loving to strangers who will not always return the same to me, then how can I not be willing to also extend mercy?

There IS a pill that I am struggling to swallow though – something I really struggle to understand. But there is a Voice that whispers to me that I don’t NEED to understand EVERYTHING. I try very hard not to argue. But man, oh man, it’s tough! I don’t fully understand why, when we all want respect and want people to accept that we have our OWN views and opinions, we fight so hard to force others to think exactly how we do… to a level that we disrespect their own views and opinions and choices.
I KNOW it’s a human condition, and something I have been guilty of in my younger years… but it still frustrates me trying to understand the why. , because I can’t even tell you why I used to do it ๐Ÿ˜› I really HAVE to just ‘let it go’.

I am hoping that somehow, some way, something in the above has been of help to someone. I don’t expect anyone to take anything ‘away’ from it though, simply because it is MY views and opinions, the choice I have made when it comes to living my life, and you may not agree. And guess what, I am okay with that. You still have value in this world. It’s not up to me to try and change you… it’s up to me to change ME, and just keep loving YOU for who you are.

I DO want a to share an image with you in closing though. Something I have had to remind MYSELF of EVERY DAY for the last two weeks, more than once a day….

Sending love to each and every one of you โค Here’s hoping you all get to experience LOTS of wonderful things this week.

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 ๐Ÿ˜›

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 ๐Ÿ˜›

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 ๐Ÿ˜› )

Just a dog

I was thrown into a ‘state of anxiety’ for about a week, because of my dog. Let me explain – or try to, at least. I don’t know how eloquent I will be… or how much sense any of it will make…. but please bear with me…. or dog with me, rather ๐Ÿ˜› This is Toffolux – Toffee for short :

The top two pictures are from the last couple of years – the bottom two are from when my daughter was 10/11 – they would watch movies together. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have touched on, in previous posts, a severe traumatic incident in 2012… that was followed with a lot more trauma till 2013. But added to that, I have childhood trauma too… that was more ongoing. Anyway….

At the end of 2013, I was helped with my 2012 incident… adequate trauma counselling etc. Things started looking up. However, I was still having nightmares and I was still afraid.
In 2014, it was suggested to me that I get a dog – to help me.

I have ALWAYS been a dog person… I find myself incredibly attached to them though… whether it’s mine or not. Ha ha! I have a feeling dogs sense this. In my complex, anytime a dog escapes their yard, they show up on MY doorstep. In fact, there are two dogs living outside my complex at the end of the road, who come here too. It’s rather amusing, really.
The lady at the end of the road asked if I was a vet – no ways! My dog passion can never be followed that way… my heart would literally break.
In fact, a few weeks back, there was a doggy run over on the highway (the opposite direction we were driving) and traffic had come to a standstill… and I had to pull over a little later because my tears were blurring my vision. Moving on….

The children were excited at the announcement that we would go to one of the local animal sanctuary’s in search of a dog. They love dogs as much as I do… and had been waiting two years for a ‘replacement’ for our last one. My instructions were clear – not a puppy! I wanted a ‘grown up’, about the size of a maltese poodle.

We came home with a puppy. Sigh.

Toffee had arrived at the sanctuary at three weeks old, after being thrown out of a car window in a plastic packet. ‘One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure’. This was most certainly the case when he came into our lives.
We went searching the day he was six weeks old. He had just finished fighting off Biliary too! This pup was a survivor!

And he chose us. By attaching himself to the fur at the top of my daughter’s boots and hanging on. I still laugh out loud when I think of that moment!
And Toffee became this girl’s best friend – yes! I would choose him over a diamond ANY day!

Most of my free time has been spent with Toffee by my side. We have engaged in long conversations – I haven’t really had anyone else to spend time with… so he is my movie companion, my sounding board, my friend.
My children often joke that he is also the ‘husband in the household for mom’, and that they don’t know how a guy would fit into the equation – and since they are okay with that, I am too. Ha ha!
Because Toffee sleeps on the pillow next to me at night. He snores in my ear. And sometimes he even steals the blankets.
When I talk to him, he gazes at me, listening intently. And sometimes even offers up appropriate ‘noises’ in response. My son is still convinced he KNOWS what we are saying and is talking back.
The funniest is when you ask him a question, and he responds with shaking his head as if to say no.

And in all honesty? He is definitely the most ‘human’ dog I have ever had. I’ve had eight dogs in total in my lifetime – I got my first puppy at age 2. And so when I compare? He’s definitely a ‘person’ more than an animal ๐Ÿ˜‰

But there is this too : when the nightmares came, Toffee would wake me… and cuddle against me, sometimes licking my cheek in reassurance that it was okay. When the ‘unexplained fear’ overcame me, it was like he knew. When I was feeling anxious, he knew. And he always offered reassurance. A paw on my leg if we were sitting together. A look he would give me, followed by a big sigh, and then an approach where he would bump against me for love…. and giving him love always gave me a strange form of comfort.

My children have been growing – they have their friends, their recreational activities, their social lives. In my down time? I have Toffee, and whatever it is I choose to do – read, watch series or a movie, or just sit and think about life. He’s always at my side.

Since March, Toffee has (after six years of perfect health) been unwell. Recurring bouts of prostatitis, and a need to be neutered. And so his neutering was booked for the 2nd October. And the day I booked it, my anxiety was what some considered ‘stupid and abnormal’. Because of him being an older dog, there was the niggle of ‘what if something goes wrong’? My kids weren’t around, and when I got home from the booking, I’ll admit it… I cried. Toffee, with his 26 kilogram body, jumped up on me to hug me (he does that too! Stands with his paws stretched up on your shoulders and actually curls them into you as if pulling you in for a hug!)
Then he disappeared to my room… and when I followed a few minutes later and entered the room, he let out a loud sigh and I saw this :

The pillow says RELAX on it. He stayed like that for me to take a photo… but then I couldn’t contain my laughter any longer and he lifted his head, wagging his tail, and ‘smiled’ at me.

He came through surgery that day like the champ that he is. But the following week there were minor complications that caused me some sadness and stress…. and again, some people commented that I was being ‘ridiculous’, ‘he’s just a dog’, ‘this is quite pathetic of you’.

WHEN YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND IT, WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW THE BACKGROUND, WHEN YOU WEREN’T THERE TO COMFORT SOMEONE THROUGH THE TRAUMA… PLEASE DON’T JUDGE THEM! THIS IS WHERE KINDNESS SHOULD KICK IN.

I have said that in CAPS because it is SO important.

In the end, Toffee needed an extra large cone… but as you can see, he wasn’t too unhappy about it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Unfortunately he’s not quite back to being healthy yet. He now has an ear infection. Sigh.

Why all of this? About my dog?

I had seven days of struggling with sleep, and anxiety. How silly, right? But here’s the thing :

When you’re unfamiliar with trauma – whether it be long lasting or a particular incident – and if you do not understand the complications that can follow years later, then you too are nodding your head in agreement at how ‘ridiculous I have been, allowing a dog to make me almost not able to function for a week’.

But if you ARE familiar… and if you’re not please try and understand :

Although it IS about me loving my dog ‘too much’, there was a whole other thing taking place.
It’s called a trigger.
After a few years of being ‘almost completely free’? This ‘event’ triggered something in me. And I don’t know how this really works or why it happens…. I just know it does.

And so… when I slept? The nightmares came back – not as severe, and yet I still woke up terrified. I looked over my shoulder a little more than usual…. even in my own home. I found excuses to communicate with my daughter when she wasn’t home – sending her a meme or something, just to get her to respond, so that I would know she was okay.

You may not fully understand. Because you don’t know what I went through.
And the reactions from others made me think about it quite a lot.

And I had to add another thing to my ‘to do list’ in my character….

I know I should not have an opinion about anyone unless I fully know their why.
But at the same time – what is it in me that always seems to want to know the WHY? Yes, it helps explain… and it makes understanding easier….
And yet….
There are times where people will not be able to find the words to explain their why to me; they may not trust me enough or they may just not want to talk about that part of the past; or they may have ten million other reasons NOT to tell me their why.
I still have just ONE reason to at least TRY and understand without the necessity of every detail….
And it surpasses those ten million….

It’s doing everything I can to show REAL love to others – an ‘unnatural’ kindness and compassion, that just is, and doesn’t need explanations.

It’s not easy. I won’t always get it right. But I have made a decision to be ‘more aware’, and at least TRY to get it right!

So this was one part of the ‘all will be revealed in time’ that I mentioned in my last post ๐Ÿ˜‰

(And just as a side note : someone told me that I can’t help anyone with their life purpose if I am still reliving things from my past – my response was this : if it wasn’t for the past, and the understanding that triggers exist, THEN I would be ineffective. If I wasn’t experiencing the things that I am, and learning from them and growing, then I wouldn’t be in a place to identify with anyone, would I? I don’t relive my past – and I don’t live in it either… but sometimes it just appears out of nowhere. This is reality for so many! Getting through something, dealing with it, moving forward in life? Unfortunately it doesn’t mean it never happened. Our response to the reminder is what changes… and we are better equipped to ‘fight’.
This trigger was an unknown – I didn’t expect to react like this at all…. or for it to have been as bad as it what it was. I probably should have identified it sooner, and not lost a week, as such! BUT I have learnt from this… and I am prepared for next time ๐Ÿ˜‰ I won’t be completely unaffected by it next time, but the impact WILL be a little less.
I guess my honesty ISN’T always a good thing – and makes people question my abilities and character.
BUT…. connection comes from honesty – I want to be REAL!
So my apologies to everyone – I am not perfect. But I share tidbits for this reason : guys and girls! Life is still worth living! Sometimes we get slowed down… but keep putting one foot in front of the other! Sometimes it will take a little longer than we feel it should….
But always remember that slow progress is still progress, and you’re still a lot further than anyone who isn’t even trying โค

thrown away

Today my dad turns 75. He’s still alive, but he lives in another country and I only get to see him every three years or so. I am not so sure we will get to see him again – he’s ill, and so the long distance travel may not be possible for him again. And for three of us to go to him, well, there just aren’t the finances. I tear up every time I think of the day I will get that phone call to say that he is gone. But I have peace. Because Daddy and I made peace a long time ago.
He was an absent father for the most part, but it was through no fault of his own. Long story’s that will no doubt come out in dribs and drabs in the blogging world ๐Ÿ˜‰
While the opportunities were not always there for him….
….I KNOW that I have a father who loves me dearly. And I can’t think of a better dad to have been blessed with – better circumstances, perhaps – but not a different daddy.
He is not perfect – not at all. He has many faults and has made his fair share of mistakes. But my imperfect daddy is the one who loves me perfectly, as do I him.

Despite his forced absence, I am a lot like my dad in many ways. And the little bits of time that we got to spend together in my growing years ignited my passion for reading. (My stepmom says I am a carbon copy of him, and laughs at us both when we roll our eyes at the thought of a shopping centre – we’d rather be sitting at home on the couch, side-by-side, reading ๐Ÿ˜› ) My dad also has a really corny sense of humour, so that may be where my appreciation for that comes from too ๐Ÿ˜›
“Look Meg, a graveyard. It’s the dead centre of town and very popular. Everyone’s dying to go there.” *groan* *laugh*
Something else I loved doing with dad was road trips. We didn’t do many, but I liked his music (his taste was varied) and the fact that he’d let me turn the volume all the way up ๐Ÿ˜‰

When I think of dad and road trips, I am always reminded of one song in particular. While we have a wide variety of shared favourites, this one seems to cry from my heart and soul, time and time again. I couldn’t find a version of it on YouTube to share (although there is a cover), and there is a lot of judgmental stuff that has happened with the singer since my teen years. But it certainly changes nothing of the words and their meaning to me :

Grandpa and me, every week or so
We’d go walking down a country road
Looking for something
Others drove right past
Maybe they were late
And they were dogging the throttle
Maybe they just
Didn’t notice the bottles
Shining like diamonds in the grass
We would pick them up
And we’d cash ’em in
He’d look at me and Id look at him
And he’d say

CHORUS: Thrown away
Can you believe the things
They toss aside
And leave em where they lay? Oh, but they can be saved
If you will take the time
And try to find the good
Along the way
Oh, what this world throws away

Many years later

When my age had doubled
I met a man and his name was Trouble
He said, Son, I’ll give you some advice
A family is fine
And there’s a time you need them
But sure enough there will come
A time to leave em
You know you only get one life
He was a lonely man
Without a single friend
He looked at me and I looked at him
And I said,
CHORUS
And maybe someday

When the little ones have grown
I may have a grandchild of my own
And if I do, I can promise you
One day we’ll walk down a country road
CHORUS

We’re such a throw away society. Immediate gratification, or there’s no benefit at all. No longer mending what’s broken – not even trying. We just ‘throw it away’ and move on, and think nothing of it.

People are not disposable. And neither are relationships – family, friends, romantic.

Instead of just being honest and telling the truth, we ghost people.

Instead of discussing what might/may have gone wrong, we stay offended.

Instead of talking things through in an attempt to salvage relationships, we go quiet (withdraw/disconnect).

And then we complain that no one understands, and nobody knows us.

NO ONE CAN KNOW, IF YOU DON’T TELL THEM.

PEOPLE = EFFORT

And since no one is perfect (including you and me) the effort required is that much greater!

But taking the time to talk things through, to listen, to share your heart is a lot more rewarding than carrying around the burden of negativity surrounding cutting others off, offense and withdrawal.

Walking around with anger and hurt in our hearts does not make us better, it just make us bitter.

And yes, there are circumstances where some of the above doesn’t apply, where all options have been exhausted and it’s time to move on.

I’ve had my moments where moving on meant ‘having the last say’ and I had to make sure that that person knew that I thought they were trash. My anger and emotional immaturity hurt everyone, including me.
One of the most difficult lessons for me (that I am still occasionally having to learn, because I am not perfect), is not to throw anyone away.ย 
I still get hurt, and I still get angry. People still sometimes treat me in a way I don’t deserve (although sometimes when I reflect on it, I realise that perhaps my action/words may have had something to do with that, and I have to eat humble pie).

People will hurt us. People will make us angry. Sometimes we’re justified. Sometimes we’re not. At all times we should try and be better and not bitter. At all times we should try to reflect the same character we expect of others, whether they deserve it or not.

Because we’re not perfect. And when we hurt someone or make them angry, we don’t want to be made to feel that we belong on a trash pile.

 

anger apologies and love

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to be a contributor to Paul’s blog. It was quite an honour that someone wanted my voice to be heard on their page! ๐Ÿ™‚ Paul writes a lot about relationships – and about his lovely Kath. And so I thought it was fitting to write him a post about the languages of love. You can read the post here.

As I mentioned at the end of that blog post, there are now other quizzes available for growth ๐Ÿ˜‰ There’s an apology language quiz, and a personal anger assessment. I did both, but with all that has been going on I got sidetracked! (To check out the quizzes you can visit here and click on quizzes.)

Last night I revisited the results of both tests.. (Because that’s what this single mom does on a Friday night, in case you were wondering ๐Ÿ˜› )

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I wasn’t too surprised that my two strongest results in my apology languages were Expressing Regret and Accept Responsibility. To touch lightly on these, I’ll tell you this :

Expressing Regret is basically the simple ‘I’m sorry’ – obviously said in a genuinely heartfelt manner – without making excuses or deflecting blame.ย  And sometimes being able to tie it in with body language makes it that much more meaningful – eye contact, a gentle touch of the hand etc.
Accept Responsibility means being able to acknowledge I am wrong – which is no easy feat for our ego. It’s not easy to admit that we may have made a mistake. But in this form of apologising it is important – as it is important for all humans everywhere to be able to acknowledge the fact that we all do, and will, make mistakes at one time or another.

I wasn’t surprised because the above are usually the wayย I apologise. Perhaps not in the moment (sometimes I’m just too angry or hurt), but definitely when I have taken a few deep breaths and had time to think.

What I found the most helpful though was the little piece that said this : In the same way, it will benefit others to know your apology language in order to express apologies to you in ways that you interpret most sincere. This translates into better communication, increased understanding, and, ultimately, improved relationships.

It’s so easy to assume that the people who know us would then know exactly what we expect from them in their dealings with us – right down to if it ever comes to apologising. My children know, because let’s face it, in a family we spend a lot of time saying sorry! ๐Ÿ˜›

But they know because it’s something I often speak to them about – truly mean it when you say sorry and don’t add in excuses. Take responsibility for the fact that you have also messed up. Then we move on. Interesting to read that I should be sharing this with everyone I am in a relationship with – and by relationship, I am covering the whole spectrum – romantic, family, friends.

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Photo credit : volganga.com

(Have I mentioned how much I love dogs? ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

My Personal Anger Assessment results were a little bit of a surprise. A bit of background as to why : there are a lot of very painful things in my past, and for many years I struggled with the anger inside of me. It’s taken a lot of hard work, painful reflection and agonising growth to practise the correct measure of self control when it comes to my anger.

I was very happy when my result displayed that I’m doing well with my anger – then I read, ‘but you can improve‘. Sigh. Nothing too new when we think of life though, is it? There is ALWAYS room for self improvement! I do know that I am still okay when it comes to anger – because back then I wouldn’t have bothered to read the rest ๐Ÿ˜›

The explanations that followed were simply this :

I need to recognise the difference between good and bad anger – injustice and mistreatment being the former, and incorrectly perceiving and then reacting being the latter.
I need to be wary of implosive anger – internalising the anger completely, being silent and withdrawing myself which results in resentment, bitterness and eventually hatred further down the road.

I’d love to be able to say that the above is nowhere near being true. But it is. It’s not something I doย often, but I have been known to get angry because of my perceptions as opposed to knowing the full truth and circumstances, and there are moments where my anger can definitely be defined as implosive… and yes, I acknowledge that the results listed aboveย do then occur. Thankfully I am self-aware when it comes to that, and the moment they begin to rear their ugly heads, I am able to delve into their origin and begin a course of ‘self-care’ to heal them before they take over completely.

I’ve shared all this so that you can go and check it all out for yourself if you’re into self-improvement ๐Ÿ˜‰ and also as an accountability note of sorts for myself ๐Ÿ˜‰ Remember that growing oneself, and learning to know oneself, is often a painful process – but the results are very rewarding! Remember that sometimes growth will take you out of your comfort zone, because sadly we don’t only grow where we are comfortable.ย 

And just because I really like these :

inspirational-quotes-personal-development-ideas-and-self-improvement-tipsย  ย  ย  tumblr_p9d3nu7XKb1vyr6o2o1_1280

ย  ย  Photo credit : quotesviral.netย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย Photo credit : motivatedaily.tumblr.com

And then, just for fun ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Wolf Food

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Photo credit : asoundeffect.com

When it comes to music, books, films, series I am a multi-genre kind of girl. But am I really? It’s easy to get confused, because while I enjoy a bit of everything, there are some areas where I can be quite specific. For example, I generally don’t read romance. I can’t say I spent too much time on comedy either, which is strange because I am an always smiling, love to laugh, kind of person. I don’t do horror.

The funny thing is that when I was younger I thoroughly enjoyed all those things. Perhaps I overdid them? Or maybe as I have matured I have simply outgrown them? Whatever the reason, it’s immaterial, so it’s not something I spend a lot of time thinking about.

But if I had to choose my favourite genre – my favourite types of things to read and watch? They’d be murder mysteries, anything to do with crime, thrillers, psychological thrillers etc. My dad was a big influence – and my dear old Granny with whom I spent a lot of time as a child, watching many an episode of Murder, She Wrote.

Last week I got a message from a good friend, telling me that she had finished a really great series that was intriguing, mysterious and exciting – and Iย just had to watch it too. (She did also mention that her partner hadย not enjoyed it, and had told her that he didn’t think it would be something I would enjoy either. But, what does he know anyway? ๐Ÿ˜› )

Where am I going with this? It’s been a rough seven days. I’ve had a few moments where one could almost say I have behaved a bit out of character – and I have felt unsettled and unusually anxious. I’ve allowed things to bother me that usually wouldn’t, and I have struggled a bit with staying focused. It was almost like the ‘peace’ of my mind had been disturbed.

And you know how ‘you know something‘?
How afterwards you could kick yourself because the answer was so simple and it’s something you know so well, and yet it eluded you?ย 

At lunchtime yesterday, upon further reflection of the past seven days, it came to me and it all finally made sense.

Let’s go back to the suggested series by my good friend.ย I am not going to name it, because maybe some of you out there have thoroughly enjoyed it. To name it may cause offence, and that’s not what this post is about.

Needless to say, I didn’t.

Now usually, when someone recommends something to me, I do a little research first. This time I failed miserably. Without giving a thought to first checking it out, I happily settled in last Friday evening to start watching.
I have a very strong stomach, which was something that I actually only fully developed while working for a doctor – you can’t have a queasy stomach and assist with procedures and clean up afterwards.
And I am not a person who is easily affected by a lot of things – which may be due to desensitisation for a variety of reasons.

But those first two episodes literally made me feel ill to my stomach. This wasย nothing like what I enjoy watching and I almost messaged my good friend to ask if she was sure she had recommended it to the right person. I don’t see how it is as popular as it is because it is just so wrong on every level – but then again, considering the world we live in – that may be the very reason why. (Although a few reviewsย did say that the individual was disappointed in themselves for wasting their time on it.)

The problem is that on Saturday evening, and every evening thereafter until Wednesday, I watched another two episodes. Because the only kind, decent and beautiful thing about it had captured my attention and I wanted to know more aboutย her. She was scarce though and so I had to sit through all the other rubbish.

If you don’t already know what negative character traits are, you’d be able to find them all in this series. Its filled to capacity with manipulation, dishonesty, disrespect, greediness, evil, aggression, hostility, violence, jealousy – and it throws in gore and disgusting displays of sexual acts just for good (bad) measure.

Now when I say I ”watched”, you need to understand I spent more than half the time only listening. (in the privacy of my bedroom with earphones in – I have an impressionable teenage girl) My son came in once and walked around to pet our dogs and saw the screen. It was during a particularly violent and gruesome part, which I wasn’t watching. I paused it, and his reaction was, “Flip Mom, what the heck are you watching?” To which I replied that I wasn’t going to tell him because it was absolutely awful and I didn’t want him watching it. He’s 21. That should have tipped me off to whatย I was doing.

So here’s the point : Garbage in, garbage out.

Iย often refer to this story… it needs repeating today….

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. โ€œA fight is going on inside me,โ€ he said to the boy.ย โ€œIt is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil โ€“ he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.โ€

He continued, โ€œThe other is good โ€“ he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.ย The same fight is going on inside you โ€“ and inside every other person, too.โ€

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, โ€œWhich wolf will win?โ€

The old Cherokee simply replied, โ€œThe one you feed.โ€

My behaviour, and the unsettling and anxious feelings within me have been my own doing. I have been feeding the wrong wolf. I have been going against the core values I treasure and live by – and allowing the balance in my life to shift in a way that has been detrimental to my person, to my soul.

Sometimes it happens so subtly that it takes deep reflection to find out where we’re going wrong. This was a giant hammer hitting me on the head and it still took me too long to figure it out. I’m just glad I did.

Onward and Upward!

(And I guess my friends partner knows me better than we thought ๐Ÿ˜› )

Dream Destruction

He’s a dancer. He is the only male, in an ocean of females, with a particular dance company. His life has been tough and finances are limited. He has incredible talent, and dancing is his passion and dream. When he gets on stage, the raw emotions of his life are incorporated into every moment, and leave me teary-eyed and amazed at the beauty that flows through his body.

We’ll call him Dino.

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Looking Up

The little Yorkie from down the road had come to visit, again. My dog was delighted. They make the strangest pair.

Sheโ€™s three kilograms of fluff and fun; Heโ€™s twenty two kilograms of boisterous activity.

And yet, somehow, they just seem to get along so very well that he wonโ€™t eat his breakfast until she has dropped by and eaten her share first.

Yes. Can you believe that?

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Spring Cleaning

I’ve been missing in action. For me, it’s been a difficult time – but as usual, there is always some amusement to be had from difficult periods in our lives. My last blog post was very significant to my absence thereafter – which is rather funny (both funny ha ha, and funny weird) becauseย I didn’t plan it that way at all.
Another thing that I found rather amusing is the fact that I have been ‘M.I.A’ for the entire season of Winter here where I live.
So perhaps this was made for me…….
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The only problem is that I haven’t been asleep the entire time…..although then again, maybe I have. Sleep is more than just eyes closed and snoring….it sometimes applies to a dormant soul and a closed heart – just some food for thought.

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