Dumb and Dumber

In my early twenties, I found myself ‘between jobs’ due to a retrenchment. A friend of mine begged me to step in and assist her husband for a few months before applying elsewhere. He had just started a small company in the telecommunication industry, and office work and administration was not either of their strong suits. So I agreed to help out.

In the office was my friend’s husband – late forties; a guy in his late twenties who was our ‘technical wizard’; and two young men showed up to try their hands at sales. They were fresh out of high school, and overly enthusiastic with far too much energy, ha ha! I was only four years older than them… but it felt like a lifetime!
Our tech wizard affectionately called them ‘Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumb-er’!
And whenever the two of them called me, ‘Mommy Meggie’, I’d reply, ”yes, yes, Laurel and Hardy, I care.”
(I’ll name them Jason and Dave for the purposes of this blog post.)

They really did look like Laurel and Hardy!

Photo credit : laurelthemoviewaffler.com

I chose this picture, because even the driving scenario was the same ๐Ÿ˜›

Once there was successful implementation of procedures, I moved on from the job and took another. But we all stayed in touch, and all still were, until circumstances changed ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Jason and Dave were actually part of a trio. They talked incessantly about a guy named Thomas. And even though I’d see the other two regularly (we’d meet for lunch, or go out dancing – and I was always only around for my nurturing… their sober driver, and to take care of them when they’d overdone it ๐Ÿ˜› ) I only met number three (Thomas) in 2012. The day I met him, I felt like I already knew him.
Unfortunately, I stopped ‘socialising’ with this trio in 2013. We were just on completely different paths. Jason and I still spoke regularly on the phone though – and he’d often tease that ‘one day when he grew up, he would marry me because I was marriage material’. I’d always laugh and say, ”why on earth would I want to marry you?” and then we would both laugh, because – again – despite the small age gap, I was just plain OLD in comparison!

I don’t know why, but in the year 2015, everything changed as far as staying in touch went. For all of us. Jason and Thomas were housemates, and worked together – but Dave had started moving in a different circle, started his own business – and we were all just ‘busy’.
Before we knew it, the year had almost passed us all by.
And then I got the news. Jason had driven to a ‘famous bridge’ a few hours away, and ended his life. I was shattered.
(Later, I heard the ‘why’/ circumstances – it sounds strange to say, but it helped ‘knowing’.)

On this past Easter weekend, I got another message that almost broke my heart. Dave also took his own life – age 40. I instantly reached out to Thomas – the last one of their trio – because I knew he would not be okay.
A lengthy phone call followed – brokenness, heartache and plenty of tears, from both of us.

Initially, I planned on blogging all this. Then I changed my mind.
But a couple of days ago, I saw an image on Facebook, which I will share at the end of this post, and it was almost as if I was physically nudged to just ‘type the darn post already’!

In that lengthy conversation, something that Thomas kept repeating, every time his voice broke and I could hear he was crying, was this : I’m sorry, Meg. I know I’m supposed to be a man and be strong. But how? I am just so broken!

As I mulled that repeated statement over in my head, I got really cross and upset. I had conversations with my adult son and teenage daughter about it. I also spoke to a couple of other men that I encountered that day about it.
The general reply was this (and this is GENERAL… I am not saying that everyone thinks this way or is this way, so this is in no way a personal attack on ‘every person in society’) :

”Men are expected to be the strong ones, and the definition of that strength seems to be that they are not allowed to feel or have emotion, like women. Crying is a definite no. Being sensitive is also a no. Unless you get permission from ‘your woman’ to be that way. If a man is not hard to the core, he’d better be ready to apologise for failing. And heaven help him if he admits to having mental health issues!”

Well, good grief, ”society”!

I KNOW I am not alone in the saying this…. here’s the image from Facebook….

MEN! YOU ARE LOVED TOO! YOU ARE WORTHY! YOU ARE ALSO STRONG WHEN YOU ARE BRAVE WITH YOUR FEELINGS!

And don’t listen to the naysayers, please!
Find the people who will cry with you, and still appreciate the value within you! โค

*insert Mel Brooks ”Robin Hood : Men In Tights” ๐Ÿ˜‰ musical clip about manly men ๐Ÿ˜› * (To make you smile after a rather heavy post!)

(I probably haven’t done this topic justice… but, simply put, the above is just processing how I feel in an uncomplicated way.)

How I miss her!

Below is an extract of a blog post I wrote a little over two years ago. I will explain a little later why it’s fitting for me to share it today.

”Today, exactly two years ago, I got the news that you had succumbed to the cancer that ravaged your body and you were gone. You were in your early forties. And a part of me broke in a way that nothing has ever broken before.

I type this, and I canโ€™t stop the tears. I have to stop typing every now and then, because my vision is blurred and my nose needs blowing. How is it, that after two years, I can be reduced to this much pain and heartache for a friend?

I found the small tribute I wrote to you that day :

RIP, beautiful Tessie bear. You taught me SO much about grace, peace and unconditional loveโ€ฆnot just during this difficult journey, but every day in the 25 years I knew you. You loved me so much, despite me being me when it was tough for others to โ€˜seeโ€™. You believed in me in a way no one ever did, and ever has since youโ€™ve been gone. Thatโ€™s a gift more precious than any other. So many wonderful memories, so much love and laughter. Iโ€™ll see you again one day, when weโ€™re walking all the dogs in heaven. Till then, precious soul. Love you always, your Meggie.

I didnโ€™t see you every day. We didnโ€™t talk every day. We didnโ€™t need to.

The amount of โ€˜little thingsโ€™ moments of happiness we shared could fill more than 500 pages. Because we were strange like that.
And the tragedies and difficulties, another 500, Iโ€™m sure.

I remember the time we were mistaken for a couple. We laughed about that for years afterwards. Nothing could be further from the truth with regards to our romantic interests and sexuality.
But if I could have chosen a โ€˜partnerโ€™, without sex and romance, to live the rest of my life out with, I would have chosen you.

You were the first person I ever saw who brewed actual tea and used a strainer to pour us each a cup. (My mother used a teapot all the years, but with teabags.)
I still canโ€™t get my veggie and feta stir fry to taste like yours did. I have followed your recipe exactlyโ€ฆ maybe it truly was you that made the difference.
I am still not persuaded that pink is my colour, just because it was yours ๐Ÿ˜› But I wear those ridiculous pink pyjamas you forced me to buy with pride and a smile as often as I can. (Youโ€™ll be please to know that I bought a pale pink top last year in the weakness of missing you, and made a pink beaded necklace to match it. My wardrobe is no longer all black. I hope youโ€™re happy ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
I still donโ€™t like spending hours on the beach like you did, but every year you made me spend the morning there for your birthday celebration โ€“ breakfast on the beach โ€“ and Iโ€™d go, in my jeans, ha ha ha! I went last year on your birthday โ€“ yes, in my jeans. This year, the beaches are closed ๐Ÿ˜ฅ so I couldnโ€™t go. But because I was outside in my own backyard with my breakfast, celebrating you, you finally got me in a pair of shorts! ๐Ÿ˜‰
The weather outside today is windy and overcast โ€“ youโ€™d think itโ€™s miserable, and I can picture your horrified expression when I tell you once again how much I love it. You always loved the sunshine and heat. Today, it seems even the sun has disappeared in itโ€™s longing for you.
I remember fondly the lengthy visits where no words were exchanged, other than the occasional offer of something to drink, as we sat in the same room, engrossed in the books we were reading.

Coleske; most books (although mostly crime thriller), Midsomer Murders, Chinese food โ€“ as much as possible on our budgets); freshly brewed tea on the veranda in the sunshine; Pharaoh and Age of Empires computer games โ€“ oh my gosh, and the time you got my son addicted to Mall Tycoon!; Camembert, Brie and Cranberry Cheese with crackers as a treat; all the scarves I knitted that we shared; love and devotion to dogs; movie nights with ice cream and popcorn and biltong and cheese, whatever we could afford as much as we could afford โ€“ these are, but a few, of OUR favourite things. (How many times did we watch The Sound of Music together, anyway??!!)

I celebrate you and everything you are to me, and the person you were. There are a lot of smiles and laughter in my memories and I promise I still smile and laugh when I think of you. I know youโ€™d be upset to find me crying, but I canโ€™t help feeling this sad. Youโ€™d understand though. And youโ€™d love me anyway.

To say that I miss you is not adequate.
Thank you for the memories.
I love you always and forever, my Tessie Bear.
Your Meggie

Why do I think this share is fitting for today?
On this day, four years ago, I said my final goodbye to the amazing lady I wrote about above.
I have lost far too many people in the last few years, but none impacted me like Therese did (I called her my Tessie bear, or Tess).
When I think of those I have lost, I feel sad.
Every time, to this day, when I think of the loss of Tess, I don’t just feel sad. It makes me cry all over again.

Here’s what is incredibly weird for me…

My friend was gentle, kind, compassionate. She was non-judgemental in every way. She accepted everyone as they were, without expecting them to be how she wanted them to be. Even in the most dire circumstances she held onto a hope that seemed completely and utterly ridiculous at the time. She was always excessively grateful, even for the smallest of things. She had a warmth about her that drew people to her. She truly connected – even on the internet.
The incredibly weird part for me is that all of the above seems to have intensified within me in the last three years! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
(Again, I am probably a psychologists worst nightmare ๐Ÿ˜› )

I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I find myself, every. single. day, pausing and thinking, ”I wonder what Tess would have done/said/thought”. And most times, as I go about my day, I can hear what I heard for so many years when she was alive, ”I’m so proud of you, Meggie.”
It’s not about mimicking her, or actually wanting to be her. It’s about appreciating the abundance of value she brought to life, and striving to continue to shine her light, in my own unique way.

When I first met her, at the age of 14 (ah, youth!), I was so in awe of her, ha ha ha! I remember saying to her, ”You are so cool! I hope I’m like you when I grow up!” (She was already 18/19 at the time – I don’t remember! Age is just a number ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

And I can still only hope that I will continue to adopt her amazingly positive attributes, and live a life that would have made her proud. The funniest part? She was always proud of me, just for being me!

If she could read this right now, she’d probably phone me and say, ”Hello, my Meggie. Great blog post! But you still haven’t written that damn book I said you must write!” ๐Ÿ˜›

Today I will make myself veggie stirfry, with just a sprinkling of feta, while Coleske plays in the background. And tonight I will watch Midsomer Murders in my ridiculous pink pyjamas – but with no snacks, because I have to watch my cholesterol!

Cherish the special friends in your life who impact you in the best ways, my blogging friends. Time is far too short.
Thank you for reading, and for being here โค

Is it conditional?

Photo credit : Pinterest

I am well aware of the detriments of having a soft heart, and being willing to practice kindness on a level where your immediate response is to give/help. There have been plenty of naysayers in my life, who make enough noise about it, for me to not know.
I suppose this is where my stubbornness (and rebelliousness, ha ha!) comes in…
I still choose, and want, to have a soft heart, and give to others, and be kind.
I still choose to sometimes sacrifice self and ‘nice things’ in order to that.
I am not looking for a pat on the back here, and I do not expect anyone to ‘follow in my footsteps’ in any way.
We are all different, and the world needs each and every one of us and whatever contribution we make to it. We are not all the same, and this is not always a bad thing.
I am, however, setting the stage for ‘something’ that is close to my heart, and it’s something that I wish more people would at least consider… because there was a time that I didn’t.

Growing up, everything for me was conditional. Including love and acceptance. But that is a story for a book, and not a blog post.
I am going to focus on one particular thing though, and I’ll explain at the end of this blog post my ‘why’ for today.

The something? The one thing?
Well…. I was always taught that you never give money to beggars/street people.
”They will just waste it on alcohol or drugs. You are causing them to sin.”
(Nope… we are not even going to discuss religion here… suffice to say I am fed up with religiosity in general. Another book topic, ha ha!)
And I carried that with me my whole life… that attitude… that refusal to give any of my hard earned money to the beggars and people on the street so that they could purchase drugs and alcohol.

Until about six or seven years ago… I can’t recall the timing of it exactly, but I remember what happened.

An acquaintance of mine was on holiday, in a very cold place, and posted a picture on Facebook of her sipping a very full glass of sherry, captioning it, ”This seems to be the only way I can get warm tonight!”
We were also experiencing a bit of a cold spell then, and I smiled as my mind went to all the people I knew who were probably doing the same.
It was only the following evening that I had an epiphany and ‘my world changed’.

It was really cold, and had started raining, and I realised that I had forgotten to buy bread. I grumbled and moaned at myself as I drove up the road to the 24 hour convenience shop, to pay extra for a loaf of bread – my complaints were chastisement at the small amount of extra I’d be spending, ”how could you forget bread?”; and having to be out, again, in the cold and rain. I left the shop, climbing into my car and still grumbling because now I was wet as well…

And then I saw him. And something inside me broke.

The old African gentleman who was one of our homeless people, snuggling as close as he could get to the wall in order to try and take advantage of the small roof overhang to shield him from the rain.
I was suddenly so ashamed of myself! It definitely stopped me in my tracks.
I watched him pull a bottle of a well known brand of cheap alcohol around here from inside his coat, and take a long sip. And nowhere in me could I find that response, ”Typical. Probably starving, but bought alcohol instead.”

It was more like my mind screamed at me : ”If you lived on the street? If you had to stay exposed to this cold and rain all night? What would YOU do, Meg? Would you not have also opted for something to ‘dull’ the experience and hopefully somehow keep you warm, if possible?
I left the warmth of my car to give him the last of my cash that night – we were in for a cold spell with more rain for the next few days.
And I went home and tearfully told the story to my children, and since then all three of us have different attitudes regarding this particular thing.

(I am well aware that we all make choices, and suffer the consequences thereof. But something I am very sensitive to as well is that sometimes there may seem to be NO other choice : the drug addicted street lady who sells her body, for drugs and not food? What if she ended up there because someone repeatedly robbed her of her innocence from a young age for years, until she ran away? What if the drugs help her forget that nightmare, because no one else has even tried? What if… what if… what if…
Do I know their whole story? Who am I to judge?
Sorry! *covering my eyes with my hands* These are things I am incredibly aware of, sensitive to, and passionate about!)

I can’t explain fully, because it needs another book… but the situation around here is dire, to say the least.
My town no longer has a ‘government’ children’s home – the privately funded non-profits are full to capacity, and some overflowing. We also don’t have a homeless shelter. (Our current unemployment rate is more than 50%.)
On any given day, in the short distance of just 2km (about 1.2 miles) I drive past at least NINE ‘street dwellers’ begging for food or money. And those are just the ones I notice when my eyes are not fixed on the road. I travel roughly 90km per day…. I see a LOT of people in need.

Yes… my soft heart wants to help every. single. one.
But I know my reality, and I know it is not possible for me.

But I have got ‘my people’ – specific individuals that I help – who live in my area. One older lady, I only encounter once a week.. so when I don’t see her one week, I get concerned and am always relieved to see her the following week. There’s a kid of about 13 that I see a couple of times a week. etc. etc. etc.

I mentioned earlier I would explain my ‘why’ for this post…. so here it is :

There is a guy who begs at the traffic light up the road from my house – I drive through there possibly six times most days. He’s a little bit wild looking, ha ha! His dreadlocks are mid neck level, and stick out all over the place most of the time. He has a lot of personality, and sometimes even does a cartoon-like jig for people waiting at the red light, to entertain them. Most ignore him, but every now and then I see someone hand him a coin or two for his effort. He has the biggest smile on his face most of the time too!
He’s been hanging out there, every day, for the last 2 years.
And I’ll admit it, initially I was a little afraid of him, because he really does look crazy. Nowadays, my kids and I affectionately refer to him as ‘our crazy friend’. And even though he sees me six times in a day, he knows he only gets something from me once in a day.
He always says thank you… even if it’s a ‘drive by drop off out the window’…. he shouts it to me while I am driving away in traffic.
He interests me, I wanted to know his story… and so I asked ‘my friends’ who work at the petrol station right there about him, about a year ago.
All they could tell me was that he is actually a ‘clever man’… he finished high school and so he has some education. But his house burned down. And he lost his family. And had ‘bad friends’ and started using drugs. It made me sad.
A couple of times, I have actually stopped and sat and chatted with him. Unfortunately, his way of living means that he doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense anymore. And we battle a huge language barrier – my Xhosa (the African language spoken in this area) is extremely limited! So our chats were always very animated – lots of pointing and gesturing, ha ha!

This morning I popped onto Facebook for a quick scroll. And I burst into tears.

I drove past my crazy friend at 5:15pm last night. He waved at me, and gave me the biggest smile.
At about 6:30pm last night, some horrible person doing a STUPID speed, drove into my crazy friend. And drove away!!!!!!! Yes, it was a hit and run. And they still don’t know who that person is.
The report is that my crazy friend is in very bad shape, and his chances of survival are slim – he was unconscious with severe head injuries at the scene.
I know that if doesn’t survive, in a way it’s merciful, because his life on the street was extremely hard… especially here.
But I am still sad. And angry with that careless individual who could just drive away!

And I know I am making myself vulnerable to all the thoughts of ”how ridiculously silly that this could affect her”, ”good grief, she’s way too soft”.

Perhaps it does make me weak... perhaps I deserve judgement for it…
It doesn’t matter to me, either way.
And I am not complaining about the sadness things like this bring to my life because yes… this IS the way I want to be, and what I choose. My consequences for my choices, I guess. Ha!

The take-away from all this? The thing I am ‘really trying to say’?

Perhaps the key to trying to ‘change the world by changing ourselves’ is to reflect on our giving?
Are we giving, sharing, and being kind to only those who ‘deserve it and have earned it’, or are we willing to step forward and break out of the ‘box of conditional’ and give, share and be kind to those who ‘don’t seem to deserve it’?
Can we change things if we stop expecting something in return, and stop demanding that people meet certain requirements in order to be loved?

(I don’t know what the right or wrong answer is in any of this!
I just know I need to keep being me.)

Hoping that whatever the outcome for my crazy friend, that somehow he knew that he mattered to someone… he mattered to me!

Meg โค

anger apologies and love

Somebody recently read, and commented, on this blog post I wrote in 2019… saying how relevant it was for them today still!
I vaguely recalled this particular post, because it was one I so enjoyed writing! I returned to it, not only to respond to the comment, but because there was a desire in me to read it again!
Talk about accountability! How strange that it would all happen now, when parts of me need a refresh ๐Ÿ˜‰

nopassingfancy

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to be a contributor to Paulโ€™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 โ€“ 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˜‰ Thereโ€™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 thatโ€™s what this single mom does on a Friday night, in case you were wonderingโ€ฆ

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Worthy contributions

I recently found myself alongside an armed response reaction officer. (All is well, I am fine, in case you are wondering ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

In the moment, I was pretty darn angry, because I felt he was failing in something that to me was ‘just logical’. I controlled my anger well in that moment. And I am glad that I did!
(Practising self control when feeling infuriated by something is definitely not easy, and not something I am always very good at. But I have definitely improved over the years ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

The reason I am glad that I didnโ€™t โ€˜lose itโ€™ with this young man is this : when the moment was over, and I was able to sort through the compartment in my head that contained the details of โ€˜what had just happenedโ€™, the anger slowly dissipated. Because what I know kicked in. (Well, what I have been learning about and trying to train my brain to consider before responding!)

The more I carefully considered the situation, and the way the individuals involved (myself included) responded to each minute of that hour and a bit, the more the words of my friend came to me (I mentioned them in my last blog post) : โ€˜โ€™We interpret things from where we areโ€ฆ.โ€™โ€™

In this case, perhaps the young man alongside me had very little to draw from. His training had prepared him for certain situations, but this was not one of them. I know that if I were in his position on any given day in his job, my response to things would probably disappoint him โ€“ heโ€™d probably shake his head at me!
The view from my window of the world provided me with the knowledge and instincts necessary for me to be able to assist in a way that he could not, and possibly had not even thought about. But the view from his window of the world, should I have been alongside him in a different situation, would probably have saved my life!

It all brought me back to something I say often :

We are all different, even though some of us are the same, and there is nothing wrong with that!
This weekend, not only will I be pondering the above (different views from different windows), but I will also be focusing my thoughts (making it a habit for my brain to respond in this way) on the following :

โ€˜โ€™It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences!โ€™โ€™ ~ Audre Lorde

The world needs me! But it also needs that young man! And it needs someone like you!
We all have something beautiful and worthy to contribute โ€“ we just do it in different ways!
So here’s to unity, instead of division ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a great weekend, everyone!
Meg โค

People, things, social media!

Life is made up of moments. Some are good, some are bad. And some are worse. The ‘things’ in life are much the same. As are we, as people.

As individuals, we also have ‘our moments’. Sometimes I share something with someone, and then find myself giggling and adding, ”So there it is. The good, the bad and the ugly!”
Naturally, my preference is to aim to have a lot more good to share than anything else! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Social media definitely has its moments. I am only really active on Facebook. And even then, my ‘activity’ apparently leaves much to be desired! Ha! I am not very good at ‘stopping to capture things on camera’, so I’d quite possibly be an Instagram failure ๐Ÿ˜› It would appear that I don’t do very well with these things either : #

I am relatively comfortable with Facebook though. It was my very first social media account, and I found ‘finding people I knew’ rather exciting and interesting. You’re about to shake your head in horror : but I even found it interesting to find the people I didn’t want to find! (They remained ‘found’ though – not added as a friend or contacted ๐Ÿ˜› )

In the last few years, I have had to be very careful when it comes to ‘scrolling my newsfeed’ though. I have almost mastered not even stopping to read 80% of the things that my ‘Facebook friends’ post – I say almost, because sometimes I am so busy ‘scrolling to skip it’, that I miss things I would have loved to have seen! ๐Ÿ˜›

My avoidance of those posts is not because I am afraid of confrontation, or because I don’t think other people should be able to voice their opinions. It’s mostly because it is important to me to protect my inner peace. As a highly sensitive empath, I can become quite overwhelmed quite quickly.

This morning I found Facebook to be ugly, for me.

This world has changed so much, and this morning I found myself shaking my head sadly and muttering, ”Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse”, as I saw my timeline flooded with the Russia/Ukraine situation. I think I managed to read three posts, with comments, before I simply had to shut it down!

I found my heart hurting about the situation itself, and about the way people were speaking to each other – zero respect – just because opinions varied, about the amount of hate that was jumping out at me from my phone screen.

I needed more coffee!

(I don’t drink coffee to wake up! I wake up to drink coffee ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

A few thoughtful sips had me reaching for my phone again. No, I am not a sucker for punishment! ๐Ÿ˜›
My theory was this : Life, as I know it, is made up of moments. There is bad, but there is also good. So somewhere in the bad in my newsfeed, there simply HAS to be a hidden gem of good, and I mustn’t miss it!

My brain kicked in as well ๐Ÿ˜› (Okay, yes, I wake up to drink coffee… to wake me up ๐Ÿ˜› )

My mind focused on names, as opposed to status updates. And I only stopped scrolling when I came across the name of someone who I knew ‘handled their Facebook’ very similar to the way I ‘handle’ mine – sharing positives, funny things, love and kindness as opposed to news headlines and personal opinions that lead to ‘comment fighting’.

I was not disappointed, because here this was :

I DO need to point out the following though :

YOUR fully, bravely and beautifully are YOURS! The same way mine is mine.
Please don’t ever feel like you’re doing it wrong, or that you’ve failed, or that you’re a fool just because yours is different.

I overheard the guy behind me on his phone yesterday afternoon. I don’t know who he was talking to but I heard him say, ”I live my life to the fullest – that’s why I go fishing and surfing often. It would be a waste of my life if I didn’t. You’re wasting your life, bro!”

I DID wonder why he was making this assumption about ‘the bro’ on the other end of the line, and chuckled to myself : ”Well, Meg, you’re wasting your life! You don’t surf and you haven’t been fishing in about seven years!” ๐Ÿ˜›

I could chuckle because I know that fishing and surfing are not my ‘fully’.

So whether it is, or isn’t enough, for others : please go out today and do things fully, bravely and beautifully in the way that reflects YOU!

Thank you for reading โค
Meg (who is not going surfing, or fishing! ๐Ÿ˜› )

Memorable Friends

I don’t remember when Facebook introduced the ”Memories” / ”on this day” page. Google says it was in 2015.
What I DO remember is that there were a lot of memes thereafter, basically complaining about it and mostly because people ‘didn’t want to be reminded’.

I’d love to be able to tell you that my memories of my life as a whole are all amazing and wonderful. But I can’t. I have some really bad memories. (And as I am getting older, I seem to just have a bad memory in general ๐Ÿ˜› – Yes, I know… ”ugh, Meg, just ugh!” ๐Ÿ˜› )

What I have discovered with my Facebook Memories though is this : because I did not use the public platform to vent anger or hurt (other than the odd post from the first three years I was on there), or share things my older self would chastise my younger self for ๐Ÿ˜› , MY Facebook memories actually bring me a lot of joy! Not always, because there ARE memories of a failed marriage, or losing a friend to an illness, along the way etc.. BUT I’d say that 90% of the time, scrolling back through my memories ‘on that day’ in years gone by give me wonderful food for thought, or have me laughing out loud as I remember ‘way back when’.

There is usually a connection somewhere in that memory to something unpleasant. And I find myself sometimes having to be mindful of sticking only to the good parts ๐Ÿ˜‰

This morning I had a memory from 14 years ago that had me thinking, ”What were you thinking?” ๐Ÿ˜›

It was a status update and I had said this : ”I am ready to go. Not sure how ready I will be when I get home though.”

Confusion reigned in my mind – what on earth was I talking about!?!? I was relieved to see that there were comments! Perhaps that would shed some light? And it definitely did! Because I found myself (14 years younger than I am now ๐Ÿ˜› ) replying to someone else’s comment and saying this :
”I just got home. Did a 5km walk/jog to the beach and back. Will be repeating tomorrow. And tomorrow I will have a swim too. It’s supposed to be a daily repeat after work each evening… if I CAN still walk in a few days time ๐Ÿ˜› So grateful to have (not their real names) Tina and Paul in my life!”

My heart leapt for joy at the memories that came flooding back! And I suddenly yearned for that couple who were such an active (pun intended ๐Ÿ˜› ) part of my life! โค
(And the days that were a bit safer around here too… sigh.)

Tina was British. I don’t remember if Paul was or not. Tina was simply amazing! Both were about 15 years older than me, and became my closest friends very quickly. Tina had a no nonsense way about her… and she was quite hilarious!
(She’d sometimes read to my daughter if I was still busy changing from work clothes into exercise clothes, to keep my daughter occupied. Tina’s daughter would babysit for me so that we could go exercise! And Tina’s stories were always ‘added to’ versions of old favourites. Example? ”And the Prince found her shoe on the steps.” Tina would then say, as if it was actually written there in the book, ”which was the silliest thing ever because what woman in her right mind leaves a shoe behind?” And she would just continue reading – there was a flow to it all – and every now and then my daughter would accuse me of not reading the story properly because ‘Aunty Tina’ read ‘xyz’ and I had left it out. Ha ha ha!)

Every time I was sad, or upset, or wanted to be miserable, I’d hear, ‘hosh posh, come along then!’ from Tina… and along I’d go, to whatever she was dragging me to ๐Ÿ˜›
She also couldn’t be bothered with gossiping, or judging others. Everyone was beautiful to her. She never got offended. If I remember right, she used the word ‘ridiculous’ a lot. Ha ha!

Paul was the exercise driven one. And he was always around. He was honest, and sometimes I’d say to him, ”You really have no filter, do you?” because he’d have no problem telling me, ”yes, that makes you look fatter” when asked, ha ha ha!

Together, they were just magic! We only had about six months together – then life took us in different directions, and they moved away. I guess life got busy for us all… as so often happens… and we lost touch! I vaguely recall an invitation at the beginning of 2020 that if I was ever in their area, I was to come for a visit. It was a quick post on my Facebook wall, and I don’t even remember if I ever responded!

So… I saw the memory this morning, yearned for them, and then began to go about my day. But they were all I could think about, and an hour later the yearning had intensified! I needed to reach out!
We’re Facebook friends, but I discovered that Tina’s profile seems dormant. I popped off a quick message, but it wasn’t delivered. I don’t give up that easily though ๐Ÿ˜›

I found their daughter’s profile, and sent her a message too! She explained that Tina is not actually on Facebook anymore. So I gave her my email and my cellphone number, and asked her to please ask her Mum to get in touch!
From what I can glean, they’re all in the UK now… which is very far away!

But not far enough that if Tina and I get on a phone call, she will somehow lovingly hit me upside the head despite the distance ๐Ÿ˜› and I get the feeling we’ll be good friends again! (And this time I will make sure that we don’t lose touch again!)

With that in mind, and because I am sometimes patiently impatient ๐Ÿ˜› I wondered if Paul wasn’t maybe still on Facebook. So I took a chance, and popped off a message to him. An hour later, I had an inbox! As a result, I am now communicating with Paul, who has passed on Tina’s number but says she’s quite busy at work and will be in touch later today! I wish later would come sooner! Ha ha ha!

I’m sharing this for two reasons.

One (another pun) some memories can be really great to remember!
and two :

I am appreciating more and more each day how much we lose along the way because, well, life! It seems that as much as we try to slow down, the pace of it doesn’t seem to want to let us! It is so easy, even when we have free time, to be caught up in the busyness of everything around us!
A true, good friend is rare. We should cherish the moments we can! ”Life” should never be so busy that we forget to set aside time for those who are in it with us!

That said, I am truly grateful for my fellow bloggers, who not only give me great reading material ๐Ÿ˜‰ but likes and comments on my mishaps and motivations too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yours, counting down the hours, ๐Ÿ˜›

Meg x

Go to the Trees!

I’ve mentioned before that one of my all time favourite movies is ”You’ve Got Mail”.

Whenever ‘bad’ things happen, I can hear Tom Hanks doing his ”Godfather” impression in the movie, telling Meg Ryan to ”go to the mattresses”. ”GO TO WAR! Use ruthless tactics, if you must! But fight fight fight!”

When I get off my mattress in the morning though, I go to the trees! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (and I am ruthless about focusing on positive self talk ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Somebody once told me that their peaceful place is a beach – the rolling waves and the cry of seagulls, the sand between their toes… it instantly calms them.
I smiled, because that isn’t my sedative ๐Ÿ˜‰ and told them, ”I’m a forest and waterfall, mountains kinda girl.”

Neither option is safe for me to run to for some solitude in my area. BUT there ARE trees!!!! And I always feel a sense of silent wonderment when I gaze upon them!

I am not a tree hugger in the sense of ‘campaigning for the environment’… but I have been known to hug a tree once or twice, ha ha ha!

And when things go wrong, as they so often do; and when I am feeling sad or angry or overwhelmed…
I go to the trees! Sometimes this means finding a place to pull over in my car where there is a tree, so that I can just look at it!
And most times I am amused when my brain reminds me : you’re feeling down, and now you’re looking up ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have no idea where this fascination or appreciation comes from – I do think it’s a culmination of many things, and people. But I do remember that as a child we had a large garden with big trees – some I would climb, and some I would hide behind. I’d use the large trunk to support my back, and read ”The Enchanted Wood” series. Hmmm, perhaps I have Enid Blyton to thank ๐Ÿ˜‰

And then there was the garden next door!
It was huge, and the side section was made up of a maze of pathways in amongst the lilies, daisies and clivias, and what to this little girl seemed like giant Weeping Willows!
The couple who lived there were grandparents – not mine – but they might as well have been, ha ha! I would often go there for tea – freshly baked scones with jam and cream, or whatever batch of homemade biscuits/cookies had just been baked! And then I would go and help Uncle Ian in the garden, while Aunty June rang my mother to let her know I was with them (because sometimes I just went there without seeking permission to! Ha ha!) Tea was always after the garden!
Uncle Ian knew how much I loved my Enchanted Wood books, and would let me drone on about the interesting characters, never once getting impatient with me!
And one day when I arrived unannounced, he told me he had known I was coming and he had a surprise for me. Looking back now as an adult, I am still filled with such fondness for that dear old man!

As we approached the Weeping Willows, he put his finger to his lips and whispered, ”You need to be very quiet. Maybe you will spot a fairy!” My eyes were suddenly the largest they had ever been, and they glistened with excitement as my lips made an excited oval! He smiled, and continued whispering, ”I think the fairies have come to live here because of you. Be careful where you step, because they have made little beds in places on the side of the path. Off you go now! I’ll wait here. They might run away if they see me!”
And he waited and watched as I tiptoed along the path, being extra careful where I put my feet, my eyes searching the area for fairy beds, and fairies!
The fairies were afraid of me, and stayed hidden… but oh! I found some of their little beds!!! Tufts of canopy foliage all bunched together – and some even slept with a small daisy as a pillow! (I grew up and realised he had made those little beds, especially for me! I think my heart did cartwheels the day I realised that!)

Inwardly, I squealed with delight upon every discovery – but I remembered what Uncle Ian had said about scaring the fairies, and so I would look back at him with a huge smile, my eyes dancing, and a finger to my lips, nodding that I understood. And he would be standing there, in the same spot under the shade of a tree, smiling back at me.
We had eight magical months of fairy seeking (despite my mother being extremely unhappy about it because he was filling my head with nonsense!) – and my imagination being what it was, I even caught a glimpse of a few fairies in that time ๐Ÿ˜‰ And then Uncle Ian got really sick, and a few days later he passed away.
I snuck back into the garden one day, without first seeking out Aunty June because I knew she was sad. I couldn’t find a single fairy bed, and I remember curling up on the path, staring up at the Weeping Willows, and weeping!
I wasn’t there for very long when Aunty June found me. (My mother had rung to say I was missing and Aunty June knew where I would be.)
Over tea and scones she explained to me that the fairies had gone with Uncle Ian, to look after him. And I actually remember that that made my heart happy!
I’m guessing Uncle Ian played a big part in my love for trees too!

Why all the tree ‘bark’ (talk)? ๐Ÿ˜›

I saw something on Facebook, and it actually made me cry! Thinking back on the last 40 plus years of my life, I identified with every single word of it! The ending was an epiphany of sorts!

Trees help me breathe! Not just because they produce oxygen! They truly stop me in my tracks… they force me to pause in their magical beauty… they remind me to BREATHE!

I don’t know what works for you…. I don’t know what it is that reminds you, in pain and sorrow and anger and confusion; in moments where you just want to give up…. TO BREATHE….

But my hope for every single one of you reading this is that in the coming days whatever that thing is, it will find its way to you somehow, in immense amounts, so that whatever you are facing, you will be able to remember to ‘just breathe’! โค

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’ ๐Ÿ˜› ) 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) – nobody’s perfect, hence my inability to achieve 100%! ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ˜› )

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thoughts Doing Love

That really is how it sometimes goes! ๐Ÿ˜› There are even times where I find myself nodding in agreement when I see this :

I remember a conversation with someone a couple of years ago where they made a comment : ”you sure do think a lot!” It was said as a tease, based on the topic we were discussing, and there was not a single bit of malice in it. But it made me pause for thought later in the day ๐Ÿ˜› (I am shaking my head at me too right now, don’t worry, ha ha!)

The question that came to mind as I sat petting my dog was : Am I really a thinker?

Right up until my early thirties, I definitely tended more towards being a doer – often times with not so pleasant consequences. While I knew what my next step was, I usually didn’t think much further than that, and had a tendency to just ‘jump right into’ whatever it was that was going on.
As I’ve said many times, it’s possible that life experience has made me the way I am now : a sudden awakening of age (I’m old before my time ๐Ÿ˜› ), a dash of wisdom and an abundance of caution have all resulted in some major changes the last few years – most of which have been positive changes, much to my delight!

But had I really suddenly become a thinker, as opposed to a doer? Had the thoughtful side of me really grown enough to be the dominant part of who I was?

Something else I say often is that I am very glad I am not a cat! The nine lives part is great, I guess… but curiosity apparently kills the cat – and I am a little too curious by nature! Ha ha! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Curiosity got the better of me this time again, and off I went to do a little bit of personal research! (Because I am not a cat, and therefore I did not die ๐Ÿ˜› )

I was so surprised at all the information out there – www. you did it again! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Apparently ‘are you a thinker’ falls into all sorts of different categories, and is based upon what the comparisons are. For example : if the choice is between a thinker or a feeler, then I am a feeler, and not a thinker! (Which shouldn’t surprise anyone, ha ha!) But apparently you get thinking feelers too!

I discovered, to my surprise, that I was indeed much more of a thinker than I thought ๐Ÿ˜› and that although I was still a doer, my mind won hands down! I found it interesting that being a thinker has its own classifications too! And my end result of that was this :

My natural thinking style leans most strongly towards being both a connector and a coach! As a connector, I like to build and strengthen relationships, bringing people together around shared interests and for mutual benefit. And as a coach, I like to work with people one-one-one, helping them see their potential, overcome barriers and achieve their dreams.
I am also classified as an ‘Intuitive Thinker’. Inner knowledge is apparently what I draw from to guide me. I process information and facts, but ultimately rely on intuition to make decisions and choices. I’m creative, imaginative and emotional – and I can’t be confined to the limitations of logic. I draw on past experiences to develop foresight.

Upon further exploration I was extremely amused to learn that intuitive thinking is a mystery to the science world, but that scientists believe that it happens in a region of our brain that is close to the pineal gland (lines up with the middle of your forehead between your eyebrows).
Two sources of amusement : I am a scientific mystery – insert a VERY loud laugh here! – and I may have discovered the source for one of these daily headaches of mine ๐Ÿ˜›
(I am convinced my offspring cause two of the others I experience ๐Ÿ˜› )

All of the above may or may not be correct. As far as I know, I am not part of a scientific experiment and there has been no major testing done on my brain ๐Ÿ˜›
It could all be true though – especially since I know within myself that a lot of it really is me! That whole ‘I definitely identify with this’ thing that we so often experience in life! (As well as the : ‘how do they know me so well’ aspect ๐Ÿ˜› )

Two reasons for this blog post : The first being that I happened to find my notes on all of the above tucked away in the back of a book I just pulled from my bookshelf for a reread (the book, in case you are interested, being : Motive, by Jonathan Kellerman – how funny that I stuck those notes in a book with that title! – well, funny to me, anyway – ha ha ha!)

The second being a theme I have noticed so far in this New Year. We’re only on the sixth day of January, and I have been asked three times by three individuals who have no connection to each other : So, Meg, what are you going to DO in 2022?
To the one I replied stating a goal/dream that I have for this year, and they said ”great, are you doing what you need to in order to achieve it?” (In case you are wondering, yes…. I am. The parts I can do, and can control – the rest is requiring a lot of patience! Ha ha!)
To another, the flippant response ‘same procedure as every year, James’… (if you have not watched Dinner for One, you might want to – I know I laugh, every time! And it’s only the introduction that is in German – the rest is English ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) Their reply? Noooo…. you need to add some excitement to your to DO list!

By the third, I had carefully considered this whole DOING thing, and I replied : I am going to love more. (kindness, compassion, mercy, patience, honesty)
The response was a sweet laugh, and ”Oh Megs, but that’s not doing anything! You know what I mean!”

And I smiled and simply said, ”Believe me, it’s DOING a lot of things. Love needs action. I can’t help everyone all the time, but I am sure as heck going to put more effort into helping those I can, and DOING practical things along the way!”

(Speaking of which, I am supposed to be DOING my children’s laundry right now ๐Ÿ˜› )

The little things make big things happen, remember?
So here’s hoping you will all join me and let’s DO something together to be that change we want to see in this world! โค

I THINK I need another cup of coffee before I DO the washing ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰