Time to start caring

I’m fuming, which seems to be the mood it takes at the moment for me to write a blog post, but hey if it gets me writing…

I have always been brought up to be able to discuss and appreciate others people’s opinions but the fact that people are laughing at the current state of our world has me furious. It isn’t funny.

The fact that the Tory government are systematically dismantling the NHS IS NOT FUNNY! The fact that the next American president has taken shots at the disabled, is openly racists, thinks climate change is a hoax and thinks that “grab ‘em by the pussy” is an appropriate thing to say IS TERRIFYING!

When my Dad was first diagnosed with Cancer, I thought but he can’t be dying… he’s too good… I try to be like him but I am not. I am not that selfless, I don’t let go of wrongs that have been done to me as easily as he appeared to. I aspire every day to be like him, but I do not measure up. I don’t even come close. I am not good enough, I am not that beacon for light and goodness and everything the world so needs right now. I am trying so hard to be,  since his death I have taken a much more active role in politics, volunteered to do some charity work and decided I will be that voice that calls out discrimination when I see it, who will stand up for the little guy and won’t look the other way because “that doesn’t concern me” because although it might not concern you in the here and now, you have to think about the future.

The southern rail strikes inconvenience you? Well suck it up sunshine, jobs are at risk and now it has become apparent that because of the proposed changes disabled passengers will, in future, not be able to access all trains that southern rail run. Instead, they will be offered a taxi or a later train. Honestly, my mind boggles that in this day and age this is even legal.

You believe the lie that the junior doctors strike is nothing more than a pay dispute? Well get out there and educate yourself. In this day and age, with the rise of social media there really is no excuse as to why you can’t be clued up about stories and, and I hate to say this, you can no longer trust mainstream media. So look elsewhere, question what you are told and then form and opinion.

The I am having to attend a march on Saturday to protest for unity, in this day and age, horrifies me. How can we think ourselves a developed society when people are treated differently based on their sex or creed or sexual orientation… I have worked in a job where I was not given the same bonuses, career opportunities and recognition purely because I am a woman. It makes the brain boggle.

You think you can’t do anything? Grow a pair.

People who think that was is happening is right, whilst they terrify me, that’s fine. You have your opinions and you are entitled to them. Both those people who just roll over and say “well it’s happening so…” While there is breath in your body and a fire in your belly you can make a change. Stand together in unity, look after each other. When people look back on this period of time and trust me, they will, you will have to explain to your children why you let this happen. As you have you know. Sitting there saying not my problem, is short sighted and kinda makes me want to slap you. It’s all well and good while you are sat there in your well-paid jobs, with your healthy family and work perks. What happens if you lose that job though and there is no state funded support? What happens when your child gets ill and needs to see a doctor – for how long could you afford to pay those bills?

Yes, there are people who flaunt the system, and the fact people can earn more on benefits than working is wrong. Changes need to be made. But we can’t stop helping those in need because of a bad few eggs.

To make this real for you. When my Mum was given the small payout from my Dad’s life insurance, she suddenly had too much money to be entitled to support. That means that she is now having to pay out over £1000 a month to have people come into her house and care for her for an hour a day. Yep, £1000 a month for someone to wash and dress her, as she physically is unable to do that for herself. This isn’t her choice, this isn’t because she is lazy. This is because she developed rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 16 and her main carer died suddenly after a 7 month battle with cancer. And Mum is going to have to continue paying out that money until there is no money left. She doesn’t work. She physically can’t. So her only income is her state pension, I suppose she should count herself lucky she has a pension, chances are I won’t. She will outlive my Dad’s life insurance payout, Right now I have no idea what will happen when we reach that point. Off the top of my head she will probably have to sell her house and move in with one of us, only we both live in houses with stairs and she no longer copes with stairs so I will have to sell my house and move somewhere new. All because the state does not want to support those in need.

And my story isn’t unique, and if you think “that will never happen to me” you are wrong. This could happen to any of us, well apart from those of us lucky enough to be really rich and have mates in politics 😉

I feel better after my rant. Calmer. I feel I need a point to sum it all up, and would you believe I actually have one. If you see what is going on with the world and agree with it. You are happy with President Trump, the selling off of our countries most valuable assets, well then I respect you. Well as much as one can. But you have an opinion and you stand by it and I will respect you for that, even when your opinions disagree with my own. However, for those of you who can’t bring yourself to care, who think that this isn’t my problem. You are wrong, this is your problem, so go out there get yourself an opinion and start giving a shit.

A 2016 critique

Firstly, I have to give credit where it is due and admit that today’s post is inspired by the lovely Alice at More Than Toast. I loved her “what 2016 taught me post” and felt like maybe looking back on last year and seeing how far I have overcome might not only be cathartic for me but may FINALLY be the missing piece in the jigsaw to getting some sort of blogging mojo back.

Not to pull any punches 2016 was shit and followed a number of years which have been getting gradually shitter for the last 10 years. Yep, how terrifying is that not only has my life been on a downhill slide for a while now, but I am also old enough to refer to things that happened 10 years ago and not be referring to my childhoodL

10 years ago I graduated Uni. I had my forensics degree and I had secured a job in the local police force. I think I was about as happy as I could have been. The future was bright and I was ready to embrace it.

Sadly, the job with the local police force was where it was all going wrong. 5 years of constant mind games and horrendous bullying I walked out one Christmas Eve a broken woman. I wasn’t eating, wasn’t sleeping and had reached levels of low I never thought myself capable of. However, the one positive I thought I had come away with was I had met OH. Ha ha. My time lines get a little blurry, but I think I must have had a couple of ok(ish) years before OH kicked me out of our house 9 months after buying it. Then came Raoul, then Grandad got bowel cancer, and within a week of his “all clear” Dad got his terminal diagnosis.

I entered 2016 knowing there was a good change my Dad would not come out of the other side of it. I hoped and prayed for a miracle but on the 24th June, the day the world was watching Brexit happen I watched my Dad take his last breath. He took one final breath in, and never breathed out.

I have no idea how I survived it. My Dad was my rock, the one person I could rely on and the world is a much darker place without him in it. Two weeks after burying my Dad, my Mum had a heart attack and I was back to hospital visits and predictions of gloom.

2016 wasn’t all bad. The one positive has been that S and I had our first date. He has become something of a rock for me, which is as terrifying as it is useful. Having someone who I can call when things get rough means a lot, the ass kicking he gives me when I need it, the motivation he gives me to keep moving forwards is something I need. But it does make me worry. I am in a position where I have no idea what I would do if he left; he is my grip on reality and the one ray I can see in an extremely bleak life.

Mums care has fallen on me. I know it would, it’s why she moved to be closer to me but I had no idea quite how much time it would take. I feel that I have stopped being me and I don’t see an end. That’s the thing that seems to get to me at the moment; I don’t know when this will end. We thought we just had to survive Dad dying, but then I had to get through the heart attack, then there has been a whole plethora of other health issues. Every time we get one beat we seem to be faced with another one. And I don’t see an end. I don’t know where to turn to for help, and I worry I am drowning.

I just want to give up, walk away from it all. I would love to go somewhere where nobody knows my name and I could make my life what I wanted it to be, rather than this disaster it appears to have become. I feel like I am trying and failing at everything I put my hand to. I am constantly fighting with my sister, the family has fallen apart and I worry I am not enough to fill the shoes my Dad left behind.

So, to get this back to where I started, what have I learnt from 2016? Well, I have learnt that I am strong and that I can’t be broken. I am either too stubborn or too stupid to stop fighting I don’t know how to. 2016 is the year I faced the worse thing I thought would ever happen to me, something I didn’t think I would have to face until I was a proper adult (although 2016 has also made me realise there are no proper adults, we are all just sucking it and seeing) and I made it through to the other side. I am bruised, I am shaken but I am not broken.

I am also a lot braver that I was this time last year. I stress a lot less and I don’t waste time worrying, well not as much as I did. There’s no point. Things that would have once terrified me don’t as much. In fact, my only concern is that I don’t waste my life, as I know life is short and every second is precious.

So here’s to 2016, you took so much but you also taught so much. 2017, any chance you fancy being kinder?

I worry too much when I am in a relationship.

Breaking news alert, I am a worrier. I know, hold the front page. But I think my worrier tendencies means it so much easier for me when I am single.

My lovely friend, from Uni, has invited me to go and visit him for a weekend, he lives in Ireland. I’ve found some cheap flights and I’m all good to do. But then I couldn’t help but think, will S want to come with me? Will he be upset that I’ve taken off for a weekend to Ireland and not invited him?

But then I worry about my friend. It’s been ages since I had a proper catch up with him, will he mind that I am bringing S along?

I am so busy worrying about what the other two will think I don’t know what I want. Which I think is half of the problem, despite all the evidence being that S does like me and things are going well, I am still waiting for him to leave. This means that I am VERY wary of giving up my independence. I don’t want to go back to that person who feels she has to be with someone, and I mean anyone not just a fella, to be able to go out.

On Saturday night it was our works Christmas do, and at one point I wanted to go and dance, but no one else was feeling it at the moment. I sat for a while, worrying I would miss out on a night of dancing, before finally thinking “fudge it” and I went and danced by myself.

Now, although to some people that might not be a big thing. To me that was huge.

I know it is an old cliché but before meeting S I was properly, and maybe for the first time in a position where I was totally and utterly 100% happy and contented being single. Yes, I know, and I am sorry. But I was. A lot of my friends were also single (which I think helps) and my nights and weekends, for the most part, were taken up by me doing what I wanted to do. For the first time ever, I was putting myself first, being utterly selfish and I loved it.

Having to stop being selfish is really hard. Trying to find the right level of keeping that slightly selfish, and strong, part of me whilst adapting to the new person I am with him I am struggling with.

I firmly believe that for a relationship to work, people have to be willing to change. Compromises have to be made, and you have to give up on being selfish. I think relationships last when both parties make those changes.

I like that S is in my life. I am happy to compromise for him, and I do think he brings out the best in me.

I think I just need to stop worrying about focusing on how I pick up the pieces if this all goes wrong, and instead work hard at making sure everything goes right.

 

Blog posts I haven’t written

I don’t know about anyone else, but every so often I will come up with a killer (IMO) blog post idea or title and I will jot it down somewhere and then promptly forget what the blog post was going to be about.  However, and I can take no credit for this idea at all, I stumbled across a blog post and well it inspired this one. So I present to you all a list of blog posts I haven’t and probably never will get around to writing:

 

Can’t stop eating

I seem to suffer from this problem monthly, so I can’t promise this may not one day make it into a post. I can sense your excitement 😛

So much for taking things slow

Nope, no idea… can’t even remember which of my failed relationships this was about. However, looking at the next possible title on my list I am going to assume Raoul.

I got married on my 30th birthday – nope not a hope in hell

I feel the theme for this one would probably have been some sort of mid-life crisis. Brought on by the fact I am single, well was at the time, childless and hurtling towards 30.

Introducing Raoul 

At least I can be glad I didn’t waste my time writing this one!

Overanalysing 

Not a complete shocker of a topic for me to write a blog post about, but as my notes on this post include one-word “hospital” I have no idea where this post would have taken us, and now we will never know 🙁

Hate this game playing

I feel this will have been to do with online dating. I did at the time, and I still do hate the game playing that goes into dating someone. Even when you are not into big games, I am still aware that occasionally games have to be played.

Does he like me 

Ha ha, an ongoing dilemma in my life. However, having seen most of these topics are about men? I really need to give my strong, independent ass a talking to. I am better than this, and I do not need a relationship to define me.

I’m waiting for him to go 

Yep, I think this was supposed to be about Raoul. However, rather than dither about a missed blog post, I am going to rejoice in the fact that I clearly knew something was wrong, as I was worrying about him leaving. Let’s celebrate that!

My first mistake was buying a thong

I have no idea where I was going with this, but I am kinda sad I never got it written. I feel this would be one to show the grandkids 😉

That horrifying moment you realise you are Bridget Jones – only without her successful love life. 

I can remember when I came up with this idea, I had just finished reading Bridget Jones and I realised I was jealous of the SPOILER ALERT widowed Bridget with two children.  I think this was probably following on from another horrific date.

It will come

I am confident it will… no idea what it is though! :S

Letting go of the past so it doesn’t affect the future.

Something I am working on daily, but probably won’t be turning it into a blog post.

10 reasons I know I am single.

This has never been written as I only managed one reason:

  1. On putting on a skirt I realised my legs were hairier than I realised… so I shaved only the bits that were visible between the skirt and top of the knee high boots.

Then I started dating S, and yes, the reason that one point was written is because I actually did it.

I don’t trust him… but that’s ok

This was about S. It was inspired by one of our very deep heart to hearts that we have. I asked him if he trusted me and he said no. I was hurt. He asked me if I trusted him and I hesitated before saying yes. He, rightly, pointed out that if I did trust him I should have been able to answer without the hesitating and I came clean and admitted that as much as I wanted to trust him, my past made me cautious. Rather than grumping about it, he pointed out that that was ok. We were strangers who had met online and it would take time for the trust to come.

He’s actually quite smart that man of mine.

Loading the deck in his favour

This is something I am very aware I do with S, something I haven’t done previously, but with S I intentionally don’t set him up to fail. The best example of this is my birthday. I didn’t want to invite him and he be busy or say no, as I knew that would upset me and I would start to doubt how much he cared, and his intentions etc. So I made plans without him. Which spectacularly backfired when he admitted he had wanted to spend my day with me. But I would rather, and needed, for him to not be with me and want to, than me wanting him to be with me and not making it. Especially as I had no idea how I would cope without Dad.

However, I have now broken this rule and asked him to spend New Years with me. I don’t know what he will say and I am a little worried – I feel that may be a future blog post.

t’s not a big deal but… eek!

This one at least got partially written.  “I am aware that it’s been a while since you have any sort of update on how things are going with S. In fact, in complete honest,  it’s been a while since you had any sort of update. But hopefully this is now me back in the saddle, getting my life back in control and regular blogging will hopefully occur as a result of this. Being totally honest the last few months have been utterly shite. Every time I thought I had reached rock bottom something would happen and I discovered that I was wrong, there was even further to fall….”

Like the rest, it never got finished.

unstoppable

 

The Elephant in the Mirror #Review

OMG, I don’t know what’s going on with me, but whatever blogging mojo I once had seems to have officially left the building. I mean I wouldn’t put myself up there with some of the greats of the blogging world, you know the ones, those really down to earth, hilariously, snort your coffee over your keyboard bloggers who manage to juggle three kids, a million and one glitz engagements and all whilst having perfect hair. Honestly, they are the type of woman that if they weren’t so lovely, you would hate a little bit.

I must have been staring at this blank page for weeks, I know I have re-written that first line at least 20 times. I’m still not happy with it, but I think right now it’s about as good as it is going to get. Being honest, I have missed this. I still get a little thrill whenever I hit publish, it’s just the motivation to do the writing which is seriously lacking. But that lack of motivation, of direction, seems to be something that is happening throughout my life right now, not just on here. I’m tired but not sleeping, trying to remain focused and positive but easily distracted and left feeling a little lost.

I feel like I am very much in a bit of a slump and I needed something to get me out of that. Which is why I volunteered to review ‘The Elephant in the Mirror’ by Annette Earl.

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I’ll be honest, I was expecting to hate it. I have been given a couple of “self-help” books since Dad’s death and I am struggling to read them. You’ve really got to be in the right frame of mind to pick them up in the first place, and when the one my counsellor gave me started to give me the impression I was an idiot for having a faith, well… Suffice to say I currently have that an a couple others buried under a pile of slightly more appealing, but just as neglected, fiction books my friends had loaned me.

However, with the promise of free stuff*and a deadline (of sorts) to have the blog post written by, I thought if I get nothing else from this book at least it’ll force me back into writing.

The day I received it I was staying at a friend’s house, crashing in her daughter’s bedroom. Unlike at my house, my friend has a firm no TV in the bedroom rule, which I love. It means I always do some reading when I stay at hers and so I took it with me. Also, I have a really bad habit of offering to review stuff and then putting it to one side and not getting round to it. Ok, I’ve only done it once, but it haunts me and I promise that one day the ‘bake your own boyfriend’ cookie cutter will get a review, but it arrived just after I had broken up with OH, yep it’s that overdue, and it went into a box on one of the house moves and well, I think it’s still in my loft somewhere. Anyway, I digress.

The Elephant in the Mirror is one of those books that when you pick it up, it becomes really hard to put it down. The night at my friends it was gone midnight when I finally picked it up and within a few pages I was hooked. When Annette decided to use the analogy of cakes and icing to explain how relationships can enhance a life (icing), but not having them does not take anything away from life (cake without icing is still going to get eaten, am I right?!) that I knew that this is a book that’s talking to me, and I sort of wanted Annette to be my new BFF.

When I read the book it feels more like I am sat having a good catch up with a wise friend, over a glass of wine. The warmth and personality of Annette pours off the page, and unlike some self-help books I have read, it is an easy, enjoyable read. There are exercises to do throughout the book, and the language is simple and easy to get your head around. Hello, she even includes 🙂

Elephant Collage

Now, I have to admit I haven’t finished the book yet. I haven’t had the chance. Life is hectic and I am currently climbing into bed somewhere around midnight ever night. Sensible me, knows that going to bed at midnight and reading for the next hour or so is not conducive to me getting my arse out of bed the next morning, so the book has sat next to my bed, on top of the pile of other neglected books I have been given. However, I am definitely going to finish this book and when I am done, well I am not yet decided. I’m either going to pass on the love and give the book away or it’ll go on my newly acquired bookcase and I will look back at the book and the answers I have given a year from now.

I really don’t feel like I can do this book justice. Annette does not guarantee that this book will change your life, in fact in the first conversation she was very keen to point out that “the book is self-help and based purely on her experience of the world” but I would encourage anyone who is going through some stuff right now, maybe try cuddling up with this book. Especially as the Kindle version of The Elephant in the Mirror is currently available for free until the 3rd Dec. So why not treat yourself?

I am certainly going to finish the book, as soon as my life calms down enough that I can find time to lock myself away for a few hours. If you try the book, do let me know what you think – I would love to hear from you. And hopefully, as I push publish on this review, my mojo is finally back in the building. Fingers crossed.

*I was given a copy of the book to review for free, but obviously, all opinions, pictures, and utter inabilities to finish the book before the review was due, are my own.