Desperation

Mmm, pause and ponder…

The English dictionary tells us “A state of despair, typically one which results in rash or extreme behaviour.” This sums up the strong, vibrant word well in a few words. There have been many a poem, song and even books written about this singular word. All describing it in many forms and metaphors. My question is how can any one person illustrate another person’s feelings, insights or points of view?

We can all sympathise if we are made that way, empathise too, again, if we are deeply emotional and deep enough in our own souls to do so. However, feelings are so personal and embedded that not anyone person can truly feel another’s inner being. It takes, I’m afraid to say, very few people nowadays to understand another. It’s a very selfish world out there. Who today sees another’s desperation?

Desperation can be described as a gift. It’s certainly not wrapped up in bows and shiny paper. It’s so raw it cuts sharply into emotions that run as deep as the ocean. The ocean in a force nine gale. Rough, fast, up, down, blowing and moving any which way it can through. Through every crack, into every vein and artery it pumps and pumps. So why is it called a gift?

A gift because when a person is at desperation point the “Fight or Flight,” engulfs the human.

” The flight or fight response is an automatic physiological reaction to an event that is perceived stressful and frightening. The perception of threat activates the sympathetic nervous system and triggers an acute stress response that prepares the body to fight or flee .” ( Psychology Tools, no date)

Effectively this response is totally out of any humans control. The brain and the heart in battle on what to do for the best, thus, resulting into catastrophic behaviour. Unmanageable for the being to cope with. The gift is then given, fight for ourselves, our own emotions or flight, remove ourselves completely with actions that could mean destroying our own values and lives.

Choosing to fight can take alot of energy physically and intelltually as well as the volcanic emotions pent up inside us. The fight response can take years of healing and patching up. You can only patch up a certain extent before the seams fall apart. Choosing to fly can be an instant relief but the consequences of what you leave behind are traumatic for those we love.

Recently my “flight and fight” took over. Its been many years since that desperation took place in my body as a whole. I chose to fly, I had no fight left. Drained of all sanity, I flew. The results were not favourable. However, this gift is. For as low as I got, my inner strength pulled through as it has done so many times in the past and flew me back home. Home where its safe, home which is deep, deep love, home to me to where I belong.

Desperation is a gift. A gift that gives us a light to guide our paths on this journey of life. If we are never desperate we would never cherish our sanity, our own world and the love and friendship in our lives that are given so freely to us.

I see desperation as a gift that has saved and restored me so many times. For that I am truly, madly, deeply grateful.

Beauty, more than skin deep…

The above image was taken by my brother cica July 2022. His website is at the bottom right hand corner. A marvellous photographer in both fashion and street photography. Go over to his website you will be amazed…

So, let’s take a look at this shot. Stunning, absolutely stunning. Captured at just the right moment. His model Rachel is obviously beautiful in the obvious sense of the word. Long, flowing locks of hair that falls naturally around her shoulders. A face that in itself could capture many of adoring words over and over. Eyes hid behind shaded glasses and a hand carefully manicured resting on her chin. From there you can’t miss her lips that highlight the image. Her skin so flawless and young, fresh and relaxed. Beauty, natural beauty is of abundance here.

Look deeper into the shot. Rachel radiates true beauty. A beauty rarely seen today. A beauty that goes much deeper than her looks. She poses in deep thought. Look carefully at her eyes. Eyes give so much away without saying a word. Her pupils enlarged. That tells us she is in a good place. A place of calm. (Who wouldn’t be with my brother photographing them!!!) Eyes are where you see real beauty. You can see that she has a soul. She feels with her heart. Eyes tell us so much. Even the heaviest of eye make up cannot conceal what eyes tell us if we choose to look deeper.

Her overall demour is relaxed as she studies whatever has captured her beautiful mind. The body language she displays so naturally, are all clues that her mind is beautiful. Her heart shines through her natural beauty.

When you look at shots so superbly taken. What do you see? Do you only see the person and their obvious features? Do you take a step back and observe what’s really going on?

In life we need to sometimes take a step back. Listen to the unheard words. Observe all angles. Not just obvious attributes. Look within people’s eyes and hearts. There you will find untold stories. You will find soul. You will find your worth and other people’s worth. Not all is what it seems on face value. True beauty comes from within and radiates out. True beauty is more than skin deep as you can see demonstrated so well in this shot.

Every picture tells a story. Beauty is from the inside and blossoms when it reaches the surface that every naked eye can see. Look for inner beauty. It’s so much more than words can express… Go inside its always more interesting and truthful…

Real Love…

Real Love…

The above image is of me, a very young infant with my maternal Grandad. It must of been taken in the late 1960’s whist on holiday in the Isle of Wight. It is aboard the QE2. I believe it had docked there whilst we were on our annual family holiday. I do not remember the photograph being taken. Neither do I have much memory of the holiday. It was captured by my beautiful mum with an old analogue instamatic camera.

I have entitled the photograph “Real Love.” It is real, unconditional, wonderful love that really doesn’t come along very often in anyone persons life time. How lucky am I to have experienced this at such a young age. Perhaps it’s because of this real love I am the sensitive, emotional person I am today.

It looks as though my Grandad was giving me something rather nice to eat!!! He knew me so well!! My arms reaching out and my Grandad giving in out stretched arms his love shown in the treat he had kindly bought for me.

From what I can remember of this loving man and from what has been shared with me. He was a man who led a simple life. Content with his own world. He loved with 100% and more. My Grandma and him were happy in their small house, with a garden and an allotment down the road. Never did they go hungry as Grandad and his brothers grew and shot their own. My Grandad a plumber by trade and very well respected. My Grandma a housewife. They bore my beautiful mum. Money was not easy for them. It didn’t matter because the real love paid for so much. Do people understand that today? Sadly no in most lives.

So let me tell you more about this man, whom decades and decades later I still miss today. His heart bigger than most, his love larger still. He was one of alot of children born and bred in Middlewich, Cheshire. Like most folk of that era not particularly well educated. I don’t know how he met my Grandma, however I do know that a happier couple you could not meet. They asked for nothing, because real love was well embedded and deep. A couple who raised a wonderful woman. In the blink of an eye they could see their own world.

Real love they gave away in bundles. Mum wanted to do nursing as a career. When nurses had a vocation not a power career!! My Grandad gave up his only luxury, cigarettes to fund her to go to college. Real love. My goodness when she sent a telegram home three years saying “Thelma SRN” can you imagine their delight. Real Love.

Going back to the picture. I had a very strong bond with this man. I adored his every breath. I couldn’t understand when he died, why I couldn’t see him anymore. Real love. He was so very lonely when he lost my Grandma far too early. They had looked forward to retirement so much and it was taken away from them in a flash. Life can be very unfair. He use to visit us every Sunday and bring my brother and myself a kit kat. We use to pull his hair and ask him to take his teeth out. All of which he did. He endured the telling off from mum when he did this. Real Love. If you look closely at the photo you can see my chubby legs!! Not that much different today!!! They are covered in atopic eczema. It hurt in those days and certainly didn’t look nice. However Grandad still loved me. Real love.

In those days of childhood we just don’t know what’s in store for our future. Its probably a good thing. I knew and understood real love early as I was given it in a thousandfold. Is this a good thing? For when life starts to become real it can hurt. Perhaps if we don’t understand real love, we wouldn’t hurt. However we would miss out on so much if our feelings were only based on material things and ego trips. Many peoples lives are…

I cannot remember life when it didn’t hurt. I was outcasted at school because of my different looking skin. Bullied and rejected. I was ridiculed at college for the same thing. Years later battered, bruised and sexually assaulted by a man who claimed he really loved me. Which took me on a path of self destruction. However I always knew that I had the power to give real love like it is illustrated in the the snap shot. Why, because I was shown it in its rawest form as a child. I knew real love could conquer all.

Today, I still love this man. He alongside my parents showed me real love. Love from the heart, love that hurts because its real. Real love that makes your heart hurt, your pulse race. Real love that makes you kind generous and sensitive. Real love is not a feeling, its part of you. Real love shows in gestures, it shows in quality time. It’s not about duty or responsibility its about well, real love. It’s feeling others peoples happiness and pain. It’s sharing and caring.

I am grateful for hard times because I knew through that self destruction, that self loathing that I could give real love and one day someone would love me like my Grandad did back when I didn’t know what real love was. Today my life is full of real love, deep, deep love. It is both given and received. Today I am grateful for all those people who didn’t love me because today I appreciate real love like my Grandad was showing me on the QE2.

Do you have real love in your life? Does it exist today? Ahhh now pause to ponder…

REAL LOVE ❤️

Continue reading “Real Love…”

Beyond Jacques Vert…

The above image was taken by a superb photographer, who always appears to capture shots that go much deeper than the naked eye can see…

Let me introduce him… Bont Photography based in North Wales. The company has its own professional website and has been operating for about a decade. The proprietor is Timothy Charlesworth. He has a great eye with street photography. His work inspires me to blog. I have all permissions to do so on the above image.

The photograph in the foreground of two ladies on a shopping mission. Mother and daughter? Taken in the days when ladies were ladies. Dressed like ladies. Proud to be feminine and walked through a busy city centre with pride and joy. They are enjoying conversation together, the body language captured tells me that. It also expresses that they are relaxed in each others company and know exactly their next destination. The emotional bond is strong, they have shared the same shop and walk at a small distance apart, in the same step together. It’s a warm day as they follow the path of the sheltering trees for a cool breeze. Busy in their own worlds they fail to see my brother capture the spirit of the moment. One moment later and it would never have happened.

Just beyond the ladies is another photographer ready to shoot the same street. Hair tied back and dressed for a mission of a different kind. Creativity alive in their head and observing people who are unaware of his presence. A shot would of been taken, I’m sure. However, would we recognise it as the very same moment the Jacques Vert ladies was taken? Same time, same street, different view!!!

Further on in the photograph we can observe other people going about their business, in their own worlds, telling us all sorts of things about themselves that they are not aware of. Non verbal communication is a wonderful thing. Listen to what people don’t say. It usually tells us alot more than they do say. Facial expressions, posture, eye to eye contact and of course the all telling pupils, large or small???

Times have changed from when this beauty was captured. I do not observe one mobile phone!!! Standards have changed. Who dresses so smartly to shop now? Who actually goes out to shop now? Sitting at home in your woolly dressing gown pushing a couple a buttons and you’ve purchased your Jacques Vert!!! I find it quite sad. Many, many a day I have enjoyed with my beautiful mum, shopping bags galore, just like those ladies. Talking incessantly about our next port of call, our next purchase, or of course where to lunch? We dressed to shop because that is what ladies do. No one can take your memories away, they are precious and should be kept in your heart.

I see life on this photograph. I feel the love, and I know the people who were captured unawares in the whole photograph have a story to tell about that one second a decade ago, when life was for living, not living on your sofa!!!

Love life and life will love you back.

“That time of year…”

So it’s that time of year again. Festive, log fires, hot chocolate, hot toddies, big roasts, gatherings of family and friends alike. A good excuse to be over indulgent and actually get away with it!!! “It’s Christmas …”

For most folks, including myself to a certain extent its fun, frolics and fantasy. We can pretend currant affairs don’t exist for a couple of days. We gather round our fires, put on joyful music, party with friends and family and look forward to a new year. A new year where resolutions will be made and stuck to till January 2nd. Ahhh, tis the season to be jolly!!!

My Christmas planning starts in September. Yes, plan, do, review!!!! I make mincemeat for the all important mince pies. I soak my fruit for a cake, then make the cake and feed it till I ice it!!! Menu planning and presents are usually done, bought wrapped and labelled by mid October. Cards ticked off the list too. The invites are out for visitors during this splendid occasion. It all sounds organised but, and there’s a big but… Come December its all got to fit into place… More of plan, do, review!!!

Usually it all fits nice and snug into place. However I always worry that there’s the one time it won’t. Its all in the hands of whoever. So I close my eyes and pray!!!

Most folks have this to do. We all have 364 days to plan this gigantic event!!! So, as I walk down the high street a week before the day, do I observe people, pushing, pulling, complete and utter rudeness to be next in the line? Why do I see humans falling out over whose turn it is to have Granny? Why when people complain constantly all year they have no money, suddenly spending as if the lotto had paid out on a rollover?

Ahh, ti’s the season to be jolly and what a jolly lot we are…

STOP, stop right there… Breathe and pause. What is it all about? Its a wonderful, simply wonderful season. If and only if we allow it to be. Shhh, quiet, listen can you hear children excitedly getting ready to see Father Christmas? Can you open your eyes and see lights everywhere in celebration of glad tidings? Can you smell Christmas treats being prepared? Can you hear the joyful carol singers? Shhh, just a little longer, you may hear people laughing, having a wonderful time, bells jingling. The starry, starry night sky as we wait on the eve of the big day for Rudolph to fly by carrying the main man with our long awaited gifts. The doors of hospitality open and friends and family gather, all expectations come together. This is surely what it’s all about.

We get lost in our own lives at this time of year. After the hustle and bustle of all the above; how many of us spare a thought for those less fortunate than ourselves? It is a wonderful time of the year, if you’re not alone. If you have a home to call your own. If you can afford it or at least afford to go into debt for it. Its marvellous if you can plan for friends and family, even Granny!!! It is a big world out there. It costs nothing to love. To share a smile, to put an extra tin or two into a food bank knowing some people would love that tin as much as a child adores their new bike. It’s not only the season of bells and holly. It’s a season of compassion and warmth, to bring this uneven world together. To love each and everyone whomever they maybe. To reach out and be thankful. After all goodwill to all men.

Just one small gesture could make a lonely person’s year… Are you willing to put the true meaning of Christmas into practice? I wonder?

Yuletide greetings to one and all…

Emotional Health

Personally I have had a life full of ups and downs. For this I am extremely grateful. Life on the whole has not been kind to me…

I knew I was different before I started school. A peer refused me entrance in the home corner at playgroup as I had “Scabs.” I ran over to the ring games and told my mummy who held my hand tight and let me join in!!!

This exclusion lasted throughout my school days. Moving primary school at nine was a turning point. I was ran away from in the playground other children screaming at me. At the time you get on with it till the pain is too much. Your Daddy then reports it heartbroken himself that his little girl is not happy. Teachers shouting at you as you yawn in class, failing to understand that you have been up all night unable to sleep through pain and lack of breath… Alas, a true friend I found, a lifetime friend. A friend who was in other ways excluded. We looked at life on the front line and battled together for the rest of our school days. We laughed, we cried, we shared secrets. We do the same today. What a gift!!!

Life was better after school. College era. At last I had a choice. I took it. Only to be bullied again by a jumped up teacher on placement. Guess what, she didn’t like my scabs. Nevermind I battled forth, I wanted my qualifications. During the summer holidays my consultant had me in hospital for tests and my eczema and chest improved. A renewed energy, a good sleep pattern and wow. A different college placement and I flew by. I even found a new confidence. Go girl, go!!! And I did.

After leaving college, new friends found, a new me faced the world. Good jobs, self sufficient, an independent woman spread her wings and loved life to the full. A brilliant decade. Worked hard, played harder!! Bought my first house. Life was an incredible dream.

Life has a funny way, or it has for me of sometimes taking away. Perhaps it wasn’t life, why blame life, after all you only make your own decisions. Friends whom I had made turned out to “use”, obviously I let them wanting desperately to be liked. Friends suggesting people who are good for you when, ahh, hindsight is wonderful!! The people who are suggested to be good for you are really, really not…

So into the next decade, marry in haste. I cannot say. I was abused so much so after ten years I left a three month stay in hospital with a carrier bag, and no home of my own. I didn’t know who I was anymore!! Lost, no its not the word, I wasn’t even an empty vessel. The age of thirty nine and back in rented accommodation living on benefits. Down, down, deeper than down I went. People despaired of me. As they say “This too shall pass” and yes it did. Eventually…

I under went a change. Through this beautiful metamorphosis I found out who I was meant to be… ME!!! Perhaps a little of whom I was two decades earlier. My two oldest friend, true friends I reunited with and life was better than ever. Back in work and a relationship that has led to a strong marriage of many years. A love so true, so unconditional so beautifully deep.

Today, yes today, life is settled and usually free from woes. My health is very poor. People who I think may understand, don’t. Today that’s OK. Today I have people who do, many people. I can choose my friends and leave the rest. I hurt, I hurt alot when people don’t understand. Then I turn it over. I’m glad I am me today, because I do understand. I have a very good job that requires me to understand people. I’m glad I do. I’m glad I love hard. I’m glad I have my ideals on life. Why? Because without all my pain I would live in an enclosed world and not understand. My depth is deep, my emotional vision wide, my love if I love you is universal and very, very true.

Don’t judge this book by its matt cover, because the pages inside are amazingly bright. After all there’s always sunshine after a storm…

My motto, live for the people who love really love you and leave the rest behind!!!

I do!!!

Continue reading “Emotional Health”

Soul

What springs to mind when we think of “Soul.” Music perhaps!! Some very good music and lyrics creatively crafted under the heading “Soul.” Great artists. Do you listen to their music, really listen, or do you tap you fingers and toes to the addictive beat? It doesn’t matter its called “Soul” because that is where it captures you whatever way you listen to it.

How often do we listen to our own souls? It’s easier said than done. To know your own soul you need to really know yourself. Know your instincts, your feelings, your heart. Once familiar with these then trust comes forth. Do we trust our inner selves?

Our souls tell us more than we know ourselves. They tell what’s right and wrong. They guide us to love and save us from heartache. Souls capture emotions and guide us through difficult times. Your soul captures every heartbeat before it’s had time to reach the brain to make a thought.

Such a thing is not an organ, a physical organ like the brain or heart, it’s bigger, it carries our emotions and intuition. It’s the drive we crave for, it’s the passion we long for, it’s the fire that ignites us. It’s what and who we are.

Given all this, our souls are not unlike the beautiful music we listen to. So why oh why don’t we listen to them with as much eagerness as we sit and drown ourselves in the beautiful music. If we did perhaps life would give us a different beat…

Little things…

As we are moving more and more into a materialistic world. As the trend seems to be more, more, more. As people seem to want perfection through whatever means it takes to get it. The perfect house, the perfect car, the designer clothes and labels. I feel sad!!! Whatever happened!!! What happened to the beautiful little things that mean so much… Does anyone know what the little things are anymore? I doubt it very much!!!

A smile to a stranger you pass in the street. Giving your seat to someone on public transport. Letting someone ahead of you in a queue. Putting a small tin in a food bank box as you pass with your trolley full of everything you want rather than need. Giving clothes to charity, not only clothes but books or anything you don’t want anymore. The list is quite simply endless.

We live in a wonderful world. A beautiful world, yet we hurry about our day in our own chaos. When do we stop and look for rainbows in raindrops? When do we watch the sea being driven by the moon? Do we hear the birds welcoming a new day? The snow gracefully falling till it touches the ground, the leaves fall from the trees to make way for new growth… Ahh the little things…

Do we really know what love is anymore? That caring hug to someone we don’t know, just to say we care. That feeling when someone walks through the door and you know lifes not so bad after all. When you can sit in silence with someone and still feel comfortable, because that silence speaks a thousand “I love you’s.” Love doesn’t cost anything, not real love. Real love makes me a millionairess but not in money terms. The Beatles once said “Money can’t buy me love…” and they were so right. The love I give is real and I am so glad I am able to love without persuasion or motivation. “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours!!! Does this happen today?

It’s the little things that make the big things. So why, why oh why do we live in this world of greed? Why arn’t we human anymore? There is no greater gift than those given from the heart, and without a heart we cannot live…

“Tea Cups”

“It’s OK to be the teacup with a chip in it. That’s the one with the story.”

(Matt Haig. The Comfort Book 2021)

What a wonderfully profound quote. So few words, yet each one has so much meaning, so much depth. Comparing the state of self to something as beautiful and as delicate as a teacup.

If I compared myself to a teacup I would most definitely have a chip or two. I would also have cracks and be a little crazed. Glossed over with pretty patterns. I would hope no one would notice the differences between me and the other five in the set, sitting pretty and undamaged. I never know if people notice my chips and cracks. What I do know is that I can count on one hand the amount of people that know, really know my story…

The first small crack was in playgroup. I knew in an instant, as young as I was that life was going to have valleys and mountain tops. All I wanted to do was play being my mummy in the home corner. A peer told me I couldn’t go in. “You’ve got scabs” they said. That was it I just knew. So off I went to the ring games, to the security of my mummy’s hand.

As a tree branches out, so do our lives and we have no choice we have to keep moving forward and try and grow. Throughout my school life that crack got larger and a few chips added. The bullying and exclusion continued. Not all valleys though. Life time friends were made and they encouraged me to gloss over the chips and look at life from mountain tops. From those beautiful mountain tops I could see a life for me. However I needed certain things, confidence, personality, bravery and determination. Where could a damaged teacup aquire these?

College was a much better experience. After a difficult start, due to chips showing on the surface, a little care and alot of gloss my pattern was becoming brighter and my crazed appearance glossed over. Qualifications were gained and the world was my oyster. Or, so I thought!!!

This fragile teacup for the next decade made stories I dare not put into print!!! Life was a buzz, and those chips hidden so well. An ocean of friends. A life full of fun and energy and non stop frivolity. No one would ever know how fragile I was. How could they? I didn’t know myself!!! No regrets here. I love my memories and keep them safe where only I can see. Life was certainly giving back to me a thousandfold what it took from me in my early years.

This teacup has always compared herself to the other five in the set, even when life was good. Such a shame, but it’s what happens to seconds in a set!! She wanted to be a bigger part of a set, so settled for something that really couldn’t help with her chips and cracks. All because, because why? Why do humans make irrational decisions? So they can look part of something, part of the set… My decade was over, a corner turned and no one could imagine what the next one would hold…

The cracked, but very polished teacup found a saucer. Only she couldn’t see the saucer didn’t match. It wasn’t delicate china, it was rough earthenware. Not glossed. Thick with no finish. The teacup wanted so badly to have a saucer she didn’t care what everybody else could see. The teacup was about to begin a chapter that really has never found its conclusion…

So a bad match, a bad move. Earthenware and china do not belong in the same dishwasher. The heaviness of the pot broke the teacup and shattered all the dreams she ever had. Just like that solitary moment in the home corner so many decades before. However as the quote tells us, stories were made. I say stories to be polite, this story had no happy ending for a while anyway.

After a very long wait, a lonely wait. Many cracks, chips and shattered pieces the teacup found a special place in a cupboard full of other delicate teacups that know just what it was like to be outcast. To be cracked. To be chipped. The delicate teacup found her cupboard, where people would listen to her story. That is where she’s staying. It’s safe. There she is loved. There no one uses and abuses her. There she is appreciated. From this cupboard she has found a true love and a promise she never has to be outcast again.

Although she has chips and cracks she can on most days dress over them. Most days she thinks of smashing herself against the wall so she shatters so much she can’t be fixed. Most days she knows she’s never going to be part of a pretty set, but, most days she knows she has many a story to tell, if anyone wants to listen. She has more strength than delicate unskaved teacups. She has a bigger heart, because she knows what life is like on the mountain tops and in the valleys. She has gratitude and she can choose most of the time, what tea she has inside her shell and she’s very fussy. For the days she is unable to choose her tea, she gets by knowing she has the stories the other cups don’t.

So I may have a chip or two, they maybe glossed over. I may not like being that teacup but I hope I can help by telling my stories other delicate teacups to hang on their hook with pride knowing their stories. I do hope so, as if I don’t hold that thought, I may leave my safe hook, in my cupboard and then I would have no story to tell…

Astra Zeneka

It’s been a long and perhaps at times a hard couple of months. My first vaccination against the virus that has brought the world to its knees, was I thought a painless experience. Until seven days later I was admitted to hospital with the disease itself. A very rare experience I am told. Rare I could cope with, life after that was hard, very hard. However that first vaccination I am sure saved my life and for that I am truly grateful.

The last few days prior to my appointment this morning for the second shot I can honestly say I have lived in a daze. A daze of fear. Having traced my steps after the first vaccination I can only think I picked up the virus going for my first shot. No proof here just a process of elimination

Fear is a four letter word that carries so much meaning. I have had all the physical symptoms, shaking, sweating, hot and cold flushes, short temper. Alongside that the emotional state of panic, dread and worry. All in all not feeling my best. Where did this state come from? I was going to be vaccinated to protect me. Alas I know it will.

Human nature is a funny thing. Your brain and heart find it so hard to let go to what has been. Without knowing it you store things up and when life takes you to a place where you have been before a switch is turned on and the feelings reappear as if it were yesterday. However what we do with this fear is important. F.E.A.R. (Face, Everything, And, Recover.) That’s all I could do. So as two millilitres of fluid was injected into my arm all I could was was smile and thank the nurse with a grateful heart for freely giving me five minutes of her time for potentially saving my life as the first one did.

The question is “Why do we fear the past?” It’s gone.

My heart never misses a day that it’s not grateful for “Astra Zeneka”