Who am i

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Recently i was looking at an old black and white photograph online of a smiling lady from around the 1940’s era. As i stared at it i wondered who she was. What did she do, who did she love and what did she think about. I couldn’t help but wonder if one day, long after i am gone, someone would stumble across a photograph of me and wonder the very same.

Nobody knows me totally you see. There are some things i just never tell anyone. Not because i dont have a someone to tell them to but mostly because i don’t like to admit some things to people and mostly because i dont like to wear a negative persona and bore people. I talk on here quite a lot and i guess i let a lot slip through my thoughts and little anecdotes but i never really confess some of the things i really think and feel.

 

Until now.

What do you see when you look at a picture of me? I look happy right? I’ve mastered the art of looking perfectly smiley in every photograph yet would you be surprised to know i loathe photographs of myself so much that i have to take dozens before i will allow one to be seen. My boyfriend despairs, he has long ceased to try and surprise me with a camera since he knows i will hate every shot and beg him to delete them. I am very unphotogenic which really doesn’t help me like them any better and so i do not very often take any. 

Look a little closer at my photograph, can you tell that i hate myself and cannot bear to look in a mirror? Did you know i used to be fat and that even though im now a size 10 i cannot look in a mirror without focusing on those areas where i still carry that excess weight? I fight an ongoing battle to keep it down and feel a real hatred for myself in those times when my emotional eating wins out over my dieting. I do not think anyone who has always been slim can possibly understand how hard a battle it is to win and even when you do you still have not won the war. Right now is one of those times. I was looking in the mirror today and felt an overwhelming disgust at myself and even calling myself names did not make it better.  I am struggling to lose the few pounds i have gained almost to a point of standstill and this just makes me hate myself more for being greedy and weak. I really envy those people who can eat as they please and never gain a pound whilst i struggle to make my ageing body lose anything at all.

Can you tell from my picture that im a loner? You’d imagine im outgoing and surrounded by friends wouldn’t you and at one point i  really did conform and do the whole friendship circle thing in a bid for acceptance. Strangely i am great in social situations, i’m told i’m very personable and caring and friendly yet oddly i do not often feel the need for the company of others. I am actually one of those people who likes their own company. I honestly think i should be happy if someone asked me to be caretaker of some tiny uninhabited island with only my partner for company. We are by nature social creatures and i know most people find me very odd in my solitary ways. Yet talk to me face to face and i am warm and funny and intelligent and extremely talkative, a pure contradiction in nature. 

Look into my eyes, can you tell i’m a dreamer? Can you tell that i lose myself often in books and films in a bid to find even temporarily those things that are missing in my life? Yet i never watch those happily ever after movies most women seem to love. I cannot bear the sugary tweeness of them and long ago lost the ability to sigh wistfully as some hero goes the extra mile for his girl. I confess in my older years i have become cynical and were it not for the fact that i once experienced that all consuming love i should think it a myth and scornfully dismiss it. Yet dream i do. Of chances missed and paths to take and a world a little better than mine. That i am extremely fortunate in many ways does not elude me and i am mindful to be thankful for what i have whilst quietly allowing myself those moments to dream.

Take another look, can you tell that i had a bad childhood? Would it surprise you to know that i was very unwanted when young and that my parents long ago disappeared from my life? I long ago accepted this and told myself i did not need parents anyway but secretly i confess that sometimes i envy those people with caring parents. Sometimes i wish someone would hug me and say we love you ,are you okay, do you need anything, we miss you. Would you guess that sometimes i just wish someone would miss me and notice that i’m not around. Oh they do, of course they do. When they need something. I channelled all a lifetime of being unwanted into making sure others did not feel the same and became everything for everyone you see and they need me. That’s when they notice. Not because i am me but because they need. Someone did miss me desperately once, i remember so well the feeling. It kind of touches your soul to know that you mean that much to someone that they do not feel complete without you. Between you and me dear readers i miss that, i hate admitting it but if i’m honest i do. It’s so touching to feel wanted. 

So look at me again. What do you imagine that i like? What do you think makes me smile, cry, scared or happy? Would you imagine for one minute that i’m a geek? That i love Tudor and WWII history. Would you guess that i coo over WWII war planes in the same way that i coo over my teddy bear collection? Can you tell that i love sci fi and war films and am totally at odds in interests to my very feminine looks and manner. Could you tell i always wanted a train set when i was young yet never got one or that i love to hike into the hills and watch the world go by especially on windy days? Did you know that i love storms and the rain yet im afraid of deep water and heights. I can watch any amount of surgery on tv even whilst eating my dinner, a fact which disgusts my children and i love to people watch. Would you know that i love all kinds of music from rock to pop yet if i have to choose one piece of music that stirs me i should choose Samuel Barbers Adagio for strings. I love that piece of music, it really gets me every time i listen to it yet nobody would imagine me to be a classical music kind of girl. I guess i have a very old fashioned soul inside that i do not often set free. 

Sometimes i feel guilty when i let little bits of me show. I feel like i am being selfish and should conform a little more to meet their needs rather than mine and so i do. I conform. I only let my happier personality out and keep anything else inside where it is safe and where i do not need to bother people with my thoughts and issues and those quirks that make me different. I guess perhaps i am a casualty of my own solitary nature, you tend to internalise a lot rather than sharing your inner thoughts with others. I know that i am a good person, i am by nature caring and compassionate yet i am whimsical and unusual and i was once told i am very deep.I never did ask what they meant but i should like to think they intended it to mean i have hidden depths.

 I like to help people and i like to feel needed to some degree. It makes me feel like i matter and that people notice i am around, even if not for the ways i would wish it. Perhaps i am too much of a dreamer and i have an unrealistic view of some personal utopia. Always seeming to elude me and forever keeping me dreaming. 

I think too much. Did you know that? Always thinking, always analysing anways practical and i know given the chance i should have made a good counsellor as i hoped i could have been. Still i use my skills on those around me and it makes me feel good to help even if it is only for a little while. 

Look at my photograph. Perhaps some day if you are ever looking at it you shall not need to wonder who i am or what i thought and dreamed. You may never know me but perhaps i shall not be such a stranger after all for i am just me behind a smiling image but i am me and this is just a little glimpse into the girl behind the anecdotes, funny stories and strong opinions.

I’m Amanda and it’s very nice to meet you. 

Just amanda 

 

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A tale of two kitties… or maybe just a few more

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Love them or hate them you can barely go a step down the street without running into a furry feline of some form or other. I am definitely a cat person and am the frazzled owner of a barking mad part bengal tabby. Tally thinks she owns me and thinks nothing of creating havoc in order to have me chasing around after her.

So when some weeks earlier my boyfriend announced that a feral cat had given birth outside his parents house i immediately went into full-blown gush mode. Definitely a very smart mama cat, she had wedged herself and her furry brood in a very small space between the two houses, far out of reach of human hands. Peering excitedly into the gloom a couple of weeks later i could just about make out a furry bundle of shapes at the very far end. Strangely mama cat did not seem one bit fazed by us cooing over her offspring and merely flicked a tail in our direction and sauntered off in search of food.

But one day mama cat did not come back and the hours rolled into one day and then two. The poor kittens far from being safely hidden at the back of the small alley were cuddled up at the front awaiting their missing parent and the promise of food.

But mama never came.

As two days rolled into three and boyfriend was keeping a strict vigil it became clear that something had to be done. It was clear that mama cat had either abandoned her tiny offspring or something untoward had befallen her.  It seemed there was no other option than to mount a rescue and since very concerned boyfriend was the only one on hand, the task fell to him. Now i can only tell you the events as related to me but as you can imagine all did not go according to plan. Whilst three were very swiftly whisked away before they could even realise what was going on, the other two made a very wobbly run for it further back into the enclosed gap. Definitely not wide enough for human occupation, it meant that our hero had to be inventive in his attempts to shoo the elusive felines out of hiding. Since the gap was too small and too high to reach into or enter  it meant a long length of wood had to be fashioned from smaller pieces in order to lean down and shoo them along with it. Now even today i cannot help but giggle at the thought of dear boyfriend balancing on high smacking a kitty up the bottom with a plank of wood. It did prove effective however and two little bundles of hissing fur were dispatched into the box with their siblings.

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So what exactly do you do with 5 feral kittens who havent eaten for days? Feed them first of all..one by one with syringe and cat milk and bless him he did a good job. The little tortoiseshell was definitely not impressed and hissed madly whenever approached but after deciding exploring was more fun set off on an adventure. Thankfully after several calls a veterinary surgery was willing to take them and raise them so back into the box it was, bumping and fighting all of the way to their temporary new home. I have to admit they are adorable and i got to visit them myself some days later. Very much changed and much more sociable than before they happily came close for attention as we approached. Houdini, as i have christened the tortoiseshell, was very much an escape artist and made a bid for freedom at every opportunity. Scampering around the surgery with boyfriend in tow he alternated and in return followed at my other half’s heels like a nosy puppy. As i sat and watched they jumped and tumbled, pouncing merrily upon each other as they played.

All but one.

Sitting right at the back one tiny black kitten made no attempt to join in. Staring with wide blue eyes he appealed to me greatly for where the others made every attempt to gain your attention, this one did not. Simply sitting quietly observing whilst the others vied for attention this one did not even try. This would be the one for me were i to take one home. Timid and overlooked yet to me the one that stood out the most.

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So that dear readers is how you save a life and proof that just sometimes, just sometimes, a hero does come along when you need one. Five little kittens are going to have a better life than the one they would have had before and i shall remember a quiet pair of blue eyes looking up into mine.

PURRRRRRRRRRRRR

Three wheels on my wagon



 

You never let anything get you down do you, you’re always so upbeat?

I’d never really been one to take much notice of other people’s perceptions of me until the above statement from a colleague made me pause and examine my own psyche. Long ago i ceased to care what other people thought of me and decided that they could like me or not but i wasn’t going to change who i am for anyone. I guess the truth is i lost myself for a while, forgot who i was and lived smothered under an alter ego created for me by others. I forgot how to have an opinion, i forgot how to have a voice, i forgot how to be me. Now i remember who i am and i shall not let anyone take that away from me again.  To this day whenever i see a bird in a cage i feel so sad, for i know very well how it feels and wonder where it would go were i to set it free. Would it know how to be anything but a bird in a cage? Probably not and i have seen instances when even were a cage door to be opened the bird makes to attempt to leave and make a bid for freedom. It simply does not know how.

It is said that a persons personality is set by the age of 7 years of age and that whatever traits we have gained by then will remain with us for life. How much truth there is in this i do not know but i do know that without doubt the experiences of childhood remain with us forever and invariably shape the people we become even if we are not aware of it. Having seen both first hand and in others the effects of a negative emotional upbringing versus a positive one there is no doubt the effects of both are lingering.  Life  experiences made me tough, i’m a survivor, a practicalist and an eternal optimist and if i ever feel down only one person should know it. I’m often told im a strong person and i guess i am, i have needed to be. There is very little that life can throw at me and i have been told i have a very pollyanna attitude to life (most of the time). But i have also seen the ill effects an emotionally damaging upbringing can have on an individual who is not as battle hardened as i and there is no doubt that however hidden those scars may be they are scars nonetheless. A lifetime affected by actions that were given little consequence at the time leaves me wondering how blind we are to the effect we have on others. Certainly it seems a lot more than we should be.

My childhood was rather contradictory. Whilst i was quite rightly taught that if i could not say anything nice then i should remain silent, this was not infact put into practise by those setting the rules. It however seems the ‘Do as i say, not as i do” rule was very much the number one when i was young and sadly this was simply taught to me and never followed. I thankfully to this day remain a firm advocate of remaining silent rather than say something unforgiveable and i try to be as mindful as i can, for something once said cannot be taken back. Some wounds, as i have seen for myself, run very deep and are very slow to heal and some just simply fester and may remain as wounds forever. The power of words has never been more in evidence for me than as of late as i have seen the suffering they have caused.

Yes i firmly believe childhood has more of an impact on us than at any other time in our lives. It is when we learn the most whether the good or the bad and follows a road that sets us upon a way of life we will barely waver from. Being a child is tough, being a damaged child is even tougher still. Childhood made me stubborn, strong, resilient and a dreamer. Yet it also made me caring and empathetic to the feelings of others in the most unlikely way possible.

Strangely and perhaps quite perversely a song popped into my head when i was musing over my colleagues remarks on my attitude to life. A song from my childhood that used to make me laugh until the very last verse when the poor man has no wheels left upon his wagon.  I used to get very upset imagining the grisly demise of the poor unfortunate fellow at the hands of the pursuing Indians. Today the song still makes me chuckle but i find it very fitting for me as i plod my merry way through life.

Two wheels on my wagon and i’m still rolling along…..