The Wheels on the bus

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Call me crazy but i am one of those strange people who never learned to drive. When younger i had neither opportunity nor funding and now i am older i find i lack both time and inclination. Work commute used to be a car share with a local friend but i find i like the walk with my ipod and whilst the bus ride itself is a bit of an event, i find i have grown very accustomed to the ritual.

The Bus.

Passengers vary according to the time of day that you board. Pre 9am you will find those heading to work like myself but mostly of the student variety, row after row of darkly clad teens pulling hair around their acne clad faces, giggling loudly and all logged into some smart phone which they message each other on rather than talk. A pervading odour of musty not quite dried clothes emanates from their direction and they sit in twos or on the outside of the seat in order that you might not sit by them. Sometimes in some act of devilment i will deliberately sit down next to one if they leave an unoccupied space and watch the horror as it dawns that a grown up has invaded the ‘cool’ spot.

Cast your eyes towards the back and row after row of people seated alone. Nobody wants to be seated next to anyone else and bags and briefcases galore occupy the space next to each one of them. A woman near the front hides behind an upheld newspaper as though trying to pretend she does not have to take the bus at all.

”You’ve changed your hair” the bus driver says to me as i board. I like to think i keep up with the times and board with a clever little app on my phone. I try not to roll my eyes when held up as those not so up to date climb on and ask for a ticket. ” it’s nice” the driver adds, ”it suits you”  I smile and thank him whilst swiftly scanning for a seat. Most drivers are nice and will wait for you to be seated before pulling away but some just dont care and will drive off sharply sending you hurtling into the lap of some poor unfortunate who happens to be nearby.

Rattling and bumping down the road we skirt the edges of the lake. It is not really a lake but a water filled minehole which doesnt really sound so glamorous so we call it ‘the lake’. Drivers often dont slow down  around here and hurtle around the winding track, which by the way has little in the way of barrier between water and road.

”Please don’t kill me, please dont kill me” i mutter silently to myself, convinced that one day we will neglect to negotiate the turn and instead sail headlong into the murky depths. I confess i have planned every possible escape route and always sit as near to the ‘break glass’ window as possible. Images of newspapers sporting the headline ”Bus crashes into Lake that isnt really a Lake” batter my brain and i admit even sensible me is terrified of the jolting race around the gloomy bleakness beside us. Not even the appearance of a solitary duck swimming steadily across it can calm my overactive mind.

Board the bus an hour later and it’s passengers change entirely. Students replaced by row after row of blue tinted bubble perms all clutching plastic shopping trolleys and sporting a uniform of stay pressed trousers that have argued with their ankles. Far from silent the bus rings with a crescendo of voices all competing to tell the first unheard bit of gossip. By the time I reach my destination I know all about what Enid did at the weekend and oooh did you hear about Betty? Apparently fish is on offer at the local supermarket too.

Yes the bus is definitely an event in itself and i hold my breath as an over friendly lady with a strong smell of wet dog seats herself beside me and attempts to start up a conversation. But it is here I find I must leave you for the lake looms eerily on the horizon and I find I need both hands to hold on and pray that the wheels on the bus keep going round…….and round.

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I don’t like Mondays

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Sunday evening and the last vestiges of a gloriously sunny weekend disappear below the horizon signalling an end to relaxation and fun.  I try to avoid looking at the clock on Sunday evenings and no matter how tired i get i refuse to go to bed as though doing so will halt the death knell march of an impending Monday.  I am confident that i am far from alone in my loathing of the first day of the week although i find myself amused that it is only this particular day i have such distaste for.  Tuesday, for the most part, is much the same as Monday, yet  strangely i find i do not mind a Tuesday so much.

Casting back to younger years and Sunday night would ring to the shouts of ”Get in the bath, you’ve got school tomorrow”  Back to the present and i still find myself following the same ritual as though i never had a bath at any other time. I must hasten to add that i am very clean and actually bathe every day, yet never on a Monday evening would i say ”I’ve got to have a bath, I’ve got work tomorrow”

No there’s just something about an advancing Mondays that seems to hold such importance, enough to taint the evening before.

Tomorrow morning, as always, a very tired me will grope blearily for an unwelcome alarm, emerging looking for all the world like a disgruntled hedgehog. Snooze button on repeat as my sleep deprived brain tries desperately to cling to the last fog of sleep. ‘In a minute’ is my favorite saying on a Monday morning, invariably leading to my being dreadfully late and rushing for the bus to the sounds of the fastest beat song i can find on my ipod. If it is a good morning i may have actually buttoned my shirt up straight.

I just hate Mondays. I cannot decide if it is merely having to do something not of my choosing that makes me hate it so or whether it is the whole total groundhog week that makes it so unwelcome. Perhaps it is the lazy side of me that resents the ritual of a work day, being held to account through every minute of the day and only returning when it is too late to find time for myself. Monday heralds forced company rather than sought and uniform as a pose to comfy jeans and personality reflecting clothing.

Darkness is falling now and i stifle a yawn, trying desperately to pretend that the evening is not advancing at a furious pace. How odd that a Sunday seems to go by far faster than any other day of the week. Whilst i am well aware that it is merely my perception of time i cannot help but imagine Father Time in some act of devilment, gleefully putting my Sunday on fast forward. Oh for an extra few hours, some little bit of extra time to hold the evening at bay, a chance to rewind and luxuriate in the remnants of a day to myself.

Reality bites as a glance to my right sees uniform hanging ready for tomorrow.  I fear if i yawn much harder my mouth will stay permanently open.

Sunday marches on and no matter my distaste of Mondays it’s clear i have little say in the matter. Uniform and running for the bus to the strains of Linkin Park it is then.

Sweet dreams all.

 

 

Love is not love….

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Love.

There’s no getting away from it.  It really is all around, everywhere you look and a subject more often talked about than most. We all want love yet ask anyone to describe what it is and why they want it and you will get so many replies as to leave you confused.

I have to admit as a young child i was very much of the happily ever after brigade. Brought up on tales of princes and princesses and happily ever after. Truly believing that one day my eyes would meet those of the man i was destined to be with and he would sweep me off my feet, just like in the movies. Beating hearts and breathlessness and a passion leading you to want to be together forever. How rude an awakening when i found that life really isn’t like that at all.

Love, i have decided, is very like any other addiction. There is the initial excitement, loss of inhibition and the buzz that comes with any new drug. A newly discovered euphoria leaves you craving more and slowly the addiction takes hold. Love takes over, blurring the fringes of your reality until it is all you can think about. How much better your life seems with a dose of love to boost you along. You cannot deny that there are those fortunate enough to sail on this happy tide for the whole of their lives never knowing the ill effects that often creep in over time. For others the toxic effects begin to take hold and yet still you continue even knowing that this is bad for you. Addiction is hard to let go of and so often we cling to its safe familiarity. Better to be in bad love than not in love at all right?

Wrong!

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Recently i have been talking to a friend about the breakdown of her relationship and whilst i should never divulge the confidences of another, safe it to say that i puzzled greatly over the reasons for its sad demise.

Change. Or rather refusal to accept any change which comes along. I have to admit i pondered a long time over this. My own relationship, whilst being far from the fairy tales of my childhood, is a very good one simply because i had been willing to compromise my expectations. My partner will be the first to admit he is not the flowery, gushy demonstrative type and perhaps he would not be the man for any woman seeking open and obvious affection such as my friend. But i find our relationship has a solid foundation and affection comes in an endearing way unique to only him. I think if perhaps i were less sure about myself and our relationship i should be unsettled by what may seem  to others an unloving man. Yet to me in all my familiarity of him, i find him affectionate and loving in a way nobody else can see. Hard won but worth it when it appears.

I tried to explain this to my friend. People change but sometimes we have to change with them and relationships cannot always stay the same. Just because love settles into a familar comfortableness does not mean that it is no longer love. Very like a new pair of shoes, all shiny and taking time to break in,  but once done so they settle and mould into a comfortable fit. Well worn and often much loved but different from the new shoes you first bought.

My friend just cannot accept the changes in their relationship and has chosen to end this since it does not meet the idea that she has of how it should be. I feel sad for her that the love she has is no longer the love she wants and perhaps she is right not to compromise her expectations. I asked her if she loved her partner and she said yes but he’s not like he used to be. Perhaps, i pointed out gently, you are in love with who he was and not who he is now.

We are very different she and i and whilst i should find it hard to let go of love for the sake of change i cannot fault her for doing so. I find i am with Shakespeare when i say…

”Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds”

I find i myself have changed a lot over the years, very different from the girl i was in my younger years. I have had my share of that sweeping all encompassing love and found that it did not end well. It is not to say that i should never be open to that kind of feelings again but i find now i have learned to expect differently from before. Perhaps age has made me less idealistic or perhaps i have simply learned to heed the lessons of experience and compromise where once i should demand.

Love.

You cant always live with it but it seems we definitely cannot live without it. I think all any of us can hope for is someone to notice when we are not around. Someone to care and to love us  in whatever way they can and perhaps if for some this is not as bright and shiny as for others then no matter. We all want to feel loved and wanted and id like to hope that for most we find what we are looking for.

Sometimes you just need to look that little bit more closely.

 

 

 

Who’s that girl?

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People change. We bend, we move, we alter with time. Buffed and worn with the experiences of life, how few of us can say we are still who we used to be. Life has a way of altering who we are, without us ever even noticing, until one day we look back and find ourselves so changed as to almost be a different person.

I know i have.

I admit to being by nature quite insular. Not that anyone would notice for i have become quite adept at giving all the appearance of someone quite the opposite, being open ,warm and friendly in public. Partly due to my job i admit but also due to the fact i find society  clearly expects me to be this way, an automated response in the presence of someone else.  I live in a world of extroverts who like nothing better than to spend vast amounts of time with each other whilst, introvert that i am, i just want to retreat to a place and persons of my choosing. In social situations i still want to be invited to whatever events and get togethers that are planned by my peers but i want to be accepted for the fact i will rarely attend.

Perhaps i am an alien. I often wonder if my body was taken over by some other being so stealthily that i never even noticed. Looking back down the years i regretfully admit i have changed in myself perhaps more than is usual for anyone to do. Gone is the extrovert, friend loving me with a head full of dreams and a whimsical wish to meet prince charming and be wed. Happily ever after turned into happily never at all. Whilst i admit to being much more of a realist than ever i was before, i still find buried remnants of the person i used to be. Yet cynicism clouds my reality, not in a way as to make me grim and dour but certainly enough to change my expectations from life.

”Do you Amanda take……..to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

Yes once that was me. Even after one bad experience i still clung hopefully to the thought that prince charming was out there. Waited, confident that any day soon i’d be swept off my feet, that all the storms in my ocean had been worth the weathering and for a while i was. But somehow fate decided that shipwrecks and sinking were on the cards for me until one day my  battered little boat was bobbing the horizons alone. I determined, however, that i should be the kind of person to never carry my baggage along with me.Weighing me down as i plodded my way doggedly through life, smiling despite it all. Yet for all my determination i find perhaps i carried more with me than i realised, coloured by lies and mistrust into a person who suddenly didn’t need anyone. Strong, independent and solitary yet in contrast still upbeat in spirit.

So there you have me. Independent, strong minded and decidedly cynical with a touch of ironic and at times self deprecating humour. I do not like to need people, a fact which has frustrated male friends and partners alike.  Men i have found in general like to feel needed and i admit i have a touch of this myself, yet i find myself unable to need in return.  I am careful to surround myself with those people i want to have around me but i am careful not to let myself need them.

Needed but not needy.

Yet over all this a gilding that makes me acceptable to society. I’m branded a nice girl, helpful, kind and thoughtful and for the most part i am. But hidden beneath is whats really left of the sum total of my years. However hard we try we cannot escape some elements of life experience that we shall always carry with us.  Miserly with trust my circle is small in some unconscious  attempt at self preservation.  Perhaps life will change me some time in the future, perhaps i shall not always be as i am or perhaps this is how i am destined always to be.

Turning my attention back to the screen i wistfully sigh as Jane Austen’s Emma comes to a tearful realisation that she does indeed love Mr Knightly and i muse upon the fact that perhaps all is not lost of me after all. However unwanted i still seem to have that softness inside that keeps me human.

People change. We bend, we move, we alter with time. Buffed and worn with the experiences of life yet perhaps more of this is under our control than we realise. Trust may not always be as misplaced as sometimes it may seem and damaged inflicted over turbulent years can often be repaired leaving the way clear to finding ourselves again.

I know i’ve changed. Have you?

 

 

Don’t speak, i know what youre thinking.

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‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.’

How many times have you said that rhyme to yourself or to another in the face of unpleasant criticism. Words have power, there’s no doubt about it and used in the wrong way can cause a damage that nobody else may see.

Trust me i know.

I’ve always been someone who considers my words before i say them but i’m also a big believer in telling the truth when it’s needed.   Words once said cannot be taken back and even the simplest slip of the tongue may never be forgotten. I paused as i wrote that and let a few verbal demons ping pong around my brain before i squash them down to concentrate. I long ago learned never to speak in anger for these can be the harshest words of all, choosing instead to stay silent until i am calm. A fact i know has frustrated more than one person in the past.

Yes you need to be so careful when choosing to vocalise those thoughts that pop into your head unbidden. Pause for a moment to consider how you should like to hear those very words said to you. Realise that once spoken these cannot be taken back.

Lately though i begin to wonder if society has made us afraid to say anything at all. How many times have you hesitated before speaking even though you know that telling the truth is the best thing to do? Hesitated because you don’t want to seem harsh or have others think badly of you for doing so. Sometimes you smile and bite your tongue and pretend that everything is okay, even though you know deep down it really isn’t but you’re too afraid to say so.  Words hurt but sometimes lack of words can hurt even more.

Today i hesitated. I automatically clicked to comment on a post i saw on Facebook. Nothing nasty or unkind but maybe a little more honest and blunt than would be well received. So i hesitated. Lingered, torn between my instinct to tell the truth and the realisation that the truth is not always well liked. So i bowed to the cotton wool society of today and deleted what i wrote, leaving the sugar coaters to write what would be deemed acceptable.

I caved. I folded. I bit my tongue and conformed to societies modern rules. I know that the person i was replying to would be all the better for hearing the truth but that isn’t how we do things any more. We lie and we avoid the confrontation as though that in itself can change everything.

We gloss, we glitter and pink sparkle everything until the world is fluffy and right. We bury our heads and choose to ignore that which may hurt even if in the long run we are hurt even more by it’s absence. For myself i think i would always choose truth. Words hurt but i would always rather know the reality of any situation that skip around blindly in ignorance. Sometimes i think back to the times i have said to somebody ‘WHY?’ , only to be told the age old reply ‘I didn’t want to hurt you’.  Its funny how many times i look back and find that for as many times there have been words that have hurt, there have been others where saying nothing hurts more. It always does in the end.

Words are powerful. Words can wound and heal, strengthen and weaken, lie and tell the truth. Perhaps it’s time to use them and stand up for good old freedom of speech, be honest but be careful with that honesty and learn a different way to be able to speak our minds.

Maybe i will post my opinion after all.

Into thin air

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Sometimes i wonder what it would be like to disappear. Not in a magical sense where i vanish in a puff of smoke to goodness knows where, but really disappear from life in general. Suddenly just to drop everything and keep on walking without ever looking back, shedding responsibilities like layers of oversized clothing, each step making me lighter as i get further and further away.

Ah responsibilities, the bane of every persons life. Those persistent blighters that keep us running like rats on a wheel, getting nowhere yet not knowing what else to do but run. Strange how akin to a rat i have felt of late,working, eating , sleeping and running ,running, running on my wheel. Eyes firmly focused on the bars as if i could reach them if i ran hard enough. Hope trained firmly on the space beyond waiting for some monotony breaking piece of cheese to dangle on the outside. Run ,run ,run…keep on running.

There has to be more to life than this, oh that eternal cry of the overworked and underlived and surely i expect there must be if i only had the time. Tick tock, i’m late, i’m late. A white rabbit skips around in my mind relentlessly urging haste that i have somewhere to be. Responsibility again, stabbing endlessly whenever i should pause to take a minute. No time No TIME!! You have to go. Keep on running, run run run.

Oh to be able to just walk away. Just to find space to exist outside my own head and my own life. To be me but not to be me in any encumbering, self shackled way. To spread my arms wide and gaze up at the sky and just BREATHE.

Responsibility again and this time it has brought a friend. Each have an arm and pull me in opposite directions. You need to do this, you need to do this, no time no time like some distorted mantra in my brain. No time, no time, who are you anyway?

Sometimes i wish i could just disappear.

You hear it all of the time in the media, people just vanish, never to be seen again. How strong the yearing for freedom, for some flicker of differentiality to the never ending tedium and sheer encompassing exhaustion that is my life. Oh to be able to sleep until i am not tired any more, to walk at a pace that is not a run. To look around instead of rushing blinkered headlong through the day. Stress begone and leave me to my day.

Sometimes i wish i could just disappear….. and i could, couldnt I?

 

Blowing out the candle.

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I’ve grudgingly decided that I think too much. Generally I mean.

Not in any way specific to one particular topic but my mind in general wanders and then I think. A lot. I overthink and I obsess. Then I think some more.

Today I was reluctantly babysitting the remnants of some international flu virus whilst dragging my protesting body around the house, trying to raise some semblance of order to its mildly neglected state. I like everything just so and often cast loving glances around my belongings, drinking in the feeling of home they give me. Today, however, my mind started to wander to the realms of mortality and I began to imagine what on earth would happen to all of this if there were no me to need it. I blame it entirely on Doctor G you see. My son is horrified that I avidly watch TV shows about autopsies..”even while you’re eating! YUK!!!”  For my own part I find it tragically fascinating, although it does make one extremely aware of how limited an existence we can have.

Around the room my glance went as my overactive brain stripped away everything that was me. Footsteps in an empty room before a voice says ”Last tenant passed away, rather tragic it was too”   NO!! Snatching up a teddy bear I hugged it comfortingly before assuring it I wouldn’t abandon it any time soon. Of course then I HAD to think about it for it was stuck in my brain and would not be quiet no matter how hard I tried to make it. I wonder just how long I DO have left? Oh, what if I should get run over by a bus tomorrow, should I write letters, for everyone might think I didn’t ever love them! Those that I didn’t might think that I do and that’s even worse!! What about the cat??

As I said I think too much. But on a serious side I couldn’t help but wonder how easily our lives are discarded and packed away like it never existed at all. Belongings that we so carefully hoard over many a year vanish leaving no trace of our personality behind. Those of us lucky enough to leave someone to mourn us eventually fade to a few photographs and disjointed memories before evaporating into nonexistence like we had never been. Cherished items mouldering in some back street charity shop, forgotten and unwanted.

Perhaps it is something that comes with age. Never before did I think about dying or not being here, yet all too often recently I am aware of how every year is a bonus. I think it would be arrogant of me to assume that I should get to live out as many years as I would like. Yes, if I am honest , I am a little afraid. Not of dying, but of dying before I am ready to go. So many places I want to go and so many things I want to do. I wonder if fate will give me the time I feel that I need. I wonder if I shall leave someone behind to care that I am gone.

Sometimes lately I feel afraid to go to sleep, terrified that this may be the last time I close my eyes. So irrational a fear yet so few of us get warning and I should not want to close my eyes so early for the final time. Yet I am so very aware that if this the case I should never even know that this was the end. I would not be here to know that I did not wake up.  Blown out like the flame on a candle.

I wish I could choose a point in time and say ”That’s it. That’s when I want to go”. Be able to live free of the worry that my time might be shorter than I’d like. Sadly it just doesn’t work that way. So each night I close my eyes and fight the temptation to try and stay awake and pray as hard as I can that I get to open my eyes in the morning just the same as I did yesterday.

 

 

The Year of the Panda

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So its new years and apparently time for positive resolutions. Well im not a new year fan and dont make resolutions but these are the things i AM positive about…
1) I was a fat cow last year and yup im still a fat cow just with more chocolate. Thankfully this will always keep me safe…fat people are so much harder to kidnap.
2) I’m going to spend the whole year trying NOT to be a fat cow whilst resisting the urge to chew off my own leg.
3) I may get halfway skinny….for a while anyway. I will blame my failure on a mid life system error.
4) I will hate people. I hated them last year and yup still will not be feeling the love. Really people are just SO annoying.
5) If i love or like you then you’re privileged…i don’t like many people.
6) I will constantly be in a rush. To work..home from work and whilst i’m at work. This wont change. Multitasking is the centre of my universe.
7) I will spend every payday hugging my bank card for a whole hour before it all bleeds out of my account at a terminal rate. There is no cure…it cannot be saved. Funds are being set aside for its eventual funeral.
8) i will still get annoyed at the cat..even when the cat has done nothing wrong. It’s always the cats fault. Even the cat agrees with this.
9) i will spend the whole year doing DIY convinced that one day i’ll be happy my house is ‘finished’ . This will never happen. I am a residential magpie.
10) i will love being ME… grumps, grouches, mad moments, soft heart and strange sense of humour me. I will be my very own version of Alice and i will live in a very odd world of my own. I will never change not for anyone. 🐼😘

In the shadow of Heathrow

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Right on cue the air screams with the vibrations of a timely plane as it passes overhead, seemingly close enough to reach out and touch. This is Heathrow, one of the busiest airports in the world and arrivals and departures number in the seconds not in the minutes. Believe it or not you do tune it out to some degree but the sight of the giant metal Avians littering the sky is a familiar one and one you expect of a bustling city like London. Being somewhat of a country bumpkin myself i nevertheless feel very at home in my city second home and thrill in the vibrant diversity of it all. The hustle and bustle feels very compact and crammed in , with every available space untilised to the maximum and hardly a green space to be seen unless it be of the grass verge variety. Or so i thought.

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Following a maze of urban streets you step through the gates of a city park and are instantly transported to rural heaven. Along winding tree lined avenues, following the wild overgrowth of the River Crane, you would believe yourself to be in the heart of the British countryside and not infact in the depths of the largest city in England. Butterflies wheel and spin, vying for airspace as they dance their fluttering dance across the heat shimmering sky. The air of silence is oddly shattered by the alternating sounds of the overhead jet engines interspersed with the raucous cries of squabbling magpies. Crossing an elderly bridge to gaze down at rippling water and contemplate a game of ‘Pooh Sticks’ before turning a corner and stepping back in time.

St Dunstans church nestles serenely in a sunlit corner of the park showing visible signs of age yet none the less impressive for all that. Splitting wood and age worn gravestones announce proudly that this elderly house of god has been there for many more years than you and i could contemplate.

”Come inside” it smiles invitingly, like some beneign old grandfather welcoming you around for tea. Who are we to refuse and we walk carefully around the grounds interestedly peering at those gravestones visible enough to still be read. Yes old it is and the gravestones lay testament to its age. Who were you we wonder as we pause by first one and then many more of the higgley piggledy scattering of stones. Serene and welcoming and cause indeed to linger a while before continuing on our way.

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Much of a surprise then to round a corner and see undeveloped land as far as the eye can see. The alien bulk of a distant control tower the only blight on the otherwise rural looking landscape. Golden fields ripple in the gentle breeze leading to enticing looking tunnels of trees and yet more green and golden expanse. A flash to the right as a little grey body makes a dash for cover, white fluffy tail bouncing madly as it makes a bid for safety.

Bunnies!!

Yet another and then two more as they pause to consider our motives before either fleeing or dismissing us of no consequence and remaining as they were. We briefly halt our progress and tarry a moment to consider them as they in turn watch us a little warily but do not flee. Another is not so bold and dashes for the safety of a large patch of undergrowth yet perhaps it was not us who sent him there as a large magpie hops madly around upon the path infront of us. Just about to perform my usual superstitious salute i spot another and lower my arm in relief. The area is almost deserted compared to the overpopulated urban madness not a stones throw away, yet here it is peaceful and only the odd passing stranger indicates that we are not totally alone. Along the river we wander before out into the wide golden wilderness we step once more. Some thoughtful soul has cut a wonderful path of crossroads within the expanse and some time is spent wandering first one way and then another , randomly taking first one turning and then a  second. The bunnies give way to a lone kestrel soaring in the evening sky, clearly it is time for dinner and we are too far away to disturb his efforts and so he pays us no heed. Look another and yet another and still one more! Six we count in all and they swoop and soar in the warm evening air first gliding landwards before flapping madly to hold in some advantageous position. Glorious they are and so many is a sight to see but secretly i pray ‘dont catch a bunny, oh PLEASE don’t catch a bunny! ‘
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Again the raucous call of a bullying magpie as a tag team of the embullient avians lay chase to an unfortunate Kestrel. Clearly laying ownership to a small tree they are having none of the poor Kestrels attempts to gain perch there for some small moment of time. Two against one is no match and in defeat he wheels away to seemingly float upon the night sky with his bretheren. Pause for a ‘selfie’ for posterity and then it is time to let those jet engines intrude once more as the rural hideaway fades and urban life encroaches once more. How magical to find such a place so hidden from view in a most unexpected place and one i hope i shall visit again sometime in the future.

Typically bridget

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We’ve all seen the movie right? The wonderfully hapless Bridget Jones drowning her sorrrows in a tub of Ben and Jerry’s whilst sporting the latest fashion in duvets. What is it about us women that immediately makes us dive for consolation in the form of something sinfully gooey in quantities we’d normally cringe at the thought of. I wonder why we’re so predictably cliched to the point that they even make movies about us highlighting our more obvious behaviour.

Guily *hand up*

Going through a painful breakup myself i shamefully admit i have become essentially Bridget although my Ben and Jerry’s is more of the M&Ms variety and far from wailing all by myself in a tastefully messy bedroom i have instead resorted to crime drama and moving furniture and sniffling over breakup songs on youtube. What can i say i like having control over something right now even if it is just the current days position of the sofa.
Why do we do it? I mean never yet have i seen a single movie where some dejected guy is welded dolefully to his bed whilst putting himself on the outside of a three gallon tub of ice cream. No, in movies men go out and get a new girlfriend whilst little miss slightly tubby has a minor breakdown and murders every break up song ever heard before sobbing hysterically that nobody will ever love her. Hmmmm not a good stereotype really i think. Yet that is exactly what we women do.

Then true to form being as predictable as we are we then launch head first into reinventing ourselves in a bid to ‘fix’ all of the things that are wrong with us. You wouldn’t be single if you were prettier, thinner, blonder, taller etc etc so partly in a guilty bid to rid ourselves of the results of our gastronomic decline we haul our spare tyre into the gym, buy endless new outfits (in a size smaller of course) and embark on a whole new look. Again hand up for i am guilty of all of those and confess to spending 20 minutes leaping about like a nutcase trying to squeeze into size 8 jeans.Perfect, exactly one size too small, something to aim for!! Horrified i had only realised just how womanly predictable i was when a friend sent me an article about the 7 things not to do after a break up. Oh dear well i’ve already done four of those only 3 left to go OOPS!! Who am i to disappoint??

Much later wailing along to all by myself along with Bridget on dvd i suddenly had a fit of the giggles as i realised that in the space of just one week i have, minus the cigarettes and alcohol, become Bridget Jones, spinster. Oh dear. Still you can’t help but love her no matter how hapless she is and i live in hope that far from finding me miserable and grumpy, those who know me will decide i’m adorable and indeed very’Bridget’
I couldn’t help but wonder as an aside just how many tubs of Ben and jerrys are purchased to be consumed in a non emotional moment and whether the company would actually go out of business should we women all cease to become such emotional puddles of unconsolable depression.
Still there is a lot to be said for reinventing oneself and may i be forgiven if i cannot raise my hand a third time,the gym definitely has a lot to answer for. Perhaps it is no bad thing to effect a change after all, perhaps the new me may be far better than the old and i have to admit i do rather like being a blonde again even if it is on the No No list of ‘after a breakup’
Perhaps i am more predicatably female than i ever imagined, perhaps we all are yet strangely i do not feel offended for once at the thought of being like everyone else. Duvets have their place and time in life as does Ben and Jerrys as Bridget and i both agree. Still on to number 5 on my list and time to fit into those jeans.
Better to be typically Bridget.

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…..

 

 

The memory box

Folding the letter she gently smoothed the sheet of paper under her fingers feeling beneath them dryness of age that had affected it. Eyes too poor to read it now, nevertheless she knew every word by heart having devoured it so often over the years, now carefully stored with so many others and only now seeing light of day.

HARRY!

Closing her eyes his face flashed into her mind, hazy now as she struggled after so long to keep his features sharp and clear, she was losing him to time she knew that and the thought made her smile sadly. So long ago yet brief moments of clarity would invade her thoughts, his smile cutting through the fog and making it seem like only yesterday and then he was gone again leaving her with only these tangible memories. 

Sighing softly she replaced the pages into the large carved wooden box, fingers brushing a small packet as she did so drawing it slowly towards her before cupping it gently in her wrinkled palms and clasping it to her chest.  ‘Not long my love’ she thought to herself ‘Soon, it shall be soon’

Leaving the packet unopened she returned it quickly to the box, thrusting it inside as guilt burned and she slightly afraid of being discovered although she knew she would not be, nobody came any more. A splash of bright colour caught her eye and she reached towards a garish painted picture of a child’s hand with crude scrawl underneath depicting the artist’s name.

Ella.

Another smile, eyes warming briefly before the light quickly faded, no Ella was long gone and this just yet another memory of things come and gone in her many years of being. Sadness less sharp as each year went by panged momentarily before she dismissed it and returned the picture to lie back along its fellow inhabitants of the cluttered old box. 

Her worn gaze swept over the small grizzled teddy bear and the beribboned letters, oh she had been so popular in her day with her many suitors all begging for a smile, a glance, some sign of recognition from her but almost from the first she had only had eyes for him. Sweeping an errant lock of hair from her forehead she leaned further over the box disturbing the contents in her hunt for the one thing she sought. She needed to find it, to bring him close again before her failing mind refused to remember what she was looking for and left her in that absent place where nothing mattered any more. 

There! There it was.  Her heart leapt as she found the one thing she wanted and fingers rapidly cleared the dust from the front of the small framed picture. Lovingly she gazed at the sun bleached photograph, yellow with age, showing a young couple smiling shyly at each other.He resplendent in some bygone uniform showing duty to his country and she delicately pretty in florals and lace, bonnet trailing from fingers gently clasped between his.

Harry.

Even as she gazed the fog came and eyes clouded over, picture already forgotten falling into her lap and memories of him vanishing like mist in the sun. In the shadows of the room a figure waited, brass buttons shining on a uniform of old, boyish face echoing the love reflected earlier on hers. He could wait, he’d waited such a long time that a little longer would not hurt. 

‘Soon my love’ he smiled ‘ i shall see you soon’ 

goodbye my friend

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From the time we are small we will encounter many other people whose lives will interact with our own. Some of them will linger for a time before passing along their own path whilst others may stay with us forever. No matter the length of time each leaves behind some tiny little footprints in our memories and often our hearts. 

It is with great sadness today that i learned of the passing of a very old friend. A friend lost in the distant past but despite the different paths our lives had taken still a friend for all that. Mingled with sadness is an overwhelming guilt that perhaps i should have tried harder to hold on to the friendship instead of letting it go,. Perhaps my presence could have made some difference to her as it did in the past. Could i have saved her?

She was fragile you see and i knew it. A total contrast to my own mulish strength and i often was the support for her failing life. She did not cope well with the downsides of life and sought solace often in the bottom of a glass. I know it was not my choice and she lived the way she wanted but memories of old remind me that i could have stopped her or at least led her to moderation as i had in the past.  But maybe i failed her by not being there. 

It is all too easy to become wrapped up in our own lives and i am the first to admit i am very solitary. My friendships are few by choice even if my acquaintances are many. Yet we found each other she and i, in a time when we were both at our most vulnerable and formed a firm kind of limping friendship that i like to hope mattered at least a little. That she was only slightly older than i is a painful jab at just how short life really is and perhaps makes me more aware than ever of my own mortality. Yet i like to believe that once a friendship is formed then it will always be so whether the years steer you in different directions or not and i think that perhaps she would have agreed with that. 

Wherever she is i hope she is in a better place for i know that for her life was not an easy experience. Perhaps now she will find the happiness that for so long eluded her and finally find herself some peace.

Goodbye my friend, 

On a whim and a prayer

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I knew today was going to be one of those days.

I knew it the minute i woke up at the wrong end of the bed, nose to nose with a teddy bear that shouldn’t have been there.  I knew it the minute i tripped over my over long pyjamas as i crawled out of bed and i knew it the minute i fell over the cat whilst making my coffee.  No surprise then that as i emerged from the kitchen blearily clutching my coffee i should pause in the lounge and frown at my surroundings.  My family would groan and hurtle me speedily up the stairs on seeing this look for they know very well what it means.

Amanda is going to rearrange the furniture again. 

I do this often, i have no idea why but i will be seized by a sudden compulsion rearrange a room and make it different from before. Okay so its still the same items in the same room but it’s different. At least i tell myself it is.  

So in full grip of room change fever i abandoned my coffee and started rolling up the rug to the glee of the cat who decided this was a very good game indeed. 

”Get OUT of there!” i grumbled, as the cat tried madly to wriggle into the middle as i rolled it carefully across the room.  My reply was a swish of the tail as monster moggie disappeared head first from sight.  My cat is a little horror you see. If she is not supposed to touch it then she will deliberately do so, everything is a toy and i mean everything and i cannot move without her skipping like a pint sized kangaroo between my feet. 

”Oh stay there then” i tutted ”PLEASE behave just for 5 minutes!”

Hauling at one side of the sofa my feet skidded from under me and i landed in a heap on my bottom to the delight of the newly emerged cat who launched like a tiger at my hair which for some reason she is always trying to eat. 

”Get OFF me you furball!” 

Now my sofa is a very big, very very heavy leather one and although i am definitely no lightweight it is still rather a hefty weight to move. Retrieving my posterior from the floor i hauled again at the sofa and succeeded in moving it some way away from the wall. A cascade of coloured balls scattered across my feet as i dragged it leaving me rolling my eyes at the cat who was, as usual, in the way. 

”So thats where all of your toys went” i sighed kicking them sideways across the floor. The cat was ecstatic and hurtled across the room after them before returning to drop one particularly bright sphere at my feet. My cat thinks she is a dog you see and loves nothing better than a game of ‘fetch’ . Rarely is she seen without some kind of coloured ball in her mouth and my house is littered with the offending items. She has however, the most annoying habit of always chasing them either under the sofa or instead under the television cabinet from where they have to be regularly rescued. Another tug on the sofa brought forth more coloured balls and i reached down and picked up as many as i could before throwing them across the room. A furry head shot up, ears like radar swivelling to find the source of the sound before the cat bounds at speed to see what is going on. Bumps and bangs from the hallway as she chases first one coloured ball and then another whilst i swiftly take advantage of her absence to haul again at the massive sofa. 

”Move darn you, MOVE” i muttered, hauling madly before crashing drunkenly into a large bookcase. Yes definitely one of those days as the bookcase wobbled and the contents tumbled out onto the floor. 

”Its your fault” i growled at an image of Liam Neeson on the front of a dvd case.  Scooping up the contents i dumped them on the now mid room sofa before hauling at the large bookcase to move it out of the way. 

PING

Yes definitely one of those days as i tugged too hard and the entire back detached itself from the teetering carcass sending the remainder of the dvds in a great wave across the floor. The cat returns, ball in mouth and drops it besides the dvds before deciding this must be some new game and skitters her way across the offending items. 

”Get OFF there” 

The cat was not amused and stares balefully at me before scampering after the string on my pyjamas as i am picking up the mess. 

”WILL you get off that you furry fiend, go and play!! PLEASE”

Of course she didnt and my shadow followed me closely as i went in search of some tools to repair the now very sorry for itself item of furniture. Firmly between my feet we performed a now familiar ballet as i tried to make my way across the room with supplies in tow and the cat doggedly following with customary ever present ball . Probably a bad idea then to place the items on the floor for within seconds the cat had stealthily crept up to investigate. Holding pieces of wood together with one hand i turned and groped for the screwdriver, finding nothing as i fished blindly around. I could have sworn i had brought it with me and fished around again. No screwdriver.  I had, of course, brought it with me and further investigation saw the screwdriver disappearing as if by magic around the foot of the stairs. Who else but the cat, who now was frantically trying to drag the new toy up the stairs in her mouth. Realising she was caught she flattened herself upon the stair and swished her tail at me for taking away her prize. 

Much tugging and hauling later i had furniture rearranged with much hampering from the cat who was definitely enjoying this new playtime as she dangled merrily from the tv aerial i was trying resignedly to reattach to the sky box to no avail. Moving the cabinet to reach better i heard suspicious slurping noises leading me to look inside to see the now prostrate cat chewing contentedly at another as yet unconnected length of cable. 

”Oh for goodness sake will you just leave things alone!” I exclaimed frustratedly batting at the ever present cat who was most reluctant to be prised away from her chomping. 

Swiping madly at the cable as i moved it across the room she valiantly tried to thwart my every attempt to reconnect the offending item. As usual only one respite from catzilla and i threw a ball across the room for the want to be canine to retrieve which right on cue she did. It is amazing how swiftly you can move when needs be and i hastily did the necessary repairs before the return of my furry nemesis. Hindered and plagued every step of the way by this shadow of mine i hauled and heaved and rearranged to my hearts content before deciding a compensatory coffee was a suitable reward. As i paused sometime later, cup in hand, in the doorway of my smallest bedroom my mid whirred as yet another urge to rearrange seized me. Almost on cue the cat sidles to my side and sits down before looking expectantly at me. 

No, then again perhaps not.

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Broken Wings

It is easier to build up a child than it is to repair an adult choose your word's wisely

It is a fact that never in your life will you experience a time that makes more of impact on the person you are than your childhood. Whether we realise it or no those milestones of learning are set to impact our lives in ways we cannot even imagine, often having a reverberating ripple effect that will stay with us forever. We as adults often do not realise just how much the children we were has shaped the adults we are now and i wonder if ,were we more aware, we should change the way we are lest we affect another.  Throughout my life i have encountered many different people and each has had a very different childhood and as a result each has grown into a very different person from the other. 

My own childhood was not a good one, being both abusive and massively dysfunctional. I grew up feeling that i could do nothing right for it was hammered home in a most painful way, forever to stick with me after that. When you are repeatedly told you are not good enough, that you cannot do anything right and hear the constant ‘why cant you be…’ then eventually this sticks in some permanent recess of your brain. I believed it. Then and i still struggle with it now. 

Stupid. I heard that word a lot. 

Useless. That too. 

Thick. Gormless, Mental,  Not right in the head…i can go on but you get the idea. 

Perhaps not the worst of it is hearing it at all but on hearing it after you really have tried your very best to be good enough. I remember as a child trying so hard and emerging flushed with success for i believed i had done well, only to be dashed to the floor when i was told it wasn’t quite good enough. If i got an A it should have been an A+, likewise a B should have been an A. 

After a while i guess you just stop trying for what really is the point when you’re stupid anyway right? I often wonder had i and many others like me received the right kind of emotional scaffolding and encouragement, just where and what we could have achieved as a result. Back then, however, i was not as wise as i am now and like many i had very little comprehension of any self worth. We settle you see. Settle for what we can get for we do not believe we are worthy of anything better and thus we forget how to try. It makes me wonder just how many of us could have been a somebody had we only had the belief that we could. 

Self Esteem. Such an important factor in taking us where we want to go in life yet rarely do we put any effort into either our own or that of others. I struggle badly with self esteem, thankfully aware of it in my wiser years than i was when i was young. Yet being aware does little to fix the problem for being aware does not repair the damage of a lifetime. You can stand infront of a mirror all you like and tell your reflection that you are wonderful but if you do not believe it deep down then it is all really for no gain. 

I am great, i am wonderful,  i am a nice person,  i am worthy….NO you’re not youre STUPID remember!! Youre FAT and USELESS….remember?

It is surprising how much power we hold within ourselves to be the build up or the tear down of another person. I am very much a silent observer, i people watch and i see and i learn. Even in adult life there remains this blatant self absorption that sees little room for the consideration of others and sadly it seems the more successful one becomes, the little we care for the feelings and struggles of others. It is sad to see that often people forget to remember from whence they came and pay it forward to those not yet so far along the road. Instead the childhood behaviour continues and those lesser mortals are trampled over, ignored or made to feel just not quite good enough. It makes you wonder just how any of us get anywhere at all for it seems that far from being an enlightened society we are often most predatory in behaviour, having the ruthless uncaring aggression of our long ago predecessors. It is so easy to revert to type and look down our noses at those we consider not our equal but are they really? But for twists of fate and fortune are they infact your equal after all but without the positivity you were privy to throughout your life.

I don’t particularly want to be a significant somebody. I have no aspirations to be a member of an elite superiority that cares naught for the little people in life. I do not want to be holding out my hand for a little help up the ladder and finding nothing there for i was not considered ‘good enough’    I never wanted to be famous, nor infamous and i certainly do not want to be a ruler. I simply want to be the best version of me that i can. You may consider yourself superior and i am truly glad for you if you do for i shall not mind a bit.  I am learning to accept those things i cannot change and i have learned the hard way those people worth putting my care and effort into and those who are not worth my time at all. I do not need to impress anyone with some fake version of myself to make people like me for i no longer care if you do or no. Being popular no longer holds any attraction for me if it means i have to be anything other than myself. 

Still occasionally like everyone i find that some hurtful behaviour from another, some slight or some ignorant dismissal will cause the childhood conditioning to crowd in and overwhelm me before i stick out my chin and remind myself i am not a child any more. Still the fact remains we shall always be a product of our upbringing and the teachings of a childhood remain with us for a lifetime in more ways than just the learning from books. Perhaps it stands to reason that the cure is to build the solid foundations in the first place and avoid the crumbling walls and shaky buildings later in life. Look around you, do you put out your hand to help someone else just for no other reason than because you can? Do you ever give someone a chance to prove to you that they can be great even when you have no proof that they can? Do you ever stop and think about how you treat someone else may impact them for longer than the time you actually interact with them?  Instead of berating someone for their ‘failings’ have you ever instead just praised them for their successes?

Childhood has a far reaching impact within our lives and it is sadder still when the actions of we as adults continue the damage that has already been done. It costs nothing to help someone else, perhaps you may in turn get help when you need it most.

You can learn to fly with broken wings. You just need to heal them first,