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…..

 

 

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, 

A letter to Grandad

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Dear Grandad, 

I should have written this letter long ago but i guess i never knew how, or perhaps i wasn’t ready. I can’t believe it’s been 30 years since you left us, would you be surprised if you knew that even after all this time i can still think of you and cry? I know you would. You’d shake your head and laugh and hug me like you always did.

”Silly Billy” You’d say. But i know you’d be glad that i remember.

I never got to be famous Grandad, never made the rich list or ever did anything to make the history books. Never got to live my dreams and you know what a dreamer i always was. But i never gave up on them Grandad and i know there’s still time.

Are you proud of me? Yes i rather think you would be whether i’m famous or not. I’m a good person you see, just like you were and i know that would be enough for you. I’m still dreaming Grandad don’t you worry about that.

I haven’t changed much Grandad, do you still see the little girl i was? i’m sure you laugh and remember the stubborn pout and the folded arms and that funny little stamp of the foot i’d do when i wanted my own way. Well i’m still as stubborn as ever  although i pout a lot less these days than i did back then. But you always gave in and laughed at the funny little figure that i was.

I met someone too Grandad, and would you believe he talks more than i do? Yes im sure you would find that funny since i really was the most dreadful little chatterbox and i haven’t changed there either. I know you’d like him Grandad he’s a good man just like you. I’m sorry i know i’ve made you shake your head over the years at some of bad situations i got myself into. I know they were wrong for me  and i’m sure you worried that i’d never get it right. Not like you and Nana. But don’t worry Grandad i’m happy and i’m sure you noticed how much more i smile these days.

I wish you could have met your great grandchildren, i know they’d have loved you just as much as i did. Would you have taken them driving, singing ‘All things bright and beautiful’ to them in that oh so funny way as you did with me. I still can’t hear that song without hearing you in my head Grandad and it always makes me smile. I was worried that my daughter would choose that hymn at her wedding and i’d get the giggles in church when i heard it.  You’d like my children grandad, im hoping they grow up to be just as good people as you were. I wonder if you’d look at them and see anything of me in them at all?

I still talk to you sometimes when i’m alone. I wonder do you hear me? Somehow i think you do and it helps that i can tell you things and let you know how i am. You always did worry for me and i miss that even though im grown and shouldn’t need a grandad any more. Somehow though i’m pretty sure you’re watching over me just like you always did and waiting in the wings for me to run to you when i fall down.  Its been 30 years grandad are you surprised that i still miss you?

Did you see that your picture hangs upon my wall so that i can see you smiling down at me?

Don’t be. A man like you will always be remembered even after 30 years and i hope one day someone will miss me when im gone as much as i miss you.

I wrote you a letter Grandad, im sorry it took so long.

Amanda Jane

Escape

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It should have been the stuff of nightmares and for all intents and purposes it was. She imagined time would have long since faded the memories but closing her eyes she could see with startling clarity events of a long lost youth playing inside her head. Hardly anything to smile about yet her mouth curved faintly upwards as she recalled some childish attempt at freedom. So simple in its innocence yet so profound in its efficacy, making her shake her head and marvel at an ingenuity borne of desperation from one so young. Had she really believed she could live in a tree?? Perhaps too many days seeking escape in tales of adventure had clouded her thinking yet this had been a most carefully devised plan. Childish yet naively effective if one did not look too deeply and seek fault where to her there there was none. Tarpaulins!! for a roof, she had decided, to keep out the rain and rope to construct all manner of furniture. Emulating heroes cast ashore on desert islands. Forced to improvise often most improbable necessities. That she had neither the skill nor the equipment to perform either task did not occur to her and hours were whiled away planning and dreaming of liberation.Waiting for the day to come when all would be prepared and the dream would at last be a reality. However unlikely this was, it afforded her a means of being anywhere but where she was and anywhere was better than here!!

She would have to hide she decided. The risk of discovery in daylight hours was too great a risk and so beyond the witching  hour was to be her time to risk leaving the safety of her refuge in search of food and supplies. Mentally forced to criminal activities in an attempt to survive she truly believed in the effectiveness of her plan. Blithely dismissing the small pang of conscience that prickled, telling herself this was unavoidable and not an option of choice. She knew well the difference between right and wrong for hadn’t she been taught it most frequently in the cruellest of manners, yet one sufficiently adequate as to produce the desired result. Yet even this did little to deter her. Hopeless misery obliterated all reason and she was beyond anything but a small glimmer of hope sprung to life in a well used imagination. Yes, a most effective plan were you not to examine it too closely and one most frequently put into practice, in her head at least, and strangely this was often enough. You cannot harm what you cannot reach and she was far far away happily swinging in the bough of her tree and that it was not real somehow mattered not at all. Yes she remembers and sometimes if you see her turn and smile at the sound of rustling leaves you will wonder if she is once again that small child. Adventuress and dreamer and inventor of a plan only worthy of the young.

A Man just like Grandpa

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When i was young i was never a daddys girl nor yet a mummys girl like most children, right from the off i only had eyes for my paternal grandfather. To me he was grandad although to the world i know he was something else, which makes me sad for i would love to know the man he was and the life he lived. 

But to me he was just grandad.

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Memories of cuddles, cheek pressed against the scratchy wool of the waffle knit cardigans he wore as i sat cuddled up on his lap toying with the wood effect buttons that held it together. Never from Grandad came the scold not to pull at them because i would pull them off. No, never from him. Strange after all these years i remember his car so well, a bright yellow Hillman Hunter rapidly filled by my brother, sister and i as we piled into the back for another adventure with Grandad. ”come on then girls sing me a song” he would say and my sister and i would so happily oblige, squawking out our own rendition of Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs’ in the way that only children can. Grandad never cared if we were off key, i bet if you’d asked him back then he would confess he never noticed

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Yes we loved to sing for Grandad but just as much we loved him to sing to us for he was funny in a way that tickled us immensely and always wise to when a little girl needed to smile. We would beg him to sing as he drove around the hills speeding up over them so that our tummies flew up into our mouths as we descended the other side and we would shriek with glee and beg for more. All things bright and beautiful, this was grandads song although i doubt the vicar ever heard it sung so in church. Every time he came to the word ALL it would be sung in a really high pitched voice totally out of character with the rest of the song and guaranteed to have us in fits of giggles and i confess to this day i cannot hear that song without hearing his rendition in my head.

Oh if there were ever a hero of any little girls childhood then my Grandad was mine, my refuge, my rock and the best man i have ever known. Never did i need to explain for he always knew and hindsight makes me wish i had told him so whilst he was alive. But something tells me that if he did not know it then he most definitely does now. Sadly my Grandad died when i was in my early teens and somehow i knew long before my parents told me that he was gone. I remember well the startled look on my parents faces as i blurted out ”Grandads dead isnt he” before they had even said a word. They consoled themselves that i had overheard but i hadn’t, some things you just know. I have but one photograph of my grandad and it hangs on my living room wall where he smiles his gentle smile down upon me. And i know he is there, smiling as my hand reaches for the Radox bath salts that i buy just because he did and i feel him nod his approval as he always did.

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Yes my Grandad was the best of men and maybe someday i will find out his story and if i ever meet another someone i hope with all my heart that he is a man just like Grandpa. 

inuit and pandas and loudly ticking clocks

Usually i dont mind being awake at 5am, often the early night prior results in waking far earlier than intended but it is usually so peaceful that i quite enjoy being the only one braving the wee small hours. Today not so, for some reason i was bone crackingly cold on retiring to bed and sleep eluded me for quite some time and an hour later curled in a ball trying to get warm i drifted off to dreams of inuit and ice fishing which were not particularly comforting to say the least. I cant quite imagine myself as nanook of the north and whilst i dont detest the cold i confess i feel it easily and do not embrace it well i think myself more of an autumn girl all cosy and colourful. So needless to say waking at 5am was not particularly welcomed, although i admit to being somewhat more temperate i awoke feeling much as i should imagine would a disgruntled bear with probably the same nature which will uncharacteristically linger with me throughout the day. Quite some time ago i obtained a clock for my wall, deliberately choosing one with a very loud tick which brought back some small pleasant memories of sleeping at my grandparents house, curious as i sleep so lightly and normally this would disturb me yet the familiarly comforting noise usually has the opposite effect. But not this morning, today i find it annoying forcing me out of bed when i really want to hide under the duvet and try and find solace in sleep. Alas i’ve never been able to fall back into slumber once awake and as my brain argues with my body for blame at an overwhelming tiredness i decided to admit defeat and contemplate the world in the bottom of a coffee cup. For if i ever did more resemble a panda then today would most definitely be the day,who said pandas were cute!Image   

sense and sensibility

I’ve always prided myself on being reasonably intelligent and pretty perceptive in the scheme of things but  so often things just seem to end up with a giant sized spanner in the works. I wonder if perhaps i’m as perceptive as i like to think i am or whether im just some kind of cockeyed eternal optimist residing in a fantasy land borne of too many hours with my head firmly in some novel. I love the escapism of books, even when everything goes so wrong it always seems to have an unerring way of becoming right at the end and if i could get life to be this way i would quite happily white water raft my way down the rapids of trials and tribulations sent my way, knowing that a different ending was in sight when i sailed my way to the bottom. As usual things have crawled their way out of the pages of my book and slithered under the table to be trampled on by a never ending stream of feet as the comings and goings of life carry on their merry way and i never was any good at putting pages back together, i have no idea how  nor even if i want to carry on reading the story. So perhaps a new book is in order and a very big book this time, one i can hide behind and only look out from beyond the pages when i know nobody is trying to see who this girl is and what she’sImage reading. Because its a secret now and in all things perhaps it is wisest to let sense and sensibility prevail 

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