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 

 

I dreamed a dream..

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Love them or hate them, when we close our eyes we all dream at some time or other. Many of us will not realise that we do for they are so quickly and easily forgotten upon waking. Have you ever experienced the frustration of trying to remember a dream that despite your best efforts slips away without you even realising? I have, to the point that i resolved to keep a notepad beside my bed to pen down my imaginitive nocturnal ramblings. I have always been of the opinion that dreams are the minds way of making sense of what it either cannot or will not whilst we are awake. 

I dream a lot. I have never quite decided whether it is purely because i think too much and have a chaotic mind or whether it simply is because i have a lot of unresolved past residing in the darkest recesses of my brain. Perhaps a mix of the two although i confess i definitely do fall into the overthinkers anonymous group a lot of the time. Still given the fantastical nature of some of my sleep sodden imaginings, i should perhaps be writing them down and turning them into potentially best selling novels. 

Sometimes though a dream will recur and these i do remember. Perhap the sheer repetitiveness of it drums it into my longer term memory for me to muse over and self psychoanalyse at leisure. Lately though a dream has recurred that i do not have to particularly look at in too much depth for i know the source of it very well.

REGRET.

My dream is of my grandmother, i have news she is dying and i am trying frantically to get to her but cannot. I find myself running through a field of deep mud and getting nowhere as is often the case in a dream. As i run i pass people i know and frantically hold out my hands begging for help. One by one they shrug and turn away or just ignore me completely until i say desperately ”But i was there for you!!” Then one parody turns and laughs saying  mockingly ”That doesn’t mean that we are there for you”

The result of the dream is always the same i am so bogged down that i do not make it in time. Whatever the visual interpretation my brain put on it the facts are still the same, i have a lifelong regret that i did not make more time for her in the years leading to her death and this is something i have had to learn to live with because the clock cannot be turned back however much we wish it. Perhaps the bigger regret is the time wasted on meaningless things and on those people who deserved my time much less than she. Whilst i know she would not judge me and never would she think ill of me, still i feel that i have failed.

I have always tried my best not to regret things i cannot change for it does little good and in the end merely holds you back.  The curious thing about this dream however,  was the presence of people within it who either were not present in my life at the time or who have no relevance to the situation. I have not yet concluded what significance they have in the dream but i wonder if perhaps it is my own inner awareness warning me not to make the same mistakes again. Perhaps i am guilty of placing too much importance on things and people who do not matter and neglecting those things and people that could be a cause of regret. Maybe it helps to remember who were those who were those who were there for me when i needed someone and who were those who caused me the pain to need someone in the first place. Whatever the meaning it seems sure that this dream is determined to recur until i have taken heed and acted upon it. 

Life is full of regrets. Some we can live with and some may haunt us for the rest of our lives, emerging in our dreams as sad reminders of the mistakes we have made. I do not want to spend my life running through mud chasing regrets, especially the ones that will be the kind to haunt my dreams. It seems, at least for me, that it is time for change although much thought is needed as to what these changes will be. I cannot ignore the fact that lately i have been less than enamoured with some aspects of my life and a redress is in order. Perhaps then i can return to my fantastical dreams of the purely fantasy nature and sleep more soundly than i have of late. 

Still if one is going to be a Panda then at least one should look like a Panda and thanks to a few sleepless nights i most definitely do.

Sweet dreams everyone!! 

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The tides of life

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Sometimes, just sometimes, life has a way of making itself felt with an almighty slap that sending you tumbling off your feet with no idea of where you will land. My philosophy has always been that sometimes fate just steps in and gives you a push into the direction you were to afraid to take for yourself. Other times perhaps it is simply because we were taking too much for granted and merely needed a sharp reminder to be just that little bit more grateful for the things that we do have. There is no doubt that most of us are guilty of complacency when it comes to our lives and often do not cope well when change upsets our little world and everything in it. 

When i was small it all seemed so easy. I had my life mapped in a fairytale way that only a child can imagine and never at so young an age did it occur to me to think any differently. I may not have liked everything nor been happy with it but since it was all i had ever known i accepted it as a given and never had the thought to even try and change any aspects of it.  As a child, even when things are not perfect, we do not really see nor really register the less than ideal but merely accept it as it is. We simply do not know any different and therefore have no reason to hope for more. Only when exposed to situations more idealistic than our own do we sometimes wonder what life may be like if we were someone else. I never imagined for myself the life that i have now. Never did i imagine going wthout nor sacrificing until you wonder if you have anything left to give. No, for me i imagined a glamorous lifestyle and a handsome husband who adored me. 

As i should have realised, life does not work out in such a fairytale way for most of us and even those we imagine living the perfect lives have their own regrets and unhappiness. Perhaps then it is not merely what you have that makes you happy but your perception of it. Is it enough to have money, esteem and material things or perhaps is it a case of the more that you have, the more you want. Whilst it is a good thing to have things to want and aspire to, to be without dreams makes life not much of a life at all, there comes a point when perhaps the wanting is not merely for ourselves but more to appear credible and successful to others. What hope of happiness when we rely on others to give us some sense of worth, yet will living our lives for others give us the feeling of success we crave? Will it make us happy?  At the end of the day when doors are closed and we are alone, there is only our own reflection looking back at you in the mirror. It is then that perhaps you realise that without a love for yourself and a sense of inner peace, the regard of others does not count for much at all. 

Life is sent to test us. Some of us more than others and whilst the instinct may be to bury our heads in the sand and ignore that which is happening, sometimes the solution is to stand up tall and weather the onslaught the best way we can. Perhaps we will emerge a little battered and we may need to pick ourselves back up from the floor, but sometimes we can rebuild a better stronger version of what was there before. It is easy to be swept along by the tide and overwhelmed the the deluge that life occasionally throws our way but if you do not swim just that little bit harder then it is so easy to be washed away and drown in the tides of life. 

I have lost my focus of late because i forgot to remember to count my blessings. I fell victim to the need to feel sorry for myself when circumstances dealt me a decline in fortunes. So focused was i on what i had lost and what i no longer had that i forgot about those things that i do. In hindsight all i have done is waste months of my life on worry, regret and upset when really i should have stuck out my chin and taken the blow. We never lose everything, there is always something left to cling to even when it seems like we have nothing left at all. It is that one thing we need to hold on to and start building upon it until we have more than we had the day before. Even as i am I am fortunate, i  somehow forgot that along the way, but there is no doubt that i AM fortunate. Whilst i could definitely have more than i do right now there is no doubt i could easily have a lot, lot less. I have been there before and i will try to remember how far i have come. 

Grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change, the courage to change the things i can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Oh yes, i am fortunate. 

Aside

Happy Birthday to You

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So another birthday comes along. Another year has gone on its merry way, another ring has been added to the tree of my life.

I have to confess i do not much like birthdays, that is to say i love to celebrate other peoples but i am far from having any fond feelings for my own. Too many unpleasant memories are barely tempered by slightly more enjoyable ones of late. Alas the negative wins out by sheer number for want of any other reason.

As perhaps is typical i mourned the loss of another year and then began to ponder my place in life in relevance to my remaining years. At first, of course,  it was easily done to follow the thought paths leading to wondering how many years i may have left and whether i will achieve the many things i would like to within my lifetime. Where will i be ten years from now? What will i be? Who will i love?

Strangely unbidden a quote popped into my head that much disturbed my train of thought and i wondered perhaps if we are so guilty of forever wanting more that we forget to live and enjoy the life we actually have.

 “First give time to your love, family and friends. Who will remember your presentations, meetings, degrees and overtime after you died?”

I have no idea why that thought popped in my head and i sat and mused about it for a while. Whilst it is true that those very famous of us may be remembered for the things we did, the rest of us in general will not. Of all the people who are no longer in my life i confess i do not particularly remember what they did as a career, nor do i know their qualifications or if they were given awards or recommendations. Yet what i do remember long after they are gone is the kind of people they were and the roles they held in my life. For that i miss them greatly and yet for no other reason than that. They may have achieved great things, true enough, yet strangely it matters very little now that they are no longer here and those deeds have long since faded. Yet i shall remember those people and yes in many cases miss them greatly just for the kind of people that they were. 

I wondered then how i should like to be remembered when i am gone. Am i so guilty of wanting that which i do not have that i forget to be happy about what i have in the here and now. Perhaps it is all too easy to take for granted what you have, to assume you will always have it and to continually keep on reaching for the greener grass on the other side of the fence. Yet as i realised recently, assuming something is a constant in your life is easy until you see a glimpse of what your life would be without it. A thought we should all consider far more often than we do i think.

There is no doubt that we all need dreams. They give us purpose and give us something to make our lives worthwhile. Strangely though, we often do not realise that the happiest things we dream about most are often those things right under our very noses. It is not until we are in danger of losing them that we realise they are dreams at all. It may be something to consider that perhaps a dream does not cease to be a dream just because we attain it.

So another ring on my tree and if i take a rather maudlin moment to consider my mortality i shall adjust my perception and place a little greater importance on leaving a reason to be missed. No you will not remember my qualifications or my career. You will quickly forget any achievements that i made or even if i became famous. But what you will not forget, i know, is the small way in which i touched your life and hopefully made a difference. 

It only takes one person to keep a memory alive. Have you touched anyones life enough to be theirs?

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.

Keeping hold of a ninja panda

Every good superhero has their alter ego and in this i am no exception. I have christened her Ninja Panda for trust me this is what she believes she is. Blame squarely on her shoulders for hauling me from my lovely warm bed and happy little dream world, forcing me to haul ass on the treadmill for what seems like an eternity yet no sign of relenting from her. I cannot help but envy her get up and go for who else would have the energy to dance upon a treadmill at the end of a 10k power walk? Well she would of course!!

Ninja panda has a mission, not content to let my once cuddly form find gleeful solace in some disgustingly sinful gastronomy she steals away my comforts in the night. Whilst i clutch hopefully at a stray donut and practise breathing in a little harder she skips around in gym clothes poring over skinny jeans in an online store.Skinny jeans really?? We don’t do skinny jeans!!

Really aiming high this Ninja Panda and boy do i suffer for it, were she and i not so close i think i could really hate her at times although a twinge of envy creeps in as she twirls in a pretty dress i never could wear. But she lands me in trouble every time and today yet again she has done just that. Okay i suffered her gym torture, 10k!! why do we need to walk that far, is there a Starbucks at the end of it?? Apparently not, yet as usual she makes me walk top speed every step of the way laughing as every muscle shrieks and i dehydrate faster than a fish in a desert. A most evil Ninja Panda indeed.

Not content with forcing me to a life of hard labour she now wants us to run, oh yes you heard right. Now something seems to have escaped her notice for pandas do not run, they are by nature quite lazy and like to sit and eat. Yes you heard me i said they like to sit and EAT!! No running, no exercise just blissful decadent eating in comfort as a true panda should. My alter ego and i?? No we’re going running, apparently. Not content with making my ample bottom move faster than it is used to oh evil one wishes me to do this in public, for 10k!! This made me chuckle for i am not sure quite how long they pay these people to hang around and wait for the stragglers to roll in, for straggler i definitely shall be whether madam ninja likes it or no. 

So as the tender ministrations of Herr Ninja sign me up to running lessons with the female trainer at the gym my face drains of all colour as one time military fitness instructor pipes up that he will train the ninja and i when his counterpart is not available. I’ve been good honest mom!!!  Now i know im not in Kansas any more but never did i dream that OZ would look like this. Time to get jogging down that yellow brick road then with Ninja Panda at my heels pushing me all the way.

Superheroes seem so glamorous dont they? Wouldn’t we all like to have an alter ego to turn us into the heroes of our dreams and to make us all the things we can never be in our less than remarkable lives. 

Yeah thats what i thought too!! Anyone want a Ninja??

Reaching past the goal post

We all have goals, however big or small they may be we all have something in our lives that we want. Perhaps for some these are merely dreams, some seemingly far off aspiration or longing that deep down we long for but simply believe we will never achieve.

I am a dreamer.

It really is that simple. I have always been the whimsical sort with my head in the clouds and my head full of things i wish were reality, like some giant story book where wonderful things happen and everything turns out exactly how it was meant to. But I’ve never really turned these things into goals. Why? Again it is simple, i do not like failure and always have preferred to live with the illusion that i COULD have, if i had but tried rather than face the cold stark truth of failing. Perhaps the reality is true and not so much of an illusion at all but the flip side of this is far less palatable and not something i aspire to.

Recently though i find i have changed somewhat, Some new found glint of confidence prompts me to try the smallest of things just to see if i can get there and i hug my silent glee to myself when i find i have. More monumental of late the weight loss journey now far beyond the small goal i set for myself originally. Lose half a stone i told myself, mentally setting the goal post at a distance i had always set it at before, believing that this was as far as i was capable of going without failing. How wrong was i as the scales tipped 19lb down this week and still going, no sign of failure in sight and a distant dream creeping tentatively from my disbelieving head. Confidence then to buy a pair of much smaller jeans and hang them in full view as a never before believed goal to reach. 

I think often when you have always had nothing of consequence in your life you believe you are nothing and therefore you seek nothing more than to be what you have always been. Not for you the wild dreams of becoming someone that many people have and i put myself firmly into this category, lulled by the belief that this was my lot and i accepted it as such. But unexpectedly events so unlikely bring about a change and suddenly i find i am more than i ever dreamed i could be and with hopes of becoming more. Admittedly it took someone else to bring about this change and i find anothers confidence in me greatly compensates for the lack of my own.

I will always be a dreamer this will never change, for without them life would give me nothing at all to hope for. But the fact of the matter is life is just too short and we only have one chance at it. I should be desolate indeed were my end to come and my time be spent mourning the many things i wished i had done or said, the opportunities i had wasted because i was too afraid or self doubting to reach for them. I find i am not so loathe to fail as i once was for i know i can take comfort in the fact that i DID try and it just was not meant to be. 

But if at first i do not succeed, i will never regret that i tried. Suddenly those goal posts have widened and still i find i am willing to reach outside of them. 

Just reaching past the goal post 

Inspiring blog Award

Well amongst wails of pain i was both surprised and delighted to receive a message from the lovely Marsha Lee  http://tchistorygal.wordpress.com/ nominating me the Inspiring Blog Award  (please follow her because she has a beautifully written blog that i love to follow and i know you will too)

I never thought of myself as inspiring, a little batty maybe but never really inspiring. I love to make people smile i’m a hugely positive person and if i can brighten someones day i will and if i can make them laugh even better. So thankyou Marsha both for the nomination and for ‘getting’ me enough to laugh along with my daily craziness xx  

As per the rules of nominations i have to:

1) Thank the lovely person who nominated me (see above)

2) share 7 things about yourself (okay here goes)

1)  I’m a history buff..i have a mad fascination with Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and the Titanic

2) I’m a hopeless romantic that still believes in fairy tales even if i pretend not to

3) I never believed i could write but now thanks to my best friend i’ve even started on a book but nobody has seen it except for him…maybe one day.

4) I was never educated beyond high school level and gained all my other knowledge through reading like crazy.

5) I love documentaries whether they be natural history, science, true life or history and recently sat glued to a programme about wormholes in space

6) Sometimes even i just need a hug

7) I’m a chocaholic

 3) Nominate 15 other blogs that i love or that inspire me. Again i dont have 15 although i’m gaining a few more as the weeks go by but the ones i love so far are…..

http://tonyalatorre.wordpress.com/     this blog pretty much speaks for itself, i was both awed and blown away by it from the minute i saw it and if any blog is inspiring then this one certainly is

http://workthedream.wordpress.com/    another recent discovery but this lady is so positive and inspiring and if you havent discovered her yet please please take a look for i defy you not to be impressed and humbled

http://oneofthe20percent.wordpress.com/  again so positive and so worthy of the title inspiring. one i definitely will keep following so please take a look

http://madamezizi.wordpress.com/  a beautiful and upbeat blog 

4) And lastly i need to let all these lovely people know that i am sending this award this way and to let them know their blogs touched me. So many great ones and i hope i discover many more as i go along.

I have discovered such a love of writing, such peace in being able to express myself upon a page and in a way to bring out a person who was buried away for a very long time. All i lacked was encouragement and someones faith in me that i had something to give and i never had that until one very special person came along. He inspired me and encouraged me and saw something in this crazy girl that nobody ever did and that i was too afraid to. His name is Jay and he is my best friend and my ‘person’ and i hope he knows how much i love and adore him, not just for what he does for me but just for being who he is. I hope one day he can look in the mirror and see the man that i see and i for one should not want to be without him. I love you JayJay xx

 

To my fellow writers and readers, keep the dream alive for you never know when you in turn will inspire someone else.  All it takes is a little paying forward and we could all be the writing generation of tomorrow. 

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