Who am i

                                                                                                                                         Image              

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

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

 

Until now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just amanda 

 

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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…..

 

 

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

Alternative Me

It should be blue not grey, it’s always blue in the movies. She turned her head looking away into the distance, ignoring the cry of the gulls around her. The faint horn of some sea bound trawler interrupting the rhythmic swish of the waves as they rolled into shore. The sea should be blue!

She paused as though in slow motion, face smooth and expressionless, lost in the horizon and the thoughts that floated on the very edges. A smile ghosted across her face, she could hear them murmuring away far behind her. She knew they were there but it did not matter and she dismissed them just as quickly. It did not change anything and she sensed that they knew that also and so they stayed away and watched, and muttered amongst themselves. Let them, she did not care for them or their little lives. 

Again that smile flickered as she became aware of me, so close i could reach out and touch her but i did not. She didn’t turn her head, she had no need to for she had always been aware of me as i had of her. She remained as she was contemplating the ocean as i in turn considered her. We stood there for a while, she and i, neither moving both thinking and inscrutable. She closed her eyes and smiled, tipping her face upwards to the sun drinking it in slowly, spreading her arms wide arresting in her serenity. Still i watched and as i did so she turned to look at me, eyes meeting mine, blue locking onto blue yet without the smile within them that still so faintly touched her lips. She had no need to speak for i knew her as well as i know myself and i understood what she needed to say as clearly as if she had spoken the words aloud. ”Be happy” they said simply ”be glad you chose as you did”

In one fluid motion she turned, almost dancer like in movement and in one abandoned moment leapt forward arching towards the sun, suspended there as though frozen in time. I could have stopped her, i had only to put out my hand and make her stay but curiously i did not want to. Briefly silhouetted against the sky, smile as bright as the light behind her and then she was gone.Yes i knew her, this alternative me, the one who didn’t make the choices, the one who wasn’t so strong. As i gaze across the ocean i watch the gulls wheeling their merry dance across the sky and i smile, for it doesn’t matter if it isn’t blue i know that even if she did not. It can be blue if i make it so for it is my picture and i am the one painting it. My turn now to smile and as i leave the ocean behind i turn one last time lingering for just a moment ”Thankyou” i whisper softly ” Goodbye” 

Could you be a Cougar??

Cougar, its a term most of us know these days. One of those colloquialisms developed in society to label something which previously has either been indefinable or simply did not exist.

So what is a cougar??

Well simply put it is any woman who pursues the attentions of considerably younger men rather than those her own age. Usually a minimum of 7 years younger is required for the age gap to fall into the cougar status. I have always dated slightly younger men, mainly due to the fact that i do not look my age and can get away with it but i have never yet reached the requirements that would fit me into this cougar category. 

But could i be one?? Well this morning i admit i had rather a giggle as logging onto a diet and fitness forum i belong to i had a message alerting me to updates on threads i had replied to. Skimming the first two serious and advisory ones i picked up a few tips and added a further comment of my own. Now the third thread was entirely different and was infact a game entitled..do you think the person above is attractive. I had happily joined in the previous evening commenting that the girl at the bottom of the list was, despite being rather overweight, a very pretty girl. Considerably more entries had been added since mine and i skipped through them reading the comments and then rather absently flicked backwards looking for mine. In truth i had expected my comment to be from a girl since the boy/girl ratio was very much in the female favor but NO!!

’43?? I would do her!!’

Yes this was my comment and the commenter was…..a young lad that looked about 18! I actually choked on my coffee caught between exclamation, a giggle and the desire to swallow the contents of my mouth. The result was a spray of coffee upon my laptop followed by a mad coughing fit. Now i say this boy looked 18 he could well have been older but it would not have been much and i certainly wasn’t going to be seen checking his profile for fear of giving the wrong idea. But the comment set me thinking, could i really be a cougar?? It is not the first time i have had favourable looks from considerably younger guys infact very far from it and yes if i am honest i could have more than once dated far younger guys but yet i have not.

WHY?? 

Is it not every womans dream to be seen with some young fit looking guy rather than the frequently less so older men of their own acquaintance? Would women rather wake up to some smooth tanned body rather than the slightly wrinkling version she is expected to date? Perhaps, i know many women would jump at the chance to date a younger  man, seeking maybe to hold on to their own youth in the process but strangely i do not find this appealing and in truth would feel decidedly uncomfortable waking up with a boy in my bed.Romantic moment as he leans over and whispers ”Darling i love the way the sunlight dances across your wrinkles in a morning” It has to be noted that i consider any  guy under 28 to be in the category of boy more in reference to my own age although i own they would not thank me for it. As odd as it may seem i do not really look at much younger guys and even in the cases of movie stars i remain curiously unmoved. A friend recently asked me to go and see Magic Mike with her at the cinema which for those who do not know is about male strippers. As she drooled over the bronzed muscles of the male leads i found myself looking rather dispassionately at the picture for it did not appeal to me at all and i happily declined. 

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Give me Colin Firth or Kiefer Sutherland and you will happily see me melt (curiously so for both are older than i) for i prefer men who look like men and cannot see the appeal in those so much younger whom to me are just boys. It seems as i have aged my taste in men has aged with me and though i would happily date a guy a few years younger than myself i confess i am not the cougar type and have a line firmly drawn with regards to age. So whilst i may blush furiously at the comment left in regards to me i have to confess that where he would, i definitely would not. 

Could i be a cougar?? No after much thought i confess not but am i alone in this? Could you?

In a different place and time

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 We all interact, meeting others on a daily basis that we barely register, lives intertwining however briefly and yet in essence even these small encounters have an effect upon the paths our lives will take. What if we hadn’t met a certain person at a certain time, would our lives have been so very different?? Would we even be here at all? Imagine if we hadnt stopped to let someone cross the road, or we hadnt been at a particular place at the very moment we were? What would our lives be like now?

An old boyfriend of mine used to say to me, after we broke up,that he wished we had met ten years earlier than we did and then things would have worked out, he seemed so certain of this at the time. I must admit i did ponder this rather a lot and debated the truth of his words. What if i HAD met him ten years earlier, long before he got himself into his unhappy situation?I did try hard to picture this and although i could clearly picture myself as i had been then i had great difficulty picturing him, i did not know the person he was back then so i had nothing to work with. Yet for sure there would have been no obstacles such as there were when i actually did meet him but would we have worked out?? I confess as much as i would have liked to answer this question in the affirmative i found that i could not for my logic prompted me that we were not the people back then that we were when we actually did meet. 

For myself i am a big believer in fate and i truly think that the people we meet are for a purpose and that they have some part to play in our destiny however brief it may be. I have thought in the past that the reason i met a certain person was simply because i was meant to, at that exact point in time because this is the point in which they were needed in my life. Perhaps the reasons were not always obvious as to why but i only know that it was so. Of course it would be wrong to assume that all these points of destiny are positive ones, indeed they are not but those also have a part in shaping us into who we are however briefly and whilst we may be quicker to discard those than the more positive it is nonetheless all part of the destiny we are intended for. 

Just occasionally you meet someone that you know in all logic you should never have met within the course of your life but some spark of fate brings them into your path in one great miraculous twist. These are the ones you know destiny had in store for your life all along and was just waiting for that exactly perfect time to introduce them to you and these are the ones that are the most special of all. No there is little you can do about destiny, i firmly believe that what will be will be and there is little we can do about the path that is meant for us. But all the better a path to walk when fate decides to send along a fellow traveller to make the journey just that little bit more worth it. 

semi detached

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How bizarre is it that time spent doing as we please seems to fly so fast we scarcely have time to notice nor enjoy it as much as in hindsight we wish we had. All too soon the weekend is over and the death knells of reality are already pealing their impending doom in the distance as i frantically glare at the clock willing the time to go more slowly yet even as i do in truth i know this to be a most futile effort. Lately i have the strangest feeling of detachment as though watching another living my life and me peering halfheartedly at it as like in some uneventful soap opera i watch events unfold. Perhaps it is the thought of an unenviable task looming in the near distance, a point which i am rapidly reaching and dreading more as the closer to it i become. I am not regretting my decision i know in all honesty it is right for me and i know as distasteful as this is to move on from this point it is something i need to do but i find even so i cannot look forward to this with relish. Perhaps it is the thought of the precarious situation i am intending to place myself in for i find i am not one with whom uncertainty sits well and i find a security in knowing where i am in all things. But most unsettling of all is a strange sense of fear, which in itself makes me most uneasy for i am rarely afraid of anything and common sense tells me in this case my fear is irrational and yet i still feel a small sense of it that is quite frankly both unfamiliar and disturbing. For one so positive and confident this is all so unaccustomed a feeling to me and i find i am not bearing it as well as i would like. So time is marching on despite my best efforts to will it to the contrary and trepidation tempered with resignation colours my mood. So decisive and yet still i question my choice wondering if perhaps the path of least resistance is more favourable than a rocky road and such an aura as i wear now. I shall in all honesty be thankful when this is all over and then at least i shall know it is done and the road will lead in only one direction. the path i chose to take. 

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 

Do you miss me

Do you miss me when i’m gone, do you long to be beside me

Do you call me for no reason than just to hear my voice

Do you miss me when i’m gone? Do you dream that we’re together

And know that here is where you’d be if you only had a choice

Do you miss me when im gone, if you do then do i know this

Have you taken time to tell me or think that i should know

For i find when i’m without you things just really arent the same

So i had to let you know, that i miss you when you’re gone

Written by Smilesalot1969 aka Lilyflower- 2001

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