Describe your school experience…

Orcombe Point.jpgSkipping rope, eggs, whoopy cushions, scratches, air ambulance.

When I was six years old I was playing with a boy at school and he thought it would be fun to put a skipping rope around my throat and squeeze the ends together until I turned blue.  When I was eight years old another two boys together at school, thought it would be hilarious to swing and throw the handles of the rope at my head, collecting points for how many times they could hit my face. Bonus points when they gave me a nose bleed.

Fourteen years and being pelted with eggs as I walked home from school.  Fifteen years old and the same five girls pelted me with eggs at lunch time because I was sharing a joke with a group of boys.

Years 3 to 6 (Primary school), anyone from the year group screaming ‘here comes whoopy cushion’ whenever I walked past because one teacher mis-pronounced by surname Cosham as Cushion. When that wore thin they changed it to flea bag.

Throughout school, being pinched or scratched by five girls for numerous reasons – I had a nice dress, I had a nice haircut, I got a new pair of shoes, I liked the same band as them, I gave the right answers in class, I was praised by a teacher, I had a boyfriend.

Fifteen years old I was pushed down a steep grass bank on the way to class, consequently dislocating my knee and pelvis. I had to be air lifted to hospital because land ambulance couldn’t get to the field I fell into.  It was just before half term holiday so when I came back to school, several were disappointed that I was not indeed paralysed as per the rumours!

Dance, caramel doughnuts, Prom, Mark, Bubbles…

Having taken dance classes since I was three years old it was no surprise to my parents when I took dance as a GCSE option.  Our Dance teacher Mr Burton was terrific, and encouraging that dance was an outlet for me to express myself when I couldn’t put into words how I felt throughout my time at school.  I was a rare student given a key to the Dance Studio to use at lunch times when I needed to escape or revise for my other exams.

There was a bakery near school that made delicious caramel topped, custard filled doughnuts. These were a particular addiction acquired between Dance exam rehearsals. I still remember how good they tasted and I haven’t found anything close to resembling that recipe.

Mark was the school caretaker, he was kind and funny. My mum worked at my school and introduced us when I had to wait for her to finish work some time. It transpired that my Mum occasionally confided in him what I was facing at school, so when my Mum was not working (she was part time) Mark would let me escape to his office when I needed space to breath. He also had sweets in his pocket that I would sometimes get passed when seeing him between classes. I always appreciated having someone on my side who couldn’t be manipulated by those girls.

Bubbles was a technique I was taught by the school support officer. For a couple of years this technique worked well – whenever abuse was being shouted at me either in class or between classes, I imagined being inside a large thick bubble. It was soundproofed and anything negative would bounce off its side, everything positive would come through the thick walls with a pop.  I successfully used a bubble to blank out any abuse, I still have selective hearing now because I learnt how to shut out all external noise – when I needed to.  It drove those girls nuts that I could ignore them, appear like they hadn’t even spoken, out of frustration that they could no longer push my buttons they turned on my Mum – egging her car or shouting abuse at her as they passed her office.  Unfortunately anybody threatening my parents immediately gets a rise out of me and my reaction tends to be out of control!

Prom, or rather our GCSE Soiree, was a good night. I didn’t have a date and I felt good about it, I went with two friends instead. I had found a nice dress – plain cut and metallic purple. When I arrived several of my male friends were impressed and finally, when those girls made a beeline for me, the boys surrounded me and told them to back off. I had someone to dance with all night and I managed to thank my teachers who were there who had supported me through my darkest days – providing me a way to express myself or some form of respite to escape bullying.  I will always be grateful for what they taught me.

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The sum of 5 people

It has been said that you are the sum of the 5 people you are around the most.  Who are those 5 people for you?

M: A determined individual who sets a positive example. Teaching daily about how to be the best version of yourself and leading by example. Keen reader and puzzle solver. Quite a methodical approach to things, speaks her mind with a fearless attitude.

D: Practical and visual approaches to solving problems. Quiet most the time but always thinking and observing those around them. Creative person working with their hands to craft various things from wood, fixing things and making new things from scraps. Sets the example of how to be strong minded and use of willpower.

L: Teacher of the old ways, supportive to help find an individual’s path. Fountain of knowledge and folklore. Creative themselves and encourages creativity in others to craft tools and aids. Honest and frank

T: Shared love of creatures and wildness. Full of vitality and groundedness they set the example of what to aspire towards while growing older – not disgracefully but with enthusiasm and spirit. Laugh every day and see the joy in little things when big things may not happen.

Tribe: More than only one individual Tribe consists of 7 people that include aforementioned L, T and D. Tribe is a safe place to be completely honest and open, Tribe teaches how to be natural, living with gratitude and care for others including non-human such as animals, plants and elements. Tribe lights the path leading to the person I want to be when I grow up. Supporting, advising, helping, creating all together and manifesting all that is good and healthy.

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May we walk in beauty

walk in beauty
May we walk in beauty

Presently I am sat at my desk starring out of the window watching the wind pass through the large trees that loom over the car park. It is the end of August so to paint you a picture, the leaves are dark green and the bark dark brown, the rhododendrons are waxy mid tone green and pale green they have already lost their buds and blooms.  Their branches toss and fro in the wind, as it whips them into frenzy.

The window is shut but I can still sense the smell of the air outside. As the sun comes through the clouds it smells warm with a sweet fragrance and a hint of dampness as it rained earlier this afternoon. It has that metallic taste in the air that summer rain can bring.

The quote I see often on a blog “may we walk in beauty” popped into my head and I felt compelled to write. Beauty – it is the sun and moon (as I am learning more about the moon goddess Diana, it is holding more and more meaning to me now); a slow sun rise and sun set; pretty little flowers peeking from dense foliage and bushes; a singing bird high in the birch tree branches; the Aston Martin DB11 parked across the road.

I am also reminded of a recent Chalkboard Mag article highlighting that sitting for long periods could be as dangerous for our health as overeating. I look out of the window and wish I was out there, walking slowly among the beauty.  Maybe I could set my timer to 60 minutes and every hour walk away from my desk and step outside, nobody is likely to notice my absence…

As I struggle through my bout of depression where everything appears bleak and gloomy, a dark fog over my eyes that breeds conspiracy and fatigue. I have reminded myself that no matter what my internal weather pattern may be, I walk in beauty.  Beauty surrounds me whether it is a rain drop hanging from a spider’s web, or a colourful butterfly flitting in front of me as I walk slowly down the street. When the depression intensifies its grip, I must force open my eyes and see this beauty, allow it to lift my soul and fight back, for it deserves to be full appreciated.

May we walk in beauty…..

Understanding

There are many different cultures around the world. There are several different cultures within one town, one city, one house.

People speak of tolerance but would it not be better to encourage understanding?

Understanding where they come from, the value in those differences, the complexities of an alternative lifestyle would be better than tolerance. Tolerance stands for “keeping quite while remaining ignorant”. Would it not be better to disregard ignorance and instead seek wider education?  An education not gained in a classroom but through conversations and shared experiences.

Understanding that many of my beliefs are connected to your beliefs but presented in a different way.

Understanding that her upbringing was harder than mine because of a set of different circumstances, but it makes her no less worthy of respect and success.

Understanding that he is a better cook than me but I am a better painter, yet we both produce art.

Seek to spread understanding of a difference or cause and you will find enlightenment far beyond mere tolerance.

#BrightBlessings

Tolerance and understanding

Talk about your parents

Today my email prompt was:

Talk about your parents. How did they meet? How are they a part of your life today?

How do you start to tell the story of your lifetime? For if these two people had not met, I would not be me.

My parents were both living in Manchester at the same time in the early seventies. My Dad was born in Brighton, lived in Bristol and moved to Manchester just before his teenage years. My Mother was born in Manchester and moved between there and Norwich several times during her childhood until she was fifteen and back in Manchester.

She was shy and kept her associations to family (brothers and cousins) and worked in an office; he was a social butterfly working four jobs including prop-master at Manchester opera house.

One day a colleague of my Mother’s asked if she would babysit while his wife performed in a local players group, she agreed. Meanwhile Dad was at his job as a barman near the theatre and was asked by a mate if he could take a look at her leaking window at her house, Dad agreed. Then one early Friday evening Mother walked to her friends house ready to babysit that night when she approached the drive she looked up and saw a young man up a ladder fiddling with the window of her friend’s house. He looked down as she walked up the drive, “Hello” he quipped; “hello” she replied. Inside the house she went and chatted to her friend inside. The young lad finished fiddling with that window and refreshed himself in the kitchen with his mate Marie. He left soon after and the friends went out for their performance.

Not very long afterwards Mother’s friend, Dave, remarked that Marie’s friend liked the look of her, would she be interested in a drink, “I don’t think so”. But Marie and Dave persisted and invited each friend to a drink at a local pub, Mother went along for a drink with Dave and found the young lad there too. After a short chat (and it really was short) he asked her out for a date, “No thank you”, puzzled he asked “why not”, she replied honestly “I don’t like to go out because I have panic attacks and I faint, it’s embarrassing so I’d rather not”. He smiled broadly, “Well that is ok then, I volunteer for St John’s Ambulance, you’ll be safe with me”. Persuaded she agreed.

Like a storm in a tea cup or a whirlwind of emotions, they met once and then twice for dates, he then left for a three week holiday in Scotland with his aunt Maud and she stayed behind. Those three weeks were long, a postcard arrived suggesting another date, when and where. She turned up as suggested and it was like no time had passed at all.

The following week he took her to lunch at a local garden café, he sat across the table nervous, but pushed himself on, “Will you marry me?” Flattered but sensible she talked him out of it, but he continued again but that time he talked her out of it. By the end of that afternoon he asked her one more time (just to be sure I presume!) and she said Yes. So did he!

After six weeks there were engaged, courtship followed for another year – him working his shifts and turning up at 2am after the theatre to see her (but usually fell asleep on her lap), family introductions were made too and at the end of that year they got married and blissfully happy.

A book was run at their reception – how long before divorce? I give them six months, a year but Maud was generous and gave them two years. None of them would realise they’d still be together celebrating forty years later. Still happy (mostly) and still content (practically always).

I am an only child, for good reasons but hard reasons. I grew up in a very loving home and atmosphere. I’ve been supported and encouraged in anything I’ve been through. We’ve argued and fought, but we’ve always made up. Today they are both my best friends. I go to the pub with Dad and socialise frequently with him and mutual friends. Mother remains family social and I make sure she gets treats like Afternoon Teas, Spa breaks and theatre trips. They are both the people I turn to in times of fear, heartache, and joy. Each of us independent from each other, but a team.

Hippos, Exmouth

In a year where do you want to be?

Today my email prompt asked me

In a year where do you want to be?

This time next year I am Project Manager extraordinare delivering fine heritage projects across Great Yarmouth. The car mostly sits at home in its cosy private parking spot, enjoyed at weekends (it has been a long time since driving has been ‘enjoyed’ and now it is each time the engine starts). The bicycle is now the main mode of transport to and from work. My legs are slimmer and my stamina tenfold increased. This new beginning lark has been amazing.

Meanwhile, my studies have progressed. I completed that online course I started a year ago and passed it with flying colours. Knowing the basics of mindfulness and CBT served me well when I started the NLP certification course the other month. This education is fascinating and I’m meeting lots of new lovely people who want to help others too.

Holistic Therapist is fast becoming a reality, all I need is to complete this course and find one on Indian Head Massage and I can set myself up in business.

My pathwork has taken me to places I did not imagine. Personal growth has flourished and my past is now firmly behind me and appreciating the present is a reality. My next stop is a visit to Glastonbury to experience a pagan festival.

This place I will be in a years’ time excites me. Fills me with hope, ambition and motivation. Finding my potential and truly living a genuine existence has been (or will be if we are now back in present time) liberating.

Lao Tzu: Patience for clear water

The turning of the season

Yesterday I bathed in the sweet warm sunshine in my garden. All the scents around me sparkled like glitter, tasting sweet and succulent. The sun set behind the shed and as the pink and yellow glow engulfed across the skyline, the pale white moon rose. It ascended the sky in beautiful tranquil beauty and the sky turned navy.  After an hour the first bright star appeared and twinkled like a little bell. Summer bade farewell and closed her eyes for her nine months of slumber.

This morning as the sun rose, the leaves stretched and crackled their stiffness free; dew set upon the grass wetting toes and paws as we walked on.

The air was crisp and fine, a different scent filled the air. Akin to a light dusting of cinnamon and metallic dampness filled the air.  The ash tree flopped its branches down and swayed in the cool breeze. This transformation happened overnight, one day previous it was summer and this morning it is autumn.

Short days and long evenings await, by a warm fire and cosy nook you will find us, curled up with a book (and marshmallows).

Natures transformation is subtle but quick, I stand in awe of her eternal beauty and fierceness.

May your harvest be plentiful.

Carlton Marshes, Lowestoft