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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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

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

Fences

Tall grey steel meshing across the view
Barriers between one place and another, rocking in the winds
Hard wooden screens not view through, over or between

Fences topped with wire to barb you if you climb
Fences keeping evil within and innocence without
Fences for security but some for sheer malice

Fencing in the cattle, fencing out the people
Fencing one group of people away from another
Fences cloaking barracks or camps, who knows that they are there

Fences at the boarders, reserves and homesteads
Are they really necessary in every place they stand

Tulips at Chatsworth House
(c) A Girl from Devon

Rebuild, Reborn, Repeat

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It was a cold winter morning, the sun had not yet risen but dawn was breaking. The tall fern trees covered in snow stood high above, imposing almost, surrounding the small village of huts and cabins. The ground was hard and damp, blackened this time of year from lack of sunlight.  It was a dark village set far away from any other.

A small patch in the centre was smoking wistfully, the embers still burning but the fierce fire long gone out in the middle of the cold windy night. Bella looked around her, stood in the village centre shivering in her plain tunic. She had left her furs back in the hut, where blood dressed the walls and two bodies lie still forever more.  Her breathing was heavy, pressing out into the air in front of her.  Coming to her senses Bella picked up a long branch from the nearby campfire and dowsed it in oils. She needed one little spark and it was alight. She threw it back into the hut among those bodies and closed the door.  She turned and walked on towards the trees.

20180226_181648.jpgIt was time to rebuild her life. Far away from the terrors she had experienced these last few years. The depression, the hopelessness, the bullying; they had all deserved it for what they did.  This was her harvest, she had sown her seeds of hard learning and patience, it had grown into a quiet confidence until the time was right to strike out on her own and walk away.

Now is Bella’s time to rebuild her life to what she wanted it to be.  As she walked on, Rebel the wolf pack runt, strutted up to her side. Without a glance or a word they walked on together. Rebuilding their lives together, one step at a time.

Moment by moment they became each other’s eyes and ears, bonding into one being built on trust and respect. They ate and slept together, keeping each other surviving until they reached the next village. This village was Bella’s true home, where she was taken from as a child. Bella had come home to rebuild herself, reborn into the fiery pixie she always knew she would be.

Struggle

The heat was real, like an inferno in a city dwelling. But it was autumn when the leaves were meant to be turning and the temperatures dropping. This was a reverse, the struggle was real. Wild animals that should be building nests for hibernation, out sweating in the heat. Humans avoiding dehydration with pools, ice buckets and the sea.  This heat wave was unprecedented, compared to nothing that had previously been recorded. But it was all about to change. Nobody predicted what was coming.

IMG_4023.JPGOvernight the raging heat stopped suddenly, all the birds left the skies, wales, dolphins and seals began to beach themselves. The temperature plummeted and ice began to fall. Smashing cars and sheds, lakes freezing over trapping everything beneath. It wasn’t a slow stead progress, it wasn’t something anyone could prepare for. People froze in their beds overnight, a lucky few survived closed in underground but there was no food stores ready for them.

IMG_4049.JPGEverywhere you looked it was no longer yellow and orange sunshine. It was dark blue and white. 60 shades of blue from midnight to baby blue. Skyscrapers appeared steel grey, metallic stalagmites rising up from the ground like shards.

In the countryside, the rolling hills became more like craggy cliffs, stone bridges collapsed under the weight of all the ice and snow. Trees froze in position, never moving, swaying or whipping again. All the farm animals perished within hours, too cold for their coast to withstand. One day sweating the next day frozen.

IMG_4032.JPGIt was apocalyptic and it was our entire fault. The struggle to survive was real from now on.