Posts Tagged ‘change’
Change: an act or process through which something becomes different.
As a writer you’re always looking for a story. Something that fires you up and compels you to write.
And then, every now and again, something happens that makes you speechless and you sit down to a blank page and don’t know where to start.
That happened to me today, in the wake of Donald Trump becoming the President of the United States. The most powerful man alive. Voted in by the merest of margins.
I knew it was a perfect opportunity to blog. To say something profound, and have people go ‘hell yes, this!’ but then I thought…what is the point?
What the fuck is the actual point?
Both Great Britain and America are inhabited by a generation, or indeed several generations, of unhappy people. People who feel they are being failed by those previously elected to run their countries. People who feel they are owed something. Anything. And are prepared to divide their nation and incite hatred in order to do so.
And it sets a precedent. The UK voted for Brexit. The USA voted for Trump. But what next? Many other powerful countries have their elections next year and the insurgents of those countries are gaining confidence in the fact that they may very well be successful.
And all for what?
All for change. Unhappiness is a powerful emotion and one that can and has forced the world to become unrecognizable this year and potentially begun a huge historical momentum for change. People are so unhappy, so hideously full of hatred for their leaders and their lives, that they are putting their faith in dangerous men. Men who – according to the press and many recent reports – are racist, homophobic, misogynistic and vile. These men do not fill me with confidence. They do not make me believe they are going to change the world for the better. They are divisive and unpredictable.
Donald Trump may have had his own agenda and reasons for wanting to become President of the United States if America, but now has a lot to prove, not only to both his supporters and challengers, but to the rest of the world and I imagine everyone is sitting slightly more upright and on the edge of their seats than they were yesterday. They are nervously waiting to see what happens next. Wondering where we go from here.
And one thing I do think we need to look at during this turbulent time is the media and its role in perpetuating both dissatisfaction and fear amongst the many people who voted for these changes. Slowly drip feeding lies and propaganda and inciting hatred and feeding on fear. The fact that Brexit and Trump have won show how messed up this world is and that people honestly think that these outcomes were their only option.
The problem is deep rooted. People feel owed. We have become a world where hard work and respect have vanished and bullying and scaremongering are the norm.
And things do need to change.
And I can say with absolute certainty that Brexit and Trump are not the right catalysts for the sort of change that is needed.
But right now, I don’t know what is.
Blame: feel or declare that (someone or something) is responsible for a fault or wrong.
2016 was meant to be a tad more positive than 2015 was for me, but several days in and I already doubt whether that’s even possible. Not because of my situation or circumstance, but because of the general anger that appears to be gripping the majority of people I come into contact with.
I’ve been noticing it building for a while. There have been more incidents of unnecessary road rage. Politeness is becoming a fast declining quality. People everywhere seem to begrudge everything and lack any kind of empathy for anyone other than themselves. I know everyone has stresses in their lives, but that doesn’t justify taking it out on some poor unsuspecting person who undoubtedly has their own crap going on. But how did we get here? How did everyone end up so angry?
Maybe the culture of blame, which has been developing over many years, is an important part of how this has happened. The media and its scaremongering propaganda feed on blame. There’s always someone or something to blame for the atrocities the world is facing. No responsibility. No justification for the blame, but blame nonetheless. Making people feel hard done by, put upon, unlucky. Confirmation bias then bonds people through mutual annoyance. Who even cares what they are annoyed about or why they were annoyed in the first place? It’s not their fault they are annoyed. They are not in charge of their own destiny. Hell no. And then, pretty soon, bad things become expected. Looked for even. And worse case – you end up having no one to blame but yourself.
I listened to the news on the radio last week, to a piece about the sex attacks in Cologne. Women, it would seem, are expected to prepare for such things mentally as if they are a given and destined to happen. It was implied that in a crowded place where everyone is fuelled by alcohol what more could these women have expected? Of course they were going to be assaulted and if they cannot deal with that then it was their fault for not being prepared mentally for such an event. And if they were then affected by being assaulted it’s their fault for not having expected it. Or the fault of the government who, the news are reporting, have let the men into the country as asylum seekers. And whom do they blame? The culture they were brought up in where rape is committed and not talked about. Or the bombers who have destroyed their once safe home.
There are more examples of blame in the news – the gender pay gap makes you depressed, it’s what you get for being a woman and having children. Magazines on shelves and celebrity DVDs blame you, yes you, for being fat and unhealthy. The government is to blame for education being messed up and the NHS being on the brink of collapse – ok, I’ll give you that one, you’re perfectly entitled to be enraged by both of those things. But I bet you still blame the government. Right?
Blame isn’t healthy. When you blame you hold on to emotions and feelings that are never positive. Of course you may think that if you blame another it absolves you of all guilt, but it will eat away at you nonetheless. Blame serves no purpose and – back to my original paragraph – makes people angry. And angry people make other people angry. It’s a vicious cycle.
And yes…yes there are some things in life that will make you angry. And justifiably so. I’m still pissed off my dad died when I was twenty-two, and I am fuming that two of my children will have to live their lives blighted by an incurable genetic illness, but if I let that anger absorb me then it would destroy me and many others along the way. Life is too short. There are some circumstances where you can choose to be angry, or choose to see things in an alternative light. It’s not as hard as it sounds to make a change. It could be something simple, it just requires a change of mindset. What is harder is accepting the things that we can’t change and have no control over. In those cases anger is an understandable emotion, but it doesn’t have to be a way of life.
I’ve learnt that the hard way…and in all fairness…who can blame me?
Crossroads: 1. an intersection of two or more roads.
2. a point at which a crucial decision must be made which will have far-reaching consequences.
Ever feel like you don’t quite fit? Like what used to work no longer does and now it feels plain awkward, unpleasant almost?
I very much feel like I’ve reached a set of crossroads in my life and that I need to make a decision which could take me in any number of directions. Fundamentally I know that direction will not be the one from where I’ve come – for at the moment at least, my current path is one I no longer wish to walk upon.
I’ve always been very aware of my mortality and of making every second in life count. For example, I’m ridiculously bad at saving; often enjoying spending sprees if I can, not seeing the point in being the richest person in the graveyard. I like things to be immediate, present. I am impatient and hate waiting with a passion. Why wait to enjoy life when I can theoretically do it now? And it’s this constant thought that has led me to where I currently stand, at these crossroads.
Deciding your own fate is quite a powerful tool. The possibilities – even with three children in tow – are pretty much endless. It’s having the courage and determination to make those decisions that’s the problem. It’s easy to get comfortable, muddle on by vaguely satisfied with your lot. However familiarity often breeds contempt, and we can begin to resent what once held enjoyment. The everyday groundhogness of life (I talk about his often) can undoubtedly be wearing and tiresome.
I think for me I’ve had a sudden realisation that no one else is responsible for my happiness – and I am fed up of my mood being solely dependent on the moods of others. I’d like to be in control of my own emotions and I’m sure that if I was doing something with my life that made me happy, I may have more of a grip on them instead of finding everything so sodding overwhelming.
So I’ve made a big decision. It may never actually come to fruition and I might be kidding myself that it’s even possible, but you know what, if I don’t try I’ll never know and will spend forever regretting it, slowly becoming more miserable by the day.
And so, my decision is…
To apply to go back to university and do a Creative Writing Masters.
I love writing, and I always have. It’s saved me from PND, it’s cathartic, exciting, rewarding. I fizz with ideas and physically feel like I am going to explode if I don’t write them down. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, but have never dreamed possible.
This week has been spent drafting and redrafting (a stupid number of times) personal statements and short stories for submission. The thought of doing the course excites me more than I ever thought possible and yes…I am well aware that I might not even get on it (I often doubt my writing and think it sounds like something a ten year old would’ve written!) but at least I’ll have tried. Done something positive to realise that ever hopeful dream of living to work!
So for now the decision about which direction to take at these crossroads is an easy and amazingly exciting one. My happiness is very much my responsibility – and I’m going to do everything I can to make myself ecstatic.
Holiday: A holiday is a day set aside by custom or by law in which normal activities, especially business or work, are to be suspended or reduced.
Having just arrived home after an eventful few days ‘holidaying’ in Wales, I am currently sat with a much needed hot cup of tea and a large mountain of chocolate beside me, looking at the photos of our few days away. After the success of our last family holiday in France I was looking forward to another break away, and another chance to build more memories. Which technically, we did…but not in quite the same way, as the weekend was more of a comedy of errors than a restful break away. I shall start at the very beginning, and I apologise for what is rather a long, and possibly at times, rather rambling post…but I needed to get it all out! (skip to the end for my profound response to it all if you choose! ;-))
So…my husband was supposed to have the whole week off work before we were due to got I Wales onThursday, but as always in his line of business, there was some sort of ‘deal’ happening and he annoyingly needed to go into work on both Monday and Wednesday. Now I have to admit to not being too amused by this, however as there wasn’t really anything I could do I (mostly) kept my mouth shut. It did mean however, that as I had all three children to myself my brain wasn’t completely focused on the packing and by Wednesday night it still wasn’t done and we were due to leave by Thursday lunchtime. I don’t know what it’s like in your household, but generally here…I do ALL of the packing, partly because I’m a total control freak, and partly because my husband wouldn’t have a clue what to pack even if I asked him. Normally I’m very organised and in control of the packing (I do love a list!)…..however this time, I did it very quickly and I didn’t do it very well. (not a list in sight)
It quickly became apparent that I’d forgotten quite a few things. Never has the phrase I uttered as we were driving down the M4 and across the bridge ‘I’m sure I’ve forgotten something’ been more apt, for I had forgotten some quite vital things as you will discover as you read on…
We arrived at the cottage and let ourselves in as we’d been told it was unlocked. Small and quaint, but perfect for what we needed we were quite pleased! There was as strong smell of air freshners which turned out to be those stick things you put in a jar of smelling liquid, it took about five minutes for us all to start sneezing so I hid the offending freshener in the downstairs toilet. The smell stopped, but the sneezing didn’t….all sodding weekend. Fresh air was in order and we were just around the corner from the ‘Mountain Cafe,’ where there were apparently amazing views of the Brecon Beacons. Not today however, as just as we got back into the car to drive there the heavens opened. We found the centre, surrounded by mist and rain clouds and not a single pleasant view, and all ran inside. It was about four o’clock by now so we went to the cafe for a cuppa and cake. There was a nice softplay there, yet as always, my 17month old wanted to wander where he shouldn’t, which was on this occasion around the tables that weren’t being used and had chairs upside down on top of them. I asked my husband to get him (he was closer!) as I could foresee a nasty chair falling incident and got the reply, ‘he’s alright he’s just walking,’ and then, yes, you guessed it, two seconds later and the boy decided to pull a chair in top of his beautiful little head. Cue screaming, cue looks from everyone judging us for letting him walk there in the first place, cue me shouting ‘I told you so,’ and everyone feeling slightly awkward. Thankfully the crying stopped and we could see there wasn’t much damage done to my little one, yet everyone else was left feeling a little bit tense.
We went back to the cottage where were discovered that it really isn’t set up for small people. There were no stair gates, no secure fire guards next to the log fire, no high chair, hard corners everywhere, cleaning products in kitchen cupboards where the doors could be easily opened….I could go on. I take it for granted that at home, and the majority of other homes I’m in, that there are things put in place to make life easy, to keep children safe without you having to follow them around every single second of every minute. The toddler jammed his fingers in drawers, picked up firewood and got splinters, changed the channels (to no channel) on the tv, ran up the stairs and all sorts of other mischievous things…and that was with two of us watching him constantly! It was not relaxing AT ALL!
Thankfully he goes to bed at six and it was then I discovered the first of my packing errors…I had not packed a bottle, not one single bottle and he will currently not go to sleep without one at night…so this resulted in me having to do a very quick dash into Brecon hoping that the local supermarket sold bottles, which thankfully they did. I raced back to find a very overtired little boy, a rather stressed out Dad and that the majority of the lounge had been moved or altered in some way to make it a bit safer…for everyone!
The boys went to bed and the second of my packing f*** ups became apparent…I hadn’t packed the four year old’s blow up sleeping bag bed. No bed. FFS. Why couldn’t I have forgotten socks or toothpaste or things that weren’t really, really important? After a frantic search and brainstorm we found some cushions that are meant for the sun loungers that were outside. We found a spare duvet cover to use as a sheet and a lovely blanket for a cover. Sorted.
Wine was now in order and then I cooked dinner (priorities!) We had a relaxing evening in front of the tv and then went to bed. Day 1 done.
Day 2 was ok, we discovered a lovely farm and spent hours there feeding lambs, holding rabbits and chinchillas and watching spooky shows. The only things that weren’t perfect were that even after we’d ordered our lunch it didn’t appear, and when we asked it turned out that they’d lost our order and had to start again from scratch, cue three very hungry and grumpy children. Then the 17 month old walked into a (unpadded!!) metal bar in the toddler soft play area and added another bruise to his already colourful little face. Poor little chap, he is so accident prone at the moment and every time he falls over and hurts himself I feel soooo guilty. We spent most of the day there and then after the older two had completed a challenge and collected two pumpkins on the way out, we left.
Back at the cottage the four year old suddenly went very pale and quiet and wasn’t himself at all. Thinking he was just worn out from the day we had early nights all round, however when he woke up on Saturday it was clear that he was poorly with a nasty high temperature. Turns out he picked a good day to make us all stay in as there was a storm outside. A massive, huge , horrible storm that was worse than we experienced last week in Bristol. Garden furniture was blown all over the place and the road outside became a river. Keeping our fingers crossed we didn’t have a power cut as there was only one candle in the cottage and no matches, we all huddled in the over crowded slightly unsafe lounge. I cooked a roast thinking that would cheer everyone up, but the toddler threw his on the floor and it wasn’t the happy family meal I’d envisaged with my husband and I having to take it in turns to look after him and eat our roast cold. I was in bed by seven that night as I was utterly exhausted.
And today, well today on the way home, we visited Caerphilly castle and froze our butts off walking around and exploring it for a few hours. Nice and fun…but freezing cold!!
I’m not entirely sure what the point, moral or message of this post is (I usually like to have one) but I guess writing about it has helped me as blogging usually does…putting the last few days in perspective has taught me not to expect anything when there are children around (and that I need to think carefully and write lists when packing!) I’d imagined us all walking up the mountains or around the beautiful reservoirs of the Brecon Beacons (which we couldn’t have done anyway because I’d forgot the blimmin sling) I’d imagined cosy nights in, laughter, rest and relaxation and I guess I came home slightly disappointed that there wasn’t really any of this, and that sadly, this weekend, the errors and mishaps didn’t make us share laughter, or rest, or relax….they just served to frustrate and exhaust my husband and I even more.
Yet ask the children if they’ve had a great time and the reply would be a resounding ‘YES!!’ For them there wasn’t a forgotten bed, but an opportunity for an exciting sleepover in big sister’s bedroom on a brand new bed! There wasn’t a dangerous storm, but a thrilling show through the window of magical moving furniture and blowing leaves. There weren’t banged heads, but adventures and places that had been explored. There were new experiences, new memories being stored, new things done; and even though my husband and I have come back exhausted, the children have come back energised (apart from the slightly ill one) A change for them it seems, really is as good as a rest….
Do you find family time away relaxing…or exhausting??
I’ve linked up with the lovely @PODcast ‘s What’s the Story? this week, luckily she let me tell this story with lots of photos! 😉
Self-Hosting: The term self-hosting was coined to refer to the use of a computer program as part of the toolchain or operating system that produces new versions of that same program—for example, a compiler that can compile its own source code.
So readers, the time has come when I have finally been brave enough to go self-hosted on my blog. I’ve been blogging for 6 months now and have got so much more out of it than I ever thought possible. When I first started I didn’t know what a big part of my life it would be me and now seems like the perfect time to take the leap and plunge head first into hosting my blog myself. I’ve been putting it off and putting it off as I’m not a great fan of change and, as with everything, I have heard a few scare stories,but….I have gone with a hosting company that has been highly recommended and hopefully the transfer will be quick and painless.
So I am writing today to say soon this blog will stop…and if you would like to continue reading my posts you will be able to do so at instinctivemum.com I’m not entirely sure how it works yet, but if you’ve signed up to receive email notifications of my blog then you may need to do so again, and there will undoubtedly be a new Bloglovin link as well. Please, please be patient with me!, I will write an updated blog post with the correct link when it’s all up and running.
In the meantime, I found this quote on Pinterest and it’s one I’m sticking with through this process!
Control: Control (management), an element of management. Control freak, a person who attempts to dictate how everything around them is done
I have to start this post by once again apologising for it not being polished and perfect. It is simply an outpouring of some rubbish that’s in my head which is making me feel a bit crap, and blogging always seems to help! It’s nothing serious and no-one needs to panic that I’m spiralling back down into some nasty dark place, but equally I hope you don’t read this post and think I’m total a drama queen! I’m not. Things just get on top of me sometimes.
So…here I am, sat in bed, feeling somewhat out of sorts. I can’t quite put my finger on how I’m feeling, a bit like I’ve been dumped, have a hangover and am in the middle of a very weird dream all rolled into one. So many things in my life are happening and changing and are out of my control. I don’t do out of control. I make a messy drunk and swear I’d only be happy on a plane if I were the pilot.
Several things have conspired over the last few weeks and even months that have contributed to me feeling as such. Many of them I have been unable to control. A few years ago when anxiety had an evil grip on me I tried to practise the art of ‘if I can’t control it, then I’m not allowed to worry about it. But how do you not worry about your 4 year old who isn’t putting on weight and hacks up a horrific amount of thick yellow grunge on a daily basis? How do you not worry about your 12 year old daughter relishing what little freedom she has and beginning to make more and more decisions in life for herself? How do you not worry about family and friends who are going through a tough time and you can do nothing to support them or fix things and make it all better? How can you not be concerned about your son who starts school in September, and whose best friend has now moved to the other class so he hasn’t the support and friendly face he needed on that first day?
During my real job I am a primary school teacher and well known control freak. I’ve tried to job-share and it hasn’t worked, namely because I couldn’t control the people I worked with. That sounds harsh, I’m not a complete bitch and in fact am praised at work and respected for being supportive, empathetic and approachable. But at work I like order. I like things to be done to the best of everyone’s abilities, I know where I stand. I haven’t worked now for over a year and am not due back until January and sometimes worry if it’s this lack of routine, lack of feeling in control of things that adds to this weird way I am feeling at the moment.
And the reason I’ve not worked for so long…..the birth of my third (and final) child. The child who cannot be controlled in any way shape or form. We all know that becoming a parent means losing control of so many things. Your freedom. When you sleep, eat, shower. You even lose control of whether or not you can drink a cup of tea whilst it’s still warm. (and I wont mention the lack of control over certain bodily functions) This last year control has completely left me, run away and hidden in some far off land not returning anytime soon. Naively I thought that with my third I’d know what to do, get it all right, have it all sorted….but…no! Never have I had to trust my instincts more, listen to my baby more and lose what little control in my life I had left. And although most days this is ok, some days I find it frustrating. I want to be in control. I want to be on top of things. Drink a hot cup of sodding tea, go to sleep when I bloody well want to, be on top of the laundry and have a clean and tidy house. Ah the house!
Our house is a perfectly nice house. I’m not homeless and I live in a lovely area, yet in January after several long discussions with my husband about how he’d lived in this house since he was 6 and needed to move on and be the man of his own home, we decided to put our house on the market. I was also very keen to move as I’ve never really felt like this house is my home. Buying it off my in-laws seemed like a great idea at the time, but it still very much seems like their house. When my mother in law comes to stay, for example she will unconsciously put things back where she used to keep them, and our garage and loft are still full of their stuff. So, we were excited to move, to find our own forever home. However, I was soon to become frustrated at the lack of control over the sale of the house and I became more and more despondent as no viewings happened.
To cut a very long story short, a couple of weeks ago we found our forever home. The owners wanted to downsize and knocked on our door asking if we could do a house swap. Not quite believing it could happen my husband and I were cautious at first, but the other family were the driving force and were soon phoning or coming round daily asking how quickly we could move. Numbers were discussed and a deal was done. We were beside ourselves with excitement at the future this new house help for us and our family. It really was our dream house. Our forever home. One where I imagined grandchildren coming to visit us. And then on Sunday, returning from a weekend away we found a card through our letterbox saying the move was off, with no explanation. Now, I am VERY aware that I sound like a spoilt brat crying over spilt milk, but I was devastated. The life I had imagined for my family gone. My dream shattered. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve cried quite a lot over the last couple of days. So silly really, it was just a sodding house. A house I wanted but didn’t really need. Please don’t think I’m some ungrateful woman who doesn’t appreciate what she has got because I do, I really really do, but I think the loss of the house is just the catalyst for my current emotional state and has piled on top of the other crap I feel I can’t control and has been building up over a while. This year has been one of the toughest I’ve faced for a while and the new house represented a new start. A new beginning for us all where we could shake off all the crap that’s happened. But sadly it’s not going to happen, it simply wasn’t meant to be.
I know I need to learn to let go more, to analyse less and be more relaxed. I’m learning with my youngest that he isn’t a baby who does anything by the book and he is teaching me to lose control a little bit at a time….he’s very good for me! I’m also a firm believer in fate and that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t ever know or understand that reason. Many of the things that I am feeling so out of control about can be resolved or won’t seem nearly as important in six months time, and I will learn to embrace those that can’t be resolved; for life is one big adventure and it would be dull if we were always in control of what was going to happen next…I guess…