Monday Night Reflection: Best Laid Plans

It is over halfway through February and I am still in the first week of January and I don’t just mean in terms of mental preparation. Anonymouse blogging isn’t always easy, I have given a massive hint in my reflections to who I am, however, anonymity is really about plausible denial rather than complete obscurity, and I believe that sometimes you have to share yourself to be honest and relevant to a situation. While there is that line to walk, what it does, is that it highlights how compartmentalised life can become in our minds when in reality is somewhat more of a jumbled mess.

I got myself a blog planner, and I got myself a Filofax and I was ready to be much more organised and intentional. On the one hand, my decision to be intentional at the end of last year has been a success, on the other, my planning has been somewhat lacklustre in some areas of my life. On the blogging front, I have been haphazard, on the business front I have had a train wreck with regard to planning, and in other areas, I have been on point as they say. A very mixed bag indeed. I am therefore looking for what has led to such a disjointed picture across the different hats that I wear.

I am wary and reluctant to say “I was ill”, but I was ill and that has had a massive impact on my output capabilities. I am not physically or mentally able to sustain levels of productivity and output that I was capable of before getting ill. At the same time I am transitioning from what I was doing and had trained to do while accumulating years of practical experience to something where I am learning from the very start. I know that things are always bigger than they look in terms of learning new skills and new business ventures; but holy moley it’s a steep hill, and it looked steep before I got on it. So I am facing a challenge which while super exciting is more than I thought while approaching it with a reduced capacity, and that is something I had not adequately considered at the start of the year.

However, within the context of the super exciting and difficult challenge the switch to pen and paper has completely remodelled the landscape of my planning. Electronically my todo list would be part what I had to do immediately, the get milk and post the parcel of life, the put up shelves combined with the seal the garage roof ready for next winter type projects. A hodge-podge of here and now and projects. What going to pen and paper has done is clear my diary and to-do list of everything but firm commitments. If it hasn’t got a date or a deadline, doesn’t have set parameters and a what done looks like, then chances are I am going to not write it down or give it space in my head. Now, I don’t mean a task has to have all of those but at least one. Within that tasks are moved out into their projects rather than standing alone, so unless it’s time for that project I don’t see them. The upshot is things look really empty where once they looked crammed and I am even more relaxed about what needs to be done.

Working with pen and paper has made me consider more, filter more, assess and prioritise more effectively, slowed me down and forced be to be intentional about my planning. I also spend a lot less time unproductively working on the planning task because I haven’t got software to be playing with. There are some downsides in the practicality of adjusting on the fly because I have to rewrite things, but again that repetition does embed things in my memory better.

Assuming I got as far as planning. Creatively, I have failed to plan, maybe at all and definitely in a way that I can call effective. The point of my reflection, both this one I share and my private ones, is change. Either identify a change and recognise the positive development or identify something to change and how to change it. In this case what do I need to be changing. Very practically my time management needs to take account of my reduced work capacity. I do not like doing this, not one bit, however, revising my estimate of what I can achieve per set unit of time absolutely has to happen. Secondly, part of revising my capacity expectations is recognising the time to recover from what is going on. I have had physiotherapy, it has left me sore and exhausted for 3 days, the pain has disrupted my sleep too. My output ability has been lowered, and yesterday on Sunday the afternoon became a nap time, where I dozed on and off through a whole afternoon and early evening. I had to account for, accept that I was exhausted and that my physical exhaustion was also combined with a mental exhaustion from the situation and the activity from Thursday morning onwards.

Rather than being disappointed at the things I haven’t done, I am taking pride in what I have done, what I have managed to put in place ready and how I have managed to do little parts of projects and things. I had planned to do more, I had to write more, do some painting practice and I had planned to have more blog posts, sit down and let some ideas flow for future poems or short stories. However, that didn’t happen, I did spend great family time, connect with friends and keep putting the work for my biggest life goals for 17; my priorities. The hustle and flow of life, paying bills, eating shopping, they are not hindering me, they are essential to everything I do, creatively, professionally and socially. Which why when I went out on Friday Night I wore different shoes, and it is why I am really encouraged with how intentional life is working for me.

I am accepting for myself what I tell others, perfection is not possible. I also promised myself that my last reflection was too long and that I need to shorten them down for my own good as well as for the good of anyone reading.

It is mid-February and not everything is done yet, not everything is started yet, but progress is being made and I am not using those goals and intentions as sticks to beat myself up with. They are starting points and intentions that get to be reviewed and reformulated, they are not commandments set in stone. Perhaps, this is where I have made the most progress, and I cannot take full credit for that. I live in an environment where those around me no longer look to beat me down and remind me that I am a failure, a looser and a burden. Being out of a toxic relationship is not just about the removal of the abuse, it is about how you can get space and time to be kind and loving towards yourself because you can discover what kind and loving really means.  In an abusive relationship, being unkind, putting you down and delivering consequence is what constitutes love, and you do end up being like that with yourself. You end up complicit in your own abuse and actually self-harm because that is what you think life is and how it works.

So while my best-laid plans may not be coming together quite how I would have intended. The overall goal is to be intentional, to have goals and chase them, and to flexible and adaptable to what happens on the journey. And to even revise goals if that is what needs to happen, rather than falling for the false meme stubbornness that never quits even when it’s obvious continuing has become a very bad idea (thanks to Seth Godin – the Dip for that advice). In pursuit of that bigger life goal of intentional living, I am pleased with my progress, in terms of my bigger goals, I am similarly pleased with my progress. For once I am deliberately, or intentionally, should I say, stopping to appreciate the successes and progress made and not look at what hasn’t happened yet and look for sticks to beat myself down, but to build myself up. Plans change, life happens, even with a good map the road is still unknown till you travel it and has bumps and turns you can’t see.

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Poetry Corner: Late Night

My thoughts are not racing,
But I talk so fast I struggle to keep up
There is no turmoil
But I am lost and confused
A maelstrom of word and picture
But clear and peaceful too

My windmill spinning without the wind
But I am still grinding,
My kart still racing down the hill
But I am on level ground
My river still roaring by
But I stand on desert sand

I think of sleep, it comes quite easily
But never lasts,
Short burst are all it ever seems to be
But morning so quickly comes
No rest in calm harbour
But the restless sea

I try to cheat and make it last
It works sometimes and frightens me
I am one with the certainty
It will be as it always was
Now I rest in stuttering tone
And paint my art in tired brush

Monday Night Reflection: Joyful and Triumphant

This last week, life happened, that pesky real life stuff that gets in the way of things you really want to be doing. The other issue is that I haven’t wanted to be introspective this week. The intrusion of my past has made me emotionally tired, I have wanted to move away from looking at anything requiring emotional engagement. On the physical level, I have a cold, which while being very normal is what I would call drag, it slows life down and makes it more difficult. Add in pain and physiotherapy work and I feel that the last seven days have had a cumulative impact.

Which is why I don’t write Monday Night Reflections in advance and schedule them, writing this on Tuesday would have resulted in a very different outlook. Life didn’t happen till Wednesday, my pain had been much lower, and my cold, if it had arrived had not announced itself. Tuesday morning, I felt emotionally calmer and settled after the reflection and the time I had spent around it. I was upbeat because I felt physically and emotionally peaceful, it was a very temporary situation. Pain wise I had noticed a relaxation over the previous few days and the accompanying symptoms had been much lower. I was really feeling much more like a healthy me than I had in months. By Tuesday afternoon this physical wellness had become me in a ball in bed, full of morphine and hallucinations with the symptoms back at full power. Those few days were kind of nice.

Which puts me, with my keyboard having struggled creatively to do, full of cold and feeling rather sorry for myself. Mostly I want to curl up in bed and sleep till I am better. Truth is, I could, I really could, it would not make much difference, I wouldn’t really be letting anyone down either. Most people would jump at the opportunity because they have the pressure, I used to have the pressure, where I would work long after it was advisable to the detriment of my physical, let alone mental well being. Like many I worked broken because I had no choice, no work, no money, that is the reality for millions that I shared for all my working life from the age of 13, and still do. I don’t work it has an impact, not so bad that we lose our house and starve, but you can tell the difference, its very tight on one wage and what I can cobble together when I am sick.

That is not my reflection. I have a friend, recent friend, still getting to know her, but she let me into her world and her struggles with anxiety and we were able to share and help each other. It is hard not to feel close to someone with so much shared experience and struggle. She is striking out, starting her own business and really pushing her boundaries, which is amazing and awesome. I have admiration and am supporting her a million percent because it is courageous to come from where she feels inside and get outside the house, so this is real achievement. There is a however, the however, is that I cannot share her triumphalism. Like me she has a lifelong battle with anxiety and self esteem, a less than stellar past and a storehouse of unhelpful negative experiences which can be used to beat her down, with the liberal addition of abusive relationships and life failures. I am envious because when things are good I cannot proclaim a victory. I am jealous because when I win over anxiety and am getting life done I never feel like the battle is over. I am always keenly aware of that inner dialogue and battle, the thoughts and emotions that are behind the scenes. The battle will never be over, and I feel like any proclamation of victory is both premature and provocation, like I am asking for an onslaught.

Thing is talking to her, privately, I feel that she too is premature, she still has the battles, right now she is winning and that is awesome, but the truth is the battles continue at various intensities. From the outside it may be inspiration to see anxiety, depression or mental health issues defeated, apparently lying dead on the floor bloodied, beaten and ultimately slain. This victorious cry is something that I long for, but is this reality or is it a fantasy? Is this vision of victory simply a collective delusion to which we have all consented to make ourselves feel like the there is a real light at the end of the tunnel, when in reality the battle is lifelong and to the death. Battles may come and go but the war is forever?

My experience is one of management. Anxiety and depression are managed not beaten. My experience of them will intensify and wane depending life and other things I may or may not control, so what I need is structures in place to help me deal with anxiety and depression as constructively as possible. I accept that there may be times that getting out of bed and eating a meal is the absolute most I can achieve that day. What I have sought to build are ways of making sure that on that day I do get out of bed, I do get dressed and I do eat a meal; in other words each day I give one hundred percent of whatever I have to give. Some days that one hundred percent could be outstanding, other days it will be less than impressive. I have had to learn to accept the massive difference between my very worse symptomatic days and the days where I can look like an extrovert genius who never needs sleep. Riding the waves of productivity and silence without blame or judgement is incredibly difficult. I have high expectations of myself and I have a good store of experiences that tell me that I am capable of achieving a lot at a high standard. The key is not to let success become a stick with which I beat myself down when times are hard.

I am not saying it is easy, in fact at the very height of success it can be struggling. For example, I was in the airport, waiting for the plane to fly to compete in my first ever European Championship, this was the opportunity. My ex had been a situation where this had been beyond a dream, my hobby would never be priority enough for me to spend money to go on a “holiday” on my won while the family did without. I did my hobby for fun, yet within a year of the split, here I was qualified by right and waiting for a plane to my first international competition part of GB team. My now wife was working and I had travelled to the air port on my own. Sat there you would think I was full of thoughts about the competition, riding the crest of a wave. In fact, I was broken, and sitting there having gone through passport control wondering what you had to do to leave. I wanted to go home and curl up and wished the world would leave me alone. I was scared, alone with no one to talk to. To this day I have no idea how I managed to stay in the departure lounge. I could be telling this story to make you feel better, the truth is. The whole way there I was telling myself to just go, just do it, it doesn’t matter. I told myself that last didn’t matter in my first competition, and that I had earned the experience, that it was a holiday to reward the work I had done. It didn’t help because I had struggled in the preparation. I had actually worked too hard. I had gone to train with a former world champion and world record holder; a coach of standing and significant cost was helping me for a couple of hours. It was just about affordable and to me and investment which such a big event coming up. By the end of 2 hours he stepped in and helped me get ready for free because I was so beat up. I had decided that my only chance of success was to outwork the competition, I believed I had no talent, but I did have hard work. I had completely overlooked any requirement to work hard and intelligently. Four weeks later I am in an airport, flying on my own to meet the team, staying in a different hotel because I could only confirm my place due to money at the last minute. I felt like disaster was a matter of time.

The best I could do on the way out was keep a Starbucks down, and not break down crying uncontrollably. I felt locked into a train wreck about to happen. This is my reality, this is my anxiety, and at the time I was not suffering particularly on a day to day basis. But this exceptional event had given anxiety the opening it needed to come on full. I cried the night before, I held back tears on the way to the airport, and I a was biting back the whole journey. On arrival I took a wrong turn in the hire car and was sobbing in a layby for an hour. Unable to even get my thoughts far enough to call my fiancée, when I did manage it, of course she was amazing and already she walked me through my steps to calm down and my solution.

Three days after nearly walking out the airport and sobbing uncontrollably at some toilet stop in the middle of nowhere I was flying home a European Champion. To tell the story as if the trip was a triumph over anxiety and fear feels like a betrayal, a lie I cannot tell to people, who like me, struggle daily. The reality, I believe is more liberating, more empowering, it may be a cheesy book title, but the battle is about feeling scared and like disaster is imminent and doing despite the fact you want to run. Management is about the disaster and realising it changes you if you let it, and only if you let it. This was once an incredibly hard truth to hold on to. I was not loved whether or not I succeeded or failed, in fact, love was portioned out in direct proportion to my success of failure, from a kind word to physical intimacy, it was always earned. Being loved just because I was me was something that other people talked about, it was not something I experienced, it was something I did, I knew that much. In this context failure was a big deal, and so fear was as more about a consequence than it was about something I imagined would happen, consequences were a danger, and they happened when you failed. The problem with anxiety is, it never takes account of context. In this case the situation could never have happened, I was always a hobbyist, I could never compete, never dream of it, too difficult, to much pressure, and it was unfair to ask my family to make that sort of sacrifice. I was a father and husband first and I had to honour those responsibilities. I took happiness in having a hobby, although I kept my pursuit solitary, or online where any interaction could be checked and verified. It was never worth talking to a person, although it happened and people tried to make friends with me, I knew the consequences, the consequences did happen. I knew it would happen but I was longing some sort of contact so I made sure I never said anything but how great she was and how wonderful life was. I since found out no one believed a word.

So I cannot be joyful and triumphant, even when I win a significant battle like that, it feels false. I feel like am betraying anyone who looks at the “victory” and gets inspired by the lie. If anything from my life is motivating or informs someone else in their struggles I could not live with that being based on a fiction. Reality is, that weekend was awful, I never want a weekend like that again. The night before I competed I cried, I cried so much I had a stinking headache, I was chronically lonely, I had been to the competition that day and felt immensely out of my depth watching the first day of competition; a feeling made worse by the procedure of registration of which I had absolutely no experience and no knowledge. The whole weekend was difficult, beyond my experience, boundaries and I was woefully unprepared.

Since then, lessons have been learned, and management of my debilitating anxiety and depression is being adjusted to make things possible and make my life all it can be. But it is a tremendous battle, and it is difficult. Seemingly simple things can be massively difficult. I never go to a new place alone, or if I am travelling to it alone I do everything in my power to make sure I have a familiar and friendly face when I get there. When travelling I will often set up way points with friends in case I need them. I did that last long trip, and I really valued that afternoon chilling with coffee, even tho I had an amazing time connecting with a friend at the event and meeting people I had competed with, it was a challenge and difficult. Even with all the lessons and all my best management techniques, it was difficult and I travelled with constant doubts, from what if it’s a joke and not happening to what if I embarrass myself, even with no possible reason for that to happen or be likely, and multitude of reasons running through my head why it was a bad idea to be there.

Which is my day to day reality, this month we are having people we have met over for tea. We know them a little bit and they are great, but inside I am terrified, scared of everything from the food I do being awful, me saying the wrong thing. I know so much of this fear is because of “feedback” and consequences from my life, parents telling me that I had embarrassed them or let them down, my ex-wife telling me why no one spoke to me, no one liked me, what people said about be to her, and how I was an embarrassment, from how I looked to how I acted, to the car I drove, how I drove, it was all a disgrace. I had always been a disgrace and a let down, I was always a disappointment, so according to my anxiety, why would that be any different now. And that is in spite of the evidence that, it was never true in the past and it is not true now, it still feels real. I hope, it feels less real as time passes.

This is the reality, there are victories and small wins, there are pyrrhic victories and defeats. That is life with anxiety, it may be gone for a while, mine always comes back, it may come back weak, it may come back strong, but it will always be there. At one time I may have thought anxiety a curse, perhaps it is, but anxiety is also essential to our survival, so it has been hard wired into our make up to have a concern that is future orientated. Survival is predicated on the prediction of danger and that involves fear via anxiety. After all if you never worried about starvation it is likely you would not store food, and when it ran out you would starve. Some people live where food is not massively seasonal and they do not have that anxiety and they do not stockpile or develop preservation methods. So it is with life, I don’t think it is possible to rid ourselves of anxiety. Anxiety is the dark-side, it has to be there, without it there then our positive drives have no roots, or perhaps we have nothing to run from. Perhaps that is why creative people are plagued, they are always running, and their creativity rests on a bed of anxiety and fear.

I am sorry I cannot proclaim, victory the war is won, I am sad that I may well walk to my door to get the bin and stumble and pause as I take hold of the handle, I will struggle to walk in public because I feel the stare because I am different, and I will hide in the familiar while seeking to achieve something positive.

What I mean is, sometimes Victory is getting out of bed, getting dressed and eating a meal, success can be simple, it can be words, it can be silence. Learn to accept success however small, learn to love yourself, however, alien that is, anxiety may walk our road for life, but we can, I know we can, make it travel with us and not let it root us to the spot in fear, we can be overwhelmed and still come back. I believe that, and like all rebellions my rebellion against anxiety is built on hope!

Poetry Corner: Journey

Loaded my stuff into my truck, pulled off my drive for the last time
No one waved goodbye, bet she checked I left though

Picked up my new keys and like 17 again stepped alone into my new place
Unloaded and went to work, came home and made my bed

A lot has happened since then, I know she wanted me dead
That little place became my home my castle and my keep

I looked out at children playing and found myself crying at the sight
You took my boys when you threw me out like so much broken trash

I’ve moved on from my little home where I learned to grow and heal
Starting alone I took tiny steps and slowly found my way

One by one those prison walls are being knocked down and I moved away
Someone stupid enough to have me as you would most likely mock

A different town and a different house, a completely different place
A new home this time no longer alone, not quiet or hiding in plain sight

Learning new things like feeling loved and cherished, grown and nourished
Weakness is allowed, vulnerability an opportunity for kindness not attack

Cast aside, I look different now, finding me not who you crushed me to be
Those years they left their mark, and those tears took an unwelcome toll

My spirit grew my body broke, too much neglect from playing my part
My heart forgot to beat, other things now beyond repair, cared for now

New start, a new beginning, so cliché, I write my story now, I tell it my way
Not the villain, the bad guy, no tales of bad behaviour or things to improve

No action points or summary, instead a hug, a kiss, and a cuddle me
Surprised those stories stopped, news just in, is positive and encouraging

I am allowed to have something to say, no transcript required, no inquiry
Just the smiles of time well spent, friendships made, or deepened further

Now here I am and the things I hear, they can’t mean me, surely not
From a little house and living in fear, it’s not perfect but quite near

 

Monday Night Reflection: Why my Book isnt Written

There are a lot of people who say they could be a writer, probably as many as those who say they could have done a lot of things like get a degree or be a sports star. The problem is … and you can insert their “reason” for not, being born in the wrong place, time, social group, income level or whatever. The harsh reality is they could not have been what they are talking, precious few have the ability to be elite in that chosen field, and even fewer have the mental capability to take the risks of dedication and consistency with no promise of reward like those are at the top do.

It is not particularly uplifting or motivation to say, actually you can’t be whatever you want to be, there are some things you will never be good enough to above competent at best. If you have a twenty four inch inside leg I would not be trying to be an elite runner, just as someone five foot one is going to struggle in basketball. However, what really lets people down is their mindset. They do not have have what it takes, and even more importantly they are not interested in developing those skills. The prospect of working for years with no guarantee of payoff or reward beyond the journey itself is abhorrent to them. Quick and easy is what they want. I really had a lightbulb moment not so long ago when I was thinking about our financial situation and shoring a few things up and paying the mortgage off. I thought “if I am lucky I will get the chance to earn some good money too …”. However, most people I have ever heard say, “ If I am lucky I will win and …”. They are not wishing for the prospect of hard work to make the money, they want it now as a gift, bypassing the hard grind of making money.

I realised there is a huge chasm in how people think, and that those on one side, the quick easy gift side do not want to pass over to the work for it side. Yes, winning a lot of money would be great and I do do the lottery, but I do not consider it a possible exit strategy. So it is with this background, recognising that I am on the work side, and that looking back at my life I have been prepared to work with not guarantee of success multiple times to the point that I have a large amount of failures because I was prepared to risk everything to be successful, that I came to realise that I have developed a fear.

My fear is that once again I will work hard and not fail, but as happened too often, not get the chance to fail. From injuries preventing both professional try outs and then a career in the armed forces to working hard progressing a career in a company that fails due to fraud from the directors. I have anchored myself in a pursuit where the journey is most of the point, where your competition is as much yourself as it is anyone else, and where in short I am no where near the top so much that failure and success are related to personal achievement and perspective.

Creatively, the same fear has driven me to quick results. I love writing poetry, one of the things I love about poetry is that, for me, is that I can produce poems quickly. They may need a lot of work and end up completely disregarded, but what I produce is a recognisable poem, and I can produce one or many in a day. In their raw form they look finished. I have accomplished and have something to show.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the relative speed of poetry production, it is rewarding and enjoyable on so many levels. In this context the journey of writing, the learning, the practice, the journey of writing is a huge component of what makes writing so engaging. However, what poetry also does is it allows me to finish. Unlike the frustrations of my life, and some where life changing, poetry allows me the final act and an ending. My work has a payoff.

Which is awesome, however, not recognising this fear of working and then getting nothing at the end, not even recognition of the work and effort, has seriously held me back. I do have a longer story idea, I have characters, I have a setting in time and place, background story, backdrop, a start, motivations, and an ending – however, those pieces are haphazard and independent because I have been afraid of developing them. I have not worked on joining the start and the end together with a narrative journey, although I know what the theme and issues of the story are. My fear has kept me disengaged because what if I write the story, the story is good, and it goes nowhere. What if I send it to publishers and such and it gets rejected until there is no one to reject it, what if my idea is stolen and they get the success and the credit from my work. Would this crush me; would this be the hammer blow that knocks me down so bad that I stay down.

This fear is why my book is unwritten. Where once I would work with no guarantees of success, recognition or payoff, now that prospect is too much. Thinking about those times that ended with nothing, and in some cases I ended where I started before the work like the journey never happened, is painful. To give perspective I worked for four years, legitimately earned my reward to have that taken away from me by the decision of someone and that is not mentioning that I lost nearly everything in divorce apart from my clothes, computer, books, my favourite spoon and a couple of mugs. To work again and have nothing the very thought itself is a crushing weight.

The book is going to stay unwritten, unless I can address this thought pattern and face the pain of those losses. I have to grieve over what I lost, what was taken because until now I had to carry on as if they never happened. Pretend they were nothing, when in reality, they had been everything. I never got to process what had happened, what it meant to me, and what was left at the end.

The hardest thing is explaining this fear, because it is not a fear of failure. I am ok with failing, I am ok with not being the very best, both of these are familiar and I have learned to live through them. Being ok with them does not mean I am happy or content with either, it simply means that I have learned to live with both. Failures are at least proof that I am trying. Which maybe is my point, when I fall short of getting the opportunity to fail, I have no proof of trying. Failure is a result, it is an end point. It is hard to describe because I am grieving the lack of loss. It is like nothing I have experienced, ive done the seeing a girl and never having the courage to talk to her and try and get a date thing, I have missed opportunities through poor judgement and lack of self belief but they are different to this.

I know, until recently, I had not even considered the impact of these never was incidents on my life and judgement. I was not conscious of their impact until quite recently when I was getting ready to compete. I guess I can say it here because no one knows me, I had a minor heart attack, and it has been a long road back. The competition was a big deal and I said for this one “I either come home with my shield or on it”. Two weeks before I got sick, I was running a fever, delirious with hallucinations. I should have been hospitalised, thing is my wife didn’t even ask. She knew I would never willingly go. I got to the competition, I did it, I did well enough, even if that was not as well as I wanted. Three days later I was hospitalised, because it took two days to convince me I wasn’t getting better. I had an obstructed bile duct and pancreatitis. It was then, in that preparation for that competition, that I realised, the prospect of having trained so hard, prepared like I had, I could not face not actually competing, I would rather have gone and failed, and I nearly did, than not gone at all. I had to come home with my shield or on it, and it was close to being on it.

So it is with writing, I am choosing the easier psychological wins, the next step in my development as a person is to learn to risk again, and risk not getting to fail because there was a time when I did, but then one time to many the opportunity was taken away, and often by circumstances not under my direct control. One example is a few years back I was again getting ready to compete, and I was at my all time best, in fact I am not back there now, and I broke my big toe, clean. I didn’t do the competition, with my shield mentality I probably would have gone and done something anyway. But, at the time, I took the good advice and skipped it for another day instead of going with my instinct to go anyway.

What happened next was, a short time after I was close to being hospitalised with anaemia. The issue was at least one bleeding stomach ulcer, that was sorted with medication, however, the lack of iron meant a weakened immune system and having coeliac disease certainly wasn’t helping matters and I succumbed to multiple infections while my body slowly recovered. The rest of the story is, I am still working to get back to that point, because that broken toe was the last time I was physically healthy, almost like it pulled the trigger for other parts of me to start breaking, hopefully peaking with the heart attack, although the still partially obstructed bile duct is not a good party.

That is enough rambling. Time to move on and let the Mouse do his thing.

Pen and Paper: a little bit more

Pen and Paper: a little bit more

I leave my Monday Night Reflection’s raw, I do as little editing as possible, and I do not tend to go back and read them over a number of times before I post them. For some reason I want them to be authentic and real.

Today, I did read my reflection back and resisted the temptation to revise it, and revise it a lot. I started in one direction and ended up in a completely different place. What has been on my mind lately is the changes in me. What I am now struggling to engage with, and where the Mouse will be called into action, is that this is a change from. What I am changing from and too is deeply steeped in the past. This would be the case for anyone making changes in their life, which is part of the problem that I face. I am not consciously making changes, I have not decided in a fully conscious way to go from X to being Y. Instead, I am, in my conscious head at the very least, just going with the flow of what feel right and comfortable. Where I am going is into the why of what I was before and how that leads to where I am now, and in no small measure, where did who I am now originate.

I am certainly not the person of my youth, which is good, so how much of the person who was abused is being rewritten and how much of who I am now is still vulnerable to that manipulation and emotional violence. Perhaps the question is do I really want to go to that place to find out.