Monday Night Reflection – Ray Lewis

Many people won’t know who Ray Lewis is, they can Google and see he was an American Footballer playing Linebacker for the Baltimore Raven’s, and the story ends there.

However, for many Ray Lewis is a familiar name. For some the story of Ray Lewis ends outside a night club with a fatal shooting, pop pop pop, he flees the scene. Eventually handing himself into be charged with double homicide. To many that man is Ray Lewis, Ray Lewis if not the man who pulled the trigger, he is the man who while he may have walked free from the courtroom is guilty of letting the culprit escape justice and therefore as guilty, if not more guilty than that man himself.

For some that will always be Ray Lewis, the man accused of murder. I was not there, all I know is he was there and he saw something. I have no idea if he told the police everything he saw, and told them everything he did completely truthfully. I can never know. The people judging Ray, like me were not there, and they too, will never know, some painfully as it was their loved ones who died on that pavement for no reason that night. Angry and without justice, Ray will never be anything but guilty to these people.

Others see Ray Lewis, the man with two Superbowl Rings, who played his whole Career at the Baltimore Ravens, became a General on the Pitch, a motivator and inspirational figure of it, and arguably one of the best proponents of his position ever to play the game. An almost superhuman player who not only talked of sacrifice for his team and for the purpose, but lived it playing 2 games including his last Superbowl with a detached tricep and a career littered with injury and comeback. They see the Ray Lewis foundation, and his work to make Baltimore a better place, the hospital visits he tries to keep secret, his benefit work and even how he reconciled with his father when many would have chosen to stay bitter.

For these people Ray Lewis is an inspiration, a motivator, a philanthropist and leader, a man who like his words lives his life to leave a legacy.

I see both versions of Ray Lewis, he inspires me because he is both men. He is the man outside the nightclub who will never be forgiven, and he is the motivational speaker and inspirational leader who walks the walk he talks. He stated, “if you are bold enough to challenge my reputation, then I am bold enough to defend it”. To Ray, his innocence is enough, the doubts are thrown at him but he refuses to wear them, to accept those definitions of who is and he has been bold, and now he is on TV as a pundit, still bold, still Ray – and they are still throwing those rocks.

Ray is no Mr Mouse. Ray, like the logo of his foundation is a Lion. I cannot know whether Ray Lewis is any more or les culpable than he is, but I know he is one bold man, stepping out and being so open a target, getting shot at and taking those shots and not being destroyed by them.  Mr Mouse admires Ray, his boldness, his stepping out to greatness, the way he didn’t let the fear of what was definitely going to happen stop him being great, leading, motivating, saying what he had to say and being who he had to be. And when they tried to destroy Ray, he stood strong, and he did what he did on the field and he took the criticisms and his spoke with actions off the field too. He made his mark, and has left his legacy, the Mouse wonders how he can be more of a Lion like Ray

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Monday Night Reflection: Slow Boat or Express Train

I do make a point of writing my Monday Night Reflection as close to real time as possible and today is a case in point. Today I got news that following my twenty minute EEG, which was, of course, a downgrade from the ambulatory EEG originally ordered, I have after an administrative delay, being booked for a three-day ambulatory EEG after all. This suggests that the short EEG was not good enough to show me the door.

This is significant because I have felt that my recovery has been very much more slow boat than express train and that I have significant skills deficits that are not really coming back in the area of motor skills, something showing up in my typing error statistics which are up over 500%, if ever there was a measure that a skill was a bit affected. Although thanks to Grammarly, it would appear my writing vocabulary is largely unaffected, those who know me have noted that I still lisp, slur, stammer and have vocal issues previously not present and that my memory defects are noticeable, especially when I get tired.

So while I am no fan of a reflection heavily medical in focus, it is difficult because I am two people. The person I can talk about and the person I can not talk about too much; and at this present moment the person I can not talk about a lot is driving and in charge, it is a very important week, it is probably the most important week of my year in that life. This upcoming weekend being the most important weekend of the year for that life; without melodrama what happens will determine the rest of my year, where I go, what I do. So, rather unsurprisingly, the combination of my motor skill issues which massively impact that life, my problems writing, which are my other life, and my recovery which is all my life have given me what is, in the day to day, a very quiet life as I have had an extraordinary narrow focus as we as a team, been focussed on this one goal and getting through it.

It is partly frustrating that I have to separate lives, but it is a necessity, after all, I lost the battle for public identity to my abuser and this blog is for all those who like me lost that battle and have to find their voice. Because, I made it back, in that life although I am a long way from where I was, I am still on course to make my year-end goal, and I am still processing that. It is hard to reflect on anything else, it is dominating my physical and mental landscape that I left hospital first week in April will partial paralysis and speech issues not knowing when the next attack would be, the longest I have gone is 6 days without any sort of attack, yet despite all the issues and challenges, I am 6 days from being a competitive athlete again; taking my first step on the road to a World Championships where I am likely to be considered a legitimate contender.

How do you think about anything else, whatever challenges I face today, and I hurt, and I ache and my motor skills are awful, my coordination is woeful, the fact that is a sentence that is possible does not seem like it is real life. Yet, it’s my life, and I could very possibly be writing a Hollywood ending in my own little life.

So apologies, it’s not about Mr Mouse, it’s about Me, but not about me because my abuser is out there and she would ruin everything with her lies, so I don’t want fame or to be famous, so it’s not a big sport that gets into newspapers or internet headlines. The Mouse and I will tell our story together because it is our journey together, from the abuse of childhood and being held back for years by first an abusive parent and then abusive wife who would both sabotage or make me give up my dreams, telling me I was selfish to the wife who did more than just give permission, but who did what it took to put their wrong right.

Success may be a slow boat, it can be an express train, but it is never our own story, it takes people to help us, support us, open doors, believe in us and hold us up; every cliche about teamwork making the dream work is made real every time we come together and help someone even just a little bit.

After this week I am taking some time off everything, and I have been working on some poems to publish, I have to photography trips planned and my car will hopefully be fixed soon so I can make those, so gradually I am getting back to my normal. While hopefully, I can draw my line and Mr Mouse can create again; Mr Mouse is committed to a book called Squeeking At the Top of My Voice sometime late in 2018, I am really excited at what he has planned.

Monday Night Reflection: Logan

Apologies to those who haven’t seen the film, this will no doubt have a spoiler in it. This is not a film review, instead, Logan, like other fictional works became a mirror in which I could see myself more clearly. Great writing, great story telling, whatever the medium talks intimately to its audience, the very best covertly seduces the audience by first entertaining, and by that means lowers their defences so that the piece can speak to those who are willing to listen.

Some films and works are overt in their message, there are self-consciously preaching and reaching for a reaction and response. Usually they achieve their goal of an Oscar nomination or two, or perhaps the equivalent “art-house” recognition that they were born to seek. However, in my mind, the greatest achievement is to talk and embed a thought in something covertly from the Christian allegory of Wall-E to the crushing grief and loss woven into the fabric of Rocky Balboa, such writing is able to stop us dead in our tracks and cut through all our defences precisely because it hides in plain sight while we sought distraction from our lives and struggles.

And so we meet Logan, the once indestructible Logan, the anti-hero for the ages, moody and broody, reluctant but the first into battle for the right cause, driving a Limo at a 4th rate stripper bar. This Logan has a limp, is clearly old and sick. Our Hero has fallen. When we met Logan he was drinking and fighting in a bar for money, running away, this Logan is working to support and care for his old friend Charles Xavier, drinking to hide from the past. The once brilliant mind now dying with dementia, and Caliban literally hiding from the light, like Logan seeking redemption that he cannot find.

The world has changed, Logan and his kind have become  irrelevant and forgotten, their lives passed into mythology and fairy-tales for children and disenchanted youth. Our protagonists are haunted by their failures, hurts and the death of those they loved, they no longer have a place and are simply waiting out their days till death will release them from their suffering. Logan self-medicating, Caliban obsessing and Charles losing his battle with demntia, needing to medicate himself to keep others safe.

If I were twenty, thirty even these would be characters and perhaps little more than back story giving depth to what is to come. I would perhaps focus on the emerging and the new, but I am forty-five. I have lost loved ones, I have made mistakes I cannot change and I carry regrets. Like Logan, I am no longer indestructible, my body has let me down and broken, my place in the world was taken and I am left slightly irrelevant without a place in a world I no longer really want to be part of. Like Logan, I want to pass peacefully, without incident or drama through the days and I am tempted to self-medicate away the pain both physical and emotional. I am not alone, this is the basis of the rather dismissed mid-life crisis, where you realise you have less years left (statistically) than you have lived, where people get sick, they die and you know why people wear sunglasses at winter funerals. And, while many are peaking in their career, many of us never peaked, never had much of a career and see that their time is passing, perhaps past.

It is not all gloomy and black, of course, there are things to celebrate in life, however, those are fragile. Many of us have had those stripped away through no fault of our own, hard work rewarded by being laid off because we were top of a pay grade. We have achieved what we were told was the best thing to achieve and it is nothing at all. The curse of self awareness. The Power-Rangers Movie or Cars 3,  I don’t get to take my children, while other parents will complain and see this a chore, we squander the gifts too easily, and when they are gone we regret we did not cherish them more.

And so Logan is a reflection of us, we see our lives in the characters or we see nothing. If you see nothing then I am slightly envious, because while there are only elements of crossover with these ultimately fictional characters, they are some of the most painful elements of my life. I have tried to hide away and drink, as well as drug my way through life because it hurt to much to face reality. I am keenly aware that as a choice these are on my shelf and while they are not “go-to” so much as they once were, they are preferred ingredients.

Part of me is happy to pass gently and relatively quickly to a state or irrelevance, I have lost faith in a world where I have never felt at home. I have never felt of a place, and the places I feel most connected to I have only visited a handful of times and never lived. I am disconnected completely from any sort of family and have never wanted any connection, when their lives crossed I felt no affinity or desire to foster relationship. Their concerns and focus alien, and their drama’s and big deals seemed irrelevant and trivial compared to what matters. The tie of blood no bond at all. And so it is with the world, I see hate and suspicion growing with an agenda with which I want no part. Not even discussion, because that assumes they are legitimately objects for consideration, and in my world they are not. #notmyworld perhaps?

I have to walk in this world, despite my intense desire to be apart and away. I find myself dragged in and helping others against my better instincts, and I am no hero. I hope simply that what has happened to me can stop someone going where I have gone and feeling what I have felt.

Leave the storehouse of regrets untouched and gathering dust.

Poetry Corner: The Captain and Jack

The Captain and Jack are gone

Cheaper, rougher whores are what it takes

The mixer shrinks and the ice it melts

The fog no longer dims the lights

 

The empty bottles of my dynasty,

Recycled like my stories of glory days

The bitter taste of regret

Diluted with bourbon or rum till I forget

 

My hand it shakes, my gait unsteady

No longer call it pain, useless cliché

Existence once called life

Time and tide fading away

 

Another day, and breath I steal

Each one I take I cannot return

No redemption for wages earned

Sleep no friend or welcome rest

 

 

Thinking Out Loud: Monsters

The world of films is a misleading one, TV is not much better, even in true stories, we the audience are presented so much with a simple view. It is all neatly black and white, even when it is being presented as blur, we are in on the secret and the monster of the story never really steps out of that mould.

Life is cruel by comparison. When you are finally out of an abusive situation, free of the monster, you will soon come to ask why you did not see it, why you did not leave, and gradually over time you can come to see what imprisoned you, the poor patterns of thought and decision that got you where you were. You can trace conditioned responses, needs and perhaps look through a pattern that made the abuse appear normal and how life was done that extends into childhood. However, what can defy explanation and what can very well haunt you will not be the abuse, the cruelty, the consequences. What haunts me is the kindness, the love, the good times. These are the ones that did not end badly, where the gift was thoughtful, and you got to keep it without consequence or retribution, where they arranged something for you, and it was ace, you enjoyed it, and there was no price to pay for happiness. It can be the small intimate moment that was just that. It is all those memories that were precious, are precious, that you cannot explain, that do not fit neatly into the context and picture of control and abuse. They look like genuine love, and affection like you were important and mattered.

I know that you can see them as the carrot that goes with the stick, they are how they lure you in, but even when the glow and honeymoon are over, there will be something, something that you cannot explain away. Deep in the years of hurt, there looks to be a genuine moment of humanity. You see the monster treating others differently, and they tell you it’ because you earn it, you deserve it, it is you that is broken and faulty and needs to learn, be disciplined, needs the consequence to be a better person. You see the duplicity, you see them nice and loving to others, the very person that attracted you, but they never switch on them. You alone are the object of their ridicule, their anger, you are who they hurt, and that is something you get used to.

I am still baffled, even accepting that the kindness and love could have been manipulation and control, there are still happy times, happy memories, things I don’t know how to store because I don’t want to lose sight of happiness in those years. It feels like so much was lost, so much was broken, so many memories rewritten by time and the cold light of the reality or infidelity, that I am clinging to what happy memories I have and I am not even sure why. I laughed, and I smiled I have great times at the time; she robbed those years, somehow I don’t want to lose anymore. I want to believe that just once or at some time I actually mattered, that they felt something decent towards me; but I am not sure I can be that deluded either.

Thinking Out Loud : Swimming Gala

It is not that often I like to go back to my childhood and specific incidents within it. I feel that they are done with and that now I have largely accepted what was faulty with it and done my best to move on and be practical in dealing with the here and now. I am unlikely to end up in the same situation now I am an adult and so often there is limited information that I can directly apply.

However, the Butlins’ swimming gala is an event that maintains relevance in my adult life. As a kid I loved swimming, and looking back I was actually not that bad either, it is entirely possible I could have been quite good. I never found out because my mother never wanted what would have gone with my success. I swam at the Harrow and Wealdstone Club, but I never made it to the group which did competitions. Eventually unable to move up I quit. My parents let me, and I later found out, my mother had asked that I not be put up so I would not become eligible for full coaching with the early starts and travel to comps all over the country that could involve. They obliged. I was allowed to enter the club gala by way of the qualification process. You swam in your chosen stroke and distance and if you set a time you were in. Of course, it was all racing group kids. I had a go and I was in. On the night I arrived, got changed and sat and waited till my race. As an adult, I realise that all the competitors were warming up in a pool. They appeared and it was my heat; to go to the next round all I knew was that it was first 2 and then the fastest 2 losers after that. No idea what was going on, I got ready for the backstroke, I had practised a little on racing turns and dives, but I hadn’t had any coaching. In fact, it was a surprise that I was there.

I was third in my heat and I went home. I got changed alone, no one said a word, no one else in the place. I went home, no special tea. Nothing changed and I went to school the next day. The only recognition was the older kid who swam for the club saying didn’t expect to see you last night. Later I would find out I was the third fastest loser as well as 3rd in my heat, missing both by the usual fractions. This was years later and I had given up swimming by then. I was a loser, I didn’t get past the first round, I had been stupid to think any different. Of course as an adult I realise that I was 17th out of 56, and the only one who hadn’t been coached to race, and that it was quite possible that I had been faster than some of those had they been in slower heats as I had no idea of the standard of who I was against.

So I guess I was an okay swimmer really. My parents went to this holiday camp, I can remember it wasn’t much of a holiday, I was forced to do kids club stuff, which as the fat kid I hated, it was nothing I was good at. The highlight was getting a BMX for a morning (all my pocket money to hire it) and having a go on the ramps they had. Part of the week was swimming; I was looking forward to it because at least I could swim. The day came and as per usual we were split into teams, and then horror of horrors, I was given butterfly because I had made the mistake of saying I could do all the strokes. I was a backstroker, that was my only chance of not being embarrassed, I was in my trunks by the pool, the parents were there, I wanted to run, but I felt entirely trapped. It was only Wednesday, so I couldn’t run because there was the rest of the week to survive, and of course, I couldn’t embarrass my parents either, that wasn’t worth it.

The time came, we all trotted out for the one length butterfly race, completely exposed as the fat kid I looked around at the athletic bodies of every kid around me. I am sure they weren’t all athletic but they definitely were not fat like me. I guessed we would be gone in the water and I could sneak out while the winners got all the attention. I tried not to notice them limber up and did everything I could to try not to draw attention to myself. I just looked down my lane at the goal, the end, over, sneak off as there was a break after for lunch. I dived and I swam for my life, in the water all I could do was concentrate on my worst stroke, just absorbed in the movement until the wall, it was over. I immediately went to get out the pool fast, when I looked back. The lane either side of me was just over half way. In fact, no one was even close. I had beaten the entire field by the best part of 12.5meters or half a length of 25  metres in that pool. I got out, got a certificate, some stickers and my mum took a photo.

That was it, I went for lunch, the well done lasted from the pool to lunchtime and I put my certificate away and the stickers with it. The holiday continued. Nothing changed, it wasn’t mentioned, I got my well done, there was a photo, that was it. For many years I have looked at that photo of the beaming proud “fat kid” who had finally won something. I saw his top abdominal muscles, his shoulders developed from the thousands of lengths, his legs chunky from the miles cycling to and from the local pool to swim for hours in peace alone. I didn’t see a fat kid; I realise no one saw a fat kid, I realise the looks on those parents was not at the fat kid who was woefully out of his depth but at the swimmer who was about to win by a mile and disappoint their child. To me those stares were telling me I shouldn’t be there, and I was right, I had no right being in a holiday camp swimming gala, I looked like a competitive swimmer, I thought it was because I was the fat one.

My swimming life was instructive as a child because it taught me that I was a loser and that winning didn’t change anything. Success didn’t change life, I had a job, I had 2 jobs, I paid keep, I did well at school, so I should, I won something, it was a nothing event at nowhere, I failed at the Club competition, what did I expect? The looks of the parents confirmed that I was fat too. I hated school, swimming was not the way out, success in the world was not the route to happiness either. I grew up wanting to hear the words “well done”, wanting a bit of fuss and wanting my success to change something, even it that was just picking what I had for tea.

As an adult, I ended up in a relationship just like that of my childhood and so I never strove with everything I had to be a success because there would always be people better than me, and any temporary win would not change the fact that I was a loser and not a successful person. The belief that I was the person I had been told I was and was treated like informed how I made my way through life. At work, I would work hard and try to do well, and find myself sacked the first mistake I made. It did not take long for me to try and be in the middle unnoticed. At school I worked just hard enough to stay out of big trouble, I wanted to be somewhere else, the teachers made it clear I wasn’t good at school stuff and the odd time I poured all I had into something it came back with the same grades as when I didn’t. Leave fatty alone was my life. I had a great overhand right that helped with the latter.

As an adult I was, for so many years, that little boy trying to get by, trying to be happy without someone noticing it. Being happy only lasted till someone noticed and then it would be taken away. Success was something you kept to yourself, it was only yours, no one cared, no one even wanted to know. It wasn’t healthy. I know now how terribly debilitating it all was, it was no wonder I was plagued by crippling depression and that in an abusive relationship anxiety came to paralyse me. Now I preach that other people’s picture of you is only real if you make it that way, that you celebrate success and learn that you can succeed and to not accept external definitions or measures of what success is. You can set a world record and come third, see the achievement for what it is, not the definition someone else gives it.

So I look at those swimming Galas and learn; I did what was never expected of me, I was able to be the real deal when I had no encouragement, no coaching, no help and definite obstruction so why can I not be the real deal now. I may not be the best in the world, but someone will be and if I never aim to be I never stand a chance of being that someone. Most of all I look at that little boy and I realise that he was petrified, he was terrified, he felt like running away every second till that whistle blew to start those races, and that while he felt like he did not belong, that he was an alien in the land of others, that little boy stood there anyway. And more than that, that frightened little boy stepped up and did good, he did really good.

Monday Night Reflection: Shadows of the Past

Monday Night Reflection – The Long Shadow of the Past

I have been firmly focussed on the future, building and enjoying where I am, the past has been for reference, inspiration and has had no immediate impact on my day to day. This week I was reminded that the particular version of the past told by my ex-wife cast a long and wide shadow.

When I lived in Newcastle, my ex-wife and I attended Church. The people there were amazing. Before then I had always felt different and an outsider, I came from an atheist home, I couldn’t play an instrument or sing, had no memory for chapter and verse, I drink, I swear, love modified cars and loud motorcycles. Take that and the fact that I am often bigger than any two of most of the congregation put together and it is not a recipe for being accepted. This was different, I was welcomed, we were welcomed and over the years made friends. Notably, two of those friends told me that the relationship was unhealthy and abusive and told me to leave. My ex found out and I had to break off all contact when we split, getting back in touch was one of the first things I did. Sadly, she went back there, has told her story. I also stayed friends with the daughter of two delightful people who really cared for us as a family, we had Sunday dinner at their house, and the looked after my eldest son sometimes. It felt like they were grandparents who adopted us. This last week she told me that she had argued with her mother over the fact she had stayed friends with me rather than her.

I cried, could not help it, thinking that my life and my problems was driving any sort of wedge in another family, that is terrible, and the last thing I want. All three of them are genuinely good, kind and caring individuals who do and mean no harm. All there were friends I valued. I felt had resigned myself to the door being closed to me, but thinking of arguments because of her, it is wrong. It also brought home the reality of never. I think of those people and realise I can never ask them how they are, when the older ones die, I cannot attend their funeral, I will never get to say goodbye to them. When we moved away, I always intended to go back, and even now would love to go and see them all. That will never happen, I cannot go and say thank you for all they did. I cannot go and show them the now and share my happiness and how they helped me be who I am today. And I am not all that bad really. To them I am a monster, smiling, laughing with them the ultimate betrayal and hypocrisy of abuse behind closed doors. I would hate me too. The record cannot be put straight, the truth will not be told, I am a monster.

On the one hand, nothing has actually changed; it has been this way for years. But as my wife and I celebrate the anniversary of our first date, the sadness has become more real. Perhaps, maybe I had fooled myself into thinking that despite the obvious, that they would have taken the life from my ex-wife and accepted it as true, after all, I had said nothing, that like the people who did stay friends and support me, they too would see the truth and how my behaviour, even at that distance, did not match the story. The knowledge, that this has not happened, stings. I guess the question is what do I do, if there is anything, about this situation. Is there anything constructive and positive I can do, the honest answer is I do not know, I don’t. I have no idea. I want to be constructive and move to the future, but the truth is this shadow, is there, it is real and it sets boundaries.

It is more than the threat of retaliation and consequences from my abuser, which had been behind so may of the decisions I have made in the last few years. I lived and live in fear, not that she will destroy my life, what I have that is truly important, has already survived that onslaught and the consequence was closeness and togetherness. Driving me and those close apart resulted in us all pulling together. However, a step out from that, those are things, like business relationships, constructive opportunities, that can be destroyed and ruined. And while I will survive and carry on regardless, it is not how I want things to be. It is a challenge to manage the threat with fear and to take risks on the future and the possible intervention of someone intent to destroy. She does not care if what I do is about others and doing good for others, those people who are “collateral damage” are not important to her, destroying me is. That much was made evident and very clear before.

In my mind is not just this, being cut off from old friends and forced to lose touch, has happened, and I saw people I really thought knew better just disappear, it became very much part of the landscape and I knew that those staying to support and be friends had chosen that with knowledge of what was being said about me. And since then, I have met people who have realised I was him, and they have made friends with me based on what she was doing publically. I learned to not put much investment into this. With old friends, it still hurts a little to think that they believe I am that monster. What is concerning me is not the past, or dealing with the past, it is this shadow over the future.

I have the chance of an opportunity to be doing something in schools, so the accusations of me being abusive and causing actual bodily harm to children become extremely relevant. There is no reason my CRB would come back anything other than clear, however, were she to level these accusations to the employer they are legally obliged to take them seriously. Something she knows and has tried to use to disrupt our lives before. On the back of being selected to start the process of that opportunity, and it is a process where I and the employer have to want to work with each other because it is a community project. It is not as simple as you can do it, have the qualifications and off you go. It’s very much about values and ethos matching up and our visions being together for the future. It is exciting as an opportunity to contribute and make a difference, at this stage we have agreed that on paper I want to work with them, and they want to work with me which is a good start. But, that is my concern, will she find out, because it is possible and likely as I am not going to hide it and my son follows me on social media. It is a major step and endeavour there is no way I would keep it from family and friends, and when she does find out will she do the right thing and leave me alone, or try to destroy it. Which for me would be disappointing but not the end of my world.

I feel like I travelled so far to be right back at the start, the shadow is still over me, and she is still able to exercise a measure of control over what I do, even if that is because she is in my head. I cannot control or accurately predict what her actions will be, let alone how that will work out. So far, the outcome was negative when she went on the warpath, this time I do not know, it is a storm I do not want. And she knows this, this was always how control worked, instil fear from making the one actual consequence so destructive and painful that risking the same or worse dominates your horizon and you act to avoid that event. Plus, it is not just me, it is anyone that invests in me that has to deal with this because police and press involvement are very real.

Perhaps, in essence, the reality, and what I don’t want to face is that the shadow of what happened, because she told the world I was the abuser, I always will be. A woman has claimed a man was abusive, that is enough evidence for the world to convict me. The truth and the reality do not matter, reasons for the failure of the Police or whoever will be given, and they have been. Lies have become truths, every so often I am going to have to face that person and realise that is who I am to some people. I have no desire to be famous and never did, but I have no desire to be infamous either, to hit even the local papers as the abuser, the monster. I left one place scared that people who retaliate on her behalf, this time it is not just me. I guess you never really escape.

Poetry Corner: Open Letter

There is a bed for you in my house
Always was and always will be
You are my son, my boy
I don’t know you like I once did
Your mum made sure of that
I’m sorry I don’t know so much
What picture to put on your wall,
Or duvet cover on your bed
Not your favourite colour
Or what you put between bread
16 is 3 years away, then you choose
I want to know so much
Who you’ve become and want to be
I want to listen, hopes and dreams,
Future romances, hear it all
But I need you to listen
Hear with wisdom way beyond your years
To assess the man sat holding back tears
Look me in the eye and see, find truth, believe
Meet you and let you assess
My past, my present and my legacy
I breathe in the hope you will not walk away
Take my hopes, my dreams, ….
I hear your voice and see your face,
So close but all those miles away
And I die a little as sunset fades,
Hope struggles to last the day
Stays alive my force of will
I wonder will that day come to be
Time will tell me, it may break me too
You grow from boy to man unseen
I had plans for you, for this, everything
I pray my body decides to last
To become your friend,
And havoc once more we bring!
With Love Your Father, … Me.

Thinking Out Loud: Not Working?

Am I not working anymore? I’ve been ill for 5 months, and without really paying it attention my paid employment stopped, I am no longer on volunteer rosters, my earnings and my contribution are gone.

On the one hand, I have my new business venture, which has a small amount of money in the bank that it earned, I have ideas for how it can develop that are building on the lessons learned so far, and I have a concept of what is next in the intermediate future. The issue is that my skill strengths and the businesses easiest directions generate very poor revenues. Or as proved with one item, no revenue at all. This is a creative business, it sells what I create (sold some cranberry apricot, raspberry and cassis sauce at Christmas for example), or items I get in new (like some children’s books that are moving too slowly). It an outlet not for buying and selling per-se but to try and monetise what I love to do.

It’s a follow your passion enterprise and the money will follow venture. The slow start is, therefore, in part because I am way less than 100%. However, the truth is creating things people want to buy is harder than it looks when it never even looked easy.

I am at sea, the area that has been 18 years of my life I have effectively walked away from. In a deliberate sense now, but also in recent years as I have let the profession and industry move and I have no longer decided to move with it. As with anything people want the latest and loudest, the newest methods and jargon, while I have stuck with what works, what is proven and have insisted on testing out new methodologies for effectiveness before widespread deployment on any sort of scale. I am also not young and have experience, not an armful of “qualifications” which while educational are not always indicators of ability, theory and practice are somewhat different to what you learn in a classroom.

I thought about entering the journalistic side of the game, but I have no credentials there and to move sideways to different aspect is a lot of work to stay in a business that I no longer want to be part of because of what has happened and how it has changed. It is rather like starting off playing 5-a-side and ending up playing beach volleyball, it doesn’t feel like the same game.

Which is a development I saw coming, the trend year on year was not encouraging, and money was leaving, sadly reskilling and moving was not something I was able to do, and I am not even sure what I would reskill as. I have skills, I have toolkit skills, deployable skills that are cross-sectorial too. I am always learning, and love to learn, I am learning things I enjoy and what I enjoy and have gotten good at ha hard to turn into an income without me being a different person to who I am, and doing business in a way I am not happy with. It was always going to be time to walk away, and I am very happy with that.

The question is what next? The answer is, I have no idea. My business was never intended to be a big income generator, more of a supportive trickle to allow me to create and have the time to do it. Getting ill changed the landscape.

I am self-employed, and an expert at something I no longer want to do and I am unhappy doing as it is now. Looking to move I find no qualifications and no experience, it is worse than when I started because after getting a job at 13 I had experience in what I was getting a job in or had a qualification that showed I could do the job I was after. Sometimes even both. The answer to the question, what I have I done lately is, apart from what I don’t want to do, nothing much in a formal sense, nothing much at all.

I am thinking, what next for Mr Mouse. In the immediate term Mr Mouse here is going to keep on creating, keep on mastering the craft and skill of things he wants to do, learn new things that he is interested in. This is back to my youth where I would plug away at what I was doing until things opened up, time brings a small change, working at something is still slowly moving me forward. Plus outside the formal work and even the creative stuff I do, I have a hobby life, and in that, I have decided that 2017 I will pour the time (and effort plus) I am not using up doing the paid stuff into that. The reward of this, while not money, will be experience, travel and lasting achievement and those I value highly.