A New Journey

(Image credit to Pixabay)

As you move towards this new chapter of life, I hope you learn how to let go of the idea that it’s too late.”

Unknown

When I first started my blog, eight years ago, it was certainly a very dark space to be in and my posts attracted a following of very hurt and equally damaged people, also in their own dark worlds. After very many years, I decided that I didn’t want to live like this anymore, so, I embarked on a journey of self-discovery. I read endless books (my favourite being, ‘The Mother Tree’ by Suzanne Simard), trawled through various websites and signed up for lots of courses. In the early days, they were topics like improving self-confidence, building good self-esteem, assertiveness training etc. (That last one was a toughie and one I never quite got my head around!). Oh, well, you can’t win them all!!

Then, I started signing up for courses on subjects that interested me. At the time, we were in lockdown so many of these courses had to be on Zoom. That was a challenge in itself but one, I quickly overcame. I did a lot of nature courses; I learned about British trees, wildflowers, fungi [fascinating], the islands around Britain, rivers and waterways; and then, there were things like aromatherapy for beginners, learning about crystals and fossils (that was spurred on by my nine-year-old granddaughter’s interest and determination to be a paleontologist when she grows up!) Quite impressive for a nine-year-old, I think. Now, I’m taking part in a series of writing courses, not so much spelling and grammar, but more creativity and thought expression. I’m in my element!

This was a simple poem I wrote a short time ago while I was digging deep inside of myself to find the ‘real’ me.

Turning life around was tough; so difficult to do
Secrets and nightmares, tar-black and sadly true
I’ve been through hell and trauma, and dealt with so much pain
Now, I’m learning to trust myself all over again

The thieves have all left and the abusers have gone
I’m free to dream and dance, and gently walk on
A brand-new life is waiting patiently for me
As I discover better and smarter ways to be

Such beauty to see in this new world of mine
Blue seas, emerald forests, beasts of every design
A pale waxing moon and the glory of the sun
My heart, soul and mind, all united as one

Now, I’ve so much to love and so much affection
Searched deep inside, and found a new direction
I’m joyfully grateful; perhaps, even wise
I’m honest and open, no need for disguise

Living my life now without shame or disgrace
Treading my new path; no blame at this place
Letting go of the guilt; being rid of the dismay
Searching out truths; at last, finding my way

If you knew me back then, eight long years ago
You’d know how hard I’ve fought, albeit progress was slow
See how much I’ve grown by the sweat of my brow
Judge me not as I was, but rather where I am now.

BOWING OUT?

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It’s been a while since I posted (again). I’m finding it more and more challenging to keep up with my blog, and to read my fellow WordPress friend’s blogs too. I’ve been writing here for almost five years now and have published no less than 344 posts. I checked this fact and was quite amazed that I’d been able to write so much.

When I first started writing it was all about my mental health and my history of abuse. I don’t need to go there anymore (thank goodness), and I thankfully, don’t live in that world now either.

I’ve moved on a long, long way since then. I’m busy – a never stop kind of busy which is fine by me. I’m finally enjoying my life and doing so many things that I enjoy and that are enriching my life; expanding my thoughts and opinions; bringing peace to my soul and joy to my heart. I am fortunate enough to be able to listen to music that I like and read books that interest me. I’m finally happy.

I’m still volunteering at the university, and I’m continuing my studies. I’m going to the gym regularly, and I see significant progress in my mobility. I’m able to walk a few steps unaided now, only indoors as it’s not safe for me to walk outdoors without support because my bones are so fragile that if I fell on the concrete, I’d possibly permanently damage myself. The last thing I need is to have to go back with my progress, so I’m ultra-ultra careful.

This is all leading up to the fact that I may have to bow out of the world of WordPress. I’ve tried (and managed for a short while) to write more regularly, but seem to always fail abysmally. I often burn the midnight oil, and I am in fact burning the candle at both ends. As it is, I’m writing this at three o’clock in the morning! Not good as I’ll regret not going to bed when I see the breaking of the sun.

I still so enjoy my writing, but somehow, it doesn’t seem right to pour my thoughts out on paper (or rather, on my laptop) and expect others to be interested when I cannot reciprocate this. And so, I’m seriously thinking of bowing out. Any constructive comments, views, and advice very welcome. Thank you, friends, Ellie x

HAVING TO TAKE A BREAK

pexels-photo-taking a break for blog

Having written my last post, I said that I would shortly write my next post about my two wonderful trips to a seaside town a little distance away. I was very much looking forward to sharing my experiences with you. However, current difficult circumstances have meant I just haven’t had the time or the concentration to write. Nor, I am sorry to say, have I had the time to read all my fellow blogger’s many posts either. I know I have missed so many and for that, I apologize.

This means that I have to take a break for a little while but plan to be back again before long, and then I’ll start rereading your blogs too.

Should I say … please, bear with me … or … watch this space!?

I’ll be back. Hopefully sooner than later …

Love Ellie Xx ❤

CATCHING UP

pexels woman at desk with laptop, diary etc for blog

(Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels)

Just a brief appearance! I haven’t had a chance to post anything for about five weeks – far too long. I’ve been away on holiday, not once, but twice! I’ll write about my adventures in my next post. Since I’ve been back and before I’ve even had an opportunity to unpack my bags, life has been completely flat-out.

All this activity has meant I’m way, way behind on reading my fellow blogger’s posts. When I looked through my email this evening, I could see I’d missed about twenty-two posts from my friends! I will try my best to catch up on as many of these as I can, so please bear with me and accept my apologies.

Thank you, my friends, for your patience – and especially …

https://deepasthoughts.wordpress.com

https://mickcanning.co

https://coherentwithcoffee.com

https://muddlingthroughmymiddleage.com

https://asmuchcake.com

https://gcdiaries.wordpress.com

https://lifeisonewodehousestory.wordpress.com/

I know I will enjoy reading all of your posts as soon as I possibly can.

 

 

A NEW START

sideways view girl with hair in bun blog

Yesterday, I was jolted back to my neglected blog which is how come I’m here now after such a long break. I had an email from WordPress telling me that my annual payment was due on my blog plan which happened to be a ‘Premium’ plan. This had given me more options when it came to the look of my blog and the features and widgets that I could use. Unfortunately, my financial position isn’t brilliant, and I’m not able to afford the fee, hence my new look. It’s much simpler which feels quite different, but I think I’ll get used to it.

I’ve also decided to update and replace my gravatar. I’ve chosen a more adult image (above) rather than a picture of a young and rather sorry-looking child (below). This previous image was suitable for my blog when I started writing four years ago. Back then, I was writing mostly about my severe abuse in childhood and all the ensuing serious mental health illnesses I had. Fortunately, I’ve moved on from that period in my life – I don’t feel the need to share all those very distressing life experiences.

lantern girl 1

I want to get myself out the negative mindset I connect with this childish image. Maybe, this will give me the incentive, and added confidence I need to write more positively and frequently. To use a chlichéd phrase, ‘watch this space’, (but don’t hold your breath either!).  😉

A new start?

 

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Image result for what's in a name

What’s in a name? My own name is important to me but perhaps not in the sense that most people would feel that their name means much to them.  I have changed my name quite a few times during my life. I feel I have needed to do this precisely because I’ve never had a solid sense of identity to represent the person I show to the world and the individual that I feel I am at a given phase in my life. Sometimes, I have changed my name to metaphorically, run away from myself, usually for some emotional reason.

I don’t give my birth or last name here because I want to retain the anonymity of my blog. I don’t share my blog or my blog details with any of my family or friends – only my readers and followers.

When I was a teenager my life changed very radically in that the sexual abuse I had suffered since toddlerhood finally ended. As the months went by and after the initial sense of trepidation wore off, I began to feel safer in my own body, and I decided I didn’t want to be called by my birth name anymore (I didn’t want to connect with that abused child inside).

I then begged my parents to let me change my name and eventually, they agreed that I could use my middle name and so at the age of seventeen, I went by that name. However, I can’t say I was terribly happy with that either, but it was as far as my mother and father were prepared to go, so I settled with that, at least, for the time being.

After I had married, I was free to go by whatever name I wanted. I chose carefully, not rashly nor hurriedly. I changed to suit who I felt I was at that point in my life. It goes back to that fundamental core lack of identity. During my young adult years and in the short time before I became a mother myself, I was Rachel and Jacqueline. But, I think I was still running away from myself as I was never really 100% happy with either of them. Of course, when I had my children, I kept my name, Jacqueline (although often abbreviated and then the spelling altered from time to time), more for their benefit than for mine and did so until they grew up and were no longer living at home. My life altered again then as I got used to living alone without a partner (I wad divorced by then) and without my children with me.

And so, as the subsequent years followed, I changed as we all do throughout the different stages of our lives. Then, finally, in 2014, I began writing this blog, and through the course of writing, I’ve discovered who I am inside. I’m Ellie. I should have always been Ellie – I’ve never felt so comfortable in my own skin. I love my ‘WordPress blog world’. I still don’t share it with people in my outside life. This is my reality; where I can honestly express myself freely. This is where it’s safe to share my secrets. I can write about what’s in my heart and what’s in my mind, and that’s exactly what I do.

At times like this, when I feel truly free, freed up in the course of my writing – in fact, then I have wings. I have wings and can fly. Perhaps, my next name (if I were going to have one), should be Tinkerbell! x  😉

Image result for tinkerbell laughing

 

(Photo credits – imarcade.com and cartoonbucket.com)

 

MOVING FORWARD – THE PASSAGE OF TIME AND BIRTHDAY CAKE

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Why an image of a clock to begin this post with? This is because it is actually a good depiction of my feelings and where I’ve been at for some time. Life has felt rather surreal during this last year. The clock face also shows the passage of time I have been through over the last few months.

At last, I’m beginning to feel like I’m getting back to normal after my Mum became ill, had a stroke, and I finally lost her only five months ago (almost to the day). There was the funeral to get through (and all that encompassed) and now, we are dealing with probate, Mum’s will and the sale of our family home after spending my first twenty years of life there.

However, as far as my psychiatric health in concerned, I’m feeling brighter which is good (and about time too). I am now on different and new medication which, in the last week has begun to help improve my state of mind, and I’m sleeping so much better which makes a great difference to how I feel during the day. The severe anxiety attacks have also lessened which is a huge relief.

The many cogs in this clock also represent changes in a more positive way … slowly … as time has ticked by and the wheels have been turning, my relationship with my son has improved, and we have become closer which means I have more contact with my two beautiful grandchildren, Josh and Lily who are a delight to me. I have definitely become closer to my sisters, particularly the one who lives the furthest away from me. We may be separated by many miles but are hearts are inextricably linked and always will be.

The recent passage of time, like each cog, has been whirring, clicking and ticking by slowly but steadily. A lot else has changed in that time too. My eldest granddaughter has now turned eleven and will be going up to senior school in September, and my youngest granddaughter will be starting primary school at the age of four-and-a-half (she seems too young). Where has the time gone? Am I really old enough to have a granddaughter in senior school? Goodness! I must be older than I think! I’m definitely older in years than I feel and I am fortunate enough to be told by several people that I don’t look my age. However, I am reluctantly coming up to ‘a biggy’; a big ‘0’ birthday in three month’s time (which I’m trying to ignore) … ugh! How am I going to get all my candles on one cake?!

Image result for Birthday Cake with Many Candles

In addition, I would like to say thank you to my dearest friends here at WordPress who have stuck by me through thick and thin over the last year or so – it can’t have been easy at times. Their blogs have kept my head above water some of that time by distracting me with their diversity, interest, humour and compassion. So, shout out to Bun at https://bunkaryudo.wordpress.com/ and Mick at https://mickcanning.co/ and Carol anne of https://therapybits.com/. Also, thank you to any of you who may have called in or dropped by my blog and hung around with support and kind words too. Love to you all, Ellie xxx

CHAMELEON SKIN – TAKE 2

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I intended to write a post today about my son’s final court hearing regarding custody of his children which took place this week but I thought it appropriate, following on from last week’s post, to republish this poem because it explains so well how I feel so much of the time.

When I ‘depend’ on any given person, I become someone who moulds myself into whatever character I think that ‘given’ person wants me to be. In other words, I have become, unwittingly and unintentionally, a chameleon to fit whatever role I think is required. This is an instant response and not something that I have control over yet (although I’m working on it in therapy),  and it is actually totally exhausting as I automatically become an ‘actor’, albeit an unwilling one – it’s really hard work, mentally, pleasing and fitting in with everyone (people-pleasing in a way). This is a desperate attempt to ensure that the person on whom I depend likes/loves me enough that they won’t leave me because, without them, I don’t know how or who to be and feel helpless and abandoned.  I’m aware that this all sounds somewhat pathetic but, for me, it is not only a symptom of my BPD and DPD but the only way I know to survive in my world.

The biggest problem occurs if I find myself with more than one person that I know and they know me, which obviously does happen sometimes, my mind and my body (as in body language) don’t know how or who to be and I usually either end up confused, very stressed and muddled and find an excuse to leave the situation.

 

CHAMELEON SKIN

She is what she is … or is she, indeed?

She’s perplexed, befuddled, embroiled

Lost her mind along enmeshed journeys

She belongs, does she not to this world?

~~~

Is she real or a trickster, a fraud inside?

Not knowing her mind, too caught up in lies

Or perhaps, revealing her open wounds

You win some, you lose some, just look in her eyes

~~~

She’s not without fear though she’s scared of the thrill

The rollercoaster won’t come to an end

She writes her life’s story in ink, so black

You may wonder how her thoughts are penned

~~~

Innocence seen, and innocence gone

A fight in a nightmare; she holds her breath

The howls can be heard from far away

Will she ever return from the brink of death

~~~

You know her, you don’t, you think that you may

She’s a friend, a soldier, blood-kin

She lives or she dies; knowing the shadow side

Unknown, she wears her chameleon skin.

I’ve republished this poem with its image at the top of the page, not because I can’t be bothered to write a different post (as I will write about my son next), but because, as explained last week, this subject is playing very heavily on my mind at the moment and at times, I am very trapped by my own thoughts and need to write. Therefore, please forgive me for ‘rehashing’ a previous post, especially if you read it when I published it back in February 2016, but there is a specific reason (as explained) for doing so at this time.

A final thought: Is there a bit of a chameleon in each one of us if we look carefully enough at ourselves?

Edit: Taking the form of a chameleon is a very common aspect/symptom in people who have BPD or DPD.

MAKE LOVE ~NOT WAR

Image result for Love and Destruction

A few parts of this post are taken from one of my previous post, last year, with some new additions, adjustments and amendments. It includes a poem (below) that I’d like to share with you. written by a friend, Katie. Some of you might have already read parts of it but for those of you who haven’t, I hope it touches you as it did me.

I don’t claim to be an expert or even a particularly knowledgeable person when it comes to the subject of Planet Earth. I failed geography and history, abysmally at school. However, I do care about what we are doing to our world and beyond. I care about all the people who have suffered and lost their lives, those who are still suffering and those who will suffer in the future whether it be by natural causes, illness, disasters, war, violence, poverty or by any other means.

I care that we are destroying our planet; destroying our population; destroying our people, wildlife, and nature. I care that we are ravaged by war and violence; that we are polluting our planet and the atmosphere. I care that a huge number of people are homeless, roaming the streets, roaming the deserts, the plains, the forests and the wilderness. I could continue further, but many of us know the facts already.

A very close friend of mine, Katie, wrote this very moving poem which I wanted to share with you here….

The winds of Mother Nature are blowing on the Earth
Accepting all we’ve done to her since our sweet sacred birth.
There are babies curled in cradles unaware of hate and crime
Dreaming of their Mummies in the loving hands of Time.
Forgive us sweetest Mother for the ways that we’ve grown old
For independent streaks in us that turned our hearts too cold.
We’ve sinned so much we’re hurting and the pain is plain to see
That first we were so innocent on a gentle, rocking knee.
How love could turn to awful hate and safety turn to terror
Is based it seems on single thoughts that have their root in error.
Behind us and in front of us is such an awesome Love
That would have us in its gentlest hold in time with God above.
If only we could fall down flat and beg to stop the violence
Our hearts might cry sincerely out, then rest in hallowed silence.                                    

©Katie Marsh 2015

The recent and past atrocities have really brought home to me just how fragile our lives are. If only the power of love could overcome the power of war then maybe, just maybe we could experience peace in our time. Perhaps it would be a start

I am scared for all our futures; I’m scared for our children’s futures, our grandchildren’s futures and all future generations after that, if by then there is still a habitable planet to live on. The list goes on and on … and on … and on … and on … until infinity …

MAKE LOVE ~ NOT WAR.

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THE CROSSING

road crossing before

(Before)

Harvey was killed in July of 2008. He would have been almost 18 years old now. This young boy was the son of my daughter’s work colleague. He died, crossing a busy road where the traffic moved far too fast and there was no safe place to cross. Hundreds of flowers and messages were left at the foot a tree nearby the spot he was killed. That tree is now called ‘Harvey’s tree’ by the locals. 

The young lad wasn’t the first person to die on that stretch of the road. A van hit an elderly man who was with his dog, some years before that, and there had been several accidents causing various non-fatal injuries. Numerous minor incidents and near misses had also occurred over the years. 

Following Harvey’s tragic death, a group of us got together to form a campaign to fight for traffic safety measures to be put in place. We organised a petition of all the local homes, shops, businesses and doctor’s surgery to present to the local council, asking for a zebra-crossing to be put in place. Nearly everyone supported us. A few of those that didn’t were very plainly more concerned with getting to work or home in a hurry regardless of the consequences.

The council considered our application, not carefully enough, I thought and after eighteen months, they turned it down due to financial constraints. The number of people from the original group gradually started to dwindle until eventually, there were only four of us left. We continued to fight, this time with the help of the local press who came and took photos of the fast-moving traffic there, with us four plus a small crowd of schoolchildren and parents standing nearby. The article was on page two of the paper and at least got people talking about the situation again. We appealed to the council again but were turned away once again.

After that, we enlisted the help of our local radio’s presenters who broadcast the plea to the county. We were beginning to look like we had a chance. We petitioned the officials at County Hall again. This time, they said they would consider new safety measures and then proceeded to dig part of the road up to install chicanes on either side. When done, this did slow the cars and vans but long queues built up on either side. Not a great success so back to the drawing-board.

We pleaded for our zebra-crossing. It was vital to the safety of adults and children alike, all of whom took their life in their hands every time made their way to school, to work, to the shops, etc. If it hadn’t had been illegal, we would have been sorely tempted to creep out to the danger-spot and paint the stripes on the road ourselves. Meanwhile, another school summer holiday came. Gradually, we saw that roadwork signs were being erected along the pavement.

Digging commenced. After, three weeks, the appearance of the beginning of speed-humps was noted. We queried this, to be informed that this indeed was the new safety measure and that there was no intention of installing a pedestrian crossing! At this point, we thought we were going to have to admit defeat in a minor way, but we had to agree that the road was safer, also thanks to the addition of the double-yellow line down the middle of the road. Now, six months down the line, and there hasn’t been a single accident and barely a near miss. Finally, we have safe passage for all pedestrians and cyclists across that road and far fewer collisions between cars and other vehicles too.

It is so tragic that it took the loss of the lives of a young boy and previously, an elderly man before anyone would to listen to local people and take action on this obviously dangerous stretch of road. Harvey B. RIP.

speed humps and sign

(After)