Wednesday, 31 August 2011
Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Monday, 29 August 2011
Why would someone close to you ever have to ask about your identity? This can only occur when you are pretending to be someone you are not. Then you will understand why this person, who knows how you usually act, will be both shocked and amazed that you can behave so differently.
They may gently guide you to a different place or they may have to walk away and leave you alone.
The questions that you need to ask yourself at that time are:
Is this really me?
Was that really me?
Will the next expression really be me?
Sometimes we can get caught up in the tidal wave of behaviour and lose ourselves. If there is a moment of clarity and redirection (whether coming from ourselves or from others) we should seize the chance to change to who we really want to be.
Sunday, 28 August 2011
Friday, 26 August 2011
Thursday, 25 August 2011
It is said that everybody role plays – at least a lot of the time they do.
Occasionally an outgoing personality is created to hide a certain fear or it may be part of a desire to be different.
Everybody’s identity is a constantly morphing reality depending on who they are with or who they are not with.
When alone some people can be the happiest or saddest that their beings can express, and yet, when they are in the opposite situations the emotional character creation also changes.
From Shakespeare's As You Like It, 1600:
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
If, according to Shakespeare, all the world is a stage, then I suggest you play it ... As You Like It.
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
When going to the swimming pool it appears there are invisible invitations sent out dictating the dress code. Nevertheless it seems that everybody has received the invitation because they all turn up dressed in fairly similar styles of clothing.
The male guests at this pool party - on the whole - wear long brightly coloured shorts that reach to their knee. Generally their chests are bare, (I was thinking that maybe there should be some kind of law akin to that in place in supermarkets that ban people from displaying certain percentages of their skin in the aisles) and they wear little or nothing else.
Some men are still wearing speedos and this should be discouraged when they are not in the best physical form or are not professional swimmers and it should especially be socially unacceptable when the men’s girth exceeds the width of the tiny trunks.
There are other options, I’m sure.
Everybody has their own personal tastes; that’s a fact, but there comes a point when nobody is comfortable looking (even accidentally) at some degrees of nudeness in the public swimming pool.
Of course, the exception to this rule is for all females of the species: from the earliest age they are the minimal amount of clothing to wear in the swimming pool and it is called a ‘swimming costume’. This costume is designed to depict the wearer as a certain type of character.
I am blessed with a child who has made her mind up that she will dress in a way that suits her character and not the one that society is imposing on her. With this in mind she rejected her swimming costume and begged me to buy her some swimming shorts and a top.
I was mindful that she may be ridiculed but at the same time I was proud of her resolve to be herself.
I bought the items and she went swimming, in comfort, in her regular persona, not masquerading as someone she obviously is not.
Morgan has started her own ‘parade in the water’ and I know she is glad to be rid of the uncomfortable high cut legged, low backed swimming costumes of her past.
Will I be brave enough to follow her lead or am I stuck in my costume for this pool party?
Monday, 22 August 2011
Do you remember everything that you set out to learn? If you do, please tell me the secret!
I was thinking about the various learning opportunities that have occurred throughout my life and I remember one particular attempt at learning another European language. I still remember a few words and phrases but nothing substantial, and when I compared it to the amount of French I remember I tried to figure out why one was easier to remember than the other (not that I am anywhere near fluent in French).
Then it came to me that the language that has more or less slipped from my memory never had an anchor there at all. This was because I only went to the classes to accompany a friend who wanted to learn Italian because a boy she was attracted to was Italian!
I went for friendship, she went for potential love. I forgot the lessons and I’m not sure how much she remembers now – her current husband is not Italian and she lives in California, so Spanish would be more convenient to her now.
In contrast, I thought about something I am passionate about and I don’t remember when the learning started and I know that it hasn’t ended.
My conclusion is that when you have different reasons for learning the lessons can stick like glue or fall away like old wallpaper.
Motivations make the difference in learning opportunities.
Sunday, 21 August 2011
This is in the form of a personal affirmation.
I remember when my parents used to talk about people who my older brothers and sister would bring home. They would ask, “Are they good people?” This simple question was heavy with meaning. My elder siblings were required to recount the positive attributes of – not just their friends – but of the entire family, going back a few generations.
It was only in this way that my parents were even close to being satisfied that the people they were being introduced to were worthwhile company.
Too often people will judge others as a bad people because of their own narrow-mindedness (and yes, I do include my parents in this).
Because other people dismiss me as not good (because of their own ignorance) does not change the facts of who I am. Those who get to know me find out the truth of the goodness that is part of me.
I am remembering to tell myself, in the way of the old folks, that “I am good people”.
Friday, 19 August 2011
There are greetings cards, books, leaflets, bumper stickers and a whole host of other items that share affirmations with us in a subtle or not so subtle way each day. Some people go searching for them as soon as they awaken so that their day will start with self acceptance, approval and a positive attitude. Some people happen across them as they wander through their day. Others fall over them when they are at their lowest points.
These affirmations can transform your thinking. They can imbue you with personal power, they can steer you towards success. Positive affirmations are medicine for the mind that shows up in your positive actions and behaviours.
Why do we need positive affirmations? For a balance life, that’s why.
Here are a few to be going on with:
I am wonderful and my happiness is important.
I will make time to be happy every day; I am worth it.
I have a right to love and be loved.
I am a kind and loving person.
I will say yes to my dreams.
I believe in myself.
Thursday, 18 August 2011
Some conversations you want to end quickly, others you don’t want to end because it feels like you are talking to yourself, outside of yourself.
Last week I had the opposite type of contact; I wouldn’t really call it a conversation because it does not warrant that label. At the time I wrote down something like this, “Conversations with friends should not feel like entering a trap.” I felt like I was editing my thoughts before I spoke them.
Now I look back, after better conversations, and I remember that when you are comfortable with someone you never feel like saying anything is dangerous.
So you don’t hold back. You share, and they listen because they care. They share, and you listen for the same reason.
There is no holding back with true friendship. The edit button becomes dusty through lack of use.
Wednesday, 17 August 2011
By its nature trauma is ... traumatic.
Sound silly? Maybe so, but that’s the point that I’m making, something too obvious to notice sometimes. The ordeal, the suffering, and the distress of whatever incident is like a sledgehammer to our minds and – sometimes - bodies.
We become fractured by the episode.
After we have been physically, mentally and emotionally torn apart the last thing we want to do is to think positively about the situation. That may come much later. Much, much later.
Later we may see that the trauma has presented us with an opportunity (it may not have been the smoothest path to that chance, but there it is) to start something new. A chance to create something new with the new person we are after the trauma. A time to recreate and start anew.
Trauma – as traumatic as it is – may be a restart we can use for our own benefit. It’s worth a try I think.
Monday, 15 August 2011
You see, when the third party (called person X, for legal reasons) realised that I was no longer their puppet then their perception of me was destroyed. It was like throwing a brick into the centre of a floor to ceiling mirror: nothing can be the same again.
X took a step too far one day and I stood toe-to-toe instead of backing up as I used to do. At first X didn’t know what to do with my altered behaviour so they increased the pressure (sometimes known as bullying tactics) and I still refused to cave in because I was tired of being wronged without using my voice. The mirror cracked. Simultaneously we had both realised that our images of each other had been wrong.
At the end of this incident I felt that I was left with my pride intact and a new perception of X. Time passed and I did not follow the old script of crawling back for any morsel of conditional love that X would care to throw from the table.
What I found was that once I really started loving myself totally I was less dependent on others for scraps of their affection to make me feel better about myself.
The caller (Y) expressed a sense of anxiety about X’s perceived situation and tried to include me in it. I stepped back and explained that living in a constant state of dread and anticipation of something going wrong no longer suited me (I did not add that it also left me teetering on the edge of rejection and I was never good with heights or falling down).
So, the call ended.
I thought about X,Y and all the Zs... for a very short while. Then I exhaled again and went back to my peaceful place.
The beauty about losing the two way mirror is that I can see clearly for miles now.
Sunday, 14 August 2011
It's amazing how some things change over time (writing styles, for example) and other facts never change.
At this time of fasting (for Ramadan) I was reminded of this old piece of writing that I did way back in 2007. It is on the local BBC website.
Taken from bbc.co.uk/northamptonshire:
Saturday, 13 August 2011
When baking a cake, well, at least when following a recipe, there are details laid out for all the ingredients and two very important time indicators: one is the preparation time and the other is the baking time.
I think they should add other timings to these recipes when you add the extra ingredient of children. This thought came to me as I was stood at the kitchen sink doing something that is not included in the schedule: clearing up time.
This particular time seemed to be longer than the other noted times I had read. But then I remember the happiness on the girls’ faces while they were mixing and measuring the ingredients. And then I thought to myself (with elbows deep in washing up liquid) how much time does it take to make children happy?
I completed my task with a bigger smile as they sat eating their own freshly baked toffee pudding dessert.
The time didn’t seem long at all then.
Friday, 12 August 2011
Thursday, 11 August 2011
Sometimes you get an opportunity to do things but it never turns out quite like you thought it would. You have great expectations and you are disappointed.
And other times when you have few - or no expectations - you are pleasantly surprised, so much so that, again, your expectations are confounded.
Life is full of surprises. How wonderful!
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
There are times when other people’s anger seems to seep through the atmosphere and touch you almost the same as new blood soaking through a white handkerchief. Then, like an oasis in the desert, you find a spot of hope.
I know someone who no longer likes me (this is not such a strange phenomenon until you know that for well over a decade we were very close - by mutual choice). For the first time in nearly four years we were in the same place at the same time. This was by design - but not mine.
I didn’t know she was going to be there, but seeing her didn’t make me feel comfortable. Nevertheless, I stayed.
I felt her dislike reaching across the space towards me like the tentacles of an octopus. Others who also felt it kindly came and buffered the pain as I was there on my own and I felt that I was drowning in it for a while.
Even though that part of the experience was hurtful, the thing I remember most about this occasion is what a man said in a speech. His words were like healing balm that distracted me from the dislike directed at me. He said that there is so much anger and upset in this world that sometimes we forget the beauty around us, sometimes we forget that with each touch of friendship we have fresh witness of the love of God in our lives.
That made me smile and remember wonderful people whom I have got to know and love.
To each person that I have ever been blessed to connect with I thank God that He has used you to remind me of just how much love He has for me. That alone can blot out any anger or dislike from those who have severed connections.
Sometimes we have to let go of those who would poison us with their negativity and when we have sutured the wound we can make fresh and healthy contacts.
Each new friend is another manifestation of the magnificence of God – just as you are.
Monday, 8 August 2011
Try this for size: (it can be either emotional or physical) If someone behaved towards me the way I do to them, how would it feel?
Would I feel happy or sad, attraction or repulsion?
Just try it for an hour, a day, a week: turn the tables.
Robert Sanderson's XII sermons, 1634:
"Whosoever thou art that dost another wrong, do but turn the tables: imagine thy neighbour were now playing thy game, and thou his."
Sunday, 7 August 2011
Often we do not understand just how grateful we should be for the times when things have worked against our initial plans.
In the moment when we want to hear a ‘yes’ the opposite answer holds no attraction whatsoever. It is only when time may have passed and different things have happened that we see the true colours of the answers we wanted and were given.
I have recently wanted a situation to be so different, but it didn’t turn out the way I desired. It wasn’t pleasing to me; in fact I was morose for a while. But then as I lived the other avenue that I didn’t choose I saw things in a different light: I realised that if my plans had gone ahead the way I wanted them to I would have been walking into the most awful disaster.
Smiling to myself – in ‘No Avenue’ I realised that it was a brilliant thing to hear the word ‘no’.
You see, I can see across to ‘Yes Highway’ and know that it is more like Spaghetti Junction that the free flowing thoroughfare that I thought it was.
And right now I am loving the word ‘no’.
Saturday, 6 August 2011
Friday, 5 August 2011
How did I end up washing out paint brushes when I started out a short while before to put the tent in the loft? Those tasks could never be connected ... could they?
Here's what happened.
It’s quite simple really. It’s my old companion procrastination having a cup of tea with her mate distraction.
I was fed up of stepping around the tent so I decided to put it away (after a few weeks of avoidance) so I thought it made sense to put other things in the loft at the same time.
Some packed up painting equipment was also nearby so I placed those at the bottom of the ladder and then ... that’s when I left the task in hand and went back downstairs. You see, it made sense to put ALL the painting equipment away as I’d finished with it for a while. Therefore I decided to get the extra brushes from the kitchen.
The only problem was I hadn’t finished washing them out yet. (I know, it’s been weeks and they’ve been sat in the white spirit ‘soaking’ so that they’ll be easier to clean.) A quick task, I thought.
Having lain there so long the brushes had become congealed with paint so I had to get more white spirits to free them up. This is when I began to regret not doing it sooner. The paint began to flick all around the sink as I tried to free the sticky bristles. My hands were now covered in paint and white spirit and so were the brushes.
After struggling with them for several minutes I decided one was a lost cause and threw it away. The other two could still be rescued, I thought. This is when I looked out of the window and remembered what I had started to do all that time ago.
The ladder sat waiting for me to lug the tent up it and there I was, in the kitchen, washing month old paint-caked brushes.
The words that ran through my mind when I decided to get the paint brushes now sang a different tune as I attempted to rid my skin of the paint and white spirit smell.
“I might as well just ...” I had said to myself when I remembered them. Now I thought that it would be better to say “I might as well just do it now ...” when the task is fresh then I wouldn’t end up with the twin sisters distraction and procrastination for company when I had other things to do.
I might as well just ... remember that in the future!
Thursday, 4 August 2011
This is a health story.
I noticed a tingling in one of my toes. It bothered me but I thought it would pass so I ignored it. I looked at the distracting toe and could not see anything obviously wrong so I learnt to live with it.
But the unsettling feeling would not go away. Oh, it was pushed to the back of my mind for a while but it always surfaced again. After years (well, days really) of doing nothing about it I woke up one morning and noticed that there was something new on my toe: a lump.
What was hidden had begun to show. The cause of the tingling was making itself evident right there, so I could not only feel it but I could also see it. The discomfort had also increased. It was no longer possible to walk with my usual ease. The numbness that I felt had started as a mere tingle, now it was spreading through my body. I felt something approaching fear.
Therefore at this juncture I decided to seek specialist help. I took action and saw a professional. The doctor checked me over and said that with a minor operation the cyst could be removed and everything would be back to normal again. The numbness would go and the tingling would cease.
Within a short while the pain will be totally gone because I didn’t ignore it forever.
As I said, this is a health story.
But remember, what is hidden eventually shows.
Tuesday, 2 August 2011
I have to attend a funeral in the morning. Well, I say I ‘have to’, I don’t have to – I am choosing to. Although I really dislike the separation and loss that is encapsulated in the funeral service I am going because I want to.
It’s not a party – that’s not where the want stems from, but I’m sure there will be words of celebration about this woman’s life, so I’m not excited in that sense about going there. I know I will cry because I cry for most things and ever since my mother’s funeral nearly 30 years ago I have kept up the tradition of tears on these occasions.
A few days ago I wrote on Twitter “Funerals have a way of focussing you. Whether it be family, friend or a fellow life traveller: a reminder to concentrate on what's important.”
That’s one of the reasons why I’m going. Another is that she was a kind, funny, loving woman who always had a good word to share and when she held on to my arm as she got into the car I felt as if I was doing something good for another human being. D had lived a long life and had suffered through many illnesses that would have stopped many people years ago, so for this woman who reminded me of Nanny of the Maroons, I will take some time out to share another retelling of the journey and they joys of her life.
As D is buried tomorrow I will remember ...
I will remember those who have already left this life and those who are still here.
I will continue to take every opportunity to focus on what and who is important to me in this part of my life journey. I will be focused.
Monday, 1 August 2011
Living multiple identities sometimes cannot be avoided; it is a matter of the most basic survival desire. When there is an option and people still choose to live within multiple identities they seem to exist in a state of ‘edginess’.
A negative of living multiple separate identities is that you could open yourself up for multiple separate bouts of discrimination, but not always. I guess it depends on just how good you become at splitting your personality and reality. It needs perfect balance.
Balancing acts were never my strong point but I have honed the skill of a high-wire tight-rope walker over the years – because I had to. I learnt to live ‘edgy’. Everything that I did was at high speed and intense (thankfully some of the intensity has stayed with me, although the need for speed is diminishing).
At church and in the community I was permitted to share my spirituality and elsewhere I tried to find a safe place to share my sexuality: in the later endeavour I failed for many years. It was only in the last decade that I shared with one of my siblings the fact that I had been far too close to succeeding in suicide that she realised how strenuous it was becoming for me to manage my separate identities. My eldest sister was the first safe person in my family that I chose to come out to. I managed to start breathing as a whole person then.
What I didn’t realise for many years was my coming to accept my wholeness was the opening up of the fragmentation of my family as they dealt publicly with their new position as a relative of a gay person. They then took turns inhabiting multiple identities as they went into the closet I had broken free from.
Being allowed to be yourself seems such a simple desire (as so many people do this without a second thought) but for some of us we are still pushed to the edge of sanity and society and forced to wear the straight-jackets of multiple personalities.
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