Self Care …SElF….SElfish?


Practising Self Care has been my damn life saver

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Thank you Jo and Cee Jay for alerting me to its very possibility 4 years ago!

After all, if I dont practise it noone else will for me!

And boy do I practice now!

From…..walking for hours on a deserted beach, meandering along the Medina for miles, swimming in the still cold sea to….snuggling deep into my duvet and allowing myself a complete day to just ‘be’ not ‘do’, treating myself to the odd massage or new nails, ordering a naughty treat online  ..and ….. frequenting music, fun and friends between when my social rancour abides!

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So….I have learned lots too – that eating little and often is far better for my unique metabolism, especially avoiding late night binge fests on both food and alcohol after zero all day. That avoiding wheat esp in white TIGER and cheese bread – but oh the temptation – is ESSENTIAL to avoid morning bloating – belly like a b BALLOON – and stomach cramps.   That I NEED – no make that HAVE to HAVE my 5 a day or I am in an inordinate amount of pain for no conceiveable reason.

That walking, swimming or ANY form of exercise and fresh air out and about FEED my sleep pattern and its soooooo much better when I do this.  Gone are the 5am mental all nighters and the lethargic days that follow.  Gone are the persistent whirling thoughts in fact since I self imposed a complete STOP on that damn medication.

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Sure it got me through and boy those were some difficult times. But I am doing ok without and into my 9th week – and to actually FEEL again is a total eye opener!

Zombification begone!

Most of all – alone time is my salve and my step away from the vehicle of Life saviour!

Closing the cottage door, switching off the phone, shunning social media, indulging in some good drama box sets or simply writing, reading or doing NOTHING -that is right – NOTHING is a godsend. And I am at a stage in my Life where I am lucky enough to be able to do that now.

This may mean that funds are low but I also find that less work means having to live far more simply and this in itself is a revelation.  I almost feel sick at my spending habits of the past. The old me.

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So thank you new me.

Thank you to all the new friends I have made here on this beautiful isle – to the fresh saline air, the clear starry skies, the winds and waves of the Solent – the rolling hills, endless beaches, and pretty harbours.

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Here I am.

Three years on.

Still surviving.

Sleep…or not…Eat….Write…or not.


Seem to have a complete block on at the moment.

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Highlighted further by attempting to churn something out on demand at the latest Writers meeting and finding I just cannot do that and remain true to my real writing. When some kind soul drifted over to tell me it was classic Mills & Boon territory I have since given up entirely. Thanks mate!

I also abandoned tonight’s meeting at my original writers club on the first hint of an excuse. So…what is going on? Writing abandoned, more reading has been taking place. Lots of job searching and lesson prepping and even some actual teaching.  Plenty of socialising. So I could be forgiven…? No. Didnt think so

The irony is when I am feeling ok -ish – as in not in Black Dog mode or beating myself up about past misdemeanors – of which there are many – and which we know is a pointless pastime – I DO tend to write LESS

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Its as if I seem to need some kind of injection of sadness or melancholy to douse the spirits and in turn get the creative juices flowing. Sitting at a table with 19 others and grabbing an unforseen topic with a 15min time limit to write just isnt cutting it for me lately. I guess we could call it a lack of Muse. I need my Muse to inspire me, to help me create. She has not been accompanying me to a draughty library of late. Or even at 4am stints of insomnia in which I previously churned out many thoughts but I now douse with banal TV Box Sets!

The abandoned novel lies inert beside the bed … edited and copy proofed beyond its limitless life. I prod it on occasion and finally drift off with a head full of plot revisions or additions but the next day it still lies, inert, unprodded. Guilt hangs above me like a cluttered cloud of calamitous thoughts…until I remind myself writing should be – always has been – my Pleasure. Not another duty. Or obligation. Or a switch to turn on or off at will. Especially in a draughty  library with 19 others also forcing the same forth.

Perhaps its just as well I am taking a break next month from all things written. Tomorrow night I indulge in the spoken word at a local cafe in which a few of us are booked to read out some work or poetry. But this is more organic. We choose our genre, we choose our time and no reluctance ensues. The Spoken Word can sometimes alleviate the need to write. It gives more chance to share the things you cherish or are proud of writing. The things you know are considered pieces. Not in a showing off look how damn good I am at this writing lark way. Not in a need to disguise flaws, all of us have those.

It is a chance to hear a part of one’s soul, a part of one’s person, to appraise, applaud, critique more constructively. Or simply to accept another wine and enjoy a plate of food with others while you share ideas, enjoy the ambience and the lilt of the spoken voice as in times of old folklore and thank this Life that there ARE more like minded people to share your idiosyncrasies with.

Oh, look. I have written some words on  the blank page.

Like Ted Hughes’ Thought Fox I stumbled and fell a little at first, gained momentum and finally left a few footprints.

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Heal Your Life


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A good weekend spent with a lovely friend – who gave me a timely reminder of the book

title above.  Having not read my copy for some considerable time I have now unearthed it once more and realising its truth yet again.

Suffering from severe throat and larynx problems for years I remind myself that trying to heal is a conscious decision that you WILL be heard, that your symptoms can only be allayed by refusing to stay mute, to be silenced. Yes, the chart that lists your particular ailment and offers an affirmation to overcome it and a diagnosis of the reasons your body has manifested your mind via some physical outcome is an analogy.

Yet it still rings true. And after months of being perfectly fine the last few weeks have now cancelled out my self remedies and my hoarse, unworkable, inflexible and very painful larynx issues have resurfaced.

With a vengeance.

So thank you, Louise Hay, for revisiting me with your wisdom.

I am well aware of my need to escape the last few weeks, of my need to suppress my true thoughts, of my shock at events thus rendering me speechless again, at the chaos of my tangled thoughts affecting my sense of Self and in turn my speech ability.

The tool of my trade once again tarnished.

A few months ago I asked you to visit me again after A Visit From Mother.

Little did I know a revisit would be so sharp, so vivid, so real and so shocking.

The lady I described in March had my full compassion and willingness to understand.

The lady in ICU the last few weeks had my entire attention and dismay, hurt and anger, pain and disbelief.

How and why could someone still so active and vivacious be here, inert, slipping away in her clinical bed before our very eyes?

When had her health dissapated before us without any of us realising how frail and weak she had become?

Because she is The Matriarch. She always has been. She holds it all, us all, together. What a sharp poignant reminder we have all had of that fact.

The toneless doctor, advising us, Well she IS 81… we can do no more…..

Seeing the effects of days of drugs, seeing her incoherent and out of control was surreal in itself. Always controlled, and very much presentable, who was this wild eyed woman in this bed, vulnerable and susceptible to the hands of the medical staff…or God.

And I havent talked about God in a very, very long while indeed.

So it hits me, all of us, as it did last year when she lost her partner, did this year for me when this lone version of her visited me in March, and does now with a full, staggering impact that just will not subside. We cannot lose her yet.

Did she hear us? Did she know?

Refusing to sleep again, so afraid of sinking back into the deep oblivion of her recent coma state that lost her weeks of Life, and purged her memory. Sitting beside her day after long day until she awoke, a different woman who ‘fell asleep’, talking to her, reassuring her. Staying beside the ward in a kindly proffered room and ladelling full respect onto the ICU staff who fought tirelessly to save her.

Save her they did. Yet more than that.

This strong, sassy, elegant woman saved herself. Her strength of Spirit shone through. After her ‘condemning’ the doctor in question avoided our eyes, our questions as this amazing woman astounded all by pulling slowly but very surely through. Laughter at her demands, her jokes, her admissions of hating lying so still and resting despite her trauma – the staff grew to love her on the ward and were sad to see her go when, finally and thankfully, she was deemed well enough to leave ICU five weeks on and join the respiratory or heart ward.

And now, in the blink of an eye she is home! I have lost most of the end of the summer and all of September into mid October. Yet she is home. Not listening to a word of our advice, finding it impossible to rest or sit still, but deeply aware that she must. All this exactly one year on from losing her dear partner. It would have been so easy to have given up, given in, to have turned away from a life now lonely, days now long, hopes and plans now dashed.

Her family. She tells me her children, our children – her grandchildren and her great grandchildren have begged her to stay. In their hearts, minds, souls. So much life, love and laughter left in her yet. So many more memories to make.

Welcome home strong, sassy, indomitable Mother.

 

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