Lockdown musings no.4 – is this the opposite of cosmic ordering???

Hey friends , how are we all doing ? fed up of the company of our family yet? Bored of the constant feeding people? Ready to touch other humans again?

My latest lockdown blog is going to begin with an apology.

I think me and my grand plans may have triggered this whole thing , everyone is blaming the old bat muncher (not a weird euphemism ) over in Wuhan but maybe it was me and my list of all the things I was going to do this year as I turned 40,

Maybe I got too cocky pals ? See once upon a time I wrote a list…a boyfriend list…you can read all about that here ( https://kellyandthekidsblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/the-boyfriend-list/) in brief I wrote a list and it came right true. Now I wasn’t about to get all Noel Edmonds on the cosmic ordering front but I called that a result!!!

So just before my 40th birthday in December I wrote a list again . This time it was of all the things I wanted to do in my year of being 40. The idea was to stop myself having a grump about getting older and instead have positive things to look forward to doing.

I was quite motivated and excited . Then a global pandemic came and wiped out most my list in one fell swoop (where does that phrase even come from ?does anyone know ?)*

Anti cosmic ordering? The universe saying “hey you I sent you that handsome chap from the last list, stop being so bloody greedy”

Obviously I feel I have to say I am not so egocentric I’m going to have a moan about this when there are half a million people dead. I’m merely trying to use my attempt at motivation getting ruined to amuse myself , if you can’t entertain yourself when you’re stuck in I really don’t know when you can.

So here’s the grand list of all the exciting things I was going to do this year!!

Not overly ambitious I’m sure you can see , just some lovely things to do to celebrate 40.

Let’s look at the top one first . Run A Marathon.

I’ve always said I wanted to run a marathon one day . I was due to in the Spring. I’d actually worked hard at it too. Joined the gym to get stronger , was out running every other day. I even ran Christmas morning . The marathon though was postponed until the autumn and has not been cancelled yet but I assume it will be . Hope so anyway because lockdown diets and marathon training don’t really mix and I’m definitely not in marathon shape.

Visit a new country combined with learn a new language ….

Again I was on board with the language learning was Duolingo -ing every night , my Italian was coming along beautifully for my lovely Italian mini break.

Needless to say , when lockdown happened and Italy was looking pretty badly hit ( before we realised how bad things were going to get here) My pal Duo and I split up. Well I’ll be honest with you people I ghosted him! I know how terribly bad etiquette that is but I just lost all interest. He’d send me little messages asking if I had 10 mins to spare to practice my Italian. I ignored him, He even sent a few messages saying he was missing me and I still didn’t respond. In fact I deleted the app, out of guilt ( sorry for anyone who has never used Duolingo and are just assuming I’ve finally lost it , it’s a language app with a cute little motivational character) So that was that .

Both finish the book and read some classics …

Erm….I bought shed loads of books? Does that count?

Visit somewhere peaceful

I had plans , I was off to a Scottish Island all on my own . I was going to absorb so much peace and tranquillity when I got home I’d be like one of those monks that can meditate for weeks on end .

Strangely I have found lockdown pretty zen inducing in many ways , but my house isn’t quite the same as picturesque scenery and idyllic landscapes

I think I’ll just have to postpone the majority of my list until next year.

I also am going to restart 40 in December I think , the list was for 40 and I’m not willing to annoy the universe again !!! So 40 I shall stay until this list is ticked off ! Fair enough right?

Lockdown musings no.3 – oh so zen…

Before I even start this I’ve got to say that I know that lockdown is so very hard on so many people. People shielding unable to do anything at all , people missing family and friends , worrying about jobs and money , worrying about the world in general.

It’s hard , it is , on so many levels ! (can you feel the but coming?)

I’ve got to tell you guys I’m the most blissfully calm than I’ve been in ages !

I think this lockdown life is my natural pace of life. I’m finally able to live my life at a Kelly pace , it’s pretty sloth like I can’t fib.

I’m really lucky in that my children are older – 3 teenagers and a 12 year old. I wouldn’t be relishing the current situation were the kids younger. I remember very clearly the chaos and exhaustion of the 3 under 3 years. The stress and hardwork involved in having to actively home school smaller children and keep them entertained would be a whole different ball game.

For me though , a socially anxious introvert , I am so calm at the moment. Nothing needs doing at any given time , nothing is expected of me . My days are filled with relaxed hours and zero structure to my day. I know that this is many peoples idea of hell but Kelly the sloth is relishing it soooo much.Having everyone home all the time is a nice feeling too , listening to the kids chatting and the girls sat doing their work together is good . I mean I’ve got to confess the one thing I could do with is a bit of solitude ,but that’s what walks are for!!

I’ve not had to make excuses about why I can’t do something or why I can’t see people for months and it’s the biggest relief. I think I’ve definitely learned that moving on when I’m asked to do something that I don’t want to do “No,I don’t want to” is a valid response that will make my life so much easier rather than feeling obliged to say yes and then spending days and weeks stressing and worrying about how to get myself out of it .

I haven’t done any of the things I planned to when a lockdown was first announced. I have barely made an in on my ‘to read’ pile . I have not finished writing that book that I am DEFINITELY going to finish this year . I haven’t painted the bathrooms .

What I have done is get my gardening on , done some work out there . I’ve planted vegetables , grown herbs . I made a bird restaurant as I’ve become fascinated by the feathery pals that hang out in our garden . The kids have helped too , it’s been a bit of a team effort and I’ve loved that . I’ve also built bookshelves , I’ve made a start on my feature book quote wall. We’ve transformed the girls room Well actually teen girl has to take most of the credit there .She’s done a great paint job , I just put together a chest of drawers of truth be told .

I’ve not done any of the things I’d said I should do .I’ve done things I’ve wanted to . That’s not something we have the luxury to do is it usually ? Our days are a timetable of things that we need to do to get to bedtime then start all over again the next day.

Don’t get me wrong there are things I am missing a lot whilst we’re stuck home. I want to go to Hull and hang out with my family ,I want to go on gorgeous dates with the handsome one , cocktails with my friends. I want so badly to go out to eat . The luxury of getting all dressed up and heading out to eat a lovely meal that I’ve not had to cook….bliss !

I’m hoping that I can take some of the calm of this time with me when the world shifts back to normal . Maybe make some time in my life to get on with projects that inspire me . Maybe use my garden to help when anxiety rears its ugly head , definitely say no when I don’t want to do something.

It’s a really strange time , but it’s also an opportunity for me I think to have taken some time to learn how to make my life a little calmer and my head a little less busy .

Hope you are all doing ok and managing to keep as close to an even keel as is at all possible.

Lockdown musings no. 2 – Things I’ve learned …

How we all holding up ?

Coping ok ?

Weeks into lockdown I’m learning a lot about myself and about my family . Can I share ?

Small girl’s YouTube habits are sooooo irritating

There seem to be a subspecies on YouTube (and forgive me sounding like a granny here ) of very young ,very attractive, married couples vlogging their entire life. She put one on the other day that was just the woman having her hair dyed! Where’s the entertainment there kid ? Another one of a woman with the worlds most annoying voice making her kids elaborate lunches . Again I’m sounding like an old lady but how on earth is she getting entertained . She can watch me make lunch if she likes!!

Oh but an exception to prove the she doesn’t half watch some crap rule are The Norris Nuts , love those guys !

I don’t mind being woken silly early by the birds singing

I’m a bit weird (long time readers are fully aware ) but I used to hate sleeping with my window open . Irrational , ridiculous thoughts of people climbing in !!! However I’ve been a big brave girl lately and sleeping with my window open . I’m started waking around 5 by the birds singing and honestly it’s the nicest way to wake up ever ! Really gentle and just so lovely I don’t even mind how early it is !!! I often then doze back off (who wants to add hours to these days ?) but the plan is to get up and run at this time as I’m still marathon training and can’t be running during the day in the sun!

My noise sensitivity is ridiculous

One of the manifestations of my PTSD is over sensitivity to noise. I know this , I deal with it .

Having everyone home all the time though has made me realise quite how it effects me . I feel so sorry for the kids , I’m constantly telling them not to shout or to be a bit quieter and really they’re not making an awful lot of noise it’s just my brain cannot cope with the incessant noise . It puts me on edge and makes me so irritable . Walks alone are my saviour currently.

Written communication is my favourite

Not so much of a surprise , I write a blog . I still write letters to people . I love chattering too though , or so I thought . I’m not really missing face to face chat . I’m not a phone call fan and video calls not for me either really. WhatsApp is my friend. Messenger is great. I do still want to communicate I just like writing down !! Obviously there are a handful of people I cannot wait to see and chat the hind legs of a donkey with , I’m not a total social recluse .

I could probably live off crisps alone

Again not a total surprise , but maybe more just an acceptance of a fact. There’s so much variety to be had and they cheer me up.

Frazzles for breakfast , hula hoops for lunch , pickled onion space raiders in a sandwich for dinner , McCoys for supper . Would work for me !!!

Unfortunately can’t really get away with it but it’s a dream…

The teens can take self isolation to the nth degree

Barely seen them except at meal times. They’re very good at this !We seem to have a room each and keeping socially distant from out own family ! Can’t moan too much , whatever keeps everyone sane I guess ! If that happens to be Disney + or Netflix between college work so be it .

So things are changing , have changed for now and though I am looking forward to a nice date , a trip to the theatre , a cocktail fuelled catch up with friends and a trip home to Hull . I’m quite ok with communicating via message, waking to the birds and chomping hula hoops like they’re going out of fashion for now .

Lockdown musings no.1 – Alone

I’ve had thoughts whizzing round my head for weeks now but there were just too many zooming around in this unpredictable head of mine to be able to concentrate and articulate. Today feeling calm and relaxed I’m going to try. I think we’re all somewhere between madness and on the edge right now on a sliding scale day to day so if my ramblings are even more chaotic than usual I apologise in advance .

The virus , the word we’re all fed up of hearing and lockdown and isolation how quickly these things have to come to be the norm. I expected to feel many things when we began to get a glimpse of how massive and scary and consuming this was going to be . I expected a huge mental health wobble and my anxiety to get out of control . That’s not been the case though. I’ve had a few wobbly days but not the huge anxiety filled days and dreams and panic I’d have expected from a global emergency. What the hell is wrong with me ? If ever there was a legitimate time to panic this is it …my time had come. It has not . I read a fantastic article in the week about why this is it’s just here .

So not huge anxiety wobbles , no panicky catastrophising . If my usual reactions to scary stuff aren’t happening what am I meant to feel???

Well what I feel right now is something that is so very unusual to me I struggled to work it out. I feel alone. Really alone.

I don’t mean lonely , come on its me the girl who loves a date for one (ohhh I cannot wait to go to the theatre again ) but a realisation has hit over the last few weeks. There’s no plan B here , there’s no fall back plan .

Ordinarily the kids do have other people in their lives even ones far away ,but as it stands right now it’s just me and them . There’s a fear that comes with that ,what if I get sick ? What happens then? There is noone to take the reins , there’s noone to step in for me . What if we all got sick ? It’s just us ,in our house that’s it . That’s all we have .

On a less important level but one I’ve felt for the first time, probably ever is a lack of a second adult in our house for practical reasons, or emotional support or just someone to sit with tea and talk about what a shit show this really is . Someone else to make breakfast for once ,but mainly just the chat . I’ve not had a face to face conversation with someone I haven’t given birth to in weeks. Someone to offload fears on , to just be physically present. I didn’t ever feel a lack of that until now. I think that maybe only people on their own will understand that. It sounds silly that the woman who goes on and on about how she couldn’t ever live with someone and how she enjoys her own company is fancying having someone around for her emotional well-being. It’s just sometimes you feel that hole , rarely for me but right now I do .

This train of thought it leads me onto the biggest thing I’ve realised . That despite what I’ve written above , despite feeling that way , I’m so lucky . My children are 3 teenagers and an 11 year old . They don’t need (certainly don’t want) entertaining they just need the kitchen stocked and they’re good to go like 4 little hungry locusts .

I can’t stop thinking about women with younger kids who are alone. How would I have dealt with this alone when the kids were much younger . How on earth are women with no support for whatever reason managing? Trying to work from home , entertaining and educating their children whilst keeping a grip on their sanity ??No one to divide labour with when the kids are home full time with no school.

The answer is I’ve not a clue.

It’s of no help to you at all right now if you are one of these women but just know …

I see you.

I am aware of you and how difficult your life must be right now.

I am completely in awe of you.

I know we have to keep away from one another and that there’s only so many WhatsApp groups you can be in before your brain explodes , but if you are one of these women is there anything at all we can do to help ??

I can’t think of anything that would have helped me when the kids were too young to be left alone so I could shop , or whilst everyone needed my attention yet there was only one of me all day everyday with little sleep and no break .

It must be the hardest , toughest most exhausting of times and you ,my friends , are absolute warriors !!!

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

	

Running and mental health

Unfortunately ,for me ,the experts are right again . Exercise IS good for my mind. My mind doesn’t think that when I’m laid in bed thinking “ah it’s raining…don’t bother running today .. it’ll be horrible..stay cosy instead ”

However when (and in all honesty if sometimes) I manage to not listen to lazy sloth voice and go and run. I always feel better afterwards. I can’t think of a time I’ve ever gotten in from a run and wished I hadn’t bothered.

I don’t want to turn into run bore , but I want to just tell you about the ways running has helped my mental health.

Firstly I’ve got to tell you this isn’t going to be me telling you about how running has saved my sanity. How it’s cured all my mental health issues. How I just want to run like Forrest Gump because it makes me feel so fabulous. That wouldn’t be true . I’m writing this with an incredibly sore foot , achy thighs and a weird ache in my bum . I’m not feeling invincible or unstoppable right now .

I know , I know stop going on about it BUT I’m apparently running a marathon in 4 weeks and 2 days ….so training is ON! I’m not a natural long distance runner. Every long run I do currently is the longest run I’ve ever done. It’s hard .

Yet I’m glad to be running ,here’s how it helps me .

I am sleeping like a log

I suffer with intense nightmares occasionally .Linked to traumatic experiences that my brain likes to bother me with of a night. I went through a stage of barely sleeping which isn’t like me at all it was horrible and made me even more absent minded than usual. When I’m running hard or doing a gym workout that’s tough and I suppose any kind of exercise you do. It tires me out physically . Being physically tired , for me , aids getting to sleep and more importantly staying asleep !!

Running quietens anxiety symptoms

When I’m running I’m not panicking about my breathing feeling weird or my heart pounding … because that’s what’s meant to happen. The weird tricks my body plays on me in Sainsbury’s are normal here , actively encouraged!

The feel of my feet hitting the path , the wind or sun or rain on my face , the rhythm of my limbs these are all quite grounding for me . Paying attention to how my body feels concentrating on steps means my brain just has no space to spiral off thinking of all the horrible things I’m certain is going to happen to me . Having to push through when my lazy legs want to stop mean I have no brain space to worry about how I’ve upset everyone I’ve ever interacted with and everyone hates me !!

It’s one on one time with my head

My head and disfunctional brain can be my worst enemy a lot of the time . As I mentioned just now running means the brain can’t spiral into over thinking but it can do actual thinking. Just me and my mind no distractions I can often problem solve something that’s been bothering me out on a run or have great ideas creatively when I’m out in the open air ,alone.

The great outdoors

I must admit over the past few months I have been utilising the treadmill as well as outside because , well ,I live in Manchester it rained here for weeks on end and I was finding it hard to keep motivated . However outside a bit of a blue sky and somewhere pretty to run and it’s not just good for my head but my soul. I adore a gorgeous landscape it makes my little heart joyous . When I’m running somewhere pretty I’m smiling rather than grimacing (usually) this goes for walking for me too bit of green and I’m happy as Larry (whoever he is !)

My mental health issues become superpowers

I suffer from hypervigalence. My fight or flight instinct is triggered permanently. I live my life on high alert . A bird dared squawk the other day and I screamed in fear of danger. On a day to day basis it’s bloody exhausting and extremely inconvenient. When I’m out running though it’s quite handy to spot potential danger or obstacles ahead before they become a problem.

It makes me trust my body

Altering my breathing pattern , my body does that when I run . My legs start to feel tired but I know I can push them a bit more I have faith in them . When lazy brain starts telling me “ah you said you’d run 7 miles but you’ve done 3 …that’s enough .Stop and go home and drink tea ” I can dismiss it . Trust in my body. Rely on it ,have faith in it . This is a new phenomenon for me . My body when in the grips of anxiety lies to me all the time. Makes me feel like I’m going to faint . This is my biggest anxiety symptom. If you’ve fainted before ,you know the bit before you pass out where people’s voices sound distant and lights are all strange and everything goes hazy ? My anxious body does that to me. During a period of high anxiety several times a day . I never ever have fainted during these times but it’s enough to cause me to panic and be anxious that I will? So yeah I have trust issues with my body . It pranks me at times ,sends the side of my face numb so I panic I’m having a stroke. Makes my breathing feel like I can’t catch my breath. All its usual tricks. When I’m running though I trust in my body. It behaves itself and that makes me feel strong .

Can I just finish by saying again . I’m not saying if you are depressed it can be cured by putting on your trainers or that I am free of my mental health problems. I’m just telling about something that is helping me at the moment, and honestly when my anxiety is at its worst I could no more run than I could fly to the moon !!! I’m just discovering little by little babystep by babystep that the old three keep myself sane techniques of good sleep , good diet and exercise are key in my situation.

Right there are blue skies and maybe even a bit of sunshine going on today . Let’s go ! Have me a bath run upon my return would you ?

You can find me on Facebook Twitter and Insta

Shank You Very Much

Podcasts that very nearly make you forget that you’re exercising ….

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Before I begin , I must draw emphasis to the fact the title does clearly state ‘almost’ makes you forget you’re exercising . Nothing actually makes me forget I’m exercising . Mainly because I hate it I hate it I hate it !!….or at least I think I do when I’m getting to my limits and am tired. Yet the second I get to my limit ….pass my limit at times and especially when I’ve finished a run or a hard workout my first thoughts are *insert thought bubble here *

“Wow i feel SO good ”

“When can i next do that?”

“There is nothing in the world I couldn’t do right now”

“I am actually superwoman”

That’s where it grabs you .

I am currently training for a marathon. You can read here about the list of things I vowed to do when I turned 40. Run a marathon was one ….eeekk and sometimes you’ve just gotta put your money where your mouth is !!

Marathon training when you’re not really an exercise freak and chips are way more appealing than lacing up the run shoes is hard . Once upon a time I was someone who gave up too easily on things that were hard . Seems those days are gone . So here I am , someone not keen on the thought of exercise training to run a ridiculous amount of miles round Manchester.

I started by listening to music as I run which is great because there’s a rhythm to follow and a good song will even have me speed these lazy legs up. As much as running to music does motivate me , bursts of 4 mins a song just make my brain calculate how many more of these bloody songs before I can sit down?

So one day I tried a podcast and I found them so good for drawing you in and paying attention and listening (there’s no real need for me to actively listen to songs I’ve heard a thousand times ) I honestly can momentarily forget the legs are moving so enthralled into the podcast I am.

Safety advice : obviously be enthralled but aware ….roads , tree branches , dogs , other people etc are all hazardous .

I thought I could share my current faves in case you guys are looking for something to listen to whilst exercising . Or in the bath/on the train you don’t even have to exercise !! Only I do because I wrote a daft list.

Bloody marathon.

Anyway here they are :

Unfiltered with James O’Brien

A great episode that I loved was with Caitlin Moran. I love listening to anything she has to say anyway but this was a really good interview. The list of episodes though is a real who’s who of interesting people …if that’s your thing.

The Guilty Feminist

A great listen for the flawed feminists among us . Each episode beginning with I’m a feminist but…..

There are 179 episodes of this podcast at the moment so you can just have a flick through and find which ones stand out to you. A hell of lot of funny women in one place . If you’re anything like me you’ll start with the intention of just listening to one and lose yourself in this podcast.

How to Fail with Elizabeth Day

This is a new one I’ve just discovered. I came across it on Twitter when I saw my ultimate fantasy bff Marian Keyes was on an episode , and what an episode . It was a really touching , raw interview and I immediately got looking for who else had been on . The Lily Allen episode was another heart wrenching listen.

Mad World with Bryony Gordon

A refreshingly honest podcast where celebrities discuss their struggles and wins with mental illness . Prince Harry was the very first guest and I was really surprised with how open he was . Will Young talking about his ptsd was of interest to me and Scarlett Curtis discussing chronic illness and depression was inspirational.

Happy Place with Fearne Cotton

This is a recently discovered one for me . A lockdown discovery! I find that Fearne has the most soothing voice anyway ,I could listen to her talk for hours. This podcast is really great though not just because of that. I caught the Russell Brand lockdown episode and enjoyed so much I started going through the whole back catalogue in some kind of binge . I highly recommend the Daisy May Cooper episode.

Shagged Married Annoyed with Rosie and Chris Ramsey

I have saved the best for last here. My goodness if you are having a bad day and are in need of a giggle this is the one for you. Although on the exercise front I have had to stop running to laugh or guffawed in the gym like a maniac more than once. It reminds me of listening to my sis and her other half bickering and laughing ! This one though , not for anyone offended by crudity..stay away if that’s you . If it isn’t then you , my gorgeous friends , are welcome.

So there we are a genius trick to take your mind off the fact you are so fed up of exercise ….and what’s the point anyway and who’s stupid idea was a marathon anyway !!

* I listen on Spotify but sure they’re all available on the Apple thing too

Obviously this isn’t an ad , what would anyone want with me ? I’m just sharing the love !!

If I’m missing out on anymore amazing podcasts do let me know ….I’ve a lot of marathon hours to fill…..

You can find me on Facebook Twitter and Insta

Shank You Very Much

New year – how have my turning 40 goals started ??

Happy New Year!!!

I’ve got to confess I was a useless blogger in 2019. It felt like a healing year for me (I’ll write about that in another post ) and I just didn’t have the energy or inclination to write and exes found my blog and didn’t like what I had to say and motivation just left me . I have missed it soooo much I actually got tummy butterflies when I opened up wordpress right now !

So back to business for Daydreams of a mum I hope!!

Just before my birthday last year I made a list of things I wanted to do in the year I turned 40 ,put a positive spin on the getting older lark . I wrote a blog about THE LIST here if you fancy a nosy. So I thought my first post of 2020 could be a little update on how all that is going!

I’ve got to say I’ve really only touched on 3 so far .

Run a marathon – the first “when I turn 40 I will” thought I ever had . I decided it years ago watching the London Marathon (from bed !!). I’m keeping up with my training schedule which for me is a surprising. I have to admit to often being someone who gives up on stuff when it’s too hard . This running ,fitness lark is hard !! I love chips and wine and sitting on my bum and these aren’t so conducive to marathon training. Tell you something though after a run I am the human embodiment of the hungry caterpillar . I just cannot stop eating and I just don’t feel full. Trying to shove a banana in there half heartedly rather a space raider sandwich but it’s all a learning curve ! It’s going to get harder over the next few weeks so if you follow me on social media and hear me whinging I’m going to quit this tell me to woman up and get on with it !!

Finishing the book has taken a little turn. THE book that I’ve been writing for ages I’m just not mega keen on anymore.Years ago Kelly started that book. I was a different woman then. I’ve had so many experiences over last few years it all just doesn’t feel so authentic to me (urgh check out pretentious thinks she can write girl!) I’ve put it to aside for now. Not ditched just paused. I do though have a new book idea that’s filling me with all the excited motivation so I’m going to adapt my list and finish the book , well that can become work really hard on this one .

I’m cracking on with learning Italian. I did plan to find a class but for now I’m using Duolingo (absolutely not an ad merely a recommendation though if they’d like to send me to Italy to try out the work I’m game ) I find it so helpful and really easy to use . Small girl is also using it as she’s going to Switzerland with guides in the summer and wants to teach herself some German before she goes !! I’ll keep you posted with my progress there .

So I guess not yet a month into being 40 that’s a pretty good start really . The goals are there waiting to be met and I’m doing my bit to make them happen rather than just talk about them !

Anyone else have any 2020 goals ??

You can of course find me whinging about achy legs and the like on

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Musings Of A Tired Mummy

The bit I don’t much talk about -International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 2019

I talk about Domestic abuse a lot on my blog . I think it’s so important to tell our stories ,kill some of the shame we carry and let other women going through the same know they are not alone .

I can talk for hours about coercive control , I can wax lyrical on emotional abuse . I can point out the subtle signs , I can talk of how I’ve managed to heal.

The actual violence I suffered though ? I struggle a little more with. I still carry shame . I shouldn’t , but you know what reinforces that shame? Flippant comments from people (who are generally trying to be nice but just don’t understand how abuse works ) Things like:

“why did you put up with it so long ?”

“If a guy ever hit me I’d be out the door ”

It puts the onus on the victim rather than the perpetrator and a lot of shame does come with that.

There’s also the fact that I minimise it still . Born from years and years of doing this whilst in the relationship.

Oh it was just….

It could have been worse …

I shouldn’t have….

All unhelpful ,but I try to be honest in my blog about life after abuse and some skewed thought patterns do stick.

What I really wanted to talk about though was how the men who domestically abuse women and use violence towards women are often just normal guys . You see them on the school run . You work with them . You are maybe even friends with them. These men ,these domestic terrorists generally I’ve learnt have something in common .

“They’d never do anything like that”

“They’d never hurt a fly”

“They’re not the type”

There’s something in us as a society that cannot deal with the fact these men are normal guys . They’re not running about with red eyes or a danger sign tattooed on their forehead. They’re just getting you a coffee in the office , showing you pics of their kids at a dinner party,making conversation with you (probably about how much they abhor guys who hit women)

The violence I’ve experienced at the hands of men really is a total spectrum. From the man who grabbed my arse in a club (I can imagine people rolling their eyes at this. Thinking this isn’t violence…but being touched without permission is violence , it is aggression ,it is total lack of respect for boundaries and the upmost sense of entitlement with these men) right through to being beaten unconscious.

Not at all men who’ve been violent have been in relationships with me. It’s not all domestic abuse. I’m sure most women reading this if they really thought have been pushed or grabbed at some point in their lives .

Violence is the ultimate way to keep someone in their place . Couldn’t get much more basic.

The first time I ever experienced violence from a male I was a teenager . I had a boyfriend and it was my friends birthday. This was pre kids so lets face it I had the kind of figure I didn’t even appreciate back then. I’d put on a tiny dress , it was summer and spaghetti straps were all the rage ! My boyfriend at the time got very jealous me going out looking nice and whilst I was on the phone to my pal (in a phone box …yes I’m that old!) He scratched all down my arms (his thinking being then I’d have to cover up I guess) I didn’t even react , I carried on talking to my friend,then put down the phone and stormed home . This has continued to be my reaction to violence throughout. Just shock and unable to know what to do and therefore do nothing.

This was definitely the case in the major abusive relationship in my life. The first time he was violent was in a cinema carpark,because I liked a film we saw (American Beauty) and he hated it. Whilst I was trying to explain some bits of the film I thought were interesting he took that to mean I was being condescending and punched me in the face. Hard enough to knock me to the floor . What did I do ? Got up and walked home.

And so on and so on ….through all the years ….the spitting and biting and hair pulling and slapping and kicking and punching . Everytime ,I didn’t know what to do so I did nothing . I blanked it out and got on with what I needed to do . I can see now (thanks therapist) this was a survival mechanism, an unhealthy , unhelpful one but one that did ultimately keep me alive.

I’ve gone into detail with these two incidents because I don’t think the men who did those things probably could. I think in their heads they’ll have changed things up a bit ….decided that these were just arguments in their heads maybe . I know though , I’ll always know and they must deep down somewhere, they have to . How could you not remember hurting someone you claimed to love .

These guys won’t have those incidents in their minds when they’re chatting with you over coffee though ? When they’re commenting on a news report of a woman murdered in her home. They’ll be outwardly horrified ,who could do that they’ll hand wring?

Maybe you confide in them about abuse you’ve suffered …. they’ll tell you they cannot stand men that hurt women .

I guess my point really is that abusive men don’t stand out in a crowd ,well they sometimes do actually. Those of us who have done The Freedom Programme are equipped to spot it these days . As always I highly recommend doing this if you’ve suffered any kind of domestic abuse be it emotional, sexual , physical. It might just save your life or your sanity.

Mostly though you’d not automatically spot a man who is violent to his partners. He’s probably quite charming, vulnerable even . Not that type.

So if a woman tells you he IS this type :

Please believe her .

Please help her.

Please don’t judge her.

Please don’t use the victim blaming lines I talked about earlier.

Telling someone may have just been the bravest thing that she has ever done .

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Don’t rain on my parade !!

Are you singing???

I’ve got to tell you using songs from musicals as blog titles just happens I don’t plan it! I think in an alternate universe my life should have been one long musical …

Anyway,I digress (still the name of my autobiography by the way don’t steal it !)

I’ve spoken here on the blog about how I’m excited to turn 40 and I’m still very much of that mindset. What could maybe feel a bit depressing with the whole getting older thing I just feel is maybe an opportunity for a new phase of my life . The end of my 30’s isn’t sad for me . It just feels as though turning 40 is like when you’d go back to school after the summer holidays and have those blank exercise books and you’d do your absolute neatest handwriting on that gorgeous,crisp ,blank page .

I have a list (course I do ) not of things I want to do before 40 because that’s a lot of pressure, but things I want to do when I turn 40. All positive things , all things that cause no bother to anyone elses life. Nothing I need help from anyone else with. Just some personal goals to really give my 40’s the positive kick start they deserve .

It’s here (the official list is actually more colourful and written in glitter gel pens but they don’t photograph so well!)

I think it’s quite a modest list .

Here though is where the parade rainer- onners come in .

I’m a bit giddy when I’m excited …I want to tell everyone all about my grand plans. This ,my friends, is where you really get to see people .

Surprisingly even my children are supportive and positive about my plans .

“How’s your Italian coming along mum ”

” How’s the writing going ?”

“You know noone wants to come to Mull with you right? ”

Ok so the last one doesn’t sound so supportive but as it clearly says on the list go somewhere quiet alone I’m taking it .

The few people I do trust to be on board with my plans really are !They ask and seem interested (appreciate it even if they’re bored of me !)

Then there are …..the others ….the sneerers that are present in my life . I wrote all about them here , you’ll probably recognise them.

I don’t know if you guys have these kind of people in your life . People who whenever you try to be positive try to stick a big old rain cloud in . You say you’re going for dinner somewhere nice for them to tell you about their friend who went there and got food poisoning? You say you’re starting a new hobby and they used to do that but broke their ankle and ruined their life . You say you got a brand new dress and they tell you it’ll be half price in the sales next week and you’ve wasted your money ?!!

I hope some of you are nodding along here otherwise I really need to take a hard look at my life !!

Whyyyyyyy??

Why would you see someone is happy and giddy and try to make them miserable (I’m no psychologist but my guess is because they’re pretty miserable people with no ambition and so they just want everyone to feel like them)

My list isn’t going to impact negatively on anyone’s life but my puppy dog enthusiasm about it seems to be threatening to some!!

So I have to hear how I’m not the right shape for running (effing nonsense ) How I definitely won’t do a marathon because well…you know they’re pretty hard (hmmm yeah they are ,but so is birthing and raising 4 kids . So is leaving a long abusive relationship . So is ….well putting on duvet covers actually yet here I am , doing it !)

Urgh you’ve been saying you’re finishing that book forever …yawn…

(True I have . I’m a little temperamental though . Also full of anxiety and imposter syndrome when it comes to writing. So I’ve binned the whole thing in a strop/fit of self loathing many a time and had to start from scratch. Not necessarily a bad thing !)

I’m excited to be 40 , I’m excited to see how many things on my list I can do before the year is out. I’m excited to then make a 41 list.

I am , by nature , an optimist .

The realist in me knows maybe all the list won’t get ticked off but I’m still ready to give it a good old go !!

So let’s join together and turn the other cheek to all the negative voices and sneerers.

Let’s stick with good old Barbra and sing at the top of our lungs about not letting anyone rain on our parades !!!

*afterthought..see the list IS realistic because if it wasn’t – being leading lady in a West End show would DEFINITELY be up there .

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Damaged Goods

I am taking part in blogtober and attempting to blog every day this month. Today’s Blogtober post , day 11, is here .

I’ve heard myself described as damaged goods .

More than once . Sometimes to my face often as a chinese whisper , occasionally during a spiteful argument .

When I heard it , I felt it .

It’s a phrase meant to make you feel shit. It’s meant to mean unwanted , undesirable. AVOID THIS WOMAN AT ALL COSTS – HER DAMAGE WILL INFECT YOU – DANGER!!

I’m a single mum fast approaching 40 , attempting to cling onto sanity who has so many hang ups picked up from abusive and toxic relationships that yes sometimes I can be hard work no I’m not using that phrase , that’s another one thrown at me to keep me in my place .

I’m not sure which of the 3 seems to be the biggest issue to people who want to judge (the sneerers as I like to call them -picturing Cyril Sneer from the racoons -do you remember him?)

(Thats the dude !!!)

Sorry totally distracted ….reasons I’m damaged goods !

Single mum

Yes there is no father in our house , no new partner living here to help pick up the slack. This is a fatherless household and likely always will be now . Does that make me damaged though? Well I guess we need to look at these things from the sneerers prospective … The sneerer would look at my family life I guess and decide that 4 children and not a man in the house for over a decade. Well no one else is going to want her now . Obviously something wrong with her , can’t keep a guy . Poor kids .

Except the thing is we’re a family and we’re beginning to become quite the team. The elder three are at glorious ages where they can help with school runs and make dinner and get themselves up to ensure things can run smoothly here . We’re a team – we do not have an Alpha Male team captain I’m going to give you that one but we really have no place for one !

Mental health issues

My mental health is like a little selection box of problems and quirks.

Anxiety ✔️

Meaning sometimes I avoid humans , sometimes I can’t talk on the phone . Sometimes I’m browsing the bread in Sainsburys and I’m overcome with such dread I feel I’m going to pass out and my face goes numb .

Low mood ✔️

Yep some days I’m so filled with self loathing I can’t even stand myself. Some days a happy song dare come on my playlist and I tell it to f**k off cos I’m too miserable for that (this is a true thing that happened yesterday and I did giggle afterwards at my ridiculous behaviour!)

Some trauma related issue that noone has quite gotten to the bottom of yet ✔️

This is fun this one . Hypervigalence…my goodness forever in fight or flight mode , unable to settle ,forever looking for danger.

Fun anecdote to lighten the mood on this one. The other day a bird flew past and flapped her wings slightly louder and I screamed. Shrieked in the street.

So does all this rendered me damaged ? I prefer quirky myself . Obviously the sneerers would say look at the state of her can’t even answer the phone some days , scared of her own shadow. Who on earth would want that – no one with any sense !

I’m actually quite comfy with my whirling , slightly off normal brain function these days . It was Mental Health awareness day yesterday , I read lots of stories. There are loads of us ! Are we damaged ? Well yeah maybe but we’re bloody strong and tenacious too.

Domestic abuse damage

I’ve gotten over lots of hang ups over the last few years that I was left with after years of abuse .

Once upon a time though , I wasn’t me a decade on happy with how I look and who I am .Once I KNEW I was fat and ugly and useless and the worst mum and thick and pathetic and no wonder I had no friends and everyone definitely laughed at me and thought me just an absolute bloody idiot !

Yes I was damaged by years of abuse and trauma. Yes it was added to by other people -Sneerer types comments

Ah 2 sides to every story though

She must have pushed his buttons

She’d drive anyone to hit her

Some couples just don’t mix well

She just likes playing the victim

No one’s ever going to want her , who’s going to take on all her issues ? No one !!

If you’re reading this and you’ve been through or are going through abuse and have heard any of these statements about yourself let me tell you now it’s bullshit .

They’re phrases that come from best ignorance though usually worse than that.

Usually to keep us quiet ,to silence our voice. I’m just some woman off the internet you don’t have to listen to me but just know these phrases are crap spoken by people who know the grand total of eff all.

So yes ok more damage here . Damage caused by another person. Damage another person or people made the conscious choice to inflict on someone. I think I know who the real danger is in this situation.

Its taken a while but I realised recently that Damaged Goods – that vile phrase definitely says more about the person using it than the person they’re saying it about.

I also realised I’m going to start owning it actually.

When I was a kid my dad worked at a sweet factory (the dream right?) on a Friday he got to bring home sweets they couldn’t sell because they were wonky or misshapen. They didn’t fit the perfect aesthetic the customer was looking for.

To us though they were special treasure that not everyone else was allowed to experience!! They were unique and delicious and when shared with the right people were received with love and appreciation.

That’s me that is !!!

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