Being your own cheerleader!

As has been well documented in this blog there have been periods in my life where I have been surrounded by toxic men who really got their kicks by keeping me down, keeping me small and keeping me quiet. Thankfully those days are behind me and I am free to be myself. Wonderfully chaotic, clumsy, happy motivated me!! I like her! She can be a bit needy at times though this woman, she loves a well done, enjoys being told she’s doing well. Oddly it’s taken until I reached the age of 40 to realise the best person to uplift and encourage myself is me!!!

It wasn’t just toxic men who kept me down and didn’t allow me to flourish and shine. I find I often take on the energy of those I’m around. The motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said :

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Now obviously we’re in the midst of a pandemic and stuck home so really for me right now that’s the kids. Come to think of it I am a bit of a moody bum who doesn’t stop eating right now….

Anyway, I digress (STILL the title of my autobiography) However I do kind of identify with the Jim Rohn quote. I’m an optimist by nature but when I am around doom lovers and pessimists it definitely does rub off on me and I find my sparkle less sparkly and my enthusiasm drained. This isn’t good for me at all. Opens up a dark, gloomy rabbit hole of despair waiting for me to hop down.

This is where being your own cheerleader comes in. It’s a relentless job and takes some doing but if you can be responsible for pepping yourself up and giving yourself a high 5 then people around you who don’t make you feel so good about yourself have way less power.

Here’s how I manage to become top cheerleader of me, the head of the #teamkelly club! Ooo I like that, might get t shirts!

#teamkelly

I leave myself notes

On the shopping list, the to do list – any list of demands on my time I’ll usually find added to it a little handwritten “have great day!” note. Written by me of course but just a little reminder makes me smile. Sounds nuts but it works.

Become a weird, dodgy motivational speaker

I am training for a marathon (I know I’ve not mentioned it eh?) I have a marathon training bullet journal full of workout plans and runs that need doing. It started in Jan and leads right up to October when the marathon is due to happen. Sunday is usually a long run day and after the strict note of how long I need to run and a goal time is a lovely message (from me) about how well I’ve done this week and how great I’ll be next week alongside a dodgy motivational quote from the internet!!

Smile

My therapist once told of a little fable whereas a dog was let loose in a hall of mirrors. The dog got scared and started to bark and when he looked in the mirror he saw that scared dog barking at him so responded and began to snarl and growl, seeing the other doing doing the same this continued. Obvious the moral here is what you put out into the world is what you’re going to get back. This stuck with me though so it’s nice to start the day looking into the mirror with a smile, and see that person smiling right back at me.

Celebrate the little wins

The tiny achievements you make are important. They’re usually personal to you too. I hate using the phone so making a phone call for me is a win, well done me you can have a wispa gold for that. I’m a major procrastinator so ticking everything off the to do list? Go me! Pour an wine and slam on some trashy TV.

These may all make me sound a little on the nuts side and to be quite honest I am a little bit. I’m motivated and happy and full of enthusiasm about things I care the most about though, so I think that’s OK!

The objects seeing me through lockdown

Hey everyone, how we doing? Coping OK? Going a bit stir crazy? Absolutely fed up to the back teeth of Microsoft Teams? Yes me too!

I think I may have it a bit easier than many as I have older kids who can work independently, I quite enjoy having an excuse to avoid social interaction and no one has tried to hug me *shudder * in a year!! I’m kind of winning here.

I am finding myself needing to self sooth a lot though. Just to feel comforted and calm and try my absolute best to keep the dreaded anxiety at bay! I’m finding myself equipped with certain things that help with this. Can I share?

MY PHONE

An obvious one really, but I think our phones now are becoming our sole way to keep connected with other people. Particularly if you’re living alone, if you’re a single parent as I am, or suffer any other kind of social exclusion. My phone is rarely out my hands and I’m not even going to feel bad for it as I am craving interaction. My family group chat has become important as an outlet. Twitter makes my day to day life that bit more interesting. I love Twitter, love it and I may be slightly guilty of creating a bit of an echo chamber there but my people there are the good guys, none of the horrid trolling and meanness. Just people trying to muddle through this thing. I’m very grateful to have my phone to create and maintain connections that are no longer physically allowed.

BATHBOMBS

Honestly a stressful day, a sad day, a frustrating day, an infuriating day even just a boring day. Well nothing soothes any of those emotions like a hotter than lava (possible exaggeration) bath with a gorgeous smelling bath bomb in it (Lush for preference to me but whatever you guys love) Laid in a bath I can just feel my stresses fade away!! Maybe that’s what people who like cuddling get from that! I’ll stick with my bath though.

FANCY RUN WATCH

FRW for short. A birthday pressie from the kids is keeping me run motivated and my goodness there are days I am chasing those endorphins and run highs like a pig snuffling for truffles. I did have a bit of a Eureka moment yesterday though about why the FRW works so well to motivate me so well. After a good run, or a fastest mile it gives me a little Well done! Good work! The other day it was frosty out and it gave me a congratulations on running in sub zero temperatures badge!!! Well you know me and how much I LOVE a well done. I wrote about my people pleasing tendencies just here but these tendencies now extend to an object. I want the watch to be pleased with me. So I run!! I’m lame I know! I know!

NOTEBOOKS

I’m a total stationery lover at the best of times. Can’t beat a pretty notebook and a pen that feels nice in your hands. I also though have learned the best way for me to unburdon myself of worries or stress is to write down what’s on my mind. Once it’s out my head and on the page I feel much better. That’s how I became a Blogger I guess!!

BOOKS

An obvious one for me. When the pandemic began and during the first lockdown I just couldn’t read. I didn’t have the concentration which felt incredibly frustrating to me. Thankfully I’ve overcome that now and what better way to escape our reality currently (which does feel like a Sci fi novel) Than hopping into a whole new world for a little while. This one combines nicely with the hot bubble bath too.

THE DREAM TEAM

Talking of great combos the next items really all come together to make a great team of feel good back up. Them being my TV (don’t recommend the news if you’re de stressing but the obsessive in me has days I just can’t turn it off), fluffy blanket and the kettle with which to make tea to drink whilst snuggled under the fluffy blanket watching trashy TV. My current trash TV pick is Married at First Sight Australia. So much drama you don’t get in the UK version. Feel free to substitute tea for wine as your evening progresses, although a warning from me to you – fluffy blankets don’t enjoy having red wine spilt on them. I’m so so clumsy.

That’s how I’m finding comfort over lockdown. Mostly reading, writing or snuggling!! Let me know your must have items!

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Grateful

Firstly – Happy New Year.

I know how inappropriately glib that statement sounds in the current climate , but I do mean it !! I wish you all a very happy new year to come .

Secondly the title of this post may conjure up ideas of a sickly sweet post , looking for the silver linings of the current terrible time . I promise it’s not that. I’m very fed up I’ve not seen my sister in 10 whole months . Not seen my other family back home in over a year . I miss them and lets not even mention that handsome guy I’m fond of , almost forgotten what he looks like!!

The gratitude of the title was a moment , a brief moment, that happened over the Christmas time that kind of stopped me in my tracks . We had such a nice Christmas , our uni boy was home from university , it was our ‘turn’ with the youngest. It was all 5 of us .Having everyone home together was lovely enough. Christmas eve brought one of uni boy’s famous family quizzes . He had warned us beforehand was actually more of a game show (he’d bought the taskmaster book so had himself as Greg Davies to my Johnny Vegas)We quizzed away and that evening was just so full of laughter it’s bringing tears to my eyes thinking and writing about it . What the hell Kelly ?I’m sure you’re thinking. Do you have a laughter ban in your house or something ?? We don’t. We had a really noisy evening of laughing and everyone teasing one another at their individual game failings . I think maybe it was the game of throwing slices of bread into the toaster (that damn book!) We were all laughing our heads off at teen girls total dominance in the sport . Noisy laughter , bread flinging and a fair few crumbs if I’m honest . That’s when it hit me , hard. Our life could have been so different . There’s an alternate universe where this would never be allowed to happen . Back in the abusive relationship Christmas wasn’t a nice happy smiley time . The kids had fun I think -it’s Christmas ! Some abusive men though like to cause a big fuss on days that aren’t focussed on them. I always knew Christmas , the kids birthdays , my birthday and Mothers day it would inevitably kick off . You’d be treading on eggshells the whole time trying to calm and pacify. It would never work of course . He wanted a tantrum he’d damn well have one even if he had to sit working himself for couple of hours first.

Enough of the dark times though , because these days are a whole different story. The relaxation and joy I feel around big days is a million miles away from that . In that silly moment I was so grateful for where we are now , the way the kids have grown up , the way we fit our little family of 5 . A life I never dreamed was possible , well it was possible , we live it now ! I’m not trying to make out we’re like the Waltons or that we live this little perfect life . I’ve struggled at times during the years since we left . My mental health has impacted on the kids and it hasn’t all been rosy. Even during the worst times though I have never ever ever regretted leaving .

I talk often about how much I enjoy living alone (kids aside obviously) This Christmas though highlighted that again. Where we live now feels like the first place I’ve ever been able to put my own stamp on that feels like home and as time goes on little hang ups that I didn’t even realise I had from back then added to by other critical voices since are lessening . I had the decs up nice and early tat and all. That would never have been allowed . I made Christmas dinner to our liking (late and with pretty crispy pigs in blankets …ah that’s our tradition now!!) I watched the soaps . ON CHRISTMAS DAY!!! Forbidden and frowned upon by anyone I’ve previously shared Christmas Day with!! Well with just us for the festive season I can do whatever I like and I did ! Now the days of ‘friendly’ co-parenting with the youngest’s dad are over too I just have no reason to feel invaded ever. It’s just us! Think it definitely helps that the kids are older too now and the bickerfest that would have gone on in their younger days rarely happens bar the occasional fractious game of Articulate !

I’m going to try and hang on to grateful.

It’s a positive emotion , and I think we’re all going to need some of those during the coming months .

Our lives are not perfect in my house , they are ours though.

I’m certainly grateful for that!

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So that was 40….

I turned 40 a year ago, give a day or 2. I really didn’t want it to be a mopey ‘oh no I’m getting old’ thing so I decided to make a list of things I was going to do when I turned 40. I was so excited to see how many I could tick off my list.

Optimistic to say the least!

Then. Obviously 2020 happened.

A worldwide pandemic.

No marathons were run, no new countries visited. I didn’t even finish the book despite being stuck in for months as my creativity took a holiday (lucky it!)

However I am a silver linings kind of a woman. It’s probably quite an annoying trait to those around me but I like to try to find a positive in crappy situations. My list of when I turn 40 achievements remains unticked. It’ll keep for 41.

I’ve just achieved different things in my year of being 40 is all.

I’m still running

I’m still running though I have to admit to not exactly training. With the marathon now next October some of the motivation simply isn’t there. I’m not trying to get faster, I’m not running longer I’m just ticking along. I’ve a new improved marathon training plan though (you can tell its serious because I got the glitter pens out to make it) It’s there, ready to go starting on my 41st birthday along with my trusty podcasts

I’ve read a lot

I know! I know! I always read a lot. At the beginning of the first lockdown though I just couldn’t. I had no concentration. I couldn’t write, I couldn’t read. My new hobby became vacantly staring at the wall. Thankfully that didn’t last and I’ve read some fantastic books. I’ll probably write a book round up of the year so I’ll not go on too much but my favourite book of the year so far is A Love Story for Bewildered Girls by Emma Morgan. It was so beautiful and the characters are so well written. I adored every chapter.

Fave book of the year!

I’ve enjoyed the Internet

My name is Kelly and I am a social media addict. I’m still in a mood with Instagram after I accidentally deleted my account last year and had to start from scratch. I’m here by the way, do find me. I’m going to make an effort with it honestly. Twitter is my absolute fave, honestly it’s like a big group of really cool friends who don’t require any real life maintenance.

Living.

The.

Dream.

Lockdown and quarantine has not made me crave human contact no, thanks for asking!. My love for Twitter is steadfast, I know some think it’s a big mean horrible cesspit of a site. Parts of it are, however over the years I have nurtured my little part of it to be filled with general lovliness and great chat. Twitter is also my go to for TV, book and film recommendations. It’s brilliant. It’s not just social media that’s helped in these weird times though. We’ll hurry by the Etsy habit I have developed and instead say its been great through the madness to rely on my family group chat. A great source of happiness and giggles although I worry were anyone outside it to read it we’d all be sectioned (at best) We jumped on the family quiz bandwagon too and I have loved that so much (probably way more than the rest of them if truth be told!)

I’ve enjoyed being me

I know that probably sounds a bit odd. Lockdown though? Social distancing , keeping people at a distance and not leaving the house. Well welcome to my world. This is how I live my life the majority of the time anyway and now it was government guidelines. Added to that my poor children were forced to hang out with me at home it’s like my evil plan has finally come together. It’s been a good time to be an antisocial hermit! I’ve not had to make up an excuse as to why I don’t want to do something for months!! I do miss going out to eat and theatre and about half a dozen people but other than that I’ve just realised that I really am a big fan of who I am and how I live my life. Your 40s are meant to be about self love right??

My things to do when I turn 40 list is now a when I’m 41 list. However being 40 has been pretty good regardless. Here’s to 41, lots of continued time at home but added dates and theatre and yes I hope I’ll finally get to run that bloody marathon! Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say. Maybe 40 has changed me after all?!

Not my Happy Ever After

I’ve got to start by saying I am a bit worried that this post is going to come across as a bit ranty. It’s not really meant to. It comes from a place of curiosity not negativity. This is probably why this post has been hanging out in my head rather than putting itself into sentences and hopping out.

Happy. That’s the aim of the game isn’t it. We all want happiness. Chase it, seek it, embrace it. I certainly do. I just don’t know who got to choose what the ultimate Happy After Ever is though?? Disney certainly plays its part I guess and all the slush movies I watch and books I read play a part too (I know I know I’m part of the problem)

Thing is though, in 2020 should Happy Ever After still be finding the love of your life and being happy forever more. Should it always look like finding a life partner? We’ve all read all the trashy tabloid pieces hand wringing about why Jennifer Aniston, for example, can’t ‘keep’ a man. Why Kylie has never settled down and married. There’s something about us that counts meeting a mate for life as success. Makes not an awful lot of sense does it? You can be professionally successful, rich and beautiful but awwww can’t snag a fella eh?? Poor thing!

I am 40 and live alone. Well as in there is no live in partner here. There’s obviously a whole tribe of kids. No father though, no step dad, no father figure. Just me. I like it this way. I choose it this way.

It seems to me that this unsettles people. It’s meant to make me a bit strange. There’s this odd idea in our society that we should all, women especially, share this one common aim and idea of the same Happy Ever After.

I feel I need to add here. I’m not dismissing true love. It’s a gorgeous thing and of course living with the love of your life forever, happy and settled and content is beautiful. I’m all about the happiness. Its just that that’s not what happy contentedness looks like for me. I can’t be the only one surely?

I’ve done the living with a partner thing, the child rearing, the house sharing. It’s well documented in this blog that that was not a pleasant, happy, love filled place. Maybe that does cloud my judgement. It has an impact for sure but not in the way you’d think. I’m not scared to be involved with someone in case it happens again. I have a fantastic man in my life. The Cosmic ordering here worked. However an unhappy, unhealthy relationship did make me realise that living alone is fantastic. It’s kind of addictive being able to do what you want without comment. I’m tempted to put the Christmas decorations up to cheer our way through lockdown 2, can anyone whinge at me for it? Absolutely not.

I do acknowledge that my love of doing things alone isn’t the norm. I love a solo date, I’ve holidayed alone and yes I love living alone. No matter how in love I fall or how much I crave a certain person’s company I’m never ever going to want to live with a man again.

Vocalising this though is where some uncomfortableness (have I just made that word up? Doesn’t seem real?) happens. People question it.

You don’t want to be all alone when the kids leave home?

You’ll be so lonely?

But what if someone extra special rocks up?

You’ll change your mind surely?

It’s actually a bit rude. I don’t ask people ‘ look Susan are you sure you want to live with that lazy mess forever? You might change your mind when he morphs into half man half sofa?’

Worse than the questions though are the head tilts and the sympathy smiles. Those who assume the lady doth protest too much. That actually I say these things to cover up that I really really crave crusty socks on the bedroom floor and facial hair in my sink. I don’t.

If happiness for one person is a happy marriage, kids, a lovely home and a pet then brilliant. If something makes you happy then it absolutely suits you. It’s just happiness for a 40 year old woman, or any woman actually. It’s not a one size fits all kinda deal.

My happy ending looks like peace and independence and having a book wall in my living room and a fitness corner and having the best dates of my life without having to share my bedroom permanently. It’s being able to make plans for the future that only include me. It makes me very happy.

Who knows, maybe in 10 years time I’ll change my mind and want to give up my space to share with someone else. All. The. Time *shudder *

Certainly not a life goal though, there are so much more exciting things I need on the life goal list!!

All That She Wants – Blogtober20 Day 15

I am taking part in Blogtober which involves blogging everyday throughout October. Today’s prompt is All That she Wants.

Aren’t we all left wanting at the minute? In so many different ways . There are so many restrictions on our life and our normal every day normalities. I don’t know about you but I find myself fantasising about the most mundane things. daydreaming about what I’ll do when things are more normal.

So maybe I can use this post to articulate those daydreams…all the things that I want.

I want to see my sister

I’ve chatted much and often about how ace my sister is , how much I love her and much of a fantastic human she is. I’m not giving her anymore airtime she’ll get big headed. I last saw her in March when we had a brilliant day out in Manchester to celebrate her birthday , and as things stand at the minute any future plans we try to make have to come with a massive side order of “fingers crossed”

Bottomless brunch with little sis…..

Extra special mention here goes to obviously I also want to see my niece and nephews , my brother , my in laws ….. Hull itself !!!

I want to go to the theatre

I want to go to the theatre sooooooo much. Going to the theatre is my ultimate treat. That can be Matilda with the girls to see a massive production. Could be a super cool date to see a super cool show . Or way more likely than both of those things, a solo date to the theatre on my own to one of my favourite little Manchester theatres. Going to the theatre on my own is a treat for the soul. I’ve seen so many amazing shows at these places and I so miss it. Autumn is such a lovely theatre time for me usually . Head into Manchester , wander round the Christmas Markets take myself out for dinner then off to the theatre to see a play or a show.

Hope Mill Theatre , Manchester. A real hidden gem

I want to be able to be spontaneous

I want to suggest cocktails in town , or lunch! I want to just head out for the day with small girl without needing to think ahead to book somewhere to eat and weigh up the busyness of the trains , and do we have masks and anti bac etc? I like plans to a degree but I also like the freedom to just do!

I want to do my traditional year highlights

The afore mentioned Christmas markets small girl and I have done every year for the last decade. a big , exciting tradition. Doing something sociable for Halloween be that attending an event or having people over. Bonfire night too!

On a non mum level I missed Edinburgh festival this year for the first time in 3 . I’ll let you in on a secret , even the first year I did that , all on my own it became a highlight and I knew I’d want to return every year. I don’t know if it’ll happen next year or not but small girl fancies coming along too if it does!

I miss you Fringe programme…

I don’t want to get too whingey and miserable. I understand there’s things we all want to do at the moment that we simply can’t. So I’m going to try to embrace what we can do. We can hang out as a family , we can go out for dinner in an organised and forward thinking manner.

We also have Christmas on the horizon…I can say with absolute certainty that it is going to get ALL my attention and devotion. Hobbycraft is still open and I’ve finally gotten around to getting a Pinterest account so that’s something to focus my attention on !!

I Should be so Lucky – Blogtober20 day 11

I am taking part in Blogtober which involves blogging every day in October.

Today’s prompt is I Should be so Lucky.

Well… Come on there was only one thing I could choose to write about for this wasn’t there? My all encompassing, longterm devotion to the magnificent Ms Minogue

I was a neighbours fan as a kid. My sister and I used to love it, Home and Away too. In fact we loved that Australian drama so much, in school hols sometimes we’d treat outselves and watch both the lunchtime and teatime showings. I digress, apologies. The wedding, the greatest wedding of all time can’t even imagine how many times I’ve seen that. I think back in the day I had it videoed. 7 year old me fell in love and it has been a love ever lasting.

Especially for You was the first record I ever bought. I know you’re really meant to make up something cool but I can’t do that to our Kyles. By the time I Should be so Lucky came along our love was sealed. 7 year old me was eager to share this love with her family. My dad told me Pah.. Kylie.. she won’t last two minutes! Now I’m not saying I’m one to like being proven right, but my dad died 25 years ago and I still wish I could tell him she’s still very much around now dad. Told you!!!

Now as a grown woman it’s actually cool to be into Kylie, everyone loved her rocking Glastonbury! Everyone looks at her in the same way as I do (like the loveheart eyes emoji if you’re wondering)

I’m a woman who hasn’t really had an awful lot of adventures. I had babies and a few of them in my early 20’s so I didn’t really get to do all the partying and holidaying and festivalling (I’m working up to all that now the kids are older) I’ve not been to an awful lot of gigs. Then a new Kylie tour was announced for 2018!! She was coming to Manchester and I was a grown up now I could buy tickets to see her if I liked! I was rabid excited, asked around see who wanted to come with me (big fat no one) That’s OK, no accounting for taste. I am Kelly, Queen of the solo date I’ll go on my own… Eeek only a year to wait for it to come around.

It came around, there was weeks left to go… I had my Kylie playlist pretty much on repeat 24/7. Then the biggest mental health crash of my life came about. It was always going to happen, always a case of when than if. I couldn’t go to Kylie, no way. I couldn’t go into a big crowded place, I couldn’t have fun. No way not a chance. Kylie day came round and I just sat, sad and miserable.

My mental health is a fragile thing but it’s always dependable in the way it always gets better. It got better, much better. Things that had laid dormant and raw for years and now been processed and dealt with, trauma quietened. It happened again. A big glittery announcement, a new Kylie tour and this time it was her greatest hits. Her. Greatest. Hits. The 7 year old in me briefly wondered if we could get our hair permed again for the concert (hey we rocked the perm in 1988 what’s stopping us? ) That idea briefly cast aside tickets to see her in Edinburgh… at the actual castle no less were bought and… yeah.. just a year to wait..

Kylie day came around! It didn’t start well. I overslept, I couldn’t find my make up bag and I left my bank card in Manchester Piccadilly. Was I just doomed? Were things always going to stop me seeing her? I was late but I made it, tummy butterflies the whole journey. A bit grumpy about the disastrous morning but it was Kylie day, put the playlist on and cheer up. It was a gorgeous day I had a lovely summery dress on (a very glittery Kylie esque one to change into for the gig!!!) Walking through Edinburgh super super excited, the sun was shining it was Kylie day!! There was all of a sudden a bit of a chill in the air though, I felt really cold. A glance down to discover said lovely dress had burst open flashing the whole of Edinburgh my undies!! Oh give me a break, can anything else go wrong. My chivalrous companion got me a drink sat me down and staved off a breakdown as he hurried off to get safety pins and save my blushes and I held my dress together like an absolute loon. Thinking back now I just smile at how badly my day was going at the time I just felt doomed.

It goes without saying Kylie was phenomenal. Pretty sure our eyes met in a really meaningful way once or twice and I don’t think I’ve ever felt the joy that was tens of thousands of people singing Kylie and just loving their lives in that moment. I kept catching the person I was with sneaking glances at me in the way you do when you take the kids to see something you know they’re going to love so you can’t take your eyes off their excited happy faces! Only I was a 39 year old woman but probably excitable as a kid. So it turned out I wasn’t doomed to never see Kylie. The woman I had spent a good 30 years in love with. The opposite of doomed in fact. I’m not really a everything happens for a reason kind of a person however being there, On a Night Like This blasting out as the sun set over the gorgeous Edinburgh Castle. That did feel like the most perfect of moments that ever could have been.

She drives me crazy Blogtober20- Day 6

It’s October and I’m very excited to be taking part in Blogtober 2020 which involves blogging everyday through October using prompts.

Today’s prompt is She Drives Me Crazy

Oh and she does , she drives me sooooo crazy !

Who?

The woman in my head who causes me so many problems .

The anxious woman.

The hypervigilant woman.

The self loathing woman.

The woman whose past trauma manifests as 4d nightmares and a fear of loud noise.

She drives me absolutely up the wall!

Ordinarily on a day to day basis I am not her . I’m relaxed and happy and smiley. I’m healthy and I’m calm and I’m focussed . The real Kelly !! The one I quite like . The one who likes chattering away about nonsense and taking herself out for solo theatre dates . She’s the best version of my me there is . I always say that people get the best version of me when I’m relaxed and it’s true.

However all my mental health issues need me not to be relaxed so they can thrive there in my brain and make a nuisance of themselves .

I have ptsd which causes hypervigilance , sounds like a superpower doesn’t it ?? It kind of is I guess , I’m always on the ball keeping an eyeout for danger !! Only when I’m in that vigilant state EVERYTHING is danger . I perceive danger at every turn. In a crowded pub I can hear a an argument take a certain turn of tone and that’s it I’m done and need to leave .

My anxiety also needs me to be on edge and worried in order to thrive ! If it wants to do its favourite trick of convincing that I’m going to faint in public (added not being able to breathe or swallow if its a particularly cruel bout) , None of these horrible , scary feelings would come about if I was relaxed and feeling settled and all zen.

Although anxious , stress , on edge , dizzy , oversensitive to noise , sensing danger at every turn me does indeed drive me crazy. So crazy , I’m kind of used to her now you know!! Really bad flare ups are generally pretty rare these days thankfully and I have lots of techniques in place to calm the anxiety , to deal with the nightmares and to make myself bloody breathe properly.

I learned a while ago to accept my mental health wobbles and it’s so much easier to like yourself more once you do I think!

So she drives me crazy , but I’m content to have her around these days !

This Is Me! Blogtober20 Day 1

It’s October and I’m very excited to be taking part in Blogtober 2020 which involves blogging everyday through October using prompts.

Todays prompt is This Is Me , so here are 10 facts about me !

I AM A BLOGGER

Yeah , zero points for the woman stating the obvious. I’ve kind of forgotten myself lately though. I began my blog as a anonymous blog talking about my life after escaping an abusive relationship. My blog has evolved over the last 7 (what? how’s it been that long) years though and now my emphasis is on finding yourself once the children are growing up and remembering or discovering who you are without the mum tag.

I AM A DECEMBER BABY

As such I shall bemoan the disparity between those of us who are totally swindled by our December birthdays and the rest of the population forever !!! Joint birthday /Christmas celebrations , presents and cards are just such a con. I know we can’t compete with Jesus on the special birthday front but spare us a thought!

I AM TRAINING FOR A MARATHON

Anyone who follows me on social media will already be bored silly of me going on about it . Trust me , I am a bit fed up of it myself ! It was meant to have been done by now . I’d been training to run the Manchester Marathon in April 2020 , covid spoilt those plans and the marathon was moved to October 2020…then to April 2021 and now we’re looking at October 2021. I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist but feels like this is all a big con to keep me having to train and keep fit instead of sitting on my bum eating chips ….and I really love sitting on my bum eating chips!!

I LOVE DOCTOR WHO

I have seen my favourite episodes , gotta be hundreds of times ! My decision on who the best Doctor has been changes according to my mood and which episode I’ve just seen (currently Capaldi!) There is a Who episode to suit every mood if I need to laugh or cry or feel hopeful or uplifted I have a whole spectrum to choose from. I’m very grateful I had a little boy when it made its comeback or it would have likely totally passed me by , and THEN where would I have gone for a therapeutic weep!

This year I got the dress of dreams , hands down my most favourite thing I’ve ever bought !! With a cool necklace to go with. LOOK….. *sighs with happiness *

The photographer took her job waaayyy too seriously here (she’s 12!)

I HAVE A FISH PHOBIA

Shudder …even the thought of the slimy swimmy little things has me on edge !!!

They send shivers down me swimming about , I daren’t paddle in the sea in case one touches me , I can’t go to aquariums , I have to be on high alert in Pets at Home !! just horrid!

I also have never eaten fish ( you’d think I’d be happier with them once they were dead wouldn’t you ?) No , still as offensive to me ! Happy with my chips plain thanks no need for battered fish corpse on the side !

I LOVE A SOLO DATE

I wrote all about my love of a date for one here Reasons everyone should have a ‘date night’…on their own! and I stand by it now (even though I’ve some pretty amazing dates with a plus one lately!) There’s just something freeing about a night out where you get to be super selfish and not taking anyone else into consideration! Also I’m a pretty good date it turns out!

I AM A TOTAL BOOKWORM

Now the kids are all getting older and time in my presence is no longer the fun goals it once was I have a very odd thing called ……spare time!!! I know! I know! if you’ve small children you never think you’re going to see this ever again but it’s in your future I promise! I’m currently reading More Than A Woman by Caitlin Moran and enjoying it a lot . My favourite book of the year so far is a gorgeous book called A Love Story for Bewildered Girls by Emma Morgan.

I AM A SINGLE MUM OF 4

I have 2 boys , 2 girls . Well I say boys they’re 20 and 18 and the girls are 17 and 12. I’ve been a single mum for almost 13 years and it’s been a wild ride ! Currently we’re just recalibrating after son number 2 heartlessly abandoned us for uni!

I HAVE A PENCHANT FOR ODD CRUSHES

I don’t think them odd by the way , it’s everyone else who questions my taste ! Everyone has one weird crush eh ? Just all mine are – as documented

Ah so I’ve some weird crushes…

My weird crushes (part 2)

Think I need a part 3 actually , I need a safe space to chat about my recent Ed Milliband thing …

I’M A BIT OBSSESSIVE

I have no middle ground , it’s so odd. I either love something to absolute death (see Doctor Who) or I really couldn’t care less . Very much all or nothing kind of attitude ! Happens with people too I either find someone fascinating and want to know everything there possibly is to know about them , I want to inhale their soul….or yeah not bothered *shrugs shoulders *

So that’s me , in a nutshell.

Love Doctor Who and books

Hate fish !

hmmm could have saved myself a few hundred words there eh ?

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Into the Groove Blogtober20-day 4

It’s October and I’m very excited to be taking part in Blogtober 2020 which involves blogging everyday through October using prompts.

Today’s prompt is Into the Groove , so I’m talking about how I’m trying to get ‘into the groove’ and motivated through October (not sooo tenuous right?) I’ve been missing in action lately on the blog front. I am just feeling thoroughly uninspired at the mo. My phone notes are usually full of blog post ideas I’ve had , usually so full I’ll never get around to writing many of them but I’m scared not to note these ideas as they pop into my head , because what if they were brilliant ?! y notes are currently empty , my many notebooks lay unwritten in, my brain is just not feeling very creative.

Autumn is usually my absolute favourite season. I love the pretty cosiness of it all . I like cold days with the sun shining , I like multicoloured leaves , I like fluffy jumpers and stews.

With everything else going on currently though it’s feeling a bit tricky to embrace all the things I love about Autumn and run with them, there’s so much uncertainty in the world at the minute I’m untrusting of even Autumns cosy little months coming along. There are so many what ifs . Will the kids stay in school and college without event ? Will teen boy the younger be allowed home from uni? Will we find ourselves thoroughly locked down again? Are we going to find ourselves restricted to just one exercise a day again?

Everything feels up in the air and unsettled right now. I have anxiety and uncertainty doesn’t suit me at all. I like yes and no and dislike maybe. Whilst everything was all shut and we were all stuck home I was perfectly happy , when and if life goes back to the normal of before I’ll deal with that but we appear to be in halfway kind of place currently and it doesn’t sit well with me .

What do I do when I feel a little out of control and I need to focus my anxious energies ?

I make a plan!

There are two things that focus my mind when all around me seems unsure. Firstly , this blog. Though it has been woefully neglected of late just knowing it’s here ready for me to pour my thoughts and worries and hopes and dreams and rants into whenever I need it is fantastic . Writing down my thoughts has always been hugely therapeutic to me , also a bit of creativity makes me happy .

Secondly , running . Another thing that focusses my mind . I wrote Running and mental health all about how running helps me .

So the plan just needs to make time for these two things and also give me a bit of a challenge , I do like to test myself.

I am , for the third year in a row, taking part in Blogtober . A blog challenge which means posting a blog post everyday in October . The brilliant Mandi at https://bigfamilyorganisedchaos.com/ has put together some fab song based prompts and I’m excited to give this brain a good old kick start and get back to the blogging that I love. I have never yet managed to blog every single day of October , but maybe this is the year!

On the running front I’ve two new challenges for this month.

Manchester Marathon has now been postponed until next autumn . I have been very anti ‘virtual’ races in the past. I love the atmosphere of run day and as an annoyingly competitive person the chance to attempt to try and catch someone up who isn’t too far away are what helps me finish most races!! However the plan calls for challenging my little running self so I am going to do the virtual Manchester Marathon , which means running the 26.2 miles through October (not all at the same time thankfully , I’m not there yet!)

I’m also in October , with This Girl Runs , challenging myself to run and walk 100k in the month of October. That sounds quite a lot when you type it ??!!Eeeeek what have I gotten myself into ?I don’t know but am already much chirpier just having some fun things to focus on what with everything else going on !!

Let’s see how I get on !!!

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