It’s never easy being young…

People are always afraid of getting old, of finding those fine lines and grey hairs of time passing them by, of missing opportunities and the sense that each day you’re the best you’ll ever be. If I’m honest, I’ve never really prescribed to that philosophy. Since a child, if I was the closer side of six months to my birthday, I’ve always rounded up. Being young for me was always difficult, always feeling too old for my years and hating the condescending stares of those more experienced eyes around me. Age for me always represented, progression, wisdom, experience, passion, learning… Moving away from the past and growing into the person that I feel inside, each year finding my feet a little more…

Thats easy to say when everything’s going well, when you’ve a plan, when you’re still only 22 and have you ‘whole life ahead of you’. But it’s not easy beings young – the Argo, the angst, the attitudes. All this raging hormones and learning curves, new lessons and choices to make. The world might be your oyster, but they are a delicacy to get used too. There’s the opposite sex, and sex, and then the ex; growing pains, growth spurts and guessing… It might be an exciting road we travels, but however worn it’s still got its fair share of bumps and twists and turns.

Decisions come thick and fast, what to do, where to go, what to be, who to be with, what to want, what t get, what to aspire too, what to work for… And that sinking feeling that these questions will remain unanswered and sought for a fairly long time. Life after all doesn’t get any easier or let up instead striving forward and creating new challenges – not the easiest thing t comprehend. If I could go back and grow up again, I can say I wouldn’t. I still haven’t for a start, I’m still 15 somewhere inside, trying my best to look the part, to fit in, to do well, to achieve…

But it’s not easy. Even getting out of adolescence isn’t easy with the present economy. School leavers, or Uni graduates, everyone s struggling to find their place in the world. Those with a career plan are finding it virtually impossible to get started in with the lack of jobs, and the rest who are unsure are desperately vying for whatever wage they can take. As a young thing, I’ll admit it all seems a rather daunting prospect.

The Go to Girl

I’m not saying this to boast, or to sound like I know everything, I know very little about anything and things I do know i’m limited on. Like everyone I speak from experience and musing only, that is all we have to go on, things we know, and what we think we think about the things we don’t. Apparently, I’m ok at it. I’m everyone’s go to girl,

Now when I say everyone, I do mean, everyone. Family, friends, Uni friends, best friends, family members friends, people I don’t really know that well at all – acquaintances we’ll call them. I don’t know what it is but apparently I seem to be able to hit the nail on the head. What that means is I guess up to the person who’s asking for the advice, but alot of the time it comes down to, getting how they feel and what they want.

Well, everyone can give advice lets me fair, but everyone can also give bad advice, or off the cuff advice – ill thought out or barely thought about at all. My advice is simple, and it comes from reading people. I spend a lot of time observing human behaviour. That sound odd, i’m not David attenborough for mankind but I do people watch – incessantly. With a coffee, out for a walk, in lectures… Its amazing what you pick up on. I think this helps to relate to people, we all have the same problems, the same insecurities, and if they seem different, underneath everything it’ll be something we’ve felt ourselves.

Advice isn;t about mere reassurance, it’s about practical home truths, not being harsh for harshness sake but being truthful and fair. Example, if a friend is fretting about losing her partner and she can’t see what she’s done, let her talk ask some questions and low and behold she probably did do something. So don’t say, you idiot, but say, do you think maybe he was feeling… yada yada yada. In hearing something that they maybe don’t want to admit to themselves, they’ll have a moment of realisation. Its not to go grovelling back, but its about accepting whats happened, finding whats upsetting you and moving on from it.

Most strife, worry and angst, comes because people don’t know what they are feeling or what the root cause of the issue is, when they find it, suddenly everything falls into place, and that’s usually my bit. The second important bit. Share. I always talk about my own life, I put it into context. As I’ve said before my life has had far too much drama for its age, I’ve had a lifetimes worth of angst in a short twenty something years, even my counsellors concur, so its important to make the person feel you understand. if its relationships, share a similar situation, friends, talk about that friendship  that broke down and still causes you hurt, but. Do not make it about you.

You are there for the person not to run off into your own woes and thoughts. It’s easily done, its my mums advice, she’ll say this is like, and half an hour later we’re still talking about my mum and her problems and I’m consoling her. Keep sharing relevant and make sure you relate it back to them with a helpful tip, how you got over it, how you came to realise, what you did, what you didn’t do, what. ever.

I enjoy being the go to girl. A lot of my friends i’m the sole person they can or will talk to about difficult things, and that makes you realise you really are treasured. It shows you taht your not just a fair weather friend and that your mates value your opinions and advice. I’m nicknamed wise owl in my group. I don’t think i’m wise at all, older than my years possibly, and to someone who’s young for their age, maybe we’re poles apart, but. I’m understanding, I listen, I observe and I care. Thats the clincher. If you care, you listen, if you listen you learn, you understand, you can relate better, you can advise better. You keeping making mistakes, you hear about other peoples, you learn from both and grow in emotional maturity.

People have rung me from South Africa when something’s gone wrong to talk to me, people have text me from Australia, Tokyo, Sweden… I get calls at 2 am, 4 am, at work and when I’m on the phone consoling someone else, and every time I’m there. Because that’s what being a friend is, putting the other person first when they need it, being their regardless, selflessly, because you genuinely care.

I’m told daily I should be an agony aunt, a counsellor, a sex therapist, a carer. Well, I think if I’m honest, I’m playing all of them already.

Explaining how you feel…

How do you explain depression to someone who doesn’t understand? How do you make someone see, understand what it is, what its like, how it feels? Its something to be honest, I’ve never tried to do. My parents saw the best and worst of me and therefore they got it first hand, for all its peculiarities and oddness.

Its described as that black dog that follows you around, a metaphor for being chased down by darkness, this feeling of being followed, imprisoned, caged by your own feelings. Its always there, like a cloud looming, suffocating you, reminding you that it can rain again any time.

But what is it. Its hardly descriptive is it, this black dog. Its all abstract words and feelings its hardly surprising people can’t grasp it. To me, its this sense of deadness that creeps in. Where I go through a stage of feeling numb, over tired, exhausted, my brain works at a 100 miles an hour worrying about anything, everything, keeping me up. I stop sleeping, I feel nothing about anything. Apathetic,  just very unlike me.

Then you feel lost, down, sad, you feel like crying constantly because you don’t understand why you don’t feel happy, why you can’t feel properly. Like your heads wrapped in cotton wool, you can’t think, can’t process, feelings tear around inside of you rather than drifting, you’re angry for feeling so helpless when there is nothing wrong, sad for not knowing how to put it right, lost as to the answer to this imaginary problem.

Yet it is so very real. It can come around or go as fast as anything. I take tablets, the highest dose of my prescribed meds allowed, to keep me from feeling that way, but then, sometimes, it all gets to much. I’ll have a few down days, where suddenly, I’ll wake up and something isn’t right, I can feel it, this sense of… an absence. My eyes prick with tears and I don’t understand why, I end up overwhelmed, hysterical, hating myself for feeling so god damn useless. Then, I feel OK.

I sit with someone, I talk, I don’t talk, I take some different tablets, I get a handle on things, drag myself out of my own pit, and give myself a good talking too. I put things in perspective, I contact those I love, I force myself to get on, and you know what, I’m OK again, functioning normally. Enjoying friends company, occupying myself with writing, reading, plans, whatever. The helplessness subsides, the empty void is filled, if only partly on occasion, and I carry on.

Its dangerous. Its worrying how quickly things can turn so wrong, how things can get out of hand. How your rational brain, leaves somewhere and this force takes over. Doctors worry, long term depression is a worry, it leads to scary things, they want to put you with people to talk to, they want to make you feel better all the time, but we all have ups and downs, just because your depressed doesn’t mean you should never have them.

I want the highs and the lows. Sometimes you just need to talk and say, I feel like everything’s slipping away again, sometimes you need people to leave it be, sometimes you need someone to understand they cant get it. People that say its a first world problem, damn right it is. How upsetting is that, can you imagine, knowing there are people in Africa, starving, with AIDS and diseases, their children dying and if you asked them, they’d want to live.

I say its ignorant. Well yes and no. Its hard to understand something you cant explain or feel yourself, Its hard to see how there can be a problem when there is nothing seemingly wrong. It is totally irrational, that is not lost on depressives, its stupid, its selfish, its ridiculous, thats not lost on me either. But its a disease, of the brain, its there and it eats you and it makes no sense and its there for no reason.

I was told last week I was considered a harm to myself, maybe I was, last week I didnt care, I couldn’t be bothered, I was fed up of feeling down, of getting these ridiculous feelings, of the hopelessness, of letting myself get like that, if that was my life, I didnt want it. But this week, well, I’ve got my perspective back, my rational brain and I know, its stupid to let something take such a hold, something you can’t even understand or quantify.

I get upset when people question it, I understand how ridiculous it is, I hate myself for being such a drip, for letting myself become so overemotional, when I’m not one for being overly emotional normally. Its because I cant explain it, I dont understand it and I find it as frustrating as everyone does who’s trying to get a straight answer about it.

I want to hide people from my lows. When I could just lose it all completely and cry and shake and dissolve into a dribbling, snivelling wreck for no apparant reason. You look mental, you make no sense, you seem hysterical and nothings happened. Why would people want to see that? But then your being fake, your being fake all the time. No your not. Sometimes we all want to cry, sometimes we all want to scream out, its just your at the extremes as a depressive. There isn’t a lot in the middle, its from Depression to Numbness to Happiness. the place inbetween the polar opposites is not feeling at all.

I wish I could stop being like that, I wish I could just be happy with my life because I’ve nothing to be unhappy about, I wish I could be like everybody else, without making a problem out of not having a distinguishable problem. But its something I accept, I try not to think about, I get on with, its a part of me. I  was diagnosed 10 years ago, and it certainly won’t disappear overnight. I don’t dwell, I don’t think about it, I don’t will it, but it creeps in, I fight it off, I get tired, I give in, I resolve, I get up, I dust myself down, I slap myself for my stupidity, I smile, I carry on, and I’m back.

That’s as well as I can ever describe it. I just hope, for those I want it to, its good enough.

After all, Life isnt about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning how to dance in the rain.

Revelation of my brains sex.

I fear this may be one of those posts I dread, when I think I am surely going to offend someone or say something out of turn that someone won’t like but, I’ve realised something today, that I had not ever really given much thought before. I wish I was a man -just because I own a strap on dildo and sleep with women doesn’t mean I want a penis – I want to be, A Man – sort of. Now even writing that sentence seems odd to me, looks odd, doesn’t feel right, something in me says I am glad I am not a man, I have no desire to be one, and yet, I am extremely envious. I am jealous even, of men.Now before I go any further, I do not under any circumstances see myself as anything but a strong female. I am all woman in all senses, I love being a woman, I love the way men look at you, I love flirting, I love being with women… I love the physics of women, I love our figures, our complexity, I love our aesthetics, but I don’t like our traits. I have always laughed and said to people, you need to think of me as a man, not a girl. They’ve all given me the same look and in time they’ve realised its true. I pride myself on my male characteristics.

I’ve never been a woman who wanted to do herself up, to make a massive effort with clothes, with short skirts and outrageous diets, I didn’t wanna look like I’d been pushed through Topshop backwards – I didn’t want to compete. Why? Because I didn’t, don’t, want to be viewed as a woman, to be perceived as a ‘woman’ in men’s eyes. I’ve never wanted to look as though I’ve tried to hard, that I’ve made an effort, that I’m one of those people who spends hours in a mirror worrying about their looks and what people will think, because I guess I don’t. I never wanted to come across as emotional, as stressy, as concerned with life’s trivialities, to talk about shoes, and whose friends with who, to bitch or to get upset that some boy didn’t text me, quite frankly because those things, don’t concern me. I want to be wanted, but not owned, not to be someones missus, to get married and have babies and fall into the role of mother and wife because I have the parts, it wasn’t ever a dream of mine as a little girl.

I do not think, before I continue, I am better than anyone else. I’m stereotyping massively but, sit in a coffee shop all day and observe female behaviour and I hate to say it, the stereotypes there for a reason. Female bonding culminates on three topics, Bitching, Boys and Buys. We love to slag each other off, have a good gossip, talk about what someones wearing as they walk past, or had we heard that… we love other people’s lives, women are born nosey, its something we can’t escape. I pride myself on being someone who doesn’t care, who doesn’t get involved, let people do as they will and I wont worry myself with it too much, my family are the only people who matter, and my friends are my family, as I’ve said before, they are few and far between and I value them as blood. Then boys, women love to talk about men, about sex, who they’ve been with, what they think, what they do, who’s the bastard, the old flame, the cheat, the new lover… It’s all being nosey, again. Then buying, shopping, appearance. What make up you use, how much the shopping was, what bargain someone got, what they wear, what they won’t, what shape they are…

To me, none of this matters. Having dated girls, I dislike the fuss. There is a lot of fuss as a woman, over lots of things and I prefer the more simplistic. Women are complicated, they are illogical, over thinkers, overly stimulated, we dot relax, we don’t enjoy life simply. Dating a woman is a minefield, even as a girl, we make no sense most of the time, we change like the winds and we contradict ourselves, continually. We’ve all heard men say it and we are quick to damn their sex for their insolent remarks, yet date a woman and it becomes clear, even we don’t understand ourselves.

And so I guess, I would consider myself to have a mans perspective yes. But it had never occurred to me that I dislike being a women, or having womanly traits before. I knew I wasn’t a feminist. I believe that women should have equal rights to men yes, that we should have the same freedom as anyone else, but that’s because, I believe I am sort of, a man. I don’t care for the same things other girls seem to around me, or care for female companionship in general because of it. I don’t feel I fit in. I’m called, crude because my humours dirty and normally borderline sexist, but in an amusing way. But I actively dislike myself when I am acting like a woman.

I don’t mean a female, let me make that clear, I mean a woman as in the traits that I see women to possess that make me, weak. Being over emotional, needy, worrying about what people think, or what I say, wanting people to like me, and to understand.. Being concerned with how my nails are, whether my make ups looking good, whether I look skinny enough…Talking inanely about things that don’t matter, like the neighbours or gossiping about someone needlessly, even if without malice… I feel it makes me feel weak. It makes me angry at myself, feel negative about my behaviour or feelings.

I am quick to say, god I sound like a woman, god I’m being a woman, to snap myself out of any behaviour I see as unfit, mulling over something too much, over thinking something like a relationship, dithering, one of my own pet hates. I defend myself when I’m acting like that, saying I must be coming on soon, or don’t judge me I’m having a moment, it’s embedded in me that being a woman isn’t a strength. Or more, the qualities that separate us from men aren’t always a strength many quite the opposite.

Yes we feel compassion and care, and kindness that men do not. We forge stronger more meaningful relationships because we attach emotions, we are understanding, more forgiving, more thoughtful and therefore a lot of the time, more insightful than our male counterparts. But, we also upset ourselves needlessly, think too much into things and tie our knickers in knots, worry about things we have no control about, bitch and back-stab each other. My room is decorated in girly posters, in trinket boxes and photo albums, in kitsch sayings and signs, they make me happy, I am comfortable with cushions and soft things, pretty things, It’s not being a girl I have an issue with it seems. Not my sex, but my gender. My gendered identity.

I focus a great deal at University on the study of men, the study of women don’t concern me, feminist works irritate me, unless they are period pieces. Women who fall down as heroines and need saving by strong men, the opposite women that stand up to men as symbols of femininity and strength, yet they are not, they are emotional and its these qualities that make them the hero, and yet to me, it’s what make them weak. The characters I like are devious, over sexual beings, that use men as they do, that stand defiantly, that have men’s jobs, that wear flat shoes, that swear and spit and all the rest.

Men, I do not worship, nor think are perfect. They are confusing for the reasons we aren’t, for their lack of emotion when only emotion seems to be the answer, they are simple, they just want to make tit jokes and be lads, not engage in deep conversation like I like to, like I guess most girls do. They are in some respects two-dimensional, yet even in our society they are still in a better position. Women are still considered weaker in the work place, because we’ll want to go off and have babies at some point, they’re weaker at home, not the breadwinners, they look after the husband and they keep them, they’re weaker in parliament, in politics, in literature, in films, in every discourse you can think of. We are confined by our genders as men are agreeably, yet I never knew I disliked it so.

Recently I’ve grown my nails, they’re long and people remark on how pretty they are, i’m obsessed with painting them, because I’m proud of them, I’d never been able to grow them before, always been to weak and given into a nibble. I’ve shopped for new clothes, for trousers and skirts and going out stuff, something I’d never been concerned with, but I don’t have anything to wear out and my clothes are two big. I’ve lost weight and now I’m thinking about what  I look like all of a sudden. I literally hate it. Every time I say something, earlier I mentioned getting my hair cut, why, why do I suddenly care. I don’t, it was a passing comment about my week and yet I sound like a woman, I curse myself for it. But why? that’s the big thing…

I don’t understand why it bothers me so. Why I see it as a bad thing, where this idea of weakness came from, why I feel the need to rebel against it almost when I do find myself thinking something girly, why I have such a dim view of womanhood… and yet its there. All the time, this nagging when I say, what shall I wear tonight, because, I don’t really care, if I’m overdressed, undressed, I’ll feel no awkwardness about it, I won’t ‘not’ go if I don’t think I’m wearing the right thing, yet I’m saying it so it does concern me. My brain seems to fight my own gender.

Then, we all fight our own stereotypes. If you think about it, a guy may be in a group of friends and they’re playing x box, drinking, enjoying themselves, making a few girl jokes, bit of bantar, he’s perceived as a lad, so a player, and a flirt and probably a cheat, yet he could be the most sensitive guy, but we stereotype immediately. You might sing on the way home from a  night out, take your heels off and walk arm in arm with a girl, guys may find themselves in fights yet we’d hate to be called youths, the ones we hear about in the newspapers, that get drunk, don’t work, are violent and common and lacking in common courtesies, morals even. Yet, you’d no doubt be called one, by someone, somewhere, in their mind. I don’t like people who judge a book by their cover, I’m as guilty as anyone, yet I guess that is my point, I actively dislike being associate with any category, especially a woman’s more sensitive traits.

I guess you could say it all comes down to perception and being image conscious then, and yet I don’t care what people think, whether they like me, think I’m funny, hate me, yet on some level I do. I don’t want to be viewed, more importantly, as weak. Maybe because I am weak, maybe because I’m self-conscious, maybe because I feel I need to prove myself to people somehow, or maybe because I don’t like being sold short, and we all have strength other people never see. But further than that, I don’t want to be seen as anything less than me, and I’m a babble of contradictions, complications, complexities and conundrums. I’m everything I am, and everything I am not at once. Being categorised means you are judged, your sold short, people put you in a category that you then don’t fit into necessarily, if not certainly not all the time.

…What my conclusion to this revelation, I do not know if there is anyone in general, more an understanding of just how complicated we really are. I am indeed a contradiction in terms, myself versus my sex but that’s Ok, we’re all odd in our own ways – I guess it’s just another of my quirks.

Think thoughtfully.

Thinking. Its something we do all the time, something we cannot escape. When we are not actively thinking about anything our brain is computing something, thoughts are subconsciously running through our minds, even if its about what we’re doing. When someone asks what we’re thinking about, we suddenly think about thinking, about what we should be thinking, were thinking, thoughts about, thinking. And then we say, nothing, because actively we weren’t thinking anything…

Then there are the things we need to think about, the daily activities, remembering specific information, about work, life, family, our relationship, about the milk that’s getting low in the fridge, when we’ll get to the supermarket, which one, the one near work or when we’ve returned had tea and go late, what are we having for tea tonight, what’s in the cupboard… our thoughts run away with us constantly, on tangents and processes we’re not aware of.

As a depressive and having done cognitive behavioural therapy, thought processes, interest me. How dangerous a thought process can be. Our thoughts affect everything, the way we feel, the way we act, we present ourselves, how we achieve, how we cope. So, sometimes we’ll wake up and ‘ta da’, we’re in a fabulous mood, we look in the mirror, we feel fresh, rearing to go, our brain keeps on a positive note and we blissfully and excitedly bustle through our day… OR we wake look in the mirror and our brain decides to attack us, tells us we’re fat, we look horrid, that today’s going to be one of those days. We cant do anything because our brains decided its a shit day and therefore we’ll subconsciously make sure it is. We’ll turn down coffee with a friend because we don’t feel like, despite it probably being the thing that would bump us out of this funk.

But what scares me more than that is over thinking. We all think to much, and sometimes we seem to get stuck, musing, mulling things over, ruminating about things that weren’t a problem, aren’t a problem – creating a problem for our own sakes. We become obsessive, paranoid, totally consumed and preoccupied by this one thought. Something small becomes bigger so it becomes unbearable. I do it all the time. So I get up, I’m not having a great day but I perk up and I say hi to flatmate/friend/family member. They are equally as off colour as I am and grunt, not bothering to speak before leaving the room. Brain – she hates you, they hate you, you’ve upset them, what have you done, your always upsetting people, you cant even think what it is because you’re a bad friend, go and ask… so you do and, nothings wrong, but she’s saying that because somethings wrong… and before you know it you’ve become an annoying friend who suddenly thinks you’re a nutter and caused a problem by being, you.

It’s not just friendships – i’ve thought myself out of twenty or so decent relationships, with good people because i’ve over-thought stuff. we’ve had a rough patch and i’ve been to quick to go, this is it, they dont care, this is how its gonna be, do you want to spend the rest of your life like this (as though marriage was on the cards at 2 months) or they’re nice but not fun, you want someone fun, someone exciting someone who will push your buttons, you’ll break up with them anyways, somewhere down the line so do it now, they don’t really care or they’d make more effort and another one bites the dust. Its irrational and unlike me, who prides herself on being non judgemental, a logical thinker and a fair person, I certainly don’t think like it at times.

And its not me, its me being something I’m not. Suddenly being insecure, or over thoughtful, second guessing something really insignificant and it all goes tits up, and amazingly because i’m so preoccupied, I cant see how its happened. The confident, happy, calm, collected, secure in her own self Carla disappears momentarily and a monster takes over and destroys me. I’m not blaming the depression, I just think, we as people, don’t really like being happy. We like having something to think about, an issue, life is going great and we fabricate problems and drama from nowhere for, as all I can see, entertainment purposes. Mental.

I did it recently, nearly talked myself out of a new relationship thats building because he’s not my ex and to my family I know they’ll be comparing and they’re different, they’ll think i’ve just jumped into something, have I jumped into something, am I happy, he makes me happy but, am I just going to end it, do I even want a relationship now, but now i’m kinda in one, and he really cares and i’m just going to hurt him because he’s not the marriage and children that I had with the long term ex, but how can he we’ve only just met, and that’s it, we have only just met, we’re still so early on and yet we’re so serious, I don’t want serious… And suddenly, I’m being weird, he;s acting oddly because he doesn’t know what the hell he’s done and we row. And my brains response? he”s not the one for you see, you’re already rowing and you’ve only just got together. Its utter madness.

Now. Do not get me wrong, I love thinking, i spend hours musing about the oddest things, about philosophy and ethics and English related stuff, and theories, on films and they’re influences, on how we change, on us as people, on the big life questions, I love letting me brain run off and form some conclusion eventually. But on other things, I think we all need to keep it on a tight rein. we need to remember that our biggest enemy at any time is ourselves. If someone beats us up, mentally, physically, verbally, its the affect and the way that we deal with it that has the biggest effect. Its how we let the experience change us, bother us, influence us. No one can hurt you if you don’t listen, don’t care for their opinions and know, deep down, you’re a decent human being.

We have the power to make ourselves great, to build ourselves up, to give ourselves the strength, the drive, the determination to succeed, to make life long friends, lasting relationships and a career we want. But its our minds that hold us back, our insecurities, that little voice in side of doubt, of dilenma, of diliberation that has the final word. It’s hard to be carefree if you care for yourself, your life, and those in it, but its harder to let your brain settle and care less for what it says than what it does to help. I genuinely believe we have a power inside us stronger than we can imagine, our brains have the ability to heal ourselves, change ourselves, make us lose weight for example without effort, to develop and guide us. We know so little about its capabilities that we have to treat it with respect and an air of caution and a sense of awe.

Thinking, over thinking, under thinking, not thinking, always thinking, thinking pointlessly, thinking logically, thinking pragmatically, thinking irrationally. thinking without thought… we all do them, we all have our ways, our processes, our thoughts, the way we form them, they way they develop, but thoughts are just that. They are meant to be times for self reflection, ordering and understanding, not berating, irritating and confusing our worlds and the things that our happening in it.

Think about thinking, the way you think, what your most common thoughts are, and I bet you’re surprised what they are, and how they affect us all.

Someone once said to me, I had a path…

I must’ve been fifteen or sixteen, my brothers girlfriend came around with him bringing a friend. This woman unknown to all the family, came in the house, stood in the hallway for two minutes, promptly started hyperventilating and walked out the front door.

I looked at my brother, my mother at me, to my father, back to me and then we all stared at my brother with a look of wonderment and shock. Who on earth was this and what was she doing in our house. Finally he proceeded to tell the tale of how once he had said, his partners friend, a psychic, yes you heard me right, wanted  to come round, read us all and remove the evil she believed lived in our house.

I could hardly contain my laughter at the ridiculousness of the situation. How could anyone perceive that our house was evil, or we were, because after all, we live in it and I wax pretty sure no one was hiding in the garage, attic or back of the loft space. We asked him what had been said and it would appear nothing, she knew not our names, our jobs, what we did, our ages, education or any minor detail of our life.

It sounded a bit far fetched, otherwise why would she want to come around if she knew nothing but yet, felt an evil then from my brother? He’d always been a  bit of a one but not evil, he hid my teddy as a child, he would tease and torment with friends, but evil, that was a stretch…

So she returned, taking a seat in our small study at the front of the house and demanded my father go first. she asked us not to ask questions or discuss so in and out we all went, silently, giving each other odd looks on passing and not really wanting to say or do anything to upset whatever it was we would be upsetting by conversing, her, probably. I sat and watched my friend have a reading, she talked of the usual, her life was good, what she was to e, what she had been, how her life was panning out, her good soul, good heart, all the stuff you’d expect. When she finished, she ushered the girl out of the room and turned to me.

My turn. I moved over and took her seat, she eyed me for what seems like an eternity before asking me, ‘why?’ I stare quite blankly, not knowing if I have missed something, zoned out or what not, had a I telepathically relayed to her how ridiculous this all seemed? Not a believer but not not believing the situation seemed bizarre to me.

‘Why’, she repeated again. I asked, ‘why, did I want a reading? Why, why what?’ Before she smiled, ‘why destroy yourself so?’ It struck me as an odd thing to say, and before I had time to comment she held my hands and said ‘shh’ before continuing. ‘You are torturing yourself, tormenting yourself for a life you cannot understand for ills that have been done to you and yet you blame yourself, you are choosing this path, this destruction, soon it will destroy you, you’ll stay on it as long as you feel until, well, until you fall off it or you never recover.’

I stared at her blankly, what an earth was she getting at… she changed tact. ‘You’re an old soul although you knew that, because you knew things beyond your years, things you couldn’t understand, you have a knowledge of life, a perception unknown to people of your age and yet you are so young, you know what I’m saying to you, hear me, hear me in your soul, let yourself forgive yourself, forgive your tormentors and move on, don’t destroy yourself. You have much good, much intelligence but your are mad, mad with grief, with anger, with something you cannot understand. let it go.’

With that she proceeded to fall into silence, holding my hands and humming. I have never in my life felt so ill at ease in my own home and confused. Yes so I was a little mature for my age, did that mean I was reborn into this body… yes I was a little crazed and somewhat depressed but, mad, clinically and incurably mad? And as for this path, well I had no idea I was on a path, yet now even if I am and it will destroy me, how on earth will I get off?

With that she let go of my hands, shook her head, said be careful child and ushered me out of the room. This experience has perplexed me for many years and somewhat confused me as a person who prides themselves on deep thinking and understanding, and if I don’t making sure I research it till I do.

The idea that our life is somehow preplanned by a past we can not remember nor recollect, nor understand or be influenced by in anything but a subliminal level, not only scares me but upsets me greatly. surely we are in control of our own lives, how can we be the same person as was someone else, a maid in a rich house in Victorian England, a washer woman in Georgian London, a teacher in the stuarts… How was that possible. I had a Buddhist understanding of reincarnation but in the western world, it seemed unknown, unheard of and completely unrelated to me.

I have as I said been confused by this ever since, yet it has not changed my life nor my opinions, or I think altered the route I have taken. I wish I could now, some seven years on, see if I was off my path of destruction, if I’d managed to jump onto my ‘path of enlightenment  and fulfil my role in this life’. My reason for relating all of this is simply, it interests me and perplexes me. I do not believe it, and yet I know nothing of the world that she supposedly inhibits so therefore, how can I really comment.

The idea of life being predictable, predestined and pre-written in my opinion, takes away all that life is, a journey of possibilities, of endless choices and routes that we can take. We write our own future as we do our past, we choose what profession, what educational route, who we love, who we meet, make friends with, keep, how we interact with people, whether we have a change of heart, career, whether we have a mid-life crisis. Its all up to us to some degree, its our life, its our choice. That for me is what makes life so much fun, so interesting, the endlessness of possibilities and promises, of experience and understanding.

As for my path of destruction, well yes I’ve had a rough few years for a youngster, but I’m also infinitely proud of them, for I came through the other end, with I hope the same grace I entered in with, with a bit more experience and a fuller open heart for the real things in life. So, if that was my path, to be tested and pass, well in my opinion I have.

I cant understand palmists, tarot readers, psychics, all of the other world, the supernatural, as for me, its beyond my world of comprehension. Whatever life is, however it plays out, whatever lies beneath this surface of reality and life as we understand it, if anything beyond darkness and rotting and rest, well, I hope I maintain the feeling of freedom, the same mind set, the impression of having a choice, for if not, what is the point but to trudge along mindlessly, and what a dismal world that would be.

So I say as I always do, lets find our own paths, lets carve our own route through the world, and our lives, lets choose to be the best people we can be, to have the most impact on the world and others for the positive, lets be all that we can be and lets leave the unknown to rest.

Can you put youself onto paper?

We all have to do it at some point, whether its a CV, a covering letter, an application of some sort for something we inevitably want or wouldn’t trouble ourselves to bother to write something in the first place… I’m talking about putting yourself onto paper.

No not literally smearing yourself onto a page, or printing a picture of yourself, but writing about yourself in a way that is to showcase your many good talents, talk yourself up and not come across as a pretentious and arrogant arse. Now, I’m not sure if its an English thing or a people thing and I guess that’s my reason for writing about it in the first place but I always find it an odd thing thing to do.

Its not the sort of thing we ever do in real life, as modest individuals (or most of us are) however high are opinion of ourselves we don’t want to come across as arses, we play down our attributes, publicly ridicule our faults and draw attention through humour or other means to our many misfortunes and failings. So when suddenly we have to show ourselves in the best light possible and pitch ourselves against the other hundreds of nameless pieces of paper and names, it seems harder than you would think.

That’s the first point. We are too busy, too quick as I have perpetually repeated, to pick up on our bad points, for many of us when asked to think about what attributes we have that make us employable, eligible, ‘want-able’, suddenly its not so easy. We say we are organised; and stare around at the state of our kitchens or bedrooms with disgust, we say we’re good in teams; remembering how we hated and despised that person you worked with before, wishing to make their lives a living hell but acting with professionalism – so we can say we’re professionally, except that time we chose to skive off work because we were hung over from the night before’s  antics or the childish bantar the boss caught us batting back between colleagues.

Its not that we don’t have good qualities, and its not that we don’t know precisely what it is the employer reads on a bit of a paper, but there in lies problem number two. We all know the things employers want and so how do you stand out against Joe Bloggs and Little Miss Perfect? With humour? With Something different, with enthusiasm? How do you not sound as though your sucking arse, how do you not sound as though you don’t really care and take the opportunity as a bit of a joke… how do you sound sincere and represent the person, the individual you are behind the words on the page?

With tone. Its all in the tone. When I write, I am sure you can hear my tone, the intonation I use in my own speech, my turns of phrase, my personality, humour or irony coming across. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know me personally, its there, something comes across and you can hear ‘me’ on the page. Its what we want to put across, its precisely that, that voice that we need to show and exploit, without showcasing any of the negative aspects of our personality.

We are but a name on a page, and words written like everyone else. We are all the same when it comes down to it, whether its a CV or a covering letter, its just the same bullshit laid on thick in a desperate hope taht they take a chance and get to meet you at that dreaded interview.

Interviews never bother me much, I don’t get nervous because I think, one I got here so they must have liked something and two, its time to showcase me, the real me, not the two sided a four sheet of condensed me, but me, the intellectual, punctual, loquacious me, the employee me, the girl with ambition me, the one who walks in and says with a look, you know what you want and I’m going to be it (without an air of arrogance).

But the paper. Oh, the paper. I like writing, I enjoy writing as much as anyone else who ever dreamt as a kid of being an author, a journalist, or running a magazine or a blog, of having a career where vocabulary and books were my life… but even I don’t like writing about me. Its not that I dont, or I cant write it well, its just, well, it doesn’t seem very me. I don’t big myself up, I don’t like those who boast, who forcefully present themselves and the opinion your supposed to have of them when you meet them… But I always think, its words.

Words are easy, sentences are easy. Its not hard to write something well with intelligence and authority, after all, whatever the purpose of your prose, its a basic GCSE level skill, writing to persuade. That is all we are doing after all, writing to persuade that person reading ‘us’, that we are what they want and to give us a chance.

This all comes up because at present I’m writing my teaching application. I’m trying to explain and express why I, me, little Carla Danielle, should be given one of the eight places available in the up and coming year to train as an English and Drama teacher, that I am the the one they want, against the 300 other applicants expected, by last years stats, to apply.

There is in this situation, no other way I can approach this but with, enthusiasm. Luckily for me I want this, really want this and teaching for me, like my TEFL teaching, is my passion, my life, my vocation even more than it is my chosen career. I cant imagine anything more rewarding or anything more I’d want to do, than to inspire youngsters as my teacher inspired my to get excited about learning. Its all very clichéd and slightly, ‘I’m going to throw up in my mouth’ but unfortunately it is all perfectly true. So writing this? Its a big deal, for me its make or break the next year and possible career  that I will fall into.

But its not THAT big a deal, because I know that my tone, that voice we were just talking about, will come across, with sincerity, with passion and with wanton desire to get a place and be seen because, well that’s how I feel. Writing about yourself is only ever difficult if you a) don’t believe a word you are writing, b) have no interest in the job you are applying for and therefore are faking your enthusiasm and c) if secretly, you think you don’t deserve it in the first place.

Guess what? It’ll come across, just as when you speak to your friend and say your fine, they know you’re bullshitting by that unconscious look you give them from behind your eyes, or the slightest waver in your tone, why people know your lying, by you somehow giving away that actually you are bullshitting through your teeth. We communicate in more ways than through speech, through words, through body language, or through looks, it comes from somewhere inside through those actions.

So I guess at the end of this long rant and insight into the workings of my opinion on such topics, I guess all I have to say, as usual is, believe in yourself, strive for greatness sand be determined to prove to everyone, to that person, as you should all the time in everyday life – that you are worthy, you are worth the risk, you are deserving and damn you are too good for it anyway…

It’s all possible until proven otherwise…

Now, I’m not the religious type at all. I’m not a woman of faith at all. I don’t believe in ghosts or ghouls or things that go boo in the night, I don’t believe in a higher power, or a man in the clouds, in anything but emptiness and darkness after death. I don’t believe in our paths being ready laid, or in an underlying guiding force… Or do I.

See, I’m an Agnostic and a realist. I don’t believe in anything, and I don’t not believe it either, simply because, we cannot ever know. I believe in that for sure. It cannot be proven, there is a large gap between faith, belief and knowledge that cannot and will not be proven. Unless a Deity came down from the heavens and showed us all the truth in some fashion, how can we know? We don’t/can’t come back from the, and tell everyone the truth, we can’t disbelieve anything is accurate until its proven wrong.

I think its my background of questioning. I was a child full of questions, of whys, and if’s, and buts… I was never satisfied with an answer if I could ask another question, The sentence, “because it is” never really worked with me either. Some people like to tell me it’s a get out clause for having no opinion, and it may seem that way but really, no its more complicated than that.

I am interested in everything, religion, theology, philosophy, psychology, sociology… A lot of the “ology’s” but its my English background. I like getting under the skin of things ad looking at things from different perspectives.

  • We can’t understand why people act as they do or how things come about such as large sociological movements because some things happen almost without provocation or reason, seemingly on a whim.
  • We can’t understand why people do things they do because, we’ll never understand the human brain and its function, mainly because we can’t access the  whole of our brain capacity in the first place. We’re self restrictive.
  • We can’t answer life’s big questions, with science or religion, because we can’t find and don’t have the answers, or the capability of proving or disproving things right or wrong.

I do have an opinion, on everything I’ve come across in my life. Its my job as a training academic (supposedly) to formulate opinions. My opinions fall on my realistic outlook – to me there isn’t a god or one religion that’s right or wrong, they are all systems of belief used as sociological control. There is no such thing as the afterlife and purgatory or parallel universes or dimensions. This isn’t to say that I am not interested in them or respectful either. I find it fascinating how people believe, what they believe in with little truth or fact. How we can be educated to believe and therefore we don;t know any different. How people find faith in times of mourning, when it would seem the most unlikely time. How belief comforts and carries, cares for people throughout their lives…But there are two things I do “believe” as loosely as I will ever believe in anything. (But they can wait for another post…)

It’s not so much a belief, it’s a feeling and like everything, I can’t understand it, can’t prove it, but unlike some people who would ignore it and discard it for that reason alone, I am utterly fascinated with the idea and implications of it, much like those above. For me its all possible, impossible and (im)probable all at the same time.

For me to think any other way is, close minded, ignorant and stubborn. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and as a fan of debating and discussing things, I would dislike a world where we all sat on the fence with a leg dangling both sides – yet to me, there is no other stand point. Formulate an opinion, yes, but do not be so narrow-minded as to think that. that is the only option, the only explanation and justification for said topic.

To live life like that, with that perspective means life is full of endless possibilities, and things we will not understand. For someone who likes learning that almost annoying to comprehend and yet, comforting. If you could know the answers to everything would you want to know? To find out there was nothing, no possibility, to never believe or have faith, to never have the chance to say, “Yes but what if…” ever again. I wouldn’t want to know. There is freedom in ignorance as there is in knowledge. It is not living life as an optimist, more as a realist.

Realistically I can’t say either way, I can’t certifiably answer any of those sorts of questions without an air of poetic license or personal opinion. (Realistically I can have an answer that the reality of a man sitting in the clouds is highly unlikely, at the furthest end of unlikely on the cusp of impossible), but what that does do is open up a world that is forever is never understandable and in that, there is hope, there is belief, and there is optimism. If we had all the answers, a term like optimism couldn’t exist, because things would be the way they were, without dispute – ever. How utterly depressing and unfathomable.

I like living in a world I can endlessly question, to go around and round in circles and never come to any sort of conclusion or answer – ever; A world of free choice, free interpretation and a life full of endless possibilities –  just the way I like it.

Quiet Time.

“Others inspire us, information feeds us, practise improves us, but we need quiet time to find us, to figure things out, to emerge from new discoveries, to unearth original answers”  – Dr Esther Buchholz

So I’ve been a little quiet of late, well for a week at least. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about blogging, or that I thought that well, I didn’t need to. More, simply put that… I didn’t feel like talking. There are times in your life when tis important to spend time with yourself, not really thinking about anything. Just spending time, sitting, clearing your mind rather than spending too much time contemplating the world.

For me I spend a lot of time in my head. I enjoy working through stuff, contemplating stuff, musing in thought and thinking about every little detail. Not of situations or people, I’m not one for getting paranoid or hung up over the little details, “What did he mean by that” – that sorta thing. More about general big picture stuff, or my own thought processes, my reactions to stuff. I’m a great believer in thought and the power of the mind, in growing as a person, in finding out about yourself, in understanding yourself, in healing yourself…

So i’ll apologise for my absence. But I needed some quiet time and that’s nothing against you it is just I wanted some time out from all of that. The past week has thrown up a lot of things to think about, too many in fact that I simply needed time to recuperate my brain and then spend some time over the next coming week going through stuff, getting my head around this weeks events.

Next time you feel like you need a break, from life, from relationships, from your own mind and its thoughts, then take one. Sit back and clear your head completely. Its easier said than done and I promise you it won’t happen over night but you will finally get to that point that you can sit and just, think of… nothing. Clarity, clear minded clarity.

So I’m back out of quiet time, ready to hopefully share my minds ramblings with you once again. I cant guarantee they’ll be any less jumbled or more coherent, written with more purpose or  intention than usual but they will at least be coming from an un-jumbled uncomplicated place.

Hips, Hernia’s and Headf*cks.

I guess all my posts of late have been leading up to this one – My general mood state and life at present. I guess it might put things in a bit of perspective. I hadn’t and haven’t really wanted to go into details, I’m a positive sort of person and I haven’t felt like going into details. But the more people I connect with in our lovely blogging community I guess it doesn’t matter.

This idea I keep badgering on about, about loving yourself, being less critical, being positive is because, I guess that’s precisely what I’m having to be that moment. Resilient. I’ve just broken up with my partner of two years, currently sat with both my legs cast awaiting news of a massive operation, with a 25% chance of walking afterwards.

I’m a girl with incredibly unlucky health. This year it would appear it’s finally come to a head. I’ve had problems with my lower limbs for years, taking strong painkillers everyday that have caused my stomach to bleed and my liver to panic, my kidneys to struggle, my general health to diminish. I’ve collapsed ankle joints, femoral anteversion (my knees point inwards so I can’t bend my legs without them touching) and hips that dislocate. I spend a great deal of time struggling to walk or on crutches, with swollen joints and agonising aches.

Yesterday I went for a scan of my abdomen and have two congenital hernia’s, holes in my stomach wall I was born with and my intestines are poking through the muscular wall, causing a great deal of discomfort for years and never realising what it was. I’ve a heart condition, that causes me to randomly blackout and feel as though I’m having a mild heart-attack, not being able to breathe, shaking uncontrollably and slipping in and out of consciousness.

I’ve had depression since a child. Diagnosed ten years ago, I’ve had everything, CBT, counselling, Psychotherapy, and drugs everyday. My brain simply doesn’t make those lovely happy chemicals that keep us all ticking over nicely. To put it simply, I’m a bit of a mess at the moment.

Everyday is a struggle to get up, find the energy, suffering with insomnia, no sleep because of pain and discomfort, I spend much of my time uncomfortable and wandering whats the point. But there is one, I refuse to give in and have everything affect me. So I may be clinically depressed, always in a state of depression, but if you met me you’d see I’m one of the happiest, most positive people you’ll ever meet.

So it may be a well placed mask, a front to cover up how I feel, but to be honest, my life isn’t that awful. I refuse to give in, lay back and feel sorry for myself. I’ve a lot on my plate yes, but it isn’t unmanageable. It isn’t something I can’t handle, it’s just life. Its full of ups and downs and curveballs and mine, well are just as anyone elses I guess.

I refuse to be self loathing, self-interested, self obsessed. To think about my life and no one else and get down about it. It’s just one of those things I deal with and I’m ok with that. You’ll never hear me moaning that I’m in pain, that I’m not feeling great. I’ll never say I’m having a bad day or I can’t cope because, tomorrow I could be fine. I stay positive, look for the good in life and focus on being happy, whatever that means.

Life isn’t a box of chocolates. We can’t pick the path we’re given or the things we have to deal with, but we still have to. Whether I feel like it or not, I still have a life to lead, things to be doing, things to concentrate on. I have many things going for me and that’s what we all must remember. I’ll no doubt go into detail about everything at some point, but to be honest, I don’t feel the need to dwell, to linger on things that I can’t control.

Best to carry on, to remind yourself that life could be far far worse, and carry,well in my case, hobble on 🙂 Everyone has problems, no ones are worse than anyone elses because they’re relative to what we’ve dealt with in the past, what we’ve had to face, a small bump to one person could be a big deal to someone else. It’s not ok to put someone else down or demean them for being upset about something trivial, if indeed it’s affecting them, well. It’s all about being understanding and respectful of other people and their lives.

I like my life, for all its ups and downs and traumas. So its stressful, so I’m likely to have a heart-attack by the time I’m thirty, likely to end in a wheelchair and to struggle everyday to want to be here and carry on, but it’s what makes me. We are made by our experiences. I have resilience, self-respect and a self-awareness others can only dream of. I am the person I am because of what I deal with. I cope because I have done and will always continue to do so.

I am positive because I want to be, because life’s to short and life is about the ride, the journey. I enjoy living, I enjoy my pain, it makes me feel alive, I enjoy the struggles because it’s when your realise who you really are, what you’re truly about – your essence and core is, revealed almost.

This may be the only time you hear me being, negative if you like. And it’s not so much that, it’s just stating life as it is. I’m not asking for sympathy of for people to be concerned about me. I don’t bang on about health issues for attention or love. I am just me.  So I may hide whats really going on, I may wear a front some days, present a happier me than I’m really feeling but, it’s not that I don’t want people to know, that I’m ashamed or that I think people would think I’m a whiny bitch… It’s just, it isn’t a big deal to me – it isn’t a focus.

What is, is being happy, helping others, getting my education, spending time with loved ones, bettering myself as a person, enjoying every minute as maybe pessimistically put, It might be your last. That’s not negative, its optimistic. If you live life as though today is your last day, you never waste time, you embrace every second, even if that’s sitting down and doing nothing or out and about making the most of your day.