I just want to say thank you for my family, my home, my best friend, who is soft and cuddly and comes everywhere with me, and for my pets I am happy and lucky and blessed. Thank you that my country doesn’t have bombs and rockets and guns and people running scared and afraid that they will be killed. Im so afraid of spiders so I’m thankful i dont have to worry about bombs. But God, can i ask you for something, could i ask that you make the fighters stop being so angry and greedy and frightening so the children don’t have to be scared and afraid and that they can just go home, with their family and maybe, just be afraid of spiders instead? Thank you God….
Moving to a new place can be scary, disorientating and beautiful at the same time, but discovering it, is amazing….
It’s not always easy moving. Whether it is moving home, moving jobs or moving from one stage of life to another. Just because it’s not easy, doesn’t mean that it is not good for us, that it is not better for us. Most often it is better to move than to stay stuck. In staying stuck, nothing changes.
How many times do we say, I wish it were different. I wish this was better, he was better, she was better, my job was better etc etc etc. In order for things to change something must happen. We must DO something.
During my life I have moved many many times. From one area to another and from one country to another, more than once. Each time there was an element of pain, washed in with an element of excitement and wonder.
I have recently done it again. I have moved to a different County. For the last 25 years I lived in County Wexford, Ireland, affectionately known as the sunny south east.
I had lived there for 5 years as a teenager too. That was a struggle as I had been a ‘City Girl’, born to Irish parents in the UK. I loved Ireland. I loved to visit my grandparents in Ireland, more precisely. When I knew I was coming here to live at age 14 I was horrified. I was not a County Girl AT ALL, nor did I want to be.
Spending my teenage years here however, though strange, confusing, difficult and lonely at times also had it’s benefits.
In our village, there was one bus a day into town and out of town. It was the school bus and if you missed it, for me, there was no other way into school because my mother didn’t drive and my dad would have already left with the car to go to work. Bonus, if I didn’t fancy going to school any given day!
As I had to leave all my friends in the UK, my brothers and I were allowed to go to the big pub/lounge a few miles down the road. It was a family friendly place and everyone from all over would go to it. It was called the Un Yoke. It hosted many big Irish named bands, like the Wolfe Tones, Joe Dolan, Philomena Begley as well as local bands. We loved it there and, having made a couple of friends on the School bus, went every weekend. It was my salvation from the loneliness.
Fast forward I returned to the UK aged 19 and then bounced back again to Ireland like a y0 y0 25 years ago to my native Co Wexford. Here we built our own house, something we never could have done in the UK. Raised our children, welcomed our grand children and got busy with work and life as everyone does.
The work life balance wasn’t balanced though and then came ill health which if nothing else, puts life into perspective. So Last year I said ‘lets throw in the towel, let’s sell up and go again on a new adventure. There is just us left now, the kids have flown.
Our initial plan was to go to France for a few years and see how that went, but serious ill health put that on hold. So we looked around this beautiful island of Ireland to find the right house, in the right setting for our needs, now.
We ended up in County Leitrim, fondly known as ‘Lovely Leitrim’. When we would tell people we were going there, aghast they would say ‘Leitrim, what the hell is in Leitrim’…….
I was shocked at this reaction. Some would say, ‘the people in Leitrim would move to live in Wexford, not the other way round’.
I agree, Wexford is a beautiful county, full of history and historical sites and beautiful beaches and a lovely quay front to walk along. It is a bustling town with some fab place to eat and drink, but it doesn’t hold the trump card on all that and so I am going to be exploring this beautiful little County in the North West and document just what it has to offer.
It is referred to as Ireland’s Hidden Heartland and I agree, from what I have seen so far, it has truly beautiful scenery, lakes, mountains, trails and even boasts the SMALLEST coastline in a County in Ireland in the little village of Tullaghan https://leitrimtourism.com/towns-villages/tullaghan/
Image authors own at Tullaghan beach….smallest coastline in Ireland
Yesterday, my husband and I did our first looped walked around Tulllacken loop. We decided to do the moderate blue walk. We took our time and took it all the beauty along the way. The weather was on our side for the most part, with only a couple of small rain and now showers.
For someone recovering from heart bypass surgery (my other half), it was just what the doctor ordered. The trail was not too steep or too difficult. The views were beautiful across to the snow capped mountain and many many little streams and small waterfalls along the route were a welcome sight.
The rush of the yellow river running by our side was just beautiful to listen to along with the diversity of the tress, the rocks and splashes of colour along the way and also a bunch of curious sheep…..
I welcome our next trek or trail and will post more about the beauty of this beautiful little County.
New Years resolutions….. full of hope for a new and better year…..
January, a time of hope, promises and resolutions, whether we say it out loud or quietly to ourselves….. a new year is always a source of contemplation. Before the year ends, we make promises that ‘in the new year’ we will do this, or that, give up this or that, be more healthy, change jobs, give more time to loved ones, give more time to ourselves, take up a new hobby, leave something or someone behind.
We go into the Christmas period with a measure of excitement and a measure of dread, for many and varying different reasons, and some can’t wait for it to be over, so that the ‘new year’ can begin and we can begin, afresh, renewed, awakened.
We look back and reflect and ask, what is it I want to do, to be, to have, to start to end, to give up etc etc. Some years may be the same thing as the previous year and we began with gusto, enthusiasm and motivation, only to dwindle, falter and be left with a sense of failure and nothing more than procrastination in that, next year, it will be different…..
Still, we look forward and we try. Does it matter that we may not complete and accomplish it, whatever ‘it’ may be? Isn’t it the ‘giving it a go’ that matters. Even if that ‘giving it a go’ is to just put one foot in front of the other and make our way downstairs and face another day.
For some people the previous year could have been so challenging, so devastating, so traumatic, that to just do that, go downstairs and flick on the kettle is the biggest achievement that they can muster, and isn’t that great! They did it, they made it, they didn’t give up.
When we pass people by in the street, in the shops, in our places of work, looking ‘put together’ and getting on with life, we assume that all is good, all is well with them. Of course they are all putting their best side out. We are all putting our best side out and for some, it is a real struggle.
So this January, no matter what your path, lets all be enthusiastic, that we made it. We can reflect, we can look forward, but lets not forget to be present, and to acknowledge our own unique achievements, no matter how big or small……
Pain and suffering, especially in grief is sometimes so complex that no matter what you do, you cannot seem to get the balance and so you just have to wait it out……
Sometimes you just have nothing to say, at least not out loud. You have plenty to say, in your head and the incessant talking doesn’t stop. You may want to say it out loud, but you can’t, or you won’t for fear. Fear of letting go of the hurt and the pain and letting the emotions take you on a journey where you do not want to go. Fear of causing hurt and pain, to others because you just can’t articulate it properly without emotions getting in the way and muddling it all up.
Like the force of a tsunami thrusting, pushing and propelling at swift unstoppable speed, relentlessly, ruthlessly and causing so much destruction and damage, but it is impossible to stop it. The carnage it will cause, is unthinkable, and so, you keep it all in, hold it down, squeeze it, suppress and restrain it.
The pain will dull woefully , the hurt will scar deeply , the emotions will become emotionless and as the carnage unfolds within, so shall you carry the burden of being the source of their misery…..
There are no guarantees of being a success, of finding ‘the one’ of being fulfilled. No guarantees of reaching your goals, living to a ripe old age or attaining your dreams.
What is it then, within us to continually seek to try, to find, to hope and to keep going, even in the face of adversity. Is it all our intrinsic resources that push us on, or are there extrinsic factors at force?
It must be both but, even with the best will in the world, sometimes, it seems like a hard battle to fight or difficult mountain to climb, and then we feel defeated.
Then, sometimes out of nowhere it seems, that all is not lost, there is another way to climb the mountain, once rested, and not all battles need to be won in order to succeed and feel a sense of hope again.
Adapt, be absent and acceptance are the three ‘A’ s that will help pull you through the rough times. Accept that there is a difficulty, stay absent, for a while, from the usual routine or the usual people around you, and soon you will find a way to adapt to the changes that you must face.
There is no guarantee that things will always stay the same. There will be ups and downs. There will be losses and gains there will be love and pain but all will not be lost and something of value will be taught.
I lost a very dear friend recently. My heart was broken, for her, her family and for me. She is a huge loss and leaves a massive void.
We won’t grow to be old ladies together. I had never even contemplated that…. She died too young, but she had a good life and she enjoyed her life to the full. She lived with love and shared her love amongst her family and friends.
So in this sorrow, in this grief and hurt and pain there has to be acceptance and life must adapt without her physical presence. Making ourselves absent, giving ourselves time and self love, to come to terms with the loss and remember the good times is crucial in the process.
There is no time limit, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. For me, I believe she is present, all around us. I talk to her, pray for her, look out for signs of her. I keep her alive in my heart, even though I miss her and the rest of the life, she should have had. Yet I’m grateful for the time we did have….
So what now? One step at a time. One day at a time, we move forward. It’s all we can do. We live, we love, we hope, we pray, we dream. We must stay humble and grateful for the time and love we shared and for all our loved ones lost to us, live on with them in our hearts…. Until we meet again…..
Though the tides will ebb and flow and the night will turn to day The steps that go one, in front of the other Will always carry you, along the way….. Hearts filled with love and sorrow Will carry over, all the tomorrows that you do not have But live on through those left behind who will tell stories of their encounters, and we will smile, as we recall, with such joy, the love and laughter that we once shared and so, you will live on another day, and more, until we gather together again, and dance and laugh and hold you tight, in our arms…..
Sleep alludes me, though I am so very tired. The sun cracks through the opened window, early in the mornings, and the dawn chorus awakens me. Such a contrast to the labouring snores blasting my ears as he sleeps beside me, deep in his slumber, oblivious to raucous he makes or the sound of the dogs barking from across the garden.
My mind wanders to our new house, wondering how soon before we get the keys. The start to our new life. How shall I dress this one to make it a home? Which colours and fabrics and oddments shall I use. A blank canvas screaming for life and colour.
As I lay awake, I try to escape the noise and get lost deep in the kaleidoscope of my imagination until finally, sleep will surrender itself to me and I too will be oblivious….
Who decides whether you are fat or thin, chunky or skinny. Are you influenced by what others perceive you to be, or do you decide?
I’m getting fat. Not fat, fat exactly, but fatter than I was. Having said that, what do people consider fat?
I was always skinny. The skinny bitch. I didn’t think I was skinny, but I didn’t think I was fat. I was just me and my size was just my size. I was lean, yes but I didn’t think anything about it because, like I said, I was just me.
So now, I am still me, just a bigger version of me than I was, when I was younger, so, am I fat?
No, not really, though I do have a spare tyre, my upper arms are definitely bigger and softer, my thighs are bigger too and they wobble, they didn’t used to wobble. My ass, well let’s say, now I have an ass, so before I had a small ass, never the less, it was still an ass. My face is rounder and I have more than one chin. When I was the skinny bitch, I could, if I tried hard enough and put my face down towards my neck, make myself have more than one chin,
It is called skin, lean with pockets of fat cells in it and maybe some muscle. I used to have muscle, when I was the skinny bitch. I did lots of hand stands and cart wheels and other gymnastic tricks. I loved gymnastics at school. My friend and I were both good at it. We were the skinny bitches.
We remained the skinny bitches even after we had children without even trying.
I went even thinner after my first baby, all that breastfeeding. It gave her colic. I thought it was what I was eating, so in the end I ate very little. She still had colic. I put her on the bottle as I had to eat and something had to give. She took the bottle and the colic went, but the constipation came. She still screamed in pain.
It was a lose-lose situation for her, and a win lose for me. Win because I could now eat again, the cabbage, potatoes, salad cream etc. that everyone said was probably giving her colic. I lost because she was still screaming and I felt it was my fault for putting her on the bottle and the poor child was still in pain….
I started to get fat when I was in my early 40’s. Actually I think I started to change, ever so slightly, from my early 30’s, I think I gained about 7 pound from when I was in my teens. I didn’t try to gain these pounds, they just arrived, slowly and without much encouragement or notice from me. I was still a skinny bitch you see.
By my early 40’s I had gained another 7 pound. Still I think I looked pretty good in the mirror, even though, that is a whole stone in a 10-year period. I was beginning to ‘fill out’. I was also noticing that my skin was changing, slightly. I was getting fine lines and the elasticity was beginning to loosen I suppose. That’s ok, it does that with age.
By my early 50’s I had gained another 14 pound and from 50 to 55 another 7 pound. So from my teens I had gained two and a half stone and like they say, it crept up on me.
I am not blind. I could see my body changing shape. My face, rounder, my boobs fuller, my belly definitely fatter, my arms, my legs, my whole body. Still, I was me. I am not fat. I am fatter than my skinny bitch days, yes, but I am not fat. I don’t know when I will consider myself fat but I know this. Some people, thinner than me, will look at me and say that I am fat.
Some people, bigger than me, will look at me and say that I am skinny.
I will say, I have more fat on me than when I was skinny, but, I am still me and I am happy with who I am. Like my skin that is ageing, my hair that is greying, my body is changing as it naturally does with age.
I am glad to be ageing, it means that I am alive and that I can chose, every day, what I do with my day. I can choose to look in the mirror and say ‘hey, you are fifty something and still fabulous’ or I could criticise how I look and feel bad about myself. I chose the former not the latter.
The moral of this story is, just because you are the size that you are, you have to decide whether or not, you are happy with you. So long as you are healthy and have a healthy view of yourself in your own mind and can embrace your own body, wobbly bits and all, or bones and all, don’t let it consume you.
Other people will always have their opinions, it’s either colic or constipation, skinny bitch or fatty. You decide, yourself, what label you want to put on you……