That’s me in the Corner

When everything else looks the same, when you are looking at what you expect to see, take a look closer. Look for something that seems different, look for the unexpected and you many well have your mind opened and be so totally pleasantly surprised……

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I think of the words of R.E.M…… just look at them and think about them…

Oh, life is bigger
It’s bigger
Than you and you are not me
The lengths that I will go to
The distance in your eyes
Oh no, I’ve said too much
I set it up
That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don’t know if I can do it
Oh no, I’ve said too much
I haven’t said enough
I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try
Every whisper
Of every waking hour
I’m choosing my confessions
Trying to keep an eye on you
Like a hurt lost and blinded fool, fool
Oh no, I’ve said too much
I set it up
Consider this
Consider this
The hint of the century
Consider this
The slip that brought me
To my knees failed
What if all these fantasies
Come flailing around
Now I’ve said too much
I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try
But that was just a dream
That was just a dream
That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don’t know if I can do it
Oh no, I’ve said too much
I haven’t said enough
I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try
But that was just a dream
Try, cry
Why try?
That was just a dream, just a dream, just a dream
Dream

These words can be interpreted in many different ways. For me, it brought to mind my wonderful grandson. Last night he participated with his school and other schools in our National Opera House in a concert called ‘Sing out Loud’. The Irony is, my grandson cannot speak. He is non verbal and has autism.

As I watched him, with immense pride, I was amazed at how he managed to stay on the stage for an hour and a half, with others, singing and dancing and playing instruments. It was indeed a spectacular show. I was truly mesmerized. I was particularly in awe and mesmerized with my grandson.

Children/people with autism are very sensory and react, often in a negative way to sensory overload. The noise on that stage, to him, must have been so bombarding on his hearing that he must have thought his ear drums would burst. Instead, my heart bursted with pride, at how he stood there, and at times sat, but nevertheless, he remained there, on the stage, at all times, with his peers, PARTICIPATING in a SING OUT LOUD, concert.

It was a full house. I knew he had autism, his father and his brother and a few other people who know our family, know he has autism. The rest of the audience did not. I imagine most were too busy watching with pride, their own family members on the stage. However, if they did happen to notice the boy, wearing the ear phones, NOT SINGING, and wondering, what he was doing there, let me tell you. He was being INCLUDED. He was being acknowledged and recognised by his teachers, by his school, as a person who could and should be allowed to participate in, and be engaged by, and with, what they were doing on that stage – having fun!

At school he has begun to communicate through a model called R.P.M. (Rapid Prompting Method). He touches a stencil, one letter at a time, in between his stimming and perceived lack of concentration, and his teacher (and his mother, my wonderful daughter, manages to get some words down, spelled out by him – (by the way he has taught himself to read and spell out words, because before RPM, it was considered that he would not learn like ‘typical’ children learn…. How wrong was EVERYONE!

Today, his teacher did an RPM session with him in school :-

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Could we, as his family, be any more proud or in awe of him? NOOOOOOOO . He is wonderful. He is incredible. He is astonishing. He is important. He is entitled to be included. He is not an empty vessel. He is trying, so hard, to communicate. He is patient. He is kind. He is funny. He is sometimes isolated. He is amazing. He is hope. He is our everything. He is ENTITLED to be loved and acknowledged as a typical person. He just cannot speak…… He tries. He stimms… Do not think he is not a worthy person. He is, and more. He has to do more to prove is worth. He has to stand on a stage, with his peers, with them singing and joining in, while he stands there, with his toothbrushes, which he loves, and he has to look on, and endure the noise and the lights and the heat, and the stares and the knowing looks, some may give him, but he perseveres and he stays there, and he enjoys himself, BECAUSE, he has been included. He has been ACCEPTED as an equal to his ‘typical’ peers.

So, the next time you see a person, who may look or act or seem a little strange, remember our boy and the joy he communicated the day after he was treated like his ‘typical’ peers.

Always look for the extraordinary, for the odd one out, for the boy in the corner, and you may well be so suprised with what you will find out! Smile at him, accept him and know how amazing he actually is. Believe in the unbelieveable and never judge a book by its cover…… There is a whole new world inside!

When it rains…..

Is it too much to ask for sunshine everyday? Is it too much to be ‘happy’ every day? If it never rained, then the grass would never be green and if it wasn’t green, we wouldn’t try to get to the otherside…. right?

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It’s raining outside, in fact there has been another weather warning! Status yellow, gusty wind and heavy rain. No hurricanes, no real structural damage predicted, just drive with caution, take it easy, keep your distance from the cars in front, for to be too close you will surely skid into them if you need to suddenly break!

A similar warning could be or perhaps should be announced for stormy relationships. After all, they are not always sunshine and flowers. Sometimes they are thunderous and and miserable. Sometimes it may only be a ‘status yellow’ where a little ruffling or prickling of just ‘uncomfortableness’ rears it’s nasty head

The weather, unfortunately, we have no control over. We have to wake up and hope for the best. The ‘best’ depends on what you are hoping for. If you are a farmer for example you may welcome the rain. If you are a sun worshiper you may always hope for sunshine. To always have rain or sunshine is not realistic or healthy, so mother nature gives us a measure of both, this side of the hemisphere anyway, to try to keep the ecology balanced, lush and green.

We do, however, have control over our relationships, but it does depend somewhat intrinsic or extrinsic motivation, needs and wants. It also depends on our patience, tolerance, and level of self worth does it not? Some may think grass is greener on the other side, no matter what type of relationship they are in…. Whether it parent/child, peer to peer, siblings or a romantic relationship. Far away fields often look greener.

The thing is, should we try to cross the fence and see, just how much greener it is, how much better it is, how better life would be? I heard a piece of advice last week during the Wexford Literary Festival, where an author said ‘if we were in a room full of people and we were all to put our disabilities, struggles, stresses etc into a magic bowl in the center of the room, and were asked to take one out, we would probably all take our original one out.

Think about that for a minute, then answer honestly, would you take the same ‘thing’ out of the bowl? Better the devil you know sort of thing, OR, would you chance it, would you edge your bets, would you risk taking a risk? Would you check out the potential of the lush green grass in the far away field or would you hide under the duvet?

It depends! It always depends on many different varying factors, on motivation and other things. Isn’t it exciting though, like when a weather alert comes, it can be somewhat ‘exciting’. The anticipation of what is going to happen! Yes we prepare, we batten down the hatches, we stock up on essentials and we wait it out. We may see something spectacular or extraordinary in the storm, like flashes of fork lightening brightening up the skies. We may see or hear something devastating too. The thing is, we see or hear or feel something, something different. Something out of the ordinary. Something that takes us out of our comfort zone.

What we do after the storm is up to us. We can go on as normal like nothing ever happened and continue with life as we know it, OR, we pick up the pieces, rearrange them, re build them and begin again.

Sometimes to remain is the scariest thing of all, because, what if, what if we miss something, something truly magnificent in taking the risk to not only learning to dance in the storm, but to embrace it, to throw caution to the wind, to be flung from one place to another, without a safety net and to take the risk of trying out that greener grass.

Better to fail by trying than to fail by not trying at all……..

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Angry or hurt?

its an emotional thing, but is it anger or is it hurt and depending on what it is, what can be done?

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They are words that are said and used alot. All walks of life, in everyday conversations. I was angry, I am hurt. I was angry so I hurt him. He hurt me so I got angry and slashed his tyres!

She hurt me so I pushed her. My boss upset me so I came home and kicked the cat!

Anger can therefore invoke an action, a loss of control and a harmful reaction.

Hurt is the pain, like a wound, an ache, invoking a sadness, a physical pain or emotional pain.

When someone is angry, usually, there is an underlying emotion which triggers the anger, the loss of control and to get to understand the anger, we must look to the source of the emotion or feeling triggering and driving it.

(In)security, (in)feriority, (in)adequacy, (un)worthy , fear, frustration, exclusion, isolation:

These are but a few words that can trigger anger or indeed hurt because the two are often married together. Simply put when someone is angry it doesn’t mean that they are not hurting. When someone is hurting, it doesn’t mean that they don’t feel angry. they can also happen separate from each other. The real power, is what do you do with the anger, do you react to it by losing control, or do you take control by unraveling it and peel back the layers to see what indeed is driving it.

When we are hurt physically, as in, have an injury we have to usually rest to help to recover the injury, otherwise the injury may never recover and heal properly. If we are hurt emotionally, the same can apply. ‘Rest ‘the feeling. Acknowledge and recognise it. Let it lie, let it be quiet, let it scream and cry, let it heal. Make yourself absent and don’t react with anger, for then, you are out of control. Process the event which caused the hurt, understand how it has affected you and call it out. Know the damage it has caused and feel the scars it has left whether it can be repaired or not. Take control and use your hurt as a guide to get you back on your feet and back to recovery. Don’t let the hurt make you a victim, let it teach and empower you

During our life we have to hurt and feel pain and we certainly get angry at some point or another, sure as night follows day. What it ultimately boils down to is how we manage it, how we value and protect ourselves. There is a saying that in order to give love, you must, first of all, love yourself. In loving and valuing yourself first, you can then decide to be in control of how you respond to the anger and the hurt that you will encounter on this life’s journey.

As the title says, life is simple, its just not easy! But no matter what, keep it cool and stay in control!

Inphoto by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The shame

And so it’s over, it’s time to leave
All the threads, knots and weaves
Time to unravel, to come undone
To learn to walk or even run

The hurt, the pain, sarcastic quips
Taunting, pushing, busted lips
Cuts and bruises, mental scars
This time now, it’s gone too far

The time has come, I’ll set me free
I’ve had enough of you and me
Where I’ll go I have no clue
Anywhere out there without you

I served you well, I stayed alive
My time with you I have despised
You took my strength, possessions and wealth
And for a while, my hope and health

My body starved, I am mere bones,
So many like me, I’m not alone
I watched them come onto the track,
Into buildings, they never came back

I saw the smoke, ash falling like snow
I kept on working, where could I go?
My heart is broken, but not my resolve
I’ll get out one day, there’s a story to be told.

It’s full of horror, of evil men
Millions of people, they have slain
Some will live and crawl out with me
It is our strength that will set us free

If we manage to stay alive, we’ll honour those, who do not survive
Well raise our heads, not hang in shame
We are innocent, not to blame.

The threads, the knots, the knitted weave
The time has come, it’s time to leave
But rags and bones, we are free
Don’t ever forget what happened to me

The shame on man, the shame on war
Your hearts are empty, your hearts are poor
You are not any better than me
All mankind, set yourself free

© carrie sherbourne and Relay shun sips – itsjustnoteasy.com Blog, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carrie sherbourne and itsjustnoteasy.com Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Back to School

For some it is a great sense of relief to get back to school after the long summer holidays of missing friends and routine. For others it is a sense of dread, angst and trepidation, knowing they are going back to face the bullies. So what can be done to ensure that our children are safe when they leave home to go to school?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I remember when I was young thinking that the school summer holidays were way too long. I went to school in the UK until I was 14 and we had 6 weeks off in the summer. SIX weeks, wow that was such a long time. I loved school and I missed my friends and classmates over the holiday period. I couldn’t wait to go back to the ritual of the routine, and slot back in again to student life. It was a happy time. That was until I moved school because we moved to another country. I was made to feel unwelcome almost immediately, mainly by a particular teacher. I was different you see. I spoke with a different accent, an English one, a very unwelcome one, back in the ’70’s in rural Ireland. Even though my parents and grandparents and entire set of ancestors were Irish, I was an outcast from the offset.

I had a hard time a lot of the time. It was bad enough trying to readjust to my new surroundings, my new home, a new country, away from my friends and all that was familiar to me without the added dread of going to school to be ridiculed, ignored, picked on and verbally insulted. It was outright bullying. It gave me feelings that I didn’t care to have. It made me feel sad, bad, ostracised, unwelcome, angry. I went from loving school to dreading school. I went from thinking six weeks summer holidays was way too long to 3 months in Ireland being not nearly enough. Looking back, the only thing I am thankful for is that back then, when I got home, I was safe. Home was my sanctuary. Home was where I did not have to worry, I did not have to be on high alert, I would not be tormented there.

These days it is a different story for kids going back to school. This is the technocological age of progress and ‘all things can be done in an instant’. The sad thing is, that goes for bullying too, and there is no escape, there is no sanctuary of home anymore. Why, because these days most of the school age population (secondary school) have mobile phones, have some form of social media, whether it is snap chat, facebook, instagram and some other things I haven’t even a clue what they are! The bullying does not necessarily stop at the school gate, or the school bus stop. It follows you home. It doesn’t stop. It can be constant. It is exhausting. It is often SILENT. It is ALWAYS dangerous. It gets into the mind and can be so destructive that some victims cannot cope. They may appear to be ‘functioning’ on the outside, but what is going on, inside, inside their heads. Do they have regular tummy ache? are they distracted, quiet, forgetful, preoccupied,  depressed, hiding in their room with their phone. Are they asking for more money? are they irritable, aggressive, weepy, off their food, having sleeping problems. Do they have unexplained bruises and pass it off as, ‘it happened in P.E’. Are some of their belongings missing, pens, bag, purse, books etc.  Are they making excuses for skipping school, lessons, homework.

All to often the problem is that bullying has not gone away.  Despite everywhere having an anti bullying policy.   Despite the fact that there is more awareness and education about bullying in the education system, it is still very prevalent today.  So what can be done if your child is being bullied or if you suspect your child is being bullied?  Talk.  Talk to them, talk to the school and if possible, talk to the person doing the bullying in a safe environment.  Often a bully has issues of their own, that they are finding difficult to deal with and so take it out on someone else – a ‘kick the cat’, sort of response and misplace their anger and frustration onto someone weaker, more vulnerable, an easy target  is the perfect option.

Monitor your child’s use on their phone.  Have strict rules around the phone and do not let it go into the bedroom with them.  Talk to them about keeping them safe and protected.  They are young and have young and immature and very impressionable minds.  You are their parent, you DO KNOW best.   If they need a phone to contact you, consider buying a handset that is NOT a smartphone.  Let home become their sanctuary.  Let home be their safe place.  Work on strategies that your child can use to help them protect themselves, to help them stand up for themselves and ultimately stand up to their bully.  A bully will soon tire,  if they are not getting anywhere with a someone they perceive to be weak, and leave them alone.

Out of all of the children I have had and looked after 2 were bullied at school and after school waiting for their bus.  Two children separated by  12 years in age, but both were 16 at the time of their bullying and assaults.  At the time of the first one, there was no such thing as social media, so she would come home and tell us what was happening and we dealt with it the best way we could and it was soon nipped in the bud.   Home was her safe place.     The second child that was bullied did have a phone at the time, but it was not a smart phone, so there was no social media bullying for her either.   We chatted about what happened.  We spoke about strategies and ways in dealing and coping with  the bullying and how to build up my child’s strength and resilience.  Not only to challenge herself but also to challenge her bully.  To stand up to her bully, no matter how scared she felt,  and let the bully know, in no uncertain terms,  that  the bullying behaviour was not acceptable and that there would be serious repercussions if it continued.  We were lucky,  in that it worked and the bullying stopped and my child’s confidence, resilience  and resolve grew stronger.

There are however, cases of bullying which have dire circumstances and ultimately very tragic ones.   I particularly remember the case of Phoebe Prince, the Irish girl who moved to America and was bullied so much she took her own life.    The only positive to come out of that tragic case is that the people who bullied her were held accountable and were charged and convicted of harassment and civil rights violations.  Stricter bullying laws were introduced also as a result.  Many more children, home and abroad, are victims of bullying and have also attempted or committed suicide.  Isn’t it time, we took stock, isn’t it time we did something more, especially as far as social media is concerned, to keep our children protected and safe.  They may look fine on the outside.  You may think they are just sullen, cranky teenagers, but maybe, there is something more going on.

It is very frustrating for parents who know something is going on but feel that they or their child is not being listened to or heard.  We have a crumbling and almost broken mental health service.  People are being left crippled with fear and anxiety over what can they do next.  They say it takes a whole village to raise a child, so we need to come together, as a community to help and support each other.  To help and support our vulnerable children.  To talk and keep talking to our children.  To reassure them, to empower them, to help them, even if it is they who are doing the bullying, understand why, get to the bottom of it.  Lets stop treating the symptoms of bullying, lets try to get to the root of it and eradicate it ….. for everyone’s sake.

 

 

https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/victims-of-bullying/

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/school-in-the-us-was-like-something-from-a-film-all-the-little-cliques-were-there-sister-of-bullying-victim-phoebe-prince-36068953.html

Morocco

I enjoyed a very quick visit to Tangier. What can I say? It was hot. There were red flags everywhere celebrating the kings birthday. There were camels, stalls and walking street traders. At our first pit stop it was 12 euro for a bracelet…. 25.00 for a wooden guitar. The aromatic smells of the spices filled the air. There were sheep in the alleyways by the shops. The men were busy trying to coax a sale. Some women were selling their goods and some in burka’ s were buying theirs. The little narrow streets were busy. The doorways faced with beautiful mosaic tiles. Mosaic was everywhere. It looked beautiful but poor. People smiled but looked sad. We were followed closely by traders desperately trying to pedal their wares. By the time we were leaving the 12 euro bracelet could be bought for a euro. The 25.00 euro guitar could also be bought for a euro.

We were taken for lunch as part of the tour. Traditional food in a typical traditional restaurant with authentic musicians playing. Food was delicious.

Would I go back ? Yes but I’d like to spend a bit longer so browse more in the souks…

And I would buy as I was leaving, not arriving !

Children

Children’s laughter makes me smile, the sound of high pitched happy screams bounce off my ear drums. Igniting a quick beat of pleasure in my pulsating weary heart. It brings me back. It makes me remember , to a time I never want to forget, but at the same time lost in an amnesiac trance, barely aware that I was ever there.

Lost between 2 worlds. Existing for the sake of it, the perverse irony of my being. How I should come to love when born from something far more depraved. How I could sense distain, with your wayward glance. Your tender less touch and your prickly tongue.

Yet I am locked in, with no where and nothing to run to. But I have everything I ever wanted burried deeply in my mind. You cannot touch that. You cannot take that. It is not yours to take. You will not succeed….

Happy smiles. Warming soft breaths nuzzled in my neck. Softly , calmly yet frantically seeking out your nourishment. A satisfied sigh, a relaxed and trusting grip as you find your source.

The bond so strong, the love unyielding yet I must betray you. I do not have a choice. They will take you. You are to be their trophy, their prize. Their decency in their evil trade.

Their cloth is the cloak of the devil himself. Ever etched and engraved in my heart, in my mind, under my skin. My flesh is your flesh. My blood is your blood. My love is everlasting. You are my life and I live in hope eternal, that well meet again.

Children in the street playing, skipping, crying, laughing. I ache for you. My every waking minute is consumed, thoughts of you.

My belief, my wish, my dream, my love, my life, my innocence, my shame, my heartbreak, my loss, my light, my dark, my smile, my anger my utter devastation. I could not, was allowed not, to keep you.

Their skirts swishing off the parquet floor. Their chain-like beads dangle like the hangmans noose. Their footsteps quicken, grow louder. They’re on their way.

I wake again and again over and over. I’ll never forget. I search among the faces. I curse their command. Cold as the statue they adore. Hearts made of stone.

Suffer little children for they have spoken…. suffer little children, so many hearts broken.

© carrie sherbourne and Relay shun sips – itsjustnoteasy.com Blog, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carrie sherbourne and itsjustnoteasy.com Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

The 12th of never

If you had a wish what would it be
‘to see her face’, you said to me
I eyed you closely in the mirror
My heart aching, your love I consider
But a boy, just 7 years old
Passed around from pillar to post
A wand I wish I had to hand
Create a magic,make true your command
The smell of leather, the engine hums
We drive, I watch, as you think of mum
In your heart she never leaves
It’s filled with love and hopeful dreams
That one day you can be back together
Someday soon, not the 12th of never
A smile you wear upon your face
You’re eyes conceal what you have to face
To stay with strangers, no blood no bond
You must conform, react, respond
A little bed in a large room
‘can I go home, can I go soon?
A familiar smell reminds you of her
You can’t go yet, we have to defer
It’s for the best, you must understand
No way, not now, can you live with your mam
Its not your fault, you did nothing wrong
I know it’s not easy, you feel you belong
Not here with us, though we keep you safe
But there in the chaos, that familiar place
One day we hope things will be better
We don’t expect that you should forget her
But keep her there in that heart of yours
And we’ll pray together that it won’t be so raw
The hurt, the pain, the sense of loss
Yes you are safe, but what is the cost
Scared in your mind and out of your wits
We’ll help you get through it, bit by bit
One day I hope that we’ll get you back home
But until that day, together well roam
It’s all ok, cry if you must
One day you’ll know,in us you can trust
It must be hard, I cannot conceive
A separated child, who can he believe
No-one can tell him, how to feel in his heart
It’s broken, it’s damaged, it’s falling apart
But soften the blow, we’ll try our best
To help you along and aide in your quest
Believe me though, I know it’s true
Your mam also loves and misses you
It’s not her fault, she just couldn’t cope
It was just too much, out of her scope
She’ll get some help and learn the skills
And slowly learn a new life to build
And one day soon you’ll be together
no Not today, not the 12th of never……

© carrie sherbourne and Relay shun sips – itsjustnoteasy.com Blog, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carrie sherbourne and itsjustnoteasy.com Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Time

Time to wake from the slumber

Yawn and stretch, and check your number

Time to eat, time to go

Time to learn, time to grow

Time for work, time for bed

Time to go where you are lead

Time for work, time for school

Time to do something cool

Time do a chore or two

Time to spend time with you

Time for me to work it out

Time to scream, time to shout

Time to laugh, time to cry

Time to sulk and wonder why

Time to feel sadness and pain

Time to start to live again

Time to think, and check the past

Time to walk, be free at last

Time for fear, the net is gone

Time for love, you are the one

Time to know love starts with you

Time to try pastures new

Time for sorrow, time for tears

Time wondering, where are those years

Time to to clean, to mop and wipe

Time to wonder, what is this life

Time to stop, to breath and see

Time for you, them, and me

Time for something and nothing at all

Time to dance, time to fall

Time to be quiet, to think and ponder

Time to cherish, time to wonder

Time for time to make it happen

Time to know what is your weapon

Time for calm, time for peace

Time to let the beast release

Time for today, it’s all that’s promised

Time to embrace opportunities missed

Time to know that time will stop

Time for redemption to stay on top

Time is time, it will carry on

Time infinite after we’ve gone

© carrie sherbourne and Relay shun sips – itsjustnoteasy.com Blog, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carrie sherbourne and itsjustnoteasy.com Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content