.. how to write!
Happy Monday 💫
.. how to write!
Happy Monday 💫
I’ve been quiet for a few days haven’t I? I’m still here but focusing on me and The Book!
I’ve been mulling over something I studied a while back and fancied sharing it with you 🌸
I recall a test in which we participated during our 12-week self-esteem course (I say ‘we’ .. that’s myself and seven other women who had qualified for this course having done the Freedom Programme at my local Womens Aid centre).
The amazing volunteer leader who stood at the front had six sheets of different coloured A4 paper. She held up the white sheet.
‘This represents me; my self esteem, which is extremely good.’
(immediately she said this, I curled my toes with embarrassment – how could anyone be that self assured … but I hadn’t completed the course had I)
‘This red piece of paper represents my husband – and when you do this, I want you to imagine it represents the person, partner, parent, child who has bullied you. I carry no worries about my husband’s connection to me; we love each other as equals, respect each other and hence he causes me no negative self–esteem issues and I can therefore place this piece of red paper next to my white one. Close to it, but not covering up or hiding any of the white… like that.‘ and she placed it on the table in front of her, touching the white piece down the long side, and as we watched, one of the more mature women suddenly spoke up,
‘Like it compliments your piece?’
‘Exactly!’ enthused the leader. Next she took a green piece and held it up.
‘This represents my children. I have two teenagers, one doing GCSEs later this summer, so right now I am giving her all the extra time she needs me to, in order that she feels supported. There is an undercurrent of concern but no negativity. I, we chose to have the children and knew there would be times when more attention would be needed from us for them, so for now, I shall place this green sheet covering … oooh … about 20% of the white. Like that.’ We watched.
Then a purple piece ..
‘This represents my work here, so my job. I know what is expected of me in my hours of work and my self esteem is so good, that if I am given more than I can cope with, I inform the boss that I need extra time or extra help, immediately alleviating the worries and stresses which might build if I elected not to say anything. So this piece also takes nothing negative from me, only the effort required that the hours I am obliged to give it… therefore I place it also next to this white sheet … let’s pop it along the top here.’
She did the same with orange for friends, explaining that if a friendship had become negative, one-sided, or toxic, she now walked away from them. Life was too short to surround herself with negative people, just because they’ve been friends ‘for years’. The same with a yellow piece for parents and extended family members and the task was complete.
It was the most inspiring demonstration I’d ever witnessed. Then it was our turn.
On finishing, I realised I was one of the luckier ones.
I still had a third of my white paper showing. One girl, whose leg was broken when her partner stamped on it when she fell on the staircase when he pushed her, and who had not spoken for the first four weeks of the Freedom Programme meetings, had her white covered almost entirely by the red sheet, so scared was she of her partner’s imminent release from prison.
Another women, whose adult daughter bullies her and prevents her from seeing her grandchildren had over half of her white sheet covered by green.
And so it went on….
Now YOU do it!
A year on, I can honestly say if I did the experiment again, I would have 95% of my white sheet visible. I can’t explain the difference I feel about so many things. The counselling was a lifeline out of a quietly building depression and I am so grateful to the volunteers of the Womens Aid groups … and most towns have them, so if you feel overwhelmed by events in your life, seek their help. xx
Tragic news for Italy 🇮🇹
So I was washing my highlighted hair with L’Oreal Profressional Magnesium Silver shampoo; a really deep midnight blue mixture which stains the minute it touches anything other than blonde hair – on which it cleverly counteracts any yellow tendencies which can creep up on highlighted hair.
The white shower curtain is flecked with mauve suds as I hum ABBA’s Dancing Queen yet have no idea when I shall next be bopping. As I rinse me, the curtain and the tiles quickly from the offending, but highly effective, what in essence is a blue rinse, I notice Man of the Woods’ white shirt in a heap on the floor.
His clothes never make the laundry basket – just a vague notion of the bathroom in passing and occasionally, like now, the bathroom floor (which is better than the landing so we won’t moan).
Stepping out over the shirt, and delighting at my reflection in the mirror at the face-lift effect that twisting a large towel on top of my head creates, my periphery vision catches purple splodges on said shirt. Must rinse that.
After a gruelling yoga for beginners class this morning (because I’ve forgotten everything and need to start again with my down-dogs) we are going out to lunch. In a pub. Excellent. The joys of post-harvest; I don’t have to wait for my husband to leave the office at 6pm – he’s right here, under my feet!
From somewhere a voice calls;
MoW: “Have you seen my white shirt?”
Me: “No? Must be in the wash! Why not wear the blue one?”
MoW: “Can do, but I really like the white one.” I hear him shuffle off down the landing.
Twenty minutes later…. entering the kitchen.
MoW: “What are you doing?”
Me: “Just thought I’d wash the bedding – great weather for drying and the sun is great for whites!” armfuls of duvet cover and sheet are forced into the washing machine, expertly hiding a garment.
MoW: “You never do housework – and you decide to do some just as we go out?”
Me: “Yes well ..” I stand up and grin “I’ve heard there’s an award going round. For best wife!”
Fabulous advice here for anyone who has moments, bouts, days of depression or anxiety nibbling at their feet, preventing them from taking steps in the positive direction.
Do even one of these tips for a while (I frequently deactivate from social media now for a day or two and it seriously does make you feel differently 🌸)
Stay strong folks xx
Here is our Border cross Lakeland terrier, a breed not known for its trainability (not sure that’s a word… Denny; I need you again!).
One thing he is great at is displaying daily his enthusiasm for life. He never gets out of bed on the wrong side, he never carries a grudge, he doesn’t take anything out on a third party because he’s having a bad day (and had to watch that cat saunter past his kennel yet couldn’t get his claws on it).
‘Rock’ is totally accepting of the hand that life has dealt him. As dog’s lives go, this a pretty good one. He is walked twice a day around farmland he’s only ever known having arrived as a 9-week old black ball of fluff.
Man of the Woods had been begging me to spend most of my waking hours in his tractor cab to keep him company, but I had stuff to do! It had been four years since he’d said goodbye to his previous terrier and not one to rush out and replace a pet, MoW had waited. Now was the time.
He soon put his trust in his new family and fast became the one-man dog they all prefer to be.
I even had to start sharing the space in the tractor cab with Rock 🤣
I know many dog owners keep their dogs inside their homes and some can’t accept that other dogs are kept outside. Now I’m not here to judge – you know that’s not my style. Mother has an indoor dog who shares the sofa with her, its coat with the carpet and tramps all the grit and goodness knows what from his paws into their home and onto their furniture.
Rock has a south-facing large run, at the back of which is a cozy kennel box in which he curls up and dreams of rabbits and whatever else his keen nose can sense on the breeze.
He doesn’t have to ask to be let out to do what comes naturally; his kennel is cleaned out daily. He relaxes when inside his run, stretched out asleep in the sun and sometimes on top of his box.
He is nurtured and loved, enjoyed by all the family. He’s a working, instinctive hunting dog and loves being taken to the old straw bales in the yard where he can sniff out and chase an occasional rat which has yet to locate the safely-hidden poison at strategic spots around the yard.
Rock is bold. No-one ever told him his self esteem needed locating and encouraging. He’ll hold his own in a crowd!
Rock knows his place. He’s not the head of this family. He’s the dog. He doesn’t share our sofas, as mother’s dog is encouraged to do. He’s not forcing his snout out of the front door before we can even open it and the first to receive guests, as mother’s dog is allowed to do (and then told off for being over-excited at the guest). He is not fed first to quiet him down.
Rock is fed when MoW is ready to feed him, and that can vary by up to two or three hours. The routine is not set in concrete and hence Rock knows tea will come but doesn’t start cadging at the sight of human food, as mother’s does.
Rock is patient, respectful, quiet – until he smells footpath walkers making their way through the farmyard, then he makes his presence heard for a few seconds. He is the best guard dog!
Happy 3rd Birthday Rock!
PS .. I have many friends with wonderfully house-trained dogs who are part of their family but do not run rings around them. I fear my mother’s dog’s exhibited behaviour says more about mother than the dog.
She turned over and let her face snuggle the pillow’s cool surface that had not been touched, but minutes later sleep had not discovered her.
Thoughts billowed around each other, hustling for space amongst the ordered plans, like young children bored in a queue.
Eventually, she lifted a weary body from the bed and noted aching joints with each descent of the stairs. Filling her headspace with work was really the best solution and as she started to engage in the rituals she knew so well, the darkness and the power it held over her slipped away …..