The Blank Canvas

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The Blank Canvas

When she moved away from her previous life, she bought the biggest one she could find and hung the blank canvas upon the wall.

And there it was….

Proudly displayed, her new life in her new home. Away from the hurt, anguish and resentment of the old one, a new beginning for her.
Still wrapped in plastic, a grubby mark in one corner, smudged, dirtied in transit.

It waited.

Not knowing what would be thrown in it’s direction, where the paint would land.
What would become of it?
What image would appear and how would it be received by those who saw it?
Three years later, she unwrapped it.

At last ready to begin, only to find that the smudge was not there at all. The outer packaging, peeled back to reveal the unblemished canvas underneath it all that time.

What will she fill the space with?

Words will come, songs of the heart. Raw emotions apparent, new memories created there and then.

The Blank Canvas is no more…

Filled with a new story, which has now begun.

 

The Daily Post – Transformation

This is about the Blank Canvas which hangs in my Mother’s home. It is her Birthday today, which is why I have chosen to post this now.  #Happy Birthday! Bizarrely though I wrote this and when I spoke with my mother two days later she told me that the very same day, she had begun painting her words on her Blank Canvas.

Photo: http://www.morguefile.com

A Midsummer Night

The beautiful moon on Midsummer night
Watching as the clouds go on in flight,
Rushing under an enchanted full moon
Which passes us by all too soon.
I throw open the blinds and welcome the sight
To see the room bathed in its’ light.
Laying in a pool to feel its balm
Taking over that sense of calm.
Once in a lifetime. Gone too soon
As it’s beauty and light fills the room.
I’m so excited I cannot sleep,
Wondering what blessings we’ll reap
How our lives may change for the best,
And when I’ll enjoy peaceful rest.
So wrapped myself up in a blanket of white,
Watching their step as the angels alight.
They’ve come so far to visit me,
dancing around and setting me free.
As I tell them that I’m not ready to go,
Despite the battle of highs and low.
My work around here has only begun,
So I’m not content to skip and run.
Will they assist me as I prepare,
To cleanse and grow, my soul laid bare.
So as I watch the moon at its height.
Not thinking at all of my recent plight.
But of new things which may come our way,
As we dance headlong into the fray.
It is far better than counting sheep,
Watching the moon as you’re trying to sleep.
Watching the reflections starting to gleam,
A part of my own Midsummer Night’s dream
With her smiling down upon your face,
As you cherish living in this special place.
Laying awake and looking at stars,
Searching for planets, Jupiter, Mars.
There’s a wondrous world out there,
If you take just a moment to share
In the beauty that’s heaven sent.
As you watch the moons ascent.
The light is changing a new day has come,
As you drift into sleep with the rising sun.
It was a moment, so special and bright
Bathed by the moon on Midsummer night.

 

The Daily Post – Summer

La Bleu Chevaux

The Daily Post – EmbarrassingPhoto0112We walked out of the Hospital together, after another one of those appointments, which I used to dread. One where it would be suggested that I would try another drug or tablet, which may ease the symptoms of my Endometriosis. Often leaving me reeling from the reactions to it, I would always try their suggestions, for fear that if did not, then my Doctor or the Hospital, might refuse to offer any treatment at all and I might just miss out on the one thing that worked, if they ever found it.

I knew so little about it back then, completely uninformed with a condition that no-one spoke of. I didn’t know anyone who had it who I could ask and this was before the days of the internet, where you could look up so easily and find other people in the same boat, so you just trusted the Dr‘s, after all they must know, (Right?) and got on with it.

It was a sunny day, my boyfriend (who would later become my partner) had come to meet me from the Hospital that day, he wanted to cheer me up. At the time, we travelled by bus, walked a lot and he usually had a car. He suggested that we go for a short walk together and although I was sore from all the prodding and poking, I reluctantly agreed. I needed some air, after being cooped up in there and always needed to clear my head. As we walked along the road, we got talking about cars and when I thought I would learn to drive. It was something that I had wanted to do since getting my provisional licence at seventeen, but kept running out of money as I was due to take the test. But it was still very firmly on my wish list. As we walked arm in arm, he pointed out a pretty Blue Citroen 2 CV, also known as a ‘deux cheveaux’ which was parked in a row of cars, you didn’t see many of those around any more. “What do you think of those?” he said “Oh I’ve never liked those very much, although the pull back roof is nice, I prefer Mini’s” I had always loved the Classic Mini with it’s cute curves and smile. We paused to look at the 2CV. “Oh, that’s a shame he said, I’d better take it back then” I stopped dead in my tracks and quite literally fell about laughing. “You are joking, why on earth would you buy something like that?” I said, “You’d look ridiculous driving it” I feel that I should explain myself at this point, it was a little outspoken of me, but imagining my 15 stone hunk of a man, behind the wheel of this little Citroen made me laugh. I must have been a bit dazed from the hospital, since we clearly were just not on the same level. “No Silly, I wasn’t thinking of it for me, it’s for you” Suddenly I fell in with an almighty splash and regretted hastily voicing my thoughts, ALL CHANGE! HE HAD BOUGHT ME A CAR….
“Thank You, Thank, You, Please don’t take it back” I said. “But you said you didn’t like them” ” Yes, but I’d love THIS one after all, It’s a present!” He has on many occasions shed light on the fact that I can be fickle, sometimes it drives him nuts, but he has got used to it now.

It was not the first car that had been bought for me to use. At seventeen, one had been purchased for me , which needed a whole load of work sat in a friends garden and rotted away since I couldn’t drive it to get it fixed up and was eventually scrapped. A few years later, another boyfriend thought that he would buy the perfect car for me, he put it in his garden along with the other vehicles that he had amassed there over the years and that would be incentive for me to learn to drive, if I passed my test then I would be able to drive it, maybe. Except that he was a control freak and his particular brand of control meant that was never going to happen.

On this particular day, he told me to clamber in and find something to tie my hair back with, the roof was pulled back and we folded the windows open. I was to learn that they had to be properly secured otherwise, they would bang shut if you went over a bump and could trap fingers. But in we got and took the car on it’s maiden voyage. I sat inside, noticed the funny gear change, up on the dashboard known as an umbrella gear stick, since it has a handle just like an old fashioned umbrella handle. “How do you drive one like that?”, I asked. “I will show you, it all” he said. “If you can use this gear change, then you can drive anything” We drove down to the beach, took it round the country roads and it turned out to be fun. “We’ll have to sort out insurance and L Plates then you can drive it.” He didn’t need to ask me twice, I think I did that the very same evening.

And so our adventures began. We covered thousands of miles in that little French Blue, Citroen 2CV. Had lots of fun and I learned to drive, we headed off to Brighton on the coast for regular weekends, on one occasion we broke down, the starter motor packed up and a friendly driver, gave us his wrench to get it started, you had to tap the side of it and then it would fire up. We did this until my next payday when I bought a new starter motor and my Dad fitted it for me, under sufferance. On one occasion when we drove back from Brighton, a lorry driver attempted to run us off the road, at that point my boyfriend decided that when we could we would change the car for something with a little bit more power, since he never wanted that to happen to me when I was out on my own. It was an unpleasant episode. In the time I had it, I only ever had to replace the starter and a couple of spark plugs. If I recall, it only had two, due to it’s very small engine. We kept the car for about 2 years, unfortunately, we bid it a fond farewell after the heels I was wearing went through the floor and I couldn’t find anyone anywhere who wanted to weld it. I was choked to wave goodbye to it, but it would not get through an MOT without the welding.
I saw the car some time later, it had been bought by some rich man for his Au Pair, welded and treated to a new roof to give it a new lease of life, I was pleased to see that it wasn’t scrapped and dismantled after all. I would have loved to have kept it, they are worth a small fortune as a modern classic car these days and have quite a following. They are full of character and are so basic in their design, but are so useful since they sit so high and can travel over awkward terrain with ease. Previous advertising campaigns for the car in their heyday, showed it being driven through a ploughed field with a box of eggs on the front seat, arriving unbroken at the other side. A whole box of Eggs! Well that alone should be enough reason to get one. Ours was able to be parked off road in a field or roadside for an impromptu picnic and life was all the better for it. Ah those were the days…

Unfortunately those were also the days before I had a camera, so I don’t have a photo of the original one.  This, photo is one I came across recently which brought the happy memories flooding back and prompted this post.

Which Direction the Future will Take and Finding My Happy

Alternative title: Getting my Act Together.

Another Note to Self:
No, you cannot sit around in your PJ’s, or your shorts and flip flops all Summer dreaming and writing.
Yes, you will wear make up again.
You will probably straighten your hair too.
You will have to put shoes on again
Barefoot, Makeup free and scruffy is not considered acceptable work attire.

“Sod It!” I cry, like my inner six year old. “Then perhaps I should go and live on the hill, write interesting books and blogs and try to become self sufficient.”
“Well my little one,” says the voice of reason…
“In time maybe, however first you need to pay some bills and fund this lavish, self sufficient dream. It takes money and how will you actually feel about slaughtering the animals you love and have nurtured when running your self-sufficient lifestyle?”

Erm. Well, that’s just it isn’t it…. In a nutshell. Although I have loved the idea of running a farm, or smallholding since I was that six year old child and drew a picture of me selling bread from the window of our farm cottage, a ruddy faced farmer (Shaun my very first “boyfriend” aged six) standing proudly by a red tractor, and stating that “When I grow up, I want to be a Farmer, Shaun will drive the tractor Marianne (his sister) will milk the cow.” Now there is no Shaun or Marianne, Instead I want to drive the tractor and still bake bread, and the reality of what happens to animals on a farm, might just be too difficult for me to cope with myself. I do not like pain, causing it or receiving it. It saddens me deeply. And in all these years of talking about it, I can honestly say that I haven’t during my dream thought about the logistics. I have a friend who has animals, her husband deals with the disappearances of the piglets they look after and comes back with sausages and bacon, but I don’t think they “lose” any chickens and they have laying hens for eggs. Am I too sensitive to follow this particular dream? It’s the first time I have looked at this from this angle, clearly trying to skirt the issue in all these years.

I guess all this soul searching stems from yesterday. I was updating my CV and spent hours searching for another job. Finances dictate that I must do something that earns my keep and again I am feeling under pressure and clueless as to the direction it will take me. More and more I am deciding what I don’t want from my next job. The people I don’t want to be around and the situations I do not want to place myself in. Putting up barriers before I begin, in the name of protection. I am not prepared to have a re-run of the past next time around.

So finding a proper job, what will I do and where will I go. What will I be? Some high flyer in a wonderful company, or just scraping through, barely covering my bills. As the hopes and fears rise within my thoughts and chest, I am clueless and feel powerless to choose. Could I work outside? Yes, part of me wants to, but only in the summer months as I am not attuned to the cold or damp. My body is simply not set up for winter outside. It is also not prepared to allow me to push it into the daily demands of a manual job outside.
I like people, customer faced roles and B2B have suited me thus far. I like to talk on the phone and interact with my customers. Build the relationships which help the business and I’m successful at it.
I like using the computer and finding out about the systems which provide data and information for the business. Although I also like working odd hours and on my own. I’m pretty good at motivating a team and setting them in the right direction.

I’m not a massively social person, although I love a good get together, I’m no longer your boozy nightclubbing kind of gal and I really don’t like football, or want to know much about it. I recently described the experience as “wasted Saturday afternoons of my youth, standing freezing in fields” which didn’t exactly inspire the person I was talking to. I was supposed to be cheering on the team but was too cold to care and just wanted to get in the pub with the rest of them.  So as the football season is in full swing, I am relieved that I am not stuck in an environment, when there is talk of little else or have it shoved at me via large screens in every pub.

I do try to fit in but these subjects just aren’t my thing so I tend to feel like a fish out of water. As though I am missing interaction on a different level and alienating myself in the process, but I can’t help it. I do like European travel, architecture, nice Art, Music (I mean real music) DIY, Cars, Cooking, Photography, Writing and so much more and I am happy to hold a grown up conversation which is more than about what’s on TV or which team won. I don’t watch a great deal of TV, soaps, football or reality stuff where everybody sounds the same, I can’t stand it. More and more I prefer not to watch killing sprees and abuse and drug addiction which seems to have become the norm on our small screens, I have seen more than enough of that in real life, it isn’t drama it is sick and the world has become more depraved. I’m not one for vigorous beauty treatments, plastic surgery or enhancements. It just doesn’t appeal to me. Instead I wash, cleanse, tone, try to keep fairly fit, exercise but not quite as often as I should. I have regular hair cuts and decent skin. I don’t like putting excess chemicals on or in my face, hair and body. So I’m not a make up aficionado, preferring a clean, natural look with the benefit of a neutral palette when I use it. My days of purple or turquoise mascara, or yellow and green eye shadow are gone. Well I was a teenager in the late 80’s, so it WAS normal back then! I don’t even wear nail varnish, let alone fake nails and prefer a natural tan, not the orange spray that people insist is healthier. Hmm, so to spray tinted chemical all over your skin, which gets right into your system is healthier than sun and vitamin E in moderation? Really? I opt for sun every time.

I’ve always preferred the company of my elders, they know so much. I have a thirst for learning, which I think came from disliking school. I was often bullied, miserable there and couldn’t wait to leave. But I had respect for my elders and in later years, regretted not learning as much as I could in that time. So now I try to learn from the people around me, by listening, watching and reading in the school of life and I’ve picked up a lot of knowledge. I don’t claim to be clever, or an expert in anything, but I’m certainly not thick either.

So, why do I feel as though I am sitting here writing a classified ad, trying to sell myself to the world and convince everyone that I am a good person and ultimately employable?
Perhaps it should read, Likes country walks, talking, music, late nights. It feels like a profile for a date. But as I research the latest how to guides for getting your resume out there and getting it seen, we are told that it is not important what you enjoy in your spare time, what your interests are. They the job search robots are programmed to look for keywords, or phrases and if your wonderful artistically written resume does not contain those specifics, then you will be binned without a second thought or glance.
I beg to differ, (Quelle surprise!) If someone has wildly different interests in their spare time to everyone else, then they are not going to fit in, they will have a different dynamic and this might cause issue. More and more I have found that if you do not like at least some of the same things, then you are an outcast, people make the mistake of thinking that you are posh, or aloof and have a preset opinion of how they will treat you which is extremely difficult to break.

So the resume is preparation for a date of sorts, with whatever the future holds, with what route I choose to take next. Along with a little role play involved. Hmm, will I fancy it, the outcome? Will there be that essential chemistry, enough to ignite the passion of my new career? Or is it already there bubbling under the surface and waiting like a volcano to erupt and surprise people?

Tell the inner child that I cannot be the barefoot princess, tiptoeing around the safety of my patio garden and playing with the dog. There is more to life than time with the family, relaxed and in comfortable clothes, eating when we are hungry, enjoying the late evening walks, sleeping when we are tired and doing housework and other jobs when I am not. With no set routine to time. A luxury that I have not enjoyed for such a long time and have missed. No-one else calling the shots with little expectation, merely that the house is clean and tidier, the bills are paid and there is food on the table. We want for little, less physical pain in our bodies and we are happy for this time together. We are not perfect, our opinions do differ, there are sometimes cross words. Usually when outside influences or interference upsets our apple cart, shatters our peace or something throws an unexpected spanner in the works. But generally, our life has been simple and happy these past few months.

Around Christmas time I saw a friend of mine who I used to work with. We were very close when we worked together and I think of her like a sister. We got on so well from the minute we began work together and this continued after she and I both moved on. She told me that I needed to take time out to do something that made me happy now. She was not the first to say this to me, in fact several people have told me that I should not spend my time thinking about everyone else, but must consider my own needs too.
It isn’t about how much we can earn, or who we can please in our work. It should be about finding your happiness. Being satisfied with what you have been served and just dealing with it, in whatever way you know how to. Or learning a new way to get through. She told me to stop worrying about the money I felt that I needed to make, however as the earner in the household, I must admit I had difficulty in doing that and still do.

My friend was right though, finding my happy again has been more important than finding the next well paid, dead end job that steals my time, my personality and my happiness, in the name of a growth, success or a career. I needed to take a step backwards and think outside the box, hell, throw the box away completely and focus on the new important Oh and Breathe whilst I figured it all out. She is a Yoga teacher, she is used to getting stressed out people to breathe, that is just one of her many gifts. In doing so she did me a real favour. Her chat with me came at just the right time, it saved me from jumping in, Head first with both feet again, something which I was ill equipped to do at the time. It gave me the confidence to ask for time to heal from the bad experiences I had encountered and protect myself for the future and take it. It gave me time with my family, right when I needed it and the luxury of relying upon those closest to me for the support when it was needed. Not everyone gets to do that. Although my transformation is far from complete I feel that I am making progress and am grateful for the encouragement.

I still want to strive, succeed and do something great. I might not be sure what it is yet, but I do believe that I will do it and I will be happy. In the past few months, I’ve made a good start on the happiness front, different things now drive me. My goals are changing, they include the little things and some are attainable, with hard work and persistence.
These small steps will lead to bigger and better achievements I am sure.
My view of success may not bring fortunes to our lives, however it just might and wouldn’t that be amazing! Will I achieve the holy grail of a great work/life balance and a career?

Will I become the inspiration that drives other people to fulfil their own goals? Will people follow in my footsteps one day? I want to Inspire! I used to do that in people, so therefore I can. I just have to find the right ones and nurture and mentor them. Make them believe in themselves and their abilities and I haven’t lost that. I have an excitement surrounding my future, a zest for a good life and renewed vigour, suddenly at 3.30am to go and find it.