Reflections 31122019

As we reach the end of yet another year in our adult lives, I like everyone else that I know of cannot help but think of the past year and what has taken place throughout it, taking stock of all that it has thrown my way. It feels like am wishing my life away, as the year ends I cannot help but feel grateful for its passing. With the feeling that last year 2018 was unbearable, full of hurt and devastation, I could not have foreseen that in some ways this year could possibly have been worse, but it seemed to be.

This year, I did not lose another close family member. Although I am grieving for a relationship which is not the same anymore that I cannot fix and it hurts.  Two people I love very much realised this year that they could not get along and decided that it was not worth trying to anymore. The eternal optimist that I am hopes that one day in the future they will change this thinking. I miss the conversations which weren’t arguments that we all had and the fact that we could share our home fully and everyone was welcome. It saddened me greatly that each of them has decided that they do not wish to be around each other anymore but since they feel that it is too painful, I have to respect that. I decided that where in the past I have asked them to make up and put their differences aside, that I would not do that again this time. If they cannot get along, even for my sake then I will just have to spend time with them separately. I will not stop loving either of them, but it is still awkward. Despite trying, I still cannot get used to it.

I could not know that this year, what has been my sanctuary for several years would become unsafe to the point that we had to leave it hurriedly as our lives were under threat. I don’t know at this point whether I can or will return there with my partner, or alone ever again. I am devastated by that as it has always felt like home to me.

My partner was threatened with a knife by 3 separate people this year. He was also mugged and assaulted.  He is not particularly confrontational living a relatively quiet life and keeping himself to himself. I am thankful that none of them succeeded but it seems to have become a sign of the times and one that is very worrying.  The shock when these incidents have happened and the knock on effect of these attacks on his physical and mental health has actually affected both of us, depression and fear are not emotions he is used to dealing with and the flashbacks are wreaking havoc with us.

Our lives have changed as has our state of mind, not one to just give up he is often in fight mode, whilst although resolutely stubborn I remain firmly in flight more often than not. The pendulum swings from one to the other rapidly for me. We constantly ask ourselves should we stand our ground for what is right, or should we just get the hell out of there.

The same situation applies in our main home, where we are under siege from the neighbour from hell. A man who has turned our lives upside down for the past 4 years and whom the police and authorities refuse to do anything about despite the fact that he breaks the law on almost a daily basis in one way or another.  He hides behind a special needs label, (and I am understanding when it comes to people with special needs) but this man is more than aware of his actions and has a blatant disregard for the law and flouts it, thinking or actually, knowing that they are relatively powerless to lock him up. He has continued to threaten our lives and we are both under constant harassment from him.  Being told that we are going to have our throats cut and we will be in the graveyard soon, is not a threat to be taken lightly when he comes at you wielding a knife. What is more worrying than before is that now more recently a gang of men he seems to have gathered out of nowhere from the locality who have joined the threatening behaviour and also follow us around. It is terrifying. Neither of us can sleep easily in our beds and the stress is causing other problems.

As far as home goes, we no longer seem to have one.  Nowhere is safe now and so I am hoping and praying for a miracle in 2020, that someone will put a stop to it before our lives are taken from us.

I have extracted a promise from my family, that if he succeeds in his endeavours to finish me off that they will sue the police and authorities that we have been begging to intervene for all of these years, for negligence since they will have failed in their civic duty.

It hasn’t all been doom and gloom though.

There are some things for which I am grateful that have happened this year.

I am grateful that the cancer my partner is fighting has not got the better of him yet. There have been many times throughout the year when I have felt that it has grabbed a hold of him again.  I am grateful for his strength, when I am weak which spurs me on not to give up.  I admire his relentless quest to spend more time with me and the dog as a family. Although he is in constant pain he refuses to be beaten by it.

I am grateful that the surgery the vet performed saved our furry angel and he has quite literally bounced back from it. Apart from the occasional wobble from sickness we have managed to keep him relatively healthy and safe from attack from the neighbour. He has also been under threat from him since he has targeted our animals previously.

The family home was finally sold and cleared and my parent’s divorce was also finalised.  It has been a very long time coming and they have both now been able to put the shared space and the stress of that behind them, settle into their new ways of living and have the chance to move on.  It was also a huge relief to me it has not always been a happy house, for me at least.

My beloved car, Boomerang had a lot of work done to get it back on the road and I was finally able to drive it again after five years, just a couple of times in the Autumn. Unfortunately, it needs more work as there are still problems with it.  But I remembered it was wonderful to get behind the wheel of that car again and even better than that, put my mind at rest that I could drive a manual car still on a couple of occasions when my health would let me. It made it feel worthwhile to have kept it all this time.

My neurological health has not been great this year, tremors, spasms and acute pain have caused many new symptoms for me which many other Lyme sufferers have also encountered. As this illness develops with each year I find that there are new and scary things happening for which I have no other answers and neither do my doctors.  The list of things that go wrong seems to grow, while some of the other symptoms fade unfortunately along with my strength and stamina. I finally saw the Neurologist who has made decisions to take further tests and also to give me a more intensive MRI.  Hopefully this will show the cause of the headache that has lasted almost six months and will not go. It cannot all be put down to the ongoing stress of my situation here, it is not mere coincidence that most of it began with an infected tick and a bullseye shaped bite. It affects so many other things as do the nerve damage and issues. But for now at least she has agreed it warrants further investigation.

I have been sad, so many times, hours spent in tears, trying to do what is best and find the answers.  My creativity has suffered many dips, I am not writing as much as I had wished to.  What I have written is often not worth sharing and seems like a mere release for my emotions, an outlet for anger and frustration marred by depression and confusion.  I am not making the things that I had set out to make, my hands no longer work as well as they used to. Physical exertion causes a knock on effect, which often renders them useless for days. That familiar feeling, of being plugged into a socket, followed by burning sensations and tremors which dislocate joints and cause injury and bruising. I am hoping for miracles, the funds to be able to up sticks and find that special somewhere totally new, which is spacious enough for me to live with the things and people I need around me and yet I am still able to maintain it.  The place where I can put down roots, feel safe again and start to live the life that I have dreamed of for us, away from threats of violence and death and have the space there to do things. I want to be able to get back to spending time in nature, not looking over my shoulder all of the time, for someone looming out of the dark or round a corner, shouting abuse or afraid whenever my partner is away from the home that he will not return safely.

I want to be able to walk my dog on my own as I once used to (it seems so long ago since I have), to stop and look up at the sunset on our walk, to walk in the woods, not afraid to walk home in the dark, making sure I am safely indoors again or having to drive to somewhere else away from here so that we can.

This is not the life I had envisaged or planned. It is not a life being lived, it is barely an existence this past year and it has got worse than it was the year before if that were even possible. Yes, I have a roof over my head for which I am extremely grateful and I am conscious of those who have not and how it could happen to us all so very easily. I have loved ones around me and good friends who care and when I am able to pay the bills I am satisfied with what I have.  Is it too much to ask though, surely a little happiness is allowed too? I don’t want to live in fear any more, I don’t want to be a victim, but I don’t know how to change this and turn it around. We cannot do it alone.

So, in 2020 I will not be making resolutions to do this thing, quit a habit, join a gym or take up a new pastime. My search for a new home will continue. I will not give up looking for it, for our sanity we both need to get away from here. I have gone past wanting the problem to leave, unless they make him and they are showing no signs of doing that. I know it will not change and our lives will not improve. I can see that and I don’t want to lose any more of the time we have left wasting it hiding away from that man. Our time may be limited we need to get some enjoyment from it back again before it is too late.  I have faced the facts that like the sanctuary this is no longer home this is just where we are living right now.  The year ahead is full of possibilities we could move anywhere really, for as long as our health allows us to drive. We have to just find a way to make it happen.

It is a pipe dream for the moment that I will be able to visit friends abroad again this next year. Although I would love to and have an open invitation, my priorities are focusing on improving our home life.

I am hoping that justice will prevail with the situation up north and down south and that things will change for the better and I am hoping that my man and my rock will still be at my side through it all and we will come out the other side having won in our fight.  I am also hoping that my insomnia which keeps me writing in the wee small hours gives up and lets me get some rest at least on a regular basis. I’d also like to be in a position to make a living doing something creative that I love.

For you, this is my wish. I hope that you have good health, a happy heart and love for there is far too much hatred in this world but may those we cannot love be unable to harm us.

Peace, Love and Happiness and may our wishes come true. That is all…

 

 

Reflecting on the past year.

This has not been the year that I wanted or expected it to be. Neither has it been the year that I manifested for myself, the one filled with good things which would change my life for the better.  That’s not to say that it hasn’t been eventful to say the least. But this is not the sort of year that one would ever wish to repeat.  It hasn’t all been doom and gloom, so don’t be put off reading.

In February, my partner sent me on a trip of a lifetime to visit my very dear friends in Australia. Travelling alone the whole thing was the most amazing experience and I will carry the memories with me forever. I was so grateful to him for doing that for me and whilst I was in a warmer climate, eating a tonne of fresh fruit and veg and drinking filtered rainwater. My health improved greatly, rather like pressing a reset button.  I was devasted to find out whilst I was away that he was diagnosed with bladder cancer and had four weeks of radiotherapy, he had decided to do this alone whilst I was out of the way. He doesn’t like me seeing him ill. I was worried silly about him. He had been unwell for a while and I suspected that he had relapsed. Although he is not yet well, he is pleased that he has made it through thus far. Neither he or I were sure that would even happen at several points this year, something that over the Christmas period we have been celebrating.

In the springtime, we went away to our home in Scotland. It was awful when we got there to find that our neighbour had in our absence erected a 6ft high fence all the way along the front of our property, blocking our view and stealing yet more of our land, but we were not in a financial position to fight him to get it back. Even more devastating was when he arranged for his brother to attack my partner and my dog when I had left to come back South to deal with urgent family matters. The police were called and things went from bad to worse up there.  We couldn’t come back quickly enough, feeling unwelcome in both places where we live leaves you wondering just where you are supposed to be and questioning so much. We thought about leaving there and not going back, but then we aren’t used to backing down. We have fought so hard to make it work up there. He suffered injury and ill health throughout the summer, largely down to the stress of it when he was supposed to rest and recuperate and his health has not improved either.

This wasn’t the year that I ever thought that our family would get smaller, it was an awful shock to lose my brother, who was only in his forties suddenly and heartbreakingly in an accident whilst he was working abroad.  It was not how he wanted me to travel, to go out to the place where he worked to bring home his belongings, but he knew that I was the only one who could actually do it and so he made me next of kin although I didn’t realise this until he died.
I had to travel to Corsica alone and deal with matters there and meet his colleagues who had become like family to him, I realised the profound effect that my brother had upon all who knew him there. Within a couple of months he had become a part of their extended family, was respected and accepted and greatly missed by them all. They were all left reeling from the circumstances and it was both difficult and totally necessary that I went out there to meet them. His employers were totally supportive and arranged everything there. I could not have gone if it hadn’t been for them.
During this time I realised that I had hidden the strength that I once had so deeply. The strength that I doubted I still had within me, but I had to hold it together for the sake of my family and  I showed courage and achieved what was required of me in his honour. We gave him the best party ever as a send-off and over 400 people attended his funeral with around 200 people in a celebration of his life afterwards. The organising skills I once had, came to the fore once again and on that day I stood in front of them all and read one of my poems for the first time ever in public. The whole thing wiped me out and my health suffered a knock back afterwards, but I had the support of my loved ones and our relationships have strengthened through it also. United by grief, my sister and my mother and I have grown even closer and other friendships that were lost have been rekindled. My brother left a legacy that continues to inspire people. He also inspires us to not give up and to achieve things now and step outside of our comfort zones.  I have since gone on to read more of my poetry at spoken word events since then. Something that in recent years I would never have thought possible due to a severe dip in my self-confidence. We all feel differently since he has gone. We are all grieving and Christmas time was especially difficult since he would normally visit us. But his loss has definitely changed our lives and his spirit lives on and reminds us we will never be apart.

But it was the year that justice was finally served on my neighbour in the south who has terrorised and threatened my partner and I for over two years. He was given a fine and a criminal record for only a fraction of what he has done, but at least he did not get off Scot free and has been held accountable for some of his actions at last. I also got a restraining order against him banishing him from contacting me or coming near me or my home. That was a good day and although I do not feel as though I am safe and I cannot afford to become nonchalant about it, at least there is some recourse if he does anything in the next few months. If nothing else it has bought us some time in which to figure things out and possibly move elsewhere whilst under the protection of the order.

I have been writing again lately, poems mainly and trying to write about other interesting things and be less of a dreamer. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I have been writing on another blog lately, trying to find alternative subjects about which to write. But dreaming is where I gain the most comfort I think. I take comfort in the good dreams but due to the illness I have I have had to take some new medication and this had given me the most awful dreams which I did not wish to dwell on or write about. I had hoped that I would awake and they would be gone, alas it was not to be. It has caused depression to return lately and with it other difficulties.  I thought that I would get used to the new drug. I thought it was only a matter of time before I could get used to its effects, but I now realise that is not to be.  Three months in, I know that I will have to change to something else entirely or have to brave it out again as I did before without meds. I now regret that I succumbed to pharmaceuticals once again and look for the herbal alternative instead which might give some relief. I have been writing more honestly, I do not know if I will publish much of why I have written, but it is there and I have written it and I feel calmer for the process. It has been a huge part of my healing process over the years.

I have been back to the breast clinic this week. I have suffered with pain in both breasts for nine months of this year and having had two mammograms and a scan I’ve been told that I don’t have cancer this week which is a huge relief. But, they don’t know why I am still in pain or why it would be there.  So it’s back to the drawing board again.
On the other hand, I have ENT and Rheumatology appointments booked for March which is the earliest I can be seen, These are to look into the constant pain I’m in, the lack of my sense of smell which largely disappeared almost a year ago and the tremors and spasms I now suffer with daily. It’s more of that waiting game. Meanwhile, I did not expect that all of my benefits would be stopped and I would have to start from scratch again just when I thought that things could not get any worse. If it had not been for the support and help with food from my family then I do not know where I would be now, I was worried that I might lose my home being left unable to pay for it or the bills. That really scares me. It is sorted out now for the time being, but I am now worse off financially than I have been for the past 3 years of being unwell and I had to take on more debt to cover the interim.

I have certainly learned to adapt this past year. I lost my sense of smell in the early Spring, right when I had thought that I would be making scented products in my spare time and might be able to raise funds in this way and incorporate a hobby. I had to have a rethink, I made things which weren’t scented or used only the tried and tested recipes which I had already which is rather restrictive. I concentrated on cooking new things instead, my taste buds were working just fine so I baked more interesting things and tried new foods.
I spent time with my sister and got creative again, trying new things and found that my artistic skills had improved, my drawing and painting and I took some stunning photographs to cherish. I sold things to make ends meet and sourced be things which I hoped would raise some funds and learned from my experiences.

I know that life has taken a turn in a different direction now. I am not sure what the future holds for me in my working life at the moment but I have changed as a person. I will be true to myself and if I am unhappy in my work life I have promised that I will not just stay there and make the best of a bad situation. I owe it to myself never to go through what I did before again. I do deserve better and I will no longer settle for less. I don’t even know what I’m capable of right now. With chronic fatigue and other health issues its very limiting but there must be something out there for me. I have received a lot of encouragement in my poetry writing since getting it out in the open, so may begin work on another book early next year. The first one is still available on Amazon if you feel like having a read and meanwhile  I’m still writing my reviews on Trip Advisor occasionally which have had over 17000 readers to date.

So, on that happy note. Christmas has been a very quiet time for us, dwelling on what has happened has not been easy, but the gratitude we have for still being here and together as a family is immense. The fact that there was food on our table, the generosity of our family and the kindness of friends meant that we had a happy Christmas and are looking forward to the new year with new hope.

Yes, we hope that things generally will get better for us. We certainly don’t want them to get any worse. Rock bottom has not been very nice and we have been held down there way too long. Things will have to change for the better soon, we will do all that we can to make that happen. We are still fighting for a healthier life for us both and improvements to our surroundings.  There are times when we have been unwell and depression has taken hold but thankfully despite our ups and downs this year, we are still in love with each other and if you have love, then anything is possible. Our mindset is positive. We will not let this past year bring us down. We are not giving up or backing down we are stronger together and looking forward to a healthy and happy future together.

We do not make resolutions, there has been little point when so much of what has happened has been out of our control. We will make plans, but also intend to create more happiness in our lives, spend time doing more of the things we love, visit the places, see the people and cherish whatever time we have left together. As this year has taught me a valuable lesson. Since tomorrow is promised to no one, hold your loved ones close. Live each day not necessarily as if it were your last, but make something good of each day. Note your gratitude, it will reassure you when you are feeling low. Hug the ones that love you and if you love someone, tell them.  You are worthy of love and you deserve love in return. Think of the wonders you carry with you every day, the things you see and experience and love the skin that you are in, it will love you back.

May your New Year 2019 be Healthy, Happy and Blessed. 

The Patchwork Desert

012The Patchwork Desert

Where the sky mimics the ground below,

We travel so fast but it looks so slow.

Like a carbon copy of blue on white,

Of the places we used to fight.

Undulating. The rise and fall.

Mighty high but I feel so small.

War torn cities no hint of their history,

All shrouded in a cloud of mystery.

A beauty they have all of their own,

As I travel on alone.

Basra and Baghdad truly unexpected sight,

The views you see during day and night.

Desert sands are shifting, giant dunes on a beach.

Thousands of miles, I wonder how far they reach.

Stretching, climbing mountains take you further afield.

Landscapes and lifelines, there’s so much to yield.

Rivulets of water expand into lakes,

I wonder if there are earthquakes.

But where water brings, greenery and hope,

To hardworking, normal and honest folk.

Like alpine views bathed the mountains in light

One thing I can’t get past, try as I might.

The thing that I don’t understand

Is which is snow and which is sand?

And broken clouds go sailing by,

As we travel through the sky.

The sunlight creeping through is such a sight to behold.

Majestic mountains, telling the stories of old.

 

The Daily Post – Explore

Person in Progress

via Daily Prompt: Toxic

Not to put to fine a point on it, most of the last year or two has been toxic in alot of ways. It has not gone well, besieged by illness and tormented by the past and situations which I felt powerless to change.  But underneath it all, little did I realise that actually I was changing. We are ever changing and sometimes, it creeps up on us and whacks us over the head with the proverbial hammer. Sometimes it needs to.

I needed to change, so many things.  My self-destructive thinking, my approach to people always thinking that it was my job to make them like me and getting awfully disappointed and even upset if they didn’t. My attitude to myself and general way of thinking. I had to stop taking things so personally, but the trouble with being an empathetic soul means that unless you take time to protect yourself, then it feels as though it is all on you, your responsibility to make things better for others, to listen, to advise etc, etc. Sometimes it is just too much to cope with.

Then someone wonderful sat me down for a little talk, well actually a lot of talks over quite a long period of time. She told me that I was a nice person, (I have always tried to be) that I am loved and that people should be proud to know me and work with me, that I am an inspiration and encouragement to others and if they didn’t like me, then it was their problem and not mine.

That last bit, I have to admit was a bit of a thunderbolt. I don’t think that I was equipped to deal with it at the time, but it was nice to hear it.  But there it sat, at the back of my mind for months and months.  Slowly over time, I began to view myself differently, I looked at the things that I could do, the ways that I could help people and even in some small way, I decided that if people didn’t like me, then that was it. I wasn’t going to beat myself up trying.

This was a sign of a new me emerging.  I also found my usually reserved thoughts, creeping out, when someone made me angry, or sad, or hurt then I became vocal about it. I occasionally swore, whereas the previous me would have done almost anything to avoid this, I have become more like my siblings who don’t hide their emotions. It didn’t always make me nice to be around, but as time has gone by, I have been fighting invisible illnesses which people do not understand and trying to keep a brave face.  Sometimes the cracks show.

I have looked into myself, rediscovered my spirituality, things that make me tick, instincts which I have long neglected to follow, recognition of things that I know to be true.  I have looked at alternative ways to heal physical ailments. Having been let down by medics who are supposed to help, left out in the cold I decided that it was not good enough and would look at alternative therapies, return to reflexology and homeopathic remedies in the hope that it would start to make a difference and slowly it did. Little steps, bit by bit I began to change.

I have consciously tried to regain my confidence that had been ripped from me by the people who tore away at me. By the circumstances which have caused havoc in my life lately and by the grief caused by the loss of loved ones.

But, I am still the new me in progress. My eyes have been opened to so much in the past few months. The toxic people and relationships which I have had to sustain in the workplace just to get along, are gone along with the job. I have found that by having time to work things out in my head and realise people for what they were has given me a better understanding of their behaviour.

I miss working, in the normal sense but I now realise that I don’t have to accept their bad behaviour any more. Lately I have been concentrating on getting my health back to normal and I am still a way off. I am less trusting of people now. I no longer take them at face value, I watch for the signs, body language and follow my gut feeling. As someone who was watching my back once said, “if something looks too good to be true, it usually is” the same can be said for people.

The environments that I had been around had become toxic, there was bad feeling all around me and it was making me more and more sick. Those of you who have followed the blog for a while will notice that some of what had been happening, or had happened in the past has been mentioned sometimes at length and this has been part of the process of healing from it. Fixing my mental health along with my physical health and finally I feel as though I have turned a corner.

I took time out from the norm, actively encouraged, (well pushed and shoved kicking and screaming would be more apt) to go off and take some time out, to see friends not knowing how my health was going to be in the future it was arranged for now. I was also encouraged to do things which caused happiness and to get creative, which I have been busy doing for a while now. In conclusion it has been exactly what was needed.

So have I rebooted my system, for want of a better phrase?  I hope so. I think I am becoming a different person and it isn’t just about growing up and being an adult. Time changes us, situations change us, relationships change us, so we remain ever-changing, evolving into hopefully a new improved version of ourselves, before we get to grow old disgracefully, having the time of our lives, surrounded by loving people who will miss us when we are gone.

Things I have learned in Australia.

I could not write about all of the things that I have learned or loved during this trip.  I knew that I would see things, the like of which I have never encountered before.  I knew that I would love most of what I would find here and that I intended to have a great time with my friends.

I did have to make certain adjustments to the way that I am used to living. You see as an adult with no children, I had no real understanding of the day to day running of a household with a family in it.  My hat goes off to my friends, whilst I was previously in my own comfortable bubble of blissful ignorance I have seen some of what is involved in getting things done in a household with children so I salute those who are doing this every day. For the first week here I felt absolutely wiped out, by so many things, exhaustion being only one of them and the cold that followed.  I found the noise difficult to get used to and have become a much lighter sleeper during this trip.

I am used to motherly instincts kicking in, since I am Mama to a wonderful dog, so if he stirs in the night, then I am awake.  But with children about I was on tenterhooks. After weeks here now I am not so skittish. I am also enjoying the numerous hugs which are planted upon me throughout the day, or leaning in to see what I am doing, or just to tell me something and the little gifts that I have been presented with during my stay.  It has been wonderful being part of this family for the past few weeks and I will miss each and every one of them when I return home.  I am also extremely grateful for them for making me so welcome, not only in their home but also their hearts.  I have known their Mum since we were children at school, but for a large chunk of their lives, I was not in touch with them, having only caught up again recently. It seems like we are all making up for the lost time.

My friend said to me only the other morning, that she wanted to show me so much whilst I am here, she doesn’t want me to go home and not have done something that is wonderful and we could have done, since she doesn’t know when we will get to do it again. So we are not staying in and relaxing around the home, we do that when we have collected the kids from school and are all indoors for the evening.  We are out in the car, gallivanting, visiting wonderful beaches and just sitting there on the sand, talking about the things that we can remember, when we were younger. The people we grew up around and experiences we shared.  It reminded me that this is exactly what friends do, they should do. It is totally normal.  I never thought that I might be totally normal.

We are enjoying the time we are spending together, the voyages of discovery, the sightseeing. Neither of us are particularly happy shopping, we ventured into a shopping mall here last week I think that although the building was pretty in places, but it is the most uncomfortable we have felt since I arrived and we could not wait to get back outside and do something else.

Don’t get me wrong, we have on occasion perused some of the shops, like galleries, artisan shops and the like, but generally speaking,  we are making memories and thinking of ways and things that are different from the norm.

I am writing this month, but not in the ways that I thought I would.  Bizarrely I have not written one poem since leaving the UK. I thought that I would write plenty of them, in the spare time of the evening.

No, instead I have been writing Trip Advisor reviews, which thankfully people are reading them at a steady rate. It is also a format where I am able to include my own photographs and of course helps any other people who may be thinking of visiting the area as well.

We haven’t been too far from here Queensland has so much to offer that it really hasn’t been necessary to travel very far at all. I think the furthest distance we have been has only been about 50Kms from the house.  But we have still seen so much or maybe it just seems like it since I hadn’t left the house for such a long time before coming away. We are out on most days by 11am and return to collect the children from school by 3pm, so I guess that limits how far we can go, but I am so grateful for the use of the car to drive us about, it makes such a huge difference when you are not reliant upon public transport. It also meant that we have been able to pick up any provisions which are necessary too. We have had some lovely meals.

I have tried, Australian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese food at home and out whilst here. I will not return to the UK as a slim summer version of myself since I haven’t managed to lose any weight.  My friend likes cake and has a sweet tooth. I think I do too but am trying to curb my urge to eat sweet things, so have been eating a lot of fresh fruit and also dairy free deserts, which are plentiful in this part of the world.  We don’t usually have dessert at home, but I have also noticed that the food portion sizes here are much larger than I eat at home.

I will take with me some wonderful memories of this place.

For instance the smell of Eucalyptus in the rain and the trees that you catch a waft of as you head through the mountains. The vision of the enormous blue and black and white butterflies which fly over the garden and have managed to escape my camera lens for the duration of this trip, yes a whole month! I delight in their presence yet feel the frustration of just missing out, so many times a day.

The sound of the wonderful birds who visit each day some of whom sing recognisable songs which I have recorded so that I might listen again and again when I am home. The sound of the rain on the roof of the house and the 5am train that thunders by lighting up the bedroom where I sleep. The verandah which is filled with gecko’s each night who sound as though they are blowing kisses, whilst running around chasing all the bugs and the one that hides in my room and comes out at night. And the sound of cicadas chirping in the evening and the lizards who run for cover as we pass them on the way back from school.

The day that I was covered in Parrots all vying for my attention and had the biggest smile on my face.

I was thinking as we drove back earlier the other day, of the blanket of trees covering the road. The lush green surroundings which were so unexpected when I arrived, the earth around here, a vivid reddish brown and rocks in beautiful coloured layers all along the roadside as we drive through the hills.  The gang of Kangaroos, we drove past just standing in a field on one rainy day that we went out in the car.  Being up a mountain, with an amazing view which I could not see for the rainclouds which were rolling in and not minding one little bit. The fact that it kept happening, on several occasions we went out to enjoy the view from a height.  The happiness and elation of standing on the beach with my friend, taking in a fabulous view of the surf meeting the sky, the salt being swept towards us and landing on our skin, sun warming me to the bone. The fact that my hands and my feet do not hurt when I wake up in the morning, they ache from the walking on sand and up hills by the end of the day, but it is a satisfying ache that I have done things, achieved something, gone out and seen a part of the world that I had previously only dreamed that I would.

The beauty of a Buddhist Temple on a cloudy day, with it’s Garden of Enlightenment and the plants and peace and calm that surrounds a place that until recently, I probably would not have even thought to visit.

I dare not hope that I could have come here to this amazing place, for such a length of time.  I am counting my blessings each day, waking to sunlight and birdsong, surrounded by trees I don’t know the names of and wanting to know more, about the place, the things that I am seeing, wanting to explore. Wanting to write about it all, in detail, so that if at some time in the future my memory fails me, I will be able to read about these wonderful things, experiences and the life that I will have had.

It feels a little surreal, at times as though I am on the outside looking in to what has been happening. After all I am the person who did not have much ambition in my younger years, although I wanted to travel I didn’t really get the opportunity to do so when others went off to see the world, I was left behind, just getting along with paying the rent and things. But now, things are different, that very same person is getting to see places which not everyone does. I am conscious of the fact that this is not just a dream place of mine. Others dream of these places and here I am getting to live someone else’s dreams too. Documenting this trip, with photographs and diary has been easy, when we are out, barely any time goes by before either camera or iphone is poised to record what I am seeing.  But there are many things and moments, which I have seen and which I will cherish, when driving the car for instance when I have been unable to stop and take a photo.  Instead, storing it to memory and hoping that it will remain there for years to come.

I may not have children with whom I can share these experiences by way of storytelling. I do however have you the wonderful people who continue to read my blog. And that is why I write it.  Maybe for some who are cautious, or hesitating in some small way it will serve as inspiration to take the trip, do the thing, be the person that you have always wanted to be.

I knew that this year would be important, I had sensed the changes in myself and they seem to have been a long time coming. There have been changes for the better, there have also been things which will teach me as time goes on, if not in the here and now, then in the future I am sure.

I will be able to look back upon this year, when I reach the end of it, with fondness for the things that have happened.  Above all, whatever life chooses to throw at me, I have decided as this year began that this not going to be another bad year, this is going to be one of the best! I have wanted to take control of my destiny, we are even now, only ¼ of the way through it and there is so much that can happen during the rest of it.

I am inspired, feeling creative still, I want to do so much and for the first time in a very long while, this break has given me the energy to do some of it. Feeling that this is the start of good things to come, like the corner has been turned and I am looking ahead up a long straight road, with no obstructions, no dangers waiting to pounce. Although that may be foolhardy since no one knows what is around the corner.  Excitement is kicking in about the things that we will get to do when I return home to my love, the time that we will spend together. The memories and photographs that I can share with him and also the new ones that we will also make along the way with our little family.

So in conclusion.

As I wrack my brains to try and find the answer, I wonder is this actually a voyage of discovery for a land that I had not yet seen, or is it in fact another great part of my own journey, which I have begun to enjoy at last. Some of the things that I will take with me from this trip are the simplest things, which money cannot buy and which I will cherish. The laughter as we went around a mountain road, listening to a song that we grew up with wrecked as another cover version and the various comments we made. Giggling together as we shared a joke or a look, just as we did when we were children of course we are all grown up now, but it is times like these when we forget it all and revert to the kids that we were, just enjoying the moment together as old friends. I don’t think that there is anything better and I know that I am truly blessed to have had this experience, my gratitude is immense. Although I am sad on my last night here to be leaving these wonderful folks for the time being, I know that one day I will return again for more adventures together.

And finally on my last full day here I managed to get it, albeit a distance shot of one of the beautiful black and white butterflies, just as I was bitten by a green ant. Something else I have learned, Green Ants are not my friends and neither are Marsh Flies! They like to nibble.

A Day Filled with the Wonder of it All

The Daily Post – Wonder

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As I stood there gazing out in wonder at the beautiful scenery once again, only this time it wasn’t raining and we could see for miles. The views were astounding.  We had arrived at the Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World.  A place we had been anticipating for a couple of weeks since I arrived and where my hosts were understandably keen to show me.

I was firstly struck by the greenery which surrounded us all, drinking in its delights. There are sixteen acres there, but before you even get to look at them, you are met by a team of tame birds at the door, who greet you with varying levels of Hello and attempts to play with buttons, hair ties, jewellery.  Some are sitting there saying nothing, others will happily begin a conversation, they all have differing characters.

We walked around the gardens, they are absolutely stunning and carefully planned and thought out with artwork, galleys for watering the numerous species. Spectacular views and areas of garden which encourage you to look further and investigate. Many of the blooms I have never seen, neither do I know the names of them but you cannot deny that these are magnificent gardens and the perfect place to spend the day walking around with the family. We took a picnic and enjoyed momentary escape from the heat of the sun under one of the many gazebo with seating provided.

Having just reviewed this visit on TripAdvisor, I felt that I could not tell everything about our visit on there as I wanted to save my favourite moments for here.  We went there for the birds, the chance to have beautiful parrots flying around my head was too good to miss, I thought that I might get a few nice photos too. I was pleased with some of the results.

We took the aviary tour. It was well worth it, the first aviary contained small finches in a plethora of colours. They are all too shy to come and sit upon your shoulder.

The second section was a whole different matter, there were three beautiful blue macaws, young cheeky birds with a penchant for clambering and kisses. They were adorable and just so playful and noisy. But I stood in awe feeling like a small child looking up as they flew around my head. An abundance of Budgerigars in most available colours all perched together up one end in a quiet corner.

At one point, just before I left that aviary, there was a cockatoo trying to remove my flip flops (known as thongs in these parts) A rather cute green parrot jumping up and down on my head, whilst a beautiful pink and grey was preening me and trying to remove my camera strap. Then to top it all, two of the young blue macaws came and landed on the same arm fighting over kisses and cuddles and playing with my bracelet and necklace.  I have to say that I was in my element and could happily have stayed there for a while, but my friend took a rather comical photograph with them all for me to remember them by.

The last enclosure contained the larger parrots, some black  and white cockatoos and the grumpiest parrot of them all, he did not want to share his bird seed with anyone , nor did he wish to be given any but he did make us laugh. His only concession was to eye up the Lorikeets with suspicion and give them a piece of his mind as they came to drink from his bowl and fluff up his feathers when they came anywhere near him. There were also a selection of other beautiful macaws and green parrots along with another whose party trick was to follow us around nipping our toes and trying to undo shoelaces.

We were encouraged to take photographs and collect feathers from the enclosure, so came out with a very pretty selection of them. I just hope that I will be able to keep them and take them back with me when I return home. Meanwhile today is a memory that I will cherish for some considerable time and because of all the excitement and fresh air I’m sure that we will all sleep well tonight.

Maleny 121

 

The Process of Therapy


So as I continue with the next session of therapy for this round of counselling. I thought I would share some more of my thoughts on the process.

28/2/17 Today’s Therapy Journey.

Today I spoke about what had been happening to me over the past 12 months since my last therapy sessions ended. I had thought that I was doing really well throughout the year and felt that I had made a good recovery and progressed. There was the fact that I followed this therapists advice when she told me to get creative again and it took me to places I did not expect. For which I am very grateful. I told her about this blog and how it has helped me in so many ways over the past year. Yes it’s actually been a year to the day since I started my blog and wrote my first post for India Blue. So much has happened. It began as part of my therapy and has grown into something so much bigger and better than I imagined back then.

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WordPress Happy Anniversary 1 Year!

We also spoke about how I could change what I need to and what my hopes are going forward. What do I want to do? I still don’t know exactly but I hope that I will know it when I find it.

I am happy writing, as little or as much as I do, it doesn’t have to be continuous but it does have to be regularly.

This week I have homework!

She wants me to write, specifically what I would like to achieve from these sessions. How I would like them to help me. My instinctive answer was “to get my head right” it was a bit blasé of me, a throwaway statement but right now it’s not one I have a definitive answer to.

Thinking for more than just a moment.  From this bout of therapy I would like to discover if after I have gone through it, I can find what I believe is out there for me to do and be able to do actually do it. I am guessing that I am going to need help with doing that, but don’t know to what extent yet.  I still don’t know what my future holds or even where to start, sure I have hopes and dreams I just don’t know how to get there, lacking in the confidence which allows me to take the leap that I may need to. I admit it, to a degree I am scared.

I would love to know how to quicken the healing process. I would like to know if the thoughts and emotions that I feel are linked to the PTSD I was sent here with in the first place almost two years ago. Or does it just stop and go away? Can it grow worse when faced with new trauma or mutate into a different thing? I still feel an emotional mess rather a lot of the time, ill equipped to cope and I would love to know how people who feel this way do. I know that life goes on. It’s happening all around me, but I feel somehow detached from it an other worldliness surrounds it. If I could regain that control over my life and my destiny then I think that it would help. But I question whether we ever get to do that, have any control over destiny, or do we just have to simply accept it? There again it is in my nature to question everything and perhaps too much. There are times when I am confident, my brave face goes on and for a short time I can face the world and take everything in my stride, but it is not natural to me at the moment and underneath I often feel I am crumbling. I go home and once again feel exhausted, my mind and body aching, totally fatigued. It happens after each therapy session and often after I go out, just to do the shopping.

But buoyed by talking about something that made me happy, (my blog) today I came home and was met by an email confirming one of my fears. I am sad. The CPS are not taking the case against my neighbour who attempted to knife both my partner and I last year any further. So it seems as though he has got away scot free with it. Which doesn’t thrill me at all and renders me fearful of what may come my way. I now want to be staying here even less than before and want to change things for the better.

via Daily Prompt: Quicken

How Many Do We Get?

A leading question and forgive me for a moment if I’m going to go deep…

I am talking about how many chances to make a new life? Something better than before, or at least different. I am sometimes likened to a cat by those who know me, but I wonder whether I have the nine lives people so often speak of. I don’t know how many chances I have had. I have never thought to count them before or even how many I may have already used up and I’m not going to start now.  For whatever the answer is, I am grateful.

What I do know is that throughout our life we are given so many opportunities to make it different. Some we may miss. It may be that we simply don’t see them at the time. Or that they come out of nowhere and we reach out and life as we know it changes completely.

I want to tell you about one such time in my life. It was 8 years ago (Oh how time flies) this week, just days before my Birthday.

I had prayed so long for the moment, hell I’d even begged for it. The operation which I was sure would change my adult life from the one that had been plagued thus far with pain and illness. Once they had found out that the cause of all this misery was Endometriosis, an incurable condition and I had met the specialist, then he could set about sorting me out finally. I was overflowing with hope of what would come to me in my new life after they agreed to give me a full hysterectomy. The pressure in the past that I’d felt, to provide children to complete my existence was suddenly removed and I could finally move on from it. By just announcing “I can’t have children”, instead of the wistful ” I don’t have children…. yet.” Somehow the weight was instantly lifted and it was just accepted by others as well as myself. It was also possible that since my pain and symptoms were cyclical and my menstrual cycle outweighed the rest of the month, this surgery just might put an end to it in one fell swoop. It was a drastic approach, but I had tried everything else that was suggested and it hadn’t worked, I was by then absolutely desperate.

Of course I had the last minute doubts before the operation because it was so final. But, the pro’s definitely outweighed con’s in my mind as I thought about the opportunity to actually start living and be able to follow some of my dreams without being held back by my condition at last. My partner was a tower of strength and supported my decision all the way, he wasn’t going anywhere he said, we were in this together.

There were moments in the past where I had gone after a dream and encouraged by my partner had gone far and achieved things that I had not thought possible.

I awoke from the operation euphoric. Full of hope for what might come next in our lives, after the three months recovery time at home I would need. Thankful for being given the chance at starting my adult life over again. I was now going to be able to go out there and actually begin to live it! I was also extremely grateful that this time I had understanding bosses who had agreed the time off on full pay that I would need. It was such a huge relief that we did not have that particular stress hanging over us through that.

I healed really quickly on the outside and felt invincible and ready to take on the world. My partner held on tightly to the reigns for a while to stop me doing something that would set my recovery back and I started straight away on HRT patches so that I wouldn’t go into a menopausal state with immediate effect. I didn’t want to go through that on top of it all and since I was young I wanted something that would protect me from the brittle bones often suffered post menopause for as long as possible. I am still using them.

So how do I feel 8 years on from this?  Did my new life begin? Was it as awesome as I thought it would become back then?

Well, yes I got a new life compared to the old one. It started to be like most lives, it’s been a pretty mixed bag.  Not always awesome, it has been filled with ups and downs, we have been sick and healthy, jobs have come and gone. I have lost people and loved ones along the way. I have fought for what I believed in, I have tried to remain strong even when I did not think it were possible.  I have often felt as though I am at rock bottom but I have had my loved ones beside me along the way but most of all it is not over yet.  There is no “fat lady” singing yet.

I have gone sometimes off at tangents over the past few years, not really knowing where it would lead but I want the other chances which might be open to me.  A life can be long or short, we have no way of knowing which of those we will have.  As mine continues I will look for the opportunities in the hope that they present themselves as often as possible. I hope I will find them, at the corner of every street, on every day that I am lucky to wake up and to breathe and in every person I am lucky enough to meet. Yes, I do see those things as blessings, sometimes in disguise, but experience is gained from every encounter.

I haven’t yet worked out for my purpose is for this world, I feel as though somehow I am being led to help others.  I am not sure of the direction but I am certain that I have a place and I belong here and I want to make a difference, somewhere to someone.

 

The Grass IS Greener, Ask the Sheep!

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The Grass is Greener on the other side, just ask the sheep.

So we awoke to find the fields next door full of sheep and thought that the neighbouring farmer must have branched out from cattle to sheep. Kato would have loved to walk or run around that field and I’m sure that he would have helped round them up in the evening by running around the field if required, after all he managed that with the cows.

After a leisurely breakfast, (well it is our holiday after all) we looked out from the window to see that one of the sheep had broken free from that field and was in our neighbours field in front of the house.
Normally this would not be a problem except that this neighbour does not close his gates, the field has hazards in it for animals and if the others followed, as sheep tend to do, then there could have been a whole herd of sheep across the lane causing mayhem or getting hurt. Unfortunately the man is not an animal lover and therefore shows no care that what is in his field could cause injury to others.

We made a call, but got voicemail so the farmer must have been out in the fields, so leaving a message, my partner went to move gates so that it couldn’t get any further. The sheep stood munching the lovely green grass and looking quite bemused, mouthfuls of grass filled his face and he was oblivious to the fact that his freedom was being curtailed.
He didn’t care, as you could clearly see, from the photograph the grass definitely was greener this side of the fence. He was happy to stay there. Sod’s law prevailed though and later he just skipped back across to the other field before the farmer could arrive and round him up. We later found out that a new farmer had rented the fields for his sheep and as a Thank you for securing them he offered us one of his lambs in the spring when we are next up. Now that’s a tempting thought.

Not the Cherry on Top

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Observations again.

Having been presented with this shot of a dessert, Weekly Photo Challenge – Michelle.W

I was struck, not by the cherry on top, but by the sweet and brightly coloured topping. When I was younger, we used to call them Hundreds and Thousands and they were served on ice cream, Angel Delight as well as cakes.  This week, I have had an undiminished urge to find some and buy them and have them on my now dairy free ice cream.

I don’t know if it a desperate attempt to return to a safe part of my childhood. I have on two separate days this week thought of these brightly coloured decorations and craved their colour in a small step towards something. Although I am not yet sure what, maybe it’s the familiar overthinking, along with the realisation that Life is not always just a bowl of cherries.

It has been a rough week for us, where the emergency services have been required and where I should be valuing the deep and important things around us. The facts that despite an attempt otherwise, we are still here, we are still living and we are still loved by each other. Something for which I will remain eternally grateful. The stress of the situation that has taken a hold in the past few days and made us both unwell, I hope that time will heal that. But a sense of relief that has kicked in now and with it brings a certain need for frivolity, which shows itself in the strangest of ways.  Like Saturday Lunch where we ate Fruit and Ice Cream in our garden safe from the outside world and found out that the dog also likes melon and that lazy weekends are just fine when you have had a tough week.

Image: http://www.morguefile.com