Start here

I’ve decided to try and follow a January prompts writing plan. This year is for me to be about learning to enjoy writing again without the pressure of a false idea of perfection.

So here we go.

January 1st : Start here

Start here at the beginning, this should be a time of excitement and anticipation yet I always struggle to start anything. The fear of failure looms above me like the dark cloud on a miserable day. Expectation breeds anxiety inside of me, I’m scared to fail before I even try.

I’ve learned a lot about myself this last year especially. How I have build up false accounts in my mind to protect me. I had convinced myself of so many falsehoods, hiding myself from judgement or the pain of broken promises.

I’m examining these lies I’ve told myself and trying to work out what’s truth from the protective façade.

From simple things like I don’t like craft to places I have convinced myself I don’t wish to visit. Unpicking the pain and brokenness and trusting myself to make my own judgements. Not allowing the past to define my future.

This may just sound vague and that’s ok. Todays not the day to open wounds in a public arena but a day that I start to allow myself to heal.

Trusting myself to feel the rejection and stand strong in my own truth.

Believing that I am ready to finally allow myself to be me.

So here on the first day of the new year, I allow myself to begin to heal.

To begin a journey of new understanding.

Let’s

Start here.

Let’s find me.

Still

My head hurts, the noise level just seems to be getting higher snd higher.

People talking, screaming to be heard over one another. It really feels like it’s a world of who shouts the loudest, wins.

When did we stop listening, holding out for the sweet silence of a moment. Waiting for the small voice of our intuition to speak to us before we spoke?

Holding our own counsel?

I know I can be the same reacting before thinking. Engaging my tongue before I engage my brain.

I think lockdown has changed me, the silence whilst often isolating was also freeing. I don’t have to be anyone but me, no illusions to fulfil beyond the ones that hold truth.

The quiet, the time to be still. I realise now how much I need it and how much it calms my heart.

I sometimes wonder if my heart is attached to my life the crazier it gets the harder it beats. Yet that would make some kind of sense, yet as I lie in my bed praying for sleep my anxiety has other plans.

I’m breathing deep but insomnia is becoming a fast friend. I know we all have periods of this but recently the noise has begun to hurt my brain.

This is this

This has to be

Covid, petrol shortages, empty food alises. Why does 3am feel the best time to worry about them?

Hospitals struggling, NHS at mass. Drs and nurses once being clapped are now being condemned.

Unfair, unkind, untruth

People reacting without researching, laying blame at the accessible rather than at the feet of those that hide away. Those that hold the responsibility.

Oh mind please

I just want to sleep

I just want to be still.

I see the dawn is coming and before long the sun will rise.

I need some rest

I need my mind to just quieten down.

How do I be still in this crazy world, how can this fallen world learn to stay true?

Joining in with Five minute Friday

Rabbit hole

Have you ever found yourself falling down a rabbit hole, I do often. In fact it’s something I recognise about myself that when something interested me or intrigues me I have to learn more. I can lose hours to learning more, researching and trying to understand.

You see I’m not a face value person, just because someone says it is doesn’t make it true. It’s the reason I have struggled at times with religion, society norms and in general life.

I mean even the history we learn has been written by someone with bias. In fact the way we view life is with some form of bias, our upbringing, the beliefs shared, even the political landscape of our country.

It’s something I struggle with a lot hence the falling down rabbit holes often. I mean if something is said, who said it, why did they say it and where’s the evidence?

I love to read and learn and this is something I’ve always enjoyed but sometimes it would be nice to just say it is because it is.

I often wonder is my brain is strange, the way it views everything with a little mistrust. I really don’t understand people when they quote me the Daily Mail or some other media outlet as truth, I mean come on. You do know journalism is bias from the outset. Be it the ownership or political leading or the blatant scandalisation to sell more it should always be questioned.

But beyond bias I’ve realised that the world is so big that I have hardly touched the surface of my understanding and knowledge. This is exciting and sometimes upsetting I mean I like to think of myself as knowledgable but the reality is I don’t have a clue. I am knowledgable in my small piece of life but my goodness they is so much I do not know. What if I believe something, yet more knowledge would show me I was wrong?

Do you ever feel this way? That you have so much to learn? That you actually don’t know enough?

See rabbit hole.

I often struggle with anxiety and sometimes I do wonder if it’s because I cannot stop the thinking. Throw away comments often get stuck in a loop in my mind requiring research, understanding often beyond what I need to know. Reciting of conversations seems to be a hobby of mine.

My husband frustrates me to my core he doesn’t think past the here and now. He can lose himself in TikTok for hours, get obsessed about a new car and do research for this but when I ask him to think beyond his immediate world he isn’t interested. “Why worry about what I cannot control” or the worst one “just stop thinking about it”. I mean come on as if that’s possible. He frustrates me partly because I would like him to think a little more and share the worry and stress but mostly because I’m just completely jealous.

I’ve always been this way, when I was young and I asked my Granddad a question he would encourage me to either go to the library and read books on the subject or ask others and get a variety of viewpoints. I loved our conversations they could be so random yet always interesting. He never allowed me to view the world one way, he would remind me that everything’s is dimensional and we need to know all the dimensions to make an informed decision, ooh I wonder if it’s his fault my mind has no off button ha ha.

Beyond the sometimes brain exhaustion and anxiety I do love my inquisitive mind. Yes sometimes it breeds anxiety and fills me with fear but I do love my rabbit holes and learning. One life doesn’t have to mean one view of the world, we are a world of so much culture and beauty and yes a lot of darkness and hate but even that grows from a bias, a different view that I maybe cannot understand unless lived.

In the special education needs world we often say that all behaviour is a form of communication but to be honest I think this concept is wider. The way we behave is often based on what we have learned, our actions based on what we believe. Our beliefs start with what we are taught. So the way we behave is communicating who we are.

So to understand one another, we need to understand the lives we each live.

Rabbit hole anyone?

Let’s banish “I’m fine”

I swear my body and mind are in conspiracy to drive me crazy. My body aches and I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. I finally fall into bed and ping, my mind starts its endless racing. Have we done this? Did you remember to do that? What about this? What about that? What happened, what if this happened oh my goodness please stop.

I read a post the other day, a friend not a close friend we haven’t met but someone who matters to my heart reached the darkeness and her world was so dark we nearly lost her to it and my heart broke. Yes the joy of the nearly was full of gratefulness but the sadness that the facade of social media had not let us see their pain.

But it’s hard isn’t it, to raise your hand and say I’m struggling.

I call it my advance and retreat. I try to be honest, to be brave, to be raw then in the morning light my weakeness fuels my shame.

I should be coping

I’m so blesssed

Others have it worse

Be grateful

Others have enough on their plates

Don’t put on others

Stop being dramatic,

This last statement is my core enemy.

My childhood was full of being told I’m to dramatic, to emotional, too much.

Even now the narrative is different yet still hauntingly the same, you care to much, what if doesn’t happen, let it go.

Still shame based observations of my heart.

You see we are all unique and whilst the stiff upper lip is so celebrated it is also the weight that holds so many people down.

We should be taught from an early age to be open and honest. Tender hearts should be celebrated, anxiety understood, overthinkers heard.

Our children should learn from day one that the way they feel is perfectly ok. If it doesn’t make sense to others that’s also fine, that the world would be a boring place if we all thought and felt the same.

But we aren’t are we, our children are taught by rote, uniformed to be, to do, to fit.

To be seen and not heard once held by parental control now often controlled by technology.

Yet we should know better, with the ever increasing levels of mental health issues we should be better.

“I’m fine”’should be banished from everyone’s vocabulary. “Are you ok” should be asked with truthful concern. We should listen deeply and we should take time to care.

Yes the world is a busy place, yet the viewing numbers of the last reality programme proves we have time. Yet it’s easier for us to invest in the loves and lives of those we don’t know because no effort is needed. So yes we have the time or can make time to check in on those that we know and should care better for.

So why don’t we ?

I know I need to do better, I need to reach out more, when a friend goes quiet just check in. But I also need to be honest to create a place when it’s safe to speak our truth.

To not hide behind the illusion that’s I’m ok when I’m not. Someone once told me that they couldn’t speak to me about a problem, they felt that my life as hard at it seems meant that they didn’t wish to put upon me. But also they felt ashamed because I was doing well in my journey how could they complain? This broke my heart, I am far from ok, sometimes I lie in bed and beg my mind to leave me alone. To just for a moment stop thinking, stop torturing me with agony of what ifs or what should be. I’m not ok and maybe if I’m more honest in my struggles and vulnerabilities it will allow the others the space to be transparent with theirs.

Hey, we can not be ok together.

I do not believe we were supposed to live this life alone, but alone it will be if we don’t let those we love know our hearts.

So here’s to being truthful, to banish “I’m fine” and to reach out.

Let’s be better

Let’s do better

Let’s love better.

Drive

I never imagined I would drive, I come from a family of HGV lorry drivers and after watching them manoeuvre those gigantic machines I simply thought“not me”. The responsibility, the awareness needed all seemed out of my grasp.

It’s easy isn’t it to tell yourself that you cannot do it. That it does not happen to people like you, it’s out of your reach, beyond you.

This is what I thought as I sat in the public library one day, no matter how many notebooks I filled with my stories, poems, songs holding a book I had written in my hand was beyond me. Seeing a book I had written on the bookstore shelf well that didn’t happen to people like me.

Well it did and it has, yesterday my first children’s book was released. I’ve got to hold my dream. I’ve overcome my fear of failure, my fear of not being good enough to hold my story in my hand. To allow the dream of my heart to be realised. My hope printed from my soul.

It’s strange as today feels like a game changer, just like the day I passed my driving test (not HGV’s) and the world became larger for me. Today the world feels a little clearer, my mind a little braver and my heart a little stronger.

No more telling myself what I cannot do or what shouldn’t happen to people like me. Im going to dream and dream big and drive forward with conviction, with belief.

Belief in me.

Joining in with five minute Friday

1. Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write. Write, post then link up.

Strong

“Oh she does so well”

“I don’t know how she does it.”

“She is always in control.”

“She is so strong.”

These words are often spoken over me, as a mom who has faced loss then chose to adopt a child with complex needs people seem to think I’m some kind of superwoman, a special heart, so strong. 

I may be all of those things at times but I have allowed these words to stop me opening up, fearful that in my honesty people would see weakness.  

You see there is beauty in strength but choosing to be vulnerable is one of the scariest things we can do. Allowing our hearts to be transparent, now thats hard. 

Yet I often think strength and vulnerability are the same thing. 

Some days I feel far from strong, I find myself hiding in the bathroom as I let the tears fall. I feel the nausea in my stomach as my legs go from underneath me. 

I feel all of this and in this I am strong. 

When my heart beats so rapidly in my chest and I can barely catch a breath, I am strong. 

In the panic and fear I feel, I am strong. 

Yet I still find myself hiding for fear of judgement, fear of weakness. 

How wrong am I? 

You see life is going to be hard, we were never promised anything different but its in the showing up I realise my strength. 

Yes, adoption is hard, but I show up

Grieving is hard, but I show up

Being a medical mama is hard but I show up

Being exhausted from caring is hard, but I show up. 

Being lost in the anxiety is hard but still, I show up. 

I am strong, I am vulnerable, I am a glorious mess of all these emotions. 

Strength isn’t in not breaking, it’s allowing yourself to fall apart in love.

And then showing up. 

I am no longer going to hide under the words spoken over me but I do choose to stop them allowing myself to be honest. 

I refuse to allow the fear of being weak stop me from being vulnerable. 

My weakness is my strength 

In my fear I am strong. 

I show up. 

Writing again in the Five minute Friday link up.

Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write. 

Why did you want to foster?

I asked on my socials for some ideas of blogs that people would like to me to write and one question asked was “Why did you want to foster? “

So here goes

“Why did you want to foster? “

I think I was 12 years old or maybe 13 as we have moved up into the bigger school and there was a boy in my year who was in my thoughts then a ‘nightmare.’ He was always arguing with the teachers, always late and often coming to school dirty. Then one day he just seemed to stop coming to school, just disappeared until a few weeks later he returned but you could barely recognise him, he was so different, in clothes that fit, clean and seemed so happy and his behaviour in school was really improved. He was trying hard in lessons and actually listening to the teachers. About a week after he had returned, we ended up being partnered up and being the inquisitive (nosey) person I was, I asked him what was different, why he was different? He then told me that he had been moved out of his family home into foster care and whilst he missed his family his life had changed a lot, his foster carers listened to him, cared for him and were worried about him. He told me “That he felt wanted for the first time ever”. This obviously shocked me, I had no idea what his life had been like but the difference in him stayed with me for a long time and as I go older the desire to foster was grown in my heart. I remember telling my husband when I met him, I wanted 6 children and to adopt and foster many more and bless him he stayed around and came along for the ride. 

Obviously 12-year-old me wasn’t going to become a foster carer but after we got married Alan and I enquired into the process and after discussions and Olivia’s diagnosis we decided that maybe when the girls were older, we could foster alongside caring for Livvy. As you all know life did not go as I had planned, in November 2008 we lost Olivia to a rare virus which she had contracted due to her diagnosis of Rett Syndrome. Our hearts were broken and in all honesty our minds were literally trying to make it to the next day. 

Olivia died on November 7th and for what seemed an ironic moment that was the year I had finally got myself organised for Christmas so there sitting in my wardrobe haunting me was the Christmas presents I had brought for my beautiful girl that I was never going to get to give. Practically I knew I could return the gifts for a refund, but I just couldn’t, I had brought these as a gift, so I needed to do that somehow, gift them. So, after an internet search we found our local children’s home and called for a visit to drop off the gifts. 

Turning up at the children’s home was strange, obviously we were still in the midst of grief, but I just felt so sad that homes like this had to exist. I was pleasantly surprised when we got inside and shocked that the home was actually for children with disabilities, I hadn’t realised that when we called. We chatted for a little time with the manager who explained all the fantastic things the children did and what they had achieved but I asked the question why these children weren’t in fostering placements etc. The reason was simply because they struggled to get people to foster children with disabilities, they are fearful which we understood completely it is far from an easy but yet reason this stayed with me, stayed with us. When we returned home, we spoke to our girls about how we had taken Livvy’s presents to the home and how lovely the children were. Our girls’ questions were like ours, “why are they there” “why doesn’t anyone foster them” and the question that came back to a few days later “why don’t we foster them?”  You see fostering had been a family discussion for many years, our girls always knew our hearts and here they were asking us to live our hearts. 

Well let’s be realistic here I was in pain, I was in pain like nothing I had every felt before. I missed Livvy with a desperation I did not know I had. I felt lost, I felt empty. My days stretched endlessly before me, caring for Livvy had been a 24-hour job now I was redundant and just did not know what to do with myself. Yet regardless of my desire to love on those children that needed it, my head wasn’t there. I had to make sure my decision, our decision was made for the right reasons not just to fill an emptiness which that let’s be honest could never be filled. But the desire didn’t fade in fact it began to burn brighter in my soul and my girls well they never let it drop, they came up with a campaign to get us at least enquire about it. So, enquire we did, enquiry led to interviews, interviews led to an application and application led to panel and panel led to approval. 

In September 2009 we were approved as foster carers and it was a fantastic day, the joy of knowing we were going to make a difference really blessed our hearts, yet it was not one which we could really focus on as the very next day we were on our way to meet a beautiful boy that captured our hearts, our very first placement. 

Over the last 12 years we have only had 4 placements as we foster long term and whilst I have to say fostering is a profession it has allowed me to hold hearts in mine. The joy we as a family get from watching a child lead a fulfilled happy life knows no boundaries.  It has not been an easy journey, we have faced pain, a lot of anguish and often felt that maybe it is all too much, but the children, the children whose lives we get to change are worth it. The children we get to love upon are so worth it. 

It is so worth it. 

  • If there is any other subject you want me to cover here on the blog please get in touch.
  • @rebelwithkindness@gmail.com

We all deserve to shine

How do you stop that feeling of inadequacy forming in your throat? When others words and actions feed into the negative narrative you already have for yourself.

Why do I allow them to make me feel so low?

Why does their opinions matter so much and why oh why do I allow them to speak their lies over me?

You see I am enough,

I am more than enough.

I am a kind, caring, emotional women who has the right to be. I don’t need to fit into the boxes of others and I definitely don’t need to allow others to feel better about themselves as they hurt me.

Enough is enough.

I’m learning to have boundaries, learning to ignore (or at least pretend to) and I’m trying not to allow others to tear me down.

It’s took me a long time to like who I am. A longer time to see the value in who I am. I need to stay in this place.

I deserve to be in this place.

For a time I actually wanted to do life alone, to not have opinions around me that fed my negative narrative. Loneliness felt like a antidote to self harm. Yet I don’t have to live life alone, I can do life with others as long as I have boundaries and I make sure respect is given as it should be.

I’m not your plaything, I’m not the one you can beat down on because you are not feeling good about yourself. I am a heart, a soul that deserves to be.

So if you are like me and have allowed others to tear you down please stop. You are who you are meant to me. I mean let’s put this into perspective, every blade of grass is unique so why shouldn’t you be?

Also if you are one of those that need to beat down on others to make yourself feel better then stop. Does this behaviour actually make you feel good? Do you like who you see in the mirror?

I’ve come to the conclusion that life is hard enough without us adding pain to ourselves. Maybe we aren’t where we wish to be, we want to be healthier, we want to get a promotion, a relationship, a family whatever those are goals and goals are great, but beating ourselves up on the way to achieving them does not help, belief me I’ve learned this the hard way.

Life is going to throw curve balls, dreams are going to be lost but that’s part of the journey. Knowing who we are in ourselves is the only way we will find peace.

Validation from others is only a short term placebo.

Know your heart, know your strengths and know your beauty.

Never allow anyone to dim your sunshine.

We all deserve to shine.

I would rather lift up than tear down.

I often wonder that when God was handing out empathy he gave me a double dose, you see I often find my heart overwhelmed by things in the world. The sadness, the fear, the loneliness and so much more. There are days where I have to avoid the news because my heart cannot handle it.

For a long time I saw this emotion as weak, I saw the pain that I felt for complete strangers as stupid. But now I know different, extra dose or not I am proud of my tender heart. I admire my willingness to love hard and I cherish my desire to lift up others rather than tear them down.

You see to lift someone up isn’t easy, it would probably be easier to not care, to not bother, to not reach out a hand to pull another to their feet. Yet I don’t think we were supposed to live life easy. It’s in the hard we realise who we are, it’s through the decision moments we decide who we wish to be.

I want to be one who lifts, I want to be one who encourages and I strive to be one who loves.

This world tells us often that we have to be ruthless, that everything is about competition that we have to be the best. Walk over others to reach the top, destroy others to reach your goal. But this narrative is wrong, the joy of celebrating a victory you achieved together will always feel better than a lone success.

Joy is amplified when shared.

In a world that is so torn let’s come together to change this, instead of turning our backs lets reach out and lift up one another. Because a separated society will only breed more sadness and hate. A society that works together can and will achieve great things. Let’s just give it a try.

A trashy soap opera.

I was once told that my life was like a trashy soap opera that I was full of drama. I remember the conversation vividly, at the time my daughter’s diagnosis was official and I held the letter in my hand and on that same day I had also received a call to tell me my Nan had died. 

The literal definition of a day from hell. 

It was a defining moment for me as I realised at the that point that my pain was my own. That others could not or would not understand it.  I felt ashamed for being a burden for bringing others down and for basically existing. It was the reinforcement of what I had always believed of myself, I was broken, I was drama, I was too much. 

You see this was the narrative I had been taught, my emotions were my enemy, my empathy my foe and my heart well it was too emotional and too much. 

How I wish I knew then what I know now. How I wish I could have just put the phone down on that call or even challenged the uncaring, unthinking compassionless attitude of the caller. How could a so-called friend see a life -threatening diagnosis and the death of a grandparent as a soap opera? 

I mean how? 

I have worked hard over the last few years, I’ve had to challenge the nurtured narrative of my life that “I am too much” into a more truthful one of “I am”. 

I am a human being that deserves to exist, I am a woman who has faced heartbreak and loved hard enough to feel the pain. I am strong, I am powerful and I am a survivor. 

My life has faced tragedy, pain and loss but I am lucky that I got to experience a life of emotion. To grieve means I have loved, to have lost meant I have cared. 

Yet people are still so quick to judge others, only yesterday a conversation with a friend broke my heart. She is facing a tough time right now but feels she cannot be honest about how hard it is for fear of people thinking she cannot cope. As if feeling fear, exhaustion was a crime. I find it ironic that when someone has a physically demanding job their exhaustion is allowed, it’s ok, it’s understandable and often respected. Yet when people are emotionally weary they are judged “you need to pull it together, stop thinking about it, you need to be stronger”.  A world where those emotionally struggling are seen as weak.

We need to show compassion not judgement.

You see instead of calling my life a trashy soap opera my friend should have been a place where I could admit how my heart ached for my Nan and how the fear of the future for Livvy my daughter was often overwhelming and she should have told me how proud she was that I still showed up. That in the midst of this emotional tornado I was still fighting to give my girls the best life I could.

She should have loved me through it. 

Loved me in it and through it. 

You see, the British stiff upper lip crap needs to end. People need to feel free to say that today is hard. People need to support others where they are rather than where they feel they should be. A end needs a beginning and a middle before it is reached. 

Emotions are messy, they are often uncomfortable and can be hard work, but they are what makes us human. We should never have to hide our hearts. What I know now is that I need to surround myself with people who love me for my heart.

So if like me you often find yourself apologing for your heart stop, find your people, find those that love you as you are, find your tribe. It’s not about  changing to fit in, you cannot live a lie. You don’t need to be anyone but you. 

Be you, be proud, cry, scream and love hard, because you are beautifully and wonderfully made.