Dear Social media users

Dear Social Media Users

The power we have at our fingertips should be used wisely. Our words now hold so much more force than ever before. The whispers between friends are now being shared across the globe, gone is the ears of few now to the ears of millions.

Growing up I was lucky to have a wise grandad who once told me “don’t say what you wouldn’t want sharing across a room”. I don’t think he had in mind the expanse of the social media reach but I do feel the concept, the sentiment is the same.

If we realise that nothing we share on these platforms is private maybe then we will less quick to press post, less willing to share.

I sometimes wonder if it’s a good thing, the way a persons innermost thoughts are now shared so widely. How opinions that have been in the shadows are now out in the open.

I worry about the influences on our youth, the perceptions they take as reality leaving them feeling inadequate, not enough.

The cultivation of hate, the rise of right wing hate, religious hateful ideology and the vicious muck spreading of lies. All finding itself a wider audience thanks to the power of virtual connection.

Yet still I don’t hate social media, I really don’t.

It has brought into my life some amazing people. People I wouldn’t have come across in my lifetime, separated by distance or just circumstances . It’s been an incredible resource on my late daughters disability and now my son’s. I’m learning, I have learnt more than I could have imagined most that I would have never have known without this source of knowledge.

It has created communities of support, raised awareness and reached out and brought love to those in need.

But personally I think it has come to a point that we now need to be reminded of authenticity. Times gone by a journalist couldn’t publish a story without having the evidence to prove its claim yet we have only got to look at the press of the recent times to know that this is no longer the case. Smear campaigns, lies and pure fabricated hate is shared across many communication mediums.

I wonder when the ability to write any old rhetoric got confused with the freedom of speech?

I wonder when one person’s opinion became fact?

When one persons fear became hate?

Should we be policing the internet, to be honest I don’t know?

As a person in this country we do have a right to think the way we wish. What we don’t have though is the right to act upon it if it causes harm to another, if it’s malicious in its intent. If it’s to incite hate?

So maybe thats where the policing needs to be, cracking down on those who abuse this form of communication. Those who troll, bully and intimidate others. Those who spread lies and feed the evil of this world. Police those that exploit the vulnerable, predators of any nature to all to face charges of a harsh kind. Intimidation, abuse, torture of any kind physical or virtual should come with the same punishment, a hard one.

But beyond all of this we as people have an obligation to each other to remind ourselves that what we say can be heard beyond the room. That by the words we use, the posts we share we take a responsibility for the substance. We cannot say we did not know anymore, we did not realise.

Ignorance is no longer a defence.

Let’s use social media for the communication it should and can be, one of joy, one of upliftment and one of knowledge.

Be truthful and be kind.

Many thanks

Sara

Owning your truth

Have you felt that you are at the end of everything?

That you have reached the point of no return?

That’s exactly how I have felt these last weeks, my face aches from my fake smile and my heart aches for my truth.

Sometimes in life you don’t actually realise that you are living a lie, you have even managed to convince yourself of the pretense.

What do you do when you see the light? When finally, the sticky tape that has been holding you together gives up and reality all comes spilling out like a raging river.

What do you do?

I hope you weren’t hoping for me to have the answers, I actually have no idea.

What I do have is my first step.

No more bullsh*t, no more fake smiles, no more pretending.

If I start with truth, then maybe truth will be the guide I need for my next step.

I’m tired of being ok with things that are not ok, tired of other people assuming their opinions are my own. Tired of saying yes when I really want to say no, tired of just not being me.

I hate that I do this to myself, I encourage others to search for their truth when I’m not owning my own.

I hate being a people pleaser, there is a difference between wanting to support, guide and love on others than just bending to the will.

Seriously,I am simply my own worst enemy, biting my lip so hard it bleeds when I know I am entitled to my own opinion and my own wishes.

Why do I do this, why do so many of us do this as I know I am far from alone?

Have we become scared of being uncomfortable?

Have we just become accepting of settling?

Do we not deserve to live our lives fully and wholeheartedly?

 

I know I have changes to make, people that need to hear me. In fact, I’m sure that nearly everyone reading this wants something more in their lives.

So, join me and start taking back your own truth, start living your life fuller and wider.

Remember those that love you, but also remember that you must love yourself.

This life is a journey but its an one time deal, so make it the best you can, be true to you and others will know your truth to them.

No drama

I had a friend once, I use the term friend rather loosely now but then she was what I would class as dear to me. We had walked though a lot together and I assumed we would continue to do so.

Then when in the midst of Livvy’s regression I was crying down the phone to her when she uttered the words that have scarred my heart for such a long term “I swear your life is like a trashy soap opera, everything happens to you, or maybe you just like the drama”.

I remember the impact of these words as if it was yesterday. How anyone could believe that this was the journey of life I had wanted to take was beyond me but to accuse me of being dramatic hurt. In fact it hurt so much that I shut down, I didn’t allow my feelings to show. I closed the door on that friendship and many others in fear of judgement.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I am in a place now where I am ready to own my own story. Ready to embrace what I have lived, not with echoes of shame but with pride.

Having a child who was born with a debiliatiting condition was hard but not knowing what it was and not expecting it was literally a nightmare. I cannot find the words to explain how painful it was to lose my daughter to Rett Syndrome, twice. Watching her eyes leave my face, her words disappear from my ears and her movements lost to the stereotypical.

To see the fear in her eyes as she screamed and screamed, crying out for me to rescue her. It broke me in inside, I cried out to God so often to heal her.

But he didn’t.

Yet slowly and surely he healed me.

I finally began to embrace the journey I was set upon, although it was very different from anything I could have ever imagined it was full of wonder and joy.

Joy, does that surprise you?

My daughter had a severe devastating condition, my son has a very complex disability but both of them loved, loves life in a way that brought, that brings me so much light.

It’s took me a long time to get to a place where I don’t apologise for what some see “as drama” in my life.

I have surrounded myself with people who get it or who try to understand it.

I have walked away from those who don’t or who don’t want to.

I can accept that some people cannot understand the life I lived or now the life I have chosen and that’s ok.

We are never going to be a typical family and I am embracing that, celebrating that.

Yes at times I am lonely and I do get sad at having to apologise for another missed get together, group activity or friendship meal.

But my children will always be my first priority, always my heart.

I don’t know if my friend understood the impact of her words or how they would change me inside. Maybe it was meant as a throw away comment that wasn’t supposed to find roots and bury itself deep.

Maybe it was my state of mind back then that fed and watered these seeds of deceit.

I don’t know and I actually don’t care.

Because I’m not that person anymore.

I cannot say that harsh words don’t still sting or dig deep in my heart, but they don’t get to stay and or get to take root anymore.

I am stronger than I have ever been.

I have faced the darkness of death and my memories, love brought me the light.

I face the suffocation of fear but my sons smile breathes air into my lungs.

My children are my world, they are the air that I need to breathe.

I am stronger for being their Mama.

My faith is stronger than my fear.

Writing when it hurts

Sometimes I get scared to write, scared to allow the truth to flow through my fingers. I preach about transparency and owning my truth yet at times my reality frightens the crap out of me.

Right now I feel on the edge of cliff I can see the rocks bouncing down the sides disappearing under the waves and I wonder how long this ridge will hold me. I can feel the erosion burning up inside of me, my will, my strength slowly crashing towards the water.

To say there is a lot going on in my life right now would be a massive understatement, the stress of exams on my girls has been worrying. Watching them tie up their hopes and dreams in pieces of paper is heartbreaking. Their value should not be decided by a cluster of standardised tests.

But this is the truth of life isn’t it?

We search for our own value in others judgements, others tests, others expectations.

I don’t want to do this anymore, I don’t wish to turn myself inside and out by the expectations my anxiety has created or those that don’t matter.

I cannot be all things to all people and cannot or will ever be perfect, yet i live each day berating myself for just this.

See this is maybe why I should have stayed quiet, yet a wise woman told me that truth can heal and that truth can set you free and that I needed to continue to write.

So here is my truth, the strive for perfection is an never ending quest, yet it also the biggest load of bull I have ever been told.  Perfection is a farce, something that can never be achieved, never be obtained. You see perfection comes with chains where truth comes with freedom.

Its ok for me to admit I am overwhelmed right now, to admit that anxiety is eroding my soul. That I want to run away from the world for a while or to simply just find some peace to calm my mind. It’s ok to admit I’m human, I hurt, I cry and at times I will break.

This is my truth.

Be true 

Transparency how I love this word, yes I may have mentioned this before but I just cannot help it, it actually may be one of my favourite words. I celebrate that what you see is what you get and I want that for me, I want that to be me. 

For a long time I have felt like I was living life at 60% hiding away for so long, hiding from my emotions being embarrassed by my empathetic nature. I am now finally embracing my transparency and loving life a hell of a lot more.

Does this get me into trouble ? At times maybe , but being open and honest matters, it’s allowing my soul the freedom that it sorely needs. 

I don’t want people in my life to not to know what I think of them, how much I love, cherish and admire them. I don’t want to wish for second chances or to cry over missed opportunities. I want to die empty with nothing held back. 

I often think of Livvy and her transparency, anyone who was with Livvy knew exactly how she was feeling, happy or sad. If Livvy loved you she made sure you knew it. Her eyes, her smile surrounding you in the warmth of true love. The flip side being if she wasn’t keen she also let you know that too. The looks that little madam could give you well, it’s lucky some didn’t turn into stone. I will never forget one doctor turning to the nurses after prodding her with needles for way to long and saying “I don’t think she likes me” the nurses burst into laughter because Livvy had made her opinion clear I mean from turning her back to him to refusing to look up when he was near. She was totally transparent and I loved her for it. 

It’s this need for openness and truth that is leaving me struggling right now. When the country seems to be changing in front of my eyes. People I have known or thought I knew having opinions that seriously shock me. Statements of pure hate coming from those I though were about love. 

Yes I can accept that the country is scared  the right wing propaganda is blaming immigrants for everything. Hey I burnt my toast this morning, blooming immigrants,  but this blame game isn’t one of truth.

People are falling for the lies, the blatant misdirection of the corrupt. Blame these people whilst we screw you over as you look the other way.

Yet we aren’t all gullible, at times I think we know we are being sold a pile of horse poo but it’s easier to blame that it is to fight. To stand up against the hate and say enough. 

It’s the hiding in shadows that is tearing at my heart right now. When the people in power are playing egotistical games with the vulnerable. When winning points is more important than saving lives. 

I’m craving for transparency, for the curtains to fall away and the whole stage to be seen. 

It’s time for a change. 

This world needs transparency and it also needs accountability, another rather wonderful word. 

People need to be accountable for their actions, their words, their decisions, their votes. 

Imagine a world where you had to be accountable for every decision you made.

For every word your spoke.

For every action you took or didn’t take.

I truly think the world would be a different place. 

A place where people thought before they spoke. 

Deliberated before they acted.

This world would be a kinder place.

We would have a more loving world. 

And a hell of a lot more happiness and laughter. 

Live life full, live life transparent and live life true. 

Is it pretend…?

My daughter was in her sociology class last week when the subject turned to fostering and adoption. She was sitting there listening to the views of others when one boys opinion really annoyed her, it seemed that to him fostering and adoption is “pretend parenting.”

Well I’m certainly not going to argue with the viewpoint of a 15 year old because as we all know at this age they are always right, but I would ask him to think about this.

Is it pretend when I walk the bedroom floor for hours soothing a teething baby?

Is it pretend as I wait patiently and worryingly outside the hospital theatre’s door?

Is it pretend when I hold them tight when they wake from nightmares?

Is it make believe the pride I have in all their achievements?

The worry I feel when they are sick?

The missing I feel when they are not with me?

Is it pretend when my heart fills with love for them?

I don’t really expect most 15 year old’s to understand but so many times I come across adults who just don’t get the love I feel for my fostered children. They see them as a means to an end or just part of my job. In fact the current government seems to view fostering as second class parenting but that’s for another post.

It just drives me mad that people view it this way, as it’s so far from the truth.

You see the moment I open my home up to child I also open my heart to them.

Slowly we both get to learn about each other.

I get to watch them as they come to understand that this is their home too.

I want them to know they are so loved, that they are so cherished and that they are so wanted.

I want them to put their stamp on their bedroom, knowing that it is their’s for as long as they want it.

To sleep without fear of moving on or not being safe.

I want them to know that they are now part of the tribe, that no matter what they do there is no giving up.

We fight for family in this home.

We fight for dreams to be realised.

There is no pretend is this family, just pure real true love.

A families love. 

 

 

Monday is the start of the Fostering Network’s Foster Care Fortnight. This years message is Time to Foster, Time to Care. They  want to spread the message that for many prospective foster carers NOW is the time to care and NOW is the time to foster. Please go take a look over on the Fostering network’s website and if you have ever considered fostering now is the time to do it.

There are so many children out there waiting for families to reach past pretend and to embrace them in real family love. 

 

Becoming a foster carer was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

It’s not always easy but it so worth it. 

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If my words were never to be seen. 

“Write as of no one would ever see your words”. 

I saw this statement on Twitter yesterday and it really made me stop and think, what would I write if my words would never been seen?

Would I tell you that I am pissed off at humanity, that the images I see and the news I read from around the world actually makes me sick at times to be part of the human race. 

The disgusting way we are treating the refugees from Syria. Destroying make shift homes, attacking those that already have nothing. Treating them as the enemy as they flee from all they know all they love. 

The current state of the political system the way it’s leaving people soul destroyed. Budgets being slashed for the things that really matter, social care disappearing, vulnerable people being left in crisis. 

The NHS slowly being sold off to rich selfish corporations whose only compassion is for the money it can make. 

People coming second to financial gain.

Would I tell you that I truly believe the world has changed. Gone is the love each other sentiment of this planet to love myself. 

The art of conversation is lost, gone are the days of real words and sentiment now we are a society of text talk or emojis.

If my words were not to be seen by anyone I would tell you that I worry. I truly worry for society. That I wish people would wake up and realise that we aren’t meant to walk through this life on our own. That our actual DNA needs to us to be sociable and to build relationships. 

We need to think outside ourselves. That the greatest joy can be found in giving not in taking.

If my words were never to be seen maybe I would admit that I’m tired of selfishness. Of seeing some that have so much and others that have nothing.

I’m angry at the rise of homelessness, emotionally corrupt landlords raising rents that only the elite can afford. Forcing families who have lived in an area for generations to have to move away from all they know, all they love. We are building lines between those that have and those that don’t. 

If my words were never to be seen I would admit that I too have to change. 

That I know I can be selfish at times. That my expectations of others can sometimes be to high. That I need to learn to let things go. 

If my words were never to be seen I would admit that I hurt. 

That sometimes I actually feel as if my heart may physically break. That I’m tired of pretending, that I crave to be true. That sometimes I don’t want to be the bigger person or rise above it. I want to call some out on their behaviour. Tell them it’s not ok. 

If my words were not to be seen. 

Well then they would be just words. A formation of letters that hold no power.

Words are to be seen.

To be shared 

To be experienced.

So I’m writing today without fear, writing with my heart wide open. 

For I want my words to be seen.

I want my words to matter,

But most of all I want my words to be my truth.