August 16, 2017

Weeks thirty-one and thirty-two

Posted in August, November tagged , at 12:14 pm by viewfromthisdesk

It’s been an interesting and difficult fortnight. However, I can’t say I wasn’t expecting it. I write this blog trying to pretend no one reads it, or at least if they do, I don’t know them. You are all unknown and mysterious.

That is a daft frame of mind I appreciate, but if I’m going to write then that’s the mindset I start from. Because if I think about you as an individual, as a friend or family member, I’m not going to be honest because I don’t want you to worry or be upset. I protect you from the truth and no one wins. You don’t know I’m struggling and I bottle it all up.

I totally know that my post ‘when the darkness wins’ has upset some of you. I also know that my post ‘One Million Lovely Letters’ was much more cheery and read by half the people.

So unless you sign up to get these witterings by email, you might miss the happy ones. Relying on faceache to show you everything is like relying on Father Christmas to bring you that new car *and* squeeze it down the chimney without scratching it. So click on the grey box that says follow and you get to laugh with me much more than crying.

I was humbled by what followed both those blog postings. I received my very own Lovely Letter, not from Jodi but from someone else who had watched the programme and thought of me and then read my blog post about the show. That random Lovely Letter made my week. It’s amazing what a stamp and ten minutes of your time can do to cheer someone up. So I encourage you all to do it because I can vouch for the magic it makes. I also wrote three of my own Lovely Letters. I didn’t manage one a day for a week but three is better than none. And I want to do it again soon.  I may have cheated insomuchas one of them was typed and one of them was a post-it note sized card but I still did it.

I also had surprise parcels and gifts. I had a gorgeous bunch of yellow flowers from a dear friend and they also brought doughnuts which were lush. I had a packet of kit kats which you all know I have a weakness for, an engraved spoon which has more meaning than just the words etched into it and a manatee tea strainer which is so epic that I cannot put into words.  And all these things before my birthday!

So maybe I need to be more aware that people do care about me and my mental health. Maybe I’m not as alone as I thought I was. People may be geographically distant but not emotionally.  And if I upset you then please tell me, or if you have questions then ask them.  Ask me to elaborate on something or discuss further or pass on sources etc.  If you interact then I know you’ve read and are interested.  Email me, messenger me, a proper letter even!  Human interaction can be lost in this modern technology filled world.  Tell me you saw that scenario I wrote about from a different point of view.  Challenge my negative thoughts and memories.  Recommend a film to watch or a book to get on my kindle and then we can talk about it like proper grown ups.

I hide behind these sentences because I cannot meet you for a drink in town or travel to your sofa or speak to you on the phone.  I use this writing medium to explain the stuff that my speech issues prevent me from saying.  I can type at 2am a reply to a message.  So don’t read and be sad, read and reach out and tell me how things are.  Tell me it’s not like that, tell me it’s actually somehow different.  Help me look at things from a different angle, through different coloured glasses.  Remind me to stop eating everything in sight.  Tell me about your lovely letter that you wrote and the feedback you got from it.

I’m still here, just not physically.

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July 25, 2017

One Million Lovely Letters

Posted in July tagged , , , , , at 10:22 am by viewfromthisdesk

I had planned to write a post about suicide, which is nice and cheery but then that all changed last night.  As ever, I’m referring to something I saw on tv which got me thinking.  And crying and laughing.  If you didn’t watch it, find it on iplayer.

Last night on BBC1 at 7.30 was a program about a lass called Jodi who started writing letters to total strangers.  She has a target to write ‘One Million Lovely Letters’ and some of the people featured talked about how her letter had arrived at a really difficult time and had gotten them through.  One guy was from Canada and had fixed her letter to his computer so it was a daily reminder.  Letters, words, ink on paper are powerful things.

I used to love writing – my teenage years were full of writing to friends and boyfriends.  The angst of those years would pour out as my inky scrawl would fill pages and pages.  I’d look for colourful envelopes and nice paper.  I’d save any money I had for stamps which were much cheaper back then.  I’d feel full of love and excitement when I had an envelope for me when I got home from school.  That someone had taken the time to sit and write to me, take that time to think about me and want to connect with me, that was magical.

I still have notes from people from when I was 14, I’ve kept them and I re-read them.  My gratitude jar was amazing for the couple of years that it worked.  But it’s not been contributed to for a while.  Maybe I haven’t done anything with anyone worth writing about?  But that was amazing, tipping that out on New Years Day, seeing what people had scribbled on the back of a cinema ticket or shopping receipt.  Because it didn’t have to be an essay it could just be ‘I had a really nice time with you today’.  Something so simple makes a huge impact.

I miss it.  I miss writing terribly.  Holding a pen is absolute torture now and it’s all I can do to write happy birthday to someone.  Emails and faceache just are not the same.  They’re nice, but not the same.  I try and write proper letters to people but I have to type them now which I think is somewhat bad mannered.  It’s cheating.  But it’s all I can do and so I console myself with ‘at least I’ve written’ and try not to think about the medium within which I have written.

So, going back to the show – Jodi last night, had set up a webpage where you could request a letter.  At the time of filming, she had 8,000 waiting emails.  According to Twitter, she had over 1,500 emails during the program.  There are that many people out there, who feel that they need that random act of kindness from a stranger to tell them that it will be okay, that they will get through, that they are enough.  And I’ll be honest, I wanted to add myself to that list.  But now I know how many people have also asked, I don’t want to add to her pressure.  I don’t want to make her feel overwhelmed.  In all honesty, I don’t feel worthy.

So. if you find yourself with half an hour this week or weekend, write someone a letter.  Or a card.  Or just a post-it note.  Or rearrange the fridge magnets if you can’t be bothered to pick up a pen.  Tell someone you like their hair, their top, that they made you smile today, that they *are* enough.  Take lyrics from a song (with credits in case they want to listen to it) if you can’t think of anything!  Maybe challenge yourself to write to one different person every day for a week.  Spend fifty pence on a stamp, make them feel special.  It’s important.

Or do what Jodi did.  Write a note and hide it on the bus or train or in the communal fridge.  It doesn’t have to be huge.  Just a handful of words on a boring square of paper.  You don’t even have to add stickers or glitter or a smiley face.

Words hurt and that hurt lasts a lifetime.  But words can also make someone’s life turn turtle in a good way.  Words can remind someone that it’s worth persevering, that it’s worth struggling through because somewhere out there, someone does give a stuff.  Someone does care.

March 4, 2016

March Madness

Posted in March tagged , , , at 1:24 pm by viewfromthisdesk

In January I wrote about setting myself little targets each month so that things didn’t seem utterly overwhelming.  I set myself three targets to achieve by the end of February, these were to write my thank you letters from Christmas, to weed two rose beds and to eat somewhere new.

Well, I wrote my letters so that’s a good start.  It was tough going and I did end up typing them but I decided that typing was better than not writing at all.  It did mean I had a huge expanse of empty white space to fill though which was really daunting.  Thank goodness that as an adult I don’t get many presents anymore!

I haven’t weeded my rose beds.  They look awful.  I am ashamed.

Eating somewhere new was managed, just not quite how I’d intended.  There is a place in town that hubby and I have wanted to go to for ages, which we were going to eat at on Monday night for our engagement anniversary that didn’t happen.  Aside from that, I went out for lunch with a couple of my bat girlies to this very place so I’m counting that as a win.  Any meal time will do quite frankly.  We still want to go to this place, we’ll probably aim to go for April which is when we got together.

So my March targets have to be:

  1. Get better! I need to shift this lurgy that has taken residence in my chest.
  2. Weed the rose beds and prune the clematis climbers. I’ve had an email to say it needs to happen now to ensure a good display of flowers.  Maybe sub consciously,  I keep hoping that some secret gardening fairy will turn up for a random act of kindness, but it’s unlikely so I’ve just got to get on with it.
  3. Sort out my shoes. I’m no Imelda Marcos but I have lots of shoes that I now never can wear again. I’ve held onto them for an unknown reason, pride maybe, proof that I did once wear these gorgeous things, but my joints and social life do not allow lovely heeled shoes any longer.  If anyone reading this is a size UK 5 feel free to come and help me and have first dibs!
  4. Something new. I’m not sure what I mean by this exactly but in a vague way it’s along the lines of wanting to push my life boundaries a bit. I’m not going to suddenly book myself in for a skydive or start collecting imperial sized nuts and bolts, more something along the lines of visiting somewhere or trying something (food, music, theatre-esque) or experiencing something unknown and previously undiscovered.  My conditions limit so much and I’ve allowed myself to become an utter social hermit.  Too scared to try anything really.  I’m not sure how this will pan out but I’ve got to have the idea lodged in my brain.

shoe mountain

(This isn’t my shoe mountain, it’s an image I’ve stolen from someone else on the interweb.  Although I do like those red ones in the middle.  Would never be able to wear them but they’re very lovely!)

 

I’d be grateful for any help anyone can offer, be it physically or motivationally.

March 23, 2015

Something good happened

Posted in March tagged , , , at 2:47 pm by viewfromthisdesk

I know I went on a bit about Mothers Day and perhaps I went a bit far for some people, but if I can’t be honest here then there’s no point me even writing.  But out of that last note I had some really good conversations with people about various things and it’s been good.

Mother’s Day came and went, as days do.  The passage of time doesn’t change just because of a particular calendar event.  But I was recipient of a random act of kindness which utterly blew me away.  I had an email last weekend simply telling me that Mr and Mrs S had been over and given my Mum some daffs for the day.  My sister and I were in tears.  Not because we were sad but because it was such and utterly amazingly lovely thing for this couple to do for us.

Mavis 1-20150314-122254

 

And then yesterday, I went to a village church that I’ve been doing some bat stuff with over the past year or so and they had their Mothers service.  Posies of flowers were given to all the Mums and then the ones that were left over were available for people to put on the altar step in memory of their Mums with angel wings.  Mine is the very end one on the right.  It was beautiful and simple and super special that I was able to honour my Mum at a Mothers Day service for the first time in nearly 30 years.  I’ve stolen this photograph, it was taken by Lisa James and was loaded onto faceache.

 

lisajames hinton

 

 

And then, as if the day wasn’t good enough; they had cups of tea and a lemon meringue pie for post-service.  Well, in the interests of integrating into the village, I couldn’t say no could I?  That would be rude!

Oh, and there was bat pooh in the tower too.  Woop woop.