I am not a “blogger”

It’s March 2017. It’s been four months since I last uploaded a blog post. I have thought of this little area of the bloggy world many times in those four months, but haven’t actually managed to put thoughts into words and words into publishing. Because I am not a “blogger”.

I created this blog years ago (WordPress tells me this is my 249th post actually) with the intention of having a space to just write. I wasn’t that bothered if anyone read what I posted, and I wasn’t that bothered by what they thought of what I wrote. It’s just for me.

I know that ‘just for me’ is a bit of an oxymoron when this is a public posting blog…I get it…but I am not blogging for the purpose of sharing some profound thoughts, or teaching about something. It is unlikely you’ll find enlightenment here.

This space…that gets forgotten about…then revisited…then forgotten about… it’s not anything that special. But it’s mine, so that’s ok. I’m not going to feel any pressure to post a blog a day, or a week, or to link to “the blog” from every Instagram and Facebook post. In fact I just removed the link from my Instagram bio. I am not going to plan my life around what makes a good blog post (or Instagram photo, or Facebook status)

It’s not to say that people who do those things are bad…or that I’m in anyway better than them… it’s just to say that I do not write for people to read it. I write for me.

Henry David Thoreau said: “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”

I am living my life right now. I am trying to figure out which direction God wants me to go in. There are a lot of options open, and I feel like the space I am in is like a turning circle, in a railway station. I could go anyway, anywhere. It’s confusing and a little bit like going mad and finding myself all at the same time because the more I question the more I find myself coming back to the centre – Jesus – and craving and seeking what He is saying.

I might write about these choices and what God is saying… I might not. I might just end up posting cute nephew and little sister photos. I might go 4 months without posting. Either way, that’s ok. Because I am not a “blogger”.

-x-

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The last seven months…

Hi there,

I’m back (I think).

After several failed attempts at writing this post, I think I am just about ready to enter the blogosphere again. [Is that a real word?]

The observant among you will know it’s been about 7 months since I last wrote…but for a few months before that, my posts were really sporadic. I intentionally took an extended break because life became a little too challenging for me to continue to invest in my blog. There was so much I couldn’t say here, for a number of reasons, and while writing is (and always has been) an outlet, what was going on in life was just too overwhelming to put into print.

Cryptic? Yes. Concerning? Perhaps. It was definitely a tough time, but I am seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel now.

So let’s catch-up, shall we? How have you been?? It’s a bit late coming, but happy 2015. I spent New Year with some great friends, eating a 7 course dinner and drinking sparkling wine when the clock struck 12.

london2

2015 is a New Year in more ways than one, for me. 2015 signalled the start of something new – a new job, a fresh start, and a “rebirth” of sorts [sorry, that’s such a hippy word]

I started January 2015 in a new social work role within a different fostering organisation. I don’t think many decisions I have made in my life could have been better for me, than the decision to quit my previous job. I am truly enjoying my work for the first time in more than a year – I can remember why I wanted to be a social worker in the first place and my new company is brilliant at valuing its employees and I really enjoy being a part of their team.

social work

Having said that, it has taken (is taking) some time to adjust to a new workplace. Not in terms of the practical aspects; that I had nailed within a few days thanks to a very efficient set of systems, brilliant colleagues and above all a wonderful line manager. No, what I am still getting used to is working in an environment that encourages rather than puts down, supports rather than degrades, and values rather than scorns. It was made just barely manageble by some genuinely lovely colleagues – but the leadership and the overall environment that had become so intensely difficult and stressful, and so emotionally gruelling and (let’s just say it) hellish, that actually, in March 2015 I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because the level of stress and anguish I was experiencing daily, hour upon hour, and the horrendous situation that happened when I left (which I might write about at some point, but not now) caused a significant emotional trauma.

I was in that environment, feeling that way, for over a year – and what I have realised is that my traditional way of coping and managing my feelings (i.e. pretending it was fine, except to the people closest to me) was enough to sustain me whilst I was in the midst of it but it wasn’t until I got out of it, and began working in a safe space that I started to slightly unravel. All of the anxiety that I hadn’t let myself feel in that year started to come out, in mostly irrational ways (for example, near panic attacks at big roundabouts, triple-checking emails to see if they could be misinterpreted, intense and terrifying nightmares, and just generally feeling like life and work couldn’t possibly be this good – I began to think that everything my old employer made me feel about myself was true…and it was only a matter of time before my new employers realised this.

Of course…since getting the PTSD “label” and starting to talk a bit more openly about my experience I have realised that a lot of that was the trauma, and not real. I think I knew it at the time but it was hard to accept. There is also the *possibility* that the anti-anxiety medication I am taking is having a therapeutic effect as well, but I think it is a mixture of all things combined and I know there is a significant amount of healing to be done in the next weeks/months.

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It was a bit scary to type all that, I won’t lie. Admitting vulnerabilities and struggles is not something I am altogether comfortable with…but I had to give it a go. I have found that a big part of working through this is being honest about how my old workplace made me feel, and what it has “done to me” and owning that “label” may not seem like a tremendous thing…but it is.

So … PTSD. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a PTSD or a “recovery” blog (nothing against those, they’re just not me). This blog is still just about little old me and my randomness…but right now little old me has this thing called PTSD, so it’s probably going to feature for a while. I hope that’s ok.

Equally, little old me is starting to rediscover past passions – like colouring (yes it’s therapeutic, but it’s also just good fun) and dress-making, and I am really enjoying having the physical time and the emotional ‘head-space’ to enjoy these things again. So those endeavours might make an appearance here too. I’m excited about that!

Anyway…that’s all from me for now. Hopefully I will be back again soon 🙂

-x-

Back again…this time for good (I hope)

Hello.

I am back again after yet another prolonged blogging break.

To be quite honest, I have thought about writing a blog post countless times (at least once a week) but that has never actually evolved into a physical blog post. I’m sorry if you are following (or lurking) and have been waiting for a post with any kind of anticipation.

The truth is that life has been quite overwhelming lately and I just haven’t known how to put anything into words and not have it turn into a frustrated-at-the-world rant which would a) not achieve anything but prove that I know a lot of angry words, b) be quite unnecessary, and c) not glorify God in the slightest – which is the best reason I can find for having “held my tongue” over the past few months.

As the ever-so-wise Thumper rabbit said:

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Or as the writer of Ephesians said: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)

Plus, everytime I watch the news I am saddened and horrified and humbled that my problems are so insignificant compared to the problems faced by others in the world right now, and I feel a bit ashamed of myself. My problems feel very real to me but I am aware of their insignificance and sometimes that helps me re-focus my prayers where they need to be.

All I seem to do in the last few entries is write a blurby-overview of what has been happening in the long intervals between posts and then make an empty promise to post more frequently. Sorry. I won’t do that again – promise, that is – I am definitely going to blurby-overview my last few months. Beware, many photos ahead!

Here’s what’s new with me:

Home …

Bingley Palace

As of August 1st I am an official resident of the “Bingley Palace” and it is quite lovely. It was a very difficult transition – emotionally, rather than practically (thank you Moving Men!). I found it very difficult to pack all the *stuff* in my sweet little house into boxes and decide what I got to take with me and what had to be donated/stored. I lived with chaos and boxes for weeks and I hated it.

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This is my 11th move in 16 years and for some reason it hurt me more than any of the others. I think because I had really felt that my little house was a gift from God and a chance to finally settle…and it turned out not to be the settling-place. I had to fight not to be angry or annoyed at God for allowing me to feel that connection to the little house, and then letting it be taken from me – instead I had to choose to be incredibly grateful to God for providing the Bingley Palace (it already had the nickname before I got here!) and 2 sweet Christian girls to live with.

I have lived here for almost 4 weeks now and it feels like home. Although I often forget where I live and on several occasions have driven halfway to my old house, I am already seeing the opportunities that God is giving me in this place, and I am beyond pleased to have housemates again. Heather and Emma – you are wonderful already.

Work…

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Ofsted is pending. And that’s all I need to say.

Family…

Jessica newborn

This tiny bundle of gorgeousness starts school next week, and turns 5 in 6 weeks time. I don’t feel like I have had enough preparation for this moment.

Jessica June 2014

This is her on holiday a couple of months ago. She loves Frozen (who doesn’t?!)

I am hoping to go home for a weekend in September to celebrate her birthday. I haven’t seen her since June and it aches.

Other family news is that my sister and brother-in-law graduated University in July. Mum and Abigail drove up to Bangor from Plymouth and Jonathan and I were both able to take time off work to join them for a few days. We were able to watch her graduation on live stream (hats off to Bangor Uni for that!) as there were only enough tickets for Mum and Simeon to sit in the ceremony, but it was very special. It was fantastic to see my little sister get her degree (a FIRST!) and to see the place she has lived in for the past 3 years.

rebecca graduation screenshot

Chester Zoo

We also had a fun day out at Chester Zoo which was equally, but differently, fantastic!

Life in general…

I had a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend, thanks to my incredible friends. I went to visit Rachel and Phil who are now living in Peterborough and expecting their first baby in 4 weeks time. It was a very peaceful few days; lots of tea and cake, board games, movies, and chatting about the baby. I was able to completely shut off from thinking about work and just enjoy re-connecting with my bestest Uni friend. I went to their church on Sunday and it was a really great service. I felt connected to God and enjoyed meeting their friends.

Bank Holiday Monday was a wash-out (torrential rain ALL day) but I didn’t mind because Rosie and I had planned a sewing day, and we spent many happy hours transforming a dress of hers into a skirt. I taught her how to sew on the machine and it was very quaint and civilised. We also watched the film Safe Haven which was traumatic and there were tears shed. If you haven’t seen it, don’t. Or at least make sure you have tissues and a friend handy.

i have a new car! It’s pretty swanky and I rather like it. After the small incident with my Corsa I didn’t feel very confident in driving or parking it – what if something else decided to fail with no warning?! I decided to explore the mystical world of Car Finance and am now the proud sort-of owner of a “Silky Shadow Green” Astra. It feels much larger than the Corsa…the size of a tank in fact – but it is safe and mostly clean (I left a window open by mistake and half a tree got in) and it drives like a dream. So I like it.

I’m getting married.

Jokes! I am still very much single. No, I went to my colleague’s wedding reception – and caught the bouquet! There were only 5 of us (plus a 4 year old) in the running so the odds were pretty good. It is a very pretty bouquet and is still a little bit alive in my living room. 

Long Wedding - bouquet

I’m watching the BAKE OFF!!! I love this programme. It is so calming, despite the baking tragedies which occur. I love the pastel colours and the measuring and the commentary and the contestants little quirks and oddities. I love Norman whose pesto is exotic, and Richard who measures everything, and Chetna who uses so many spices I can almost smell it through the TV. I mostly love Martha because I decided in Week 1 that she was the Christian contestant – and then yesterday I found out that she is! And she goes to a New Frontiers church and is a baker/fundraiser for Teafund which is doubly and tripley awesome. I had hoped to make something from the Bake Off each week…but my excitement waned. I basically didn’t want to make florentines or any kind of biscuit…and then last week’s break week was throughly uninspiring, but watch this space. I am quite pleased with my Swiss Roll from Week 1!

swiss roll

And finally: my current excitement…

Mum and I are going on holiday on Saturday! It is quite alast-minute, but much needed, 5 day/4 night break to Prague in the Czech Republic. A few weeks ago I had a bit of a meltdown and decided I needed to do something radical, like cut off all my hair or get a tattoo, otherwise I would go absolutely crazy with my life. Fortunately my reasonable side kicked in and decided it would be a good idea to book a holiday – so I did! Mum and I fly out of Heathrow at silly-o-clock on Saturday morning and get back on Wednesday evening. We went to Majorca together 2 years ago and it was such a fun time, just the 2 of us.

Sometimes you just need to get away from things for a little while, you know?

I know I said I wouldn’t promise…but I will try to get back into blogging. I do miss it really!! I hope you have enjoyed the little update. It has been a nice way to pass the evening, and a good reminder that despite the stresses and anxieties, there is a lot of GOOD going on in my life.

-x-

 

 

Let's do a challenge

I have been feeling less than inspired with my little bloggy lately. I don’t know why. I want to write. I love writing. But I often feel like I don’t really have anything worth saying.

Since I still want to do it though, I searched for some inspiration. Or should that be “pinspiration” since Pinterest seems to have become my default search engine and Google is a quite defunct!

Anyhow. I found this list of prompts, and beginning on Wednesday (1st August – can you believe it?! August already?) I will be doing one blog per day for 30 days.

Lucky you!!!

-x-

31 – in – 31

One of my favourite ways to de-stress lately is to spend half an hour browsing the internet and reading different blogs. I start by browsing through the members list of the 20-something blog community and clicking on a random blog, reading a bit of their blogging and if I don’t like it/get bored, I click on one of their links and see where that takes me.

Let me tell you, the internet is a scarily large place (with some real weirdos) but on some level it’s comforting to know there are so many other random people out there!

Anyway. Whilst on my bloggy travels, I came across a girl who is going to do a blog challenge throughout March, posting one post a day, each one with its’ own prompt to start of. It’s called “31 days of me” which is a bit pretentious and uppity…but at the same time I thought it sounded like a fun idea.

So I’m doing it.

31 days, 1 blog a day. Here we go!

-x-