Confidence

During the week we had our Christmas get together for the writer’s group that I belong to. Whilst there, one of the other members was telling a new member that I am very self-effacing, unnecessarily so. I was quite surprised by this, but I shouldn’t have been. I do tend to keep quiet during our meetings, not offering many comments on the work of others. Timid about reading out my own work. Partly this is due to being eternally shy.

Today I was having a chat online with someone about life in an abusive relationship. She commented that these relationships knock your confidence and it can take years to get that back.

My first marriage was not violent in any way, shape or form. Yet the emotional abuse that I lived with for so many years took away all my confidence. Years of public put downs and insults take their toll. Being told frequently if not daily that I am.

“Fat, stupid, ugly with a brain like a sieve, nobody else would ever have you.”

Did nothing for my confidence other than to batter it down time and time again.

When I began divorce proceedings he began repeating the popular children’s nursery rhyme.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Well actually, when said often enough words may not just hurt but they can cause lasting damage.

After my marriage ended I went off the rails a bit, a friend of mine told me I was running around like a headless chicken. I began blogging and dating. I can see now that both were confidence tools. I needed to know that I was desirable, and worthy of friendship. I gained enormous validation through my blog and the friends I made there. Through my dating experiences I learnt that not only am I good enough for the men I was dating, but some of them were not good enough for me.

Gradually I learnt to like myself as a person. My confidence began to build. I started a new job, I have been there for seven and a half years now. They tell me that I have grown so much since I first started there. (I know they don’t mean in weight, although that increased over the years I have been there).

One thing I have tried to keep through out everything has been my sense of humour. For a long time after my divorce I would make jokes about myself. I would get told off for putting myself down, but that wasn’t what I was doing. I was showing that I don’t take myself seriously, that I can laugh at myself not just others. Maybe though there was a touch of laughing at myself before others get the chance.

All my life I have been shy, introverted. I do have my moments of bravery. On occasions when I feel confident that I know what I am talking about, then I can come out of my shell.

As for being self-effacing, I believe that is just a matter of confidence. I say very little at our writing group because I am so in awe of the talent I am surrounded by. Maybe in time some of the knowledge and skill will rub off on me too.

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Not so little tits

It has been a while since I mentioned my garden birds, most recently I was showing off about our friendly Robin who I got quite close to. He even ventured into our kitchen one sunny morning. Back in May I posted about the baby blue tits that had been visiting my bird feeder. See little tits. For months we were visited by these blue tits, starlings, Mr & Mrs blackbird, many sparrows, the occasional greater spotted woodpecker. We also have regular visits from a couple of pigeons and from time to time a dove.

Over the summer we saw fewer starlings and eventually the blue tits stopped visiting too. The blackbirds had gone, we were left with the sparrows and pigeons. Then Mr robin began making his presence known. He would keep Owl company while he worked in the garden. He would keep me company whilst sat in the sun or hung out our washing etc. A few weeks ago I saw my first gold finch. Then I noticed some tits on the feeder. Getting out my binoculars I discovered that although there was a blue tit feeding there were also three great tits. Not only are they larger and darker in colouring but I noticed that they behave differently too, darting around.

We also have the blackbirds are back and it is impossible to miss the squabbling starlings. This morning I have seen the tits again both blue and great. I am looking forward to the next six months to see who else might visit.

Age, we all have one or two

I am not well, nothing serious just a common cold but it is miserable. I was up coughing/nose blowing every 10 minutes sometimes 20 minutes throughout the night. My nose is red from all the tissues that have been wrapped around it as the hours crept by. Finally I slept for an hour until about 10am. Waking up, I came to the realisation that today is November 13th. My youngest brother was born in  the early hours of November 13 1964.

We are not friends on facebook but I endeavoured to leave him a birthday wish. For which he thanked me saying that he is finding it hard to get his head around being 50. It has come as something of a shock to me that the youngest of our mother’s children is now 50. There are three of us, myself the eldest and my two brothers. It’s funny but I always think of myself as still being 17. similarly my youngest brother will always be 12 in my mind, yet our middle brother has always been the age he is at the time. He is not stuck in the past in my mind.

I remember once my mother was telling me that she had been asked about her children and it had been a hard realisation that all three of us were over 30. I wonder how she feels to now have 3 three children in our 50s.

My mother is now in her 70’s, but apart from her mobility problems following various knee ops adding to her MS problems, to me she is still in her 50s. She is still the same person she was when I was a young mother of 4 boys.

Much to his disgust Owl turned 60 earlier in the year, but although I know how old he is I have to remind myself that he is not a young man. His health and fitness at the moment are probably the best they have been since I first met him. I look at him and see this man with a good head of dark brown hair. You have to look really closely to see that he does have perhaps a dozen grey hairs on his head. This of course adds to the illusion of youth, that and that I can’t believe I am married to a man near to retirement age. Especially when the toddler behaviour surfaces from time to time (less frequent now than a year ago).

I guess having a semi retired husband is a constant reminder to me that I am getting older myself. I am not the young girl that my head thinks I am.

Happy 50th birthday little brother.

pinch and punch

Today being 1st of November, laying in bed, I waited for my husband to come close enough, then I got in quick as he leaned in for a kiss. I pinched his arm and punched his chest, only lightly of course. His response being.

‘Damn, you beat me to it.’

Most months he gets me first, so this month it was my turn.

Do any other couples participate in this tradition?

Do any of you know where it comes from?

I thought I would have a look to see what google would tell me.

It’s a fact 1: As president, George Washington met local Indian tribes on the first day of each month, when he would supply fruit punch with an added pinch of salt. It became known as “pinch and punch on the first of the month”.

It’s a fact 2: Originating from old England times when people thought that witches existed. People thought that salt would make a witch weak, so the pinch part is pinching of the salt, and the punch part was to banish the witch. The witch would be weak from the salt so the punch was to banish her.

It’s a fact 3: According to playground rules, your pinch and punch has to be followed immediately with the words, “White rabbits, no return”. By saying so, it means you can’t be pinched back.

I have checked several websites and they all seem to come up with the same answers.

Skater reminded me today that it is just one month until his birthday. His last birthday as a teenager! Where have the years gone. It doesn’t seem five minutes since I was pregnant with prodigal, yet here we are about to celebrate Skater turning 19 which also means that my dad has been gone for nearly 20 years, how did that happen?

Yesterday was Halloween, I hadn’t bought any treats this year as we never get any trick or treaters at our door. However Owl had been working on a project in our front garden and was just finishing up with the use of the light from the hall. A group of children in fancy dress saw the light at the door and took their chance. Next thing I knew Owl was raiding our confectionery cupboard, there was very little in the cupboard but he managed to grab enough loot to keep the gaggle of children happy. The next lot unfortunately went away empty handed.

The reason that Owl had been in the garden in the dark is that he was finishing off work he had begun earlier but had to stop for a meeting he was having regarding some work that he might be taking on. The meeting lasted a lot longer than he had anticipated.

Hopefully his meeting will result in Owl working for our future.

The difference a year makes

This time last year things between us were not good. We had been married for a whole 6 months. When we married I felt happier than I ever remember being in my life. Three months into our marriage we had our wonderful honeymoon in California. But within days of returning home things began to go wrong. My husband was not himself, he was showing signs of dementia or so I thought. However it turned out to be a mixture of anxiety attacks, and an over indulgence in secret vodka drinking.

The anxiety attacks were dealt with by the taking of anti depressants. The alcohol abuse is an ongoing situation, but at least I now know what I am dealing with. At the time I was extremely angry, I felt that I could not trust my husband. I felt betrayed.  More than anything I was angry with myself for not realising what had been going on.

Owl still drinks but, we never go out to the pub anymore. Back in March Owl had a fall in the road  due to his legs giving way. His alcohol level had dropped. I took him to hospital with a cut head and broken hand. There he was given some medication to replace the alcohol he hadn’t had. He was promised help by the hospital clinic. This didn’t materialise other than one appointment where he was told that he is a binge drinker and should cut down for a week then stop. Ha ha what planet did that advice come from.

Anyway, for a time Owl was not able to do much at all. Gradually though he has become stronger and fitter. He has been very busy working in our garden doing all the things he should have done last year but wasn’t in the right place to do anything much except sleep.

The shed that I bought for him last year was finally erected. Owl began by making it stronger in places by making wooden braces. He painted the shed forest green.shed 1  shed 3 before adding fixtures for everything to go inside, there is a purpose build space for everything that goes in there.IMG_1944 then he painted the old shed green to match the new one. IMG_1947 the back gate was also painted green to match. This also involved taking off the ironmongery to be painted black.back gate When he had done that he reorganised the space near to the back gate which meant adding a hanging basket bracket to the wall as a hose tidy.under magnolia tree Once all this had been done he turned his attention to the hedges that he had hired someone to cut a few weeks prior. He was not happy with the way they were looking. He spent the next couple of weeks cutting the hedges by hand. hedge 1 now he is simultaneously working on the five bar gate and taking up the decking at the front of the house.hedge 3 Oh and I nearly forgot he has painted all the fences under the hedges and along the outside of the house.

None of these things would have been possible a year or even 6 months ago. I am so pleased with the progress he is making. I am also pleased that he has even begun to apply for work outside the home. Ok so I have been applying for jobs on his behalf but he has sent his CV to some places too. Step by step we are getting back to where we should be.

The journey

I have not been on here for a few weeks, firstly life in general was getting in the way. Then I set out on a journey that I had never expected to take. I couldn’t write about it at the time but now I feel that as that particular journey has reached its end, I can now write about it after the fact.

The journey was a personal one involving my work. If inadvertently I offend anyone involved who might happen to read this. Please know that no offence is intended. This is merely my stance on the journey that I took.

I work in an office (not huge but it has doubled in size in the 7 years I have been there). In the department I work we have a Manager, Supervisor and four staff (one p/t). Recently our Supervisor applied for a more senior position in another part of the office. He was successful. He had been in his present position for many years. For some years now I have covered for him when he is on leave. At first the were many discussions behind closed doors. Would a new Supervisor be appointed or would his responsibilities be divided between those of us left?

I gave much consideration as to whether I would want to be the new Supervisor if one was needed. I knew that I could manage the work, but would I want the added responsibility, the added pressure? Now, I like and admire the Manager of our dept, however, she does have a trust problem. She doesn’t trust anyone else to do anything without her checking it. I happen to know that she admires the way I come in and get on with my work without having to constantly ask questions. For this reason I was unsure that I would cope with her constant questions and interference.

This said I told myself that, I still have 15 years before I can retire, she only has 3. Would I be able to manage 3 years? Well maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as I anticipate. On the other hand do I want to stand still for the next 15 years, doing something I have already done for 7 years.

This morning I saw this which I felt was rather apt.

F E A R I chose to do the latter.

When the time came I duly prepared my CV (the first in 7 years), I took my time getting it exactly how I wanted. (printer problems included) but finally it was ready.

I handed in my CV not knowing who else was applying. Then I found out that there were three of us to be interviewed, myself one of my colleagues and an unknown person. We had a week to prepare a 10 minute presentation on our ideas for setting up Telesales within our office.

Despite knowing that my manager and I have a mutual liking and respect for each other, I knew that this was going to be a one horse race, and I was not that horse.

Knowing that a) I’m not the right horse, b) I have never in my life had to put together a presentation. c) I am totally clueless when it comes to setting up and or running a telesales operation.

I thought about doing the first … forget everything and run. I could take the easy option and withdraw my application. I could sentence myself to another 15 years of not progressing. Don’t get me wrong I have enjoyed my job, I have been very lucky in that respect but the last couple of years things have not been quite the same and I can feel myself becoming stale. I don’t get the same job satisfaction that I did have.

I am not a quitter so I took up the challenge, I decided to face everything and rise.

I made discrete enquiries, I sought advice from anyone I felt could help me. My evenings were spent on google searching for relevant information. My weekend was spent putting together my presentation and going over and over what I wanted to say, until I was happy that I had done the best that I could.

My Interview went well, I was nervous but managed to keep my composure throughout the hour I was in there. I was feeling good in myself that day, I had made an effort with my appearance and felt good both on the inside and out. There was nothing more I could do.

I had to wait days before I found out whether I had reached the end of my journey or was I about to start an even bigger journey. When the news came that I had not been successful, I was fine with that. I was probably more relieved than anything. My journey had ended but the main thing was that I had had the courage to make the journey in the first place.

Going on this journey has made me realise that I need new challenges. Maybe there will be other opportunities for me to shine. Perhaps there will be other challenges for me to rise to, I am not afraid. The next time a new journey presents it self to me I won’t be afraid.

It’s a brand new year

Today has been New Years Day, tomorrow I go back to work after 12 days off. I can’t believe it has been 12 days, it only feels like it has been a long weekend. Maybe my long day in hospital followed by Christmas and now New Year have made it feel less time. I didn’t leave the house from the time I got home on Christmas Eve until Monday when I went food shopping.  Then on Monday evening the four of us (Owl, Pug, skater & I) went to the pub for the Christmas/End of Year Quiz (we came last but had a good evening).

I had intended to do a lot of writing over the holiday period. Apart from a few posts on here I have not done any writing. However I have been reading. I am on my third book by Maddie Cochere over at Breezy Books  .

But now we are starting a New Year, I am not one for making New Year resolutions. However whilst I have been blog lurking I came across an idea whereby each day for however long you like you fill a jar with the good things that happen in your life. Then at the end of the period you take out all the slips of paper and remind yourself of all the things (big or small) that have made you happy during this time.

I will be starting my jar today with the news that my friend who I have known for nearly 20 years has said yes to the marriage proposal she received today. I am so happy for her. I have never met this man but I do know that in the last three years he has been good for her.

As for my writing I am at a stand still at the moment which I will explain another time but this does not mean that I have given up. Watch this space for news of which direction I choose to take. I have a number of options I am just undecided which to follow.

I hope that 2014 turns out to be a better year for everyone.

Last night my husband said to me …..’I shall be 60 this year, how do you think that makes me feel?’

My reply ……’Lucky, you made it this far My dad only just made it to 55′.

I really believe that no matter what cross you have to bear there is always a silver lining to every cloud you just have to look for it.

 

Happy New Year to everyone.