Right folks – It was day five of feeling shit when i last posted, guess what? currently on day eight, went back to docs Monday, just to reassure myself i aint got no brain tumour or MS – I know I know, your thinking WTF!! trust me i think it about myself. If there is one thing i know about myself, its i am the worlds worst patient “ask pat the twat”. I thought i was picking up, then BOOM shit again and whats worse with a “fucking virus” there aint not magic antibiotics to take, just rest, rest, rest, rest – who wants to rest? NOT me
So all this RESTING aint good for me head. Resting too much just fucks with me noggin which brings back them negative thoughts, (your a failure, your a fraud) which then triggers my feelings, (feeling worse) which then triggers my behaviour (mardy bastard victim) then ultimatly my actions, which in my case have one BIG FAT FUCKING ZERO and the cycle begins AGAIN, but gets worse and more negative
So the past day or two i’ve been thinking “FORDY #haveaFUCKINGword” “lets get things into persepective.
The Book, when i’m low then all my postiveness about, this blog, the book goes straight outta the fucking window (so me just sharing this is an indication i am feeling better) So danielle, dont worry, there’s no need for the white coat men just yet 🙂 I’ve made a list
Since 15th of June I have
Ive written over 7000 words already
21, 000 in this journal alone
Then theres this blog, there are over 33 article/blogs on there
Connected to new people who can and and have offered to help with book
I wrote 3 chapters, thats 3 completely re-written chapters since actually straing 12th July
I have my two year plan –
1st Draft by september 2019
2020 getting it published
I have also realised that all this self doubt is normal been reading up on it and i’m not alone there are LOADS of people who question themselves
Myself – I ought to have this FUCKING tattooed on me forehead
#SHITHAPPENS, but its how i deal with it that makes the difference, so i have been busy, as well as drinking shit loads of water and paracetamol, i have been working on re-building my selfesteem. I started re-reading chimp paradox, because that fucking negative chimp on me shoulder has been chatting far too much shit. Been researching Mindfulness and downloaded a book on kindle, need to start doing some more mindful exercises.
Be kind to myself – even whilst i have been off work, feeling shit here i have been giving out “advice” to friends but not taking any of my own!! “whats that all about?” I am one of the most compassionate people i know, i would be there for anyone, but will put no time to be compassionate towards myself???
Any way i thought i would just touch base, I’m still writing (albeit not as much, but thats ok, because at least i AM writing)
Oh i also have a new addition to my desk, thank you to Sarah Willmott, for my felt plant, named “Willy Nilly” to the right of the plant is my new “writers manifesto” which is there as a reminder and postive reinforcement tool, to visually remind me what I have achieved so far.
If your having a shit day, please remember and trust me “it happens to the best of us”
Not been writing, – (well i have been journaling, but you dont wanna see any of that, i’d be getting sectioned again). But because i have felt so shit the past few days, I have given me head a few days off and given your lot a break too…
To be fair i think the only time I allow mesen to be a 1000% victim is when i’m ill, poorly or feeling crap. I’ve gorged mesen on eating shit, even though i felt sick as a dog – I can even feel me stomach expanding as i eat, “But do i give a fuck at the time,?” Nah… do i fuck….
I get frustrated, because, i’m not doing anything productive! my body is saying “rest” but me mind is saying “NO”.
I’d had plans for this whole week and weekend. I had meetings i was looking forward to at work, handing holiday spice out and catching up with work mates. This weekend i had plans of babysitting, writing, cleaning the house, cleaning me sen and chilling. ALL of that ruined all because of a fuckign stupid virus!
BUT – GOOD NEWS IS I AM TURNING A CORNER, Today, is day 5 and is the first day i have started to feel a little human again, although, I’m not 100% i can see the wood from the tree’s, NOW i am regretting eating ALL the SHIT, but i reckon once i’m feeling proper over it, i can get back into me old routine and stop being a “Mardy Bastard VICTIM” and get back on track #shithappens after all…
I read an article in the Gardian online named “The top five regrets of the dying” Now you could say “this is Morbid?” OR you could say “this is a wake up call?” personally i think the latter, i mean lets face it, we are going to die at some point! and I for one,”do not” want to be where ever i am thinking “Fuck, I wish i’d done …”
I read an article in the Gardian online named “The top five regrets of the dying” Now you could say “this is Morbid?” OR you could say “this is a wake up call?” personally i think the latter, i mean lets face it, we are going to die at some point! and I for one,”do not” want to be where ever i am thinking “Fuck, I wish i’d done …”
Here are the top five regrets;
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me – Honestly i did this for many, many years (and still do at times) but i am aware of it. But truth be-told, trying to be who everyone expects you to be is fucking hard graft AND emotionally draining. You might have got into the habit of pleasing others, but that doesn’t mean to have to continue doing so? Ask yourself “what have you done for yourself lately? what have you been wanting to do and haven’t done?” This might be a something simple of having a long soak in the bath, or booking onto that hairdressing course you have always wanted to do “SARAH”
I wish I hadn’t worked so hard – This is a tough one for me, i often get the passion for the people i work with confused with the need to make as much as a difference as i can. I hate injustice, particularly around people who are misjudged, as i belief everyone fucks up sometimes in life, their ain’t no instruction book for life, but they can move past it and move on AND others should let them. I know from a personal point of view (more recently) i am starting to remind myself that “I can only do so much” – Writing this book is hard graft, but its really personal to me and i know it is something “I” will be very proud of.
I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. This is a BIGGY for me, because most of my unhappiness to date in my life, has been about not expressing my feelings, who I am, what I want out of life, ‘putting others feelings before my own’ Yes, this can make you feel good short term, but in the longer term, it don’t make you feel a happier person. Yes i want to be there for others, because this make me ‘Feel’ good, but ultimately you can not measure your own happiness based on other peoples feelings. Their feelings and happiness are ‘theirs alone’ and so are mine, i am the only person, who can make me ‘truly happy’ people around me do make me happy, but i don’t rely on them neither, now that would be too much pressure.
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. – This is an easy on for me, friendship is very important, the article talks about not give friendships the time an effort they deserve, Personally i don’t believe friendships need to be hard work, true friendships come from being able to have an honest and open relationship, for all my most cherished friendships, i know that i don’t have to actually work that hard, because we don’t measure our friendship based on “how often we see each other” OR “how often we talk”. Because life “does” and “can” get in the way, for both parties. But i know for sure, if i ever needed anyone of them, they would be there at my death bed.
I wish i had let myself be happier – personally i do think this comes with age and life experience, but thats NO EXCUSE NEITHER “putting yourself first” doing what makes YOU happy, no one else! YOU… If you are not happy, then do something about it, don’t get me wrong #shithappens BUT we all have a choice in life how we are going to allow shit to define our lives. I could could spend my whole life blaming others OR circumstances for my unhappiness (and for a while i did) but ultimately once we stop blaming others, start taking some responsibly for myself and taking back some control, i have been the happiest i have in years.
I have another one to add to the list though, in this place we call life, we literally get one shot at it, one of the my main motivators in life is to make the fucking best of the rest i have got left. I don’t want to be no victim on me death bed, Nah fuck that, I don’t want to be regretting nothing, i want to be known as someone who
I lived life to the fullest
Wasn’t afraid to speak out (well truth be known there are loads of times, but at least i tried to overcome the fear)
Was never afraid to share how i was feeling (this is a tough one too)
Did what “I wanted to do” and not what others expected of me (even if it upsets them)
Took risk’s knowing that they might not have worked out (thats life, it don’t always turn out like we want)
Acknowledges that #shithappened i dealt with it the best way i could at that time, with the knowledge and resources i had at that time.
Reet on that note, the housework is done, i have been asked if i would like to go shopping, but do you know what? i would like to, but i’d much prefer to do some more work on ‘this bastard book”
What ever you are doing, have a GREAT day and MAKE THE MOST of it
Well having returned from a fantastic relaxing short break away in Portugal with me bessie, i was looking forward to going back to work today. Unfortunately, my body says other wise, I started feeling shit, last night and woke up feeling worse. So rather than feeling sorry for Mesen, I thought I’d be productive and do some more writing.
Spoke to me sis, who is going through a pretty shit time at the moment, who is also #Shithappens no 1 fan, bless her. She reads all my blogs, but she hasn’t read any of my book yet. I told her i was sat writing so to cheer her up, I thought I’d share what I have written so far. I banged them into an email, sent it to her and waited for her to call me back when she’d read them. Sarah called back and thought they were great, now “obviously she’s going to say that” she said it took her back to her childhood too. I re-read them myself and honestly thought, ‘well they seem pretty boring to be honest. where am i going with all this?’ I don’t know why? butI kinda started to question why I was writing in the first place.
So started to read through my old hand written journal, its a red book and its been in my room since setting up me little office. But then I realised the one in my bedroom, actually wasn’t about dad at all (I was thinking, FUCK where are they then? Dont worry I found them downstairs, Phewww) it was actually a journal I started when I started having problems at Kickstart, a place I worked at years ago, in fact it was 2001. In the front of the book, were some self help exercises I had done, Christ I didn’t realise just how FUCKED up my head was after leaving that place. There had been some pretty dark moments in my life at that time,including feeling like I’d lost my
But do you know what I got from re-reading these dark times? I realised that all I’d been doing at the time was acknowledging how I was feeling. A lot of people don’t EVER do this, they just shrug shit off and carry on with life, or turn to substances to forget, something I did myself a long time ago. (But I digress)
My ramblings demonstrate how I was trying my best to stay busy and keep positive, the journal is full of daily action plans, to do list, with some reflection on how each day went. I also didn’t realise at the time, that I must have been drinking quite alot, there are many entries about me having a break, because I knew it wasn’t helping. There was mention of Dad, this must have been when he’d just got his own place, as he wasn’t as demanding at the time and he didn’t feature much to be honest. There was mention about me applying for new jobs, and fearing I wouldn’t even get short listed.
But the main thing I took from re-reading my fucked up journal is, just how far I have come, since then, which was actually 2001, over 17 years ago, the journal is full of disclosures about, the fear of the unknown, about self doubt, low confidence, questioning myself. But whilst I still doubt myself at times now, “and my blogs are testament to this, as you well know” I am a far stronger person than what I was back then.
After all, since then, I have won International, National and regional awards for my work. I got a degree, not bad for someone who left school with nothing, except a bill for me mom, for the exams I didn’t show up for.
My kids have since grown up into adults, with their own careers and life, christ I’m a frigging grandparent and heres me whittling about a fucking job. Which by the way I got, I remember getting the call from Bob Campbell, the then Manager at Phoenix House, I was sitting on the bottom stairs in my house and I just burst into tears, when he told me I had got it! God i love that that man, and I tell him every time I see him, because will never know what it meant to me for giving me a chance, and seeing something in me that i couldn’t see myself.
So I suppose the moral is, this writing malarky, whilst at times, might not make sense to some people, but for some reason, it makes sense to me now,just like it did all those years ago. I think it doesn’t matter who you are, you are always going to have times when you doubt yourself, some more than others. I am just hoping that in another 17 years, I can look back on my waffling, but this time though I will have captured part of my journey on here, this blog.
The book I am writing on, IS bringing back many memories, many that I have either forgotten about or Blocked out, some of these memories have also brought back to the surface some not so nice feelings, but ‘Thats ok’ some people turn to drugs or alcohol, I’m dealing with me shit, by writing about it.
Life is going to throw, shit at you and there is nothing you can do about it, just like me today, waking up feeling shit, I’m in no fit state for work, I ache all over and feel sick, but at least I’m still doing something ‘Turning up.’
So I did go downstairs and find me ‘Dad’ journals, I also found the Deirdre Barlow glasses, with no lenses in, that for some reason, I could never throw away. I think I reminds me of the time, we walked into the ward, to find dad wearing, these ladies pink, glasses and asking where the fuck had he got them from? According to him, they were someones from the next bed, “they never wore them, so I thought I’d use em”, he looked a right “twat” in em. I also come across the Sheffield Star, dated 31st March 2005, which contained dads obituary, something I had written, well before dad passed, it was long, and cost a ‘fucking fortune’ to be printed, because of all the words it contained. but I re-read it and then realised again, why I am writing about dad, “blood is thicker than alcohol”
You ached for perfection,
The perfect dad
Trying to make amends for the years we never had
Your were certainly unique
Never two the same
One minute we would be laughing
Then driving each other insane
But the time spent together
Sharing memories of one past, Is a gift you left us
That will be cherished, never forgotten, never lost.
Our only consolation, despite the heartache and pain
Is the special memories and time spent together, never to be again
Watching you sleep peacefully released from pain
Helps ease the sadness and knowledge, that we will never see you again
So for now rest in peace, you deserve that much
Rest in the knowledge that you were and will continued to be loved very much.
Reet, i’m off for some more tablets and to see if i can stomach eating owt
After a very self inflicted anxiety filled, stressful journey to Portugal, I finally arrived, I love it when when I know that me bessie is waiting at airport to take me away from it all. Ive been soooo looking forward to this weekend, spending quality un interrupted time with another person who “gets me” who I feel safe to share all the fucked up thoughts in me head. So trust me when I say me sharing this particular blog with you feels pretty scary.
I honestly havequestioning myself if I am having another breakdown? This is what I was like, before I lost it, questioning things, and I questioned EVERYTHING,seeing signs and trying to interpret what they might mean. The only reassuring thing is that apart from Shauna and Mick, they make me feel like I’m not a werido, they get me, they get it! and I’m wondering if everyone else thinks similar thoughts,? but are just too afraid to say them out loud to people around them? Just in case like me they are worried people will think they are losing the fucking plot?
Mick Homes called me this morning from hospital, smoking his fag outside hospital grounds after receiving cancer treatment, is as pretty fucked up as it gets. He was worried that the patients on the ward might be getting a little pissed off, because they were having to keep buzzing him back into the ward after his fag, this was clearly bothering him – NOT. But it was great hear, him sounding good, positive and keen to get back home. I shared some off what I’d written this morning and my fears about losing plot, and like alway’s, he comes up with one of his classic nuggets of wisdom. “Knowing your mad, is a sign of sanity, the truly mad are not even aware they are mad”
i feel like i am constantly trying to reassure my self that I am not going mad just lately. I feel like I am seeing the world through different lenses, but this time its not drug induced. I feel like, being back on this journey of self discovery, and I genuinely feel happier than I have in a long time.
All these words, spewing out of me, from my personal journal, the blog, the book must have been brewing somewhere in the pit of me, I just didn’t know it.
Then I get to wondering ‘how much more shit’ have I got buried inside?Its invisible to the naked eye, but but I have been carrying a lot of emotional baggage around, without even being aware of it.
For years i thought pat had stopped listening to me, but in fact, i have recently realised that I had stopped talking and sharing how I was feeling with him.
Lately when I laugh, its proper belly laugh, but the only down side is the fucking questioning and self doubt I inflict on myself.
This is like me YING and YANG, like they say “what goes up, must come down” life can be like a rollercoaster, full of highs and lows, its just sometimes I wanna get off the fucker.
This sense of uncertainty, takes me back to, way back in the day, when I first started volunteering in Kickstart, a day rehabilitation program for recovering addicts. Supporting others in their recovery, from mainly Heroin, a well known downer/ depressant. My own personal experience recovering from my drug of choice was on a completely different spectrum,speed/amphet had sent, lifted me to a fucking different universe.
During my time volunteeringthere had been just a handful of people who had come to the service for the abuse of upper’s and I would normally be the worker allocated to them. And fuck me that even had its fucking moments! The one that stands out the most is the day one of my clients asked if he could “have a private chat” when we found a room, he sat down and then declared his underlying love for me. Nice eh?
Nah was it fuck!
I Shit me sen!
it was scary as fuck!
He sat opposite me reading from a note he had written previously, saying he believed that he’d been sent to Kickstart as a sign to meet me, it was our destiny, we were meant to be. Even when I explained to him that I was already in love and in a happy relationship, i could see this wasn’t sinking in, i tried to remain calm whilst at the same time, trying to figure out how to get another fucking worker in the room to save me!
Because trust me, i’d been there me sen, so I knew how he “meant and believed every fucking word he was saying,’ I could see the illusion, but, he was still in the thick of it. How the fuck do I piss on his bonfire and tell him, “sorry mate ya not my type, your short for a starter, you have got yellow teeth and you could do with having a wesh occasionally”
It took me back to my own psychosis days, when I had the same delusions about our dealer, (of all people, who wasn’t all that! neither!, short, old, bold and nothing to look at, fuck I must have been off me nut) i was under the very same illusion, thinking the very same things. I thought we were meant to be, buying our drugs from him, there had been a reason that we went to him to buy the drugs, (nowt to do with em being the cheapest) but no, I was utterly convinced this had been a sign to bring us together. I would listen to Cher songs, in the car, parked no where near him and was convinced he could somehow telepathically hear the song, that was “our song” – but less about this period in me life, I will talk about that much more in the book, this is what i am writing about this weekend.
So back to the day rehabilitation project, Kickstart, little did the clients there know that “I needed that place more than them.” I’d rock up everyday not sure, how the fuck I’d end up volunteering there in the first place, but at the time, it felt the right thing to do. It was the right place for me, whilst I was there I had a purpose, I was using others personal experiences of self discovery as a way to figure out my own and visa versa.
I felt a fraud at times, (I still do now sometimes) I’d be watching and listening to staff around me, especially the guy who had offered me this ‘amazing’ opportunity to volunteer/work in this amazing safe place for people whose lives had hit rock bottom. I was like a fucking sponge, listening, applying the theories he talked about in the group sessions to myself, so I could then, stand and deliver the same workshops with confidence, sharing my own personal experiences as a tool to help reassure the guys in the group that, ‘they were not alone’ that it was ‘ok to feel vulnerable,’ it was ‘ok to be scared’ it was ok to say “hey I fucked up, but at least I am trying to do something about it?”
I think thats why i love working with people in recovery, because ‘I know how, fucking scary it is, to be stripped emotionally to the core and have to find out who you are, sounds so easy, doesn’t it? but you’d be wrong. Its a scary journey, all you have got is your senses to guide you, you use your fuck ups, relapses to figure out “how not to make the same mistakes again” its a constant roller coaster of self discovery and i totally get why for some people, they are too scared to climb aboard.
My job is a privilege, to see someone climb on board that fucking roller coaster and take the rough with the smooth, hold on tighter when it gets scary and let go when its more fun, is priceless.
So, enough self indulgence for one day, its time to write “Blood is thicker than alcohol” cos i aint going to fucking write its sen is it!
Sunday we attended a family wedding, the weather, venue, bride, catching up with family was lovely. No alcohol was consumed through out the whole day (to be fair didn’t miss it) then I made the fatal mistake of having 1 glass of white wine when I got home, now don’t get me wrong I enjoyed it, but fuck me did i suffer as a result the following day. So feeling back to normal (what ever normal is) I did me morning reflection run and me thoughts turned to all the crap that society tells us and us numptys buy into it and whats worse is the half of the time we don’t even realise it.
I concluded toward the end of me run that life is like one massive transaction, and I’m not talking about financial transactions here, I’m talking emotional, spiritual and wellbeing transactions.
For every transaction we make, what we are ultimately searching for and are wanting in return is to feel happy and content with ourselves. Don’t believe me?
You have a think about someone you know who is in pursuit of feeling shit about themselves?
Let me guess – NO FUCKER
I’d done my run, writing and heading into work feeling good, today was a good day. I have also decided to monitor my good Vs not so good days, this peri – menopause malarky ain’t no fucking joke, although me tits dont feel like bastard pin cushions every month, just lately, ‘I wonder if its being off alcohol? or if increased dose in prozac is working its magic?’ – i digress
I get to work amd I’m at me desk when i get a call from reception, informing me that a lady called Dorothy was at reception for me.
It had completely slipped my mind, that i’d spoke to Dorothy the previous week, she’d called last Thursday to say she would in Sheffield. We hadn’t seen her as she’d recently relocated to Watford a few months earlier. She told me about her getting herself a part-time job at Debenhams and had even approached a local women’s centre about doing some volunteering, with victims affected by Domestic Abuse.
I have known Dorothy now for over 5 years, we met at a domestic abuse reference group that i manage as part of work. The reference group is made up of women who have experienced domestic abuse and who use their experiences to help inform our work and how we commission our domestic abuse services. Dorothy has been a regular at all the meetings since the beginning, up until the past few months, when some family issues forced her to reconsider relocating and moving from Sheffield. So apart from the occasional whats app message, i haven’t see or had a proper catch up with her in ages.
Dorothy, (who by the way, knows i am dedicating this blog too) has come such a long way since i first met her. Her personal story is pretty horrific and not mine to tell, but leaving a violent and controling relationship and upping sticks from the Isle of wight with five kids was the easy part of her journey. Now if anyone could write a book, its this lady!
As we chatted and caught up this morning, we talked about how important maintaining our sanity was and this got me to thinking about my morning run and about life being like one big transaction.
We both talked about our previous experiances of being emotionally bankrupt, and how priceless and important the sense of sanity means to us. It hasnt been money, or material success that has made Dorothy happy, but investing time in herself, thinking about her needs, making sure her emotional support needs have been met has played a vital role in her recovery and life after being a victim of abuse.
She openly talked about not having much, financially, in fact she’s just making ends meet, but she’s been the happiest she has been in ages and i could see it, she was glowing and despite going through some pretty seriously family issues, shes still dealing with life, straight on, one day at a time and she looked frigging amazing.
So back to life being one BIG transaction – What transactions are you making?
If you could guesstimate how much you are worth in say, currency or units ? Let’s say as a whole person, your personal worth is 100
How much of your currency have you invested in on or wasted on
Trying to fit in?
Trying to feel happy?
Trying to feel loved ?
Trying to feel accepted?
Trying to please others?
Using this same analogy
How much of yourcurrency have you saved and invested in the bank for you?
How much of your currency have you spent on other?
How much of your currency have you spent on yourself recently?
There are many people around us who are functioning in a permanent overdraft, ya knows them who look permanently burned out, stressed out, unhappy, victims are you one of them, if you are then
Is it time to do a review of your recent transactions, look at what are your outgoings are V’s incomings
Reviewing your transactions and making sure you have something left for you is the first step to learning to love thee sen and there are added bonus’s too, just like a bank if you safe some there for a while, it will grow and you’ll earn interest.
Dorothy, you made my day today, you are an inspiration, just keep at it, one day at a time, continue to value you, make time for youand most importantly – Keep in touch x Love Tracey x
I have GOT, GOT, GOT to share this with you guys. But before I proceed the person I am about to talk about has given me permission to share.
I met someone the other day at work, I had met them before at a monthly meeting I chair, but it transpired that i’d been totally wrong about this person the whole time she had been coming to the meetings. It transpires that after all this time chairing those meetings I didn’t know “fuck all” about why she was even there.
This person has been coming along to my meetings now for the past 2 years. All of this time, I thought that she was there representing Hallam University in a work capacity, one of the lecturers / researchers.
Now let me give you some context as to why I don’t have much regard for people from the university. Not that I don’t personally dislike anyone, don’t get me wrong, but I think I have more of a dislike about the universities integraty for the subject they are researching, after all these are peoples “fucking lives for fuck sake” Rant over I digress
A few years ago there was this BIG there globally renown addiction professor who had taken a post at Hallam University. I was excited, I had cited this guys work in my dissertation paper and saw a great opportunity for the Sheffield Recovery Community to play am invaluable role, in educating and informing research around Addiction and Recovery, which would ultimately helps us achieve our biggest objective, which is to reduce the stigma associated with addiction. We met, they were excited, we were excited, there was a year of brilliant collaboration, big bids for research projects, we got some financial support for some of the recovery activities, life was tickety boo.
Individuals from the Sheffield Recovery Community were at their disposal, willing participants “guinea pigs” in their pursuit for research. However, three years on and with BIG European bids behind them, travelling all around the world to talk about “their research” we are lucky to get even one of them to the meeting at all now, well apart from the one person I am going to talk about.
This person has been coming along to my meetings now for the past 2 years, she is the chair of one of the research groups. And I would have continued to think that, until she shared something in Thursdays meeting. In the meeting we were throwing ideas around about a launch event, coming up in September, which essentially is going to be a two week art display for people in recovery to come have a look around, take part and share their recovery stories.
Still bliss fully unaware, I’m still thinking this person is her to study addiction/recovery, I have to admit, yes she seem a little more genuinely interested in peoples stories than the other university mob, she attends all the meetings, she participates, she comes up with ideas – Basically it doesn’t feel like she treats us like guinea pigs.
As we were talking/sharing ideas for the art gallery, she talked about how creativity and doing something with your hands can be a big part of peoples recovery, then went on to share about how she herself had taken up a hobby, making felt animals. Everyone initially looked a little blank and we asked what are they?
She she proceeded to explain and look for some pictures of her work on her phone and share them around the group.
They were ace and according to Marianne, my business support, they were very ‘in’ at the moment. She explained how she had made them for friends up and down the country and had sold a few. She bashfully tried to reassure people that making money wasn’t her intention. I wa like “fuck that, if you can make some money, there aint no shame in that”.
It was then that I saw something in her, I saw myself, I saw “vulnerability.” I knew straight away that her sharing this with the group, was a BIG deal for her,something she probably kept private, something she hadn’t shared with many people outside of her close friendship circle. Pretty much like me writing this blog, or writing a book, I mean who’d have thought eh, “Big Bad Fordy” would be baring her soul to the world, or even thinking she is good enough to write a book? I immediately felt the need to encourage her, to be proud of her art, it wasn’t something to be ashamed of and if it worked for her then thats all that matters. “god I wish I was as good as this talking to me sen all the time” I am working on it, ‘I promise.’
Later on in the meeting, she mentions AA groups and the fact that there was a new venue, again I was thinking , “Mmmmm what a surprise, works for the university AND in recovery, just goes to show how judgmental and unaware I can be”
At the end of the meeting, I felt I had to go up to her and tell her, “nice one for sharing that, I could tell it took a lot of courage” she explained that “she just gets a little embarrassed, in fact, she also does Rieki and does it for free for friends etc, and world never dream of charging because she still doesn’t feel in a place where she can call herself a reiki practitioner” even though she has had some great feedback from clients. I was like “well if its free, ya can do it on me, I love rieki” So I shared something private about me doing this blog and writing a book and that I could totally relate to her about not being able to “Put it out there yet”.
I’d decided on the way to my next meeting that I would share my link to this blog, because I think she would get it and not judge. I’m ashamed to say that I also thought, ‘Hell I bet she might even come in handy or know someone who could help with editing me book, when I finally fucking finish it, having connections in the university and all that’. Just being honest
I left the meeting that day thinkingto me sen, “See tracey, you think your right about someone and how wrong you can be”.
But little did I know how wrong I was.
Two days later
It was Saturday morning, I was sat typing away, working on the book and I thought ‘ooo I’ll see if she’s on facebook and send her friends request.’ I looked, but I couldn’t find her, the only person that came up was actually someone who worked for the same company my old man sub contracts from. I was thinking , ‘nahhh thats not her.’ I decided to go to a mutual mates page, someone who sits on the same meeting she chairs, they seem friendly? I’ll see if they are mates. There she is again, but theres no reference to working at a university, but apparently she does appear to work at this company our old man works with?
To say I was confused was an understatement, I knew that there was NO way I be able to wait until our next meeting and ask her, I know she doesn’t use facebook that much, because she’d already shared ion the meeting that she doesn’t know how to work it. So I messaged me mate asking for her number, he sent it and I sent a text…
“Hi xxx it’s tracey ford, hope you don’t mind me getting in touch, xxxxx gave me your number x was looking for you on Facebook, found you and it says you work forxxxxxx xxxxxxx is this right? My old man works for them too x”
I could not wait for her reply, and didn’t have to wait long before I got one
“Hi Tracey course I don’t mind. You’re kidding who ? X”
I replied asking her to call me, which she didand “Fuck me sideways“, “slap me in the face with the biggest fucking kipper” – It turns out she doesn’t even fucking work for the university! We talked for ages, and it transpires;
Yes she chairs the research panel, but in a service user capacity and as a volunteer.
She works one day a week for the family company, but only works one day a week
She has been taking time out to work on her recovery, learning about herself
Been Busy making them felt toys
Doing a bit of Yoga here, a bit of Reiki there
She has actually been in recovery from alcohol for FIVE years.
I could actually go on and on about this experience, it actually gave me goose bumps when talking to her. And without sounding stalkerish I reckon we will stay in touch outside off a work capacity, after all I still want me FREE reiki session AND one of them felt toys she makes, to have on me writing desk as a gentle reminder that;
I don’t know everything
I can get things AND people wrong
I will always not just learning about myself, but others around me.
If I don’t, could be missing out on a lot more
AND TO TAKE MORE NOTICE OF PEOPLE WHO ATTEND “MY” MEETINGS
Thats it folks, reet I’m off to get me sen ready for a wedding
Even though the book is aimed at people wanting to ‘write’ like me, she strips away all the stigma, barriers, self doubt and ‘Bullshit’ that “we” place on ourselves, not just about writing but life in general and I can totally relate to that.
This blogging and writing malarkey is sort of me own therapy, a way for me to start “questioning” me sen! learning to “understand” me sen again.
So if you are wondering sometimes “what the fuck is she on about today?” Trust me I probably don’t know me fucking sen!
Any way this Joanne, conducted a survey asking writers “what stops you from writing?” And many of the answers are the ‘FUCKING exact same as mine. Some of the reasons I already knew deep down, but others – well I am working on this and learning to ‘Stop being so fucking hard on me sen” its no wonder its taken so fucking long to make ‘proper’ start, even though the desire to write has ALWAY’s been there in me. So heres what people said;
Fear of not being good enough –tick – always felt like this
Do I have anything of value to say? – tick – well I’m a gobby shit andI think I have plenty of things to say of value, but value to me, not ‘everyone’ see’s my point of view!
Fear that I am not a great writer – tick – for all you grammar police out there fuck off “I’m still learning!”
I am worried that people will think the book is shit –tick – well she doesn’t say ‘Shit’ , she says ‘Dreadful’ but ‘hey I am trying to develop my voice AND I tend to swear alot!
Fear of not being good enough – fucking “BIG” tick
Anxiety about the relevance and quality of the writing – tick
She then goes on to talk about reasons people don’t make a start because:
There are so many books out there, wonder if its worth it- tick
I’m not “real” writer – tick – I’m starting to learn that there isn’t an actual degree that qualifies you as a “writer” if you can write, your a writer!
I don’t know how to make the writing make “fucking” sense – again she doesn’t actually say that she says “clever” and “fancy” and their aint nowt fancy about me
Your not sure if you have enough motivation to finish writing – tick –I actually laughed out loud at this, as I have been trying to write this “fucking” book for the past “8 years” and still not got past chapter 4, for fucks sake !
You wonder what people will think and say about you – tick – believe it or not, this has bothered me and still does, well I say ‘still does’but in all honestly this is one of the main things I am working on, on a daily basisand guess what? I reckon I’ll still be fucking doing it on me death bed.
Its not all happy stuff – maybe you should wait for your parents to die first – tick – well dads dead already, so he cant say “fuck all”, although I have thought about dads family, in fact I told my Uncle Mick about it and he just said, “look kid, you write want you want you, this is about you and not thee father” so that just leaves mom, but she knows I am writing about dad, which of course will include her at some point. But if I am totally honest, (and this is what I need to practice) I think the one person I ammost worried about most is my step dad? After all if anyone deserved a book being dedicated or about them, it should be him! I know it hurt him and he found it hard to understand how, after how dad treated us as kids and adults, why we put up with the shit and still cared for dad, during his last years on earth. And I totally get that! And if I am truly honest with myself, I think thats partly the reason I have had this burning desire to write this ‘fucking book’ for the past few years. To try make sense of it all?, because even though dad might not have been present as a “dad” he still had a massive impact on me growing up and trust me when I say, when I talk about impact I ain’t referring to positive impact
So its 7.57am, its a Saturday morning and I have been up since 6am. Our old man wa like “she’s here… weirdo, tapping away” – “you going for a run this morning?” my reply was “nope im going to read and write then get house work done” because “I can.”
SO folks, sorry for the early morning email, hope your emails don’t have automatic pings and wakes you up at this godly hour.
In fact I’m not sorry really, I feel great, I have turned up, tuned in and apart from feeling little tired still, this book aint going to write its sen is it?
So I am off to work on chapter 2, what ever you are thinking of doing today – DO IT, don’t think about it, just FUCKING do it, there is only YOU stopping ya sen
Ps Mick the pics are called memes and you can create owt ya want for FREE
Morning, done me morning run and LOVED it, took in and took some lovely pictures of me 3 favourite views from my morning run. It took them because I thought, i’d share them on the blog. As well as taking in these beaut views, this half an hour run in the morning genuinely sets me up for the day. Todays thoughts included, Mom, Lauren, Danielle, Pat, Mick Holmes, Me – after the shite day on Tuesday, I did have to work at pulling myself back around all day Wednesday, but it was well worth it.
Over the past 47 days, I have abstained (well apart from two occasions) from drinking. There have been many a day, when I have come home from work, particularly after a shit day and thought “fuck it” and cracked open a can. Or have been longing for Friday to finish, to get home, slap Pj’s on and crack open a ‘Few cans, plus wine, plus chocolate.’ Then do the same on a Saturday evening. Fuck me I have been doing this for the past 15 years. When I started out on this alcohol experiment, my initial plan was to test myself and see if I would feel any better without alcohol.
Now I am not trying to justify myself here when I say, “I didn’t have a problem with alcohol”, some may disagree, but hey thats fine. Actually after writing that, I have realised NO its not!!
I do sometimes find it frustrating at times, working in the addiction and recovery field, working with people who have or are suffering from addiction.
Whilst there are many approaches and theories as to what’s the best approach to take to address your addiction, I still ultimately, I think that its the individual who has to work it out for themselves.
Addiction or dependency,is like a bump in the road, we call life,we can be happily cruising along the road and then “BAM”, we hit a great big fucking pot hole, we didn’t see it coming, we will blame others, “Fucking council” for not filling the fucker in Or complain that “we pay our road taxes for nothing”.
But ultimately, had we been looking at where we were going, that pot hole could have been avoided. But life’s not always like that is it?
Take the driving analogy, Life can be like being on the road, heading for our destination, sometimes we will know where we are going,sometimes we will need directions, other times were just winging it, hoping, trusting that were heading in the right direction, we will find our destination eventually. But on our Journey I will guaranteethat we will be distracted by, road signs, unplanned diversions, other fuckwits on the road cutting us up, but hey thats just like life! ‘personally I believe I have just been slightly distracted.
And of course we all need a ‘Piss or coffee break” or more importantly we need to full the tank up again or else we ain’t going fucking no where.
I don’t believe that focusing or dwelling “too much” on where we have been or come from is helpful, after all if we keep focusing too much on the rear view mirror, we are doomed to crash into another pothole, or even worse.
But I do believe that checking in and occasionally looking in the rear view mirror, helps us to check we haven’t, made a wrong turn, or cut someone up by mistake, or run someone over whilst not focusing on where we were going.
Before doing me alcohol experiment I’d been just driving, I hadn’t really been focusing on where I was going, how long it would take me, or who I would share my journey with, I wasn’t so bothered about any hitchhikers I might offer a lift to on the way, I was “just driving”
During the past 47 days, all I have done, is decide to take a break, I have pulled the car into a lay-by and had a break. Since my stint with drugs over 20 odd years ago, I have only hit a few other pot holes on me journey, the biggest one was losing Dad, and there have been a few minor ones along the way, but the car is still in tact and I am still driving.
How many times have you driven the car, but never really taken in the views or sights around you, because your too busy focusing on the road and where you are going?
All I am doing is focusing a little more on not just the destination, but trying to enjoy the journey and take in the scenes along the way. And this mornings views whilst out on me morning run, have made my day already.
God I had a shit night, well shit day Tuesday, I felt like I was on hyper mode, collecting/absorbing loads ofinformation. In fact I found myself walking around work with a pile of papers, all relevant, but none in any particular order, just a fucking big pile of words and informationthat required some order. I Know I have a tendency to take too much on, I can easily get an idea and run with it like fucking Usain Bolt.
I had to have an “awkward and tense meeting” with a graphic designer that morning, who’d previously come up with the idea for creating a newspaper for the Help us Help Campaign.
Initially, I had loved the idea, what a great way to tell the story share a picture of all the great work the projects do in Sheffield all in one place. We had already got most of the content but just needed someone to pull it all together. So I was really excited about the idea and couldn’t wait to see the first draft, they had been liaising with our blogger, who had written some excellent articles about some of our providers, so I felt confident that the finished product would look great.
Well we got to see the first draft last Friday, to say I was under whelmed would be an understatement. It looked like a well designed newspaper for a fucking 5 year old. Now don’t get me wrong the images looked great, but there were no more than 60 words (and that is pushing it) for just a couple of the articles.
And thank fully I wasn’t alone in thinking the same. At the meeting everyone agreed that the product looked more like a brochure opposed to the ‘News Paper’ that had been previously suggested.
Im sorry, but when some says ‘how about we produce a newspaper?’ . In my head, I’m thinking, metro? Or The Sun, ‘I even had ideas about who could feature on Page 3’ but I wont go there, because those ideas are wholly inappropriate and need to stay in my head.
So yesterday was D day, the day we had to meet with the designer to say “what the fuck” well I didn’t say that of course. But you could tell she wasn’t impressed even before we started the meeting. Her first response was defensive She shared “Being a designer” how shocked she’d been to hear the not so positive feedback from the first draft.
Now believe it or not, I get it! They do their creative shit and I work in a world of fucked up, complexities that never have a simple solution, nor will a pretty design fix the problem.
I try to explain to her, that whilst it looks really good (I’m trying my best to focus on the positives here), it wasn’t exactly what we thought it would look like? I mean the purpose of a newspaper is to tell a story isn’t it?this was more like a brochure of adverts.
Her response was, but “if you wanted a newspaper, then I’m afraid we might not be the right company for you?”What the FUCK? Seriously, I am trying my absolute best here not to lose me shit, the last thing ‘I’ need ‘we’ need is to start looking for someone to design a ‘fucking newspaper’ something that THEY suggested in the first place!!!
Taking a deep breadth, I explained AGAIN, “It looks great, but instead of having a full page advert, can we not shrink the image and add some more text?” She looks horrified? “yes but you don’t want to be overwhelming people who too much information, in my professional experience people wont read it”
Deep breath, I try to explain, that in MY profession we are constantly bombarded with complaints by the general public demanding to know ‘what is being done to support the vulnerable in the city?’ They want to know and understand why, if there is support, why people are not using it, “NOW I’m sorry these adverts (whilst they look pretty) are not going to answer these questions and quite frankly are underwhelming”
I realised by her face that, she wasn’t convinced, sooooooo I suggested a compromise “look, how about we keep the images but had a few more words” (not too many mind, we didn’t want to comprises the artistic fucking pretty images they they had worked sooooo hard on, I mean we are fucking paying them!!!!!)
After half an hour we had managed go through, page by page the new content – I could tell she wasn’t wholly happy, but to be honest, neither was I?
But I ain’t got no time for being precious, after all as I explained to her, “we are dealing with a very sensitive subject here, a very complex one, and quite frankly whilst we can try and make some thing look good, the reality is that we are dealing with pretty shitty issues, and trying to get the balance is hard enough as it is, but quite frankly there are no ways of skirting around the main issues.
Come winter (when we will be reading this) when people are walking in the city centre and see someone begging, they will want to know WHY THEY ARE BEGGING?they will feel guilty and sad. We need to be able to give the general public some thing that gives people a flavour of the issues, but more importantly what support is available to help them. AND if they DO care and they WANT to do something, they will know what and where they can go to support.”
I have to say, the rest of my day, went pretty downhill from this meeting, now I honestly don’t mind compromising but I do mind feeling like I’m being patronised.
Like I don’t know what I’m talking about? OK I am no graphic designer, but she aint no fucking worker dealing with this sad sorry shit day in day out and quite frankly I care more about those people on the streets than her fucking artistic EGO.
The only way I can describe how I felt by the end of the day on Tuesday was, that my personal invisible force field had been penetrated, by bullshit. Well I say penetrated on reflection, I ought to be saying I’d switched the force field off and allowed things to get to me.
We all need to protect ourselves, sometimes though we don’t see whats bothering us until ‘BAM” then your like “what the fuck”
Above is the only image I could get to best describe how I left work yesterday, (I couldn’t find a force field one, without running the risk of been sued for copywriting)
Don’t ask me why? Because I don’t know, why some days I feel great and others not so great, and thats the whole reason for this, writing, refection #havingawordwimesen.