Be a fisherman

I haven’t written for a while, so have been searching for inspiration to help me out. I have been reading a book called your story, which talks and goes through the pitfalls of writing and offers some great advice about writing your own story. One of the questions are “why are you writing it?” goood question eh?

I want to be able to demonstrate how navigating this one life we get can be hard and very challenging. This book is as much about my learning, about me and what I have learned throughout my 48 years. I fundamentally believe that if we’re all honest with ourselves deep down we all are searching and want to know what the meaning of our lives are. For some the meaning of life might consist of chasing and achieving dreams, for others it might be being a doing for others but for me, its more about being happy in my own skin, learning to accept and come to terms with the fact that life can be pretty shit at times, and be ok with it? We all carry some sort of varying invisible pain, possessed by invisible demons, you know the ones? the dark shadows that follow us on our journey that can keep us awake at night? the ones that only you can see or feel.

So my story consist of five parts. 

The first part is my childhood, early childhood then the journey to adolescence, it is a journey that we all have to go through in order to get to adulthood, no one can skip that part! I want to explore the challenges I faced, dealt with, using my immature that only a child possesses, how hi saw life through my childlike eyes and how my relationship with dad and how he influenced my perception of the world.

The second is the transition from being a teenager and my transformation into a young adult being a grown up, (whatever the fuck that means) what that looked and felt like for me, a child having a child, becoming a parent, being a partner and trying to make sense of the on going, tomenting diagloge that would torture my mind “Is this it? is this my lot?”

The third part is about what I would describe as being my personal rebirth, overcoming a crisis in my life that could have quite frankly taken me down a completely different path, journey that I am on now and about the learning that took place, how I found the new adult version of me. 

The fourth part is about Dad coming back into my life, about how our relationship had changed because I had changed. The personal struggles and challenges of being metnally and demotionally swept back to a time in my life when I felt confused and vulnerable, a time where I felt I owed dad everything, but owed him nothing struggling to find the new version of me whilst trying my best to stay afloat and care for him at his time of need, when he’d never been there in mine. 

The fifth part is basically summarising all the lessons learned, my observations on not just me own life, but life in general, the coping strategies that I adopted, which acted as a lifejacket in my time of great need, it about the many people who threw me the lifejacket when I was at the verge of drowning. 

But ultimately the key message and Moral of the story is that we can all make mistakes, but we often only realise that we have made a mistake after the event. The decisions we make in our life are often based on our environment and how we think and feel at that particular moment in time and our thoughts, feelings and ultimately this dictates our actions and reactions. 

Throughout life, we gather so many untrue and limiting beliefs about ourselves, I would describe life as being like the trawler fisherman who goes out to sea, in search for rich pickings the prized cod, he prepares his net, then tosses it out to see and waits patiently before reeling in his catch. Now a good, moral fisherman will then sieve through his catch, in search for the prized cod and toss the unwanted fish back into the ocean, Its time consuming but it’s important after all his other catch serves no purpose, it has no financial value, and it may well serve someone else but not him. I am just a mear fisherman in search of my prized cod, trawling through all the limiting beliefs about myself and throwing them back into the ocean, let someone else have them! they don’t serve a purpose for me.

Like a  fisherman’s can never guarantee to catch his prized cod and neither can we, like us, like life, he has had to learn to navigate, search for the places where the desired cod hides, hiding amongst the shawls of other fish, he has to follow and track them down, take a risk that the place where he lowers his ankor that will be the spot where the cod is. Never knowing if this is going to be the BIG one the BIG catch?

He goes out all weathers facing elements that are out of his control, wind, rain or relentless waves, taking a risk with his life and fellow fisherman, but that doesn’t stop him fishing, they all know the risk involved, but in order to survive back on shore, they need that catch to take home, to survive, feed not only themselves but their loved ones too.

Apparently, a Fisherman’s job is one of the hardest jobs in the world, but so is ours, we should never underestimate our own journeys, underestimate our own strengths, but we should always be in search for our own prized cod, well that is if we want too? I want to and want to be my own fisherman, dictating my own journey, throwing my net out wide never knowing what the results are, but also knowing that whatever the catch I can save or disregard the parts that don’t serve me and throw them back into the ocean.

Right, I am back on track, for now anyway! I have a free weekend, our old man is away, I have the house and keyboard all to myself and I will be spending it fishing and if I find any cod, I might share some with you….

Love Fordy x

Dealing with change and learning to accept it

Change is always inevitable, like it or not shit is going to happen in life that can leave you feeling pissed off, down hearted and low.  This ultimately can influence and flip any positive thoughts, we may have into having negative and defeatist thoughts in a nano second

I have always questioned, I have always been inquisitive, but I mainly questioned stuff on the outside for example  “Why are some people twats? Why didn’t something go my way? Why didn’t I get the outcome I wanted? Why? Why? Why? Why? And all the what ifs?” Fuck me I come to realise that I have spent far to much time and energy of the last 48 years asking the same old fucking questions?  Rather than learning to accept that sometimes you may never get the answers you are desperate for?

We are complex being us humans, we are all each unique and our beliefs and values have all been shaped by our own personal experiences and life journeys. I see a lot of people who never challenge their own belief and values, and yet many of their beliefs and values are unfounded, old, stale, no longer serving a purpose but yet they still carry them around like an old friend. 

Our experiences from the past cannot ever be changed but how you see and view those experiences can. Making the time to self reflect, #Haveawordwitheesen, to recharge your own batteries, to explore, question or even challenges some of your own limiting assumptions and values in the longer term will help free you of the constant self doubt and help you come to terms with the fact that you will never get some all of your questions answered. 

Whilst having a relationships with loved ones is important learning to have a relationship with yourself is more important. Relationships with others come and go, but you will always be present, you don’t go away apart from the times when you might get off your nut, pissed to forget who you are, but the reality is that as soon as you sober up, your there again, present, with the same uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and emotions. 

There are those who are afraid to check themselves out or unwilling to question themselves, the ones who will never accept that they might be wrong, but this doesn’t mean they are right? And it doesn’t mean you have to be one of those people neither! 

Learning to accept and understand that I have my own faults, I will never be perfect, that I cannot control everything, that I may not always get the outcome I desire helps frees me from all those limiting assumptions that in the past has left me feeling low, depressed, down hearted when the reality is #shithappens but whats more important is to recognise how you deal with ya shit! 

We all have choices in life you can allow shit situations, circumstance shape you as a person OR you can accept #shit things happen and learn to live with it?

The End

Just be fucking nice

I have been busy delivering briefing sessions to front line staff including Housing, DWP, University security teams who in their day to day work come into contact with people on the street, begging, rough sleeping, intoxicated or causing anti-social behavior. The aim of the briefings is to not just raise awareness about what support provision is available in Sheffield, I have focused it more about trying to educate, help people understand WHY someone who they have come across may not be engaging in services, why someone might be refusing the help offered, why someone might be uncooperative or even aggressive! Here are some of the questions that have frequently that have come up during the sessions…

“Why would someone continue to take drugs even though you can see it is clearly killing them slowly?”

“I have offered, arranged support even taken them to support, but yet there is no change?”

“Why someone would sleep out on the streets, risking hypothermia and still refuse help?”

“They won’t do anything to help themselves”

“I have done all this! tried that! to help support someone, but none of it works – why?”

 The other Friday morning I had agreed to go visit a Broomhall breakfast club that operates just on the outskirts of the city center, the club has been operating for the past 18+ years, my plan was to go there for 8 am stay for a while then go deliver a briefing session to University of Sheffield security staff, just up the road at 9.30am.

Walking down the street, looking for the church, I saw a guy who assumed was going to the same place, my assumptions were founded by the fact he looked street homeless, he was carrying a black sack and a Sainsbury’s carrier bag for life, and looked like he hadn’t washed or shaved for weeks. I asked him if he was going to the same breakfast club and offered to help carry one of his bags for him, turns out he was going to the same place,  he declined my offer to carry one of his bags, but he did recognize me which took me back a little. Because as I looked more closely I realized that I knew him too, only he looked a lot different to how he did the last time I’d seen him. (to protect his privacy I am using a different name)

You see the last time I had seen Tom, had been at one of the Recovery Support groups that from one of the larger homeless support projects in the city center, he had been a regular attendee to the groups, he was rather a shy guy but was always polite and when he shared his story he would always capture my attention, he was very articulate, calm, a self-deprecating person who was well aware of his own weaknesses and shortcomings and wasn’t afraid to point them out. He had his own place, was stable on a script and was generally finding his own way on his recovery journey.

As we walked together towards the breakfast club, Tom told me how he was currently sleeping rough, up by the university, the very same one I would be delivering training too later that morning. As we reached the doors to the project and Tom, bid me fair well and went to order his breakfast before finding a table, notibly a table where no one else was sitting, I sensed he wanted to be alone and didn’t much feel like talking, so I went to meet the manager and the other staff to find out more about the project, whilst all the time observing Tom from my position the serving hatch. I was intent on going over to sit with him, once I had been told the ropes, but just as I was about to walk over, one of the other volunteers, a lady had beaten me to it, so I bided my time. Half an hour later I saw Tom, start to gather his belongings to leave, as he headed for the door to leave, I made my excuses from my conversation and followed Tom outside.

Tom seemed embarrassed, ashamed and slightly reluctant to chat, knowing he was back on the streets sleeping rough, I asked if he wanted me to call Framework? but he politely declined my offer, I asked if he was still getting his script to which he replied no, he said he hated having to go the Fitzwilliam Centre,  being around other people, hence why he’d stopped going to the Archer project and was keeping a low profile. My gut wanted to jump into rescue mode, get on the phone call the rough sleeper service, get on the phone to Fitz, get him an appointment sorted, but my instinct told me that he wasn’t ready for that. As the conversation flowed, so did the tears he shared how he felt he didn’t have another attempt of recovery in him, he was fed up with his lot and just wanted out! and truth be told, my gut instinct was right, he was defeated, he felt he was a failure, it was literally heartbreaking.

One not to give up, I remembered Addaction’s new breakfast club that was running, it wasn’t Archer project, it wasn’t Fitz, there would be no pressure or expectations laid upon him, he could just go there and socialize, eat and relax and get some respite from the streets and it ran 5 days a week. Tom was aware of the project as he had previously been required to attend as part of a court order. I told him about an amazing worker down there, who I thought he would get along with, some who I think he would have really connected with, someone who was great at working at the client’s pace, who himself has been where Tom was now and had the scars from years of digging into his veins to prove it. He said he would consider going and I wrote down the workers name for him and encouraged him to make contact when he was ready!

Tom was restless, you could tell he was ready to leave, I gave him a big hug and wished him well, as he turned the corner I got onto the phone to the worker I had mentioned and explained Tom’s circumstances to him, totally unfazed the worker was more than happy to see Tom and agreed that he would inform the reception staff that should Tom access the service or ask to speak to him, to inform him straight away. The only thing I can do now is hope that Tom makes that first move.  It was heartbreaking to see Tom, a shell of his former self, defeated almost.

There is a little model/framework, called stages of change or Cycle of change that I use when presenting or delivering briefings about what treatment and support are available in Sheffield (see diagram below) I strongly believe it is as important to try and get workers/staff to understand that by simply knowing where to refer or send someone into treatment and support, isn’t enough. My belief is that if staff understand where and why someone may be acting irrationally or “not normal” (whatever the fuck “Normal” means,) that they can try and be understanding and less judgmental and that if someone refuses help, not to take it personally, its just could be that they might not be ready, or more likely scared to take those steps to change.

The last time I saw Tom, he was clearly in Action mode, making attempts to take his addiction, seeking support, was in receipt of a script he was attending groups, he had a flat. Today when I saw Tom, he had slipped back into contemplation mode, he knew he had a problem, he knew what he needed to do, he knew where he could go for help, he knew it all, BUT he didn’t have the psychological or emotional capacity to consider the work required to move him back to where he was the last time I saw him.

Later on, that morning in the training I used Tom as the case study, it transpires that the security staff knew of Tom already, the regarded him as being a nice polite guy, who actually didn’t cause them any issues, but after the briefings, at least they had the knowledge to know where they could signpost him to support, should he be receptive to the offer of support.

In today’s society, addiction, mental health is more prevalent more visible, it’s not like breaking a leg, where you can go to a GP, get an x-ray, get a cast, rest up for a while until its fixed and carry on with life… It’s no wonder some front line services, workers who work in a system struggling to understand why they can get frustrated and deflated if they identify a problem, offer a solution but don’t get the desired outcome.

The point I am trying to make is you don’t have to be an expert in addiction, nor a therapist to recognize that us humans are complex and unique you may never get to know or understand someone’s journey, where it started, where they have been, how long they have been traveling, where or what their final destination will look like, BUT you CAN be nice or kind, after all, you may never know if your kindness that day might just be the one thing that influenced that persons change in direction.

I do not yet know if Tom has taken the advice, or gone to the service, but what I do know is that I treated Tom with dignity and respect, I didn’t push, nor judge, I just listened, I was there for him for those few minutes, being there for him. One thing that i have learned about myself and others is that if someone isn’t ready for change, regardless of the reasons, you cannot force people to change, that change has to come from within. So even if you cannot help someone, you can always help or make someone’s day, or journey by just being fucking nice!

Who was your hero?

Morning, I have sent off Version 1 of the book to some trusted friends for some constructive feedback, one is a successful published author, the other is the queen of grammar and the other is just a good friend. I have been reassured that version 1 is always shit and will always require more work, so, for now, I am just cracking on with the book. I have gotten to the part when I really did start being a rebellious little shit, just before turning into the teenager from Hell, Christ my mother deserves a medal!

Anyways, got no time for chatting about other shit going off in me life, so thought I would share the latest excerpt from my book…

Chapter 6 – settling into the new routine

I always sensed from mom that she would have easily preferred it if dad had just dropped off the radar, the face of the earth and stopped seeing us kids all together! Dealing with the constant let downs, Dad was a constant reminder of her past, that would come back to haunt her. Dad would let us down a lot and according to mom this happened frequently, its funny isn’t it, I don’t have any memories of this but its something mom painfully recalls, in particular there was one time, when me and my sister had been waiting on the corner of our street, we were stood waiting in the pissing rain, we were stood there piss wet through and after a while she had come out to us to tell us to come inside as it looked like Dad wouldn’t be coming. We both flatly refused, indignant about the suggestion that he wouldn’t be coming and refused to come back inside, just on the off chance that he did turn up, I mean ‘how would he feel if he did arrive and we weren’t there? He would think we didn’t care? He would stop coming? So we stood outside for a while longer, until we realized that he wouldn’t be coming or couldn’t come!  perhaps something had happened? He might be tied up with work? The car might have broken? He might be ill? There had to be a reason, didn’t there? I could always find an excuse for dad, there was always had to be a reason, right? Whereas with mom, I found it a lot harder to excuse her behavior or attitude away, even when she was trying to comfort me, I always felt that deep down that she was pleased that he hadn’t turned up, or let us down because that way life would be so much easier if Dad wasn’t in the picture.

That day, for example, mom recalls the moment we finally came indoors, out of the rain we were sad and disappointed with dad that he hadn’t turned up, but any anger I might have felt should have been saved for dad, was always reserved for mom, I could never express my hurt or anger toward Dad I would never have had the courage to tell him what I really thought of him, so mom would always be the second best option. I could feel myself changing and almost losing my innocence.

It was around that age the innocence that I felt living my old life at Woodseats felt like it had been a bubble a dream and us moving to a new life, new area, the bubble had popped, fucking exploded and it was slipping away, my environment had changed, my friendships were changing, my home life had changed, I was changing and I didn’t like it,  behind closed doors, alone in my thoughts I would often feel scared, alone, but I would never ever have shared those thoughts I had with ANYONE, because to admit that I was scared would be admitting I was weak. 

As our teenage years went by, my sister developed more of a nonchalant attitude towards dad and his constant let downs, it never seemed to bother her like it did me, she started to almost become desensitised accepting of  the fact that Dad would let us down and she just seemed to get on with life, whereas for me, Dad was still my hero, he was still my dad.

My dad, he would always be going somewhere, he had a purpose about him, an avid darts player he would always be off out playing a darts tournament at the pub. Growing up there were darts trophies all over the house, proud pictures of dad with Eric Bristow, Dad seemed elusive, unique, unlike the other dads I knew or had seen growing up. All the other dads ate a family meal with their families, or played with their kids in the park, or did normal dad things. I would go to friends houses and their dads would be having conversations with my friends about how their day went at school, taking an interest in where they would be going out to play all the boring stuff. 

Dad always drove a nice car, I remember once him having a Mercedes convertible. Dad didn’t do rules, he did what he wanted, when he wanted, he said what he wanted, even if it wasn’t always nice or people didn’t like what he had to say, when he talked, people listened. Dad was somebody I remember one of many times when friends parents would require if I had a father called Frank, Frank Ford? And it turned out they already knew him or had heard of him “yeh that’s my dad” I would secretly think to myself, one time after admitting to a friends father who my dad was, she wasn’t allowed to play to hang around with me? I never understood why though? Well, her loss! 

Dad didn’t live near us, but he could normally be found drinking in one of the local pubs around the estate. It seemed like everyone knew dad, dad was everyones mate no one had a bad word to say about dad, well apart from mom or my nan, but they were just bitter weren’t they Mom must have been weak or not up to scratch! Why else would dad have gone with another woman? Even after all the hours of mom grooming dad, preening him before he went out on a night out, dad still found someone else didn’t he? As for Nan never liked Dad anyway, I have always known that, I did used to wondered if she was just jealous of mom after all

I realised at around the tender age of 12 I wanted to be like dad…

The story continues…

The opposite of Addiction is Connection

Recently I was accused of “not having a life because I was too busy writing about it” the fact that I am writing about this now, over a week later bares testament to how much this comment has played on my mind.

On the one hand, I want to say “well at least I am doing something I enjoy and actually get a lot out of it, I am happy so I don’t care what you think” but on the other hand I also want to say or even scream “Yes but there is more to life than chasing, pursuing trying to meet, or fit onto societies narrative too”. for example how the fuck does someone think, feel, believe that they are less of a person or that they have somehow failed, just because they don’t own their own house OR because they don’t have the cash to do what EVER they would like or desire to do? OR because they don’t like the way they look?

My writing is for me is much more than offloading or escaping the shit that sometimes consumes my brain, my life, and talking “bollocks” It has much more to do with embracing the shit parts, accepting, connecting, re-connecting with me. My work isn’t about the pursuit of being promoted, being acknowledged or recognised (I don’t need any organization to do that for me), my work, why I do what I do, is all about making connections, reaching out to people who have found themselves disconnected from society, disconnected from friends and family, all because of some poor life choices they may have made yesterday OR years before.

The person who I really am, the person behind my profile pic on social media, the person out there working making a living, the person who is in the fortunate position to be able to travel more than once a year, the person who for who don’t know me, looking in from the outside may look and think “ahh its alright for her she got her life sorted”.


No fucker ever gets their life sorted, there is always and will always be hurdles and shit that is thrown in front of us. But one thing that I also know to be true is that by being able to connect with myself and be in the fortunate position to be able to reach out and connect with people who get me is PRICELESS.

Right, enough of this writing bullshit…. Love Fordy

You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be

I cannot take credit for this quote, it is from the latest book I am reading “Eat Pray Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything” by Elizabeth Gilbert, but it certainly got me thinking and reflecting

The past week or so has certainly felt like either something, someone at some point has been sent to test my emotional resilience, the past few days I have been in a vicious cycle of doubting then reassuring myself or questioning then reasoning with myself. why am I writing the book? will it be interesting enough? am I a narcissist is the writing just a form of Narcissism, self indulgence?

Am I a good mom? I have done things better, could I be doing things better? should I be doing something different? I get it, all moms are different there are those whose lives revolve around their kids and then their kids, right up until they die, but then there are others, like myself who want to keep a little back for themselves, to be a mom but want to be me too! is that selfish? Christ this parenting malarky is hard, regardless of how old ya kids are.

Then I haven’t felt 100% is it that? I mean I am perimenopausal the hormones are all over the fucking place, is it that? FUCK me I haven’t just been #havingawordwimesen I have had full-blown arguments with me sen. All I have wanted to do at times is isolate myself from all the crap and tediousness we call “life”, but hey that don’t a) pay the bills and b) sat alone wishing and hoping ain’t going to change anything, is it?

Reading that quote yesterday, was a subtle reminder and acknowledgment that wishing and hoping don’t and won’t change things and despite all the self-doubting I have still been steaming ahead with the writing, because that voice in my head still won’t shut the fuck up. I know that deep down I have found that writing, making time for me, in the morning before I expose myself to the “real” world is like a form of mindfulness as Sylvia Plath said: “I write only because there is a voice within me that will not be still”. I have made progress, despite feeling doubtful within myself, I remind myself that this time last year, I was doing fuck all! now in a matter of months, i successfully managed to write down over 100, 000 words (if you include the persnal journal and book)

I have made a bold step and have asked someone to read my work to date, I am ready for some feedback, some constructive feedback, I am nearly a third into the book and don’t want to get to the end to have to re-write it all again. so its time to get cracking with some version control.

It’s not all been shit though, earlier on this year I responded to a Facebook post, which said “the first five people to reply to this post will receive a gift” I replied, but I also re-shared the post on my wall. I got 5 replies, well 6 truth be told, the 6th was from someone who I have the greatest respect and admiration for, who over recent months despite staying clean has had to deal with some real personal trauma that has come back to haunt her, in the form of PTSD, but yet despite all this SHIT she still hasn’t gone back to the bottle, she thought she had missed out, but truth be told this was an opportunity, excuse to do something nice for her. Despite feeling crap about me sen, it felt nice to be able to personally hand pick a book for each person, all apart from one, which was a book about sarcasm had been a book I had read myself and gotten something from it.

This week I am compiling a nomination for a woman, who in my eyes is Sheffield’s version of Mother Theresa, Now it’s these kinds of acts that make me feel whole again. So enough wi the moaning, wishing, hoping, i am back to nurturing this backbone and getting on with shit!

Also, I have come on this morning? for the women reading this, you’ll know what i mean.

Love Fordy x

Shit happens – you won’t be the first and you won’t be the last

Tonight I’m off to see “Cultivating Mad Cow” a one-woman play, its based on a book written by a woman’s personal journey who was suffering from bipolar, her mental health was shattered, however, her  journey was paused for a time, after she threw herself off a building, shattering what was left of her physical being. But that incident was just the start of her journey. Call it rock bottom (literally) Kathryn’s story is truly incredible, amazing but more importantly about being BRAVE enough to open her soul and share it. She’s can be mad as a box of frogs, but she’s one of the realest passionate people I have met in a long time. 

After arranging to meet with Kathryn over the phone for the first time, (I have to say at this point, I had only agreed to meet with her at such short notice, due to her persistence)  after putting down the phone a colleague asked me if I knew who she was? I’m like “Summit to do with DWP and disabilities?” I was then told about her story, about and about the book she had written “Cultivating Mad Cow”, and boy did my attitude change, after her insistence that I meet her, it was me who was more excited about meeting her. I was only a few weeks into this page and practicing my writing, so the opportunity to gain any tips or advice would be priceless.

I have the pleasure of working, coming into contact with people from all walks of life, from the person begging in the street, right up to people in a position of power. They may look different on the outside, but everyone has their own personal story to tell each one uniquely their own and their own to tell, should they chose. Kathryn chose to share hers.

Everyones definition of resilience is different, we all have it, we all possess resilience often we don’t recognise just how resilient we are, until like an elastic band, which starts out with an abundance of elasticity but has been played with, toyed with stretched, maybe used for a time to bind something in place, but sometimes it has been stretched so much to the point that there is no elasticity left resulting in us snapping, making unwise decisions, some which can have a lifetime of consequences. We all bare our own personal scars, which are a reminders of a time we have been stretched too far, sometimes the evidence of being stretched too far are still there to see, some visible to the naked eye others are not but can been seen in how we, act, react, how we deal with life, our actions. 

But just because the elastic band has snapped doesn’t mean it no longer serves a purpose! “how many times has the SHIT HIT THE PAN and you’ve snapped your elastic band in two, you have used all your bands up, had nothing left to use, so being resourceful you decide tie a knot into the band and start again?”– fuck me my band has about 5 knots biding it all together. 

Resilience, this is a quality that I love in people, the very same people who have at some point in their life been stretched to near breaking point but who have found the courage and strength to bounce back and who have found a way to manage their own elasticity and learned how to use it wisely. That’s all this page/blog is all about, recognizing that #Shithappens all the time, sometimes there is FUCK all you can do about it, but we do have choices how we manage/deal with the shit. sometimes it can help to know, understand and learn from others that when you are going through shit, you won’t be the first and you won’t be the last , but next time you can determines how far you will allow yourself to go before snapping.

Theatre isn’t really my thing, the last time I went was to the the theatre it was to see  ‘Something about Rita’, (which was amazing by the way) in fact it could have been called “something about Tracey” as I resonated so much with the character (but more of that in the book) but tonight, I am off to see someone perform Kathryn’s story, into a one women play, fuck knows how you do that? Well I’ll find out tonight, as tonights performance is (hopefully) the first draft of a performance that will be fine tuned and shown in theatres across the country. 

 Who would have thought eh! I bet Kathryn never did at the time, that her story of desperation/ hell would soon turn out to inspire and educate others around her, After meeting Kathryn and shyly telling her that I too was attempting to write a book, a story about me, dad and addiction, Kathryn gave me the courage to say, “Fuck it, just do it!” So thank you Kathryn and I will see you tonight,

PS did you say we had to bring our dildos or pens by the way?

Love Fordy xxx

Pedastool -who’s on yours?

Have been doing some writing and wanted to share this part of the book and my own personal reflections.

Who’s on your pedastool? For years it was my dad, he was my hero and despite being a full weight TWAT many a time his position never shifted from the pedastool a position I had created for him. Growing up knowing that he had always favored me over my sister (there is more about that in the book) but growing up I almost felt compelled, obliged to return the favor. I was fiercely protective about my dad, looking back in hindsight though, I now recognize and realize that I had placed dad on that pedastool when I was myself a very confused person, kid, a child myself. It’s only when we grow older, wiser, that we can start to see through the fog of ignorance, reflect and see things for what they were, but at the moment, in that moment in time that fog of ignorance is a bastard, it blinds us of our own reality.

This isn’t a pity party, it is what it is, it was, what it was ‘at that time’ and i’m ok with that, because at 48 years old I am starting, learning to make sense of why I placed dad on that pedastool for sooo many years. I dont begrudge his position or place on the pedastool, i just want to understand “why” he was there for so long.

It wasn’t until years later that I had taken dad off this pedastool and instead, sat on it myself and i learned that it was a perfect fit for ME the pedastool is my throne now, there is only room for one on this stool and that’s me, there are a select few who I allowed to sit beside me though! now it is reserved for the people who I love, respect, admire, even when dad was finally taken off the throne, he was allowed occasionally to come back and sit alongside me but only When he behaved. 

The book

There were no specific routine contact arrangements with dad, so we would see him every so often, often he was later or didn’t turn up. Which according to mom happened frequently, its funny isn’t it, I don’t have any memories of this but its something mom painfully recalls, in particular there was one time, when me and my sister had been waiting on the corner of our street, we were stood waiting in the pissing rain, we were stood there piss wet through and after a while she had come out to us to tell us to come inside as it looked like Dad wouldn’t be coming. We both flatly refused, indignant about the suggestion that he wouldn’t be coming and refused to come back inside, just on the off chance that he did turn up, I mean ‘how would he feel if he did arrive and we weren’t there? He would think we didn’t care? He would stop coming? So we stood outside for a while longer, until we realized that he wouldn’t be coming or couldn’t come!  perhaps something had happened? He might be tied up with work? The car might have broken? He might be ill? There had to be a reason, didn’t there? I could always find an excuse for dad, there was always had to be a reason, right?

Whereas with mom, I found it a lot harder to excuse her behavior or attitude away, even when she was trying to comfort me, I always felt that deep down that she was really pleased that he hadn’t turned up, or let us down because that way life would be so much easier if Dad wasn’t in the picture. That day, for example, mom recalls the moment we finally came indoors, out of the rain, I don’t. I was obviously sad and disappointed with dad that he hadn’t turned up, but any anger I might have felt, that was always reserved for mom, I could never express my hurt or anger towards Dad I would never have the courage to tell him what I really thought of him, so mom would always be the second best option.

I could feel myself changing and almost losing my innocence. The innocence that I felt living my old life at Woodseats felt like it had been a bubble and us moving to a new life, new area, the bubble had popped, fucking exploded and it was slipping away, my environment had changed, my friendships were changing, my home life had changed, I was changing and I didn’t like it,  behind closed doors, alone in my thoughts I would often feel scared, alone, but I would never ever have shared those thoughts I had with ANYONE, because to admit that I was scared would be admitting I was weak. As our teenage years went by, my sister however developed more of a nonchalant attitude towards dad and his constant let downs, it never seemed to bother her like it did me, she started to almost become desensitised accepting of  the fact that Dad would let us down and she just seemed to get on with life, whereas for me, Dad was still my hero, my dad.


Sunday 13 Jan – Already fucking ready!!

First week back and my attempt to get back into the old routine and its had its ups and downs, in fact more downs if I am being honest. Having routine for me is a vital element in attempting to maintain my sanity, as I am starting to learn and understand more as I go along this journey. Routine for me can be particularly hard  to maintain all times as I am an extremely impulsive person, I can be easily distracted by things that quite frankly are not worth the distraction, ie social media, TV or family drama, or get easily excited or passionate about new ideas and being creative. In fact it is Sunday morning and after a pretty productive Saturday, where I had a massive clear out and clear up in the house, (which quite frankly hasn’t seen a duster for the past 3 weeks) mainly in preparation to make space for my youngest  who was bringing the last of her personal belongings back to Sheffield after living in Manchester for the past year and is staying with us for a while and whilst housework isn’t high on my list of priorities, I do find that coming home to a untidy house, doesn’t help my untidy brain. In between the cleaning I made a couple of calls to close friends who I haven’t had the chance to catch up with or should I say “Have been too distracted to make time” connecting with those people who “get you” is vital, its a form of reconnecting, not just with them but with me. I spent an hour shopping and catching up with the mother, the daughter and grandson came around and just spending time playing with him is good for the soul. 

I had decided that due to my super efficiency Saturday that I would treat myself to a long over due lay in this morning, “Is it me, or does too much sleep make you feel worse? Or am I just a fucking weirdo?” I have woken this morning feeling slightly hungover and flat, which is weird considering I abstained from alcohol for the past week since returning from skiing (well apart from Thursday night, when I met a mate for a good old catch up – reconnecting) or maybe it has something to do with trying to get back into my daily routine of writing, making time for myself isn’t as easy as I think it should be, there goes them Fucking expectations again! I suppose it can be easier to get back into a physical routine, waking up, getting ya ass into work etc, but getting back into a psychological routine seems to takes a little longer. 

I have been avoiding TV, apart from, the Vikings series on an evening, oh and catching up on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, (it’s my guilty pleasure) but I wasn’t going to miss Ruby Wax who I had heard was going to be on this mornings Sunday brunch, launching her new book “How to be Human” (if you haven’t read any of her books yet, I would highly recommend them).  “Upgrading your minds is as important as upgrading your phone”  so after the interview on TV I took me sen upstairs into me safe space and here I am trying to upgrade me noggin, recharge, re-boot that grey matter! 

I love love love this woman, well her philosophy on life is amazing and born out of her own personal experience of depression and mental anxiety. I wrote a blog last year about her after reading her book for the first time and I shall be downloading the new book later today, but one of the things that really resonates with me is when she talks about all the external life distractions that often consume us without us even realizing it and that we all too often end up doing something that we hadn’t planned.

I did it myself today, a classic example, I was on the phone, scrolling through FB, when I see an advert about personalised notebooks, they looked cool, even though I didn’t need one, nor had I been thinking about buying a notebook, when all of a sudden before know it, I’ve clicked on the site, I’m  checking out prices and was seriously considering designing and buying my own! Before I pressed the confirm button, I sat back #Haveawordwimesen and thought ‘why though? you don’t need it? You didn’t even want one until you saw the advert?’ So I decided to close the link and get back to doing something more productive and fooking FREE, had I pressed confirm I would now be £15 outta pocket. 

So whilst I am starting to get back into the routine of doing, arriving at work, attending meetings, getting the shopping in, I recognize I need to allow myself more time, patience to get back into the routine of being, again. Being in that happy place, the place where I make time for me, to think for myself, make time to focus on my goals, my desires such as the book and doing more writing,  instead of focusing too much on the work-related goals that all too often distract me from me.

It’s been a stark reminder that life can be tough at times, and we can be even tougher on ourselves, the key is recognizing when we aren’t taking care of us, often when we don’t take care of us, it can be too late before you realise, you are off balance, but you can always get that routine and sense of balance back with a little patience, time and self-compassion.

Love Fordy x

Back to the book

Morning guys, after a decent first day back at work yesterday, after getting back into my old routine and after having some reflection time #havingawordwimesen I have decided to focus a little more of my precious time on the book, opposed to on here talking about me sen and life’s observations, i will still do that but I do want to focus more I time on the book, so I thought I could do both? I can share some of my writing on here as well and this could actually work in my favor? I’m still not sure about using real names yet or not?

1) I will be making time for the book and 2) I would actually appreciate any comments or feedback you might have, I mean hey, the more the merrier, right?

But before I share, please be mindful that my writing is in early, early, early draft having never written or published a book before I suspect or understand that there are and will be a few edits required, so I figured I could get your feedback as I go along? the chapter I am about to share is about the time in my early twenties when I had started to question just what the fuck I was doing with my life, now I had thought this many a time before, but this time I supposed I had started to be exposed to a different reality.

So here goes

Working at cafe 

I’m not sure exactly when I started unravelling, falling apart mentally, I know I had felt emotionally numb for a long time, before I finally lost the plot. I certainly wasn’t happy, I’d not been happy for a number of years, I felt taken for granted, used, like I was there trying to please everyone, making them happy, without ever getting anything fuck all back in return. I’d frequently be thinking, ‘god theres got to be more to life than this?’

xxxx had started going out with his old mates, who he used to hang around with before I met him. At first, I thought it was great, he’d finally gotten out of a rut, being a recluse and was stepping out into the land of the living, actually fucking doing something.  But, it wasn’t long before he saw an opportunity to make a bit of money, by selling drugs on the side. Personally, I wasn’t that bothered, whilst he was doing his thing, he wasn’t pecking at my fucking head and he seemed happy enough, he was turning back into the guy I first fell for, truth be told. 

When I was a teenager, and around where I grew up, the worst drug people were taking was glue or cannabis, I’d had a sniff of glue before, but didn’t really like how it made me feel and they were the really hard core guys, those who didn’t give a fuck about what they did etc. I think having a kid at seventeen and not being exposed to the “drugs Scene” per say, I didn’t go out, if I did it was for a quick drink with me dad, there was none about then, or if there were I never saw em. Even when my ex was dealing and there were drugs in the house, drugs had never really bothered me or scared me if I’m perfectly honest and I just couldn’t see the point and why people took them. I never thought about the Law and real consequences for his new hobby, or job as he’s started to treat it as such. 

We’d managed, well I say “we” the house was in his name, after my attempt of leaving him previously so “he” managed to get a house exchange from Walkley to an area called Basegreen, near back to my old stomping ground, back nearer to his new mates. I was happy to move, the new house was much bigger, I stopped working for dad and hardly saw him anymore, so this was like a new chapter, also moving up there meant I would be closer to Mom, as she only lived around the corner. I didn’t have a job at the time and money was tight, well he had “his” money, but that didn’t count, the ‘tight bastard’ and we had a new house that needed decorating. So like the time before mom and Ada, helped out loads, some of his money went towards new stuff, but not all of it, it started to go on new designer clothes, fuck me his wardrobe was worth a fortune. 

So I decided to look for new job, cash in hand and found one, working on a small cafe, called “Sharon’s  Cafe” situated in the far corner on the ground floor in Castle Markets, backing onto the busy fish and meat market. I still remember my first day, I was shitting me sen, it was an early start, I had to be there for about 6 (I think) ready to serve the market stall staff, who’d been there hours before, preparing their fresh meat and fish for the customers later that day. I’d never worked in a Cafe before, I’d worked in a canteen, serving food, but not preparing it, but I was never afraid of trying out anything new or hard graft and the cash in hand was just what i needed at the time. The Cafe was only a small area, but enough for three adults to be maneuvering around and serving customers. I felt a bit like a new ornament on display when I first got there being scrutinized by some of the regulars I’d been shown the basic’s, so just winged it, brushed off the flirtatious comments, and exchanged banter with me newly acquired workmates, just like John the owner had warned me about before starting, but it wasn’t so bad. But it did transpire that a minority of the market staff where shagging each other like fucking rabbits! (but thats another story) The hardest part was cutting the uncut bread! That’s all the majority of morning customers came for, that a big mug of steaming hot tea or coffee and toast, which came with either, butter, jam, marmalade or dripping and salt and I had started to learn how the regular customers liked their toast in the morning. 

Despite the early morning starts, I really enjoyed working at the cafe, its was great to see customers old friends, living on other side of the city, meeting at the cafe most mornings, for a slice of toast and a catch up. Some of them could spend most of the morning there, arriving on their own and leaving on their own. I soon realised that this place was more than just a cafe, more than just somewhere to get their fill of toast and endless cups of tea or froffy coffee. I pictured that for some, this being the only place, where they had a chance to talk to someone other than the four walls at home. Other regulars would use the cafe as a meeting point, often children and grandchildren would arrive to join them. The cafe was always buzzing with chat, gossip, stories of holidays, relationships. The more I was around other peoples relationships, the more I started questioning my own, I’d started questioning loads. 

On my way home one afternoon I bumped into xxxx, who was an old friend from school and her and her bloke, her childhood sweetheart used to come up to ours when we first moved to Walkey. Don’t ask me why, they stopped coming around, we didn’t have mobiles back then, I’d not seen her for a couple of years and then I bumped into her in the ‘hole in the road’ she looked ‘alot’ different, she was super skinny, really on edge, not like the old fun carefree xxxx I had previously known. It turns out she is no longer with her childhood sweetheart, but had been dating a well known, hard nut called xxxxxxxxxxx , however, she just recently moved into a women’s hostel fleeing his violence, apparently, he’d dangled her by the ankles from the top floor of Park Hills Flats. Whilst i was accustomed to a bit of domestic abuse and intimidation with dad and mom, this sounded like a whole other level, christ I recall walking away and wishing I could just take her home with me and protect her. We chatted and caught up on how our lives had changed, I told her about xxxx and what he was up to and exchanged numbers. It was nice to reconnect to an old friend again and we agreed not to lose touch again. 

It was xxx who introduced me to our new dealer, he did good deals on speed he seemed like a nice guy, not your typical looking dealer, not that you can ever tell anymore and yes I heard he had an reputation, but in the flesh and seeing him with his partner and daughter I saw another side to him. I also got on well with his partner we were around the same age, we had kids the same age, so when I used to go around to collect the speed, it was more like a social visit rather than being there for a drugs transaction, we would use our get togethers to moan about life, kids, partners etc, ya know the usual crap. I remember that she didnt go out much, she was like a recluse, happy to stay in doors, whilst her hubby was out and about wheeling and dealing, I suppose I was the same, I didn’t go anywhere, not really, let be fair I didn’t have any mates to go out with.

Dad wasn’t around as much, in fact, I rarely spoke to him he was busy being a publican, larging it up behind the bar, so what he didn’t know didn’t hurt, ‘right’. Dad was like many blokes of his generation, anti-drugs, so had he known what we were up to he would have flipped his fucking lid, big time and had he known at the time that I was associating with guys he knew and associated with, he would have defiantly flipped.