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Hello no-one

I recently enjoyed a lovely evening meal with friends and it made me think about the concept of loneliness and being alone.

There have been recent reports in the media regarding the ever-growing ageing population and their isolation within their community, in a world that communicates in seconds, it seems ironic that we are becoming more and more isolated within ourselves. I don’t think it is just the elderly, I think they are able to articulate it better as they have grown up in a community where communication was face to face, or in a letter or awaiting the dreaded telegram.

I remember as a child I had letter writing as a lesson, it is a great skill to write a good letter, but with a click I can go on-line and find thousands of templates, a letter for all occasions so now I try to write my letters by hand. I think I need to pay homage to the people who thought that I should be taught that skill and so I still try.

Maybe the generations to follow will not have the burden of feeling lonely or isolated, they may have less and less understanding about the concept of loneliness and what that means, they may grow up continually plugging into machines and blocking out the rest of the world, where you are able to share an experience with the world with one upload. I do not know how the concept of loneliness will be expressed in the future, what shape it will be and what it will do to us.

Will we have to employ robots to be able to communicate with rather than the need for another human being, a robot specifically designed and programmed to like and enjoy everything we like, who could have our lives upload to their hard drive  so they could recall the experiences and memories we had as a child as if they had been there, will we never experience loneliness again? is that a good thing?

The reality is that we evolved as a social animal, this does not mean that we have to live in each others pockets but it does mean that we value, even if its only for survival, on other humans to survive. We have adapted to be more distant from our tribes but we are still in need of them, or are we?

The media is full of examples of  people who have designed software and hardware that interact with us and which we find difficult to distinguish between machine and human, we are now designing machines that pass the Turing test.

In the film, bicentennial man (poor film, better book) the premise is a robot who wants to be accepted as a human, but I think we seem to be heading the other way, we would rather be robotic than, in the words of Hulk, be a ‘puny’ human.

We are a species who relish in changing our appearances and wanting to look and be different, we already incorporate artificial limbs, hips and hearts, we always want to improve everything, even tattoos have evolved, there are now designs that can only be seen in the dark or under black light, we like to change the way we look and we’re not good at thinking about the consequences of that.

A survey suggested 80% of individuals would have sex with a robot,  it would be interesting to see if those individuals would want a full-blown relationship or whether they will replace human trafficking to fulfill our less desirable needs with metal ones.

You are never alone with a phone, we see this small plastic device as a conduit to a world we cannot afford to travel round, to communities we cannot hope to join and information that makes us feel up to date and interesting. Human attachments are now high maintenance, they require time and patience, manners, acceptance, the ability to listen and to comfort, would we give those up for the chance of spending time with machines that would only address our hedonistic wants until we realise that despite all our needs and wants fulfilled, we are still lonely.

I am not against machines, I am on a laptop, this is a blog, I am next to a mobile and a memory stick will a draft of my book on it, lose all of this and what am I left with? is that thought frightening or liberating, which one is healthier?

We are asked to believe that all our social networks and gadgets make us a more communicative and social animal but I am not so sure, bullying, isolation, suicides and detachment all seem to be prevalent, we are less empathic and our children are unable to translate facial expressions as they once did. We are deleting the skills we have to be with each other.

I am hoping that we start to see machines as nothing more than.. well….machines. That we begin to open our doors to gathering together,enjoying each others company, listen to stories and being touched by another’s touch. I hope we do not substitute human connection for the sake of a machine that can do anything we want it to. I want to continue to get frustrated at people who do stupid things (in my mind) who make extraordinary art, music, dance and be moved by the human voice. I want to bump into people, share a joke and laugh.

I need to be more sociable, I need to push myself out into the community I live in more and join others in their attempt to connect to others without feeling like it’s an odd thing to do, that meeting other people is seen as a necessary evil because you’re not social adept.

That’s the irony, we think we’re social when we are sitting in a room typing away on a laptop onto our social networks that tell us instantly if were liked or not.

There needs to be a balance, I want to be able to type and I want to be able to see and I just hope that I will continue to be able to do that.

I get lonely, and when I experience that, it’s an opportunity to do something about it, if I can rather than switch on a machine.

MW

 

 

 

 

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Hello no-one

My question that I have rumbling around in my head is – why is it easier for society to spend millions on pills, potions and therapy on dysfunctional Personality Disorders rather than take the steps to create a society that can accommodate functional personalities?

We are now in a world where it is easier to have a disorder than it is to be unique, to have quirks and ticks makes us who we are, it is part of the way our genes came together. So why then does our society continue to want to create freaks of the body and mind rather than accept that we are a work in progress, an evolving species that varies from one set of DNA to another.

We are trying to self design a homogenous template of what it is to be human and this is creating a bland and unrealistic view of our world, from science to art we have to have good-looking, healthy looking, socially acceptable individuals for our information to be reported to us via the media. We think we can do a better job than our genes can.

Thousands of children are growing up looking at all the things they cannot do because they are not ‘pretty, white, tall, handsome,likeable,media savvy, socially acceptable’ enough. When has this ever been a necessity for us to discover the world around us and learn how to interact with it? When we became lazy.

We are eating ourselves from the inside out whilst being fed vacuous bite size dumb downed information via the tube.

Don’t get me wrong, I can slump in front of the TV and watch bubble gum shows like everyone else, I’m not trying to be the voice of hypocrisy here, I’m not saying that our brains don’t need a break from this world, what I’m saying is we are in the process of switching it off completely and what will be left are the people who know how to manipulate that, after all it is the fittest that have the best chance of surviving and producing, what we forget is that quality control is hit and miss in evolution.

Keep people afraid of others and themselves and they forget to distinguish what is normal and what is not, normal is so narrow now that soon no one is going to get through that eye of the needle, rich is not even enough, rich and skinny and pretty and networked and face lifted and….. well you get the picture.

That’s easy enough as it’s all on the outside, we can gauge, measure, and change our appearance dependent on the latest requirements needed to continue to be seen as a functioning member of society. The trickier bit is the inside.

What are our minds suppose to look like in this world of magnolia and vanilla essence? Are our brains supposed to rewire itself to a more acceptable design. Will we go into hospital for brain lifts or do we just stop feeding our brains so it atrophies and becomes as weak a muscle as our voice box?

Will we be wheeled into a sterilised room after having picked our brain of choice, do we pick the frilly, pink girlie brain, do we pick the dumb athletes cerebellum, do we go for the Stepford Wives revamped frontal lobe or maybe an emotionally neglected hippocampus? Oh the choices, how lucky we would be.

What do we want our brains to experience,  what smells, textures and sounds do we want to remember,  what colours do we want to be blinded by and what relationships do we want to treasure or be hurt by? Do I want the same experiences as someone in China? some, but mostly no, I want them to experience things that make their lives and mine if I meet them, richer and unique.

I want to live in a world where my profession is almost redundant. I want to continue to live in a world where I don’t have to listen to someone who feels like an alien in their own world, where they feel isolated because they read or they listen to the wrong music or like films without explosions or just sees the world differently. What is so frightening about that?

I am not saying that in and out groups are new, I, for whatever reason managed to straddle being a ‘nerd’ and ‘cool’ enough to be accepted by both groups, the fact that I also looked like I could look after myself probably helped.

What I am saying is the in and out groups seem to be one global tribe, not just confined to a community or a country but now the need to be the same means woman in India and Japan want to bleach their skin, go through surgery to have their eyelids made wider, buy blue-eyed contact lenses and develop western illness such as anorexia and Personality Disorders, all to fit in with someone 10,000 miles away rather than the person next door. Everyone is being educated, consciously or not, to behave, think and feel in a small spectrum of life, our rainbow is fading.

The solution? children, and their view of the world needs to be the trend, we need to decide to make them the norm, we need to adopt their views of themselves and others, they have not forgotten what it is to be human.

We need to make sure that they are not stopped from what they want to do, they need to be allowed to make mistakes, be odd, be different, be all the thinks we try to wash away as they get older.

We try to say that we are preparing them for the real world, that they need to grow up quickly, that they need to be a part of the game, but what do we get for it? stress, illness, long hours at work, shorter hours with ourselves or others, money to buy things we don’t need, loneliness when we get older and isolation and ridicule if we can’t cope or cannot play the game anymore. See, even the people who play the game can fall over and hurt themselves.

I think we are devolving, we just can’t see it because we think we are such a damn pretty successful species.

Try telling that to someone who is different.

MW

Hello no-one

How are you? its been so long? you’re looking well! we should have a coffee and catch up, how are the children, any holidays, how was Christmas, who’s ill? who had a baby? any marriages or deaths?

Right now that’s out-of-the-way, it seems I haven’t missed much, jolly good.

Since I last put finger tips to laptop I had a lovely job setting up a new services for men with Personality Disorders and I left that to become a student. I decided to go back to university full-time to do an MA in Philosophy, as you do at the grand old age of 46.

What have I learnt? lots but as always more from the experience than the textbooks and lessons.

People kept telling me how brave I was and yet this does not seen brave at all. I am not sure what they were really referring to, going back into education, the turmoil of not having a job for a year, the change in direction from what I already know? Is it really brave to do any of this things or is the sentiment not about me being brave but them believing that they are being cowards? that they feel they are unable to be as brave as me? Do we have to be brave to live our lives or should that just come with the territory.

I don’t think I am brave, I think someone is brave if they are able to survive another day of searching for a way to get a meal or a bed for the night, to walk away from an abusive situation, either at home, at work or in the community they live in. To be able to cope with the death of  their child, to have lived through an illness that was trying to kill them, to decide to smuggle themselves into another country for salvation, knowing they may die taking that journey, these are acts of bravery, this is being brave.

If we think people are brave for living their life then that is sad because that should be what everyone should be doing. It should be the norm, not to be noted and highlighted, it should be as common as a cold.

However, the reality is that it’s not, more and more people have to survive rather than live, more and more people are being seen as brave and are survivors when they should be seen as Jack or Jill.

I have worked with many people who would be seen eventually as survivors and brave, but at the time of their suffering they would be seen as a nuisance, a pest, anti social, manipulative and cowards.

I get to be seen as brave from the beginning they have to wait till society can see the end result.

How have we decided that some people are deserving of the title brave and others are not? How have we decided when someone is allowed to be brave and given this badge of honour publicly. Bravery is something that society can give you but you can’t decide for yourself that you are brave, that would make you look like a show off, you have to wait till someone tells you, you have been brave, and we learn it young, ‘haven’t you been a brave girl / boy, have a sticker and a sweet’

We are told to ‘ be brave’, no instructions are given or a format to follow, we are just supposed to instinctively know what being brave is. ‘Try to be brave’, if we think someone can’t just magically become brave we go for the less ambitus option, have a try at it, see if you think you can manage it, go on just a little try, just as this tactic works with children when you want them to try broccoli, we expect this to work for someone who we think is grieving a little longer than they should. If these fail we have the go to phrase of ‘put on a brave face’ this is code for we cannot cope with how you are suffering so could you hide it please so we feel better. Just pop along to the emotional mask factory and pick up a brave one would you, there’s a dear, there doesn’t that feel great, you look sooooo much better.

Yes a mask is much better for us all to have to deal with, hiding how we really feel or think has made us a healthier and emotionally intelligent species. Telling our children to ‘put on a brave face’ helps them learn about the world they live in but not about themselves, it gives them the rules about what is and is not acceptable and what you have to hide from everyone, do it well enough and you’ll be able to (nearly) hide it from yourself.

Bravery is for knights in shining armour rescuing a princess from a run down castles guarded by a dragon or  Arthurian legends, and that is where it should stay.

We are always brave, from the moment we wake up we make ourselves get up and live our day, go to work, look for work, loose work, deal with a situation we did not expect, deal with our mental and physical health as well as others, deal with other people or/ and animals  the best we can, we try to feed and cloth ourselves as best we can as well as others, we try to get through the day with as less stress as we can and we try to get to bed still in one piece and hopefully in a better condition than the day before.

Even when ones of these things goes wrong, even when we don’t want to wake up the next day because its to hard, we do, we can be cynical and put this down just to our selfish genes or we could add the magic of being human to the mix and celebrate being brave.

I am not brave for going back to university, I am like everyone else, brave all the time.

MW

 

Hello No one,

2012 – My first post of the year and what are you expecting? that my life has been fabulous darrrrling? my life is now living in a hut on a beach in Goa? my life is now a damp council flat in Woking? Nope, none of the above, instead I am again, unemployed, well made compulsory redundant, so that’s a bit more respectable. After Twenty three years of being continuously employed it is astonishing to me that in the space of two years I have had and lost three jobs! Dismissed, resigned, redundancy, sounds like there’s a song in there somewhere. Anyway I digress, I am still here, still surviving and trying to live. So nothing’s  really changed there! I have taken risks and some have come off and some haven’t but that’s risks for you.

1220 – Got an email to say that my PHD proposal has been turned down, I thought that I had a good chance but it seems I am not destined for academia quite yet. I don’t fit the criteria, but I do have the experience and a good proposal but I do not fit into the box. Any millionaires out there that wants to invest in a human being that can’t fit into a box? You know where I am.  I used to fit, I think, although I am sure everyone I know would say that I have never fitted into a box in my life, maybe that’s more about me wanting to just for once be like the majority. I used to play with boxes and yoghurt pots when I was little. I made castles and walls, homes and palaces, they brought me refuge and safety in a childhood that was difficult to manoeuvre, now the boxes are for consistency and reliability, boxes are for normality and procedures, boxes have grown up and left me behind.

Secretly I am sad that I could not make myself fit a box for once, I was really hoping for this to workout. I had a moment of having a purpose,  goal to achieve, for a brief time my ambition came back and I liked it. That spark, that belief in what you can do began to glow, although I am disappointed I am also relieved that, that part of me is still alive and kicking.

2110 – Evenings are when I look at my family and wonder what I am gong to do to keep them safe, I know this sounds either ancient or arrogant, but I am a protector, the word probably runs through my marrow, and I like it, I like being able to protect, but I got into this mess because I forgot to protect myself. I wonder if they look at me and wonder how they can protect me and would I let them?

0112 – I make myself exercise everyday, anything to keep the body moving, yoga, keep fit, swimming, something to plan, to organise, to accomplish, all important factors when you begin to lose yourself again, when you begin to forget what you were good at, what you were sure about, it allows you to have an identity for a while, ‘this is the woman exercising’, maybe they should bring out some new Peter and Jane books out for grown ups – this is Peter signing on, this is Jane Protesting, can you see Peter and Jane on The X Factor? I know I must have a goal, I have to achieve something and I know that as long as I have something to wake up for then I am alive another day longer.

1210 – Eat – Food has become important but not always for the right reasons, mainly its about how cheap I can get it, at least it’s using my competitiveness streak to good use, can I get it for less than yesterday? can I incorporate all the food groups? can I get two meals out of one? Food reminds you up to three times a day how affluent you are, how wealth and health go hand in hand. It actually makes you realise how much you squandered and wasted food, how little you thought about the cost of it, how I would fill a trolley of food and that would equate to success. But apart from this constant negotiating of the supermarket bargains of the week and two for ones, it also means me getting out to feed the chickens and collecting fresh miss shaped eggs that supermarkets can’t sell.  It’s about planting seeds, and watching seedlings turn into crops of tomatoes, peas and pepper, of putting my nose close to smell fresh fruit and to taste vegetables full of flavour, to know that I have provided this in such a basic simple way makes me very rich indeed.

1120 – Reading in my head and bed, a lone moment in a fantasy world, the twilight of the night, at times the moonlight creeps into view and lights the room with an eerie sheen. I am glad that another day has ended. That another day of trying to get somewhere is over. Despite the small achievements there are times when you think it’s not enough, you should have done more, you should still not be in this mess. Then the tiredness gets you in its grip and you lose yourself for the next seven hours. Then you open your eyes and everything is still there.

0211 – I watch the Superbowl with my son and do not worry about the next day, and that’s all I have to say on that.

2012 – So this is the year so far. I did not expect to be writing this blog again but I have missed it, its my own therapist without the price tag. I know all the methods and the theories and I know what I am going through, which is why I am back here, to keep myself going, even though no one is listening to me I know that I am moving forward with every word.

It will not always be like this.

‘It’s the children the world almost breaks who grow up to save it’*

I am still one of those children, so there is hope for me yet.

MW

*Frank Warren, founder of Post secret – go and visit at – http://www.postsecret.com/

Hello No one,

It is now three months since resigning from my job and not so far away from my birthday. So what do I do? Do I spend hours and hours looking through job adverts, do I spend my time sending out unsolicited CV’s,  do I continue to phone old acquaintance’s for updates on the job front? I do a little  bit of all that but my main focus in this time of upheaval?  – building a chicken coop for real chickens and making fake chickens in the form of art.

I know I know this is just a deliberate tactic to not think about dark and depressing thoughts and it is working so I will not apologise. I am beginning to think that my life really does not have to continue to be dictated by the 9-5 rat racing through petrol fuelled streets timetable that it had been doing for the past 25 years.

This is not the fantasy world that I had created in the past of  dark winter days of maybe’s or could be’s, this is not based on the mantra of  …well maybe when I retire… no this is a real sense and more importantly, belief, that my life can be different and to learn not to be afraid of that reality.

The chickens, or the work going into making them a home has allowed me to concentrate on what I had forgotten about myself and to think beyond what I have been trained to do and remember what I am organically capable of doing.

But this is not a Shirley Valentine script, there are points in the day when I gasp for breath and look at the home that I might lose as I am building one for a bunch of feathered fowl. I know that this is all sugar coated with good old-fashioned avoidance, this is the equivalent of me getting up every morning and pretending to go to work and instead I am sitting in a park feeding my sandwiches to the ducks.

I know that the reality tells me that I still need to make the numbers add up. I still need to make a living.

But the way that I do that has changed, my need to have a title and order to my life has been hammered out of me with every nail or soothed out with every stitch sown I am accomplishing real and fake lifestyles and trying to work out what I can do to make them both a reality rather than give up and go back to a secure but lifeless existence.

Using my hands instead of my head allows me to stop thinking about things that are not important, it stops me thinking about what I had and what I have lost, it stops me thinking about death and gives me a sense of purpose that I thought I could not regain on my own. Who would have thought it!

I used to work with people who had decided that the only way they could stop the world as it was for them was to do something horrific and I tried to help them find a way through that and to have hope again. I used to think that I was leading them to where I and the rest of the world was but in reality I was not that far out in front and maybe at times I was lagging behind. I thought that I was doing okay but in reality even a chicken could look at me and tell me I had forgotten to not take life so seriously and to take risks.

I had forgotten to be alive. A serious crime to nature. Punishment – a huge slap in the face!

My cheek is still a bit numb and there are times when I wake up and the day seems to long to cope with, but I get out of bed and off we go.

I am filling in application forms, I am talking to old colleagues, I am going through my email alerts but what is important for me are the moments when I am not to tired or busy to have a laugh and joke with my family, the evenings of walking and talking without feeling I have to be writing a report or presentation, those moments are important to continue to make time for, this time round money has to be earned without my family having to pay.

Does this sound too much like a hippy commune advert? Maybe but this is not about a reality that is based on nostalgia this is about me understanding that who and what I was does not have to continue, I can have many lives, I have already had a few and I had talked myself into thinking that I have used up my 9 lives and I am done, but I have loads of lives left.

I need to start using them before I am dead.

For a long time I was in the frame of mind of …I am too old to….. I don’t know who that woman was, it was never really me, I spent my working life telling others they were not to old for anything and all the time I was adding another ….I’m to old to… to my list, just like Jacob and Marley I created my own chains and locks.

But I have realised that like Houdini, there is always a key to every lock that is made, I have found some of my keys and used them, some keys I have found but I don’t know which lock they fit and some keys and locks are still hidden but there are less of them and that’s the important thing.

Do you know where yours are?

Good Hunting to ya!!!!

I’m off to get some real chickens.

MW

Check out my fake chickens on http://www.fourteen-sixty.co.uk

 

Happy New year!

Hello no one,

Remember me, I am the VOICE OF DOOM!!!!! no not really I am the one that has been absent these past 9 months, why you ask?, well you may well ask, have I been working my socks of doing interesting things, going to far of places and meeting exciting and artistic people? NO I HAVE NOT! Since I last spoke into the silence I have:

Been fired

Got another job

Resigned from said job

Celebrated Christmas, sons 21st and my own birthday

Written 65,000 words of a book

Still looking for a job

Do Volunteering work for a charity

Growing vegetables to forget not having a job

Went to Glastonbury

Wondering how the Fuck it’s already July

Sitting here deciding to put up another blog? Why? I don’t know yet I will let you know at the end of writing it.

I am aware that I want to write but not sure what it is I want to say, maybe I am just trying to find a friend in the blackness and connect with another human being, being unemployed, at times, can make you invisible, but not the right sort of invisibility.

I think that I want to write to make sure that I was still here, a sense of me and a sense of being interactive with something outside of my home, my family, my thoughts. There are times when being unrecognised is a joy. I am invisible to the outside world and yet I talk to that space as if it was a breathing, living, entity, with none of the mess.

Despite my sacking I am still asked to do things in my old field, I am going to prison tomorrow, I have the title of specialist in my field and representing the royal college of psychiatrists, a specialist without a job to demonstrate it. Like going to a sad dinner party I have been invited for my past achievements rather than for who I am now, for what am I now, a human being but doing what?

This could be read as self maudlin and pitiful or plain bullshit, but I think I am trying to work something through here that is going to be helpful, so I shall lay on the couch and continue to go through a schizophrenic session for free!

For me, despite my hippy philosophy and meanderings I need to have a title, a sense of what I am and what I do, to introduce myself as a….. or I work in……….or I deal with ……… as sense of worth through what I do for 3/4 of my day.

I blame my european work ethic picked up or beaten into me by my mother, but with a twist, instead of working hard to get money to do what I really want to do, as per ancestors, I have a british clause attached that states you are what you work and therefore I need a profession rather than money to live. My place in the metropolis is specific and is there in order to make me have a sense of what I am doing is needed.

Big headed huh? some of it is, the rest is about hang ups and rules I made along the way due to my childhood, my experiences and my way of looking at my world and how I was going to fit into it.

Despite everything I have written I am not that ambitious, I walk towards promotions or opportunities but I have no game plan, as it’s blatantly obvious by my lack of understanding office politics and getting myself fired, but on the whole I am drawn to things that give me a buzz, that stimulates my brain and curiosity, sparks my imagination and my creativity, but whilst that makes for interesting experiences it means that when its gone you are on the biggest downer that the psychedelic world we live in can throw at you.

So this is me telling no one that I am down, that I am beginning to wane from my optimistic frame of mind, that I am starting to fade to grey, apologies to Visage there.

The brain though has an unfathomable ability to keep you alive, despite my cold sweats of a night, the day dreams of being homeless and poor, the brain continues to allow for experiences of beauty and of kindness, it allows you to still think thoughts that make you want to get out of bed, it allows for music to still move you, for books to question your world view, to see that there are others in the world who are in more trouble than you will ever know or encounter and still they perceive with living.

Who am I to give up on myself? I have spent half my live getting others to see hope in their lives, to see spaces for unexpected things, and I have neglected to remember my own teachings, now that will never do.

I have never asked anyone to do anything I would not do and yet I have spent days doing the opposite, of closing my world down, of not being able to acknowledge that I still have something to give this world and that is worth something to it and to me, that I have the ability to see the world for what it is without a label and have a sense of meaning without a definitive job spec.

So this blog was about having a good stern talk to myself, it becomes real when it is outside of your head, now that I read this I laugh at how well I can stuff my head with shit and forget the real point in being alive, and loosing that amongst all the rubbish is stupid.

I am a human being and living like one to my full potential is what matters, no matter how anyone else is doing it or how I might have thought I should be doing it, I have all the parts to make myself live and that’s what I need to go and do.

MW

Dying to live

Hello,

I did not realise how long I had been way from this blog, which means I did not realise how much I did not want to talk.

A friend of mine died a couple of weeks ago, I attended the funeral and the gathering afterwards, I have dealt with the deaths of friends and family for a number of years, I have learnt about murders over the past 18 years, but for some reason this death will not let go. So I thought I would write it out of me and see what comes of it, so if you’re not comfortable about death or talking about it, look away now.

Of course I do know what this is about and why its lingering, the person who died was a work colleague first and became a friend after they left. By next week I will know if I still have a job. Death takes on many forms as does grieving about them.

My friend had a long battle with cancer and there were many ups and downs, it seems selfish and crude to allude this struggle with my own suspension and possible firing but I am doing and therefore would be cowardly to pretend otherwise. Do I unconsciously believe that my being fired will kill me? Maybe I do, maybe I think I cannot survive this ‘fake’ cancer of mine.

What is also tragic is when we decide to ‘live’. My friend had made plans, some were fulfilled, but the ‘retirement’ lasted no more than 5 years, was it worth the wait?

I feel disabled with the outcome of my suspension being so close, I am almost rooted to the spot and not sure if that’s fear or resignation or simply just giving up the good fight, maybe I should have not been fighting any of this at all. If, as Bill Hicks says ‘ this is just a ride’ then some part of me must know that this is not important,  this job, this house, this car are all of little use to me but in this world, but is that just hippy talk? because I cannot avoid the fact that within this life, at this moment, they do mean something and they are important to me in the here and now, they may not be in 12 months time but at the moment and I am putting myself through this for nothing, but I don’t know that, of course, the flip side is this period of my life could be the best and everything after that is down hill, and lastly this could and probably is all self pity and I should just ‘suck it up’ but at this moment it feels a real fear has gripped me and there is nothing comforting in that.

Sounds morbid huh? well it is, it is fine to try to be optimistic, to be positive, to be at peace with ones self but it  is also important to acknowledge that your shit scared, lonely and fearing this is your end. This is not Hollywood or Kansas.

It is difficult to write what I think as I will be judged by these words at some point, I have been constantly described as robust, strong, a survivor, a leader, a muse, an inspiration but I sit here thinking that I am not those things, I am quite pathetic and very human.

Yet that side of myself is bushed off or ignored by others, I will pull through, its only a glitch, you will see this is the best thing that has every happened to you, but is that always true or just a fumbled attempt to make me live out another day. I don’t know, and usually I am inspired by my ignorance but today I am terrified by it.

So I write all this and I feel better? not quite, a little bit of this is calmly swept away with the tide but most of it sticks and clings on for a bit more torment, this is the start of prepping for next week, I am going through this so that I can survive the outcome next week, so that I can walk away and continue to breathe and continue to live.

But my friend reminds me that there are battles that we do not win and ones that you cannot survive however robust you are. That we are fallible and that we cannot control everything or understand them, that I will lose and have to decide what I do next. I have the choice Do I want to live or die?

The answer is I do not know what I want, if I do keep my job do I want it still? is this not my chance to go off and be wild, to go and live with a tribe and become integrated, is this not the time I can go and ‘find’ myself and then run expensive courses for other lost souls in glorious scenic locations? yes it is so why am I not doing it?

Because I am afraid of my own abilities, of my own possibilities, as Marianne Williamson words say (excluding for me the God parts) …

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are younot to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I think that this sentiment is true, we are afraid, I am afraid, but not of what I have cornered myself into but what I could and still can be,

and that is to live and not exist, honest rather than censored, emotional rather than stoic, alive rather than dead.

MW

 

Acceptance of mouse traps

Hello,

I think that I am alone again in my writing and that’s ok. At least I am writing again and that means I am ok.

I have now been suspended for eight months, my community celebrated its second birthday and I was not allowed to go and my desk has been cleared of  my things and been placed in a box and put in a cupboard. I have reacted to these pieces of information in ways that I did not expect.

My suspension seems to have made me look younger to everyone who sees me, my body has used the time to relax and to look less tired and old, maybe I have found the answer to eternal youth! I thought that I would look worse being suspended but it seems to have done my body and face the power of good. Who would have figured!

Not being allowed to go to the celebrations is not as sad as I thought it would be, I think it’s because I did not have any expectations of going and after eight months I am not sure what the place would feel like or even look like, there will be all the new faces thinking ‘who is that’, they will all be sharing a new history with each other that I am not part of, it would be like a great-aunt coming to visit for the day, you know she is family and therefore need to treat her nicely but you feel awkward and  you don’t have anything to say to her.

As for the desk clearing that did hurt, but obviously the hurt has not lasted that long as I have just typed ‘the desk’ rather than ‘my desk’ so that tells me something! I think it hurt because someone else did it, I would be ok doing it myself, to have that control taken away by someone else, it all seemed a process of erasing me from the buildings memory. My things are personal, mainly photos of people I have worked with over the years and it seems they are being punished for my absence. They have to be erased with me, they and I exist less, my presence is less, my necessity for being is less.

And yet I feel needed in the outside world, in the world that I am inhabiting now I am wanted and thought of, needed for opinions and for my contribution to my field of work, as well as for feeding and cleaning, but needed never the less. I fade out of one world to become present in another.

At times I wonder, if there are multiple universes what I am doing in them, how does this reality measure up to the others? should I be glad I am not in the universe where I am really poor, very ill, or being abused? or is that a possible future in this world? it’s a tricky mind bend when you start to try to think beyond this universe or into the future, it is also pointless, my world is this one and for me the only one that I have to be active in.  So that will do pig that will do.

What I have really being doing is grieving and it would seem that in the grieving process of this suspension I am at the stage of acceptance, the last stage and the one that allows me to walk away from the grief and carry less baggage as I move on. It has been an interesting journey so far, and I have walked through the other four stages with a few lumps and bumps and a number of stumbles, I have lost my shoe, I have thrown my shoe, I have put my shoe back on and started to walk again.

I have read somewhere that loosing your job is the third most stressful event in a person’s life, and that is sad for many reasons, it is sad that a job can bind us up in so much emotional stress and that society encourages your identity to be entangled with things that you do or own rather than the relationships that you make and lose. I am not suggesting that everyone dyes their clothes orange and heads for Tibet, we need to work and we need to survive in the environment we are in, but it is the shift in what we attach to that is the important process, the shift is not to hate your job or to become dependent on it for your identity but to gain a balance of it being a smaller part of who you are and what people see as you and how you see yourself.

I believed that because my work is with people, that for me it was not about wealth that I was not going to fall into a trap, but the fantasy is that the trap is set by others when if fact the trap was laid out and designed by me, I set it, I got a nice fat piece of cheese to entice myself with, in my case, a sense of worth and being honest a little about prestige  and excitement, and I disguised it and placed it in a careful spot and then I waited and waited until 20th January 2010 and I sprung the trap. BANG!

But it did not kill me, I have been limping for a while and carefully avoided everything in case it was another trap but eventually I became brave enough to go back and visit the trap and began to dismantle it, it’s not there anymore and I have tried to make sure that the design plans have been destroyed, not that I kid myself I won’t build another one but hopefully I will disarm it before I set it off. I am the mouse that roared!

So I have got to acceptance and now another adventure begins. But without the cheese.

MW

Autumn equinox and me

Hello,

Again, I have been neglectful but it has been for a good reason. So apologies said and out of the way we can all move forward.

I have missed writing this blog but I have also been wondering what it is that I have missed and what do I now want to say, if anything.

With the coming of the Autumn equinox it has made me look back at my year and it is amazing to think how much can change in a short period of time. At the beginning of the year I was stressed, depressed and felt strangled and shackled in my job, all of my own doing and I believed that my world would fall off it axis because of me and who and what I am.

I began the year believing that my creative and dynamic years were behind me, now I have reminded myself that it is not about lost and found but it is about remembering and practice, nothing within us goes away, all things are carried with us until we die and I am no different, the things that we put away because of what we fear, are still there, gathering dust and waiting to be discovered again, but discovered with a changed mind that has evolved and lived, the parts of me that I thought I had packed away in memory boxes have been reunited and nurtured again.

Now I have people wanting to work with me, people who I have not seen for years tell me I look younger, that they want to get involved in projects I want to set up. I have been able to look beyond the walls and see a world of possibilities that I can be a part of, that I am good enough and that whatever I created I can destroy in order to live.

This blog is part of that process and I am grateful to it, but saddened that I ran myself down and into a corner and that I began to live a life that was not really mine, that it was not really me but a cardboard cut out of what I thought I should be in order to survive.

I know that I am not alone in this process, that others have fallen into their own oubliettes, and that even with all the knowledge I possess about human behaviour  I am as vulnerable as the next human has some comfort within it, it means I am the same despite all I know and that I am connected to the fundamental universal truths of emotional struggle and living.

This sounds quite melancholy but it’s not meant to be, I actually feel quite tender and calm, I feel like me again but different and that’s a good thing, this is not about recapturing my youth or my past, this is about taking the time to remember what I am and that is what makes me glow, that is what people see before I speak or move a muscle, the essence of me that makes the connections did not go away but it became dulled and forlorn.

Of course it has been painful, at times beautifully painful. I have had to get many of my facets back from the retirement home (see other posts if you are reading this as your first one!)  and it has not always been given up lightly or without wanting an emotional payment. They have tried to cling onto bits of me and convince me that I don’t need them any more or that I am not worthy of having them back, but with perseverance and courage (or stupidity) I kept going back and eventually wrenched them out of their bony dry hands and, though a bit battered, I survived the visits. I hope it will be a long while before I need to return, it is a tiring experience and if you go in weak it is difficult to find the exit. What changes is the frequency of the visits and the change in the reason to visit, as long as that keeps happening the visits have meaning, the moment you visit and nothing has changed, it’s time to book in for good.

It is fascinating how we can hand over our vitality and essence of who we are  to others or to things like our jobs and do so freely and willingly, what is it about this process that entices us to want to loose pieces of ourselves at fundamental points in our lives. I am not sure if it is part of our evolutionary pattern or if our environment has been engineered to generate or tap into what is already present, my innate feeling is that our social evolution compounds our psychoses and that impedes on how we live our life and live with ourselves.

Our internal monologue becomes clogged with the thoughts of the collective unconscious that is itself mentally unwell, this in turn makes us mentally unwell, it is like catching an emotional cold from society. Some of us will die from it, others will be ill for a while, and some seem immune to it completely.

I think I have fought off the worst of the virus in my system, and that has been with the help of those around me, getting me blankets and hot drinks for my sore throat and reminding me that although I feel like shit, I will get better.

Now comes the tricky part, of taking the small steps outside and see if the world will still accept you with your new-found sense of self, this is a precarious moment, are you really as well as you think you are? can you really survive in another job? another home? another country? are you strong enough not to catch another cold for a while? I might be slightly weak on my legs and have the occasional sneeze but on the whole I feel well.

My next step is to go outside permanently, care to join me?

MW

Hello,

Today has been an Indian summer, I awoke to a mist covered lawn and the bite of an autumnal breeze, it inspired me to do September’s artwork, which was a sunrise seeping through the morning mist, I left out the gorillas. The morning grew into a glorious (still is) sunny day, the autumnal air gives it a delicious sense of adventure, it is a I AM ALIVE day and I am.

I carried on with the art and created a picture called ‘Octopus Heart’. I will try to get it up onto my Gallery. For two whole hours all I cared about was colour, texture, light and being in a state of silent anticipation of what was about to happen next, in this frame of mind I feel it is as close to being a child again as I can get. To be absorbed and consumed by your own imagination and creativity is I think, is a moment of being truly alive. Picasso tried to recreate his childhood view of the world for the whole of this artistic life, I don’t know if he felt he ever capture it but his attempts speak for themselves.

Octopus heart is interesting as real octopuses have three, one more than the Doctor. I do like their intelligence and the ability to change colour when they get emotionally charged. Just think how easy it would be to deal with our emotional reactions if we changed colour! no need to guess or interpretive, just measure someone up to your colour chart and hey presto, emotion cataloged and identified. Maybe I feel like my heart is full to burst or break?

Emotions are messy when they get trapped and isolated from our brain. They decide to go on an adventure without telling us and we end up chasing them down wired corridors and meeting some strange animals in the process. Emotions are raw and primitive, we let them loose in limited spaces and at particular times, outside of these rules and people begin to think your odd. Letting emotions out or keeping them in is only the start of the problem, ignoring what they represent is the real danger.

Time and time again I sit and listen to people, who have not been able to translate their emotional reactions and have ended up with consequences that ripple on an ever ending pool. My job, my responsibility, is to try to give them the belief  they can listen to themselves without going mad and the understanding that they have more control over who and what they are than they think. What does this enlightenment do at first? usually makes them feel worse, but it will do, we are all scared that if we take risks we will feel pain, but we forget to teach others and ourselves that pain at times is necessary, but it does not have to last a lifetime, if we keep taking risks we keep growing, it’s just the growing pains we resent.

Art feeds our brains need to connect us to the universe, it allows us abstract thought, to look at a chair and express our emotional reaction to it in a thousand different ways, to be able to capture the essence of time, light and space in a single movement is simple and complex as a drop of water.

As we grow older we are told to put away our toys and forget the creative options we have to feed ourselves with in times of need, instead we are encouraged to eat fast food through the TV and allow others to do it on our behalf, we are creative Munchausen by proxy victims, vicariously gorging on prime time TV soap operas and reality TV car crashes.

Some people never let go of their creative side, the fear of creating is too much. The thought of exposing yourself amongst your peers is enough to start hyperventilating executives head for the exit. What is so frightening about it?

The people I would loved to have met are the ones who hold on to their childhood wonder of the world and manage to nurture this aspect of themselves into the adult world. Einstein, Freud, Astaire, the Dalha Lama and Groucho Marxs are a few that I believe grew up just enough to communicate to the world its wonders without forgetting their humanity.

People will tell you their dreams believing that the creativity makes them interesting, when you begin to break them down, they begin to go pale. Our dreams tell us all sorts of things, they are coloured ticker tape play boards illuminating our thoughts and desires, our wishes and taboos, and what do we do about them? use them as a way into a conversation or allow people to exploit you for a large wad of cash to interpret them, when you could have DIY.

I am not entirely sure what this blog is about, I had a phone call from a friend who has been through a difficult time and seems to be going through it again, and I am concerned about that but also I have to admit a bit annoyed that this call has put an ink blot on my lovely day. How mean and selfish of me, I know this moment will float away but maybe this is about being dragged back into the real world, a world that is full of people’s pain and suffering. I know that I am ebbing and flowing on the tide of woe but I am still staying afloat.

This seems a detached blog, maybe I am the one detached, perhaps I should grow up and do some more art!

MW