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Mental Illness and Friendship

It’s becoming common place for people to have some form of mental illness. The taboo on this subject is disappearing, the veil is being lifted. More and more people are recognising the signs, seeking help, or supporting those who have an illness of the brain.

There are organisations available in your area that will help you to get the support and help you need, in order to cope with your day to day life. But they’re run by strangers. How is a stranger going to help you to cope when they don’t know you at all, other than what you decide to tell them and what they see? Nobody truly knows another person, but those friends/family who you spend time with over the years will know things about you that nobody else ever will. They are the people who should be supporting you when the chips are down and you need them. Mental illness doesn’t stop you from needing good friends. If anything, when the walls start to close in, you need them all the more.

Friends say they’ll be there whenever you need them, because that’s part of the description of being a friend. But when you actually need to lean on them, where are they? They’re busy, they have a life so why wouldn’t they be busy? but real friends make time for others. They tell you that they can’t come over to watch the game, they have to stay late at work for a meeting, or they have other plans, or whatever else is the reason they can’t meet up with you.

But then you find out, some how, that they have been doing things with your collective group of friends. So why weren’t you asked along? Maybe they don’t know how to deal with your mental illness, and they are therefore backing away from your life rather than trying to help, maybe they are scared they might make it worse or they simply can’t deal with it and are abandoning you? It’s possibly paranoia, but it’s also possibly ghosting.

Ghosting is a term used when someone previously in your life a lot starts to back away, it happens very gradually, slowly, so as to not be noticed. But most of the time it’s noticeable. It leaves the ghosted person feeling very much WTF. Thinking what did I do wrong? Is this my fault? Can I solve the problem by pretending to be ok?

You should not have to pretend anything. You are wonderful just the way you are. If your friends are deserting you because you suddenly aren’t deemed ‘normal’ then they have the issues, not you.

Friendship should remain intact regardless of what happens in a person’s life. It’s not something that should be taken for granted, or abused. If your friend is struggling, you should be there to help them, not backing away and leaving them to deal with it by themselves.

Mental health is serious business. People die from it. Don’t abandon your friends when they need you the most.

 

Dealing with a marriage breakdown, children and a new boyfriend.

In my previous blogs I mentioned my husband a fair bit. While I’m still legally married, we are no longer together. He doesn’t reside in the house with me and our children anymore, and his stuff is in the process of being removed, because things like this take time and I’m not a bitch.

I have a boyfriend. This, obviously, upsets my ex husband. (While we aren’t divorced yet, it’s easier to call him that than some of the other names I could use.)

I have written blogs about the subject of the Errant Parent (EP) and you can find them on this site.

I wondered while I was writing them, what the EP would have to do to warrant a remaining parent (RP) doing any of these things. I find myself in the shoes of the RP’s.

Access.

I’m not going to stop my ex from seeing our children, but, when there’s a lack of communication on his behalf, what do I do? It’s easier for me to just not bother and wait for him to wake the fuck up. But, then my children suffer because they aren’t seeing their Dad. It’s hurting me because he’s not showing the care he should be towards his own children. It’s hurting the children because they want to see their daddy and all I can do is text him until he replies. (No, phoning him is not an option.) It’s horrid to see their faces crying at me, because they’re asking for daddy, and all I’m getting is ignorance from him. I just don’t understand why he could be so cruel to them, just to upset me?

I don’t hate my ex husband. He was, and still is, capable of being a decent man. I don’t like him very much right now simply because of what he is doing to me and our children with his actions, or lack there of.

I know that things that happened in the past are done. There’s no going back to rectify anything. So it’s pointless going over the same ground. Where do you draw the line, when you are dealing with a person who consistently brings it up for no reason, and says nasty things and makes unnecessary comments when you are just trying to have a conversation, every time you see him to drop the children off?

Should I be worried that he’s slagging me off to our children, or questioning them about what’s going on in the home now he’s gone? That’s not the right thing to do, and can damage the children mentally. Plus, what happens in this house has nothing to do with him anymore, and it’s only upsetting the kids.

Is this what the RP has to deal with regularly? I guess I could have it way worse, and that some of you probably have some horror stories, but I wouldn’t wish any of this on anyone.

My boyfriend is willing to take the kids to meet their dad if for some reason I can’t. He’s been there to listen to me when I’m angry, he’s there to hold me while I cry, and he’s understanding in that dealing with my ex makes me anxious and stressed. It’s all because of what I have to deal with, via social media, phone or every time I see him. I’m doing this for my children, but how much more should I take from him?

Accusations.

I have at no point accused my ex husband of anything he hasn’t done. I haven’t spread gossip or lies about him and I have never told a professional person, or my friends, that he’s doing things that are A, none of my business and B, not backed up by facts & proof.

He did walk out on us with no word on where he was going or what he was doing. He did ignore me for 3 days straight. He did tell his friends that he told me he was going to ”visit mates and play board games.” which he never said to me. He also did a few nasty things, that are backed up by other people who witnessed it.

Yet there’s people who are still believing that I’m lying about it all, and I’m trying to screw him over. I’ve been doing what I can to emphasise the fact that I’m not the type of woman who does those things, I have evidence that I’m telling the truth, but yet people are still believing what my ex says, without bothering to talk to me.

There’s two sides to every story, and before you make your own mind up you should really have both sides of it.

It really does piss me off when people assume that what they hear must be true. If they’re basing what they know on what they hear from others, who aren’t involved, or weren’t there, how are you supposed to put the truth across?

If you think you know something about someone, but you have absolutely no proof, how about you just mind your own business?

I know that he is telling people things about me that aren’t true, because it’s coming back to me in various different ways. He’s been saying things to certain professionals, prompting them to ask pointed questions about things that they would otherwise have no knowledge of. A lot of what I hear about me is untrue, misleading, or half true. It’s ridiculous that a grown man thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to say what he wants to who he likes, with no regards to what he’s doing to me, or our children. They get upset if they’re seeing me upset, and I’m upset because of what their daddy is doing. He may want to hurt me because I ended the relationship, but to hurt our children with his nasty, petty behaviour is completely out of order.

I had a bandage on my arm from a small surgery. My ex assumed that it was a new tattoo, and said so to his friend. He knows full well that tattoos don’t get bandaged, they get a layer of cling film and tape. He’s so angry at that point, for whatever reason, that he’s not seeing sense and this is where he starts to tell people things that aren’t even remotely true. The thing is, his friend has tattoos, so why didn’t he say anything at the time?

Is this a normal thing to deal with? I’ve never been here before and don’t really know what to do about it. I just hope that some time soon people start to realise that I’m not the bad person here.

Unfair demands.

I’d texted him a few times one day, to see if he wanted to see his kids. I got ignored all day, until around 6pm, when a friend of his messaged me to say my ex’s phone network was down, and that’s why he wasn’t replying. Why he didn’t think to let me know via his friend sooner I don’t know. But at 11.30 pm that night he showed up with no prior warning, and demanded his stuff, some of which is in the loft! No thoughts about his kids, potentially waking them up, upsetting them because it’s late, his stuff is leaving, he’s angry etc. Nothing except wanting to piss me off. Is this what other RP’s have to deal with? or do I have it easy?

He’s now started telling me that he won’t have our children for a weekend visit in his new place, if I’m going away for that weekend. Stating that various professionals have also agreed with him. I believe that maybe he said he was certain that I’d drop the kids on him randomly all the of time to run off everywhere, shagging everyone. (That’s what he’s assuming I’ve been doing since we split up.) I believe that those professionals have said to him that I’m not to do that, (which I wouldn’t do anyway,) but somewhere in his head he believes that they’re on his side to dictate my life while I’m child-free.

How am I supposed to deal with that? What gives him the right to do that to me and our children?

I now understand why some women stop the access to their children. It’s simply too much stress for everyone to deal with.

I understand that the EP is upset, rightly so too. You have all the rights in the world to be angry at someone for hurting you. You do not have the rights to hurt your children, by hurting the RP. You certainly do not have the rights to start demanding and dictating the lives of people who are no longer your concern. What you are doing is making it easier for the RP to not bother messaging you, the pictures/videos you get sent of your children will stop, and they’ll be times when you get ignored simply because the RP is sick of dealing with your constant shit. You’ll start to get fazed out, seeing them less and less until eventually you’ll not see them at all. It’ll be all down to you and the actions that you are doing now.

If you are the errant parent, and you are guilty of doing anything like this or worse, I have some advice for you;

  • What you feel for your ex is not relevant, it’s what’s important for your children that matters.
  • What your ex does after your relationship is over is absolutely nothing to do with you, unless it’s dangerous/harmful for the children.
  • Arrange contact around both of your timetables. Don’t dictate and demand, it’s only upsetting to the children.
  • Don’t start spreading viscous gossip about your ex, or doing things that are completely out of order. It makes you look like a jealous prick, and will eventually lose you friends when they have had enough of listening to or dealing with it.
  • Don’t ignore the other parent’s messages. It could be something important.

Break-up’s are never easy or nice. But they can go way better than mine has since the start. Just remember that if there are children involved that BOTH of you need to do what is best for them.

This blog post was written in November 2018. I have edited it slightly now in October 2019.

My ex and I are still legally married. We are now getting on better and he sees our children weekly.

Exhausting all of the options and giving up.

If you have read my Messy Ending blog then you already know why I’m writing this one. If you haven’t read it then please do so, this one will make much more sense if you do.

I have tried and tried. I have dealt with crying children, money worries, confusion, deception, lies and childish nonsense. I have tried explaining over and again why it’s wrong, why it needed to stop and change, why I did what I did to protect my children. Now I am giving up. I have cried myself to sleep, I have made myself sick with worry and stress, and I have done it all for the kids we share. I have done everything in my power and met a brick wall every time.

I have reached the end of the line. Nothing else is going to work with my ex. I have messaged, I have called him with the kids on the phone, I videoed his eldest crying for him and sent it to him. I have threatened to end contact, I have begged. The last straw was contacting two of his friends to hopefully reach him and sort this shitty nonsense out. That resulted in the first one banging on about the past and why nobody likes me anymore, nothing about the kids at all, and the other one telling me that my ex has basically stuck his head in the sand, is ignoring everyone and their advice, and not doing a damn thing about anything. That they can’t help him or make him do anything.

There’s nothing else for me to do. My children now don’t have a father in their lives because he’s decided that his own feelings are far more important than his own kids. I have to give up, take the fall out every Wednesday when he doesn’t show up, and wait for it to be the norm that he’s not showing and they stop waiting for him. It’s heartbreaking and he, nor his friends, seem to care.

Now I understand why mothers stop errant fathers from seeing the kids outside of the reasons I listed in my previous blogs. It’s damaging, hurtful, horrible to see and deal with. Nobody wants to put their kids through the shit that an errant parent who can’t be bothered causes.

I am done trying.

Why is FB the be all and end all of life?

”Aunty Jackie’s Sister’s Brother’s boy told me that you told Cliff that Sandy had slept with Mark, she sent me a pm.” Sound familiar?

Sadly this is happening all over the world. Instances where someone tells someone something and it’s believed with out any scrap of evidence are rife on FB. So many times I see/hear/read ”I saw it on FB.” so bloody what? I see the sky is grey, it’s likely going to rain, I don’t go telling people it’s 100% going to rain. It might not rain. Just because you see it, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Just because Aunty Jackie told you that she’d heard it, doesn’t mean she actually did. Words have power. People get things wrong. Find out for yourself before you go thumping Cliff for breaking a confidence.

What I can’t comprehend is why people are so quick to believe everything they read on FB. ”Instant weight loss, lose 14st in a week” adverts and ”ladies wear this tight spanx body control monstrosity under your clothes to hide your rolls, because nobody wants to see what a real woman’s body looks like” adverts. Women across the globe are fighting to end photoshop, to not have to hide their bodies on the beach, and to be valued for who and what they are, not to be told that they need to lose weight fast or wear hideous uncomfortable ‘fat hiding’ underwear to ‘look good.’ It beggars belief after all of the strides we’ve made in the real world, that we go backwards on FB.

Just because it’s on fb, does not make it true. Just because someone says they saw it/did it/read it on FB does not mean they did. People lie all of the time. People like to stir the pot to piss people off, to try to split up relationships. Ex spouses use fb to gain sympathy on their life and spout nonsense about their exes, just for likes and comments on a status (all saying ”you ok hun?) without any thought to the person it’s involving.

FB has billions of users. You may have hundreds of friends on your profile, how many of those people do you actually know in real life that you can 100% call an actual friend? You have no idea what these people do with the information you post up. It’s been proven that pictures of kids and woman and even random things have been copied and used elsewhere without permission by strangers. I recently was the victim of that very thing when something I posted up in a closed group was copied onto twitter, which was then poached by Buzzfeed, and used in one of their lists. It made me feel sick and it was a harmless picture of some wires I couldn’t identify. Imagine if that was your kids pictures?

If you don’t want the whole world knowing your life’s issues, DON’T POST IT ON FB! Yes, it’s really that simple. No, you are not going to have a heart attack and die if you don’t tell us that you’re eating Macdonald’s, or that you just got your nails done. Nobody really cares anyway. The Thumbs up like symbol is easy to click and people blindly do so, without paying much attention. Vague status updates like ”at the hospital” or ”OMG what a mug I am” etc are fishing for comments and drama. It’s attention seeking at its highest form, with potentially hundreds of ‘friends’ on your profile you’ll of course get the predictable ”What’s up hun?” or similar replies which are then usually met, equally as predictably with ”I’ll pm ya hun.” WHY? Just why? What’s the point of doing that, someone please tell me why putting vague status updates and then not explaining it is ever a good thing? And then you get those who are told to mind their own business when they ask what’s wrong… I mean.. come on now. You’re posting your life on social media and then getting nasty when people comment on it? Grow up.

Those people who post daily itineraries like ”I’ve got a coffee, then I’m going to watch tv and maybe I’ll do dinner later” are ridiculous. Nobody cares Clair. Nobody actually gives a flying whatsit what you have to do today, do you know why? Because they also have a life to lead and they aren’t posting about it on FB.

Don’t get me started on the grammar and punctuation on some of the posts I see on my feed. It’s called spellchecker, use it. If you can’t spell or string a sentence together properly go back to school to learn. Dyslexia is common, it wasn’t diagnosed back in the day, so go and sort it out.

If you buy and sell on fb then good luck. How do you know if what you’re buying is stolen or not? Pictures often don’t do the item justice. Pictures certainly don’t show you if it’s working as it should or weather there’s hidden damage. You have to trust a complete stranger on the internet. Then you have to go to them to collect it, or have them know your address to deliver it. It’s so dangerous. Thankfully I’ve not heard of anything untoward happening, but it’s only a matter of time.

FB is not life. You can live without it. It is perfectly reasonable adult behaviour to check your facts first before you believe what you read on FB, or you believe what someones told you via a pm, where you can’t see their facial expressions to decide if it’s lies or not. It’s easy to write what you please behind a keyboard, I’m doing it right now! but this isn’t FB, it’s my blog and I can say what I like here.

FB is good for some things. It’s brought families together. It’s helped to find missing people. It helps distant family stay in contact. It helps to arrange events with people who lives hundreds of miles apart. But please don’t rely on it. One day it won’t be around. Just look at where Myspace is now…

The messy ending

I got married in 2012. It was a glorious day full of happy memories and all of the usual joy that goes with such an occasion.

Last year, my marriage ended abruptly. It had lasted for 6 years, which isn’t too bad, I suppose. In hind sight now, I should have left years previous, or never went through with it. But, kids, life; they matter more than what one person is feeling. It finally came to a head when my children were placed in a bad position and I couldn’t stop it from happening. I managed to end it, with his help when he walked out of the door on his own accord. I never went back, though he wanted to. He still does want me and the kids back, but I feel that he’s not interested in the children, just me. That’s not how it works.

Some of you may be aware that I write blogs on errant parents and such, and are therefore knowledgeable on my opinion on that subject. I have always believed that the errant parent ( in this case the father) should have regular weekly/2 weekly contact with his kids. There’s only 3 things that should stop that;

1. a prison conviction for something serious like armed robbery etc.

2. Being a paedophile.

3. Violence towards the immediate family.

Everything else is petty, and has no relation to the ability to be a good parent. Even smoking weed doesn’t stop you from being a good parent, it just mellows you out. The only thing you are a danger to when high is the contents of your fridge. Using other harder drugs are a good way of loosing your kids to the care system, don’t do it.

Now, my point in this blog is this; where do you draw the line when the errant parent is causing issues purely to upset you, and isn’t thinking about his kids?

Before I was in these current shoes, I just didn’t understand why mothers would stop contact with the babydaddy. Unless they’d done something like I have said in my list above, I simply didn’t realise the complexity of it. I’m all for my son-to-be-ex husband seeing his children whenever he wants. I’m asking him to have them, they ask to see him. But he’s more interested in what I’m doing while I don’t have our children in my care, than having our children. So he doesn’t see them very often at all, once a week for 3 hours. I hear stories of babydaddy’s having their kids over night, weekends, day trips etc. It sounds wonderful for the kids to be able to see their father that much, and for the mother to be able to let it, without all of the nonsense that most women seem to add. I thought when my ex got his own place that maybe we’d be in a similar position, but he’s told people that he doesn’t want to have his kids for weekends, simply so I can’t go away, or do anything fun. Yes, I know this is true. Now, I don’t know what’s going on in his mind, but what he’s doing is not fair on our children. They’ll be asking and begging to see daddy, to stay the night, to go out and do fun things. All he’ll do is say ‘sorry, I can’t’ when he can, he just doesn’t want to.

Now I’m beginning to understand why those mothers stop the contact. Because to put your kids through the mess of your feelings and what you want over what they need is completely childish, utter nonsense. They have to protect their children from the harm that is being caused by their own father!

Men, you need to check yourselves. If you are guilty of being far to wrapped up in your ex spouses life to focus on your kids, then go and get help, because those kids need you. Grow up and deal with it.

Women, you need to realise that separations aren’t easy on the men who often have to rely on friend’s sofa’s and such if they move out of the family home. It’s not easy for them, you got the house all set up and ready to live in. You don’t have to hunt for a new home, find the money, get the furniture etc in today’s climate. Try to be an adult, a decent mother, and help where you can. You laid down and had babies with this man who was once, to you, a decent loving man and a good father. That’s not changed, he’s still there. You just have to give him time to fix his life after it was broken.

Clothing; is it your choice, or is it just to fit in?

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You buy clothes as a necessity. It’s illegal to walk around naked, unless you are in the specifically allowed areas of the world where you can wander around in the buff. Some people like to be barefoot all of the time, I know I do, but it’s just not possible to carry out day to day life with no clothes on your birthday suit.

The clothes you choose to wear say a lot about who you are as a person and what your personality is like, to the outside world. People judge others by what they look like without even realising they are doing it. They might assume that someone who wears bright colours could be bubbly, happy, outgoing and friendly etc, while someone who wears black could be sombre, unhappy, introverted and standoffish.

I am friends with several bikers and the rep they get based on what they look like is grossly unfair. The biking community is full to the brim of the nicest people you will ever meet. Simply basing their character on their looks is narrow minded and ridiculous.

We’re not born to be the same, so why do we wear the same style of clothing? Currently mustard yellow is this seasons ‘must have.’ But why is it? it’s not even a nice colour, it never has been. Do people who wear this particular shade of yellow actually like it, or are they simply wearing it because it’s ‘in’? There’s only so many colours in the rainbow, so what happens when the fashion designers (and who made them all knowledgeable about fashion anyway?) run out of colours? Do they have a list, like maybe 1980 was illuminous green for summer but pastel pink was the autumn trend, 1981 was maybe yellow for summer and green for autumn? and then they go through the colour list one by year each year, and the designer is like;

”Stella, we can’t use khaki green this year because it was in the cammo range last year, AND in 2010, 2004 and 1996, dammit woman do you not know what this will do to the tiny fools who spend a fortune on fashion?’

Well they probably don’t sound like that, do they? But my point is, wear what you like, not what some famous stranger is telling you to wear.

There’s more problems in the world than what someone is wearing.

Why do women (mainly) wear the same items, or colour? For the last few weeks I have been paying attention to what the school run mums wear. I saw 4 women all wearing the exact same jumper, same colour, on the same day. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t follow fashion, I don’t understand it. But, if I was accidentally wearing the same outfit as another woman I was in the vicinity of, or working with, I’d be slightly mortified. Then I’d be like, ‘yeah, I wear it better.’

Why do people want to look the same as everyone else? Why pay £50 for a jumper that Sally, Vicky and Mandy down the road are also wearing, when you can go and buy anything you wanted instead?

I have a friend who wears name brand trainers exclusively.  He’d rather be dead than wear anything from Shoe Zone (sorry) or other such brands, when I asked him why he told me a story;

”As a kid my mother used to put me in charity shop clothing, but always decent trainers. She believed that the more they cost the better they were for your feet. She used to say ‘Your feet carry you for all of your life, so look after them.’ and so now I wear decent trainers, to look after my feet.”

His story makes perfect sense. His fashion choices stem from childhood and what he was taught growing up.

My fashion sense now is based around comfort, cost and colour, but when I was a child, my mother couldn’t afford clothing, let alone charity shop items. I wore hand-me-downs from my older female cousin, which were then passed to my sister. I had very little choice in what I wore up to the day I got a job and left home. Now my wardrobe is full of colour and black tones. I love my pretty spaghetti strap lacy black top as much as I love my cartoon script flared multicoloured top. The lack of choice as a child has shaped what I wear now, I simply don’t care. If I like it, I wear it. It’s me who is spending my money on it, me who is wearing it on my body, nobody else has to like it at all, and yes I shop in charity and buy new where I have to.

I recently acquired a boyfriend, (long story for another blog.) When I met him he looked very sexy dressed in black, cargo trousers, black t’shirt and a hoodie with skulls on it. He’s got visible tattoos on his neck & hands and piercings in his face, dark hair etc. I assumed that he was a metaller/rocker like myself. So when he opened the bag of clothes he’d brought to mine and I saw a lot of ‘not black’ I was a bit miffed and surprised. I was a tad dismayed to find out that he likes brightly coloured striped shirts, and has a two-tone purple/blue nylon shirt that the 80’s called to claim back. But, it’s his choice. He likes them so he wears them. I still fancy the pants off of him regardless of what he’s wearing. But it proves that you can’t judge a book by the cover. I made the silly assumption that because of what I saw that first time, that’s what he wears all the time. But, much like myself, he has a varied taste. Why wouldn’t he have?

There’s far too much clothing ending up in landfill as it is, not enough is recycled. Charity shops get the main bulk of it, but there’s stuff even they can’t sell. I know the vast majority of people believe (wrongly) that charity clothing is all old, outdated, dirty, smelly, tatty shit. That’s simply not true. I have worked in charity shops, I’ve seen all sides of the inner workings and the outside image they purvey. There’s rules and such that the staff and the organisations have to stick to regardless. Charity shops don’t have the means to wash anything. (They can steam certain items to freshen them up, get wrinkles out of silk blouses etc) but if they open a bag that’s got dirt or faeces in it, that whole bag goes straight into the bin. Charity shop workers are volunteers, they don’t get paid. Some of the staff may offer to wash items at home at an out of pocket cost, but it’s not a thing that is generally done. If there’s a £200 Lacoste jumper that’s needing a wash then it’ll get one, but a £10 pair of trousers, that’ll go in the bin.

Far too many people won’t shop charity nowadays for fear of bullying, or ridicule for wearing something that’s not ‘trendy.’ If you’re not wearing the same colour as the whole world that makes you a target for horrible things to happen. That’s outrageous. Why should we have to be a sheep, wear the same, be the same as everyone else to fit in, to not get ridiculed, or bullied, when we’re born to stand out?

We as a society should be praising the different, the alternative. We should be wanting to look like ourselves and not everyone else. I’m me, I’m not you or Janet, or Cindy or Joe Blogs down the road, so why on earth would I want to wear the same clothing as them?

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! – Dr Suess.

 

 

Memories.

I bet you that if I said ‘the seaside in summer’ your head will be filled with memories from childhood. Admittedly not everyone was lucky enough to go to the beach, or even to have a holiday. Maybe you live near the sea and spend all of your time there anyway so my memory hint will be pointless to you. My point is, I could say almost anything to you and it would jog something in your sub conscience to give you a memory.

I have ‘false memories’ pertaining from my childhood. Nobody knows where I have them from. Nobody I have spoken to knows what I am talking about, or even what a 6 year old brain might possibly have changed from real to fake. Usually when you speak to a child about things they remember you get a sense of what they are talking about, but if that child suffered severe trauma those memories are often wiped, or changed somehow. I don’t remember a lot of my childhood from age 6 to 12-13. There’s various vague snippets, but nothing really concise. The brain in a child is well documented to wipe or ‘store’ major trauma incidents to protect the child. It’s possible to get these memories back with therapy and hypnosis etc, but that’s not a road I can see many taking. I don’t blame them.

The sub conscious brain is a creature all too complicated to try to understand. It’s responsible for memory, actions, and thoughts amongst other things that the human brain can do. I get ‘feelings of memory’ in that I mean I’ll smell or hear something and in my SC mind I’m getting that it’s familiar, a memory is there that is relevant, but I just can’t pull it out. I can’t seem to bring it into the light to see it with my own eyes. My brain has pulled the curtains shut and is reluctant to open them, it’s instead giving me a peak here and there of what I have in my mind. I suppose I should be greatful that I don’t remember my trauma. I have paperwork that tells me what happened. That paperwork is just words on paper. There’s nothing in my brain to link it with my life and what happened to me, it could be about someone else, if it wasn’t about me. I have no pictures, or smells or anything in my SC mind that shows up as a film trailer when I read that paperwork. I’m not the only person who lives with this. Anyone who has suffered severe trauma at a young age has a similar condition.

I’m writing this blog because I was just using google maps to look up a place I need to visit, and one of the first pubs I went into is in this area. I was saddened to see it’s been demolished and is now a bloody car park. Then I tried to find where I lived in this area, and I can’t remember what the door to the building looked like. They’ve probably changed it by now, it was a very long time ago that I was there. The building itself will not have changed, maybe a coat of paint and new windows, but still there all the same. Indecently, when I got to this area, I tried to explain where something was to someone asking for directions, without knowing that the pub I had been referencing had also been demolished after a fire destroyed it, and it’s now a unit of flats.

When you reach a certain age your memory starts to fade. That’s just a fact of life. I’m 37 and already suffer from memory loss where past events are involved. The older the memory, the less you can remember of it. You may remember going to the beach on holiday, but you might have forgotten where that holiday was, or what beach you were on. My town has a number of beaches dotted along the coast line, so if I took my children to one of them and they made a memory there, one day they’ll recall that memory but place it on the main sands, rather than one of the smaller beaches. They’ll do that because we live in the area, and they know that there’s a main beach that most people go to, so it must have been there. They’ll recount the memory to me and I’ll remind them that it was in a different place. I might tell them other things that happened that day that they don’t remember at all, but I do.

My son has a very good memory, but he sucks at explaining what he is talking about most of the time. He can have several different conversations come out in one sentence, and make something that happened 2 years ago seem like it happened this morning. Or he’ll be randomly be talking about something that’s relevant to now, and go off about the car crash he saw a month ago. He struggles with differentiating between memory and current conversation. He won’t say ‘Oh that reminds me of this’ he’ll just start talking about it, like you know what he’s on about. You then have to work out what he means. Sometimes it’s easy, if you’ve seen what he’s talking about and can remind him when it happened, but if it’s something he saw on his kindle, or at school then you have no clue and no option but to just smile and nod, and try to explain to him that we have no idea what he’s talking about and he needs to use more words to tell us. It can be very frustrating.

On the other side of that, talking to someone who has memory loss is often heart breaking. I’m talking about Dementia and Alzheimer’s. My Grandfather had a series of strokes that left him in a dementia kind of state; he had no idea who anyone was outside of my Grandmother and Mother. I remember being told that my mother had shown my grandfather a picture of my newborn daughter and he looked at her, smiled, screwed the picture up and put it in his pocket. He had no memory of his granddaughter being pregnant and having a baby. It’s a sad memory. He died on Boxing day 2000, just 3 months after my daughter was born, he never met her.

Why do we remember the good and the bad? if the brain is capable of shutting out the trauma of severe incidents, why is it not able to let us forget the other sad things that happen, like my Grandfather’s illness? If my brain is capable of shutting out the major trauma I suffered, why does it leave me with enough memory to know it happened in the first place. Why not just erase that whole sad episode of my life, and leave me with the stark black and white of paper evidence and no real connection to events?

I’ve said frequently enough, why do we remember one thing but not another? Why do I remember a gorgeous long haired biker pissing up the side of the tent I was sitting in at a motorbike rally in 1997, the reactions of the people inside the tent and how hard he was laughing, but not what the first film I saw at the cinema was? You would think that something as momentous as the first ever cinema trip would be something to remember, yes? I have no recollection of that. I do, however, remember standing in my living room, on the phone to an Indian lady, asking her what films were currently showing at the cinema, and recounting what she said to my boyfriend who was sitting on the sofa, and when I raised my voice to get an answer from him she hung up. That’s what I remember when I’m asked what film I saw at the cinema the first time I went.

The Tellytubbies blessed our goggle boxes in 1997. How do I remember that? Well, when I was 16, I lived with my boyfriend in London. We were riding through a busy intersection on his motorbike late one evening when the lights on a billboard made me look at it. It was an advert for the tv show. It’s etched in my memory as if it happened yesterday. It came in handy last week at a pub quiz when I was the only person who knew the answer.

Taking a trip down memory lane can be fascinating. It can remind you of long forgotten memories of loved ones, tough times and friendships past and present. Photo albums are great at bringing memories to life like a picture book of the mind. All of my photo albums are stored in my loft. Pictures tend to be kept on mobile devices nowadays, which in itself I think is a very stupid idea. I see a lot of stolen phone posts begging for the return because of sentimental value for the pictures stored on it. If those pictures were so precious, why did you not save them elsewhere, or PRINT THEM OFF! because, like what happened to us, the device could be stolen, or corrupted, damaged or broken beyond salvage and then what will you do? When my husbands computer started to fail one of the first things he did was back up all of his pictures to our friends external hard drive. Unfortunately, that hard drive became corrupted and none of the data stored on it was saved. All of the baby pictures I took of our youngest when he was very sick in hospital were lost. There were pregnancy pictures, family gatherings etc, all gone. So, just to clarify, if you have sentimental, irreplaceable pictures stored on your phone, laptop or external hard drive, go and get them printed. The cost is immaterial when you compare it to not having those pictures.

Memories pop up when you least expect them. I’m currently sitting in MacDonalds in my home town, writing this. My brother-from-another-mother used to work here way back when I was in my very early teens. I worked here for about 2 weeks. It’s had a face-lift, but is essentially the same place I remember from my childhood. i met my eldest child’s father outside of here way back in 1999. I saw him yesterday, he told me about things that I had forgotten from when we lived together. He reminded me about someone I had long forgotten about, whose face I can’t recall and I wouldn’t recognise him if he sat next to me. I doubt he would know me either.

A friend of mine told me a story he remembers from when he was 9. He’s been an F1 fan since he was 2. He wanted to become a formula one driver when he grew up. It was a massive part of his life up to the age of 9, when disaster struck. He had to go for an ECG, which in turn lead to another test, which lead to the discovery that he is Epileptic. Therefore, unable to drive an F1 car. He is still a big fan of F1, I don’t think that will ever change. He told me how devastated he was when his parents broke the news to him. The look on his face as he told me this, well, have you ever seen a grown man almost in tears? It’s not a pretty sight.

Memory prompts;

What colour was your first pet?

Were your childhood wellington boots red, blue?

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Did you have a favourite cartoon?

Where did you get the inspiration for your children’s names from?

How old were you the first time you ate in a restaurant?

Please drop me a message, or comment with your answers. I am genuinely interested to read your replies.

 

 

 

Wonky veg; what’s the hype about?

I’d quickly like to ask all the more prominent supermarket companies why they think that selling wonky veg is such a big deal?

Wonky, misshapen, humorous, and weird looking veg has been around since vegetable growing began. It all started in around 10,000 BC, or something like that. It started with poor families having to grow food from seeds to feed their own families, and farmers producing field grown food for sale. Do you think they cared about what their food looked like? It’s not like they had the privilege of deciding that the double headed cabbage wasn’t for consuming, and left it to rot. It all got eaten, all of it, because it’s vegetables.

I wasn’t even aware that the less desirable looking veg wasn’t packaged for sale. I grew up thinking that veg all looked perfect, and to get the weird and wonderful ones that you see in pictures you needed to grow them at home. It wasn’t until I looked into the subject a bit further that I learned that factories were hiring people to stand and watch the veg going through the machines, and pick out the undesirables. I mean, who wants to do that as a job? I worked in a potato factory in my late teens and sorted the mouldy/green ones from the fresh, and ended up with a motion sickness type illness that meant I couldn’t go back. I know, it’s a job. But a job that makes you ill is not a job you should be doing.

Advertising wonky veg, like it’s some kind of a big deal, freaky thing, and charging more for it than you would the ‘normal’ looking vegetables is as ridiculous as it sounds. People who wear alternative clothing aren’t charged more for bills, or their shopping.

Why would you pay more for alternative veg? If anyone is jumping on this band wagon, then they have more money than sense. If we all decided that this was ridiculous and didn’t buy into it, what would happen with all of the wonky veg then? would it go back to the rotten pile, or for animal feed again? or would it end up packaged as veg, like it’s supposed to be.

 

 

How do you run a house?

The way we run our homes differs from person to person. If we are lucky enough to have parents who teach us how to do the housework, we usually learn from them how a house is run at the same time. Most parents don’t involve their kids in the financial side of the house, but sometimes that’s necessary. I never learned how to pay bills or do the weekly shopping on a budget, I just remember having to carry those heavy bags home because we couldn’t afford taxis.

I never really learned how to run a house, keep all the areas clean, how many times a day I should hoover, or wash up. I just do it when it needs to be done. Sometimes it sits there for a day. My house is not spotless. My husband calls it ‘lived in.’ We have children and I am not the type of parent who goes around with a broom cleaning up after every single thing they do. I have started teaching them to clean up their own mess. If they spill a drink they wipe it up.

I know people who have perfect condition show homes, no mess anywhere, kick boards and cupboards in perfectly clean show-home condition through out. I wonder if they have time to go to the toilet, or sit down with a book if they have a home that is so perfectly clean. How do they have time to do anything but housework everyday? I imagine them waking up at 6am and showering, dressing, eating and then donning the rubber gloves and scrubbing, hoovering, sweeping, mopping, trimming, wiping, washing and weeding non stop until lunch, where they give themselves half hour (or maybe they eat while they work?) and then carrying on with cleaning until dinner. I don’t see those types of people sitting down unless they go to the toilet or eat. I imagine them saying things like ”I’m very sorry Susan I can’t come to lunch with you today, the pipes behind my toilet are a shocking mess and I need to spend an hour cleaning them.”

My kick-boards are grubby, the inside of my cupboards haven’t been wiped over in months let alone scrubbed and my garden is in desperate need of some TLC. But I’m having to much fun playing with my kids, going out for the day, playing games and watching films with my family to worry about weather I dusted the windowsill at the top of the stairs, or if the laundry is folded and put away the instant it’s dry. My house has dusty toilet pipes, and water marks on the windowsills. Its garden is a bit overgrown simply because it’s been far to hot to be outside weeding. I’m not going to make myself sick for the sake of gardening.

I go to these peoples houses and I’m afraid to touch anything or do anything in them. I spilled my drink on the carpet, panic! Normally I’d grab a tea-towel and scrub it up, but in somebody else spotless home what do I do? Get out the hoover and the stain remover and spend an hour on my knees scrubbing and washing the stain out? Is there a special way I am not in the knowledge of because of the way I do it at home?

I’m going to stay at my mothers in a few weeks, with my son. We wear shoes in the house, we don’t always make sure the rubbish is in the bin, when we aim and throw it (but it is put in the bin.) We can’t do that in my mothers home, and my son is going to struggle with that concept.

Maybe we should have been better house keepers, taught our kids how to run a house to a higher standard. But honestly, this is our house. It’s how we live. It’s not a hoarders paradise, it’s not covered in dirty plates, old food and rubbish covered floors. The door frames might have small grubby hand marks on them almost all of the time, but the floors are cleaned daily, the washing up is done once a day, and the laundry, that’s washed and dried, but not necessarily put away on the same day. The rest of it, well, it can wait.

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