Tag Archives: Life

F is for (you are not a) Failure

Today I want to say

So many of us live in a world of constant apologies and a constant awareness of failure. We set the bar way too high for ourselves and ultimately end up believing we are, as a person, a failure. We use phrases like ‘I can’t cope’ or ‘I can’t keep up’ and we end up crashing and burning. Quite regularly too – like it’s some kind of insane life cycle. But forget hibernation, forget cocoon making, forget growing wings and gathering food – I’m talking insomnia,panic attacks, relationship break-downs and eating disorders.

Where is the chance of redemption? Where’s the soul-deep rest? Where has prioritising our health gone? Why aren’t these things understood and honoured in our society?

To you who cancelled plans last minute last night – it’s ok.

To you who broke down on the bus on your way to work this morning – it’s ok.

To you who regularly spends time in the office loo trying to regain sanity and oxygen – it’s ok.

To you who eats lunch hiding in the storage cupboard – it’s ok.

To you who went to bed early instead of visiting friends tonight – it’s ok.

And to you who has already failed in five million different ways today – it really IS ok.

I promise.

You are NOT a failure.

You are tired and so, so fed up. You’re exhausted and your head is full. Your heart is weary and your chest is tight and sore – take a breath…there, feel that?Your jaw is subconsciously clenched and you’re on the edge of tears so often.

It’s ok.

I’m sure you can think back to the hundreds of times you’ve said that. To yourself,to others. The ultimate admittance that things are, in fact, not ok. Irony so common it’s not even noticeable anymore.

It’s ok.

Things are upside down and things are a mess. There are hidden walls, monsters andbooby traps everywhere. There’s baggage and lies and disappointments. There’s no time. No money. No resources. No space. No room. Nobody.

It’s ok.

Sometimes I picture life like the Christmas story – stick with me! Sometimes, life is a pregnant woman on a long journey, in labour, with nowhere to give birth.

What I mean to say is, I so often feel pregnant with emotion, confusion, memories,stress, rage, hurt, pressure and trauma – but with nowhere to release it. I’m holding something inside me that’s alive, it’s needy, it takes from me and it affects me physically. It changes me and it has it’s own demands. Sometimes it even controls me and makes me do things I don’t want to do – and the world around me is telling me there’s no room. There’s no room for all of that. There’s no space for me and my baby.

But it’s ok. Mary was ok. She found her bit of space. And people came to that space. And that space became something special because that’s where she had her baby. And people still talk about that space and relate to that space. Not because it was easy, but because of the difficult and near impossible circumstances. It’s ok to feel out of place in social situations. It’s ok to hate the daily, 9-5, boxed in, grey, grimey grind. It’s ok to listen to your body when it’s shouting at you to slow down. It’s ok to do whatever you need to, to get through the day. It’s ok to be different and to do things differently. It’s ok to cancel plans last minute or to go home early. It’s ok to have a meltdown, to stomp and cry and feel lost. It’s ok to feel like nobody gets you – it’s ok to feel like YOU don’t get you. It’s ok to be irrational and grouchy. It’s ok to need certain things or to do things in a certain way. It’s ok to have baggage and for it to affect you. It’s ok to NOT be ok.

But what can we do?

Let’s let each other breathe. Let’s give each other space and time. Create it, find it, BE it.

How? By being authentic. By being the real you and by being honest – painfully so. Don’t float along the surface of life. Don’t be afraid of the deep and meaningful – of the mud and grit. Shareyourself. Put yourself out there and try. Let yourself cry in place of wearing a mask. Admit your weaknesses and ask for help. Say sorry and face your mistakes. Take time to understand each other. Forgive yourself and forgive each other. Remember grace and mercy and rediscover what they really mean. Put love in the centre and work outwards from there. Make the jump a little easier and have a go.

And if you trip or miss or crash and burn?

It’s ok. You are NOT a failure.

Being vulnerable and speaking the truth is difficult. Figuring this life out is difficult.

And just when you feel like giving up, have another go.

Because it’s so, so worth it.

I promise.

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F is for fervor

So I haven’t written here in a criminally long time.

Life (excuse my french) is a bitch. And then you die.

Right now, I wouldn’t mind trying out an experimental drug that induces a week long coma. If you’re developing this ,ye scientists, pray do get in touch. Why?

BECAUSE I’D REALLY LIKE A BREAK.

God, come on give me a break

How many of us feel like we’re in over our heads? How many of us are in pain of some kind every day? How many of us are overwhelmingly stressed? How many of us would give our most prized possession, a limb, our hopes or dreams to simply experience 10 solid minutes of health and stability? If I had anything of worth, or the opportunity to barter bits of me for a glimpse of health and peace….

I would hand it over no questions asked.

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I was wondering, does this desperate state of mind & body damage us? Does it mean we forget things? Like the art of patience, forgiveness, empathy and even simple thought? Does it erase the parts of us that had perspective and the ability to dream and hope? Does it mean that we become blind and detached?

Do we lose the will to believe in anything but pain and anger? Do we make menial things, Gods? The small things that actually have some kind of affect and positive interaction in our lives? Or do we let something much darker take hold of us? Do we bow down to medication, alcohol, drugs, sex, food, gambling, self harm, money? Do we sabotage others in a desperate attempt to feel better about ourselves?

Maybe we can take it slow, start over, begin again every day. I may have been able to ignore some of the pain today, but yesterday I let it take over me. Tomorrow I could feel excited and hopeful and be able to help somebody in some small way… Next week I could consider suicide. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, or indeed what this evening will hold, but maybe that’s ok. Maybe then we could release the guilt and release the shame. Take it slow. Maybe?

What do I think?

Keep asking

&

Change your expectations

Of yourself, others, life, experiences, the bigger picture.

Stop and think and ask yourself

Do I need to rest, do I need to be sad, do I think I can go and see a friend, do I want to cry, do I feel angry, do I need to get help, do I need to breathe deeper…..stop and think and ask.

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Here’s a song that I’ve been a little bit obsessed with for a while now. I feel hesitant to share it because it’s my life line at the moment, but today I can share and today I can write.

Today I can ask, maybe?

Love and strength to you x

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F is for figuring it out…still

 

Most of what comes out of my mouth is negative, pessimistic, angry, upset, moany rubbish.

Even more is stored up in my mind.

How do you speak out goodness, happiness, positivity and peace when you can’t remember the last time you felt like that? When your reserves of these things have long been empty? When it just wouldn’t be the truth?

I’ve never really been the kind of person who has nothing to say. I love to discuss, debate, wrestle, explore and communicate with people. I love to connect.

But I’ve had less to say of late, mainly because I don’t want to lie. I don’t want to be false and I can’t seem to pretend too well.

I’ve never minded being the one to speak out, to advocate or stand up for someone or something.

In fact it just seems to happen. In fact I will always happily speak out.

I wasn’t always right and I wasn’t always heard. But boy did I try.

Where other people are concerned, I’m on the ball. I’m active, I’m energised, I’m empowered. I’m overflowing with love and admiration, care and encouragement, ideas and time.

But when it comes to me? Not so much.

I just can’t seem to muster the same love I have for others, for myself. I don’t know where to start with the whole loving yourself thing, but I so passionately believe in it and will it for everybody. I would spend every pound, every minute, every day to help  somebody else feel loved and important, listened to and understood, special and cherished.

But me? Not so much.

So, eventually, I ran out of energy. I ran out of energy to sustain friendships. I ran out of health and happiness. I became sick and sick of life and sick of myself for being that way. I let things slip and crack and grow old and unkempt. Life was too empty and cold to fuel my lifestyle. It didn’t seem to make sense and it didn’t feel good at all. In fact it felt like I was trapped in an eternal, internal, invisible, abusive relationship. Where I gave and I served and I loved and I shared and I believed and I tried so hard…..all the time…..and I just kept smacking my head on this giant wall. Constantly. It was relentless and nothing could stop it from growing taller and wider and darker and colder and harder. It got harder and harder to climb and I couldn’t run far enough to get around it anymore. I couldn’t beg it to let me under and there were no more books or boxes to stand on to at least look over it.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, I managed to make a little hole. And a little bit of light came through.

I see everybody and their lives and the world going by, and I realise – nobody can see me. And I have no voice to call out, I have no love for myself and eventually I stop trying to make those holes.

I let the hate and the hurt consume me.

I let the lies have the last word and all I can cling to is sleep.

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F is for figuring it out

I am a wave of colour, a chalky dust that moves freely to a silent symphony. It joyfully plays and dances with the unseen pushes of wind and breeze. The colours that married and mixed on the day I was born can never be separated or contained. You cannot control the ebb and flow or the timings of it’s seasons.

It lovingly surrounds my soul and guides me – eyes closed, arms open wide – into adventures unimagined. It is freedom in its truest form. It is beauty, it is hope, it is love, it is creation, calvary and pentecost. I listen and watch as it changes and grows.

It pleases me. It pleases him. We are inseparable.

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I am an ocean of possibility, a deep cavern of mystery and miracles. I hold promise and pain, truth and deception, wonder and fear. What could be more beautiful?

The sunlight reaches for me, lost in the darkness with the souls of the broken. It shines upon us – the children of the deep. I have so much to discover and love and so much more to love and discover.

Let me share it with you.

It pleases me. It pleases him.

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I am the nudge of a child, excited and anxious, ready with a million things to say and a million more questions to ponder. I am that nudge, that look, that squeeze of a hand. I am my father’s child. People say I look like him and sound like him…I like that.

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I am a willing captive to the whims of my imagination.

I am afraid to fall.

I am afraid to fail.

I am afraid to be hushed.

I am afraid to be shooed.

I am afraid to feel.

I am afraid to shout.

I am afraid to sing.

I am afraid of you.

I am afraid of them.

I am afraid of me.

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But my fear will never be enough to stop me from nudging you.

And that pleases me.

Does it please you?

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F is for feeling

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My feelings run free within me.

They have set up home within my very core and they are never going to leave.

They are the master puppeteer and they relish in the dance that is love, hurt, joy and pain.

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They are truly alive within me and they manifest themselves physically.

They speak to me through pain and sickness.

They remind me of past hurts and horrors to show me that they are still scared and frightened.

That they still can’t make sense of it all.

That I’m still broken.

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My feelings want me to themselves.

They do not like to be denied and they are deathly afraid of being left alone.

My feelings love to talk to me, to re-live and reminisce.

A constant chatter of colours fills me, encases me, enfolds me and consumes me.

Like a strong wind they rush right through me.

The

dust

never

settles.

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I love my feelings.

I’ll hold them close and cherish them.

I love my feelings.

I’ll fight with them and lock them away.

I love my feelings.

They roam free and frighten me.

I love my feelings.

But they do not love me.

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I love my feelings.

I love my feelings.

I love my feelings.

I love my feelings.

I loathe my feelings.

I love my feelings.

I love my feelings.

akBlackDot

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F is for Forgiveness

“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself”

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I’ve thoroughly enjoyed connecting with the heart of feminism over the past few years. Whether that’s intentionally or by mistake, consciously or subconsciously. It’s been an amazing journey.

For me, true feminism offers forgiveness, love and growth – not the fires of spiteful anger, violence and revenge, like so many people think it is or indeed want it to be. I think this is a great misuse and a terrible manipulation of the ‘shield’ of feminism. We mustn’t use feminism to justify recklessness and violence or to trample on others. We can’t use it to hide, excuse or justify wrongdoing. We must not turn feminism into an ugly, angry, clumsy troll.

Feminism is about peace, justice, love, grace, forgiveness, growth and truth.

NONE of those words are ‘soft’, ‘pathetic’ or ‘weak’.

In fact, they are the strongest, mightiest words I know.

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I know what it’s like to be used. I know what it’s like to be treated badly because of my gender. I know what it’s like to experience sexual abuse and harassment. I know what it’s like to have your self worth manipulated and crushed. I know what it’s like to be angry and filled with rage. I know what it’s like to feel utterly alone, abandoned and ignored.

And I know that the strongest, most powerful tools I have to fight all of these things are those seven words I mentioned up there.

May we, feminists, commit to providing an alternative and righteous way of life that promotes:

Refuge, not revenge

Peace in place of pride

Justice in place of judgment

Love in place of lies

Community, not conflict

Equality in place of ego

Healing instead of hatred

Truth and not tyranny

Hope in the place of hypocrisy

Grace instead of greed

and

Forgiveness, not fist fights

Anyone care to have a stab at what they think a great

‘mission statement’

for feminism would be?

Truth Cartoon

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F is for Fragile

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Don’t you hate it when people say that hurts, pains and disappointments are ‘character building’? When they say rejection ‘only makes you stronger’? When the surgery didn’t work…again…and they tell you ‘if there was no sorrow we wouldn’t know joy’?

Well, I do.

I hate it.

I hate it because when I’m in pain and when I’m in despair, I’m not interested in building my character. When I’m mourning and I’m angry, something tells me joy is a myth Walt Disney made up. And strength? It’s too late for strength.

I’m worn down, I’m empty, and I’m broken. There is nothing left of me. Nothing left to feel. Nothing left within that wants to hold on any longer. It’s just too late.

But what if there was no tragic ‘event’? What if there was no real failure? No actual surgery… nothing to blame, recover from or wrestle with?

What if your homelessness and poverty is within you?

What if the famine ravaged your soul?

What if the flood destroyed the home in your heart?

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What if the invisible affliction you struggle with is depression?

What if the thief in the night is mental illness?

What if the flood, famine or earthquake is the anxiety within you?

 

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From my personal experience, there is no short-term cause and solution. There is no isolated event to reflect on, learn from, and move on from. There are no bones to set and no wounds to stitch. You’re stuck in this infinite ‘middle-stage’. A grimy, hellish, completely messed up, perpetual nightmare. Nothing you think or feel is real, or in response to anything real or factual…or is it?

You’ve lost the ability to judge that.

Your reference point, teacher and closest friend is a warped mirror you somehow picked up at one of those awful circus galleries. One day you walked by it and heard it calling you, saw it taunting you and felt it take hold of you.

Hall of mirrors, Petrin Hill, Prague. 1998

You unknowingly gave it your frame of mind, your childhood memories and experiences, your fears and your insecurities. You surrendered the very mechanism that constructs your ability to understand, think, ration, perceive, trust, process, relate and learn. It set up camp deep inside you, hidden by layers and layers of lies, fake smiles and deathly silence.

You gave it your dreams, abilities, skills, beauty, confidence, hope and passion.

It knows you better than you know yourself.

It became your puppeteer way before you think it did. You had strings tying you in knots over and over again. You were robbed before you really had a hold on anything.

This world is where approximately 1 in 5 of us in the UK live.

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I can only draw from my own experience which therefore makes my knowledge of depression extremely limited. I’m sure what I’ve written here will already contradict someone else’s experience of depression – but it certainly does not discount or discredit it.

Depression is organic. It grows, infests and spreads its roots. Depression is tailored to fit around your every atom, your every whim, your every waking breathing sleeping eating praying walking working mourning laughing dancing falling crawling yearning failing growing overflowing minute. We give it names and categories to light our way around the darkness and the mess, but no two experiences of depression will be the same.

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The people who say those frustrating, irritating, unhelpful, cliched, meaningless words…. The Walt Disney characters who seem to hop, skip and jump with ignorance… The people who you ignore completely and kind of, well utterly, want to punch in the face? The people I mentioned at the start of this post?

Well…

I’m one of them.

I have grown because of my suffering. I have felt incredible depths of joy that wouldn’t have existed if I hadn’t suffered. I am stronger, wiser and more resourceful because of it.

I really, truly, earnestly mean that. But I also meant everything before that. I’m not ‘healed’, ‘better’ or ‘ok’. I’m still wrestling with it, I’m still lost within it.

But today I could write about it.

 

child

Today I have enough strength to choose to make myself vulnerable and share this part of me with you.

Today I can take a small step back and see things a little clearer.

Today I can add to the beauty…

 

We come with beautiful secrets

We come with purposes written on our hearts, written on our souls

We come to every new morning

With possibilities only we can hold, that only we can hold 

Redemption comes in strange place, small spaces 

Calling out the best of who we are 

And I want to add to the beauty

To tell a better story

I want to shine with the light

That’s burning up inside 

It comes in small inspirations

It brings redemption to life and work

To our lives and our work

 It comes in loving community

It comes in helping a soul find it’s worth 

Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces

Calling out the best of who we are 

And I want to add to the beauty

To tell a better storyI want to shine with the light

That’s burning up inside

This is grace, an invitation to be beautiful

This is grace, an invitation

Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces

Calling out our best

And I want to add to the beauty

To tell a better storyI want to shine with the light

That’s burning up inside

– Sara Groves

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“Rockin’ Robin, TWEET!”

Thanks Michael, I’ll take it from here.

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Come tweet with me at

@fisforfiesty 

where I’ll never quote Michael Jackson lyrics.

Well, maybe.

Maybe just at Christmas.

And, you know…

If it’s ever relevant.

To the cause.

And like…

Stuff.

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Feminiwhatism?!

To be honest,

I am figuring this one out too.

I’m figuring out most things and I hope I always will be. I hope I’ll always want to learn and listen to new and old opinions and experiences and theories.

Over the past couple of years I’ve collected some images and quotes which, so far, sum it up for me. I hope they’ll be helpful to you too.

Don’t forget to share what inspires you, makes you giggle, helps you get up in the morning,makes you angry or makes your heart beat.

Leave a comment, you know you want to!

And when I say you, I mean YOU. Whoever & whatever you call yourself.

I mean the unisex, err’body in the club, love train, join hands, brother, sister, S Club 7, boogie wonderland, marching band, yours&mine, rosie&jim, marvin&tammy, ziggy stardust, granny& gramps, R E S P E C T, mama, papa, hoe down, barn dance, fred&ginger type of thing.

feminist2

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Graffiti, Soweto, Gauteng

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 feminism

  inspiring-quotes-08

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You & Me

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I love discussion, community, journeying, wrestling, chatting late into the night, learning, reading, understanding, growing and sharing and I want to do all of that with YOU! I’ll post questions I get asked and comments too so that we can work things out together.

I am definitely at the

discovery

stage of all of this and I’m loving it!

I don’t have answers and rules and nothing is set in stone here – feminism isn’t a club or an organisation with a logo and a membership card. It’s simply believing that you and me are people. That we’re valuable, unique and worthy of respect no matter what dangly bits we may or may not have. Simple!

Let’s get started with a few bits from this past week……

QUESTIONS:

I wonder what you think the most immediate goal for contemporary feminism should be?

Where do you think the most energy should be spent?

How do you choose your battles?

Not to imply that any issue is trivial but I wonder if there’s a requirement for more formalised leadership within feminism?

What do YOU think? Leave a comment below and let’s get chatting!

COMMENTS:

It was illuminating and concerning to hear successful TV cook Mary Berry announce that

feminism was a dirty word

and she

“didn’t want women’s rights and all that”

this week.

Perhaps she just can’t be bothered to have a career anymore, wishes she never learned how to read, got bored of choosing how to spend her money and ran out of ideas for her own opinions. Each to their own. But I’m pretty sure she’s enjoying many rights without realising.

She cited

not liking shouting and wanting to respect men as reasons to reject feminism

but this only highlights her misunderstanding of it. Good news, Mrs Berry –

feminism is with you.

We like the same things.

We can be friends.

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The life of Lyndall

... all its glorious twists and turns

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loseeverything.wordpress.com/

a blog about honesty, hope and losing everything