Weekly Gratitude: Reconnecting

This week among the usual shout out to family and friends I am grateful for 4 women I met 12 months ago on a development course. 2018 was a very chaotic bumpy year. The course was split over five 2 day modules with the first starting January 2018. We were put into peer groups of 6 to work together for various activities.

The year started great and we bonded really well, sharing stories and spent a lot of time together quite a bit to put on a workshop around better ways of working. Then I missed the 3rd module because of the health problems. This really knocked my confidence as it was just after the scare with the breast lump and subsequent panic attacks. Again they were there for me, as we are all spread around the north of England this was remotely and mostly by whatsapp but it was nice to get a few messages of support.

For module 4 I managed to get to the classroom for Day 1 but found it so stressful and hardgoing and so didn’t attend the second day where we would be just in the peer group. I wrote in an earlier blog about how my anxiety got so bad last year I lost contact with people and when I was with people struggled with the idea that they were on my side or was just weirdly angry at slights that just didn’t exist. Anxiety can be awful on friendships sometimes.

Even up until Tuesday I really didn’t want to attend the last sessions and would not be able to give the requested feedback. You know what though? It was absolute rubbish! I think this week was actually my favourite session of all. I got to really re-connect with the others and genuinely bond with them. Some of us have very similar work struggles and we had a good hour airing our grievances about jobs which was really cathartic but then after that we spent another hour trying to work out how each one of us could work around that or suggesting ideas for moving on. I came home today feeling really inspired and empowered. None of this would have happened if I’d given in to the anxiety at the beginning of the week and the chimp in my brain telling me it would be a waste of time (for chimps see The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters)

At the beginning I mentioned a group of 6 peers but a shout out to only 4 (with me making 5). Sadly one seems to have dropped out. She disappeared part way through the day I missed (I’ve been told why and it’s not relevant here) and never came back. She’s not shown much interest in staying in touch in between but that happens and on a course like this you won’t bond with everyone and you can’t please everyone.

Going forward the 5 of us are going to have monthly calls to chat about work and what our current steps are and will try and have 6 monthly meet ups somewhere. I’m so glad to have met them and grateful then when my life got chaotic they were there and supportive when I needed it most.


365 Day Blog challenge Day 109 – International Women’s Day #365daychallenge

Well today was meant to be a quick meal blog as I met up with friends but all my plans went out the window with more snow. We had this freak blizzard that caused chaos this morning. The council didn’t grit the roads and there’s been 3 bus crashes that I’m aware of with one of them falling over sideways. Yet as I type this it’s 4.15, the sun is out and most of the snow has gone. My meal is cancelled and I ended up working from home.

So new blog plan needed…today is International Women’s Day and people have been talking on social media about inspirational women which made me think of family members. I didn’t have the best relationship with my mum and while we get on now I can’t forget how work and building a career and social status came before her children.

It meant as a small child I spent a lot of time with other women and they are the ones I find inspirational. My gran practically raised me (along with granddad but hey this is a women’s day 🙂 ) and when she couldn’t my aunts (her sister and niece but I called them aunts) took her place. I spent many weekends with all three women.

As a teenager my relationship with my  mum worsened even more. At one point I would come home from school, feed my brother, leave the house as soon as she walked in come home at 10pm and go to bed. This went on for a few years. I was at a huge crossroads and it would’ve been so easy to slip into trouble but I didn’t because of another woman – my high school best friend’s mum. I’ve lost count of the number of times she fed me. This was a woman with 2 kids on her own living on a part time wage and widows pension but she always made sure to have that extra meal for me and to check that I was ok. I really do feel that without her my life could have gone gone in such a different even more negative route.

So those are my inspirations. Women who took in a lost child and made her feel welcome and protected. I’m so grateful I had them in my life even for a short while

365 Day Blog challenge Day 78 – Single Girl Problems #365daychallenge

It’s February; Valentines month so there may be a few romance based blog posts this month. I’ve just finished a book called Single Girl Problems and I’ll link to the book blog at the end.

There’s part of it though that resonates with me and that is that the general public think a woman, especially an older one if she is single then she must be unhappy or searching for a husband.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been single for a while and I know why and am working on it but I don’t have the desperate desire to get married (tried it, didn’t like it) or have more babies (my son is grown up. I’m not the maternal type and my biological clock isn’t really bothered) and I actually love my life. In societies eyes I am so weird….

I meet a bunch of friends every month and there’s 8 of us. Out of the 8, 4 are married, 1 in a long term relationship and 3 singles. Guaranteed every time we meet someone will ask me are there any men on the horizon. Good job I’m straight really because it never occurs to them to ask if there’s a woman on the horizon. Just simply- have you found a man yet. Are you looking?

I have a successful job, I have a mortgage (lets ignore my financial issues) and I have a lot of freedom in my life. When I question back about not needing to be in a relationship they say they just want me to be happy…..

Because without that husband how can I not be anything else but unhappy?

It drives me bonkers. And it just doesn’t resonate with them (and there are others) that there could be any other way. We’re in the 21st century but there’s a lot of people still stuck in the 19th.

I have no idea how to get them to listen short of tattoo it on my forehead. I was once told (not by these friends) that as I’d been single for a while I may as well concentrate o my career because I had nothing else going for me. That was a family member! It’s no wonder I don’t confide in people.

I think I’ll just continue to carry on as I am. I’ll work on my issues and I’ll search for a partner in the way I want and a way that makes me comfortable. I’ll start a relationship because I want to and not because of peer pressure. And I’ll just block the others out. They have blinkers on and no matter the discussions I have I can’t change their minds.

I do have people I can confide in and I’ll talk my issues over with them. Thank heavens for at least one open minded friend 🙂

Single Girl Problems book review:

Single Girl Problems


365 Day Blog challenge Day 58 – Volunteering #365daychallenge

I’ve been thinking a bit about volunteering lately as it’s something I want to do this year. It has to be for a cause that means something to you as otherwise you’ll just not stick with it.

When my son was small I volunteered as a Cubs and Scouts helper. I really enjoyed it and loved seeing the young people blossom. Once he grew out of it I tried with girl Guides and it didn’t have the same effect. The girls seemed less engaged and the leaders were very disorganised. One of my co-workers is a Brownie leader so I know that this was a one off but I left as soon as I could

I’ve been thinking about some environment based volunteering. Another work colleague has recently been involved in cleaning her local beach of plastic that has been littered by people. In the UK we have a TV show called Blue Planet and the recent series showed the harm that littering plastics can do to animals. As much as this interests me I’m in between the East & West Coast, don’t drive and all the volunteering options I could find were for tiny village beaches I’d struggle to get to.

So I think for that I’d have to look and see what my options are closer to home.

Some volunteering I have been successful with is the Suffrage Centenary celebrations. It’s a 100 years this year that (some) women were allowed to vote. As a result the various government departments are having a relay across the UK and Ireland to celebrate. There’s a flag that will travel this route. Leeds, where I live, is a Suffrage City one of the original few cities where The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) had a base. There are a bunch of us going to take part, organise events for a week in October and no doubt you will see the results in a blog closer to the time

I’ve always had a keen interest in politics and social policy building so this is something that i feel I really can get behind and support. I’m looking forward to what happens next

What a Girl Wants

I haven’t written anything in a few weeks – not a blog, piece of fiction or even a bad poem. Some of it is simply because I’ve been out and about enjoying the sun, spending time with family and friends and also working on my family tree. My new OU course has started as well.

But I’ve also spent a fair bit of time brooding on this “flat heart” business (see blog Talking about a Revolution) and how I can start letting more people in. I find that if I have an issue (even one I’m not fully aware of at the time) that I end up dreaming about it. They are never straightforward dreams or ones that make any sense. One of the latest ones involved me training for the Olympics along with my sister and daughter. Well I don’t have a sister or a daughter and it’s fair to say I don’t do exercise very well either!

Apparently to dream of a daughter or sister when you don’t have one in real life means you have to start “acknowledging your femininity”!!!


This has sent me off on a bit of a thought process. What exactly makes a woman feminine?? I’m not a tomboy – I wear dresses, make up, paint my nails. I even own things in pink. My outside definitely says I am a girl. So if it’s not physical, can it be a psychological issue?

So how do you acknowledge your femininity internally? I’ve asked a few other women and all but one define it as physical things – the clothes and accessories. My mother – always one to offer outside the box thinking – said “well you’ve always had to do things for yourself so you’ve forgotten how to ask for help”. What does that mean? Well, apparently it means stop being She-Ra (80’s child alert!!) and find a guy who enjoys being He-Man and doing all the hard work. According to mother that’s most of them.

But…doesn’t that go against feminism and the right to be equal? Batting my eyelashes at the next door neighbour to get him to cut my grass (yes I tried it) felt weird but it did work. I’ve never actually thought of myself as a feminist until this discussion and I’m still not actually sure if I am one. I’m curious though – did the bra burners of the 60’s or the Suffragettes (who I’ll be studying in a few weeks) have their public protests then go home and play ickle wickle girl to their patners to get them to put some shelves up??

I put this theory to my best friend yesterday and she seems to think it’s true. That the way to a man’s’ heart is not through the clichéd stomach but by letting him have free reign over the power tools…

This week then I’ve discovered some principles I didn’t realise I had and now have to look at this and see how I can work with it and use it towards sorting out my patchy love life. And I’m still not sure what actually makes a woman feminine? I think maybe I have a research project to work onJ