Share Your World – Week 52

This is my response to Cee’s Share Your World. Enjoy!

What is your favourite ice cream flavour?

Vanilla. It seems to have become a bad word for boringness, but I love it in both icecream and human form.

If you were to treat yourself to the “finer things” what would you treat yourself to?

I am not one for fancy stuff at all. I was reading one of the First Ladies Detective books and one of the characters was reprimanded for having enough money to employ help but not doing so even though he would have benefited. I think then that if I did have the money I would employ as a housekeeper or chauffeur.

Have you ever been drunk?

Yes. It’s not big or clever and can get you into trouble. Seeing people drunk is also boring. Anyone who gets drunk because they think that it is funny is stupid. Seriously, stop it now. I do not drink anymore as it led me not to be me, and that led to a reputation.

Complete this sentence: My favourite supposedly guilty pleasure is…

Cheesy music. A few days ago I was flicking through the CDs on sale at the charity shop I volunteer at. I found a Village People album and put it at the front where it can be seen. I fully expect it to have been snapped up by now. I admit though that I do actually feel guilt when I sing along to radio cheese though. If others cannot see the beauty then that is their own misfortune.

What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the coming week?

 

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Sweet Seahorse

In the past few days I have made a fine collage of sealife out of chocolate wrappers which I am pretty proud of, and today I received a new power pack for an old laptop. Thankfully it works as my newer laptop was the victim of a temper tantrum. I am now Windows 7 and untouchscreenable, but trust me, these are good things.

The coming week brings us the new year. I see this as a time to recreate myself, and leave bad things behind. I am therefore looking forward to things like not recording more television than I can possibly watch, (I have an episode of Beck that I recorded in October 2015). I also look forward to growing my creative side and nurturing my little online shop. Hey, I might be able to afford a housekeeping chauffeur this time next year!

See you in 2017

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Share Your World – 2016 Week 50

What is your favourite smell? What memory does it remind you of?

I think that my favourite smell is that of newly cut grass. It doesn’t actually bring any specific memory to mind though.

What type of pet do you have or want to have?

I have always wanted a cat so when a colleague of mine said that her cat was going to have a litter and that the kittens would have to be re-homed, I jumped at the opportunity. I knew that I wanted a female, (I heard that males spray so probably wouldn’t make good house cats), and Agatha came to live with me. Strange, and I was not bothered at the time, (I just wanted to give someone a home), but Agatha is a tortoiseshell, and months later I found a picture book of cats and saw the picture of the cat that I wanted. A tortoiseshell, with the same beige stripe down it’s nose!

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A few months later I had the opportunity to get a friend for Agatha, and Maudie joined the pride.

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Are you usually late, early, or right on time?

It gives me the heebie jeebies to think that I might be late for anything, and I don’t trust myself to be right on time, so I am usually far too early.

For recharging, would you rather meditate, swim, walk, listen to music, write, read, yoga, qigong, other?

I like to snuggle down in bed and listen to comedy and drama on the radio.

What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for the chance to open up an Etsy shop and, (hopefully), make some money from my hobby. No-one else wants to give me paid employment so I shall have no option to be an entrepreneur. I am looking forward in the next week to be twiddling and tweaking my shop settings, creating new ideas, and promoting ZenChildCreations.

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Musing

A few days ago I went back to Facebook. I thought that it was something that I would never, ever do, but I’ve been feeling isolated. Being both an introvert and living away from the family, I do find it difficult sometimes. It’s not that I am lonely, it’s just that I miss the occasional connection with others. As well as sending out a few and receiving a few friend requests I joined the group Introvert Nation. I wonder the collective noun for introverts is?

Anyway, back to this post, which is written in response to the Daily Post Discover Challenge, Mind the Gap.

Now, for us introverts, verbal expression can be very difficult. This is a big, big problem as there are many people out there who judge others on the amount of words that come out of your mouth. They think that you cannot be feeling something if you do not say that you are feeling something. Even worse, they may think that if you are really quiet there must be something wrong with you (some children called me ‘docile’ at school)!

So here we have a really tricky gap between words and feelings; but it goes further. How many people use words to try and fool or control people? How many try to convince others or even themselves about the reality of things? How many people use words when they don’t even feel the corresponding feeling? How many words are wasted in lies?

There is  a secret though known, it seems, only by introverts. Words are special. To be effective they should be used sparingly. Feelings, on the other hand, are constant, and should always be so. The person walking or sitting next to you may be silent, but they are feeling something.

This morning, for the first, and hopefully not last, time a poem came to me almost fully formed. It is dedicated to everyone out there, and I hope it provokes some thought.

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Share Your World 2016 – Week 43

What are you really glad you did yesterday?

For a long time now I have been aware that I need more exercise. Yesterday I ventured out of the flat not once, but twice. Both times I walked about 2 miles! Small victories make for a happy life, methinks.

Would you prefer a one floor house or multiple levels?

As there is only me and two small cats, I like my one floor space. It is quite big enough for me, but I think that I would prefer the ground, rather than first floor. I suffer from sciatica which affects my knees and I live in hope that the condition will not get worse and force me to move. It would also mean that the cats would have the option of going outside (although there isn’t much in the way of soft furnishings outside!).

Have you done something that you truly want to do today?

I received a letter from the tax office containing a cheque for monies owed to me, so yes!

What plans did you have as a teenager that didn’t happen? Are you happy they didn’t work out that way?

I was in a couple of relationships with people who would have liked to marry me. Shudders. Enough said.

What are you grateful for from the last week? What are you looking forward to in the coming week?

I am grateful for the having to extra cash to repay the kindness of a market trader, for seeing the look on her face when I gave her the money that she was not expecting, and for the surprise gift from a friend. I am looking forward to popcorn and horror films at Halloween. Small pleasures make for a happy me.

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The Girl who was Used Up

Liberated. I was not dismissed. I was liberated. Set free from the oppressive regime that clipped the wings of my soul to deliberately keep it from flight.

I used to love the job even though I was only working on the checkout. I loved starting my shift and working constantly to help the customers at the end of their retail journey. It was all about customer service. I was all about customer service.

It went on like this for years. I looked forward to going into the store and work with happy staff and interact with happy customers. Then last year it all changed.

The year seemed to start well. It looked like the new general manager was settling in and be the much needed fresh air that was much needed. Then came a new deputy.

The man was ignorant (and probably still is). Just knowing him is oppressive so you can imagine what working with him was (and probably still is) like. A true Machiavellian I remember mentioning to a colleague that I thought he would push you off a cliff if you did not earn him any Brownie points from the area manager.

He did not introduce himself when he first came. I cannot either trust or respect people who ignore others. The first time that he spoke to any of the shop floor staff was just after he had been observing their work on camera. The first words to people were words of criticism. It is impossible to like a person who does this. Contrast to the trading manager who started a few weeks before. An amiable chap who went out of his way to introduce himself to everyone, including the trolley boy.

More and more rules came down from head office, and the deputy manager was determined that these rules would be upheld whatever difficulties the individual may have. By this time I overworked. I was automatically expected do overtime, (up to twice my contracted hour), end at 9pm and start the next day at 7am, and sometimes even to do more than 5 days in a row. I was not the only one. I was told by one of the staff that she was down to work a continuous 12 days. He did not know any of this. He did not know any of us. We were all tired, and if this led us to make mistakes we were punished. I was making more mistakes than others and he was ‘in my face’ all the time. I used to cry myself to sleep.

 

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(1964)

 

You may ask why I did not tell him. Why I did not complain about the expectations upon me. It’s difficult to explain, but complaints to my supervisor were all in vain and I found the deputy manager to be completely unapproachable. For most of my life I have lived with untreated depression. I thought that I had it under control. I did not realise that being so tired would affect my focus. I made my third, and final, fatal mistake.

I was suspended before I was dismissed. The day after the suspension occurred I was in bits. I could not understand what had happened to caused me to err so badly. I managed to calm down though and decided seek treatment for my depression. I am now on anti-depressants and have noticed that I liable make some strange decisions on the days when I forget to take one.

Now I have been free from his tyranny for about 10 months. I no longer cry, volunteer a few days  week, and find that I am more creative and interested in life than ever. Please, if this is happening, or has happened, to you, know that this is a time of growth. A chance to reflect on was has happened and look to the future. As for the today, it is yours to do with want you will. Stay positive, and the world is yours.

One often meets his destiny on the road that he takes to avoid it

~ Oogway (Kung Fu Panda, 2008)

Enough Already!

In March 2016 I started a gratitude journal. It occurs to me that some of the things that I am grateful may seem a little strange to some, and that they may find the explanation to be of interest. In this occasional series that is exactly what I intend to do. Be prepared to be amazed at what I am grateful for…

I am grateful for not having too much money

Several years back I was assembling a small bookcase in the front room. Feeling that I would like to have some accompaniment to my semi-hard work, I turned on the television, channel hopped for a few moments, and then settled on a program that was just starting, The Secret Millionaire. The premise of the show is that a wealthy person goes undercover and chooses which project or person to give money to. ‘I wish I had enough money to give away’, I thought. The question is though, just how much is enough?

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You don’t even have to move to raise funds for Tibet Relief

To try and answer this question I thought about what I would do with a million pounds. Well, my first idea is that I would like to make a donation to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. This happy band of volunteers who save countless lives at sea is funded entirely by charitable donations, and what better way to donate but than to actually buy them a brand, spanking new lifeboat? The only problem? One million does not even buy part of a lifeboat.

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Buying gifts from the RNLI shop is one of a few ways that you can support them

So. how much is enough then? It’s not only the RNLI that I like to support when I can, there is also the British Heart Foundation, Oxfam, and Tibet Relief to name but a few. I know that I would never, ever have enough money to go around, and only giving to one would somehow make me feel guilty. I content myself with putting any spare change in tins, volunteering, and buying the more unusual gifts for myself and my family.

I have enough. I don’t need anymore.

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Oxfam Unwrapped – Buy someone a pig, a chicken, or maybe even a whole farm

 

 

 

It’s not Me, it’s You

I have had a strange problem all of my life; the problem of perception. I do not mean that by this I am saying that I have sight problems, or that I have low self-worth. No. The problem of perception that I mean is other people’s perception of me.

When I was quite young I suffered quite a serious illness. Happily, this has had no lasting effect. Sure I have a couple of minor issues that you could connect to the illness, but it turns out that these issues could be suffered by anyone, so I am happy enough to conclude that there is no connection at all.

I have just finished watching a wonderful TED talk by Susan Cain, and I realised something. When I was at secondary school it seemed to me that I was avoided by many of my classmates. I used to think that maybe there parents had told them to stay away from me because I had suffered an illness that they were ignorant of. This may well have happened, but now I believe something else was going on. I was gently being punished for a wrongdoing.

I kept myself to myself. I was quiet. I was the kid who prayed for a rain at playtime so I could stay in the classroom and read. I hated having to venture into the playground with all it’s noise and chatter, running about and being boisterous. I now live quite near a junior school. I see the quiet ones trying to occupy their time like I did. My heart goes out to them.

I believe that I was subject to prejudice. It’s been going on for most of my life, and it still goes on for others. People do not like others to be different. At the most extreme people will just write you off. Others, who are well meaning, think that there is a problem to be overcome, and they encourage you to join in. I would be invited to parties and get togethers, accept the invitation, and then, assuming I did not back out, hate every minute of it. I love to be part of a team at work, but really, in my spare time, leave me be. Talk to me if you want to, and by all means invite me out, but please don’t pressure me.

I believe that social pressures contributed to my depression. It’s something that I have battled with for a long time, and it’s taken half of my life to start to win the war against it. I am now more confident and more creative now than I have been in years.

I am job seeking at the moment. At the beginning of this period of unemployment I felt useless for not having a job. I would get downhearted if I was turned down for jobs from employers who I never wanted to work for in the first place. Then I realised that all I can do is present the best version of myself to them. If they decided to turn me down then it’s their loss. A job does not define who I am. Being unemployed does not define who I am. Society will no longer decide who I am. I will decide.