Value

Value is a trivial subject

We look at an object;

We weigh it, feel it, judge it,

We put purpose on it.

 

Each pair of eyes

Using experience and need to

Define the physical object

Before them

 

How can we trust the value

We are told.

The products we see shelved

How do we justify the value

From complex eyes.

 

Do the needs and desire of a person

Distinguish the value

We see and accept

 

To value independently

Is the second oxygen we breath

Allowing humans of different experience

To define our value, based upon their

Complex needs and wants

Is treading on your ability to live

Full and free

 

Value is ours, it is yours

To chip away, build up

Wherever you so please.  

Visions through crystal waters

I sit wondering about the life I am going to live.

With visions of crystal waters, green and blue;

Ready to awaken my soul

To follow a purpose I feel destined for.

The invigorating but smooth waters lift me up;

Completely weightless.

 

Glimpsing through my softly closed eyes,

I find peace in this natural force that soothes me,

Enables me to feel protected.

The sun glares through the glass like liquid,

The distance we keep, keeps the warmth.

 

I sit, begin to move my eyes,

I wake to the sight of my reality.

 

Gravity.

F**K being an inconvenience.

It’s International Women’s day.

Today, I am celebrating the nurses, the advocates, the headteacher, the teachers, the social worker, the police officers, the lectures, the Mum’s and the sisters. This is the female army that enabled me to make the most important decision I have ever made, to leave a chronically abusive relationship.

Feeling good for nothing, wearing the scruffiest clothes, hiding behind my mask – I knocked the door of the school. The first step required me to block my emotions, close my eyes and run through the fire, what I found on the other side was nothing less than a miracle. After years of believing I could suffer a bit longer, next week he will be a different person. He never changed. I finally saw the evidence that everything he was poisoning my mind with was complete bullshit, a lie, an act! As he self destructed, he used me as something to trample upon to make himself feel better. The women I list above have saved my life. I remember each conversation, each plan, each step we made to get me away from this toxic situation. Within months of leaving, I have started a new job, I have accepted that time is a healer, despite lacking patience – I thrived within days of leaving. Under the surface of all this pain, I didn’t realise that at my core, a resilient woman was growing every day. With every cruel word, every bruise, every time I had to kneel to ask for money to buy milk and bread, when I was only allowed to do things if it made us money, when I was told to dress a particular way, when I was told to go to bed like a baby. This will stay with me forever but forever I am resilient because of it.

You feel like you will never be able to leave, you will make a million excuses before you act on your suffering. However, you will leave. You will educate yourself, you will begin to wake up from this coma of control and abuse. One thing you must do, is act selfishly for that moment, forget being an inconvenience to people and do not stop talking, if one person doesn’t listen, speak to another. Call Women’s aid, call Refuge, call your Doctor, call your children’s school, call your midwife, call your careers advisor, go to a Hwb, go to a police station, go to leisure centre. If you don’t know what to say, if you are not in immediate danger, act like you are, because when you are being abused – you are constantly in danger. Speak to professionals, who can take the practical steps that family and friends often cannot.

Our communities are tainted with abuse, emotional, physical, online, financial and beyond. By speaking up and leaving, we are standing up against the millions of perpetrators out there.

To Women.

Resilient and Weak

She woke every morning, she moved every hour, she slept when allowed.

She did not consent to this poison. This intravenous drip providing enough poison to distract her perception of her self identity, rights and feelings. The initial sting of the needle, the discomfort of its presence made her speak up and act up; this only caused her to be scolded and told she needed this in order to survive.

The more she was scolded, the area began to numb.

She became resilient, a survivor or so she believes.

It confused her how a strong and resilient individual could lack self worth, self identity and energy to fight. Contrary to her upbringing, where she witnessed a loving family life, parents who supported each other with love, energy and respect. There were moments of conflict and tension, but the presence of love was undeniable.

How did her life consist of undeniable fear, despite the numbness of this poison… She could feel the fear of the initial sting, the consequences if she removed this invasion of her identity. Fear felt like anxiety, anxiety feels like depression. Each day the fear determines how she will get through that day. It controlled the decisions she made at the shop, the clothes she wore. She contemplates whether today is an appropriate occasion to wear foundation and mascara or will a clear face let me go unseen which felt like a sense of security. Fear stripped away every single friend she ever had, the friends who had put stupid ideas in her head, did not understand her responsibility as a wife and mother. The friends she misses so dearly. She had managed to maintain one friendship, which primarily existed on her phone. Occasional coffee catch ups resulted in a sour atmosphere for the remaining hours of the day. The direction she received, she should be asleep when he drank into the early hours of the morning. She should not give details of her family to her colleagues, she should do the job and return home. She should be ashamed of her body and accept that she will never be desired by another human being again. The body that carried and provides for three babies day in day out. She believes every word, it destroys her at the core. She was a fiery yet gentle human being who felt confident in getting what she wanted and doing what she wanted for other people. She was and probably still is a woman full of love and care for other people. Her heart is spiritual and full of empathy. She feels brief comfort in the thought that her God in carrying her. She does however feel undeserving of any support or love. She is a shell that has served its purpose, not even worth picking up to cherish.

The struggle has left her weak and angry. Frustration, pain and fear filling her body up. The fear of death no longer exists in her mind. She has been scrupled up and left with a sickening feeling that she no longer understands her purpose in life.

Yet she continues to walk through each day, each month and each year resilient and weak. Wondering if her fear will fall away from her one day, as easy as it is inflicted. She sees pain as an opportunity to escape, but the pain inflicted is not often substantial enough to shock her into calling for help. She regrets the time a fist landed in her head and a plate opened up her elbow, she regrets not knowing what she should do, she regrets not being as educated as she is now.

Education opens doors, she knows what is right and wrong; the strings that wind around her body and mind are far to strong, far too complicated and far to rough.

Her story continues.

Enough is enough

Despite my greatest efforts, my resistance against embracing motherhood as a full time job has finally imobilised me.

I’ve told myself that I’m young enough to mother three children, have a full time job and a hobby. It’s taken me a good six years to crash and burn. I can sit back, telling my story and pushing the blame onto so many people and so many things. However, it not only enables my determination to burn out, it fills me with a resent that is only eating away at my energy, daily.

There is alot of talk these days about self love, which I thought I understood. Self love is pampering, time off and relaxation right? Wrong. I am now coming to understand and accept that self love is making good choices for your own self. It’s taking time and energy to understand ourselves the way we wish others would. I’ve reached a point in my life where I now realise the only one who can make me happy in this life is myself. Short term, of course we can rely on the happinesses of the every day, however when we primarily rely on that to have a sense of fulfillment we are setting ourselves up to fall down.

In reality, not every day can we full of joy, happiness and fulfillment; we naturally face challenging times on a daily basis too. It’s what gives us balance as human beings in society. Sometimes the balance is not level and our underlying ability to cope with small stresses begins to give way, resulting in physical and mental health issues.

How then, can we establish a strong, underlying foundation of fulfillment despite the everyday circumstances? We can begin by saying “no”. For me this was the only starting point to cease the destructive cycle of opening the door to the relentless pressure from responsibilities and personal expectations. When we can begin to say no, we begin to take control over what we’re allowing to enter our minds and ultimately we are getting to know our needs and wants as individuals.

This journey of self love is at its rawest stage, currently. The small amount of strength I am experiencing so far is maintaining me and keeping me afloat as I discover more about my needs and wants as a woman and Mother.

Hardwork is my remedy

Over the past year, the very meaning of depression has become apparent to me. I have previously defined my experience of depression as ‘postnatal’ after all as a Mum of three children under 7, that seems like the less daunting reason for the way I feel. This would be completely justifiable in my circumstances and in the circumstances of many women. Now, I wouldn’t usually accept a male perspective on the intensity of labour, however my Father said something to me that changed my outlook on birth from my second child. The empathic man that he is, he told me as I dwelled on the fear and anticipation of giving birth for a second time “the thing is Beth, labour is called labour because it is laborious. It’s hard work but you can do it” – in that moment, I was so focussed on the pain of labour that his comment completely stunned and rationalised the situation for me. He transformed my approach to labour, he turned my fear of unpredictable pain into something I could hold and control.

Hard work is a constant within motherhood, it builds up resilient, dedicated and selfless individuals. How then, could such an experience cause depression. For many, postnatal depression, anxiety and trauma is a very real part of their ongoing experience. We can however embrace the hard work of motherhood as an experience like no other, one that not only makes us fulfilled Mothers but skillful individuals that have an abundance of maturity and experience to bring to our careers and relationships.

The reasons behind my depression are deep and personal. I do however, feel immensely grateful for the hardwork I have in front of me, from toddler tantrums to university papers; I feel a huge sense if fulfillment in my role of Mum and truly believe it is a constant remedy for the depression I experience.

Thank you Dad for being the rational, caring and bold individual that you are.

Married but Single

Freedom of speech and Equal opportunities – the very definition of the world we live in now. Not quite.

The complexity of these social issues goes beyond the need for change.Within every individual case, there are barriers, different barriers for all. Like the mutation of covid, the fight for freedom of speech and equal opportunities is an up hill battle. You may be thinking, that change is on the horizon, as more people are speaking out and standing up for what they believe is right. However, there are indivduals worldwide who are not aware that there is a fight going on or that what they are experiencing isn’t right or simply they are just numb with fear and unable to put their experience into words.

When we reflect upon the fight to close the gender pay gap, generally we see a rough idea of what we would like to achieve. However, behind many doors there are women who by no fault of their own… or maybe by fault of their own are trapped. There are mothers who fight every day to keep a peaceful home, fight everyday to keep the children well and happy. There is now a great awareness of domestic, sexual absue and even coercive control. Where women who live as Wife, Mum, Daughter and Sister; there you will find untold stories about manipulation and abuse that has occured in different shapes and sizes. The barriers that come up against women are very real but the unique nature of each experience does not simply have the same exit route as society would expect.

At the age of 20, I gave birth to my eldest. 8 years down the line, I am Mum to three wonderful individuals. I have said on many occassions that I have grown up with my children, from a very naive 19 year old to the woman I am today. There is no room here for the blame game, however, there is room for the truth. For the past 8 years, I have been married but single. What this means is that from the birth of my daughter, I have changed ever single nappy, done every bath time, every bedtime, every school concert, every dinner, every…really the list could go on. I’m not here to big myself up (although… Well done Beth, you’re a bloody saint) but I want to share my reality and the reality of many others. From the outside it may look like I am a willing housewife who adores her duties. Well, no. I am a woman who thrives in education, a woman who passionately desires to achieve and a woman who wants to be heard. The psychology behind all of this probably stem from the occassional sting of oppression, a constant reminder that I am just a woman, just a Mum, just a Wife. As I mentioned before, I have grown with my children and like a child I spent many years seeking affirmation from the people around me and it is a habit that has stayed with me. This deep scar is rooted at the centre of me. I fear that the words I say will be wrong, I fear that the wrong person will call my number, I fear that if I leave kitchen in a mess I will be less of a wife or Mum. The reality is, these deeply rooted struggles and scars are present among many. In all honesty most days just look like survival for me, but these kind of days are lessening. I am embracing my opportunity to study, embracing my opportunity to wear makeup, embracing my opportunity to stay up late to watch a series on BBC and finally, the saddest of all, I cling to this blog where I can share my thoughts in the knowledge that no one in my house actually reads it or is remotely interested in it. These opportunities are fulfilled with an underlying fear, however I have realised that I must claim my life back. Life was given by God and belongs to no one else.

To my sisters who do EVERYTHING and more. Power to you, POWER TO YOU! I am with you.

Speak your Mental Health.

Depression feels like a loyal acquaintance. The friction of its presence sands me down gently, sometimes roughly. The gentle whittling of its character, transforms my physical self into sediment rock – unyielding yet fragile. My shoulders hunch forward and my chest draws in, as I protect my heart from the pain in my mind.

Speak your truth, Speak your mental health.

Confrontation

As an individual, I have for a very long time tredded the rocky path of avoiding confrontation. Whether it’s the fear of being hurt or hurting someone else; I have been weighed down on so many occasions. Weighed down by the words of others, weighed down by the fear of letting people down and being weighed down by the future.

Reflecting upon this, I build up a landscape of various stages in my life where this fear of confrontation may be rooted. It is actually hard to say specifically as it is not directly rooted by a physical experience. However, the more I become aware of empathy and what this means within my life, I see strength and weakness. As a child, I was deeply effected by the pain of others. I recall one day in high school, my history teacher who in fact was quite an angry person (or seemed that way) came into class swiftly, in tears, abruptly putting a video tape on and then soon after leaving the class still in tears. To the entertainment of many in the class, this whole experience was quite amusing. Although it’s easy to laugh at the jokes being made, my curiosity bothered me and left me concerned for this teacher. Obviously there was nothing I could do, but the pain she felt, I recognised, I wanted to know that she was okay.

It is definitely hard to explain being an empath, without sounding like a goody two shoes or someone who lacks sense of humour. The truth is though, empathy goes beyond sensing the pain of others, it senses the elation of a fellow, proud parent who has just been told that they’re child has had a good day today (on the back of many bad ones). If we begin to explore aspects of empathy that are non traditional, we begin to understand more about our own values.

Drawing back to confrontation, it could be said that confrontation is the opposite of having empathy. However, we must broaden our understanding that empathy is dynamic and should not be confused for sympathy.

Today, my empathy was drawn in many directions. During a post school run visit to the park with the three children and the puppy, I was faced with an unexpected confrontation. As I attempted to round up the gang, I headed towards the park gate to signal that Mummy means what she says “it is time to go”. With this, my excited four year old boy began one last run across the park, following another group of kids his age. Unfortunately he bumped, tripped or something along those lines into one of the girls. The parent of this child immediately scooped her up and followed my son across the park… to wait for it… to make him apologise for bumping into his daughter. With the parents friend onlooking, my son ran to me with his head hanging in fear, fear that he was in trouble and fear that he had hurt someone.

My hopes for a cup of coffee at this point were nil. I therefore approached the parent who was cradling their child to be welcomed with “it’s okay he apologised”. In the hope that everyone was okay and we would exchange an amusing conversation about kids being kids, I apologised for any upset, to which I received judgemental stares as we exited the park. At this point, I really could have walked away being the passive person I am, but truthfully my heart went out to my son. He was embarrassed and sad. With no signs of blood or any sort of injury, my empathy was not with the child as bad as that may sound. The whole situation had been deranged into an ugly judgement on my children and I. Indeed, I stopped and with a polite yet defensive “Excuse me, I’m sorry she’s upset but…my son is not malicious, he has sisters and would never go out of his way to hurt another person. Also, if you need an apology you come directly to me, the Mother, not him, the child.” I did not speak up to cause pain to this family and I fully weighed up an understanding that I did not know what they were going through as individuals, however neither did they know that my son is one who struggles socially and has taken a long time to come out of his shell. In this moment, the confrontation towards my son and the atmosphere created left me on fire, this was a situation I had to confront for the sake of my children’s understanding that some times you have to stand up and express yourself, despite what is up against you.

To conclude, empathy is dynamic, confrontation is not negative, the two can work together… even if you are left with a need to cry out the emotions that experience brought (#empath)

Quote to sign off: “Well that was embarrassing” – my beautiful seven year old who tells jokes always at the right time!