Hiding The Bruises

incognitoI am alright now, (I think) but for a long time the situation with my ex-flatmate Jack kept my nerves on a knife-edge. I know there are some people who make a career out of being the subject of idle gossip for others, but that has never been something I wanted for myself.

Even when I was living with Jack, the rumours about the two of us were so upsetting, I tried to leave the flat earlier than anyone else and arrive home in the dark. I was sneaking in and out of my own home, to escape the attention of whoever it was who kept these shocking rumours breeding.

When I returned to London, after almost a year of resting and recovering from the physical injuries I had sustained the night I was assaulted (and then…being left for dead underneath some bushes) I was pretty nervous.

Although my physical injuries were healing up nicely, I was deeply self-conscious in so many ways. I was very nervous around men. I was very aware of my head! I felt secure with a hat on, or a bandana or scarf in the summer. I found London overwhelming. I felt very lost at times. I found bright lights gave me severe headaches. I always wore sunglasses out of doors. The first six months, I was hiding myself with hats, headscarves and sunglasses

But what I found effected me most deeply was gossip. I saw friends and colleagues. They were confused about why I had disappeared for a year. Many of them thought I had left in disgrace. Just before I had been attacked, there were rumours that I was involved with a married man. I don’t really feel like writing about that today, but I will at some point. There are already a couple of posts where I have touched on it already:

embarrassedBut it has taken a long time to be able to battle the anxiety that other people, people I admire and respect, think terrible things of me. That realization has made me pretty dismal at times.

I could have caused trouble for Jack. I did not want to do that. I could have talked about being assaulted (I find it really difficult to use the R word still) and beaten up. But you know, I really did not want to. If I started talking about it, I would have been asked a thousand questions by people that I was not ready to answer. So instead I let them think whatever they wanted to think.

As far as many of them are concerned, I was acting strangely, sneaking in and out of my own home at unusual hours, becoming cagey and defensive and emotional…and then I disappeared for a year. I returned to London wearing hats and sunglasses (with style!) and not answering questions openly.

I am a lot more settled than I was then, more relaxed about everything, and my friends are more relaxed. They all seem genuinely glad to have me around and everyone is very polite about what has happened in the past. Some of my very close friends know a lot more about what happened of course, and when I need someone to talk to they are wonderful. But on the whole, everyone has been so incredibly discreet about what happened to me, which I am extremely grateful for.

But there is a kind of loneliness that comes with having a big secret that you hide. I hide all the details of what went on between Jack and I. I hide all the details about what happened to me in the park. People know not to push me with too many questions because I will leave.

Aaaaah!

Well…I have said enough for today. It takes it out of me thinking about things that I don’t want to think about! So, to end this post I wanted to share a song that I fell in love with, mainly because I have become such a huge fan of the voice of Kristina Train. But I liked the song too…it does touch me in my situation. I have put two versions for you just in case you prefer the acoustic version. I like both actually.

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/daily-writing-challenge-nov-27/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/dismal/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/your-daily-word-prompt-lost-november-27-2018/

FOWC with Fandango — Leave

Don’t Let Go

Love, Galaxy, Universe, Cosmic, Night

Will you stand with me here for a while?

What in the world is going on?

What is this world coming to?

Is this the end of the world?

Please hold me

Hold me

Don’t let go

Tell me that everything is going to be alright

I’m afraid

 

My Feathered Friend

Spring Bird, Bird, Spring, Robin My nearest neighbour is obviously enjoying the pleasant spring weather we are having.

I see him more and more. Now that the evenings are lighter. he greets me whenever I come home.

Have you noticed more birdsong than normal? I don’t know whether the birds are singing more than they usually do, or whether I can hear them more clearly because there is so much less traffic on the road. Birdsong is one of the sounds I relish each day.

It reminds me of a verse I embedded on my heart when I made the decision to reject full-time work and a university education. I always wondered how I would be able to afford to be a volunteer and live on a part-time wage.

Stop being anxious about your lives as to what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your bodies as to what you will wear. Does not life mean more than food and the body than clothing? Observe intently the birds of heaven; they do not sow seed or reap or gather into storehouses, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they are? – Matt 6:25,26

For five years I did not earn any wages at all. I had basic accommodation and meals. I did not miss any of the things money can buy. There were wonderful wonderful things in life. Wonderful people. Wonderful experiences.

Aaaaah – sigh! I wish I could write more, but I am sleepy after a long day at work. Goodnight. Remember to listen out for the birdsong tomorrow.

Good Night To All

I am heading to bed to make sure I have enough rest before another crazy day at work tomorrow.

grrrr

I know there is a lot of anxiety and stress around, but please try to make sure you rest and sleep sufficiently. Sending love to my entire human family. We are all in this together. We want you to get through this time. Good night for now. May your slumber give you strength!

Do Not Worry About Tomorrow

So never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties. Each day has enough of its own troubles. – Matthew 6:34

I keep on hearing people voice their anxieties:

  • Man, Men, Hand, Person, People, Malewhat about my school exams?
  • what about my rent?
  • what about my pub/restaurant/hotel? how will it survive?
  • what about my holiday?

Of course it is natural to be anxious. However, it is at times like this that we have to think about one day at a time! Anxiety can sap your energy. Prolonged stress can make you run-down and weaken your immune system.

Thinking about today – let me ask?

  • Close-Up, Pasta, Pesto, Italiando you have enough food for today?
  • do you have enough toilet roll for today?
  • are you going to be evicted from your home for not paying your rent today?
  • are you still alive?

I know that already some people have lost jobs. For example one airline closed down completely recently. Other airlines have told staff they need to take a couple of months of unpaid leave. I understand the anxieties many may have.

This is something “our generation” have not known perhaps. But our older folks have. Many many millions of people in poorer countries know that each day is about today. Feeding your family for today. Having shelter for today.

One of the most moving experiences of my life was visiting a refugee camp in Accra, Ghana some years ago when there were many many refugees who had come from war-torn Liberia. They were so inspirational.

TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME

WHAT DO YOU NEED TODAY TO STAY ALIVE?

DO NOT LET ANXIETY OVER TOMORROW CRUSH YOU

OBEY THE DIRECTION ON HANDWASHING AND SELF-ISOLATION

DO NOT LET YOUR ANXIETY OVER YOUR JOB, YOUR FINANCES, YOUR RENT CAUSE YOU TO PUT LIVES AT RISK. DO THIS BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT MATTERS MOST – LIFE!

LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF!

 

Keeping Calm And Carrying On

Your strength will be in keeping calm and showing trust. – Isaiah 30:15

asamI found I had a nervous knot in my tummy last night. After dropping me off home, Jack said goodbye and went back to his place. I felt very alone. I have been in touch with family and friends all weekend. But nonetheless, as soon as I was alone, anxiety started to creep up into me.

I think part of that was the thought of another week of work. I am not frightened for myself. But there is a lot of anxiety all around me from our patients.

Family, Grandfathers, GrandparentsI do worry about the wonderful older members of our family. They are so very precious.

There is a part of me that is worried because everytime I go to the supermarket there are no toilet rolls, but I do have washlets now. Washlets are probably better than toilet paper.

It is important to be calm. Certain measures based not on panic, but on facts have been asked of us. Hand washing and self-isolating should not be a trauma.

flasI have changed some of my other habits. I have stopped using public transport for the moment. I am walking everywhere (except I was in Jack’s car this weekend, but Jack and me hardly isolated ourselves from each other!). Also I have started to take a flask of tea or coffee to work with me as well as my water bottle. I don’t want to use the kettle and cutlery at work. I am also making my own lunch everyday to avoid cafes and the like.

I am mixing with a lot of people at work of course. At the moment I cannot avoid that. I clean the work surfaces, phones, keyboards etc regularly.

I needed sleep to switch off my worries. Monday will be my longest day at work this week. I am looking forward to it being out of the way.

Anyway…there is a lot of advice and there are a lot of opinions floating around. But have your read the advice for all of us from the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION?

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

Can Anyone Tell Me?

It’s hard to plan when the whole world seems to be shifting around you.

What will tomorrow bring? Nobody seems to know. Anxiety over the cloud brewing on the horizon. One storm after another comes battering. Waves of panic over a disease that seems to spread like wildfire and hunts down the most vulnerable.  Billions of dollars disappear due to a lack of confidence about the future. Is it safe to go here? Is it safe to go there? Is it safe to shut ourselves away and hide?

It’s not just me. Everyone I speak to is uncertain. Everyone is wondering what will happen next? Will winter ever end? Will summer ever return? Will we be able to breathe a sigh of relief?

Map, Tourism, Lost, Direction, GuideWill the travellers stop and ask for directions? I see them smiling calmly, quietly waiting for anyone that wishes to pause and ask questions or take something to read. I see them everyday, in every corner of London.

They are not afraid. Neither do they fear storm nor pestilence. They do not lack confidence. Their bright eyes and sincere smiles reassure me that I can plan for the future. I can plan to live. They inspire me, they fill me with hope. I cannot help be in awe of their resilience, their faith and their love in enduring all manner of obnoxious remarks.

I often wonder to myself, is it someone like me that makes it worthwhile to them? When I stop and tell them I think they are wonderful and pick up something to read during my lunch break. They are always there, in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Urdu and other languages I am sure.

Where Are You Now?

I heard a song playing on the radio at work. It choked me up! I was walking home with the words “Where are you now?” echoing around my head.

Silhouette, Traveller, Mountains, LightWhile one of the most gorgeous men on the planet is in a remote part of the world, he is cut off from communications. I start to fear all sorts of things may have happened to him. What if an anaconda found him when he was sleeping? Or…no, I won’t list all of my bizarre anxieties.

Travel is wonderful. I am happy for him. But my mind keeps on going over all of the random hazards and dangers that could harm him in some way. I can’t bear to think of him being hurt.

Where are you now Goldfinch? All I need to know is that you are safe. I want you to be happy, healthy and free. But I need to know you are safe!

Don’t Worry…About A Thing

I am jiggered! Do you know what that means? If you are a northerner, I expect you understand, but if not, it means I am tired out. Wiped out, done in, exhausted! I have a genuine reason! I have worked long long hours every day from Wednesday until now…and my body is busy. Busy in a way I cannot comprehend, but all sorts must be happening with little apricot.

Work has been fairly busy, especially Friday. I got a bit worked up about something on Friday afternoon. The past basically. Everything that happened with Jack. It upset me – a lot. I had a terrible night on Friday, I had a real sharp pain that felt “unearthly”! It kept me awake which was frustrating because I had to be up early to work on Saturday.

All is good now…and I should be looking forward to a rest day…HOWEVER (a “however” in capitals is very foreboding)…I have a hospital appointment tomorrow, including another CT scan. Always wanting to be told I have the all clear…but I have so recently had head problems…I am fearing it might be news I don’t want to hear.

But…what is the point of worrying?!!! It is not going to help anything. So…instead, I shall settle down and hope for a good night’s sleep instead. Good idea hey! I am going to publish this post before I fall asleep here at my desk.

Goodnight 🙂

Oh and Goldfinch sent me lovely messages, which still cheer me up more than anybody and anything gracing my life.

Expect Nothing…Appreciate Everything

My Aunt Anne was a special lady…for a long time I was scared of her.  Who wouldn’t be when you saw her appearance?  She was a tall lady with flaming red hair and an eagle eye.  Intimidating through and through.  Aunt Anne had a habit of telling people off.  Not just children, adults too…grown men could be reduced to tears once they came under the scathing tongue of Aunt Anne..  She always knew best…and in all honesty I think we all knew that she really did know best.  Aunt Anne was a very special lady, one of the wisest, shrewdest and most prudent people I have ever known.

Aunt Anne took a close interest in my sisters and I during our teenage years.  I am so glad she did!  She seemed to know, I don’t know how, but she knew all of our deepest thoughts and feelings.  Such a discerning lady.  She took an interest in our plans and goals, our friends and the boys we had crushes on, she noticed what we talked about, what we spent our pocket money on. She could have run an intelligence agency because she picked up on all these details and came to frighteningly accurate conclusions (which of course she made sure she drew to the attention of our parents).

While I was a teenager, Aunt Anne saw something lurking inside me, something weighing my heart down.  She detected an unusual level of anxiety.  She probed me over it.  I was frightened.  It might sound silly but I was frightened by the cost of life in this world.  The cost of housing, the cost of utility bills, the cost of transport, the cost of clothing and food – it all seemed overwhelming.  I was a teenager and I did not have to bear those costs yet.  But I was looking ahead, worrying about tomorrow.  I looked ahead and thought I had no choice but to become enslaved to a company, chained to a desk, trapped in a job I despised…all just to be able to afford to be alive.

Aunt Anne subtly helped me to realize that I did have choices.  My habits and decisions would effect the cost of my lifestyle.  She taught me many practical tips.  She sat with me and trained me in developing a budget and how to decide what was really important to me.  She showed me how I could stretch my pennies and to make what I owned last longer.  She taught me about free fun…so rather than spending my leisure time visiting restaurants and cinemas and theatres, as often as I may have liked…I made those things very occasional treats and instead learnt to love the great outdoors, learnt to bake and invite friends over to my home instead of us all going out to eat.  I always ended up with a huge drinks collection when I hosted an evening for friends.

She taught me to glean enjoyment in life and creation.  From even the smallest delights…dewdrops on a spider’s web, the appearance of the first spring flowers…to revering the grandeur and majesty of mountains and sunsets.  She showed me their worth is immensely greater than anything money can buy.

I am grateful to Aunt Anne for helping me see that if I wanted to live within a balanced budget and avoid being enslaved by years of debt, I needed to change my attitude, my aspirations, my ambitions and to cultivate contentment.  (My parents were caring for seven children. There was no way they could supply our every whim and wish, so I think we had been helped to realize we could not always have what we wanted.  My parents also helped us see that we needed to be willing to share and to see that everyone of the family was important and none should be demanding more than the rest.  Life is so much sweeter when you are able to share and think about what you can do for others.)

Sharing sweets

One very practical piece of advice she passed on to me was “Expect Nothing…Appreciate Everything”.

Now Aunt Anne used that advice in reference to things, possessions.  But as soon as she uttered those words, they rang true to me in so many other avenues.  Perhaps they do with you also.

Her words have swum around my mind on many occasions…especially when I was involved in a new project with a new group of people or making a new start…everywhere I have been I have told myself:

  • Expect Nothing….don’t be disappointed by having unrealistic expectations.  Work and give without thinking of what you want to get out of it.  Show the kind of love that does not require reciprocation.
  • Appreciate Everything…every time someone does something nice, even the littlest  kind gesture, make sure you show gratitude.  Look after what and who is in your life, show how much they mean to you.  Count your bounteous blessings!

I have found that by heeding the sage advice of Aunt Anne I have never really had worries.  I have felt richer than I ever imagined.  I have avoided debt.  I have travelled to many countries because people I met and worked with asked me to go and visit them, I have had adequate accommodation in some very beautiful locations which I have cared for and kept clean. I truly have had far more than I have ever needed.

As for people…well, I have found that life is rich – rich with people whom I love and who love me.  I am convinced that my treasure of life experiences, memories and friends has been accrued partly because I followed Aunt Anne’s wise words: EXPECT NOTHING…APPRECIATE EVERYTHING.

Thank you

_______________________

Many of us are very sad at the news that First Fridays, Daily Prompt and The Community More are no more to be…We are all hoping there will be ways to keep the connections going.  Well one way appears to be challenges bloggers can nominate each other for.  So this post is Day One of the Three Day Challenge.

I was nominated for this audacious challenge by Mr Mark Anthony, as you can see from his post.  Mark has recently completed this challenge himself.  Thank you Mark Anthony…the nomination gave me some ideas regarding more lessons in life that Caramel has indeed learned.  I am pleased to be able to share them on the Crushed Caramel site.

https://markanthonysthings.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/3-days-3-quote-challenge-day-1-1st-tag-be-inspire/?wref=pil&wref=pil

THE RULES:

• Thank the person who nominated you.

• Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).

• Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day.

“ Expect Nothing….Appreciate Everything” 

CRUSHED CARAMEL (LEARNER AT LOVE) – DAY TWO OF THE THREE DAY – THREE QUOTE CHALLENGE

My nominees are:

https://bahmanmalwan.wordpress.com

https://havinganatter320629379.wordpress.com

http://www.eseness.com/

I love looking at your posts and appreciate all of your support and encouragement.

I hope you enjoy this challenge as much as I have.  Have fun!

I have one more day of the challenge to complete, one more post, one more quote…I have been working on it…one more to come…it is another weepie.

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/08/09/your-daily-word-prompt-expect-august-9th-2018/