Freezing Fog

Nature, Dawn, Winter, Sky, Tree, Water, River, Bach

These past few weeks, there has been a lot more fog than I remember for a long time. Freezing fog. I have arrived at work shivery and soaking wet.

I know the way to work like the back of my hand. It is interesting to me, because when it is foggy, I have only been able to see around three or four metres ahead of me. Then there is a thick white grey cloud that obscures everything ahead. But I don’t worry, because I know the way. I know the route. I have been here before, many times. I am not afraid.

When you sense a fog descending in your life, don’t despair. You can do this. Keep doing what you know you need to do, one step at a time. I know from my own experience that it can be frightening – to be stuck in a life fog. To not see the way out, to not see the route ahead can be scary. But take the few steps right in front of you.

The fog will lift.

Soon the choice that all humans will have to make will be as clear as daylight.

Who is qualified to rule mankind?

Shaken Up Under Pressure

Girl, Shop, Souvenirs, Woman, Shelf

Have you ever had to work in retail? I always knew that one of the biggest challenges for retailers is shoplifting.

I know of a recent incident where teenage girls were shoplifting herbal supplements (health conscious shoplifters?) and when a member of staff from a distance made it clear they were observing and offered the girls a shopping basket the result was appalling behavior. Swearing, spitting, the teenagers accusing the member of staff being racist (even though the member of staff was black), and then to leave things on a sweet note, one of the teenagers decided it was time to throw the fizzy drink she had been sipping all over the two member of staff who were now present.

Business, Shoes, Bags, Leather Goods

Charming young ladies, I am sure they must be the pride and joy of their families!

I was watching the BBC Breakfast News this morning while listening to the sound of the pouring rain outside. I saw something shocking. They had a report on retailers facing an increase in abusive behaviour from shoppers, particularly since the start of the…you know. The report was not focused on shoplifting at all, it was more to do with incidents of aggression that retailers seen a significant increase in this year.

They played a video, and I must warn you, it is quite disturbing to watch. Well, it shook me up.

https://metro.co.uk/video/customer-destroys-op-told-follow-one-way-system-2253476/?ito=vjs-link

Shopping, Kermit, Money, Euro

Apparently the store assistants had reminded the customer of social distancing requirements. I imagine that like every other shop they would have had visual aids displayed to bring this to the attention of shoppers. (Most people have been careful and considerate about social distancing requirements, but others have been casual or just careless about the clear instructions we have been asked to follow.)

Frustration, prolonged stress and anxiety – a lot of people have been shaken up by the events of 2020. I think some people are like a bottle of fizzy pop…ready to explode. I think we are going to see more explosive behaviour over future weeks and months.

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

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!