Do not be afraid. I…will help you.

I don’t mind being alone…truth be told, I quite like my own company.  My head is never empty of happy thoughts, wonderful memories, dreamy hopes.  I am more than content to be alone at times and be lost in my own pleasant mind.

However, I was once all alone.  Not on my own physically, rather I was isolated within a challenge that I could no longer handle.  I am going to save the full saga of how this challenge developed and intensified for other posts.  But for now, it is enough for you to know that I had no idea who to turn to for help.  It was a situation I did not feel I could share with my loving family.  It would have appalled them to know what I was dealing with.

I had lost confidence in the friends around me.  I had many friends who had known me since childhood but none of whom were living in London.  Those I thought could perhaps help, I either did not want to bother them because they were so important, or I was frightened of the consequences of getting others involved.  Truth be told, the man who was the root of all my trials had confused me.  (If you read “Peanut-Butter Cookies – That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbled” or “Would You Like A Cup Of Tea?” you may understand why I was confused.)

This man seemed to have decided to make my life miserable…he was a very influential man.  He was a popular celebrity.  He had been using social media to spread his dissatisfaction with me which had intensified my isolation.  I am a softie…I don’t fight with people.  I had never been in this situation before.

My isolation had been increasing over time.  One Tuesday evening, I felt I could not go home to where I lived because I might see him again.  I had seen him several times during the previous days and he had shown his usual hostility.  So I did not go home.  I went to a local park.  I sat on a bench and allowed tears to stream down my face.  I was overwhelmed by this challenge…I felt not just alone, but all alone.  Isolated in my emotional pain.  Maybe you have experienced that kind of alone…”all alone”…feeling under intense stress and not knowing who you can turn to.

In London you are not often alone physically.  There are always lots of people around. When I arrived in the park there were joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists.  A man sat next to me on the bench.  A complete stranger.  It was him.  I was not afraid at first, I was caught up in my burdensome brooding.  But I do remember what happened when I stood up with the sudden awareness that now it was dark and there were no joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists anywhere I looked.  I had decided I should not be there.  I said it out loud.  I actually said, “I should go home.”  I try not to think about him.  Despite what he did that night, the damage was already done.  Caramel was already crushed long before that night.

Now I am going to take you forward several hours.  A security guard had found me…he had found me left in bushes with obvious injuries.  He had called an ambulance.

Ambulance

The rest of the day…well I remember an array of flashes and noises.  I was asked many questions, the same questions over and over, by paramedics, nurses, doctors, police…everyone introduced themselves…I still remember some of  their names, Gary, Patrick, Michelle, Daryl, Samara, Naomi, Carol, Jyoti, Michael, another Michael…I cannot remember their roles, but I can remember their words.  I was asked again and again what I could remember.  I would be asked that question many many more times.

I was also asked who they could call…I kept on saying “Noone, please, not yet.”  I told them where I lived, but I begged them not to contact anyone yet.  I knew that my family and friends would be very distressed.  I needed time to be able to muster the strength to reassure them that I was alright and everything was going to be alright.

I drifted in and out of consciousness…after a whole day and night in the hospital I woke up on the Thursday morning feeling numb and empty.  One of the first people I saw that morning must have been a ward clerk, with the task of arranging discharges.  She introduced herself as Sally.  She asked me how I was getting home? had I arranged my transport home? was someone coming to pick me up? or would I be making my own way home?  I felt horrified…suddenly the thought of going back to my accommodation after what had happened to me in the park was impossible in my mind.

How could I go back there?  He was still there…the man who had been making my life unbearable for two years.  There were scores of neighbours who had been speculating about the relationship between he and I.  Over the two years thousands of cruel words had been spread about me.  I had been taunted and mocked about him.  Hundreds, perhaps thousands of others – friends, workmates, and his fans had read his posts about me on his social media sites.  He even used me as the subject of a comedy sketch he was involved in on an entertainment show.  After that I received many many more remarks about his view of me.  I had been enduring all of that for almost two years and it had essentially crushed me.

This site is Crushed Caramel.  I am finally sharing with you what crushed Caramel.  Not what happened that night in the park, but the two years beforehand.  Now…with my physical injuries and the horror inside of me of what had happened during the night I was in the park…how could I go back now?  I was not ready.

I said to Sally that I had not made any arrangements yet.  I asked her what time did I have to leave? was the bed I was in needed by another patient?  She had a look at my notes and replied that I should not worry until the consultant made his rounds.  I was worried though!  When the consultant came…I asked him what time I had to leave.  He made it clear that I was not going anywhere.  He said that they would be keeping an eye on me for the next few days.  I was relieved.  Pressure lifted, I felt that would allow me the time to work out what next.  Who should I call?

My best friend Marta was on holiday in Spain, visiting her family.  My closest sister Milly had just flown out to Central Africa to begin a new project.  I did not want to call my parents just then because I knew they would be anxious, possibly devastated if they saw what had happened to me.  My flatmates, Ivo and Lyn, were also on holiday.  I did not want to call my boss or anyone too important.  I had many friends in London, but they were all  friends of my ex-flatmate.  I was frightened they would tell him what had happened to me.  There was one thing I was sure of, I did not want him to know.

Momentarily, I felt desperately alone.  For the first time since I arrived at the hospital I began to cry.  It was not being on my own, but feeling all alone.  There seemed to be noone who could really take the weight of this enormous challenge away from my shoulders, noone who could lift the heavy burden on my heart.  The pressure inside me was welling up and out poured tears.  I cried silently.  But the raw pain inside was burning away.

That was when these words suddenly started to echo around my mind:

If I would fly away with the wings of the dawn to reside by the most remote sea,  Even there your hand would lead me and your right hand would take hold of me.  

If I say: “Surely darkness will conceal me!” Then the night around me would become light.  Even the darkness would not be too dark for you. But night would be as bright as the day; Darkness is the same as light to you.

You may know these words well or perhaps you have never heard those words before. You may have other sources you turn to for comfort and wisdom. But these were the beautiful words that started to sing within me.  The pain, the pressure, the panic melted. Comfort invaded the space they had been occupying.  Comfort in the shape of warmth, of courage, of knowing I was not alone.  The awareness that I had a friend who was far bigger than any challenge I could ever face, far more powerful than the worst of my fears, was immensely comforting.  I felt as if a great pair of arms lifted me up out of the bed I was resting in and gave me a bear hug!

Those last words “darkness is the same as light to you”.  Momentarily the gloominess of my situation had overwhelmed me.  However, even if my pain was dark and bitter and I could not see hope ahead or a way out…well, He could.  To Him, it was clear as day…night might as well be day.  He saw past the darkness, He could see everything and understood everything.

More words came into my head and comforted me.

I have many friends and family members.  At times though I had felt as if they didn’t understand who I really was on the inside.  Everyone thought I was a little ray of sunshine.  I tried to be happy and friendly with everyone.  I had tried for those past two years to conceal the pain of essentially being bullied and tormented.  I had tried to laugh it off, to make light of it, to pretend I was not bothered by the cruel words uttered against me.  As I mentioned, I had felt all alone because there did not seem to be anyone I could turn to for help with this challenge.  The words that came into my head again in a loud and reassuring tone were these:

My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret. When I was woven in the depths of the earth.  

Your eyes even saw me as an embryo.  All its parts were written in your book.  Regarding the days when they were formed before any of them existed.

To feel all alone, to feel as if there was nobody that really understood me or could help me with this challenge…how wrong I was!  From the moment I was conceived He knew I existed.  Nothing has escaped his notice.  He knows every detail of my mind and the depths of my heart.  There I was alone in hospital, but now I knew I was not alone!  I was now infused with the peace and calm and power I needed to face the future.

It gave me the courage to face with calmness everything I needed to do.  I rang our Mandy, who was the only family member I thought could see me with my injuries without sobbing.  Mandy is one tough cookie.  She jumped in the car and came straight down to London.  She did cry when she saw me, but she managed to control herself as she saw that I needed calm.  Together we rang a close friend of mine who was of great influence.  He promised to look after all of my arrangements in London.

All of these beautiful expressions, which were penned around 3000 years ago, were evidence to me that we were never intended to have an isolated existence.  Being on your own is good for you at times, but feeling all alone is not good…it is not what we were designed for.  We thrive on love – showing love and knowing we are loved.  To me these special words breathe love and deep personal interest.

To sum up the effect of these words, I would like to share my quote for today.  If you ever feel all alone.  Isolated, with a challenge that is beyond your ability to deal with.  If your heart is weighed down with grief or anxiety and you cannot see any light ahead.  The quote, the 2,700 year old famous words that empowered me like never before were these:

Do not be afraid. I…will help you.

And He did!  Every step!

__________________

Many of us are very sad at the news that First Fridays, Daily Prompt and The Community Pool 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 Three of the Three Day Challenge.

I was nominated for this audacious challenge by Mr Mark Anthony, as you can see from his post.  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.

“ Do not be afraid. I will help you.” 

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

 

My nominees :

https://pepperedwithstories.com

https://gratefulsinglemoms.com

https://mylifes810015070.wordpress.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.  Maybe you will have something fun, wise or inspirational to you that you can share with us.

As for my own posts…well I promise you for the rest of the week they will be much more light-hearted!  I don’t want you to worry…we will come back to this subject at a much later date.

 

 

 

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/

Once On The Lips…Forever On The Hips

On a cold Tuesday there was nothing better than being welcomed into the kitchen of my Aunt Sal.  “Tuesday Newsday”, as we called it – Aunt Sal was a fountain of information about everyone in town!  On a Monday she would do her weekly food shop and bake a fruit cake.  It was general knowledge that she liked to have visitors on a Tuesday because she had clubs and classes she attended every other day of the week.  No matter how many of us dropped by, she always had enough soup heating in a huge saucepan.  It would be accompanied by wedges of crusty bread with a thick lashing of salted butter.

Aunt Sal was warm and generous and hospitable…the perfect auntie in every way.  I do wish you could meet my Aunt Sal.  I want to tell you about the downstairs water-closet (or bathroom) at my Aunt Sal’s sweet little terraced house.

There is only one way to describe it.  It was a pig-sty to be frank, a total pig-sty!

Literally…a pig-sty.  She had a collection of hundreds of pig ornaments.  She had been collecting little piggy ornaments for decades and this was the throne room for her collection.  Whenever family members would go away on holiday they would bring back tiny pigs in their suitcase…and into the water-closet they would go.  She had a truly international pig collection.

Sometimes we would invite a friend to come and visit Aunt Sal for the first time.  If they asked to use the bathroom, Aunt Sal could never resist saying “Of course, but please forgive me luvvy, it is a bit of a pig-sty!”  We would all look at each other smiling (Aunt Sal’s house was immaculate) and we loved seeing the reaction of our friends when they returned after their discovery of Aunt Sal’s impressive piggy collection.

I remember the pigs vividly…but there was one piggy in that water-closet that has had an influence on my life choices and I have remembered more than any other.  It was a cross-stitch piggy wearing a tutu and in a pirouette pose.  Next to the piggy in needle-work was the phrase “Once on the lips….Forever on the hips!”

Piggy

For reasons that I guess are fairly obvious…this has been a quote that has stayed with me for years!!!  Arguably it is one of the more influential quotes on my habits and life choices.  There is a lot of talk today about the pressure that glossy magazines, the fashion world, the entertainment industry and the media put on young woman to be super slim. Perhaps that is so…I have never let myself come under the yoke of the media and entertainment industry…and if you had a look through my wardrobe, I am sure you would agree I am in no way influenced by the fashion industry.

There are those who prefer to allow an inordinate quantity of dainty morsels to cross their lips and later to atone for their indulgences by zealous activity in pilates, zumba and nordic walking.  However, I have to maintain a tight grip on my schedule and the size of my girth!

No…the quote that has prodded my culinary conscience and led me away from the path of  cream cakes, doughnuts and crisps or chips or any other scrumptious snack…is from the piggy in Aunt Sal’s water closet: ONCE ON THE LIPS…FOREVER ON THE HIPS.

___________________

Many of us are very sad at the news that First Fridays, Daily Prompt and The Community Pool 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.

“ Once on the lips…forever on the hips” –

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

My nominees are:

The Worldly Microtalesrpress.com

https://towhommayitconcern.wordpress.com

https://atara403808400.wordpress.com

I have loved reading your previous posts and can’t wait to see what you can do with this!

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

I have two more days of the challenge to complete, two more posts, two more quotes…I have been working on…more to come.

 

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/atone/