Tag Archives: WOTD

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/

https://fivedotoh.com/2018/11/27/fowc-with-fandango-leave/

I Suppose I Did For Five Minutes…But That Was Over Three Years Ago

Four years ago, I felt as if I could not go home, because I did not want to see Jack ever again. I was out with friends, and instead of going home, I went to a park, sat on a bench and cried. The next morning I woke up in an ambulance. I don’t think I want to think and write about it…any of it. I just want to enjoy my time with Goldfinch. Think of me…right now…in his arms…please be happy for me. ūüôā

forest-2823910_1920

Will you forgive me for not being to keep up with every writing prompt that has caught my attention recently?  I have so many that I have started and are sitting in my drafts folder waiting for me to finish them.  Some I am determined to complete at some stage.

I loved the writing prompts in the August Write Away Challenge hosted by Sarah Elizabeth Moore

This is one of the posts I didn’t want to give up on:

When I lived in our family home, which for most of my childhood was with my parents, my brother and my two younger sisters (my older sisters are so much older, they had left home to go to university by the time I had started school) I never ever wished to run away.  I felt truly at home.  There were occasional challenges, but I was blessed to be reared in a haven of dependable love and trust.  Here is a photo of happy me…with my hair in pretty much the same state as this morning!

However, I left home in order to be able to work as a volunteer in a part of the country where there were a stack of projects and not many volunteers (partly because the cost of living in that area is so high).  Although the first year was hard, because I missed my family and friends up north so much, it did not really take me too long before I started to feel at home down south.  I made many wonderful friends and fell in love with the countryside.  I ended up living on the grounds of a beautiful stately home and being allowed to roam their gorgeous estate, and because they trusted me, I paid peanuts for my accommodation, which was another fortuitous factor in my volunteer career in the south of England.

 

Moving to London to become a full-time international volunteer was like a dream.  I had a rare opportunity as a single women to be chosen from many thousands who submitted applications.  That year there were two single women and sixty single men who met the criteria. Because of the physical demands and difficulties in the various challenging assignments, the number of single men vastly outweighs the number of single women. The physical, emotional, mental tests they put you under are designed to reveal if you really can take on a self-sacrificing role and if you really can be sent anywhere in the world and adapt to any way of living.

It was like coming home…even though I had been happy before.  I was happy on a different level. Everything felt right. The routine, the dignity, the rewarding work, the huge numbers of people I saw and worked with. I found I didn’t miss receiving wages. My main assignment would be in London, but at any point I could be sent elsewhere. I loved the astonishing variety London life offered. I found that I was thriving in this life-style.

celebrity.jpgHowever, as you may be aware if you have read some of the posts that relate to what crushed Caramel, it was here in London, that I faced a challenge the likes of which I had not faced before. It was no joke, though I think a lot of people were laughing.  If I can blame anyone or anything…I would like to blame “celebrity culture” and the puerile use of social media.

Sometimes it all feels like a blur, but it was two and a half years at least and it wore me down. The point at which I reached my limit was when rumours started (I think I know who started them) that I was having an affair with a married man, the husband of one of my close friends and workmates.  I was devastated (because this is not me).

After my friend and workmate, who was as distressed as I was about the rumours involving her husband, screamed at me within a public building in front of crowds of people, I was called into an office with two directors who were concerned about the incident and wanted to understand what was happening. They mentioned Jack. They knew him well and thought that he and I had gone from a romance to estrangement to bitter jealousy. I refused to discredit Jack.  I stood my ground and insisted that he was not to blame (although in my heart, I was certain he was).  They made it clear though that they wanted us to sort this out because they could not have anyone screaming in rage in the middle of a reception area were scores of visitors had been appalled by what they had seen.

More than ever, I wanted to talk with Jack and ask why, why, why was he doing this?  But all I received for months was glares and grimaces.  He made it clear that he was nursing a grudge.  A grudge that I could not comprehend.  Then that summer, I received some very concerning news about a relative who had become involved in a criminal court case and was featured in the news.  That situation deepened my anxiety and stretched me to the limit as I did all I could to help practically.  The last thing I needed was abject hostility from a man who was still sleeping in a bed just metres away from my own bed.

elevatorSo after seeing him frequently and feeling intensely shunned and despised by him…it was that evening when I was going out to meet my friends and I pressed the button for the elevator. The door opened and there he was.  His eyes full of disdain.

There was no way I was going to be able to stand inside the elevator on my own with him. So I took a couple of steps back and let him carry on alone.  That’s the last time I saw him close up. That was the moment I decided I wanted to run away from my beloved home to escape the nightmare.

I enjoyed the evening with my friends, but there was a huge surge of pain and despair that I was hiding from everyone…one of the girls who lived near me wanted to drive me home, but I said I would like to walk as it was still light. And walk I did, but in the opposite direction of home. That was my moment of running away from home. I walked towards the local park. On the opposite side of the park a fairground had popped up that weekend and there was a carnival atmosphere amongst the people I passed on the way to the park.

It was a beautiful summer’s evening.  It had been one of the hottest days of the year. There were joggers and dog-walkers and teenagers sitting in the grass talking and laughing when I arrived and when I sat down on a bench.

I was so consumed with despair, I did not notice that daylight had fled completely and there was no longer anyone else in the park, until a stranger sat down on the bench besides me.

Here is a strange coincidence about that location.  When I went back to that spot some time later (not on my own) I found my front door keys still there. Which was the most strange feeling. I didn’t find my missing shoe…navy with a slight frill detail above the toe, but I found my front door keys. They had been lying there undisturbed all that time. Even the police must have missed them.  I almost felt as if they had been waiting for me. It was a profound encouragement to me!

Over three years later, I still have not made it back home yet.  But I am working towards it!

https://fivedotoh.com/2018/09/22/fowc-with-fandango-number/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/your-daily-word-prompt-fortuitous-september-22nd-2018/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/carnival/

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/three-things-challenge-22-sept-2018/

The First Time I Read The Word Exquisite

I actually remember the first time I ever read the word “exquisite”. It sent shivers up and down my spine and filled me with excitement. There was something special about that word, it was incredibly alluring. I have included the verse I read when I was just a little girl that filled me with anticipation.

Around this time of year, I am longing for bleak, grey winter to be over and longing for spring. Every day I feel excited as I anticipate the colour and warmth and life returning.

Sometimes it is hard to wait for the good times ahead. But I know they are coming. Nothing will stop the march of the seasons. I am full of hope, no matter how bitterly cold and dismal it is right now.

Whenever I turn on the news or read a newspaper it seems obvious that this world is quite lost, in need of a great rescue and recovery operation.

I am reminded of that seem feeling. I am full of hope. No matter how bitterly cold and ghastly this world becomes (and I am sure it will get worse before change comes), I am full of conviction that this winter will end and much brighter times are ahead.

I have solid reason for hope. Whatever source gives you hope, I am sure you too feel that same anticipation and longing for an exquisite era ahead.

“right hearted people will possess the earth

and find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace”

Is Celebrity Status Something To Celebrate?

I am continuing to re-publish posts from my archives until things settle down with work – yup – still intense!

I just walked past Niger Havers, well, actually, he walked past me.  I had finished work and my tired feet were trudging along and there he was.

Now…I have nothing else to say about Nigel Havers particularly… it’s just that it started me thinking about Jack (that is what we are calling my ex-flatmate, although that is not his real name).

You see…I thought about what it must be like to be a celebrity and for people to recognize you in the street. Maybe some celebrities like that, others I imagine don’t enjoy it quite as much.

But it is funny how “we” – the public – react to a celebrity.¬† I mean I didn’t do anything strange around Nigel Havers.¬† But for some reason my brain clocked him, and I could tell you now exactly what he was wearing and who he was with and what they were wearing and the conversation I overheard taking place.¬† Now I am not going to tell you any of that, because frankly it is none of my business, none of your business and it could be deemed an invasion of privacy (plus you might not be remotely interested).

The reason I am mentioning this is that I cannot tell you what any of the other hundreds of people I passed on the way home from work were wearing, or what they were talking about.  My brain did not clock them.

That’s the situation Jack faced.¬† People recognized him…people were interested because they knew who he was, people noticed what he was wearing, who he was with, the conversations he was having.¬† I am sure Nigel Havers may have had bitter experiences with the media where he has found something personal has been shared with the public that he may not have wished for strangers to know.

I can only imagine in the age of social media this can potentially be one hundred times more annoying!¬† The invasion of your personal life, including things that are deeply meaningful to you, could be quite a torment.¬† Nobody asks you if you are willing to authorize the sharing of what someone may have seen or overheard when you were out in public.¬† It’s just out there…and you might only realize 48K views and 32K likes later.

I have a couple more posts that I have prepared about the situation between Jack and me.  I am sharing things that are very personal to the two of us really. only, I have no intention of giving you any clues about who he is.  It is a story about a situation that caused stress and grief to both of us Рit should never have happened.  But the last thing I want is for this to torment Jack.

I love Jack Рas I have mentioned in other posts.  So, please remember that you are reading about a low point in the life of a wonderful man.  I know some have expressed a poor opinion of Jack in the past.  Just wait until you hear about what I did to Jack.

Now for those of you who are not quite sure who Nigel Havers is…he is a very famous actor…and most of us think of him in his role in the film “Chariots Of Fire”.

via¬†Torment ‚ÄĒ Word of the Day Challenge

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/09/06/your-daily-word-prompt-authorize-september-6th-2018/

 

Patterns (Miracles of Maths In Meadows)

pineapple.jpgWhen I saw the writing/picture prompt:

PATTERNS

I was very excited…as it touched a scientific nerve on my brain!

Have you ever noticed that many plants grow in spiral formations? A pineapple, for example, may have 8 spirals of scales going around one way and 5 or 13 going in the opposite direction.

If you have time, look closely at the seeds in a sunflower, you may be able to see 55 and 89 spirals crossing over each other or perhaps even more.¬† Start looking at your vegetables…you will notice spirals more and more!

Do you have any idea why plants grow in this way? Does the number of spirals have any significance?  If you are a mathematician or biologist you probably know all about this already.

Why Do Many Plants Grow In Spirals?

Most plants arrange new growths at a unique angle that produces spirals. What angle is it?

Only what has been termed the ‚Äúgolden angle‚ÄĚ of approximately 137.5 degrees results in an ideally compact arrangement of growths.¬†What makes this angle so special?

The golden angle is ideal because it cannot be expressed as a simple fraction of a revolution. The fraction 5/8 is close to it, 8/13 is closer, and 13/21 is closer still, but no fraction exactly expresses the golden proportion of a revolution.

Thus, when a new growth develops at this fixed angle with respect to the preceding growth, no two growths will ever develop in exactly the same direction. Consequently, instead of forming radial arms, spirals form.

Remarkably, a computer simulation of growth from a central point produces recognizable spirals only if the angle between new growths is correct to a high degree of accuracy. Straying from the golden angle by even one tenth of a degree causes the effect to be lost.‚Äč

How Many Petals on a Flower?

Fibonacci, Golden Ratio, Sacred Geometry, SpiralInterestingly, the number of spirals that result from growth based on “the golden angle of growth” is usually a number from a series called the Fibonacci sequence. This series was first described by the 13th-century Italian mathematician known as Leonardo Fibonacci. In this progression, each number after 1 is equal to the sum of the previous two numbers‚Äč‚ÄĒ1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, and so on.

daisiesThe flowers of many plants that exhibit a spiral growth pattern often have a Fibonacci number of petals. Now…I would like to envision you heading out into local fields and meadows tomorrow morning and putting this to the test – are you ready to go count petals?¬† Fruit and vegetables often have features that correspond to Fibonacci numbers.

There are fundamental mathematical principles and laws in nature that have been there for millennia, long long before any noggin sat down and worked out they were observing sheer genius!

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/patterns-tuesdayphoto-prompt/

I Put My Parents Through Agony

My parents were never really sure quite what happened. They said they felt helpless and they prayed many times that things would turn out well. But they were deeply anxious and doubtful I would recover.

For years I had been a typical child, eager, full of life and laughter. I ate and pooped, ate and pooped. I was immature and completely dependent on my parents. I looked up to them and felt very secure in their love. They fed my mind, my heart and my stomach and watched me as I grew and grew and grew.

Svensson'S Pyramid Owl

But then I went to high school and entered my teens and puberty. Something happened which they knew may come one day, but not in quite such a drastic way.

I shut myself off from them and refused to communicate properly. I grunted, shrugged and sighed my way through my fourteenth and fifteenth year. My parents tried their best to keep reaching my heart, but they had no idea if they were getting through.

They must have found it agonizing. In many ways, I am glad I was clever enough to hide what I did from them until many many months later. I hid so much from them for so long.

They still don’t know the half of it! All sorts was going on inside of me. Boys, music, drinking. I was no longer happy to conform, to obey. I questioned everything inwardly and outwardly.

I skipped school and forged sick notes. Instead of going to school I would catch a train into Manchester which was almost 40 miles away from home. When I was at school, I became disruptive in some classes (the ones I did not really enjoy). My best friend and I spurred each other on. We vandalised the geography teacher’s classroom and even his own belongings. We turned every physics lesson into anarchy. We played netball in the middle of our French lesson with a French dictionary and jumped up on to her desk and danced the Can-Can.

Sometimes I was given a “detention” by a teacher. I forged my mum’s signature and turned up for the detention (except the time I skipped detention because I was going to a concert), I was fortunate in being so bright. My school work never suffered and I maintained my straight A grades.

I started to work for a record company, which my parents knew about. But most of the nights they thought I was staying over at the home of a school friend, I was in Manchester at a music venue or club. I did things I am ashamed to relate.

The teachers wanted me to make decisions about what to do when school ended. I did not know what I wanted to do. I knew what I did not want to do.

I pondered what purpose there is in life, when we seem to be forced down a path that does not in any way appeal to us. I felt hollow and lost at times. Life seemed like a grey expanse stretched out before me. I felt trapped. The music I listened to constantly incited me to be disdainful of boring conformity. There was a spirit of arrogant rebellion breeding in my mind. I was full of resentment and anger towards everyone – I am not even sure why.

But I was not happy. Some of the things I saw at clubs shocked me. Behaviour beyond disgusting. Everything felt filthy. I did not know how to be happy any longer.

aunt june.jpg

A wise old owl – Aunt June, who was almost eighty, and had sparkly blue eyes and a very deep grin – asked me what I was going to do when I left school. I muttered and gave her a wishy-washy answer about going to college. She probed further and soon discovered that I had no real plan in mind. There were no subjects that interested me just then, accept music. But I already knew I hated the places I was going and the people who were there. I was disillusioned with the music industry.

Aunt June could be scary sometimes. She looked at me sternly and said: “Do you want to live?” I was a bit taken aback by that question. Tears came into my eyes as I realized I was not even sure that I did want to be alive. I had been miserable for so long, my enjoyment in life had evaporated.

She asked me if I didn’t know what I wanted for my future, then what did I want for the rest of the world and for the planet? I thought about it, and knew that actually I did have a vision in the back of my mind. A vision that I had first seen in a golden story book my first ever teacher used to read to us from when I was just five years old. I knew the word to describe it: PARADISE.

Aunt June cried out that I should set that goal for my own future and see myself there, not just the rest of the world. She told me to work towards that goal.

At just the right time a project started in the town where we were living. They needed volunteers, skilled or unskilled. I had just broken up for study leave for my GCSEs. I went down there and from the first day I was trained and assigned all sorts of tasks. I ended up on the front page of the local newspaper because of my involvement for the full length of the project.

I remember a couple of my dad’s friends talking to him about me one day. I could hear everything. My face flushed with embarrassment but I was pleased. Then they called out to me: “We were just talking about you Mel! We were asking what has happened to you? You have come to life. You were grumpy and moody a few months ago and wouldn’t talk to anyone, not even make eye contact with anyone. Now look at you. You are glowing.”

I knew I was. I knew that ever since I had started to become involved in volunteer projects I had started to taste happiness.

What I wanted, in my heart of hearts, was to live on a clean planet, where people, animals and all of nature are treated with love and respect. Now I had found many of thousands of people in this country who all felt the same and were giving whatever time they could to work together to make a difference to communities.

My parents always said those couple of years when it was so hard to get me to communicate were very difficult for them. They were so worried about me. They always said it was as if I had cocooned myself within a chrysalis. They had no idea what was going on inside my mind and heart. But it was very much a metamorphosis.

One day something wonderful started to happen. They said a beautiful human being started to emerge from that mentally and emotionally isolated state and started to give colour and happiness to everyone around her.

I always felt it was because I had started to spend time with very beautiful people. People who were freely giving their time, their energy and their skills to build something that would benefit a community. I was learning so much from them.

I wanted to be alive. I wanted to work towards a better world, a world where everyone is happy, full of life, secure in love. I wanted to help make this earth a paradise.

I now had a purpose, a goal and I loved beautifully hearted people who were working towards the same purpose.

When Your Whole World Is Turned Upside Down

JUST A LITTLE REMINDER – I AM STILL RE-PUBLISHING POSTS FROM 2018 BECAUSE WORK IS INTENSELY BUSY. I CAN TELL BY SOME OF THE LOVELY COMMENTS I HAVE HAD THAT I AM CONFUSING SOME OF YOU!

This exquisite picture (the picture prompt for today from¬†The Haunted Wordsmith) instantly gave me an idea for a post. But I am going to be straight with you. I have just returned from doing some work on an assignment I have had these past few months. It is one o’clock in the morning over here in London and all I should be thinking of is having a shower and climbing into bed.

I will give myself fifteen minutes and then close my lap-top!

world upsdie down

If you have read even just a handful of my posts I am sure you know that I am happy, safe and busy. But of course for those of you who have been glancing over my posts for a while now, you are aware that almost three and a half years ago…one night I went to a London park and essentially my whole world was turned upside down.

AmbulanceI am not going to dwell on what happened that hot dry night….or the two years of hostility from my ex-flatmate that led to me forgetting my personal safety and putting myself in danger’s way. But the thing is that night, my life drastically changed. The security guard who found me called an ambulance to take me away from that nightmarish night…but somewhere in between the park and the hospital…my whole world turned upside down.

At first all that mattered was recovering from the physical injuries I had received. Then came the emotional ups and downs of what was done to me that night…which took a few months for me to get to grips with, and then the dismay that my ex-flatmate was stony silent after all that had happened and still had not attempted to apologize. It magnified all the hurt of the last two years.

For almost a year I was away from London staying with family members. They were a huge support to me and I am so glad I had their help at such a turbulent time for me. But I was determined to come back to London. I came back and the first six months were full of challenges. I should share more of what happened during my first six months back in London – they were immensely overwhelming and studded with horrid events and horrible people. Then I came here to the little nest. It’s been a relief. It is almost two years that I have been here for and it has helped me to settle and feel I could spread my wings again.

My difficulty is…my world is still upside down. I have just become very proficient at living upside down. I feel as if I am walking on my hands instead of my feet, and although I am doing a great job of that, it’s odd.

I am so determined to get back to the other side of London to my career and home and my world.

That world is precious to me…it is only the ordeal with my ex-flatmate that does taint some of my treasure chest of memories and experiences.

Without a purpose my world will always be upside down. I need my purposeful, active, richly rewarding life back. Until then…I am doing a fantastic job of walking on my hands in my upside down world…but it is not where I belong. However…don’t be sad for me…I am happy, safe and busy. I just have to be patient.

There are other people who have had their world turned upside down in a far more frightening way or grievous way than the way my world went belly up. I am sure they know what I am talking about when I am describing a sudden drastic event that changes everything, turns your world upside down and requires you to learn to become adept at walking on your hands.

Fifteen minutes flew by…in fact it is more like twenty minutes! Shower! Bed! Goodnight!

The Effect Of Her Being On Those Around Her Was Incalculably Diffusive

fairy-tale-1653150_1920

I wonder if you know who is the fictional character I would like to meet?  Do you know which character had this said of her?  Which book she was from?

Her finely touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

The answer is of course Dorothea Brooke from “Middlemarch“.¬† There are many characters I adore in the novels I have read, but one of my personal favourites is Dorothea, as she made a deeper impression on me than most. Not just an entertaining or interesting character, she struck a chord with me and still does twenty years after I first became acquainted with her on the pages of “Middlemarch“.

babI love the comparison of her nature and it’s effect on others to the multitude of channels the mighty Euphrates river was broken into. I can’t help but think too of the quiet yet immense effect of Cyrus diverting the course of water that surrounded mighty Babylon, before his army waded across and conquered the city, thus causing a world empire to crumble overnight.¬† I also love the statement that the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistorical acts…the noble and unselfish acts of good and mercy and kindness that are mostly unsung and are often forgotten by others.¬† Yet we have so much to thank those quiet and unselfish souls who have a delicate yet profound influence on others.

If you have never read “Middlemarch” and are planning to at some point, beware my post contains a few spoilers!

I was torn between Dorothea and Anne Elliot from “Persuasion“, but I have already published a post about Anne recently and have another one in my drafts folder. But I have admiration, empathy, and affection for both of these characters, so today I am going with Dorothea!

I read a few character studies on line about Dorothea while I was thinking about this post. More than anything I was surprised that not all have the same esteem for her as I. There were some who seemed to think that to be exalted to “superhero” status, she should have been more of an independent female and that her happiness should not have been tied up with the love of a man who would become her second husband.. Not all approve of her decisions especially later on in the book.

But in today’s age where feminism – and I don’t think I fully comprehend feminism in all honesty, it is all rather foggy to me.¬† I should be happy with Dutch treats, standing up on the bus or tube while young men lollop and rest their sneaker-clad feet on the spare seats, and being paid the same as a man I am working twice as hard as???

I don’t really understand the definition of feminism.¬† I do understand “no means no!” But as far as I have seen, equal is not always fair.¬† When I was at school, all I cared about was the boys letting me play football because I was a decent player and I loved running around – that was all that mattered to me!

I like being a woman.  I have always loved wearing beautiful dresses.  I have equally always loved climbing trees, playing football and working on construction sites.  Most of the work I have done has been for charity and I have not received a penny in return.

Perhaps Dorothea’s decisions don’t sit right with the modern world, but I can relate to her a lot!¬† I think especially her character.¬† I think there are descriptions in the novel where others ponder Dorothea’s features and manners – some are fascinated by her.¬† Is she a taciturn, demure character?¬† I love her mind.¬† She may make mistakes in her judgment, but she has a noble mind.¬† She cares, she wants to make a difference.¬† She becomes trapped in a loveless marriage to a man she believed in and was inspired by.¬† Her endurance and calm under even the worst provocation make me think her made of something stronger than diamonds.

I love her decisions later in the book. Well, of course I would never encourage a husband of mine to run for political office. But I mean her decisions regarding love and being a loyal support to the man she truly loves.  I love the sacrifices she makes to spend her life with the man she has come to love and admire after her awful first marriage.

Here is another description of Dorothea I adored:

Dorothea herself had no dreams of being praised above other women, feeling that there was always something better which she might have done, if she had only been better and known better.

I think that is one of the things I love about both Dorothea Brooke and Anne Elliot.  I can never imagine either of them wanting to be the centre of attention, being showy, gaudy, wearing the most opulent gowns or decorations. I can only imagine them being a delight, an absolute pleasure to have afternoon tea with.  Beautiful gentle manners, noble minds, interesting and lively conversationalists, none trying to take the spotlight, but earnest about how to contribute to the occasion and to the enjoyment of others.  These two women are both incredibly endearing to me.

I love those words in the passage I quoted at the start of this post, with regards to Dorothea, that…

“…the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive.”

She touched all around her, often in a quiet gentle way.  Others were influenced by Dorothea in the same way I was.  The qualities she displayed were so precious, they make her value tremendous. She was a tower of inner strength best expressed by remarkable endurance and stamina.  She was crushed, yet she persevered. She regained hope and joy, and allowed herself to love and be loved again.  She wanted to make a difference to those in need and she seized any opportunity she had to do so.

Dorothea Brooke, even though you are just a fictional character, it would be an absolute delight to have you round for afternoon tea!  I would invite Anne Elliot too, I think you would get along with her rather well.

___________________

This was my response to one of the writing prompts in the August Write-Away Challenge hosted by Sarah Elizabeth Moore.  Even though I am very very late, I just did not want to abandon this post as I found the question so interesting.

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/taciturn/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/your-daily-word-prompt-opulent-september-24th-2018/

https://fivedotoh.com/2018/09/24/fowc-with-fandango-personal/

Do Not Let Anyone Rob You Of Your Smile

I was thinking of re-publishing this post for a while. One of the things I am missing most at the moment is smiles. I am very glad that so many people are wearing facemasks, but I truly look forward to the day when we can enjoy each other’s smiles again!

 
People of various ages and races smile broadly

 

I have had to endure a bit of a heart-breaking situation at work that dragged on and on for months.  In other posts, I have mentioned I was going for interviews and that I start a new job, just a few minutes walk away from where I live, on Monday.  But this has all come due to an unresolved situation that drained the life out of me.

Now I promised myself a long time ago I would never allow myself to get into the habit of coming home from work and ranting in my WordPress posts.  The closest I ever allowed myself to start ranting about work was in this post:

20180606_190238-1

Petits Biscuits Français

I am not the type to rant.¬† I am at the other extreme of the spectrum (which is not particularly great either) where I bottle things up until one day…I am gone.¬† Nobody knows where.¬† I had my last twelve hour shift on Thursday without anyone knowing they would not see me again.¬† (Head Office and my manager knew but they very kindly kept it discreet for me.)

I don’t like goodbyes anyway…but also in this case I was leaving because of the lamentable behaviour of other staff over the past four or five months.¬† So the last thing I wanted was to have mushy goodbyes with people I have dreaded seeing each day.

Well, that is enough of what has been getting me down.¬† Now here is how I managed to keep myself going for months although my heart was breaking. It’s a song that mumma and dadda have both sung to me as a lullaby throughout my childhood whenever I was in uncontrollable tears.¬† It has always calmed me down and eased my sadness:

I was sorting and tidying up at work all sorts of materials we have used in various health campaigns and for signposting patients to other NHS service providers, and I came across a journal specifically designed for teenagers all about depression.¬† I remember receiving a package hand-delivered with these beautiful articles we could use for free with our patients.¬† As I flicked through it there was a small article all about SMILING…which as I read through it made me smile down to my toes.

 

When someone gives you a beaming smile, how do you respond? Most likely you smile back. And you probably feel happier too. Yes, genuine smiles‚ÄĒwhether from friends or total strangers‚ÄĒare infectious, and they evoke good feelings.¬†

smiler 1

A sincere smile indicates positive emotions, such as amusement, happiness, and pleasure. Indeed, ‚Äúsmiling .¬†.¬†. seems built into our nature,‚ÄĚ noted an article in¬†Observer,¬†an online journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Even newborns, the article said, are able to ‚Äúinterpret facial expressions with great precision.‚ÄĚ The article also stated: ‚ÄúNot only do people deduce useful information from smiles, they also use this knowledge to direct their own behaviour.‚ÄĚ

Researchers at Harvard University in the United States studied a group of elderly patients and their responses to the facial expressions of health-care providers. When the caregivers‚Äô facial expressions ‚Äúwere perceived as more warm, caring, concerned, and empathetic,‚ÄĚ said the researchers, the patients felt more satisfied and their physical and mental well-being¬†improved. The opposite was the case when the caregivers‚Äô nonverbal communications distanced them from patients.

smilerWhen you smile you may also be doing yourself a favour. The benefits, studies suggest, include increased confidence and happiness and reduced feelings of stress. Frowning, by comparison, may have the opposite effect.

Perhaps you feel that life’s anxieties give you little cause for smiling. Remember, though, that feelings are usually preceded by thoughts.  So, hard though it may be, why not try to dwell on positive, pleasant things whenever possible? Who knows? You too may find yourself smiling more often.

Do not wait for others to smile at you. Take the initiative; add a little happiness to someone else’s day. 

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I have been doing exactly this and I know it has helped.  My sunny smile has been given out to patients and my workmates and I know that it has helped me feel better. In most cases the reaction you receive to a smile is wonderfully warm. Several patients have remarked to me that I am always smiling, which is exactly what I want said abouut me.

I may not always have been happy with what was going on at work…but I have been determined not to let it rob me of my smile.¬† Still smiling…from ear to ear.

 

smiles

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/lullaby/

 

https://meetthebloggersblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/lullaby/