Talking as we feel..

“People don’t really talk that way, you know”… “I know, but they think that way” National Treasure 2004

For those of you who haven’t seen it, National Treasure is a fun, easily watchable film with Nicholas Cage giving one of his quirky comedic performances as a slightly (ok as a totally) obsessed treasure hunter with an impossibly impressive list of qualifications and areas of expertise leading him to solve an intricate national enigma which had confuddled and confounded the best scholars and treasure hunters for 100s of years!

Yep all a bit (ok a LOT) daft but add in a dash of Sean Bean as the baddie and Harvey Kietal’s dry wit as the pursuing FBI agent and I’m happy to watch and while away an hour or so – especially as, in the words of the great Oscar Wilde, “the good ended happily, and the bad unhappily”.

There are lots of little quotes and exchanges of ideas and info in this film that I love, not least the quips from Riley, the comic sidekick, which have me chuckling throughout.

The quote I’ve cited above is the end of a conversation between Ben Gates (treasure hunter extraordinaire) and Abigail Chase (curator of the National Archives) and for me it just captures a truism that often whilst we think passionately and poetically it is so often the case we don’t tend to express ourselves in this way…all too often steering our comments towards uncontroversial tones so as to not risk offence or perhaps to prevent putting ourselves out there laid bare for fear of a critical response?

However, one of the things I most like about blogging is that it’s where we actually do!

There’s all sorts of bloggers here: ones like me who blog about bits and bobs – random thoughts that pop into our heads, those that blog as a diary/journal and there are those that blog with on a particular subject close to their heart – in every case we share our thoughts openly and almost fearlessly and for that I am grateful…I am grateful to have found such an honest openminded space.

In the words of Thomas Jefferson “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom”…may we continue to each write our own wise stories xx

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Be a first rate version of yourself…

I recently came across a wonderful quote by Judy Garland and it got me thinking…

There are over 7billion people on this planet…when we think about it we know hardly any of them…and yet with social media it often feels like we know so many! We see all the wonderful things that others are doing and their lives are always so positive and perfect…it’s easy to think that they don’t have traumas and troubles and bad days because it’s more of a reality that we rarely share these difficulties with the world. We can lose sight of that and see the world as greener on the other side, become tempted into thinking that we should be what and who others are too – but this isn’t so.

We are all unique – we have similar goals to others it’s true, similar ideals maybe and similar passions for sure…but each of us are ourselves and ONLY ourselves – no one else.

Yes, I understand being inspired by others – I am inspired by many people…some whom I know personally and many who are more in the public eye. However, do I wish I was someone else with someone else’s life? No.

Would I like to be able to shimmy like Shakira or move with the elegance and grace of Darcey Bussell for example? Of course! Unfortunately I’ve been blessed with two left feet and the ability to only really pogo on the dance floor or feel at home in a mosh pit! But this doesn’t stop me from getting on the dance floor for a bit of grooving, jigging, jiving and everything in between – I know that I’m not going to be winning awards but I go out, don’t worry about it and just have fun!

Would I like to write engaging, insightful unputtdownable stories like JK Rowling, Harper Lee and Sir Terry Pratchett? You betcha! In my head there are a million stories..I make them up as I walk to work or run along the prom…I use my observations and experiences to create characters and one day, one day, I’ll write some of this down. Until then, they remain the stories of my mind…but I write them every day nevertheless.

Would I like to play rugby like Marlie Packer or run like Dame Kelly Holmes? Damn right I would! …and although I’ve left it very late in the day, and I’m never going to reach their dizzying heights of skill and international representation, I work as hard as I can to push myself to and beyond my limits in these sports…to be the best that I can be.

And that’s it for me…these people inspire me, I aspire to be ‘like’ them, but not BE them…I strive to follow their example of dedication, passion, self belief and determination- to try and be the best in what I do as far as my own abilities will take me.

I don’t wish my life was theirs for that would be to forget the joy and beauty in having my family, my friends, of being in my world. NO! I would not change being me even when it’s tough and even when I have to admit that I can’t dance!

May you too be joyful in being yourself, in being inspired by others but keeping your value of your own self-identify. May you never lose sight of how magnificent you are and can be – and may you always want to be YOU xx

Listening to my angel sing…

Long story short:

I went, I ran, I conquered!

London Landmarks Half Marathon done…Aimed for 3:00, hoped for 2:30 and achieved 2:28:34 with a cheeky sprint at the end too!

My first half marathon completed – a goal for 2018 achieved.

medal

Long story long:

I shall tell you about the high fives from all the #yellowsweatband runners, the smiles and encouraging words from other runners, the fantastic supporters banging their drums, dancing, singing, cheering us on! I shall tell you how this kept me going especially during mile 7-8 which seemed to stretch to infinity and beyond.

toy story run

I shall tell you how, when I stumbled and nearly took out all the runners around me (mile 1 really started SO well!) they held me up so I didn’t fall and off we went again!

I shall tell you about miles 10-12 when I was in my own private hell only to look up and see the hubster cheering me on, spurring me on to a quicker finish than I’d thought possible (still makes me quite emotional thinking back to how much support he showed me, how much faith he had in me that I could do this race – this race that I, even at the start, was worried I might not be able to complete without walking).

sprint finish

(please note the face of sheer determination as I sprinted for the finish line – I promise I was smiling on the inside!)

All the way through my training – I kept in mind the following quote from Ayn Rand “The question isn’t who is going to let me; the question is who is going to stop me”. So often the person who stops us is ourselves; we fret, we frown, we don’t believe in ourselves and we listen to that negative demon on our shoulder who whispers in our ear and says we are not good enough. We ignore the angel on the other shoulder who says “yes you can”, the angel that tells us to flap our wings and trust that we will fly…

We need to give our angel the opportunity to sing louder to us than the demon; for it is their voice, their words, their songs which can inspire us to achieve our dreams. We all have an angel singing to us, we just need to learn to start listening…because when we do, there is no limit to what we can achieve.

I am reminded me of a beautiful poem by Erin Hanson, called “What if I fall?”…

what if i fall

Check out Erin Hanson’s website here: http://thepoeticunderground.com/

 

Hecklers…don’t ya just love ‘em?!!

Dear Diary

Day 26 REDJanuary…

So today I was heckled for the first time (tbf I’m surprised it’s taken this long!)…young lad called out to me across the road, patted his stomach and asked if I was running to get rid of all my fat?… “haha you’ll be there all night if you are!”

How joyful…

He got a bit confused when I thanked him for his comments and said they were much appreciated… he walked off on a right old strop!!

What an arsehat!

Well I don’t care what I look like or whether I wobble as I plod along – I ran another 2miles tonight and I feel great!

Yes yes, I am a larger lady…thanks for noticing. What you failed to mention young man is that I’m also fabulous and a phenomenal woman…but don’t worry, you can tell me that next time 😉

***

I love the poem Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou…speaks to me on many levels and when I’m in need of a bit of lifting up it’s what I read…here it is put to some music in a campaign by This Girl Can 😊

https://youtu.be/BZoXyIxqFRc

It’s a new dawn…

It’s a new dawn

It’s a new day

It’s a new life

For me

And I’m feeling good…

I’ve always loved these lyrics and when sung by the amazing Nina Simone I am filled with an overwhelming feeling of hopeful joy.

As one year floats into another it’s a time that most of us reflect and make promises to ourselves to improve our lives, often that of others as well and generally look to the future with hope and aspiration.

Sometimes it’s quite hard to do this, especially if you’re in the throes of depression and/or anxiety; if you suffer with self doubt, lack of self esteem you can find yourself crippled with negative thoughts which crowd your space and prevent you from seeing the light.

The mental health issues that we can experience are complex and I don’t understand even half of 1% of it all, I do know that there’s no simple ‘cure’; there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solves depression, no ‘xyz’ fixes anxiety…so as we are individuals so as we have different needs and experiences.

I do know, however, that there is something that can help everyone – in fact two things:

1. Talking. Even peeps that say they don’t like to talk, especially about themselves, can find specialist listening ears and advice to be healing.

2. Exercise. Don’t get me wrong, sports men and women are susceptible to mental health issues as much as anyone, I’m not saying get fit and all your troubles disappear! But there are proven links between regular exercise and improved mental health and wellbeing; so doing exercise, anything that gets your endorphins pumping, is definitely a good thing!

I work with incredible men and women who provide advice and support to young people experiencing difficulties. I see the difference they make in the lives that they touch and it’s value cannot be overstated.

So thinking about all of this made me decide to start this new dawn with a challenge to myself but which also helps to shine that light for those who maybe aren’t able to see the new day and feel good at the moment.

I’m taking part in REDJanuary – I shall attempt to Run Every Day in January and raise awareness of the importance of exercise for mental wellbeing and some funds for the charity MIND.

MIND is a great charity which helps anyone with a mental health issues- they provide invaluable support, advice even advocacy. They’re website can be found here and it’s well worth a look:

https://www.mind.org.uk

I like running although I’m not a natural that’s for sure! I wibble wobble along, often puffing like a steam train, all red faced after 10metres and I often look very ‘stern’ when I’m doing it but actually I find it therapeutic, rewarding and dare I say fun?! I try to complete the local ParkRun when I can, I often run home from work and recently completed the Great South Run in October which was 10miles; back in 2016 I did a very slow London Marathon – so I know I can run…This REDJanuary is a challenge for me because I’ve never run more than three days in a row so running 31 days straight does fill me with some trepidation!

However, I’m SO excited at the same time! I’ve already met so many other REDRunners online and been part of sharing positive thoughts and encouragement – and I only signed up a few days ago!

I shall be blogging every now and again on how it’s going – I hope you won’t mind too much.

In the meantime, I leave you with this beautiful song and wish you a wonderful new dawn, positive new day and a happy life in 2018

Feel Good xx

I love it when a plan comes together…

I bet you knew that quote…

I bet you know who says it and can even picture the scene…

Yep! It’s good ol’ Hannibal Smith of The A Team, smoking his cigar and smiling after another victory against the ‘bad guys’!

This weekend I found a re-run of this TV series and thought to myself ‘ah I’ve a few minutes go while away I’ll watch an episode’…yep, you guessed it…I’m totally hooked again!

I love it! Lots of “crash, bang, wallops”, car chases, shoot outs and explosions but there’s no gore, no one gets killed and the good guys always win!

Yes it’s cheesy, yes it’s simplistic, yes it’s not always the best acted and oh boy it’s dated! BUT I love it’s innocence, it’s glee at poking fun at itself and most of all I love it’s pure joy at celebrating the love that we call friendship.

The basis of The A-Team is the absolute rock solid friendship formed between four very different characters but for whom honour, loyalty and trust are fundamental truths at their core. A most simple and obvious example is the way Howling Mad Murdock (I mean come on…who isn’t gonna like a show with a main character called that??!!) drives B.A. Baracus crazy – irritates the pants off him most of the time, they’re always at loggerheads; but their friendship is akin to that of a sibling relationship where actually when push comes to shove they’d lay down themselves for each other without hesitation.

The heroes have their flaws as all people do: Smith is all too often smug, Face can be a bit smarmy, B.A. is cantankerous and Murdock…ahh Murdock is looney tunes! But it’s these imperfections which make us identify with and warm to the A Team all just that little bit more, it makes them more real.

There’s no attempt to place hidden meanings in their interactions, the only misdirection is sometimes to keep us guessing about what action will come next, it’s never to make us worry about their friendship; there’s no hidden agenda in the writing, at least not one that I can see (although I’ve been known to be a bit naively oblivious to undertones in movies and shows in the past according to others, so forgive me if I missed something!) To me, its all about the underdogs winning with the help of wronged heroes who fight for the good whilst cracking jokes, having fun and in spite of everything remaining positive – in other words it’s fun!

The ultimate reason for loving this show though has got to be that opening monologue and the theme tune…genius!!

This takes me back to my childhood and the days of innocent fun…I hope maybe it will bring you small cheer too – enjoy xx

https://youtu.be/_MVonyVSQoM

Under Pressure…

“Love’s such an old fashioned word and love dares you to care for the people of the edge of the night, and love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves…”

David Bowie & Queen 1982

I do so like it when songs are insightful and this is up there with the best of them… love does indeed make us look at everything and everyone differently. It changes how we think, how we feel and how we act. I like to believe that if we listen to our hearts, if we acknowledge the good which comes from love it changes us for the better xx