Feeling grateful…

I feel such gratitude today. I have been listened to by two people. I have someone living with me who loves me. I feel cared for.

The idiot police are held to account. The bewilderment has ended. I have peace now.


International Women’s Day…

We need to celebrate women everywhere, in whatever role they have. So much falls on women simply because they are women. Childbirth, caring, providing meals, being the parent who wakes in the night for her children, nurturing, the list goes on.

We need more women in leadership roles. They create spaces that men don’t think about. I am not going to be negative about men here, I just want to highlight what women bring to our communities.

Compassion – look at Jacinda Ahearne in New Zealand, and Angela Merkel in Germany. They bring an empathy and softness that few men can achieve.

Creativity – women bring their sense of colours, homemaking, recipes, and all sorts of things that are original and beautiful.

Fairness – women, having been subjugated for so long, are aware of inequalities that are not only explicit but hidden. The extra cost involved for certain needs, the subtle discriminations, the complexity of being a woman in this world where a patriarchy is still at work.

Women have so much to offer the world and already have. They are often not recognised, or are noticed after they are deceased. History is not kind to women because they were seen as inferior and hysterical, not credible, and mostly, not men.

Feminism is a dangerous word. Say it in the wrong place and sparks fly. I have never quantified my feminism. I sit easily in traditional roles if I have a role where I am heard and can contribute to the greater good of a school, a hospital, a town

. I have taken the opportunities to do this and am confident that I have made positive contributions. I still do, despite my health problems, because it matters to me.

Women everywhere need these opportunities. We must encourage it and foster them in any way we can.

I support women in my roles, I also support men. There is no conflict in doing that. I like men, but now and then they need some self-awareness courses, even if it’s a short conversation.

I have self-awareness, but lack a criminal mind. I have had neighbours who caused me physical pain with high pitched wind chimes, and refused any request to move them away from my windows. They abused a frail, elderly woman when she asked that they stop cutting back bird cover in the nesting season, and for some inexplicable reason pinned their gates open illegally, and hammered nails around the drop bolt in an attempt to stop me closing their gate so that I could access mine.

If people behave so selfishly and stupidly, they will get unwanted attention. If that attention makes them decide to move, it is entirely their fault.

I write this because, as women, we need to not indulge in petty behaviour but nurture friendly communities, closer connections, and be good neighbours. Women are mainly peacemakers, and bring harmony to places they are in. Of course, there are exceptions…

I believe that if more women were involved we could end the carbon footprints on this planet much sooner. We would end wars more quickly, we would not waste money on nuclear arms, we would nurture human rights all over the world. We would not hoard vaccines but share them out, we would not make knee jerk reactions but see a bigger picture.

Women can make this world a far better place. I know it, I believe it.


A very quiet day…

I’m still having trouble with images.

Yesterday I got very tired. I finished planting my hanging baskets which was more work than I expected. My washing machine has gone wrong and a load was soaking wet but not washed.

After watering the garden and making dinner, I felt really tired. I watched some TV and slept.

This morning I made myself a cup of coffee for the first time since my first pregnancy. I went off the taste completely until recently when a friend made some. They then gifted me a pack of the brand they use.

I make it with a reusable filter. It takes me back to when my Dad would make coffee on a Saturday morning. It feels like home.

Today has been quiet. I’ve had two naps. I’ve read and hand washed my laundry. My mobile phone woke me but it always fits into my dreams as my ringtone is a Coldplay song. I did some admin.

Apart from the radio, all I’ve heard are birds singing. It’s been lovely.

Yesterday, my specialist phoned me and after discussing my breathing he talked to me about his distress at having to admit Covid-19 patients to ICU everyday for weeks. I could tell it had affected him. One would have to be a monster if it didn’t.


Still cold but happy…

It has continued to be cold after a glorious day on Monday. I really am desperate for sunshine.

My hair salon phoned me yesterday to bring forward my hair appointment. So I shall go tomorrow instead of next week.

I am so happy that my previous neighbours are gone. It’s like a vicious dog being moved away. No one liked them because of the pain caused by their wind chimes. No one could believe they would keep them there, knowing it caused me pain.

The peace in my garden now is blissful, and I can actually enjoy being in it.

Does anyone know what is??Maybe Jim knows?

So all is well, although I’ve been waking up two hours after falling asleep. It’s not really a problem, as I go to sleep again fairly easily.


It’s cold again…

Today has been a better day. A friend I see maybe four times a year messaged me to see how I was doing with the self isolation. I was really appreciative as our last messaging was slightly tense. I told her my appreciation,,

Tomorrow I will visit my friends who had their baby a week ago. I am looking forward to this. babies always bring joy. My poor friend started a slow labour on the Friday, but her waters did not break until the Monday morning. She was already exhausted but fortunately had an active labour of only four hours.

I took a while to get to sleep last night but then slept well. I had opened my window earlier. The fresh, sea air is good for sleep.

Today was cooler, which spoilt my plans. I had asked my cleaner to plant the plants that have been sitting on my patio for quite a while. I went to release some ladybirds and saw that some remained unplanted. I was breathless so came in to rest and went back to plant them and water them in.

My garden is full of spring. There are flower buds on my greengage tree, and my birch and fig tree have leaf buds. I saw that finally one of my bird feeders is almost empty so I shall fill it tomorrow. This brings me so much joy.

It is wonderful to be in my garden without the horrible noise of the windchimes. I had almost forgotten what peace is.

My planned poetry events are cancelled due to the corona virus. It’s a relief, as I won’t have the dilemma of deciding whether to go or not.

I do want to see my godmother. I have friends I’d like to see.

Have any of you got to self-isolate? I’d love to hear how you are coping with it.


A troll…

I went to this morning and found I have a troll. I reported it and blocked them. Medium is linked to twitter, where a lot of campaigning goes on for human rights, stopping exports of teargas etc. It is there that I got a troll, an American convert to Islam, living in Indonesia.

This guy did all kinds of things to me. Mainly psychologically, but also made phone calls to the UK to cause suspicion about me. I have been so grateful that he got blocked from twitter, and left me alone.

By the way, just over six years ago, we stopped a shipment of teargas from South Korea to Bahrain. Bahrain persecutes the Shia population, denies them medical care and will arrest them or shoot to kill them at any excuse. Their communities are concreted up so the world doesn’t see them, and teargas is thrown in windows and vehicles. Children’s lungs are damaged and a form of anaemia is developed.

There have been several anniversaries recently to do with promoting peace and human rights issues.

I just hope nothing starts again.


A New Year, just the next day…

I have put some time between new year’s eve and now, or rather, God has. I am still not relaxed, but I am doing better than I was.

Thank you to those who have expressed concern and care. I will respond when I feel able.

I woke this morning at 5.15 and knew that sleep would not return to me. I wrote a complaint to the hospital about Dr Davies. You know, I have noticed that surgeons generally have consistently more compassion than doctors. I think there is something about seeing a patient vulnerable, lying on the gurney, that makes them feel something that some doctors don’t become capable of. So far, I have not encountered a surgeon who was lacking human warmth. I realise now, I’ve only encountered two surgeons, but my first, the Professor, who is sadly now deceased, had a team of registrars and junior doctors who were all lovely. Wait, I think there may be a third, the guy who diagnosed me, but I was too ill to notice.

So, my complaint – I told how I was only asked about now. I was not asked any of my history. This was a first. Dr Davies was entirely uninterested in how my respiratory problems started. Or how it was at the beginning. He was only interested in right now. That is strange. And he wants me to have tests that will cause me pain and distress. I am not about to have a baby. No this is the twenty first century. I can have tests without pain and distress. Medicine has progressed that far.

In my complaint, I also mentioned my state of mind when leaving the hospital and when I got home. I cannot allow anyone else to go through what I went through. I have a role within the local NHS Foundation Trust. I need to fulfil that role. I’m firstly human. I have a duty to other humans.

I haven’t yet attempted to approach my daughter. It is too soon. I have messaged her boyfriend, and asked him to google two of the medicines I need, because their side effects are costing me my identity as me. I can become a argumentative person if someone gets under my skin. It doesn’t happen often, but it has happened most with my daughter. Because we are close.

So, I am not yet physically at peace, but my mind is getting there.


About who I wanted to be…

I’ve written about what I have done with my life, but that is not what I set out to do. I never thought I would become a psychologist or work with an NGO. This all came from the cloth that was cut for me.

At school I did very well in English, French, and German. Despite having had German as my first language, because I was teased at school, both my sister and I did not want to speak German at home. I wish my mother had continued to speak German to us, even if we had replied in English. (I used to speak to my daughter in German when she was tiny and sing to her German lullabies and nursery rhymes.)

I loved learning and using languages. I was ‘top’ of the class in French and occasionally knocked to number two by the friend I sat with. We would pass notes in French between us. This often led to her collapsing in giggles, while I, having a dry sense of humour, would perhaps smile. It caused some quick thinking to give a reason for her giggles but sometimes she was able to turn it into coughing.

My rival at German, was a boy who also had a German mother, and his parents were loosely acquainted with mine. He was a little big headed but although he would never admit it, he was somewhat protective of me as I was the subject of much teasing and ridicule after my brain surgeries, because of my appearance.

So I was very shocked when my mother refused to let me stay to do Sixth Form ‘A’ level English French and German. My sister had done Sixth Form at college where she did a pre-nursing course and went on to fulfil hr dream of becoming nurse.

I had dreamt of going on to do a degree in modern languages and become a translator, maybe with the Foreign Office or a holiday rep overseas, or possibly teach ‘A’ level languages.

My mother told me I had to get a ‘profession’, a paid job, as she was not going to support me through two more years of school. I was devastated. A profession would need sixth form at least. So I found a job at the Head Office of an international branch of a well known bank, and put myself through college one day a week. It was Business Studies, but got me an HND, even if it was a long way from my ambition.

Day-release at college is no easy ride. You do the same amount of work as a full time course. Many in my class did not return for the second year. It was hard work. I remember once I fell asleep at my desk, and woke to find my face on my work book, the lecturer saying my name and apart from that dead silence. The lecturer was not compassionate, but making jokes about me. I didn’t care, though I was embarrassed. If I had to burn the candle at both ends, I was determined to get the qualification.

One of the guys with whom I worked, would sometimes let me crib his homework when I’d struggled with maths. I have a phobia around maths, as I was once good at it, and after missing two and a half years of school while I was very very ill, had brain surgeries, and some recovery, I was put back in the top set. Of course, I struggled and failed and was utterly humiliated. To this day I can’t do anything except the most basic maths in front of another person without anxiety, stress and mistakes.

After I had worked at the bank for four years, I decided to go and work with an NGO that a housemate had gone to. This would be my work for three years, visiting five countries and seeing unnecessary poetry, disease and death. I was also involved with pastoral care for those around me, and felt a degree of frustration in my ability to give the right support. Then I heard about an opportunity in southern California, where I could attend lectures at USC and after certain amount of time and enough credits, would be able to work with a certified recovery programme. This was in Alta Loma, where by weird coincidence one of my great poet contacts lives, Frank Mundo. He believes in me as a writer and poet, and he rocks.

So that is how I came to be a psychologist. I discovered I had enough credits to have gone half way though a Masters when the accredited link with the place I was working at folded, but by looking for a tutor I was able to write my Doctorate.

During this time I was a counsellor, and an assistant house-parent. I loved it when I was de-facto houseparent especially, as I could feel the love of the people I was responsible for. They would change the oil in my car for me, they would like it if I was on meal prep with them. And some of them would always come to sit where I was, whether in the house or outside. When I was assistant or deputy, I would take a group to have frozen yoghurt, or to the video/DVD rental shop. I would organise car washes to raise money for someone who had a particular need, or to buy sports equipment for the house. I was always on the lookout for fun recreational activity that would not be to competitive individually. When you are responsible for people recovering from addiction, PTSD, people with various mental illness diagnoses, there is need to stay with team sports. I was very dismayed when I played baseball for the first time, having loved rounders, that the diamond was gritted, not grass, and my sneakers were not suitable and I slipped.

There are people who still stay with me. A man who was silent and had frozen his fingers off because of his shame of masturbating. A recovering alcoholic who asked me to go with him to an AA meeting and I said he should go alone. A woman who walked into the kitchen, announced she had taken 40 tablets and was going to to lie down. I told her no, put salt in a glass, added water, made her drink it, and go 2 of the most reliable residents to walk her around the garden while I phoned the Sheriff. Another woman would eat a pack of 12 bagels in the night and then be in agony because she did not purge. We had to have a lock put on the food store and make sure the fridges did not contain anything she could binge on. Locking them was not a good option as the climate is so hot and dry and cold drinks needed to be available.

I have a memory of coming to the house and finding the original houseparent talking to a bathroom door, saying ‘if you want to commit suicide, go somewhere else’. I emptied the drawers of kitchen knives, and hid them in our hiding place.

There were occasions when I had to wing it. Two kids set a fire in the garden. I thought I heard rain, but it was 10 ft flames. I had to call the fire service and organise the most mentally able to soak the lawn between the house and fire with a hose in the hope of containing the fire until the truck arrived.

I had a tiny office which was really a walk in closet. When things got on top of me I would go and sit on the floor with the door shut. I would breathe deep and slow, and pray. I would pray for inner peace, pray for each of those in my care, I would pray for wisdom, I would ask the Holy Spirit to come into the house.