The blog with all the exclamation marks!!!!
I am not going to start this well overdue blog post with the “we are living in challenging times“ speech. We all know it! We are living with it every day! It’s f***ing tough! So putting away the exclamation marks, the negative words and taking off the virtual face mask that hides our worries, I felt it was time to refocus especially after one of the toughest days in 2020 yet.
I hit the overload button on Thursday, it happened while I was sitting an online University exam for my favourite subject. I wanted to make sure I tried to stick to the suggested hour and a half to complete it and then 24 hours to upload but in the middle of downloading the exam paper BT did what it does best, broadband went down. Now I thought, patience Ger it will come back it always does but repeat this script and scenario 5, yes 5 times and you have the tin lid on an incredibly stressful semester at University. There was nothing for it, my brain could not think straight, all my quotes and lines I had learned from poems went flying out the window so I picked up a cushion, buried my face in it and screamed loudly.
Cue karmic reminder!
This was the one I picked up. I bought this LOVE cushion while out shopping with one of my dearest friends and it was at a time where the seed of doubt about what I was doing with my life (yes. I did just say 'doing with my life') was starting to grow. I bought it because of the colours but since it has now travelled with me through two house moves and a massive life decision, it's become an anchor. So yes, perhaps it was karma that made me pick this one up to scream into.
Anchors, whether physical or mental have become such a hugely important part in our daily lives in 2020. Whether it is a daily phone call, a wave through a window or those socially distanced outstretched arm hugs we have all become so good at, without these this Covid storm would be unnavigable. Unfortunately on Thursday my anchor slipped, and my face got buried deep in a cushion that didn't represent any of the above but was purely a gag to stop the world from knowing how I felt. I guess a lot of you reading this will have felt the same but instead of running out into the street and screaming "what the f**k!" to clear that stress we just get on with it because that's what we do. When I finally lifted my head from the cushion I found myself staring at the wall above my desk. It is covered in images of places that are my happy space, paintings that feed my soul and photos of those I love. (No photo, it might embarrass some people reading this) In amongst all the images is this quote …
“In everyone’s life, there is a great need for an anam cara, a soul friend. In this love, you are understood as you are without mask or pretension. The superficial and functional lies and half-truths of social acquaintance fall away, you can be as you really are. Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious. Where you are understood, you are at home.”
John O’Donohue Anam Cara
Karma, as it has always done throughout my life, places right there in front of me the words I needed to see. On that wall are the faces of people I know are there, people who support every crazy decision, people who guide me from the great beyond and people who are not afraid of saying " eh no". None of them are acquaintances, they are all individuals who understand. They all know when I am not being me and give me the courage to stay true and know that wherever or whenever I am with them I am at home. I know this is deep stuff but its positive stuff, and in a time when the world is full of uncertainty, political agendas, lawsuits and sadness, knowing that you can scream at the top of your lungs and someone will send you a smiley face, a heart or a "you really are a madwoman" text just restores faith. Society as we know must change from what we are currently living through and if it doesn't then that will be a shame. One of my great sociology heroes C. Wright Mills wrote …
“Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.”
(Source Mills, C. Wright. 2000. Sociological Imagination, 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press))
That understanding of how the everyday affects us is key to our survival of 2020 especially as some have been through, and are still going through, tough, unthinkable times. For me, Mills perspective on understanding is key, acknowledging what affects me helps to comprehend the challenges others are facing. This may sound selfish but by finding those trigger points that make me smoosh my face into a cushion means I can empathise with those who need that same f**k it moment. I have to admit to actually now writing down those triggers and the feelings leading to them so I can cope with and recognise the signs of the emotional explosion to come. Those of you who who know me will understand, I do love a checklist so perhaps it time for one …
Reflective blog? Written!
Positive outlook? Getting there!
Appreciation for what I have? Big tick!
Getting ready for one more exam and possible meltdown? Cushion at the ready!
Tonic for huge gin splurge once exams are over? TBD
Exclamation marks back? You betcha!
Talking of lists, a friend of mine told me that she has scrapped her bucket list in favour of what I am going to do once we have been vaccinated list. It ranged from paddling in the sea to going to Ikea for meatballs (she has been in almost permanent lockdown due to caring responsibilities). What an amazing and positive idea! Mine is quite simple
Hug everyone I can't hug just now.
Go into severe overdraft by spending on dinners out, weekends and days away.
Be daft, be silly, be safe and be brave!
But most of all say thank you, especially to those on my wall!
Stay safe, stay connected but most all keep that smooshin cushion nearby!