A drink to forget

 

A drink to forget

A drink to forget.

Reblogging this simply because I’ve been there. I was there just last week and can’t swear I won’t go back.

I don’t have any solutions…All I know is my body thanks me when I don’t overdo it. I’m going to try harder to listen to what it says from now on.

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An open letter to my body

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(Source: http://pixi11.deviantart.com/art/start-a-revolution-141151280)

Dear Bod,

(You Sexy, Flawed, Resilient, Imperfect Palace of Wonder!)

I think it’s fair to say we’ve been through a lot together. A Rock n’Roll road trip…And I really don’t think I’ve shown you enough appreciation en route.

You were there as I developed, while I learned to sit, crawl, walk, run and swim. You were around for me when I (finally) learned to dance, I put you through hell learning to walk in heels. You carried me shaking and with a bellyful of jittery winged insects to first dates.

With the dates came relationships, encounters and the tricky business of my sexuality. Whilst circumnavigating their choppy waters, you got me into – and out of – a whole lot of scrapes! You taught me way more about what floats my boat than any number of “What’s Hot in The Bedroom” magazine articles. Not to Mention the Fifty Shades… triology, still sitting in my room half read.

We leapt around like crazy at gigs and concerts, pogo-ing, moshing, pulling rockers and muscles. You more than proved yourself a force to be reckoned with in my clubbing years…Countless all-nighters, arse-shaking on podiums, bone-crushing hugs from friends n’ strangers…followed by  long treks in ragged gaggles of human traffic, off in search of parties…Then the subdued walk of shame home in the afternoon!

We survived the adrenaline rush of warp speed, near misses with moving vehicles and epic falls rollerblading brought. Considered surfing but made content with the sun-kissed skin and salty hair of body-boarding. We went the wrong way at aerobics but felt at home in Burlesque lessons.

Remember when I fell backwards off the banister and bounced down the stairs at a club in Cardiff? Took a 12 hour flight to Tokyo alone, to meet up with my ex for NYE 97/98? Met another ex’s parents the day we both returned from our first festival (and then slept for almost a week afterwards!) You were bruised, knackered and feeling slightly broken…But while you gave out, you never gave up!

You saw me through 4 city moves in my teens and early 20s, and finally the big one to Nottingham aged 30. You carried on resolutely whilst I lusted, loved, hated, fought, forgave, forgot and moved on. You also kept me alive through depression, an eating disorder, drinking, smoking, substance abuse, self-harm, risky behaviour and a long list of other less than wise decisions.

I remember the times when I hated you and feel ashamed. My weight has been linked to feelings and emotions since I was a little girl. I lost and gained ounces, pounds and stones…By means foul and fair. You shrank and grew accordingly. I appreciated you when my ribcage showed and hip bones jutted briefly, though evidently never enough. I thought beauty was measured by dress size and how much flesh I could get away with baring. I feel foolish knowing the truth. Confidence is where beauty begins. Wisdom and experience too. When you get to know your body – and give it what it really needs – you’re on the road to giving your self esteem a break and feeling better.

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I’m sorry for all the binges, for the diets, for the angst. I look at your entirety in the full length mirror and see the improvement healthy eating and exercise is already bringing. My inked arms starting to show muscle tone. My legs looking strong and shapely. My waist more defined than even a month ago. You’ve started to reward me for taking care of you…It’s a fair exchange, thinking about it. I feel bad for the mistakes I made before, but they’re done with and we’ve come a long way.

I feel proud of the results effort brings. I’m on a high after each gym class and workout. I love it when I learn something new, complete those extra repetitions, manage to zip or button a garment which refused before. The low ache of muscles worked makes me feel I’ve achieved something. I’m happy to be worn out and sleep through.

I want to say thank you for triumphing over my neglect in previous years. To yell

“Let’s fucking do this!”

And to continue to grow fit and strong.

And I promise to shut up and listen in future when you’re trying to tell me something.

Body, you fucking rock. I can finally say I’m truly proud you’re mine.

I’d high-five you, but it’s physically impossible!

Pin the Tail on the Victim

Annoying enough to be barred from a couple of pubs, thanks to not tolerating abuse. Much worse is to lose your job over it. Read this and fumed, so decided to re-blog.

Lessons From the End of a Marriage

It’s rare that a news story makes me angry. But this one managed to get under my skin and infuriate me.

A teacher in California has been fired after her abusive and threatening ex husband showed up at her school, violating his restraining order. The school was forced to go into lockdown until the ex was apprehended by police.

After the incident, the private school put her on leave (and removed her children from the school) and refused to issue her a contract for the next school year. They cite their fears of the potential threat that the ex has to the students and faculty of the school once he is released from jail.

Deep breath.

I get the fear. It is extremely frightening to have an unstable person show up at the school, threatening students and faculty. I know. I’ve been there.

I’ve been there with the biological father…

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Friend or Foe?

I’ve not posted for two days, as I’d been giving some thought to this entry. I wanted to make sure I worded it carefully…Recent feedback suggests my tone can sound a bit preachy. The last thing I want to do is give anyone a lecture…I’ve made too many mistakes in my own life to ever tell anyone else how to live theirs! My only aim is to tell you about my own experiences and attempt to help others. I hope that writing what did and didn’t work may give those in a similar situation some insight.

Since ending my relationship 2 months ago and reporting my ex-partner’s abuse to the police, I’ve certainly found out who my friends are. Some of these revelations came as a surprise and others were no big shock. I still believe that everyone is capable of good and bad, that we are all prone to taking sides based on the information we are given and that loyalty can be blind.

I’ve found that I have some amazing, supportive friends who stuck resolutely by my side. Not all my blood family in Wales and my friendship family know one and other, but they pulled together so I didn’t have to face the situation on my own. I had days where I felt I so strong I could take down the world with my bare hands. Others, I was too frightened to leave the house. Through all of these, they were at my side when I needed them. I knew they were also thinking of me when I needed to be on my own. I am grateful to all of those who love and care about me and would return the favour without hesitation.

I’ve also discovered that certain people I considered acquaintances (some bordering on fair-weather friends) have disappeared or turned against me. I’ve been snubbed in the street and found my number of “friends” on social media has dwindled. Neither of which particularly upsets me…I consider the mark of a true friend is being able to question any decisions they don’t agree with to my face. Not everyone can be bothered to do this. Some people aren’t capable of it. These are the ones who save me the bother of finding out for myself. We all have the right to vote with our feet.

When a different relationship ended a few years ago, I remember being saddened and offended when “mutual” friends sided with my ex. I felt abandoned and let down. Since then, I’ve done a lot of thinking about friendships and how loyalties fall when shit hits the fan. I’ve come to one main conclusion: Sometimes people are tolerated for the sake of others. We all do it, it’s not necessarily a bad or false way to behave. What’s the sense in upsetting friends or being outwardly rude to people? It’s yet another reason why we shouldn’t cut ourselves off from friends when we get into a relationship.

When I was in my teens, my Mum gave me some advice…

“Never change for anyone, you may end up forgetting who you were if you split up”

It kinda went in one ear and out the other at the time…I was fourteen and frequently had my head up my arse over boys. Only over the years did it start to make sense. I’m determined to heed her words in the future.

Further to this, two days ago I learned that I’ve been barred from two pubs in the city centre. One of which is run by my ex-partner’s best mate and another frequented by his housemate.For once, I was happy to find this out through hearsay…I’m sure the people who run these fine establishments would have relished the drama of seeing me walk in so that they could cuss me out and send me on my way. Liven the place up no end!

Your average barfly loves a good pub row…And would no doubt be hoping for pints hurled across the bar and fisticuffs as a bonus. There’s safety in numbers, after all. Nothing like a good old bar full of boozers against one villain of the peace. Images of Moe and his flaming-torch carrying angry mob from The Simpsons spring to mind. Plus monkeys throwing excrement for good measure. My brain is fun like that!

Perfect gift for the manipulative little abuser in your life.

Perfect gift for the manipulative little abuser in your life.

Yours Fartfully, The Angry Mob

Yours Fartfully, The Angry Mob

Monkey see as monkey do (doos!)

Monkey see as monkey do (doos!)

This aside, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have felt comfortable in either drinking palace anyway. Some may call that cowardice, others will see it for what it is…Looking after my own interests. Why exactly would I want to waste my time and money somewhere I wasn’t welcome and didn’t want to be?

Contrary to what these people clearly believe, I do not deliberately set out to cause trouble, seek out conflict or take great delight in antagonising people. It seems my main crime is not putting up with being treated like shit in relationships – and seeking justice when things get criminal. As far as I am concerned, friends ought to back each other up. It’s in the job description. However, there’s a lot of truth in the old chestnut like attracts like. Staying friends with bigots, bullies or abusers means you condone their actions. People happy to put this out to the world have no place in my life.

With this in mind, am going to take the day in my hands and haul ass to the gym. I woke up thinking “Gym or swim”…Gym is winning as I don’t have any goggles and hate getting water in my eyes. If I’m gonna be marginalised by the movers and shakers of the local alternative scene, I may as well look damn spanky in the process!

Have a fabulous weekend, one and all. Even the delightful few I referred to above…I don’t really care as I’ll be busy having one of my own.

Emotional Abuse: Not as Obvious as You’d Think

Emotional Abuse: Not as Obvious as You’d Think.

Another not-so-shining example of emotional abuse, this time with the added stress of premature birth. Another story of survival and courage…Remember, there is a person behind every single one.

The abuser sought to make it “All About him” and accused his pregnant ex-partner of “Attention Seeking” and “Being a Drama Queen”

Words that sound all-too familiar. In my case, for daring to have bad days thanks to depression. For having the nerve not to fire on all cylinders when my ex needed my support, but wasn’t prepared to give me his. When faced with that kind of selfishness, there’s a useful word to remember. Goodbye. Shame it wasn’t on the tip of my tongue when I needed it most.

I will keep posting these and I hope people keep reading.

Can’t get no sleep?

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Ironically, I’m writing this post after just a few hours’ sleep…Somewhere between 2 and 4 hours. For a long time, that was what passed for normal in my world. Sleep was always the first casualty if anything of note was going on in my life…New job, new relationship, feeling creative. Sleep pattern out of the window!

There are no set rules on how much sleep we actually need. The ideal of 8 hours a night just isn’t required by everyone. Professor Kevin Morgan of Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre gives the following advice…

“Simply put, you need enough to make you refreshed and able to function efficiently throughout the next day,” says Professor Morgan. The number of hours depends on the completely on the individual”

Source: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/insomnia/Pages/insomniaoverview.aspx

Sounds like sensible advice. Regulars readers of my blog will know how hard I champion getting to know your body and it’s needs! Which is sound advice when you’re in the frame of mind to take care of yourself. What happens when something happens to disrupt your day-to-day though?

After the events which led to the break up of my relationship, I refused to go to bed for a week. The night after it happened, I grabbed my duvet from upstairs and camped out on the sofa. Going into my bedroom filled me with dread, after having woken up there bruised, sore and crying that morning. Worse, I was scared he’d come looking for me. I had this idea I could run out the back door if he came to the front…Logically, I’d have been safer in bed. After watching who knows what all night, I managed 50 minutes shut-eye . I fell asleep with my mobile phone in one hand and my keys in the other, the cat curled up on my chest.

After giving my statement to the police, they registered my address as a Place of Interest, which meant any call from around the area would have resulted them attending as a priority.

Below is a link from the Women’s aid website on what happens when you report Domestic Violence to the police:

http://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-violence-survivors-handbook.asp?section=000100010008000100330003

Apart from time spent with friends on the Bank Holiday, I was rooted to the sofa for most of the week. I would say I watched a lot of TV, but I couldn’t tell you which shows were on. I spent a lot of time staring into space and trying hard not think. My cat followed me room to room and was a huge comfort…A friend once said purring feline therapy ought to be available on the NHS and I’m inclined to agree!

I simply got out of the habit of going to bed…Looking back, it started years ago. It was definitely exacerbated by the events of early May though, I started to dread lying there being unable to drop off, or falling asleep and waking up an hour or so later. Unwanted thoughts would circle my head, chased by memories I’d have rather left undisturbed. It became easier to just sit up and watch re-runs of 90s comedies on cable.

I don’t care if you’re black or blue,
me and the stars stay up for you
I don’t care who’s wrong or right
and I don’t care for the U.K. tonight so stay, stay

From Black or Blue by Suede http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdMH-eksvB0

By the end of the week, I felt like a total Zombie. I decided it was time to take the drastic step of climbing the stairs with my duvet. Though I only managed four hours (with some nonsensical, colourful dreams to boot) I felt like I’d achieved something. As if I was winning in some way. Small victories are still sweet.

Since then, I’ve managed to settle down a bit more. I generally turn in when it’s dark and wake up when it’s light, which is a good start!

To begin with, I took simple steps like making sure my bed was made and free of anything that didn’t belong there. I’m not a naturally tidy person so I had to be sure to enforce this, no matter what state my room was in! In the past I’d woken up with anything from my make up bag next to my head, to shoes digging into my back. Now only me and my little cat are welcome to rest there. Making sure my PJs were folded up under my pillow also made a difference. I have a theory that it reminded me of being a little girl. A small detail, but when we find something comforting it can help us feel relaxed.

I can recall being summoned to one of those ever-so-fun work related health road shows last year. The kind where they scold you for your BMI and gasp in horror at your alcohol intake. This one was a bit different and seemed more laid back. Possibly for this reason, the following advice stuck in my head…

It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment. Use your bed only for sleep and sex to strengthen the association between bed and sleep.

Source: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/healthy-sleep-tips

Even though I am not partnered – and happily so – I can confirm that this is good advice!

Not to put too fine a point on it…

(My Mum has been known to read this blog after all…)

There does seem to be a link between orgasm, sleep and general good health…

Orgasms improve sleep – After orgasm, blood pressure drops and your body is calmed which leads to a relaxed state where sleep can occur.  A lack of sleep leads to a host of physical and mental disorders. Sex could be the ultimate natural sleeping pill.

Source: http://www.insidershealth.com/article/an_orgasm_a_day_keeps_the_doctor_away/4261

Two people are not necessarily needed to induce orgasm, so I’ll allow you to draw your own conclusions!

I would probably extend Sex and Sleep to reading before nodding off…Don’t go for anything too challenging. Personally I think “Fifty Shades…” is overrated and would probably recommend something mildly funny. You don’t want to be splitting your sides, but it helps to be in a good mood when you switch the light off!

I’ve also found it’s much easier to sleep if you tire yourself out during the day. It sounds like a no-brainer…But I had to re-discover this for myself. I’ve lost count of home many times I’ve felt tired from doing absolutely nothing with my day, only to find myself unable to sleep. If you are in receipt of benefits, many councils offer discounts for use of facilities at leisure centres. There are also pay-monthly schemes which offer decent discounts if you are working. They are a really good way of discovering what kinds of exercise you enjoy…I’ve been taking part in Pole Fitness, Boxercise and VIPR Fit for the past month, as well as going to the gym. I definitely feel better and (am told) look better too. If it’s too early for exercise to have made a physical difference, I’ve definitely gained in confidence. Going to bed knackered has definitely helped with the sleep effort too!

Setting a wind-down routine has also helped…The simpler the better, I get irritated if I have to faff about. I aim to be in bed by 10.30pm and normally manage to be there between then and an hour later! Without fail, I like to have a hot drink and slice of toast around an hour before I turn in…The experts will slate me for this, but I started having a pre-bedtime cup of tea with my Nan aged about 9. I recently started doing this again, finding comfort in the memory. Tea is massive deal in my family and I learned to make a decent cup at an early age…Neither my Mother nor Grandmother would have any truck with rubbish brews!

I keep reading that drinking alcohol disrupts sleep…I think this is probably true. Booze tends to make me slightly hyperactive anyway, and while I find I normally go to sleep easily after a session I often wake up a few hours later. I’ve come to the conclusion too much loopy juice = too little sleep…I either avoid doing it in the first place now or just accept the consequences!

Though I prefer to take a bath in the morning, I know that some people find it helps to do so before bed. Apparently, the science behind it goes thus: After the bath raises your body temperature, you relax as it begins to dip.

Since I came up against too much conflicting information when I ran a search, I’ll just say whatever helps.

There are an absolute deluge of bath preparations which claim to aid relaxation, if you find a good one stick with it. Lavender is often recommended…personally it reminds me of old ladies, but each to their own!

Music can also help…Choose something relaxing, especially anything that sparks good memories.

I’m pretty old school in my choices, then again music doesn’t really exist for me after the millennium!

Albums of choice include…

  1. Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space – Spiritualized
  2. Pygmalion – Slowdive
  3. Drugstore – Drugstore
  4. Dummy – Portishead
  5. Protection – Massive Attack
  6. Dark Side Of The Moon – Pink Floyd
  7. Morrison Hotel – The Doors
  8. Isn’t Anything – My Bloody Valentine
  9. The Contino Sessions – Death In Vegas
  10. Back to Black – Amy Winehouse

Better still, make your own playlist or CD. No-one knows better what relaxes you.

It’s taken a few weeks to settle down, but I’d say sleeping better has made a big difference to my outlook. If a full night’s sleep doesn’t come straight away, persevere. Don’t lie awake berating yourself, but don’t be afraid to give sleep a chance. I’ll offer you a final tip…If your thoughts are keeping you awake then get up, sit somewhere warm and comfortable and write them down. I’ve come to many a conclusion and laid more than a few issues to rest by doing this.

I’m going to walk into town to meet a friend later today…She’s got a piece of artwork in an exhibition and we’re going along to take a look. I can’t wait to see it, and really hope it’s going to inspire me to paint! The last piece I did was a portrait of Dita Von Teese for another ex, and as far as I’m aware it’s still hanging unfinished in his kitchen…

Randomly, I just experienced Power of Suggestion in action. The TV was on in the background, seemingly enjoying the sound of its own voice. A discussion was taking place about beards on one of the morning shows…A hirstitute friend I haven’t thought about in ages sprang to mind and I looked him up on Facebook!

These things really work you know…

Don't lose yourself

http://www.wikihow.com/Recognize-and-Break-Free-of-Relational-Enmeshment

Another link I found whilst doing my homework on having doubts about my last relationship.

My ex was very big on dramatic statements like “You’re my world” and “You belong to me” At the time it sounded like what I wanted to hear. I was looking to mean the world to him, to be loved and accepted. I didn’t realise the emotional implications, until I felt bound to him and unable to breathe. Not tangled up in love, but suffocated by emotional enmeshment.

“Don’t leave me, everyone leaves”

He’d say, following conflict. Often in tears, always remorseful. Seeking hugs, wanting to lay his head on my chest and have me stroke his hair.

How could I go?

When the initial flames of my temper cooled, the fire of his words lost their heat I’d feel better for comforting him. I thought this made me a good person…Reading back over this article, now I’m not so sure. Was I seeking to control him through his feelings for me? Probably best to dismiss the whole relationship as unhealthy and move on.

In the end, I didn’t jump. I was pushed. It hurt like hell when I landed, but wounds heal.

I genuinely hope my ex-partner is getting the help he needs and deserves. But in light of his abuse, I decided our lives would take separate paths some time ago. Improving my own life and living well is now my priority. That isn’t going to change.

“Keeping the peace”: naming domestic abuse for what it is

“Keeping the peace”: naming domestic abuse for what it is.

I found this post an absolute inspiration…It documents emotional abuse and the harm it causes as it unfolds. The author’s strength and pride at surviving and moving on shines through every word.

Not all abuse is physical…But emotional abuse can often precede it. Remember that knowledge is power and arm yourself with the facts.

Freephone Number for The Samaritans

While I was being incredibly graceful at Pole Fitness (Ha!)…Something random but possibly invaluable occurred to me.

Sometimes we need someone to talk to but it’s too late at night/We don’t want to worry anyone/We can’t think of anyone to listen.

I suddenly remembered that these is a number for The Samaritans which is free to call from both mobiles and landlines: 116 123

The Samaritans cannot take the place of conversations with friends and loved ones who know you best. However, they can provide a listening ear when times are really bad.

Of equal importance, there are freephone numbers for NSPCC Childline and Missing Persons Helpline:

116 000 – Missing Persons
116 111 – NSPCC Childline

Both these numbers are also completely free from UK Landlines and Mobiles. Ofcom has decided that the three 116 short-code numbers are of extreme social value and must therefore be free to callers from both mobiles and landlines.

Source: http://community.giffgaff.com/t5/giffgaff-Top-Tips/FREE-calls-to-Samaritans-NSPCC-CHILDLINE-amp-MISSING-PERSONS/td-p/2082757