Gaining Confidence

It has taken a while, quite a while when I come to think of it. My self confidence had taken several hits over the past few years but generally I refuse to be beaten by things and in a moment of loss and grief I decided something. That I was going to make it better again.

Although I am only recent on this road I am at last making headway and gaining confidence once again. I see glimpses of my old self that are returning at last.

I mentioned in a previous post about the recent loss of my brother and that at his funeral I shared some of my poetry in front of the assembled throng. It was both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. It was also a first for me and was well received. It got me thinking, was it just a one off or would I feel able to get up and do something like that again.

I was also facing another personal hurdle recently. Giving evidence in a court trial for criminal damage against my property caused by someone who has harassed and abused me for the past two and a half years. In the weeks leading up to the trial, I suffered more threats and did not know if I felt strong enough to deal with it, but knew that I had to if I was to get any justice at all. It was time for things to change, for the better.

So once again I stepped out of my comfort zone. I attended the trial, gave my evidence and came out of the court having helped convict the person who caused the damage. It gave me a huge boost to know that I had succeeded after being bullied and feeling daunted for so long.

Getting back to the poetry. At the funeral I was told by several people that I should write more and share it with people. Soon after that I was invited to a spoken word poetry reading at a local venue. I thought that I would go along and see how it worked. It happens every month and you turn up and share your words with other poets it’s like an open mic night.

I took my sister, she is used to performing since she is a professional musician. I went with a few poems tucked in my bag just in case I had the urge to join in. We sat and listened and what struck me, is that poetry affects people in so many different ways. Some was bawdy, some of the language strong, some I didn’t understand at all and others performed in song.

Since we arrived rather late in the evening I was one of the last to read. Many of the others had left by then and my nerves were trying to get the better of me. I was shaking like a leaf, the symptoms of my health letting me down again and wracked with pain. But I was determined not to back down. I had decided I was going to do this, so I owed it to myself to follow it through.

I had not practiced or rehearsed beforehand. But read out two of my poems, The Vivid Sky and Wild Horses to applause from the remaining people. At the end of the evening a few people came and asked me if I had done this before. There was one person who said he wished there were more, that they were longer as he hadn’t wanted them to stop. He said he’d enjoyed them and asked about my writing. We talked for a few minutes. I had also enjoyed his poems earlier in the evening. I was invited back next month and decided that I would return. I would also take the time to improve my presentation to make my voice clearer, there is some work to do for my own peace of mind.

It gave me a real sense of achievement to realise that at last I am slowly gaining confidence again to do things that I may not have considered before. Pushing my boundaries again. Something I have battled with in the past was getting people to listen, feeling that I could not hold their attention for long enough to make my point.

In the past week alone, having achieved these two separate things I have now realised that if I can stand up in front of a room full of strangers then I will become a better public speaker in time and this will expand my capabilities.

Who knows where that will lead me?

One of my bosses once said to me that I could do anything that I wanted. At the time I did not believe in myself to imagine that it were true. Thankfully I have someone else in my life who believed in me even when I did not and over the years I have been encouraged to try new things. Occasionally I follow my instincts and go and do the new things and am amazed when it works out. But to know that it’s there all along is a wonderful feeling.

The Daily Post – Gingerly

Creative Abandon

The Daily Post – Messy

Like many creative people my house can get pretty messy when I am busy making or doing a project. The key to this is to return to some order again once I am done. Admittedly sometimes this can take longer than I planned.

Yesterday I took over the kitchen as is often the case this time of year and made Winter Syrup. This will form the basis for some of my handmade Christmas gifts for friends and family.

As you will see in almost every hedgerow that you pass this time of the year in the Uk there is a plentiful supply of Rosehips just waiting to be utilised. After the first frost has softened them is the best time to use them. I love foraging for fruit and berries.

For the past three years I have made a Winter Syrup of varying ingredients. It is usually because I haven’t kept the recipe in one place and I strive to improve it each year. All have been based on a Rosehip recipe and are my first resort when sore throats hit since these wonderful fruits are packed with Vitamin C.

The first I made was the best since it was Elderberry and Rosehip and was what my brother who was a chef, described as “a little bottle of Christmas”. It was lovely with cake, ice cream and in sparkling cocktails. I resolve to make this version next year and not miss out on elderberries as I did this year I was just in the wrong place when the fruit was available. But for now, here’s the recipe for this year’s if you want to make some of your own.

1kg of Ripe Rosehips with stalks and ends removed.

2 litres water

1 Lemon with peel on, halved.

2 inches of Fresh Ginger root, sliced.

1 teaspoon Ground Mixed Spice.

2 tsp Ground Turmeric.

2 tsp Ground Cinnamon.

1 tsp Cloves.

Honey.

Mix all ingredients in a large pan, with 1 litre water lightly mash the Rosehips to break up the fruit and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Use a Muslin cloth in a colander and a bowl to separate the fruit from the liquid, leave to stand to drain as much liquid as possible out. Because Rosehips have fine hairs within them which can irritate the throat you have to separate the fruit from the liquid.

Return the liquid to a clean pan and add another 1 Ltr water and 1kg Sugar. I used both Demerara and white sugar since it was what I had to hand. Add 2 tbsp honey.

Bring the liquid to boil until all sugar has melted then simmer until it has reduced to half its volume.

Bottle it into sterilised glass bottles. I got 8 small bottles from this recipe.

It makes a wonderful sore throat remedy. You will notice that there is a slight sediment in the bottles, this is due to the use of dried spices. Shake before use and once opened store in the refrigerator.

Two Moments in the Rain.

via Daily Prompt: Rivulet

pexels-photo-459451.jpegThe Rain comes down sideways in Scotland drenching you to your soul, cleansing your mind of everything that needs to be gone, but getting into every crevice and stays there. Much like Scotland itself does. It gets in your head, unforgettable followed by the emotions of other seasons all brought to you, often in one day. The dampness carried around with you in your bones, never quite letting it go.  But you love it for what it does to you. The hours you could spend watching rivulets of rain pouring down a window in quiet contemplation.

The rain in Australia is somehow different. Yes, it will also soak you to the skin, but the warmth that follows it will brighten the day, drying out the very core of your being, bringing a different kind of happiness, as the steam rises from your clothes along with your worries, lifting your spirits and making you think of better things, a temporary blast of freshness which the world around you sings it’s Thank you. Scents and sounds of the forest thankful for the blessing of an impromptu shower. Droplets of rain disappearing in the heat.

It’s More than just Bad Language

The Daily Post – Struggle

Far More than just Bad Language, it’s also knowing Right from Wrong.

This post is far more than just about bad language in our society, it is about knowing right from wrong. Due to recent events in the news, where people no longer seem to know what is out of order. They have crossed that line, the one which we are taught when growing up, not to cross, when we are taught what is right and wrong and how to react. This is not about one single act of violence against innocent people going about their lives, it not just about bad language it is about Anger and Hatred in our society. My thoughts are with everyone who has suffered loss at the hands of someone else, of the people who were taken without thought, far too soon and their loved ones who are left behind.

As I ask myself and those around me, what made everyone so angry all of the time, what removed the ability to see what is right and wrong? I, like so many others am searching for the answers, this is simply my own point of view.

When did the world become so intolerant? Where children were brought up not to swear will suddenly let rip and every sentence is filled with expletives. I find it unnerving, it didn’t used to be the norm. Is it an age thing. I’m not old, so I don’t think it is. Of course there were people who swore a lot when I grew up, but they didn’t do it at everyone, they usually had to be severely provoked for the occasional swear word to escape their lips. To be fair, I came from a home where religion played a pretty large part. It was not acceptable to use these words to express your anger or frustration. I know times have changed, but it seems that so many people have forgotten that there are other words which also suffice. Apparently if you are in your twenties or so, it is perfectly normal to “let them have it with both barrels” if something displeases you in any way and in no uncertain terms. I know someone who is like this, who has what I’ll politely refer to as a “fiery temper” she was not chastised by her parents and got away with it, but not with me. As a consequence, she usually has a certain level of respect afforded for me, which she lacks in others. It is not just her though, I have noticed in the workplace, walking down the street, in stores, it makes no difference it is wherever you go. Perhaps it is as simple as that in others too, people will get away with it if you let them.

So, what made the world so incapable of articulating their anger without peppering the conversation with the F word, or worse? Ok so maybe I am a little old fashioned along with my values. As a consequence some language makes me feel uncomfortable and I guess that’s partly what I have a problem with, I don’t want to be around it so I ask myself, am I over sensitive? Don’t get me wrong, there have been more than enough times when I have wanted to let rip too, but I wasn’t brought up that way, so I have an inbuilt off switch, something that does allow me to weigh the consequences of my words and actions. Where my common sense kicks in and tells me that “This is not a good idea” and I tone it down. I still get my point across and to some people it drives them all the more mad that I am not ranting and raving about it in the process. I have worked around people who F and Blind as it used to be known. I’m not pretending to be a saint, sure, I get cross and upset, but is there really a requirement to abuse the person you are angry with over some triviality. Why do people think that shouting abuse at someone would make them more inclined to listen to your point? I have also found that this is usually done by the people who claim to be intelligent and at least have an understanding of the common language.

So have we all resorted to guttural language to get our point across and anger when we cant?
When did we become so Angry? Are the people who are getting angry, going to know the difference between the right and wrong ways to enable them to change things, or are they just fed up at not getting their own way. Will they be so inarticulate that they will be unable to get their point however valid it may, or may not be, across to the masses? Or am I so outdated in my approach that this is all the masses understand? For this has now become the norm. In moments of extreme frustration I have been known to resort to the same level, to get my point across. I am not proud of such an outburst, immediately regretting it and such behaviour usually backfires on me. I have always prided myself on a decent command of the English language that I was able to get my point across without the use of such words. Am I old fashioned that I feel offended when I see Facebook comments that are littered with such words. It is wrong that I don’t want to read them, the person who writes them might be truly upset, or they just might be venting uncontrollable anger and I don’t want to get in their way. There is no willpower, no control over their anger and where does it lead.

I am a peacemaker by nature. I don’t like conflict, I will try and diffuse a volatile situation wherever possible, dealing with my own feelings of discomfort later. I have been downtrodden by the process at times, but I will only take so much before I go into battle with my assailant. It is the curse of the millennial that nothing is good enough for them, that they are hard done by, when they do not get what they want and they feel that the world owes them better. Is it that they weren’t slapped at their outbursts, shown that it was not good behaviour to use such language and show disrespect to the people around them. When did they lose the tools to show their displeasure in normal language, or were they not taught them in the first place and if not why the hell not?

In my own home, I now swear from time to time, it isn’t pretty and it happens rarely, but not as rarely as it should. Does that make me a hypocrite? No, I don’t think so because it rarely affects anyone else, it is usually borne of frustration or physical pain. When I’m outside of the home, it is a different matter, if other people are in earshot, I am conscious of my words and getting my point across in a “grown up” manner without the use of expletives, as a consequence I’m very rarely misunderstood when something angers or upsets me. It takes a lot for me to really blow my top and I try to remain calm to get my point across, but when that just isn’t possible, you’d better watch out.

Is it about respect, not just for their elders, or lack of it?
There were simply words it was not polite or excused to use when we were growing up. You would be chastised for their use and called a fishwife, it was just not acceptable behaviour. So when did it all change? Sure there were people who swore when they got upset, but you gave them a wide berth and stayed away from them, so when and why did it become the new norm? I am curious to know what influenced it?
I don’t think that the world in general has become a worse place, it is the people within it who have made it so. A place where people think twice about bringing children into the world, because of what is going on here. The people have become far less tolerant over time. There were wars, but there have always been people who do not get along and they have fought. But there certainly seems to be more anger and hatred than there used to be and more wars, which usually seem to be brought about by greed. More and more, it seems that people resort to explosive anger and violence just to get their point across. There are too many voices and they are all shouting, so now no-one will listen, so is it down to who is shouting the loudest that will win and be heard. Did the world stop discussing things, simply because people stopped doing what they said they would do? They changed their minds and didn’t think to tell the others, thinking that they didn’t have to be held accountable for their actions any more. The world would let them away with it and it has. Where punishment for your wrongdoing is either non-existent or disregarded due to it’s lack of severity.

We are surrounded by loud mouthed abusive children, who have now grown into disrespecting adults who are incapable of doing anything, who survive on their cunning by trying to be clever and outwit the people remaining who do have a sense of right and wrong. A disposable society which does not value anything or it’s worth, just it’s price. They now grown into adults who have children of their own who are being brought up in their own image and it is getting worse!

Don’t get me wrong, Good People still exist….

I know many people who have become great parents who are teaching their children right and wrong and whose families show each other the proper respect and this continues into the outside world around them. I also speak to teachers who are dealing with the aftermath of the “no punishment” brigade and go to work every day in fear of their safety. For the abuse they will receive from their pupils and are rendered powerless by the authorities to stop it. Living on their wits, when just a stern word could cause them to lose their lives due to the weapons which are brought into schools by children and used “to teach the grown ups a lesson”. These Teachers do this job, because they live in the hope that they are making a change for the better, that if they listen to their pupils and their voices are heard, if they teach them right from wrong, then the world will become a better place. Then the marks made on society will be achievements and good, not how many people’s lives have been lost or people maimed and damaged in the process of rising to the top.

We should not accept living in a society born of fear. Where you cannot leave your home without carrying a weapon, where you cannot own something nice, for fear of someone else wanting to take it away. For people resenting what you have because you have worked for it. Wake Up World, there is still time to change this and it isn’t going to be achieved by killing people who don’t see your point of view.