looking back

i was inspired by   george lukes blog recently, where he wrote about his memories of 2009.

it got me thinking about 2009. and looking back. such a roller coaster. as you’ll be working out, if you don’t already know, life for me is pretty interesting, never a dull moment. its fitting to be sat right now, in the middle of the night , wide awake, and writing. fitting to be thinking about the last 12 months, looking back … fitting because today has been an odd day for me.

odd because of the nature of the day. odd because of the normality of the day. odd because, actually it felt like perhaps it wasn’t my usual life i was living today … partly because today has been so refreshingly lovely. Work was very busy, but good, the afternoon i spent an hour at the beauty therapists being pampered after making a concsious choice to miss ‘the woman’ appointment i had. i then went home, to have a long soak in the bath, put on my gladrags and make and go out with the girls, for a meal and drinks. and as i was getting ready to go out, with the stereo on full blast (and no, i am not confessing to what i had blaring out :))  i thought to myself how normal life felt today. how normal i was feeling. it was such a nice feeling, to feel pretty cool, pretty good, looking forwards to going out. And when I got home, all I could do was go ‘wow, what a lovely day’.

perhaps, for once, and it does not happen often, but perhaps, today, for once i was living a little bit of life that has perhaps been lost sometimes, underneath the black cloud. and it was a good thing to do. a refreshing thing to do. and its left me in a good place to be sat right now thinking about the past year, the high’s, and the low’s … but also, to start thinking about the next blog after this one … which i’ll write up on New Years Day … to think about the coming year …

But, for now … heres some of the things I am thinking about when I look back at 2009.

*Several big events happened in Jan 09, the first was converting from being a PC user to a Macbook. A friend of mine had spent many many months convincing me it was the best possible thing I could do, and then said ‘about time’ when i rung to excited tell him the news … the news that i was a macbook owner. It was not long before i became a macbook addict, and I cant imagine not having ‘Doris’ – and yes, some of you reading this from twitter might remember the ‘naming’ poll that happened 🙂

*the second big event of that month … was meeting my father. for the first time in many many years. it had been quite a while. and although i don’t really want to go into huge details right here and now, it was a huge thing to do, i think , to be fair, it was a huge thing for both of us. after much apprehension about the meeting, but with much support from some truly great people it went smoothly, as smoothly as can be, and i was able to walk away with a sense of something, that something being something on the lines of ‘moving on’. That whole situation, meeting, process, what i learnt from it, what i took away from it, is a whole blog in itself … but suffice to say, it was a incredibly hard going, but moving and life changing event.

* 2009 was also the year that my beloved Gran went ‘home’. After a short illness, of about 6 weeks, she went to be in Peace. It was an incredibly tough time … having seen her become so unwell, so quickly, and then rapidly decline until the last few weeks of her life came upon us, and the waiting game commenced. Many tears were shed throughout that time, many hours spend hand holding, many hours spend with heads on pillows in chairs, by her bed. She was beautifully cared for in hospital, and then by the staff at the nursing home she had lived in for the last 6 years of so of her life until she finally slipped away. The day she went, my life changed, yet again. My Gran was a ‘Beautiful Person’ and although she is not here physically, she always has and always wil inspire me … I miss you lots Gran!

*2009 was also the year that I got accepted into University (for a 2010 start) … an achievement that is so immense that all i could do after wards was ring people up, to tell them the news and to thank them for their support, because without it, i would never have even thought it possible, would never have had the confidence to apply, and to go and get what I wanted which was an unconditional offer, on a course and Uni I wanted =)

* 2009 has also been the year that I attended something called the Growing Leaders course, at church. Its fair and honest to say I was surprised and shocked to be asked to attend to the course, something which took place over the course of the year, involved sessions every month, mentor meetings, home work, and lots and lots of thinking … ! but it was an affirming thing to do , i learn t alot … about ‘church’ … about me, about God, and about the call He has on my life …

* 2009 was the year I became the most comfortable I have been in a long time with ‘not doing church’. Through the Growing Leaders course I gained confidence in the idea of developing other ways of being community, others ways of doing things, and that actually (as mentioned above) the call God has on my life, is perhaps quite different to the one that has been expected. Lots of people become affirmed through the course to become leaders, within the church community. For me it affirmed that in no way, shape or form at the moment am I to do that .. in fact, I am to keep one foot in church, but one foot firmly out of it …

*2009 was the year the church I have been connected with backed the idea of developing something ‘different’ – who knows where that will go, but its exciting!!

*2009 was the year i left my job, to go to another one, only to be poached back three months later, so lots of job changes, but ya know, the grass is always greener on the other side until you get to there!

*2009 was the year I managed to do two weeks of camping in the summer, seizure/passing out free (miracle!!)

*2009 saw me attend New Wine, which was an incredibly interesting experience, for lots of reasons, some odd, some insane … the most unlikely of places you’d find me … and in fact throughout most of the meetings you could have found me out the back of the hall smoking with some guys/gals i made friends with 🙂

*2009 saw me making friends with some least likely people but all whom have taught me lots.

*2009 saw Greenbelt 🙂 something that is firmly now part of my life. My ‘year’ generally starts at Greenbelt. Its where I ‘feel at home’ with many many friends around me, and just the awesomeness of the whole festival. This year was slightly more interesting than other years, as i had managed to fracture my leg weeks before, so Greenbelt on crutches was a new challenge but one I managed with a little help from my friends (ok, so much help :))

*2009 saw me have some incredibly dark days but

*2009 also saw me have some really positive days.

*2009 saw me go the longest time without having seizures/passing out (as already mentioned above) … so the whole outdoor camping thing was a good thing, but to have gone months and months without is all good stuff too 🙂

*2009 saw me being involved with an online forum, supporting people who are all survivors of abuse, something that was an incredibly tough thing to do at times, and quite intense. I spent quite a few years being involved with this online community, lots of blood, sweat and tears involved, literally, however 09 also saw me hand over my moderator status. Something that was a tough decision, but one that was needed to be made, and one that needed to happen, for things to move on for all concerned.

*2009 saw me become more and more open with people about my depression.

*2009 saw a couple of photos i had taken being used for various things which was an honour.

*2009 was seen through with the support and love of some incredibly amazing people with whom I would not have made it without.

*2009 was the year i became addicted to twitter!! and what a great thing that has been, connecting with some great people.

All in all, 2009 has been one heck of a ride … and the above things are only a handful of the ‘lites’ of the year. so many more high lights, and so many more low lights that could be written about, but it would be fair to say I could be here all night, literally writing about them all … but hopefully i have just given a few bits of interest …

when i entered into the year of 09, i had a sense of excitement and apprehension about it … partly because of how horrendous 08 was. I knew I was going into the 2009 alive, knowing i was alive, and being pleased to be … but i always knew 09 would be a year of recovery. that it would be a tough year, and so although there are lots of good things written above, actually 09 has been hard work. Its been challenging, its been terrifying, its been exhausting, its been emotional, its been mind boggling, its been a huge battle.

BUT … its been a year we ( we = me and you … you being my friends, the people who have loved me, prayed for me, hugged me, supported me, held my hand, emailed me, tweeted me, given me a warm bed to sleep in)  have made through … and thats a good thing … so thank you !


Reaching Out

painting by very talented guy called ‘W’ … commissioned and inspired by thoughts of Hmphz

i think i might be a bit like a bus … really, i go a month or more without blogging, then in the space of 24 hours come up with 3 posts … always the way isn’t it … anyhow … on we go …

i would think that it is fair to say, of myself, that i can be, or am a slightly creative kind of person. However that creativity comes in different ways to what can be seen as the usual kind of way, like being able to draw/paint etc. I have no ability to fine line draw, or in fact draw anything. I cannot also paint, with a few exceptions of things I have done which are big and very bold.

However, a couple of years ago, i had thought about trying to find something, to have in my house, that means something to me. something that is personal to me. something that means something to me. something that i have either thought up, created, made, or commissioned. something that is unique. something, that even if there are things out there ‘similar’  this something would be original. that couldnt be found anywhere else. a one and only.

i put the thought to the back of my head, due to lack of finance, and no idea of how to really go about getting the sort of thing i was thinking of/about. and actually, i wasnt even too entirely sure exactly what that something that i wanted was anyway!

so, in a compartment the thought/idea went, and there it stayed for quite a few months. until, a friend of mine came round with a friend of hers for wine. this friend of hers was an artist. and we had a lovely evening talking about ‘creativeness’ and how our lives fit in with that, art, life, depression, and faith.  after that night, during another night of wine drinking and chat with friend, i jokingly suggested that maybe ‘W’ would be interested in painting a commissioned piece of work, for me.

i thought the idea would be dismissed, and especially when she texted him, i assumed he may well laugh it off … maybe because he didnt know me, maybe because he thought i was a nutter, or maybe because that just was not the sort of thing he did. ‘take orders’ as such … you know? so when he said he might be interested i was quite surprised. And that was the start of the creation of what i call ‘Reaching Out’. Something I see as beautiful. Something that took pride and place in my lounge at the front, and does again in the house now I have moved.

‘W’ came round for a cup of tea, to have a chat, and once he decided it was something he felt he could do, we set a ‘date’. He came round for dinner, some wine, and bought his sketch pads and some pencils. After the food, we laid on the floor with huge white pieces of blank pencils and began to brainstorm ideas. I told him what I was thinking. Slightly nervously. Not sure how he would react to what I was trying to convey. Not sure how he would respond to the image that was in my head, what it meant to me, what it was saying, and how i wanted it/needed it to look on paper.

this time had come slap bang in the middle of my wilderness. in the middle of my ‘black cloud’ that seemed unending. it was in the middle of a time when i didnt know where to look, where to go, what to hold on to, where to be, how to do life, and whether or not i wanted to, in fact. And, as for my faith, well, to be honest, i just didnt know where that was either.

there was a part of me, that was constantly crying out to God, screaming at Him, begging at Him, for help, for forgiveness, for mercy, for the pain to go away, for the light to come in. And there was this part of me, that kept looking upwards, but not sure what for.

what I wanted this painting to convey was a deep blend and varied mix of emotion. i wanted the painting to mean many things. i wanted it to depict someone holding their hands up and out to God in awe, wander and worship but i wanted it also to depict someone reaching out, crying out and desperate to touch whatever it was that they were looking up to.

after many many hours, we had an outline. me talking, describing, coming up with ideas, ‘W’ inputting, listening, sketching, and a few days later came the ‘picture’ sketch. I looked at it hard, partly because this was going to cost quite a lot (yes, i knew the guy, but this is how he makes his living, and i had recently received some money for house gifts for my new flat from my godfather -it felt fitting he should contribute towards this)

after a few weeks of waiting, so was born the painting, which actually to date had no name. however as i was thinking of how to write this blog, and what to put, i decided ‘reaching out’ seemed fitting, so as of 28/12/09 it is named ‘Reaching Out’.

the picture means alot to me, partly because it says so much, and often what it is saying and conveying changes.

It also means alot to me, because other people relate to it. I showed my stepdad it, when it had arrived after weeks of waiting, and he sat there and told me about 4 different things it meant to him/said to him, a couple of those totally different to the things it says/means to me.

(although the picture does not completely show the effect of it, it is completely black and white, the background being very very black, with the figure and corner ‘mist’ being white … it is quite dramatic in real life, i don’t think the photo totally shows that)

so, it works. its a piece of art, something created, that says lots of different things to lots of different people.

i hope it says something to you.

feels like home

(the blog post ‘I am’ is below this one, so please scroll down a little bit if thats what your visiting this blog to see)

feels like home : by randy newham

Something in your eyes

Makes me wanna lose myself
Makes me wanna lose myself
In your arms.

There’s something in your voice
Makes my heart beat fast
Hope this feeling lasts
The rest of my life.

If you knew how lonely my life has been
And how low I’ve felt so long.
If you knew how I wanted someone to come along
And change my life the way you’ve done.

Feels like home to me
Feels like home to me
Feels like I’m on the way back
Where I come from.
Feels like home to me
Feels like home to me
Feels like I’m on the way back
Where I belong.

A window breaks
Down a long dark street
And a siren wails in the night.
But I’m all right
‘Cause I have you here with me
And I can almost see
Through the dark there’s light.

If you knew how much this moment means to me
And how long I’ve waited for your touch.
If you knew how happy you are making me.
I never thought I’d love anyone so much.

Feels like home to me
Feels like home to me
Feels like I’m on the way back to where I come from.

Feels like home to me
Feels like home to me
Feels like I’m on the way back where I belong.
Feels like I’m on the way back where I belong.