Monday, 27 May 2013

Embracing the inner artist

This morning while walking the dog – or rather while sitting down in the corner of a field out of the wind to ‘meditate’ (my version) and watch the dog excavating a rabbit hole in the hedge – I had another thought.

    I need to give more weight to my creative side.

My father was a businessman who didn’t have much time for art unless it made money whereas my mother’s family includes artists, writers and a musician, and I don’t think I’ve ever reconciled the two. Both sides are strong in me but I think the business side has always dominated – to the detriment perhaps of my health (migraines causing – among other symptoms – one-sided headaches).
    I allow myself to be creative in the spaces left over from all the ‘serious’ stuff of my life – checking bank statements, juggling money, writing shopping lists for Frog, organising – and all the time I’m being creative (be it writing, sewing, taking photographs, or simply doing nothing and letting my brain run free) I’m in a rush, knowing that my time is limited and expecting the business side of me to swoop down at any minute and tell me off for wasting time.
    So, the next step is to work out how to resolve this conflict, how to stop my business side being such a bully and embrace my inner artist.
    Writing this post (while I ‘should’ be hoovering the sitting-room/ pulling up nettles, filing, clearing mud out of the utility room . . .) is a start.
    All other suggestions gratefully received.
And while I’m on the subject, here are two of my birthday cards, one made for me by a niece (on Frog’s side) who is both a photographer ( ) and a banker, and the other a drawing by my mother’s brother who used to be a businessman.

copyright Kim Whitworth

copyright Herbert Despard

Saturday, 25 May 2013


About ten or fifteen years ago (dates aren’t my strong point) I saw a healer about my migraines.
    ‘There’s a difference’, she said, ‘between triggers and cause. What you need to do is find out the cause of your migraines.’
    I agreed with her. The triggers for my migraines seemed too numerous even to list and I was blowed if I was going to limit my life any more than I did already as a result of the migraines – an almost-vegan diet, minimal social life, working from home. I’d never been to a doctor about my migraines. I didn’t want to be tied to some drug for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to be a ‘patient’. I preferred exploring complementary therapies, doing something for myself.
    Over the last few weeks however – ever since I had my ‘dead dog dream’ (see previous post) – something strange has been happening. In spite of my lovely birthday (because of it?) I’ve been feeling ill most of the time. The only days I’ve woken up feeling well are the days when I had no wine the night before (and before you snigger knowingly, let me tell you that I only ever have one glass – any more and I know that I would be violently sick) and the day I felt worst was the day after the day I’d had some chocolate as well. It was as if something was pinpointing my triggers or as if my triggers were narrowing themselves down in an effort to tell me something.
    ‘Right,’ I said. ‘I shall do without both alcohol and chocolate between now and our holiday in four weeks’ time (and maybe cheese as well as that might be another culprit) and see what happens.’
    I’d been wanting to lose a few pounds before the holiday and this way I could kill two birds with one stone (not that I’d ever want to kill a bird, or anything for that matter – except perhaps a dying dog). I’d been battling with causes for thirty-five years. Just for once, I would concentrate on triggers.
    That was Wednesday.
    It’s as if something fundamental has been snatched from my life. I feel stunned. And yesterday afternoon, as I lay on my bed recovering from the shock, I had a thought.

    Life’s not about doing as much as possible. It’s about giving yourself what you need.

That may not seem earth-shattering to you but to me it was a revelation. Alcohol and chocolate had been part of a lifestyle that was toxic to me. They had propped it up and, without them, my whole life was going to have to change. I could no longer race through the day, struggling to get to the end of a never-ending ‘to do’ list, denying myself what I really wanted (not even eating) and compensating at the end of the day with ‘treats’. Those treats had gone. I was going to have to replace them. I was going to give myself what I really needed instead. And those things were:

    Food and rest.

And I have a feeling that’s just the start. Fun and real pleasure could be added to those two items in due course.
    I want to cry.
    It’s great being sixty.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Dead dog dream

The mangled and bloody remains of what I think is a dog lie in a mound of freshly turned earth. I think the thing is dead but suddenly it starts twitching and writhing. I can’t bear the thought of the pain the creature must be going through but I don’t know what to do. I want to pile earth on to it so that I don’t have to look at it any more but I have a feeling that might be cowardly. I have to kill it outright, but I can’t. I don't want to and I don't know how to do it.

I wake, and realise that the creature is my past – the things in my past that still give me pain but which I can’t give up.

(And thanks to Trish Currie's brilliant blog which gave me the idea for this post.)

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Now I am sixty

I do things because I want to, not because I ought to

I am grown-up so more than a match for anyone or anything (even other grown-ups or stroppy spaniel/collie dogs)

I focus on being myself, not Ms Perfect

I leave the past behind

I look forward to a glorious future

I embrace the possibility of change . . .

. . . In other words, I live every day as if it was my sixtieth birthday. And yes, I had a wonderful time. Thank you to everyone who helped make it so.