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Category Archives: Writing

Paper Cuts…#poem#poetry

This weeks #poem#poetry is a bit of a long one, again chosen by the class.

Paper Cuts

You want the control,
come and then hit me.
You want the submission,
come and then beat me.
You wanted my fear,
come and then kick me.

But it’s just paper cuts.

Time stoped the bleeding.
Scrapes stopped the stinging.
And bruises would fade,
where boot contact made.

But it’s just paper cuts.

First I was distraught,
Each time I was caught.
But I became numb,
for beating to come.

But it’s just paper cuts.

My running day ends,
from you and your friends.
When turning from flight,
and starting to fight.

Because it’s just paper cuts.

Along with the pains,
then came the names.
Not delivered with wit,
but hatred and spit.

But it’s just paper cuts.

Name callings public,
your put on display.
Teachers they join in,
with things that they say.

But it’s just paper cuts.

Children start chanting,
the things that all say.
Twisted, contorted,
by end of the day.

But it’s just paper cuts.

My head it would rattle,
when I dared to tattle.
Was told it not matter,
what children did natter.

Because it’s just paper cuts.

Name callings harmless,
the banter just fun.
Snowflakes are harmless,
unless by the ton.

But it’s just paper cuts.

Some wording distorted,
and used to control.
changing their meaning,
destroying their soul.

But it’s just paper cuts.

You alter the tone,
it carries a threat,
Misheard the meaning,
“cause I am upset”?

But it’s just paper cuts.

World seams so slanted,
I’m put in my place.
Can it be better?
depends on your face.

Because it’s just paper cuts.

Your words the damage,
numerous in time.
wounding is mental,
paper cuts, so fine.

But it’s just paper cuts.

One cut is painful,
more than its size.
When you have several,
the pain it will rise.

But it’s just paper cuts.

Cuts that your words leave,
slice into, my soul.
Never quite healing,
there taking their toll.

But it’s just paper cuts.

You keep on slicing,
it’s day after day.
never quite seeing,
what others, will say.

Because it’s just paper cuts.

You weakened my strength,
you’ve taken my hope.
Then it’s all my fault,
I “just conna cope”.

Because it’s just paper cuts.

Not the one hurting,
and feeling the pain.
You can’t conceive it,
the pain in a name.

Because it is just paper cuts.

Inwards it’s turmoil,
viewed outwards as “shy”.
What was expected?
You cut me, I cry!

It’s not just paper cuts!

Bosses, no different,
their stature to prove.
Skilful word twisting,
their ego’s improve.

It’s never just, paper cuts.

Doubt plants a small stone,
in every new cut.
Open wound festers,
as cannot it shut.

It comes with the paper cuts.

Now socially awkward,
not clever with speech.
Your cuttings have taught
me “what I can reach”.

I feel alone with the paper cuts.

I’m now in training,
defending myself.
I have new skillsets,
improving my health.

Enough with the paper cuts!

I will not listen,
and travel your way.
If you don’t like it,
you don’t have to stay.

I’m stopping your paper cuts!

Paper cuts it’s never been,
just one on its own.
Your words of wounding,
are yours now to own.

You get to own your paper cuts.

Used them unknowingly,
in words that I use.
I should know better than,
poke fun and abuse.

I get to own my paper cuts.

What I’m now learning,
as child should be taught.
Socially skilful,
the bully to thwart.

Eradicate the paper cuts.

Now time to end them,
there’s no room for buts.
With skills will defeat
them, end paper cuts!

A § M
19/6/2017

The Notebook

canstockphoto8630797It felt strange carrying it around at first, then I made a change, which felt random, but now I feel much more comfortable about it.

It is not a notebook for shopping items, nor appointments, it was, at the start, a reflective diary, but now it’s mainly for ideas that seem to get lost from the moment I have them – to when I reach a place to write them down. Those brilliant, wonderful, exciting, fantastic ideas that would propell a story line or enchant a blog reader.

Alas those ideas have gone, the notebook had them running for the hills, running so not to be captured. They run well! But one is persistent

I saw things at the supermarket, perceptions of reality or glimpses of alternate states,when on my exposure therapy, sitting waiting for the others to finish shopping, I grabbed my notebook and put pen to paper, to capture the moment. Suddenly and without warning people looked my way, I could feel my face warming as the blood began to add scarlet blusher to my cheeks. More looked on, more blood pumped to the cheeks, like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar I sheepishly closed the notepad and placed it into my bag.  My shamefull glow took a long time to dissipate, even with eyes cast down to the ground.

A different supermarket, a different response, although the other chap sitting on the bench with me kept looking over at my spiders scrawl. One has different writing styles – dependant on the situation, from scrawl to calligraphy. When embarrassed…my writing could rival that of a Doctors scrawl.

There is no way he could read what was being written, but try he did, his attempts were not even that subtle. Almost as though giving up, he picked up his persciption bag, leaned onto his wooden stick and joined his wife as she trundled away from the checkout. I watched as my inquisitive stranger left the store before returning to my notepad once more.

With nobody paying attention an idea formed in my head of ‘could I?’

Could I?

  • Pick an idea from what I see to write a blog?
  • Pick any idea?
  • Any subject?
  • What about…

I picked that subject and started writing, I wrote a couple of pages, then on the next trip at the other supermarket I wrote some more, next trip was the same. At six pages I thought – there is enough here to easily write a blog, a long one at that, but is there enough to be the backbone for a short story? I haven’t written a short story since school, even then they were more the middle of a longer one; according to Miss Ross. I have had no desire to write a short story, so have no idea as to why that thought came to be. Is there a writing infection one can catch?

That is why I have left the ‘subject’ a mystery.  If the story does not work out at least I will have a blog post without announcing the story was a bust at my fingertips, only to see the idea materialise on someone else’s post.

The notebook now also contains an idea for a children’s book, Park notes and blog ideas.

I now miss it when it is not in my bag, my phone has ideas for blogposts on it, but it is not the same as pen on paper; and one loves ones tech,

Now when an idea pops in for a visit I have no care as to what it is I am doing, or where it is been done. Out comes the pad and pen to capture the moment for later apraisle.

One has found a way to practice mindfulness in places that cause most anxiety to such a point my surroundings become only the story one writes.

https://www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/the-blogs

Reflections…Week Fourteen

canstockphoto8630797This week after over two years, I went public with my writing.

Strange when you view it as going public, with those whom you have a private relationship, rather than the strangers on WordPress, with whom you have shared ones journey since the start.

Pride, that would be the reason, if I am honest, as to why it has taken so long to announce it to the people I know. Not the ‘pride comes before a fall’ pride. But rather the pride that you know you have improved and the goals set by yourself to reach – have been reached. The ‘I have accomplished’ pride.

The kind when a picture of a sheep made with crape paper, macaroni and cotton wool is done by a child. The innocent kind of pride, it was done for nothing but the pleasure of the doing.

Well, It’s not that simple. That would be toooo easy a wall for me to climb, lets just keep adding another layer on top, just too make sure its remains daunting.

So the writing was the start, get more comfortable at doing it, get to the point I don’t feel embarrassed about it. I am still going to see if my English is up to grade and retake my exam if necessary. Then it was do my own website, I personally don’t like the way my blogs are filed on my profile, I wanted it ‘just my way’. So if I am going to the trouble of creating a website, should I not own my own domain name? Then it was, if I have my own website would it not be practical to have my artwork there as well? What good can I do with the site? Then, how is it going to get promoted? Make a Page on Facebook, link them all together…..

The blogging became overshadowed as the secret to let out.

Somewhere along the line was a change. A change so subtle I did not see it.

I stopped putting extra layers on the wall, and before I knew it I was sitting on top of it, looking around.

Sure I could polish this bit and that bit, but as it is a growing web site this will happen naturally over time.

It still amazes me when I look at where my blogs have been read around the world, that little old me, has touched the hearts of strangers, in far off lands.

But the last to know have been the ones within 20 miles of where I live.

I probably even managed to surprise the person to whom I owe the journeys start, Anika.

I just kinda announced it out of nowhere, in a kind of – big intro – way, to the unveiling of the website and my blogging.

I even made it colourful to stand out.

Thank you for your unknown inspiration.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

Reflections…Week Thirteen

IMG_0167Positivity section bellow the intro.

This week has seen a bit of a flurry on the blogging side; even as I write this it somehow still feels surreal.

I have just seen my blog on another website, not on the WordPress site I had the invite from but a different website. I am not disappointed my work ended up there, more surprised it had over 30 likes in two days, so for me it is great exposure, it’s one of those sites Facebook sends me to on clickbait.

If you had asked me at the very tentative beginning of my blogging if I thought I would be asked to guest write on another site, I would have thought you strange at best. I honestly thought it would end up like all journalling to that point… Short lived. Especially as there was no enthusiastic charge unto the breach.

Now my ego has had a massage, a shoulder rub of sorts, the kind that says – “it’s worth it.”

I still don’t know in which direction writing is going to take me, but I do know I can connect, even a few at a time, through it. And if that message is one of positivity, a positivity that can have a change effect, even by accident, is it not then worth pursuing?

Here is such an attempt.

Try this out when you walk, it will surprise you how  effective it is, well it surprised me.

From now on, no matter how sh***y you feel, no matter what the weather,  no matter how tired you are or how alone you want to be, headphones on or off, big dog, little dog, Black dog. I know the feelings of wanting to be alone and the effort it will take to do this, I started at two, I also know that the excuses will come easily, if you let them.

Pick a time or place to do this that has the least negative emotional impact on you, doubly hard if just getting outside the door is a monumental task, such as a dog walk route you regularly take or the little diversion on your walk home from work, your weekly walk around the park even. You may have noticed I walk, Spot, my ever faithful Jack Russel, has kept me going outside, out of the door, for most days; but I need the open space to do this technique. Adapt it to suit your way.

For those of us that wear a mask, this will sound all too familiar and will almost be ‘second’ nature, but will have a different outcome than the usual dance.

Practice your smile because a good looking smile is key, even if it FAKE!

As I stated earlier I started with two for the first week, after this I challenged myself to Three. I am now on seven, yes I know it’s anal to keep count at this point but it’s what I do.

Smile to the chosen number of people each day, on a dog walk this should be relatively easy. Look them around the eyes and Smile, the best smile you can do, and say a greeting, whichever you feel comfortable with. You don’t have to stop and talk, heck you don’t even have to slow down. They don’t need to hear you, so headphones are not a barrier and they don’t have to make eye contact back, so no staring!

You will get some odd looks to start, this takes time to take effect, but eventually you will get a repeat pattern of people who see you smile. If you live in an over crowded area, pick out stall people, you don’t even have to shop, just make it easier on yourself to do this.

Here’s the science:-

When you smile within a certain group of people, other dog walkers for instance, you will get noticed because of it, especially when a pattern  starts to take place. The greeting is an added bonus. As people start to recognise you as the person who gives them a smile, they don’t know if it is real or not but its natural to believe it is, they will start to smile back. This way on your journey you have strangers that smile when they see you, take it on face value it is genuine, it will have a tendency for both of you to genuinely smile in time anyway, so why not start with that belief.

Now this is where it gets interesting. Your smile has a great probability of having the person smiled at, smiling to at least the next person they walk past. So if you have chosen three as the number to smile at, and each of them has the chance to smile at a minimum of one other, on your chosen route, that means six have been smiled at because of you!  If they smile at one it’s nine. You may even cheer someone up who needs a ‘friendly face’, even a strangers on a street.

Smiling is infectious apparently and we subconsciously like places that are ‘friendly’. The chain effect of people smiling at one another makes for that  friendly place, this in turn draws the same people back and they in turn catch the smiling bug. Without conscious thought those smiles turn to genuine ones.

Try something that seems to have been forgotten, something free, something that can improve your mental health as a by-product.

SMILE 🙂

Be radical!

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

This Chapter Ends

canstockphoto8630797Today was a sad day, after what was a monumental effort to even leave the house, I arrived at art therapy and received the news that due to lack of funds the Teacher/Therapist was being made redundant in two weeks time, voluntary, well that’s if you call not enough hours to live on if you don’t, voluntary. It is the right thing for Zoe to do and we all support her decision. Such is the common occurrence of redundancy nowadays it is almost viewed as a job change, unplanned. But this one has been viewed differently by the service users, much to the credit of Zoe herself.

My own story started two and a half years ago at a suggestion by my then mental health coordinator, a gateway as it were to get me involved with a community. I originally chose the art group with the idea it would be quiet and private, never suspecting the group would end up being such a big part of my recovery and wellbeing.

The welcome was warm but the room was something to be desired, Brighter Futures who runs the groups have bought two former pubs and converted them, the art group had drawn the short straw  at the Observatory and had been allocated the cellar. Steep wonky stairs made there way down to the musty smelling room, the light source coming from the florescent tubes running the length of the centre. Art was stacked up along one table at the edge of the room with finished pieces adorning the walls in places. The standard was high, I feared my own attempts would fall far short of what appeared to be expected.

To my surprise there was no expectation placed upon myself or my work except for my own, and the group was anything but quiet, Headphones became an essential piece of kit. Josie is the voice of the group, generally the first to greet any visitors  and explain what goes on in the absence of Zoe, with Josie, Dibs, quiet for the most part but missed when not present. For six months I went every Tuesday,  speaking when spoken too, never having the courage to initiate a conversation, observing and learning who had similar interests until the day I was ready to begin a conversation. Jo, I suspect, nearly keeled over with shock when I spoke to her. The conversation was short and sweet, but a start. Now I can rattle away like one of the girls, even if Ange lowers the tone.

The Tuesdays changed  to Thursdays and to location number Two (the American), this room was a conservatory, bigger, brighter and no musty smell. The group of people pretty much stayed the same with the addition of Anika, Richard , Page and Tina.

I haven’t been back to the cellar since and quite frankly if I go back to the ‘Obs’ I will stay upstairs in the cafe. Many more faces have come and gone, and come again, each with their own set of problems. You see we can leave the issues being faced at the door, It’s OK to laugh, there is no judgment. Nowhere else can you talk about pink rabbits crossing the road carrying elephants without the fear of being locked up, this of course is an exaggeration, maybe; but the principle’s the same. Weird shit is normal in this art group!

There are staff on hand to help with what they can, even if that is just a chat with a cup of tea, but Zoe has managed to create such a safe place, sharing personal problems within the group IS part of the therapy. This is coming from someone who has a host of coping strategies when in public and has an increased distrust, maybe even paranoia, of peers, real or perceived. She is also there to lend a hand if struggling with the art, Non artists (in their mind) can have a picture drawn for them onto the canvas by Zoe for them to paint. It’s surprising how many Non artists can paint.

Zoe also managed to get funding for small courses, taught by herself, to encourage all who wanted. Tasters in Lino cutting, metalwork, clay and drawing to name a few. The courses where meant to be fun, informative, boundary pushing. The figure drawing course was that far outside my comfort zone it was described by myself on the ‘thought bubbles’ as “My eyes feel like they want to bleed,” emotionally I was shattered, Physically I hurt like hell. It has yet to explained how a mental problem can cause physical pain in a way I understand. I could not have felt anymore exposed if I was hung and skinned, but I trusted Zoe, so carried on, pain and all.

Zoe has had probably the biggest and the best therapeutic benefit to my mental health out of all the therapists I have seen. Genuinely caring for the members of her groups, wanting to help were she can in improving our lives. This may sound idealistic, and in some ways it maybe, but too many times the mental health service has left one feeling like the goal is to get one to accept what is broke is broke, and here are some tablets to do that. A bit like breaking a leg, being told to accept its broke and here are some pain killers to numb the senses. Some of us, after not being listened to, but medicated more for not knowing the correct terminology to explain what is happening, remain silent. Zoe gets us to talk again.

There is a good chance the group will be run by another member of staff who may be a good Therapist, or a good Artist, heck they may even be good at both, but they won’t be Zoe. Some are going to stay away in protest, showing,  in their minds, their support for Zoe. For me the art group is my social life , my anchor, letting Zoe’s work fade because some bureaucrat who has no idea the positive impact the therapy has on a range of problems would be failing her legacy. I am extremely anxious about starting afresh with someone new and if I thought that staying away would help Zoe keep her hours I would,  but realistically it will make no difference to a decision past. The only thing positive I can savage from this is… now there is a chance of Zoe the therapist becoming Zoe the friend.

 

I once heard that at the end of life we have two questions, Did I matter? Did I make a difference? Zoe does, Zoe will continue to, its what Zoe does.

Miss Ross and the school library

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Over the many moons that have passed since leaving High School, many memories have been forgotten through time or suppressed by my subconscious. Teachers names have drifted off into the ether, except for two, both for different reasons. These two will probably stick with me till the end of time.

First Mr Bringolfsten, I will at this point state the spelling may be incorrect, the Physics teacher. Noted for arriving at school on a motorbike, looking like Jesus and wearing sandals, He stood out. Remembered because…he was viewed as  a rebel to the system and school because of his attire and transport. Can’t remember much about his classes, sorry.

Secondly, by position on this list only, Miss Ross.

I was in Miss Ross’s lessons because I was classed as being a dunce. One of the  two groups of children that nobody wanted to be part off.

English was her subject and the school library the classroom, I wonder now if the idea was, place the dunces in a library — maybe the knowledge contained within the books would rub off, smarten us up as it were. What made Miss Ross stand out was her teaching style, I was an individual, in a class of individuals.

It was recognised early on that I had a hunger for reading alone, public speaking was and still is a horror to be gotten over with as quickly as possible, and reading at the pace set by the class was frustrating, especially with a good book. So when it was noticed I had to be told where in the book I was supposed to reading aloud from, followed by the backward turning of the pages to get there, my reading was encouraged to flow at my pace. I remember reading with gusto from then on.

At one point a book was finished that quickly Miss Ross gave me a book not on the syllabus, Animal farm by George Orwell, as she was sure I would enjoy it; when it was time for me to read from the other book, I was told page and paragraph to go to. This was ussually being told to slow my reading aloud down, such was the eagerness to get back to ‘my’ book. This was the kind of encouragement not associated with school, after all it was the same school that said I could not do English literature because of my spelling an ineptitude with a fountain pen, therefore I was not allowed to read Shakespeare.

As part of the English language course, essays had to be written, I hated essays, and because I did they were left till last minute. But Miss Ross enjoyed them, I can still hear her telling me she always looked forward to reading mine, but I never wrote with a beginning or an end, I just started part way through so she felt I had not given some pages to her. She also told me I could, and should, write a book. I never have. The closest I have gotten is to do a Creative Writing class, once again my lack of knowledge about grammar and stuff, along with my spelling, was brought to the fore and my enthusiasm quashed.

Miss Ross’s words were never quashed though and I am sure she would be proud of the fact I am now writing, and enjoying doing so, these blogs. My understanding of the English Language may still be lacking but the fear of writing has been banished. The computer comes with a spelling assistant as a bonus.

My story is closer to being started!

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/writing