There’s no agenda to this post. It just is, as am I. Over the last few weeks, I have been talking to myself and getting to know what and who I am. I have been learning about what makes me me, and what is important to me.
When you start looking at all this emotional, mental, psychological and physical ‘junk’ that makes up what and who we are, you learn that not a lot actually matters. People, animals, education and creativity are my key components. Everything outside of that is irrelevant. Sure we need to eat and drink to live, but you do not have to gorge on luxurious food and fine wine to survive. We like our stuff, good food and drink, music, books, clothes, shoes, etc. but you don’t need them to truly experience life.
I’m not saying that we should all give up comfort and live a selfless life, caring more for others than ourselves, though a little more self-awareness, empathy and compassion is never a bad thing.
Ideas, organization, and effort bring power and results!
With this post, I introduce a project still in its infancy: its planning stages, really.
Nurses have long known that countless abuses and misbehaviors against us go unreported and unaddressed. Perpetrators are valued sources of revenue and prestige, and much protected. Nurses know from bitter experience: honest reports of real abuses through official channels more often result in retaliatory punishment of the nurse reporters than any accountability for perpetrators harming both nurses and patients. The only savior for such nurses has been publicity. My project aims to help nurses aim this light of day. The usual status quo severely risks patient safety and protects both fraudulent ‘care’ and malpractice. Nurses demand better! Our current path seems to lead ever deeper into such corruption, protected and encouraged by powerful interests that care only for profit, not patients. These interests have largely silenced nurses with ruthless retaliation against any…
Urgh, what a week. My brain has been tripping me up over the last few days, leaving me in a depressed state and on occasion, close to tears.
Yes, I know it’s not my brain directly, as it is an organ which carries and processes chemical and electrical signals throughout the body, amongst other things. It’s how you choose to act on these impulses that causes the problem and issues. Of course, if you haven’t taken prescribed medication, supported a partner with serious mental health issues, written assignments, made music, drawn, written…
As I got so physically tired out by the end of Monday, after studying counselling all day, I was shattered and the week loomed ahead of me, full of meetings, conferences, projects and assignments. Something had to give, and it wasn’t going to be me. Been there, done that. I got my fresh supply of meds, turned off my alarm and cancelled what I could. I know that getting so exhausted was an alarm call warning me to back off and slow down. I took heed and stopped. The last time this happened, I didn’t heed the warning, and ended up being signed off work for three months. Mind you, this was one of the best things to happen to me, as it gave me time to take stock, focus on my needs and decide what I wanted from the future.
The first thing to go was my job. Working in education has been amazing, but it was costing me my mental health. That last spell was my third serious ‘episode’ of depression in 10 years working in education as a teacher, library assistant and media technician, not all at the same time, however!
So, I decided to really focus on being self-employed as an artist and designer, educating myself about mental health, restarting my counselling studies, making comics and music, and looking after me. Yes, there’s my trait of taking on too much, but I was self-aware, ready for the fallout and had support in place. Since January 2014, I have rebuilt our art and design business from the ground up; written, drawn and published three comics; released loads of music and played it live (performing live was a big scary thing to tackle); passed my Level 3 Counselling course; started networking for business and pleasure; started my Level 4 Counselling course and a ton more besides. Yes, I still try and do too much, but I’m happy and in charge of my life now. I’m closer to my wife, our children and my family; I walk our dog most days and play fetch with her; cycle when possible; enjoy reading more often; listen to way more music and podcasts and generally look after myself and the world I inhabit.
I’m proud of where I am now, and as I can read the warnings now and know what to do. Life might catch me out sometimes, but I can stop it from completely pulling the rug from under me.
When I was 12 (there’s that age again…), I was asked by my step-father if I’d like a BMX. I jumped at the chance, being hooked on BMX, and reading BMX Action Bike cover to cover. That Saturday, we went to our local bike shop, I was given a budget, and walked out with a brand new Raleigh Burner. I rode that bike for years…
Fast forward to 1997, and I bought my second BMX, a Mongoose, then got my S&M frame and built it up the next year. I still ride that frame now. It’s bombproof and will probably outlive me! I’ve been riding BMX on and off ever since. Last year was probably my biggest lay-off, as I was focusing on studying and drawing comics. I still followed BMX companies online, checked edits, but riding wasn’t a priority.
With the knackered knee, I thought this might be it, no more riding. WRONG! This week, I’ve had two wonderful flatland (look it up if you don’t know…) sessions, one with my grandson, and a solo session today. I’m trying to learn one specific trick which is eluding me, but I’ll get it. I tried it again today, but my nerves wouldn’t hold out, so I tried something else instead, Barspins. I can do 180 degrees no problem, but the full 360? I tried it today, and cracked it first time! Not bad for a 45 year old on a 22 year old bike!
Today’s been amazing. I found out I passed my Level 3 Counselling exam, nailed barspins, soaked in the tub, and will be off out for chips and cider too. I am one happy dude!
On Saturday just gone (7 March), I went down to London with my sister and her husband to go on The People’s Climate March. We also met up with my eldest nephew (their son) at Westminster University, where he is studying Graphic Design, of which we’re all very proud. He was our guide for the day, helping through the tube and streets of London… once he’d got up of course!
We all plowed into London on the tube, and finally made our way to Lincoln’s Inn Fields (only half an hour after the march started…), where we tagged onto a Greenpeace group and started the march. There was an excellent atmosphere, the sun was shining and we were all in fine voice and spirits. Our first funny moment was when we got to The Savoy hotel, where we were informed that the head of the march had arrived at Parliament, so we all sat in the road and made LOTS of noise – brilliant! As we got closer to Parliament I burst out laughing at the sight of a heavy police presence outside McDonald’s of all places! I said to my sister that they must think we’ll attack it as a symbol of capitalism! (Maybe they were waiting for Big Macs…) And as we passed Downing Street we all told David Cameron to ‘Frack Off!’ (I don’t know if he heard us though…)
We finally made it to parliament and made LOTS more noise to ‘Wake Parliament Up’ and ‘Stick it to the man’. It was wonderful being in the midst of so many folks with common causes and really felling a part of something important. Sadly, there hasn’t been lots of media coverage, but the initial estimates are of 20,000 people marching on the day!
After hearing some of the speeches at the meeting point, we were all really hungry, so we headed off to Brick Lane, on my nephew’s recommendation. Another tube journey later, we wandered down to Brick Lane, hunting for bagel shops and curry houses. I love London (I’ve been visiting since I was tiny, and my wife was born there), and it was lovely being with family in a part of London I haven’t explored yet. My sister and I fancied bagels, whilst her husband and son fancied a curry, so we spilt up to eat. One bagel shop had a MASSIVE queue, so we went next door where the queue was much smaller and the bagels were… amazing. I had salt beef with mustard and coleslaw, my sister had cheese and coleslaw AND and slab of cheesecake. We loitered outside the shop scoffing our fresh warm bagels and catching up on the day. Fab.
Grub over, we wandered down Brick Lane, revelling in the sights of fantastic clothes, lots of dogs, and wonderful food. There was a big old warehouse which had been turned into a massive food court with music and a bar. The food was incredible, I think you could get food from anywhere on the planet in there. As lovely as our bagels were, we both wished we’d come here first! My sister called her husband to tell him about the food court, but he was already there with my nephew, buying HUGE foil containers of fresh cooked Chinese food, which was delicious. Seriously, my mouth is watering as I type this! And the food was CHEAP too. My sister and I grabbed a coffee (only the second of the day), and we grabbed a table outside to eat, drink and chat. More exploring and a cold drink later, we were all shattered, and ready for home, so back on the tube to my nephew’s halls, where we had parked that morning. What a wonderful day!
The whole day was amazing, seeing my sister and husband being mum and dad, still being (slightly) shocked seeing my nephew having a beer, being with family, being in London and ‘sticking into the man!’ I finally got home around 10:00pm, for a late coffee, sandwich and cuddle from my lovely (sleepy) wife.
At business networking this morning, I met Steve Finnemore, who is a lovely chap that is a qualified massage specialist and works in partnership with his wife, Ann, who is a qualified clinical hypnotherapist, life coach and nutritionist. I’ve met Ann on many occasions, and we have discussed counselling, working with children, personal development.comics… we get on really well.
Anyway, talking to Steve about my knee injury from running, and after a quick check of my knee and thigh muscles and were the pain was, he told me that it is a muscular problem and that massage and stretching will help alleviate the problem and I can start trail running again!
It’ll take some work, and it’ll be a while before running gets back to where I was, but I’m really happy!