Tuesday, May 03, 2016

A Carpet of Carnations

I felt a little ashamed of myself complaining about getting a bonus at work and not knowing what to do with it. My life is far from perfect but sometimes I do have a tendency to go into 'poor me' mode. On the one hand, I don't see why I should pretend that everything is a bed of roses. On the other hand, I know I'm privelaged in many ways. To even be able to barely afford an education is an opportunity many in the world don't have. Not only that, I am offered help by my family but pride prevents me from accepting it without showing some kind of resistance. I try to be fiercely independent and it doesn't always work in my favour.

So, instead of complaining I want to write about my birthday and what a lovely day it was. Katkins was home with her Mr. Handsome Baby Boy. On the morning of my birthday we went to the Giant's Causeway. I really wish I could say it was lovely but the wind was blowing a gale and we were all freezing. Except for baby J who was happed up in his baby carrier and doling out smiles to everyone he saw. Then we went out to Nelly's Garden for food and cake. Martha and Evie gave me a million brithday cuddles and kisses. Evie was so excited about the chocolate malteaser birthday cake, so excited that she could barely wait and so she lead the "Happy Birthday" chorus so we could get on with the eating of cake.


Ziggy lost his orange ball again and so I went to Pets at Home and he got a bundle of new toys. Then Gus came back from Scotland with a brand new orange ball. Ziggy destroyed it though. Perhaps he thought that was preferable to losing it again. That's the end of 'special' balls for Ziggy. He's not responsible enough.




Sunday, May 01, 2016

Bogus Bonus

Being in a band is worse than being in a relationship. Why? Because there's more than two people involved. Jakers was the first to throw his head up. Actually, it was probably Gus who was the first one to walk. Then he came back. Then Jakers left. Then Jakers came back. Then Tobe left. Then I took sabbatical because I was too busy with course work and my head got a little fried with all the dramatics. Now all the boys are back playing together and I'm still not sure what I want to do.

Things should be better after Wednesday. I have an exam on CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It is my least favourite approach to counselling but I still gotta know how to use it. It doesn't really make my heart sing. That's why, instead of revising, my flat is cleaner today than it's ever been. After Wednesday I have one more assignment to do. I have until July to finish it and as long as I reach my 30 hours and pass everything I'll graduate into 3rd year. I'm not sure how I feel about the exam. They are my least favourite method of testing someone's ability and they've never been my strong point (put me under the spotlight and make me prove myself and I will automatically rebel because that's easier to stomach than being a failure).

Everything else is ho hum. Even Ziggy has little to report. We're living life day by day, hour by hour, burning scented candles because I got so many for my birthday. There was good news. I got my first ever bonus at work. Of course, they'll tax the bejesus out of it but that still leaves me with a couple of hundred pounds. I have been wondering what to do with it. My natural instinct is to hoard it away for a rainy day because I know for a fact there will be rainy days ahead. You don't go through 6 flatmates in a couple of years and not become a little apprehensive about where the next rent money's gonna come from. Then I thought I should treat myself to something because all my money has been tied up with learning and I haven't had something special in a while. I thought about a digital recording device so I could add bits and pieces to my songs. This would also be handy if I decide to start jamming again. Then I think I should be sensible and use the money to finally get my driving test (yawn). And though it's nice to have a bonus I can't help but hate the indecision and dilemma of what to do with it. Money complicates everything.




Wednesday, April 13, 2016

My Tuppence Worth

I have just completed my 13th hour of my placement. Just another 137 to go! I swore I wouldn't bow down to the pressure but I'm not superhuman and it does feel overwhelming at times. It's not the actual counselling though. Those hours go by and I barely even notice the time go in. I feel myself very much present and relaxed in sessions and it really does feel good to be helping in some way.

But I can't help but feel a little bit like a fraud sometimes, as I'm sure even many qualified therapists feel from time to time. I'm watching an American TV series called 'In Treatment'. Obviously I find the show interesting but the sessions I think are most enlightening are when the therapist (played by Gabriel Byrne) goes to visit his former supervisor (played by Diane Weist) for guidance and support. It brings it home that we are all human at the end of the day, struggling with day to day life and those pesky emotions that arise.

My own emotions have been playing havoc with me recently. There's still a shame and stigma attached to expressing emotions of any kind. It's tough for people to say "I feel so terribly sad" just as equally as it's tough for people to say "I feel incredibly, immensely happy". People kind of save the expressions of joy for events such as marriage, the birth of a child, a new job or the start of a new realtionship. Rarely do we see people dancing down the street feeling joy just for the sake of it, and if we did, we'd call them mad.

I get frustrated with bottling things up, and superficiality, empty words, meaningless gestures. I get frustrated with 'nothingness' and it's amazing how much humans fill their lives up with 'nothingness'. I get frustrated that we live in a technologically advanced age that makes 'connection' so easy yet so hollow. And I guess that's why I harp back to a time when humans relied more on instinct. Because they had to tune into themselves to survive. Not only that, they had to tune into nature. Then humans realised they had brains, and they could figure stuff out, conquer it, control and manipulate the environment so that survival was 'easier'.

I don't disagree that humans were meant to progress, hell, we were barbarians for an age. But I think we were meant to progress mindfully. Which is perhaps happening, at a very slow rate. Interestingly, it is through ancient philosophies that we are reverting back to, that are teaching us to progress more mindfully. Which further backs up my theory that we kind of lost sight of ourselves along the way, that we need to reconnect with ourselves, with each other, with nature and with the universe. But first, ourselves.

There's a whole bunch of people with their eyes wide open to the world. There's a whole breed of cynics who are beaten and bruised. I will not become one of them. Despite my sadness, my disconnection, my aloneness, I think we'll collectively figure this one out. The world will inevitably end. Some think that we'll just rape and pillage the earth until it disentegrates. Whilst our minds disentegrate so too does the earth. I rarely claim any opinion to be absolute but I can understand the concept of reincarnation and karma. I think humans are meant to go through this process and there are two possible outcomes. The cynics' outcome, the world will end, humans will destroy it. Then my outcome....humans will get there in the end. We will come to understand that love is pretty much the only thing of value in this world (which is pretty all encompassing really when you think about what makes you feel love/d) And when the world reaches that harmonic, peaceful state, it will end. Consciousness will end. Because the process will be complete and everything, everything, comes to an end eventually.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Treehousing

I had a really lovely Easter weekend despite the fact that I didn't get one single day off work. What made it so lovely? Girls. And plenty of them. Well two of them...but two of the best. Dirt Bird arrived on Thursday. We took Ziggy for a walk and then headed off to the Pizza Parlour for dinner and wine. On Saturday the Lovely Mels was back. Mels was my roadtrippin' buddy last year and it's always a pleasure to see her. So Dirt Bird, Mels, Gus and I went to the treehouse, lit a fire and proceeded to play guitar and the 'oddja boodja' game to drown out the sound of the wind howling through the leaves and the branches creaking. The treehouse was actually moving and had it not been for the fact that it has survived many's a dstrong storm in the past three years I'd have been a little worried for our safety. Also, we managed to make the stove glow red hot again.

Bert was in the house entertaining Mr. Banjo and Judy and Jess' dogfather. We tried to lure them up to the treehouse but they were being old men. Eventually we joined them for a bit of music making. It had been a while since I'd seen or heard Bert playing the clarinet and I have to say, he's passed the complete amateur stage and he plays some songs with real soul. Both Mr. Banjo and I were very proud of him.

Here is a video of me singing a song. Admittedly it's not a great recording, or even sung as well as it could be. Plus, I've adapted it slightly. It is very much a work in progress. As they all are. I'm taking a break from jamming with the boys so I can stay on top of my coursework and have some time to write lyrics for all the songs with no words. Then we'll have a load of songs with no name, and sure, that's all you can really expect from a band with no name. And no drummer :)

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Grumbleface Grumbledon

My proper job has been taxing of late. I have cut down hours by my own choice because I don't want to be in that environment. Not only that, financially, it doesn't make sense for me to work too much overtime. I have been feeling the pressure of the course and placement. I knew it wasn't going to be easy but I guess I didn't prepare myself for the double whammy effect of being both physically and mentally drained. This is another reason why I've cut hours down. I've realised that it's impacting on my patience and I need that for other areas of my life.

I had to take my rose tinted glasses off and come to the realisation that my peace, love and empathy is not quite as abundant as I had thought. I guess I'm probably becoming more real. It's ok to feel pissed off sometimes. It's a bit boring to feel pissed off all the time and nigh on impossible to sprinkle fairy dust on everyone and everything. I have most definitely denied myself the opportunity to experience negative emotions such as anger. Sadness is different. I have no control over it. But I can control my anger. And it's right to do so. But it's not right to try to be all sunshine, sweetness and light all of the time.

It's got a lot to do with speaking my mind more. Being assertive. Realising that my voice is important and that I'm allowed to feel overwhelmed and worried. And, sometimes, lonely. That isn't to say that I have resigned myself to this attitude. I'm just tired. Tired of that pressure I said I wasn't going to put on myself. Tired of the ram and shark inner critics butting and biting. Tired of being tired.

But there is stuff to do and that is better than not having stuff to do. There are things to look forward to and it is also Spring very soon. Any day now.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Real Update

I finished my blog post yesterday with a feeling of uneasiness inside of me. I couldn't quite be sure what it was all about and then it hit me. I was writing the post just to write. Just to be there and be present. But I wasn't writing from my heart and that always makes me feel like a fraud. 2016 has been a funny one for me so far. All the hope and positivity I had channelled and nurtured over 2015 just seemed to disappear in a puff of smoke. I have been keeping busy and doing plenty but I always know when my soul isn't singing as sweet a song as it should be.

At the end of 2015 I had a flourish of creativity. I now expect this to be available on tap and that's not how creativity works. But hooray for me being a sensitive soul and being knocked by every tiny insignificant event in my life. Because if I try hard enough there is always a little surplus supply of sorrow within me to inspire some kind of poetry. I suppose I can't help but feel self-inflicted pressure to churn out words and songs for the band (we will always be called the GCDC's but don't tell Jobe). But this year, so far, I haven't given myself the head space to connect with myself. I shouldn't leave those things to chance.

Today is beautiful. Ziggy and I went out for an early morning stroll. Ziggy had been Gurgletron (that's what we call him when his tummy makes noises) all morning and he produced a toxic jobby that couldn't be picked up with a jobby bag so I had to run aaway very quickly. My walks with Ziggy are very valuable to me, whether he does toxic jobbies or not. It's where I do a lot of my productive thinking and I ask myself the super serious questions like "What the f**k is wrong with you Hannah?" The answer is always different depending on the day. Sometimes I'm gentle with myself, sometimes I'm not.

My living room is a sun trap. Both Ziggy and I have been basking and I, for the second time this year, have forgotten about the eggs boiling in the saucepan. At least they didn't explode this time.



Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Little Update

Oh...what's this? A cheeky afternoon all to myself? Don't mind if I do! Ziggy has been walked by his Granny. I have done a small amount of course work. The surfaces are clean(ish) and the floors have been mopped. No excuses not for blogging. To be fair, I was struck down with The Flu for a week and a half. Notice how it was The Flu and not donkey or bird flu. It was horrible.

I am much better now. I have started my placement for the degree. It has been great to get started but opened the door to a lot of worry and self-doubt. But sure, I wouldn't be happy unless I was putting myself through some intense experience that caused me to question every aspect of my being. That's just how I roll.

I haven't written any new songs for a while. It's been a funny start to the year and it's taken me until now to get caught up with myself. I had a disco with Ziggy the other night. I danced and Ziggy tried to stop me from dancing. I won. I danced my heart out because it was the first spurt of energy I'd had since being sick.

My cheeky afternoon all to myself got kinda hijacked. But that's ok. It's Saturday evening now and I have cider to drink and a geetar to play :)