30 September 2012

Prison Break

I read a post the other day by The Bloggess entitled "Sometimes Prisons can be Beautiful".

I have been reading her blog for about a year now.  The recommendation I was given was "She's funny, a bit "off" but in a wonderful way and has her own mental issues, a bit like you, but different ones".  I HAD to take a look.

Her blog was the first I had ever read.  I had already started my own, but I was at that time coming from an angle of just loving to write, and was writing purely about things that interested.  It never occurred to me to write about the personal stuff that you "shouldn't" talk about.  The fact that sometimes, I can be a little "off".  That I had issues.  All the things that you are supposed to keep hidden.

This particular post got me to thinking about how in some ways, we all create our own type of prisons.  Not the type with brick walls and bars at the windows, but ones that we have created in our minds, where the rules can be just as restrictive.  Where you are both the prison guard and also the person in the cell.

These type of prisons are more complicated than the physical kind.  To break out of them you don't need to scale a wall or bribe a prison guard.  The rules are of your own making, and the walls shift.

I've always known that I had a wall up.  What I realise now is that it wasn't just a wall.  It was a prison of my own construction which surrounded me, with it's own rules, all of which was constructed not because I was bad, but to protect me.  A cocoon.  

The thing about a cocoon is that at first, you feel safe in it, but eventually it becomes stifling and too close for comfort.  I was being smothered in a prison of my own making.

Compared to others, my journey is easy.  I created the walls around me, I drew up the rules, I can destroy them.

I don't suffer from depression or anxiety.  I thankfully don't have that daily battle sometimes just to get outside of your own front door, or have the need to hide in the bathroom when in the presence of others.  But reading the blogs of the people that do has gives me inspiration to improve my own life because if they can do it, I damn sure can too.

Ladies of the blogging world, from one bat shit crazy woman to another, I salute you.  You inspire me.

26 September 2012

First Day Jitters

Last night I started my university degree.  It was a very strange feeling to be honest.

I had all the nerves and jitters of someone walking into a university classroom for the first time, except the classroom was my sofa and a coffee table and I was the only student.

I spent the first hour browsing through all the material I had received and familiarising myself with what would be expected.  A study plan was drawn up and I was as organised as I could be.  But then, you open the learning companion……

I don’t care who you are, if you have been out of education for a long time, opening up any text book is a daunting experience.  My heart was pounding for at least the first half an hour and I was convincing myself that this was all a horrible mistake, that there was no way I could do this.

The good thing about an Open University course though is that everything is planned out for you.  What to study, how many recommended hours, what you should be doing each week, advice, it’s all there.

I re-read through all the introductory information to calm myself down and then when going back to the text, I realised that it wasn’t as complicated as first thought, the questions weren’t unanswerable and it was simply me working myself up into a lather. 

After going through the notes I had taken and then typing them up (my handwriting isn’t the best) I realised that once I had calmed down and looked at the text again, my thoughts and ideas were following much more freely.

I have started my course two weeks early as I wanted to give myself some breathing space and also allow for a contingency in case of illness etc. 

I wanted to do this post for anyone who hasn’t yet had the “first day nerves” and tell you that yes, you will be nervous, yes you may panic a little a first (if you are like me) but keep calm, BREATH, re-read and take your time.

We are starting on an exciting journey, let’s not forget that.  It is a day to be marked and remembered, the day your life began to change.

24 September 2012

Tech Advice Required!

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.  In this particular case, technology related.

My previous laptop was unfortunately hit by a virus that managed to get through anti virus, security, virus software, everything.  Said laptop being in the technological equivalent of being in a coma, I was left without technology.

One can not simply go without technology for more than one week without going completely insane.  It is folly.

The problem was that at the time, and now if it comes down to it, I was short on cash.  I needed a replacement, sooner rather than later and I couldn't pay too much for it.  My choice in the end was a Samsung N145 Plus Netbook.

The netbook has served me well and is fine for what I need it for.  Browsing the internet, social networking, blogging and research all work well with a netbook.  Herein though lies the problem.  

A few months ago I decided to start a degree.  Whilst my netbook is fine for browsing and playing around, I doubt that it has the capacity to complete with a fully functioning laptop.  The smallest of the problems being the lack of size in the screen and keyboard.

The only solutions I have come up with thus far, being unable to fund a new laptop, are buying an external hard drive to extend the space and getting an external keyboard to help with the typing.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing but for now, I guess I have to work with what I have.

If anyone who happens to read this post has any ideas into how I can increase the capacity of my netbook, or indeed has a magic spell to increase the size of the screen, I'm all ears.  In the meantime, entering every laptop competition I can find!!

22 September 2012

Just the Way You Are

This is another in a series of "transformation" blogs I have been doing lately.  Sorry if it's getting boring for anyone who reads this, but I feel it important to write down and record my progress.

Looking back to where you have come from to where you are now is important I feel.  Not to look back and dwell on what was, but instead, realise how far along the journey you are now.

I was watching a vlog the other day done by the incomparable Betty Bee and she said something that really struck me and made me realise that although I have come a long way, part of my thinking is not as it should be.

On each step of the journey I have been on this year, from stopping smoking to starting a degree, from gaining confidence to banishing my all black wardrobe and introducing colour, the same thought has always been in the back of my head.

When I accomplish "this" I'll feel better about myself, when I do "that" I'll be happier.  What Betty Bee said was that you should like yourself the way you are right now, not when you have done this, this and changed this, but now.

What I realised after watching the vlog was that at the back of my mind, the thought has been that once I accomplish all my goals, once my head is straight, when I look a certain way, I will be "ready for the world", I'll be good enough.  

Looking back at one of my earlier posts, said that I was so close to the person I wanted to be that I could smell it.  Whilst that is true, I now realise that I have to be happy with the person I am now too.  You can't live your life waiting to be perfect.  Nothing is perfect.  Perfection doesn't exist.

Betty said that you should focus on the parts of yourself that you like and be happy with them, instead of focusing on the parts that you don't.
I'm applying a new mantra to live by:

18 September 2012

My Shovel List

We have all heard of the bucket list, the things you want to do/accomplish before you die, but have you ever heard of the shovel list?

In Marian Keyes’ new book, The Mystery of Mercy Close her main character describes it as “A list of all the people and things I hate so much I want to hit them in the face with a shovel."

As this sounds more fun, and therapeutic than a bucket list, I thought that I would do my own.  Mine has sections though.  Turns out there are more people in need of a shovel in the face than I had originally though.

So in no particular order….

The “Too Happy/Nice therefore must be Psychopaths” List
All morning people
Bonnie Langford
Cliff Richard
Anthea Turner

The Politics List (This one is limited on the grounds I couldn’t possibly name everyone)
The current British Government
Mitt Romney
David Cameron (he deserves a special mention)

The Pop “Stars” List
Miley Cyrus
Justin Bieber
Geri Halliwell
Gwen Stefani

The Collective List
The Catholic Church
The Pope (again, special mention required)
Reality TV contestants
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Any/all fundamental extremists from any religion
Jeremy Kyle viewers

The “People I don’t have an explanation for, they just NEED a shovel to the face” List
Pastor “Dickdonaldo” Maldonaldo
Sebastian “The |Cucumber” Vettel
Gwyneth Paltrow
Clowns (these need multiple shovels on the grounds that they are scary)
Jeremy Kyle
Louis Spence

I think that will do for now ;)


I didn't write this.  But it says every single thing I want to today.  Please read and more than that, please sign the petition also linked below:

fleet street fox: Unbelievable.: IMAGINE a group of people that does the worst things you can think of. People who would like to concrete the countryside, build more nucle...

Stop the badger cull - e-petitions

12 September 2012

A Time to Study

One of the many changes I have been making in my life of late has been a decision to start a degree.

I work full time and don't have the financial ability to quit and become a full time student.  This is one of the main reasons why I haven't thought about doing a degree before.  Someone suggested doing an Open University degree to me which could be done on a part time basis.

To be honest, before I actually looked into it, I knew next to nothing about the OU, other than hearing people's opinions on doing degrees by correspondence and over the net.  These comments have always been either quips of "It's the easy option", or have been an insistance that "it can't be a proper degree".

Always being one to find these things out for myself, I investigated.  One of my better decisions as I am now enrolled in my first year of a BSC Honours Degree in Criminology & Psychology.

The options of how to study suits me down to ground.  I chose to study at the minimum rate, for this year at least, of 25% of the amount of time spent by a full time student.  My first module is a 30 point course in an Introduction to Social Sciences, DD131.  This equates to studying 10 hours per week.

For me, considering I work full time and haven't studied anything in the past 17 years, seemed the most sensible option.

At the end of this road, which will be long and winding with many trials and tribulations I am sure, I will come out with an Honours Degree which is exactly the same as any other degree obtained from any other university. 

I certainly wouldn't count the Open University as an easy option.  Working full time and studying at the same time isn't something you would ever choose unless you are certain it is something you really want to do.  It will be hard, but it will be worth it.

Now I just have to receive my module books and study information through the post then I can start panicking and wondering the hell I have gotten myself into!

5 September 2012

No More Tooth Hurty at 2.30

Along with millions of other people in the world, I am terrified of the dentist.  Whilst I am normally ok in most situations and can control nerves, with a dentist appointment, I feel like I am going into the lion's den.
Consequently this fear of the dentists lead to a ten year span of not attending.  Although I have never needed anything more than  a scrape and polish, after a bloody and painful session (together with numerous horror stories from other people having more serious procedures) this was enough for me to avoid attendance.  Over the years the fear grew, unnoticed and unchecked.
Two months ago however my hand was forced.  I managed to knock a tooth loose and was left with no other option but to go to the emergency dentist and ended up having to have the tooth out.  I have had two appointments since then, getting my teeth back in order and after this third appointment, a realisation had hit me.
Dentists aren't evil.  They aren't like they used to be.  You can have local anaesthetic.  It doesn't have to hurt.  If you are reading this and are scared of dentists, re read that line.  Because it's true.  There doesn't have to be any pain anymore.  You just need to find "your" dentist.

The dentist I had years ago was very much of the old school who focused less no making sure you weren't in pain and more on playing God with a drill in his hand. 

The lovely lady I have now explains everything that needs to be done in advance and makes sure I am calm before even going near my mouth.  I have treatments coming up soon and I already know I can have local anaesthetic if I want it and I only have to raise a hand to make anything stop.

Considering, at the moment, that I have never had anything major done to my teeth you may be laughing at me now saying "Just you wait!".  If that is true, leave me in my wonderful new dream, I beg you.

I don't want to go back to being in tears in the dentists waiting room.  So have a heart, if I'm wrong, don't tell me.