Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Identity: Dr. Who?

Here's a question:

What defines you? What makes you exactly who you are and different to everyone else?

How do you think of yourself? How would you introduce yourself to someone new?

What words would another person use to describe you? Someone who knows you well and someone who was a casual friend?

What aspects of your personality shine through for all to see, and are they the aspects for which you would like to be remembered?

When people think of you do they consider your integrity? your kindness? your creativity in whatever medium you like to use? are you the sort of person other people turn to when they want a job done and done well? are you a prop or the propped?

When they leave you do people feel encouraged? uplifted? exhausted with laughing? or worn tho a thread from your neediness? do they enjoy your company and remember you with thanksgiving? do they feel they matter to you- do they want to matter to you?

Are you the sum of your life experiences? Are you marching to an off-beat or going against the flow? Are you a Quilter? an Evangelist? an Accountant? a Teacher? a Musician? Or is what you do for a living not actually who you consider yourself to be?

Do people actually see you when they are with you or do you fade behind titles such as 'wife', 'mother', 'gran' 'secretary', 'teacher', 'so'n'so's friend', or (worst of all) 'well-meaning...but'? Do people look at you and not actually see you at all, or see a reflection of themselves which they think you complement?

And then, if you were stripped of your labels, titles, job, destination, possessions, all the things which, intentionally or otherwise, have come to define you- what would be left? Would you like the naked soul you met in the deep dark night of despair? or would you be horrified to discover you had become something unpleasant whilst you were looking the other way and getting on with your life?

When you stop and look do you see someone you actually like? or do you see someone who has fallen so far short of their own dreams, ideals, hopes, ethics, beliefs, aspirations, that it feels as though you are meeting a stranger, and not one you really wish to spend much time with?

Does it matter that you have arrived somewhere you never intended to go? Does it matter that people look at you and see someone you never intended to be? Does it matter that you have lost who you thought you were and are having to start over again?

Which is more important- that you try to live rightly by the light of your choice? or keep others happy at the loss of yourself? is there a mid-way?

Everyone wrestles with themselves at some time, or at many times, is it a waste of energy or do we learn from such times of self-doubt?

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

So when you look to yourself in a quiet moment do you recognise yourself?

PS. And does it matter?

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

CD Splurge- Rackhouse Pilfer

Love and Havoc- Rackhouse Pilfer's new album!

Rackhouse Pilfer's new album is ace!
Yes I was very bold and bought it for myself...
Yes, I still need shoes but until someone wants to interview me for a job what do shoes matter?
Yes, I've been playing it so loudly that the people in the office across the landing haven't needed to buy their own copy because they can listen to mine 24/7...or even 27/4...
WHAT?! You haven't heard of Rackhouse Pilfer? VERY famous bluegrass country band who hang out in a pub two streets across?
Well, the only thing better than being a fan already is having that treat in store for you!!
Hey! Did ya get the message that I like Rackhouse Pilfer's music- A LOT?

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Escape v. Perspective

Life never runs either smoothly or according to plan, does it? Neither physical life nor inward life. Often the two do not even run in tandem, and when outsiders think one is sailing through a calm, organised, 'together' patch, one's mind can be an utter battlefield of indecision, insecurity, demons, problem wrestling and the like, or vice versa. I suppose that is just as well as a calm outer shell gives one time to think, but would it not be just wonderful if outer calm matched inner certainty of purpose a bit more often?

And then there are the times when outer and inner lives are equally chaotic and it is difficult to keep hold of reality at all. Such has been my last few months, so naturally I ground to a halting heap of bleating ineptitude. Now I am wrestling a new bull having decided to apply to do a year's course in Dublin, applied, mark you, nothing definite...also no funding and nowhere to live- minor inconveniences, hmm?

One friend has several times pointed out that going to Dublin will not solve any problems, leaving all the mess of the marriage in one town whilst moving to another will not make it go away, or fix it, or end it: running does not help.

Another friend showed me an article by Oliver Burkeman which advocates distance and perspective as a means of getting to grips with problems. Well that's the gist of it. Her theory is the use of mental holiday mode in that getting away can make you see more clearly changes which need making, or worries which are unimportant, or even that maybe things are just fine as they are.

Which returns me to taking a year out to do a course in Dublin. I know that I need to sort things legally but I have to wait for other events to pass; I know that one piddly little course won't change my life; I know that finding somewhere I can afford to live in Dublin (rents are rocketing) is going to be a bother; funding for the course will also be a bother as will living expenses; and that solutions are worked at rather than arriving in blinding flashes.

But the alternative?

I have no job and no likelihood of a job as I have nothing to offer that a hundred young folk can't offer better and more cheaply (recessions voiding the attribute of experience over cheapness), I am well used to living on the smell of an oil rag, to say nothing of the wing and prayer method, and is it so bad to want to escape the judgement and censure of people here for leaving my marriage? I would like to be able to walk down a street unafraid to lift my eyes for fear of meeting someone who is not speaking to me and not afraid to cut me dead or make nasty comments to me. You think separation and divorce are acceptable in 21C modern world? Think again, my friends, they are not, well they are for men, but not for women it would seem...figure that at your leisure...

So is distancing oneself to gain perspective a different concept to running away? I suppose it depends upon whether one returns to act on any insight one may have gained and for that only time may tell. Is running away from unpleasantness any way to solve a problem? They who judge have made their attitudes my problem, I never asked them to take sides and indeed they know nothing of my situation since I am not prepared to demean myself by broadcasting details. Being a 'nobody' in a large city for a while would surely be a mental holiday from being a 'wicked female' in a small town and give me headspace to decide what is important and what is not.

Although Ireland being what it is, no one is ever a 'nobody' for more than five minutes! Island life, I ask ya!

So, sorry about the bitchfest, I do generally attempt to keep posts bitch-free but I get so tired of being the wicked one and trying to hold my head up. I think I need a break from living, pity one can't do that...

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Just An Observation

How many of us get up in the night and use the bathroom without switching on the light?

I do.

How many of us are silly enough to do the same in a friend's place?

I am...

Not only is it quite disorienting to shut the door and find oneself in pitch blackness with no notion of the location of the loo, but it is even more unsettling when one thinks one knows where to rest one's naked backside only to either fall off the edge of the seat due to miscalculation, or to miss it entirely and hit cold tiles...

Yes well.

I'm staying at a friend's place just now as you can probably tell...

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Gortnarowey Walk

Benbulben approach, should be before previous photo.

Along the northerly side of Benbulben.

Further north.

Looking out across the Bay to Streedagh Beach,
Cassiebawn Castle (blip on the headland) and towards Donegal coast.

South westerly aspect of the Bay and one of those streaks of surf is Innismurray Island,
about seven miles off shore, but looks to be hardly an island from this distance.
On Tuesday afternoon, in need of some cobweb blowing and demon vanquishing, a friend took me up Gortnarowey, one of the local Coillte walks. The photos are rather muzzy as it was quite overcast but the views and scenery are just fabulous. I had been up the back of the mountain in the past but one tends to be wary of going too far off track onto private land, partly for fear of disturbing livestock, and partly from fear of trespassing. Land-owners around here are very territorial. Coillte walks are great as they are well signposted and public so no fear of wandering where one is not welcome.

I will have to go back again on a clear day to take better photos, but also to take the girls. As my friend pointed out, between scenery, mountain and deep forest it is real 'Lord of the Rings' territory and I know Middlest and Youngest would get a huge kick out of walking the route!

It is so pristine up there that there were whole swathes of frogspawn in the ditches- I haven't seen that amount of frogspawn in years. Its protected now, of course, but when we were children one of the highlights of springtime was friends bringing jars of frogspawn into school. We got to watch it grow from tadpoles to frogs in washing up bowls, accidentally letting the frogs loose in the classroom whenever we needed a diversion, until the teacher had had enough and carted the whole lot away to dump in a stream. Now the children bring in bunches of daffodils, which are certainly pretty, but not nearly as breath-taking as frogspawn!


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