Have a blessed and safe Christmas, everyone!
Thank you all for your support and comments.
Have a blessed and safe Christmas, everyone!
Thank you all for your support and comments.
Here are some pages from my December bullet journal.
I cannot overstate how helpful bullet journaling has been in the daily business of living.
Yes, I could attain the same kind of management benefits from store bought diaries and journals; but creating my own pages allows me to include the sort of content I want (tracking pages, calendar, gratitude pages, etc) without the need for others (addresses, world map, world time).
It also allows me to adjust how much space I might need for my calendar or scheduler on a monthly or even weekly basis. I’ve always ended up with loads of wasted pages during holiday periods and not enough when it’s work plan or meeting seasons!
Having said that, I used to fuss over how hideous my bullet journal spreads were. And stress over the theme, the colours … and this was before I even dared to share my spreads online.
Pinterest, Instagram, WordPress and YouTube host so many gorgeous spreads that the intimidation is real. But these sources have also taught me that it really doesn’t matter if my spreads look good or not.
Nobody has any business judging anyone else’s spreads because the point of bullet journaling is creating something for yourself.
Bullet journaling has been therapeutic and eye opening. Planning for and using the journal pages have helped to anchor the chaos of daily living, and instilled discipline and focus. Sharing my spreads online is a step up confidence building.
I’m glad I … ahem! … bit the bullet.
The word “weaves” made me think of Louisa May Alcott and every other writer who has successfully woven people, places and plots into stories that have captured our imaginations for centuries.
I am in no position to critique anyone’s writing; I only know that there are books I enjoy and happily reread, and there are those I scratch my head over, and go “huh?”.
I read Alcott’s books as a teen, and nearly had Little Women as my English Literature text. It was changed to another book and we were never told why. Perhaps this was a good thing so my connection with the March girls was not influenced by any class discussions or dissections. On the other hand, there might have been much more depth and understanding to be gained.
Regardless, I do have two questions: Do you think a contemporary book called Little Women would go down well with readers today? How would you respond to being called a “little woman”?
RDP ~ Weaves
It was quite difficult to settle on my November bullet journal theme.
There was so much uncertainty, pain, even nastiness each time I tried to watch the news that it became difficult to sit through it. I questioned humanity, or the lack of it. I wondered for the umpteenth time why it was so problematic to accept wearing a mask – if those working at the ice cream shop have always worn masks because it was hygienic to do so, why couldn’t we when there was a pandemic?
Anyway, I digress. This post is about my trusty bullet journal and the theme I settled on.
It is my tribute to Louisa May Alcott, writer of the series that made me wish I had sisters, a Marmee and time for make believe dressups, writing, messy relationships and all the ingredients for a memorable growing up period. Alcott was born in November.
But, with today’s backdrop in mind, I wonder what the reactions might be to a title like Little Women.
I wanted to avoid pumpkins and witches
So I thought, why not try an orange cat with whiskers?
It’s still on point
(With some liberal twitches)
Here we go with my October picture.
I wanted to have a little fun with this post.
Journaling has been incredibly therapeutic, and I hope to share more posts about my journaling journey.
Before I go any further with this post, readers are advised that there are flashes of self-care internal battles in this post. Anyone who does not believe in self-care or mental health should proceed with caution.
In 2018, my father was diagnosed with Stage 3-and-a bit colon cancer; the cancer was successfully removed, together with a chunk of his colon, and he has been able to live a fairly normal, active life.
On Monday, he called me to say his doctors wanted him to go for an MRI scan because there were “abnormalities” in his latest health check. He said my mother, who claims to know everything, everyone and what’s best for everyone, insisted it was high time I took responsibility for my father’s care, so I should go with him to the MRI lab on Tuesday. Fact – my mother avoids medical facilities as she has had a double mastectomy and hip surgery; I understand her reluctance but I resent being ordered to accompany him when I would have willingly done so – he only had to ask. Why, when I am a working adult, does my mother think I will take kindly to being ordered about? I also resent the implication that I don’t take enough responsibility for his care.
After the MRI session, my father wanted lunch before heading home. Over lunch, he talked about his childhood, English football, the US elections, recounted several arguments between my mother and her sister, and then he asked if I’d spoken to my aunt.
Squabbles between my mother and her sisters are nothing new: they grew up bickering and that habit persists to this day. What has changed is the passing of the younger sister in August 2019, and the elder sister having to sort through her effects. Because my late aunt named me as co-executor, I have obviously met with my surviving aunt (the other co-executor) at the lawyers’ and she has mentioned her unhappiness about my mother’s constant accusations that she is taking too long to clear out my late aunt’s things, and my mother’s demands to have items she had given her to be returned. Fact – my aunt is 91 years old and I feel the task is mammoth, emotional and she is doing it alone, so let her take her time and pace herself! Why is she handling this alone? Because my other aunt would not have wanted my mother anywhere near her things. Why am I not helping? My doing so will trigger more aggressions from my mother, and the suspicions that I have made off with things of value.
Back to my father’s question. I would be damned no matter how I answer because he will report it to my mother and she will have another go at my aunt, after calling me all sorts of names and recounting my sins to the neighbours, her friends and her relatives. I settled for, “I haven’t talked to her about the house.” My father accepted that but followed up with, “What has mum done to you that makes you so ungrateful?”
This is a question that really didn’t need to be answered in a cafe in the middle of Covid-19. But never have I been more grateful for this disease because my father is near-deaf, refuses to use his hearing aid but, thanks to Covid-19, the nearest tables were 1.5 metres away.
I told him I am not ungrateful. I am well aware of her sacrifices raising me; she has never let me forget her struggles and how she had to do everything on her own because her husband and sisters were useless. But there comes a point where gratitude and filial piety can get overtaken by survival needs and emotional self-defence. I told him of instances where I heard her telling other relatives about how I was a disloyal, uncaring, unfilial, lying, useless daughter, and that I had poisoned my relatives’ and my own family’s minds and opinions against her.
I told him of two occasions (there were others) where she upset other people at social events and I was politely requested not to have her present in the future. I told him of a school event where she ranted at me in front of the principal, teachers, students and other parents for something I never did. How much, I asked my father, was I supposed to take from her? Did he really think I should remain “grateful”, and for what exactly? I told him smoothing over ruffled feathers in those situations was already paying for “grateful”. And that “grateful” and survival were two separate issues. Fact – the question I also wanted to ask was: where were you, dad, in all of this? Did you never know mum clearly has problems?
I don’t know how much of what I said was heard. Or if anything registered. Or if it meant anything to him. Or if he’d been simply tasked to ask that question by my mother and he would report whatever he could. I do know that the circumstances were not ideal for that conversation. My father was not an ideal discourse partner. My mother will never accept anything I say anyway because she is never wrong and she knows everything.
I am aware the situation in that household is percolating away and may well boil over. I am aware I am dodging things and am stuck in the middle. And this sorry situation has taken a toll on my health (could this be the trigger for the heart attack?). I should probably also have sought help way earlier.
But that conversation went better for me than I expected. I didn’t get emotional. My father wasn’t angry so that meant I hadn’t been disrespectful or totally illogical. I was clear headed and firm. And I have therapy to thank.
Therapy has taught me that I can’t change the past or who people are, or tweak the present, especially if they deny a need for their own self-examination. It has taught me that there is a difference between being grateful and being a victim, being filial and being abused. It has taught me that abuse takes many different forms and not all bruises are seen on skin.
Therapy has taught me that there are toxic parents. That mothers can suffer from narcissistic personality disorders, or be bipolar, or simply not be equipped to be good mothers. That fathers can be compliant because they go along to get along. That siblings don’t all get along and that the child sometimes has to be the adult.
Therapy has taught me that my mother’s script is not mine; I have a right to write my own.
And writing this has been cathartic.
So we know a hole is a space that once had matter present, e.g., a hole dug in order to plant something.
Or it’s a purposeful space, e.g., nostrils.
If we accept that holes are intangible objects that we cannot actually hold in our hands, how do we explain this?
Just sayin’. 😹
RDP ~ HOLE
Right. With that out of the way … deep breath … write.
January started well enough. The world and its politics continued spinning along. Then came February. With Valentine’s Day and all its accoutrements, life still seemed normal. Shops, physical and virtual, had morphed from Christmas themes to embrace hearts, bears and cupids.
Then came March, and bam! Gone was the cherubic cupid, here was contagious Covid, and the start of a period of frustration that continues to this day.
I had to work from home during the lockdown. The biggest frustration was coping with a new regimen that had been thrust upon me with little preparation or training. Where there used be the banter and bustle of a normal workplace, now there was just the restricted rectangle of a computer screen for all manner of communication whether it was verbal, written or everything in between.
My days were spent flitting between Zoom or Google Meet instead of a Conference Room or break room, clearing documents on PDFs and softcopies that refused to be edited, cursing the devices when the screen froze or programs hung or inexplicably shut down, wasting time searching for files that never arrived or ended up in strange shared folders. Technology will never replace human contact and spirit.
I also volunteer at a library which, obviously, had to shut its doors and my heart cried for the regulars I knew would be adrift because there was no access to reading materials, companionship and a quiet refuge. I think about these regulars constantly, wondering if they are safe, if they have food and care, if they are mentally up to the conditions imposed upon them.
Each day, I watch as the news reported the ever increasing toll on human life and on humanity. Each day, I cheer and salute every single one of the frontline workers, praying for their safety and continued good health. Each day, I pray for a cure, a solution to the shortages of supplies and aid, and for the horrible numbers to stabilise.
I’m not going to ask why this virus descended upon us. Ebola, H1N1, SARS … these should have taught us that viral pandemics are inevitable. But I am going to ask why things became such a disaster. Those earlier viral spreads should have taught us that by being vigilant, by being prepared, by being well stocked in supplies and medicines, and by taking charge and having a robust plan, we should know what to do, how to do it, and do it for the sake of our citizens. Yet there are leaders that cannot lead and citizens who care little about each other.
This virus is novel. How we should deal with it is not. Yet, here we are.
To be honest, things are not the worst where I am currently. Despite the quarantines, masks, swabs and restrictions to our movements each day, I am grateful there is adequate healthcare, enough facilities, and a low death toll. I am grateful I still have my job and I look forward to resuming in my library. But I know not every country is in a good place at this moment and it frustrates me.
To every single person who has been affected by this virus, or lost someone, I am deeply sorry. I have no words that can take away your pain. To every one who has had to make sacrifices in one form of another, I thank you. To every one, be safe.