Musings and Snoozes

Sunlight failed but only for a while, In the moonlight pale someone made me smile

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The dog is fast asleep in my lap, I’m surrounded by salt lamps and fairy lights, and Anathema is playing in the background. And then I cried.

Honestly, emotional wreck doesn’t even begin to cover it today, and I can’t even blame it on hormones. I don’t know what’s wrong, maybe I’m just beyond tired, but everything is just….a bit too much.

But I have survived the day, which I didn’t think I would at 8am this morning. There’s a lot to be said for the magical power of coffee beans and things and people to look forward to. That, and the healing power of Vincent Cavanagh’s voice, which I am going to go and lose myself in for a while.

Happy Friday everyone 🙂

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Even scarred hearts have wings

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Wings touch, as beauty fades. So close that the breath of an angel couldn’t separate us.
Although she did. The moment our hearts came within touching distance, we fell apart.
The fine line between desire and destruction broken in an instant, lost forever, as feathers tumble slowly to the ground.
The wind carries just one. Soft and white, pure, like snow, but tinged with red remains, as if to prove that love does not come without sacrifice.
They might say that it is the angels who teach us love, but I beg to differ. Sometimes it’s the red remains of the demons who show us who we really are.

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“Take these broken wings and learn to fly again”

 

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So once again I’m curled up on the sofa, feeling a smidge sorry for myself due to the sheer amount of pain I’m in. However, as Shell pointed out earlier, I’ve never been one to take the sensible option and so the pain may be in part due to wearing impractical, but beautiful, clothes and boots to the gig last night. And it was totally worth it. Both the looking good and the gig itself.

I spent the afternoon beforehand sat in Starbucks in Angel, writing, reading, chatting, and people watching. Coupled with multiple lattes, it was pretty much my perfect afternoon, although I did have to admit that five hours was maybe a little longer than necessary and stir-craziness did set in part way through. But I did get a lot of writing done and I made friends with the most beautiful man on the planet, who was a spit for Lenny Kravitz, albeit with a London accent. So really, an afternoon well spent. In fact the only downside was finding that the McDonald’s by the venue was closed, so I had to go without dinner as I refused to eat in the Subway next door, but meh, a pint and a packet of crisps later and I was happy (never let it be said that I’m not a classy girl).

So the gig. Aaaaah I have so much love for Anneke, I don’t know where to start. Not just because she’s beautiful (shallow though I may be) but her voice and her music is just incredible. It was an acoustic set in the Academy2, meaning it was absolutely tiny and you could pretty much reach out and touch her at any given moment. It was also just her, which meant that she played all sorts of things – she started with The Gathering’s Electricity, ended with Dolly Parton’s Jolene, and played Devin Townsend, Pink Floyd and Bruce Springsteen in between, plus her solo stuff. Pretty much perfection and I came out at the end of it feeling significantly better than I have for a long time.

And that’s just it – music, lyrics, voices – they’ve always been my go-to for any given situation. The only thing in the world that can physically take pain away, albeit fleetingly, take me back to a specific moment in my life, or simply make me forget everything. There are probably three bands that never let me down – VNV Nation, Anathema and Anneke (with or without the Gathering). The first two are by far my go-to bands for lyrics and have been there at pretty much every important stage of my life from about 17 onwards. I don’t think there’s a single Anathema song or album that I don’t associate with one person or part of my life, be it good or bad. Similarly, VNV’s lyrics have got to be some of the most inspirational words I’ve come across, especially Beloved, or Illusion, and so much so that I’m actually getting some of Beloved’s lyrics tattooed on my wrist, just as soon as I can work out the final design. But it’s Anneke’s voice that has always sent shivers down my spine or given me goosebumps when I hear it, and if there was one person in the world whose voice I aspire to, it’s hers.

And so I thought I’d share a couple of my favourites. I didn’t take any videos last night, partly because my phone died and partly because I was too lost in the music itself, but having spent half the afternoon browsing YouTube, the internet has once again not let me down.

Saturnine is just an awesome song to be honest, but I particularly love her voice on it – gentle one minute and angry the next. Plus the lyrics are kind of significant, and this version was recorded in Birmingham, which is my second home anyway 🙂

And then I couldn’t make a post about Anneke without mentioning this. One of the most beautiful Within Temptation songs made even better by turning it into a duet with Anneke. Their voices together are incredible and never fail to make me a little teary.

So this is what I do and how I work. It doesn’t matter how bad things get, how tough it might be to fight through pain – be it physical or emotional – one song, one piece of music is all it takes to bring me back to life 🙂

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The good, the bad, and the oops I did too much

So in all honesty, today has not been a good day. I am pretty much crippled with pain, meds aren’t even touching it, and consequently I’m pissy and miserable. BUT, I had such an amazing time yesterday that it was completely worth it – eight of us, four convertibles, Malvern Hills – absolute perfection.

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So instead of moping, it got me thinking about all the little moments that just make life good. So often it’s not the big things that make a difference, but all those everyday moments of bliss that keep us going. So here’s my list of life’s little pleasures:

*The feel of fresh bedsheets

*Closing my eyes under the shower and letting the water wash over me

*The first sip of hot coffee in a morning

*Being surrounded by friends that make me so at ease that I can’t help but smile just looking at them

*Fairy lights at dusk

*Driving my car with the music up, the roof down, and no clear destination

*My hair being stroked

*Fresh ink on my skin

*Sitting outside during a summer storm

*When someone tells me something made them think of me

*Listening to music through headphones and losing myself a little

*The smell of incense burning

*Watching the dog dream and let out a little bark in her sleep

*Falling in love with new people

If I can do or feel at least one of these every day then things are never as bad as they seem. So I’m off to burn some incense and put my headphones in. The pain, no matter how bad it is, will always come second to this list.

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¿Quién eres?

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Cuando me dices ¿quién eres? no te puedo responder.

Es como soy algo inexplicable, o todo lo que querría decir ha desaparecido.

Un momento en que soy yo, pero no me puedes ver.

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Have you ever met a Moomin?

So I realised that in the four or so years that I’ve been writing here, I have never once shared the second most inspirational influence in my life, which seemed a little remiss of me. For those of you who know me, this won’t be anything new, but for those who don’t (or those that just need educating of course) – I present to you, The Moomins.

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I honestly can’t remember what age I was when I first discovered Moominvalley and its inhabitants, but to me they seem to have always been there – in book, TV, or cartoon form to begin with, and then latterly of course, all over the internet. They even have their own Buzzfeed Article which quite rightly states that “the magical Moominvalley of Tove Jansson’s imagination contains all you need to know for life”. Be it words of advice on how to look after others by Moominmamma, how to enjoy your own company and be at peace with yourself like Snufkin, or just how to be a loveable brat like Little My, there is a Moomin trait for everyone.

My own Moomin traits have very much changed over the years, as well they should. As a child I loved Moomintroll and Snork Maiden – they were, as far as I could tell, the main characters, not to mention so cute and cuddly looking that I just wanted to squeeze them tight and be their friends. They were carefree too, but not quite independent enough that they didn’t need to come home and be surrounded by family who would look after them. Plus Snork Maiden changed colour depending on her mood – maybe that explains my ever changing hair dye obsession! Snufkin, on the other hand, confused me with his strange, nomadic ways, and Moominmamma and Moominpapa were just parents like my own, so I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary in them (in the nicest possible way to my own Moominmamma, who is reading this)! But as I’ve gotten older, re-read the books, and learned more about Tove Jansson and her life, it’s Snufkin and his half-sister Little My who have come to represent the two slightly conflicting sides to me.snuf

I continually have a lot to learn from Snufkin. He’s an introvert, like me, but much more at peace with the world than I have learned to be so far, although I’m getting there. Maybe more importantly he’s comfortable and confident in himself. He comes and goes as and when he pleases – being around others for too long makes him long for the silence of nothing but the forest and his own company. Not to mention that he only inhabits Moominvalley during Spring and Summer – Autumn and Winter are spent in warmer climes – a Mumrik after my own heart.

 

 

Snufkin free

I know this, I understand this, but I just haven’t quite managed to learn it yet. I admire and idolise a little too easily to be free just yet, but I’m working on it and I’m learning to admire myself instead of others sometimes. It’s not an easy feat for someone who naturally draws inspiration from others, but there’s a balance that I’m finding that allows me to be inspired , whilst not losing a part of myself. I continually battle with trying to work out if I admire someone and am therefore attracted to them, or if I just want to be them, and it’s Snufkin quotes I turn to when I need reminding of the difference!

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Aaaah Little My. I have less to learn from her, as I already have being a brat down to a fine art! There’s more to her though, despite first impressions, and actually she’s a determined, honest, and feisty little thing. If Shakespeare had known Little My, “though she be but little, she is fierce” would have been written especially for her!

 

 

 

Little My

She’s a mischievous soul, cheeky, and often downright rude, but she means well and if she’s your friend, she will be fiercely loyal. I couldn’t help but notice when I was looking for my favourite quotes this evening that she’s also described as “an unconventional debater who uses emotion and logic to win arguments”. I couldn’t possibly comment, but I think there are a fair few people who would point out the similarity there!

 

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And then there’s the writing itself, which I’ve come to appreciate a lot more as I’ve read more of Jansson’s books. She has a way with words that just makes magic come to life, no matter how mundane the subject. When I read the words, I don’t just picture what she’s saying, I can feel it, hear it, almost touch it. It’s a hard thing to explain the power of someone’s writing, but it’s beautiful.

Nowadays I see that it’s more than just the characters that have influenced me throughout my 29 years, but Tove Jansson herself, through her slightly wild and unconventional life. I can’t help but admire those who are different, who dare to cross lines, to break society’s norms, and she certainly did that. But it will always be Moomintroll, Snufkin, Little My, Moominmamma et al who I return to again and again. Everyone needs something to guide them through life, and I think I could do a lot worse than a Moomin and his friends 🙂

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What the four year old said

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Personally, I think this is a pretty good measure of a day. Not to mention a highly accurate one, considering the frustrating Monday I’ve just had.

Some days you just know are not going to be your day from the moment you wake up. Today was one of those days. I hit snooze one too many times this morning (quelle surprise), couldn’t get my eyeliner even (always a bad sign) and then had to defrost the car before I could go anywhere. Ugh. And that’s how the day progressed really, with the exception of a much needed catch up with a couple of people, I can’t say as it improved!

On the plus side (there’s always a plus side), I have many, many things to look forward to, so I’m going to list them to make me feel better:

~ More tattoo planning. Just planning for now. I have be all grown up and save money, but the planning is fun. I now have both my Snufkin and Little My designs and placement sorted, an idea for my VNV lyrics, and more swirls and flowers planned.

~ I completely forgot that I have two days booked off work next week. The fact that I forgot makes them even better. I might head into London for the Anneke gig, or I might just stay home and chill. Either way, not at work, bliss.

~ Talking of holidays:
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I absolutely cannot wait and the thought of it is very much getting me out of bed in a morning, even if it’s still six months away! Really, for a person who dislikes cities on the whole, I never expected to fall in love with New York like I did, but I can’t wait to be back. Plus this time round I get the added bonus of heading to Carole’s afterwards too.

~ And a little nearer, I have Jess’ birthday, mine and Shell’s belated Christmas celebration, and a trip to Brighton with work friends to look forward to.

So it’s not all bad. In fact given that I neither hit nor bit anyone today, I’m actually going to call success on the day, despite Monday’s best efforts otherwise. Let’s see what Tuesday brings….

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“Oh just wait until you have children!”

I have been unsure of whether to write about this for a while now, but it’s fast becoming a thought process that I’m finding hard to ignore. I’m not looking for advice, or sympathy, I just think it’s worth sharing why the assumption that someone will have children is not always the right one. Things are never as straightforward as they seem and “wanting” children and “having” children are not always the same thing. So here goes….

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This utterly sums up my day. Not to mention that it explains the three random crying episodes I had yesterday, along with why I wanted to kill everyone in a ten mile radius on Thursday. But yay, not pregnant.

One day I’m sure I’ll think differently. One day I’ll be disappointed to see my period show up, as opposed to just being miffed that I have to suffer cramps, mood swings, and feeling like someone just broke my back in two (because everyday chronic pain isn’t enough, right?) And actually, if it were left solely to my hormones, that time would be now. But it’s not.

When Jon and I got married I knew the baby questions would be inevitable, though I wasn’t quite prepared for just how quickly they came about. Honestly, I have no idea why a) your reproductive system suddenly becomes everybody else’s business the moment you get married, and b) why it’s assumed that there is no other goal in getting married other than to have children. Jon and I spent a lot of time smiling politely (him more politely than me, unsurprisingly), telling people that no, we were quite looking forward to actually enjoying being married thanks, without the need for any screaming brats just yet.

And now, three and a half years down the line, the question has become a lot more complicated. Or at least the answer has. I joke that I’ll stick with the pooch for now, or that I can’t look after myself yet, let alone a child, but there’s a lot more truth than humour in that if I’m honest. I can’t even be trusted to take my medication on a daily basis, to feed myself when Jon’s not here, to look after myself. How could I inflict that on a child? It’s hard enough that Jon has to look after me as it is, I’m pretty sure throwing a child into the equation is not the answer yet.

But that’s the thing. I talk about “yet” in the hope that it’ll miraculously change one day, but the bottom line is that unless there are some serious advances in treatment for lupus/fibromyalgia/sjogrens over the next few years, I’m not sure that “yet” will ever go away. And I don’t really know how I feel about that. On the one hand my body is crying out to be pregnant, on the other my head is saying “shut up body, you’re broken, remember”. None of these illnesses stop me having children, although the risk of miscarrying due to sjogrens is scarily high, but they will all make it so much harder than it should be and I don’t know if I’m willing to put myself through that. The pain and fatigue I deal with on a good day is enough to make me want to sleep for a week. On a bad day, I literally don’t have any choice but to remain bed or sofa bound. So then what? Pretty sure telling your child that it’ll have to fend for itself at six months isn’t really the done thing. The alternative is to push through the pain and well, quite frankly, no. I do enough of that in my life as it is and suffer the consequences – I’m supposed to be learning how to stop doing that, not making it twice as hard.

So where does that leave me? Leave us (since this child malarkey is not a one person thing)? At the moment the answer is a lot of tearful conversations, both real and imaginary, since I’m a great one for over thinking until I break down! We have time to make a decision, my body clock is not ticking away too quickly yet, but I never expected to be in this position where I’d have to choose what’s best. I’ve never taken for granted that we’d just have kids, god knows it took my poor parents long enough to have me, but I hadn’t anticipated having to be the one to make the decision.

Whichever decision we make will be the right one, but will also be the hard one either way. I, we, have so much support, both from family and friends, as well as my amazing doctor, so I don’t doubt that whatever happens, we’ll be fine. And actually that’s kind of my point to all this – we will be fine. Yes we want children, no it’s not that simple, but that actually the world won’t end if we decide to stay just the two of us (plus pooch of course), so long as we’re happy and healthy (ish in my case)!

So the next time you think about flippantly asking a couple when they’re having children, just stop and think that it might not be all that simple as when, but maybe if. Or that quite frankly, it might not be any of your business and if they’re like me, they might just tell you so 🙂

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And rain will make the flowers grow

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It smells beautiful outside. The rain has just started falling and in an instant I’m able to forget everything and just enjoy it. It’s warm, ish, so I spent a while in the garden, spinning poi; losing myself in the spin of my wrists, the brightly coloured tails, and the feel of cool rain on my skin. Bliss.

Some nights it’s words, others it’s music. Sometimes it wrapping myself up in someone else. Or it’s escaping to meditate for a while, to try and find my way again. I have a hundred different things to keep my feet on the ground, all of them instantly able to bring me back to me.

Tonight it’s the rain. The gentle silver droplets covering my skin until I don’t know where I start and the rain stops. And that’s the perfect place to be tonight.

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Stormchaser ☔

Too tired tonight for real words so have someone else’s 🙂

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