The Shadow Of Doubt

Doubt. It is a terrible thing.

It can make a person reconsider a decision that could vastly improve their lives for ever, just because that person is afraid that something bad might happen. It clouds judgment, blinds you to new possibilities and prevents you from taking that leap of faith.

Sometimes it can be over something truly monuments, like getting married. I never had an ounce of doubt in my mind over getting married to my truly amazing husband, but I know a fair few who did feel a pang of “what the hell am I doing?!?” as they walk down the isle.

However it seems to be smaller, but still reasonably big decisions that cause me the most anxiety from doubting a decision once it has been made. Well, we are both feeling this level of doubt right now. We just bought a motor-home.

We have been wanting a motor-home for a while now, we currently have a caravan which is perfectly good but the car that we use to tow it is a total and utter money pit and hardly gets about 13 MPG. But that car was my husbands favorite toy, he would spend hours working on it, cursing at it and then grinning with pride when he finally got it to do what he wanted it to do.

But now it and the caravan has to go, and although we are gaining an added level of freedom in the form of this motor-home, we are taking a rather large financial risk.

We have no real way of knowing if this thing is any good. we know it has some faults and we managed to barter the salesman down by pointing out some obviously broken (but fixable) things. But there are still so many unknowns and now we are without the 4×4 car that has always been the workhorse in our lives.

It’s doubt over which one was the lesser of two evils. The financial drain of the car and caravan or the unknown of the motor-home.

Yes, this is a material issue and is not in any way intended to reflect against people going through much more serious situations. However to us, this is a big step and I have been going from nervous to excited to down-right nauseous just thinking about it. I’m still not sure if we have made the right decision over this particular one.

I guess we will have to wait and see …

Internal Filters (Or Lack Thereof)

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” – Thumper the Rabbit

When I was growing up this was one of the key quotes that my parents taught me. Always be kind, polite and considerate to people and they will do the same to you. It always confused and upset me, therefore, that the bullies in my school seemed to be able to say whatever they wanted and never got in any real trouble. My mum would tell me it was because they were being mean and that I was the much better person for not rising to it.

20+ years later the same rules still apply yet the same types of people break them on a daily basis.

Freedom of speech is an amazing thing. It means that people can stand up for what they believe in, for a cause they feel strongly about and for themselves in general. However, freedom of speech comes with consequences for those that abuse it and turn it into a weapon to be used against others. This has always been happening but now, thanks to social media tearing away geographical barriers, it appears to be much more widespread and aggressive that it ever has been before.

Now instead of children being afraid to go to school because of the mean kid that sits behind them in class, people are afraid of nameless, faceless people on the internet hurling abuse from other continents under the guise of free speech.

People died so that everyone regardless of gender, colour, race or religion could speak freely for themselves. They did not die just so some cyber bully can call someone the most awful racially/sexually motivated names and expect the other person to take it because they are using their “right to free speech”. We should be more civilized than that!

If everyone would simply engage a mental filter before they speak out the would would be a happier place. Find more constructive ways of rallying against oppression or to sound out your beliefs. Instead of hurling insults engage in a debate with your verbal counterpart and maybe, just maybe, you will both learn something.

Everyone has their own demons they need to deal with, some are routed in cultural history, some are more recent and personal, but everyone has them. Everyone has something they get upset about, feel strongly about or wish they could change. Likewise everyone has small accomplishments and victories that they want to jump up and down about to celebrate. There has to be ways of getting what you want to say across without being intentionally aggressive, smug or just plain rude.

What A Difference A Year Makes

This time last year I had very little concept of the effort it takes to design an invitation, let alone everything else that goes into planning a major event. This time last year I was gearing up for a trip away for the weekend with my boyfriend to celebrate the one year anniversary of us moving in together.

We were going on a short UK city break, just to do a bit of shopping, hit some clubs and just generally be away from the daily grind for a few days. Little did I know that this trip was ll a very cleverly constructed LIE, and also that I am quite possibly the most gullible woman on the planet.

I didn’t even cotton on the fact that something was afoot when he started weighing suitcases like a madman the night before we went away.

Anywho, long story short, that UK city break turned into a 3 day trip to Paris where said boyfriend got down on one knee under the Eiffel tower and asked me to marry him! Naturally I said yes, but even then I couldn’t anticipate how much of my soul would have to be poured into an even that is supposed to be about us and our love.

Which brings me on to the topic of this post. The invitations. In an attempt to keep costs down I decided to make all of the invitations and order of service booklets myself. This meant hours sat at my computer, editing images, adjusting sizes of pictures pixel by pixel. Printing a run off and then finding a spelling mistake, deciding to make a colour change, miscalculating how many invitations we would need to send out …

This stage of the wedding planning process was very stressful and ended up taking a lot longer than I ever could have anticipated.

So. If you are planning a wedding anytime soon and you look at the price of personalized invitations online, trust me, there is a reason for that price. Based on the amount of blood, sweat and the many many MANY tears that I shed in the invitation-making process, others would be going through the same things too.

Having said that, I am so very glad that we made our own invitations as this allowed us to put another aspect of ourselves into that day, and I wouldn’t change any little thing about it.

 

The Monster Under The Bed

“I can’t do this” is, in my mind, one of the most crippling thought anyone can have. It has such a vast range of interpretations including “I can’t do a handstand.” or “I can’t live like this” and everything in between and beyond. In a majority of cases it stems from a fear of failure, the unknown, or just of trying something new. Even though we regret the things we don’t do so much more than the things we do do, we still deny ourselves the chance by telling ourselves we are simply not capable of whatever ‘it’ is.

It seems to me that this starts in childhood when we are afraid of the monster under the bead. Imagination is a wonderful thing, it is what brings books to life, allowing the characters to form inside our minds. However it can also turn shadows into monsters that send us leaping across the room in fright when imagination gets tainted by fear.

Fears develop because a person doesn’t understand something enough to truly grasp what it’s impact would be. If left unchecked these fears can very easily become phobias, despite the individual in question knowing that their reaction is disproportionate to the threat. As a personal example, when I was little I was afraid of spiders because I didn’t understand how they moved the way the do. Now, even after obtaining a BSc in animal behaviour, I am still scared of the little creeps!

So many people in the world today allow fear to hold them back, to tell them that they are not capable of achieving or doing or even just seeing something. They are afraid that the monster under the bed will come get them if they step outside of their comfort zone. This despite believing that there may be something out there worth seeing, but then resigning themselves to the fact that it is beyond their reach so why try in the first place.

I myself have fallen into this state on many occasions in the past.

So, instead of saying “I can’t do this” or “I’m not capable of that” try saying something like “I might be capable of this, who knows? Lets find out!” and give it a whirl! Learn  new language, go on a trip you’ve been longing to make, just take one step outside your front door and see where the world will take you.

Who knows, you might just enjoy it.

Let It Go

We cling to a lot in life it seems. As children we cling to dolls or toys or blankets (in my case a small stuffed bear called Rainbow) and as teens we cling to our group of friends. As adults the scope of what we cling to for security widens considerable. some people cling to family, others cling to jobs, others to money, pets, possessions, property, faith, religion … the list is endless. But everyone clings to something.

We cling because we consider the thing we are clinging to to be safe and secure. Something that can protect us when we feel vulnerable, give us strength when we feel weak or give us guidance when we are undecided. Even if that thing is an Action Man you have had since you were a kid, it is something safe, something you consider to have never, and could never let you down.

While in a majority of cases these personal totems can empower us to do something we never have before, in some cases they can also hold us back. Their is a disadvantage to being safe. Safe means that while nothing bad can happen to you, maybe, just maybe, the good things are being kept away too.

If the thing you cling to, be it a person or an object, isn’t empowering you to get out there and gain new experiences, reach a new goal, or just generally see how amazing  the world around us truly is, then maybe you need to let it go. Take a deep breath and just go for it! You will be surprised what can happen once you step out of your comfort zone.

And if the thing you cling to gives you the strength and determination to you need, then keep hold of it, take it with you and reach for those stars!

A response to The Daily Post prompt: Cling

Unevenly Balanced

Last night was a rather amusing evening in our little cave. Mainly because I tried out a new yoga app for the first time.

I like to think of myself as being active(ish), I do like getting out of the house and going for walks in the park. I take a couple of dance classes once a week but there is a real lack of facilities in my local area. Therefore, I had an idea. I downloaded a yoga app.

To be honest the app itself looks awesome, but I have very little in the way of balance which can lead to some rather hilarious wobbles. I do have a yoga set I bought for gym sessions I was going to before I moved house so I rolled out my mat, plugged my headphones into my phone and set to it. I only did a 15 minute session and I did really enjoy it but I made two terrible mistakes.

1: I was using my proper yoga mat and had cleared space in the room, however there was one thing I had neglected to consider… I had rolled my mat out on top of our lovely deep-pile rug which, as it happens, does not provide anything by the way of a firm footing. This combined with my naturally poor balance created a rather wobbly issue.

Which brings me on to mistake number two.

2: Not only had a decided to practice my yoga on an uneven surface, but also in-front of my husband who was , rather predictably, amused by my wobbly and quivering stances. Oh, he did his best to keep a straight face, but have you ever caught the loon on someones face out of the corner of your eye when they are desperately trying not to laugh. This led to me trying to stifle a fit of giggles too and yes, I did end up in a tangled heap in the floor!

However, I really did enjoy it! Next time though, I really must remember to never practice yoga on an uneven surface!

A (loosly connected) response to The Daily Post prompt: Uneven

Twinkle Twinkle …

I quite often use the phrase “You’re a star!” when thanking someone for helping me out of whatever sticky situation I find myself in at any given moment. However, I have never really put that much thought into exactly what being a “star” to someone could actually mean.

Stars have always been of vast importance to humans, not to mention to the myriad of other animals who use starlight and other celestial bodies to navigate their way around their own little existence. Stars help people find their way home when they are lost however it is not just in the physical aspect of being their that they help us. Stars help people to come to terms with the loss of a loved one, stars provide inspiration to those in need to it, and stars can help to shape the way we live our daily lives.

Pinocchio wished upon a star for his dreams of becoming a real boy to come true, and he found himself a kind-hearted guiding like in the form of his fairy godmother. While she didn’t solve all of his problems for him, she helped him on his journey to find out exactly what being “real” really meant. Let’s face it, we have all needed a guiding light in our lives at some point.

Some people out there shine out in society because they are famous or wealthy, others shine because, even if it is just for one person, they are a guiding light in the darkness, helping someone to get themselves through a tough part of their lives. Be it a friend, neighbor, family member, spouse or even the lady behind the counter at the coffee shop offing a smile ever morning. We all shine in our own way for the people who need us the most.

I have needed someone to shine for me in the past and likewise I have been the one to shine for someone very special to me. Never underestimate the power or worth of your shining light. You are someone’s star.

Response to The Daily Post Shine