Battered and bruised

This past weekend we spent in the bush Larping (live action role play).  I’m sure what we do seems absolutely crazy to some people, but honestly losing yourself in a make believe world for a few days is rather pleasant.  We are with a group that regularly sets up weekend Larps and adventure days.

So with great excitement we packed up our trailer and costumes and foam weapons and headed off on our adventure.  We had decided this time around that our adv enture party would set up camp, in other words actually camp at the event.  It was part of the scenario we were trying to set up.  Friday afternoon we set up camp and were ready to play.  Friday evening at 8pm we were all called to the hall and instructed to bring absolutely anything we thought we would need as we could not go back to our cabins or tents.

From 9pm on Friday evening to 3am on Saturday morning we had to fight to take the town in order to get our cabins or tents.  This was awesome except for the fact that it was raining the whole time.  So picture about 60 adults running around in all sorts of costumes depiciting their character (humans, elves, dwarves, barbarians, sars, etc) slipping around in the mud, fighting with your foam weapons in the dark.  There seemed no end to the battles, they came in waves and by the time we had taken the town, we were all exhausted and very wet.  I couldn’t wait to put some dry clothes on and climb into bed ….

Little did I know that during all our battles in the rain, our tent had flooded and our suitcase of clothes was now sitting in a lovely big puddle of water.  Needless to say I had a sense of humour failure right there.  I picked up our suitcase and water poured out of it, absolutely every item of clothing was wet.  Our bed had water on it but thankfully our bedding was dry.  I really wanted to drive all the way home to get dry clothes.  Thankfully plot had assisnged a cabin to us in case we needed it.  I picked up our bedding and a semi dry t-shirt and headed for a dry bed.

During our epic battle the camp site dogs had managed to get at our meat that was on a spit because the rain killed the fire.  Not only that, they also managed to steal our bread and eat an entire 500g block of butter.  It was sad have to get rid of a lovely piece of meat that had been chewed from every side by the dogs.

Saturday was a relatively dry day and our adventure party spent the day NPC’ing.  That evening we set up our fires and prepared to cook a delicious rabbit stew.  This time we were a little more prepared and made our cooking fire under cover and our camp fire in the open pit.  The stew was delicious, my first time eating rabbit.  A little later in the evening our adventure party was called to a mission and it started raining again.

I know that most people would find it hard to believe that we pay to go away and do this sort of thing because we want to.  I can’t describe the amazing people we have met and the friends we have made in this group.  The nicest bunch of people you could ever want to meet and spend time with.  The hours of costume talk, armour talk, weapon talk, battle talk that goes on is fantastic.  The difference is this, the people that are attending want to be there.  They haven’t been told by their boss that they have to attend a team building weekend, or feel forced into spending time doing something they don’t want to do.  We want to do this and we will do it no matter what the weather or how we are feeling.

This week our bodies are weary, all that running around for hours on end, battling monsters, elementals, dragons …. takes its toll on you.  The bruises I have in the strangest places baffle me.  It is all worth it, the lack of sleep, the exhaustion, the exhileration and to be surrounded by like minded people is epic.

 

 

 

 

 

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Clearing out the clutter

This is my year where I prune and “declutter” my life.  I guess we all start the new year off with these intentions and a couple of weeks into the new year we have forgotten about it.  Since I am now home most of the time I am managing to do exactly that.

I’m slowly getting rid of the clutter and emptying boxes and dropping off boot loads of things at the local Hospice shop.  Even my daughters are doing the same, every week they have a packet or box of stuff that they no longer need for me to drop off for them.  We all know how much simpler life is when you clean out and chuck away.  We also know how hard it is to be ruthless and achieve that.  I find myself unpacking a whole box and looking at the contents and making little piles of things and than becoming bored and shoving it all back in the box.  Now I have found this method to be effective, as I always have a rubbish pile.  So when I tackle the box again I go through the same process and than a few days later, I have it sorted.  I think I become overwhelmed and a little to sentimental and can’t let go of some things.  After the third or fourth unpacking and repacking, I get hard with myself and mentally say “it can all go”, and it does.  Its might sound like a long drawn out process but it works for me.  Last week alone I managed to clear out three big boxes of stuff.

I’m also pruning the things I don’t want in my life any more.  Simply, trimming the branch and moving on.  Sometimes we become too involved in too many things and have too many people we are looking after in our lives.  I’ve looked hard at the things I want to continue doing and will continue with them this year.  The things I was not enjoying, are no longer.  I have decided who I enjoy been around and have made a concerted effort to spend time with them.  The others that have either drained me or added no value whatsoever, are not forgotten or discarded, I have changed the way I interact with them in a way that suits me better and is easier for me to handle.  This has helped so much.  I have realised that I am not responsible for other peoples happiness.  I’m responsible for my happiness and that is my priority, and I don’t feel guilty about it one little bit.

I want to surround myself with people who add energy and value to my life, people who understand how I tick and tick the same way.  I want to bounce ideas and thoughts off people with similar interests as mine.  I want to read and read, but not just fiction, I have a whole list of non fiction books waiting to be read, on topics that interest me.  I only want to watch movies that I enjoy and not just watch a movie for the sake of it.  I don’t want to waste time attending an event, function or party that I really don’t want to be at.  My time is valuable and precious to me and I am going to use it wisely.

My aim this year is to read at least 25 books.  I have set myself a goal of reading for an hour or more each day.  I use the time waiting for my  girls after school to squeeze in some reading time and have got into the habit of always carrying my book with me.  You never know when you an opportunity will present it self for you to read.  Waiting at the doctors room, waiting at the bank, or when you’re early for an appointment, these are fantastic times to read.  Instead of getting annoyed about wasting time, lose yourself in your book.  If you spend a lot of time in traffic listen to audio books, you’ll be surprised how much listening you get done and it makes your road trips interesting.  If you don’t like books download podcasts on subjects that interest you.

Well having said all this, it’s time for me to go and fetch my girls from school and lose myself in my book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson on living

Life is strange and full of surprises.  One minute you’re feeling on top of the world and the next you’re feeling down.  Sometimes it makes sense and for the most part you can’t figure out what is going on.

If we sit and analyse what makes us tick we realise that we often don’t allow ourselves the time and energy to grieve a bad situation and come to terms with what it means and how it has impacted our lives.  I’m sure you’ve heard it so many times that grieving for someone who died is a very important process, coming to terms with the loss of that person and the fact that you will never see them again, chat to them, laugh or cry with them.  In order for closure we need to go through this mourning period.

Why is it then that we don’t allow ourselves the same sort of grieving process when we move home, change jobs, get divorced,  move away from a particular community or group, lose friends who either move away or move on in life.  Somehow we treat this differently, we simply expect to carry on as usual.  About 14 years ago we witnessed a mass exodus of friends emigrating and I remember how hard the goodbyes were.  It got to a stage where I simply could not face going to the airport to say farewell again.  It broke my heart when I sat and thought about what those people meant to me and how they had impacted my life.  Than a very close friend was emigrating, I remember feeling that loss the hardest.  It was the hardest  thing to say goodbye at the airport but I knew that I needed to do that in order to help me through this mourning period, and that if I hadn’t  gone to the airport I would have regretted it.  I remember in the weeks that followed how angry I felt towards her.  I was angry that she chose to move away and that our friendship would now be long distance and would simply put, never be the same again.  I remember her calling me on Christmas Eve that year to chat and when the conversation was over I was a wreck, I missed her so much and it was so hard talking to her knowing I wouldn’t see her anytime soon.  It took a few months for me to come to terms with it.  I did however have the chance to visit her in her new country and meet her friends and see the places she spoke about in her numerous emails to me.  Than a few years later I found myself divorced and suddenly our friendship changed.  I no longer received chatty emails from her, I received short factual emails.  I realised that she was angry at me for getting divorced and I was angry at her for judging me.  After this things were never the same even though we had a heart to heart and decided that our friendship was worth more than changed ideas and opinions.  It was never the same for me, I knew that she did not approve of the new man in my life, so I couldn’t really talk to her about what I was up to without upsetting her.  Eventually one day I made the very hard decision to block her on FB, I had my reasons and it was not because I was embarrassed about what she might see or read, I just realised that it may it hard for her to equate my “old life” with my “new life” and perhaps it would be easier if it wasn’t shoved in her face all the time.  Sadly this dear friend visited here last year and because I had blocked her on FB she decided she didn’t want to see me as I had made my choice.  She told me she wanted to remember me as I was.  This was very upsetting for me, but I do know that through our awkward stage after my divorce I was the one who worked at staying in touch with her, of keeping the contact, so in retrospect I don’t feel guilty that I didn’t do what I could to save the friendship.  I am grieving over this now and even though others may not understand why, I don’t need to explain myself, I need to mourn the loss of this very special friendship and when I have I can move on.

I was chatting to my man yesterday and he mentioned how heartsore he feels and he doesn’t know why, like he has a heavy heart.  He then listed all the wonderful things he has going for him at the moment and explained that he can’t understand why he feels like this when life is good.  Last year there was a huge split in a community we were involved in and it really hurt both of us but really impacted him more than he realises.  I explained that although he had come to terms with the whole thing he was still in the mourning process and needed to let the process run.  Being an impatient person when it comes to things like this he felt he should be over it and moving on.  One simply can’t wipe away the bad things in life, you can wipe but the stain is always there to remind us and to help us make wise decisions moving forward.  These things teach us how to better manage our lives and to make good choices about who we befriend, what we do, what groups or activities are important to us and what we want to be involved in.

We also need to remember that there will always be one negative person who seems to affect the things we like doing.  It may not always be the same person but there is always one whiny, grumpy person upsetting the apple cart.  We need to learn to stand back and evaluate how the majority feel and go with that.  That one negative person will get over themselves and stay or move on.  Life is too short to try and keep everyone happy, we need to focus on our own happiness first and this will spill over into everything else we do.

2014 ….

A year has flown by and my promise to blog regularly in 2013 went down the tubes.  I’m determined to get it right this year.  My main reason being that I am on an exciting journey of self discovery and keeping a record will help me track my progress or lack of progress.

2013 was a hard year for most people, speak to people and they are happy to see the back end of 2013.  So many people I know suffered through the grief of losing a family member or close friend, lots of people went through personal changes at home, at work and more.  For me there were a number of key things that really shaped my year and taught me a lot about myself.

1. We moved home in April 2013, after 2 -3 months of uncertainty we decided to make a move to something  more affrodable and quaint.  A lovely little home in a lovely area.

2. I faced huge challenges at work that stretched me and despite hating every moment of it, I did it.

3.  Dealt with a few psychopathic people and removed them from my life.

4. Discovered something that very nearly broke my heart.  When people talk about “their heart breaking” I now understand that it really does feel as though your heart will literally break into a million pieces.

5. Made a huge decision to stop working after 28 years of getting up and going to work.

6. Had the opportunity to garden again, something I really enjoy.

7. Became more involved in our Larping group (Live Action Role Play), formed an adventure party and have been plotting and planning with them.

8. Lost a very dear friend that for some reason wants to remember me as I was before my divorce.

These are just a few of the things I experienced and each of these things taught me something about myself.  I realised that I am a whole lot stronger than I think I am.  I have the a huge capacity for forgiveness.  I may be quiet and never say much but inside I am processing and learning and adapting to things that come my way.  Sometimes I may allow things to get the better of me but when I dig deep I can move on and learn from it.

2014 is the year I pursue the things I want to do.  I am starting my own small home business as well as ssisting my man in his gaming ventures by running his ‘shop’, hopefully hitting the books to study Early Childhood Development, a subject I am passionate about, and maybe finding a part time job at a nursery school putting into practice my passion for kids and creativity.

So join me as I document this journey of discovery and learning.

WHAT DOES SEXISM MEAN TO YOU?

I have been reading some debates and forums recently on the topic of sexism. I had a long discussion with my man about it yesterday.

I would like some feedback from you the readers of this blog as to what you would personally define sexism as. Now for the purposes of this feedback, please do not post the definition of sexism as found in online dictionaries or articles. I want to know what you personally define as sexism, what do you think about it and how does it impact you personally. It is all to easy to copy and paste and attach links to things we have ‘googled’, but very hard to actually write down our own definition or answer questions honestly.

Please remember this is not an opportunity for you to personally attack me or anyone commenting on this blog, should their views differ from yours.

Coping Mechanisms

Living with two teenage daughters in the house can be a challenge at times. My daughters are really pretty easy and well behaved so I can’t complain, however, they have mood swings, which female doesn’t?

A few weeks back we had a major fall out at home that resulted in us relooking at how to deal with things. Bearing in mind that I was very aware of how the divorce had affected them. A few things came out in the process and some of them really hurt me. I also realised that they were lashing out and projecting their anger and fears onto me and in the process making me feel guilty about absolutely everything. After a few days of ‘nuclear fallout’ we were able to sit down and discuss how to work together from now on.

It was decided and agreed that our hormones often get the better of us and we need to accept this fact. We will all have good days and bad days, but we had to learn to live with this. We came up with the idea of a code word to help us when we were having a ‘fragrant moment’. Our code is: code blue. When the words code blue are uttered by us, the others need to understand that we are feeling out of sorts, grumpy, irritated or angry about something. It may not mean that we are feeling those things towards each other, it might be an outside incident or person that has made us feel that way. Code blue means, back off, let me deal with this, and when I am ready I will talk about it and if I don’t talk about don’t take it personally. It is a sign to show respect to the others and allow them that moment, acknowledging that they are in a bad space. The other rule of code blue is that you can mutter the words but you cannot make everyone else suffer because you are going through the ‘code blue’ moment.

This has helped us to deal with each other, to understand that sometimes the paw-paw hits the fan and that is okay. Acknowledging this to the family helps all of us understand and give space to the person who needs to get a handle on their emotions.

In the past we all thought that we were personally responsible for the bad mood one of us was in. We have now learnt that this is not the case and sometimes life just catches up with us and we have a down moment. It has also helped us to realise that we are not personally responsible for trying to get the other person into a happy space. We need to step back and let that person work through it on their own. We are also more direct with things, if one of us does something that hurts or irritates another we speak up about it but always in a polite manner.

We have found a coping mechanism that works for us and life is more chilled.

Blindly accepting …

In the last few years I have discovered something rather interesting. I am to blame for most of it simply because I just accepted what I was told and didn’t bother to explore it for myself. Why I did this is a mystery, perhaps at the times it was easier for me, who knows?

When I was married my husband and I had very different tastes in music and movies, as with all things there are always areas that overflow and a few bands or movies that you both enjoy. The same can be said for our favourite authors, he read books and told me they weren’t really my style so I just blindly accepted this and steered clear of them, the same with movies and music.

Here are a few examples, when Matrix came out he told me I wouldn’t enjoy it and I just accepted that and didn’t bother finding out what it was about or even watching it. Years later I happened to be bored and watched the second Matrix movie and I was hooked. I was also told that I would not enjoy The Lord of the Rings, so never even worried to watch the movies or find out more about them. He would take the movies out on DVD and watch them when I went to bed. For years I just accepted this and never really bothered to question it. Three years ago I finally got to watch The Lord of the Rings and since then have watched them several times.

Two weeks ago I was looking for something to read and stumbled across an author that I knew about but had never read any of her books. I know while married my husband read all her books and loved them and when I asked about them he said he didn’t think I would enjoy them. Again I blindly accepted this and steered clear of them. Two weeks ago I decided to try them and I am so hooked on them and loving them.

I don’t blame him entirely for this, I after all am responsible for my life and I should have ignored his response and told him I would try the movie or read the book and make up my own mind. What I do blame him for is that he thought he knew what I would like and dislike and that he never encouraged me to explore and try out new things. I know for a fact that I always encouraged him to try out new authors, movies, games and gave him the time and space to do this.

The big lesson I have learned is this: when someone says to me ‘you probably won’t enjoy it” it means that I will and I need to try it out for myself. I am in the one in control and know what I enjoy and don’t enjoy and as the years trot on I realise that my tastes and interests change and I need to bear that in mind and adjust the sails.

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