All posts by Phoenicia

Parents are only human……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently my son looked at me and said: “mummy you do not cry because you are an adult”.

Children tend to view their parents as only their parents, not as individuals with feelings, wants, needs and desires. I too looked at my mother in the same way as a child.  I honestly believed my mother was indestructible, that she was able to overcome all things. Though she gave birth to me at the age of 20 I looked to her to have my needs met. It did not occur to me that she was overwhelmed at having to be head of the home and make key decisions alone. I thought my mother had the answer to everything. How wrong I was!

My mother was a young mother of two children trying to balance home life, work life, her emotions and needs. Behind my mother’s smile and laughter, her pain, fatigue and loneliness were hidden from us. Perhaps she wept at night because I really do not recall seeing her tears as a young child. Though we had financial struggles we were happy at home.  We ate well, had clothes on our back and had treats here and there.

As I moved into my teenage years, my eyes opened and I saw that my mother was indeed human. She hurt, felt tired, had weaknesses and did not value her worth half as much as she should have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The one of many great attributes my mother has is you know where you stand with her. She is direct which clearly rubbed off on me. Her yes means yes and her no means no. She was not the mother who smacked me then cuddled me a few minutes afterwards. She was not the mother who said no then changed her mind. She was consistent and put boundaries in place which in turn made me feel safe.

When I became an adult my mother revealed a number of things to me;

1. When she smacked us she so wanted to cuddle us afterwards but knew it would bring confusion and blur lines.

2. The hardest part of child rearing was making decisions alone; having no-one to share the challenges with. Knowing she had to live with the decisions she made which may not always have been the best.

3  When I had to walk my younger sister a mile to school from the age of 8, it deeply troubled her but she chose not to show me her anxiety and instead cried in private.

It was then that I saw my mother in a different light and realised she was not handed a book on how to raise children – nobody is.

Accepting our parents are human who make errors just as much as the next person, let us not have such high expectations of them. Let us choose not to hold them account to decisions they made in the past based on the knowledge they had at that time. The majority of the time our parents have our best interests at heart. Perhaps they do not show their love in a conventional way, perhaps they appear harsh, judgemental and controlling at times but when push comes to shove they would give their life for you.

How do/did you view your parents?
How has this impacted on your relationship with them?

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When life takes a different turn…

 

 

 

 

 

The expectation of young adults is to leave secondary school with a handful of GCSE A to C grades, college with three to four A Levels and attend a recognised university. By the age of 21 you should be awarded a 1st or 2.1 in a BA or BSc Honours degree.

What about the young adults whose lives do not quite pan out like this? What if they do not make the grade required due to their mental health, emotional state, family pressures or for just not being highly academic?

The career plan I had for myself did not go according to what I had expected at all. A budding journalist (get me) who loved to write, I envisaged myself reporting at the scene of crimes, events and celebrations. I applied for a journalism course at Middlesex university back in the 1990’s. It was a beautiful campus with a structured three year degree course. I was promised entry into journalism via radio, newspaper or television. Long story short I required a distinction but received a merit and therefore was not accepted at the university. To my shame I was advised to go through the clearing system. I recall sitting around my mother’s dining table flipping through sheets of clearing papers to find a similar course. Nowadays young adults would simply search online. I found a media technology degree course which though proved beneficial, did not provide easy entry into journalism.

I cannot imagine the competition that exists today within the world of journalism. Imagine me competing with 20 and 30 something year olds, not to mention the paltry salary to start. A good plus to working in media is to have wealthy parents who can support you financially, AKA ‘the bank of mum and dad.’

I am enjoying working in my current role. One that I would never have considered had you asked me 20 years ago. The opportunities have been astounding.

Occasionally I feel a twinge of disappointment that I am not working in the field I studied for over three long years. Most of which were enjoyable as lets be honest university is never all work and no play!

Life has twists and turns, some arrive at their destination on time, others arrive late, others take a completely different route which can turn out to be a blessing in disguise. It is important to enjoy the journey as there is much to be learnt and experiences to be had which remain with you forever.

How would you describe your lifestyle?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just yesterday my sister and I had a discussion about lifestyles and pondered on how an individual would cope with having to suddenly survive on far less than they are used to. How much would their countenance change?  Could they genuinely be hopeful about their future?

We concluded that most would struggle with reducing their lifestyle leading to unhappiness and depression.  Generally it is in adversity that a person’s true character is tested.  Whilst we can try to imagine the financial challenges others face, we cannot truly empathise unless we too have experienced this.

There are many privileged people living in the UK. Those whose children attend top private schools, fly business class, live on beautiful roads in affluent areas, hire cleaners, gardeners and nannies (even when the wife is a stay at home mother). If their income was to take a massive drop, their lifestyle would surely be impacted upon and not in a positive way. Life would no longer look the same, people would no longer treat you in the same manner, you would have to move in a different circle.

Sadly a number of city bankers have committed suicide over the years due to being made redundant. I imagine the thought of having that difficult conversation with their spouse was too much to bear. Having to remove their children from private school, relocate to a house in a not so nice area, stop their long haul holidays, face their friends and family.

To a certain extent we all have comforts. One person’s may be flying business class only and another’s may be shopping at Waitrose as oppose to ASDA. (I am a Sainsbury’s woman myself!) We enjoy our lifestyle and believe we and/or our spouse work hard for it. If full-time employees, we spend more waking hours during the week at work than we do at home.

Many commuters routinely stop to buy coffee from Starbucks, Cafe Nero, Costa and independent cafes. They pay £3 to £4 for a hot drink they could easily make when they arrive to work. Perhaps the hot drink makes the commute more bearable. Either way it is not a necessity but a comfort they are willing to pay for.

Lifestyle is everything to some. It is expressed via work and leisure activities; attitudes,opinions, values and allocation of income. Lifestyle reflects a person’s self image; the way they see themselves and believe they are perceived by others.

What lifestyle are you working towards? What is your main motivation?

Are you feeling forgotten?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The majority of us have felt forgotten at one stage or another in our lives. Whether it be the promotion given to your colleague, the fact that you dressed up to the nines on a night out and did not receive any compliments (women can relate to this one) or that your dreams/desires appear to be completely out of reach.  External factors including those I have mentioned above can heavily impact on the way you perceive yourself and believe others perceive you.

I have a tendency to withdraw when I feel overlooked. When a teenager I was extremely self-conscious and I can recall a very painful experience when age 15 or16. I bumped into a rather popular but pleasant peer at the bus stop and we proceeded to walk to school together. When we arrived at the school gates, our peers ran over with excitement to talk and laugh with her. Not one of our peers greeted me or acknowledged my existence.  I stood around like a lemon before walking away with embarrassment.

I have had moments in life when I have thought “when will it be my turn?” If you are honest, you have asked yourself this same question. The circumstances will of course differ but the feelings that rise to the surface are pretty much the same.

When you feel as if you have been forgotten you can go on to develop a negative mindset where you tell yourself: “I do not deserve it” and “I do not matter”.  After which you may purposely place yourself in the background and stop pursuing those things you desire. This is self destructive behaviour and does nothing to enhance your life.

It is important that you own your feelings however ugly, and dig deep to identify the true cause of it. Only then will you be able to work on yourself, only then will you be able to break free from the lies you have told yourself and the lies that others have spoken over you.

Step outside the box!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes we place ourselves in a box or worse, allow others to place us in a box. Sometimes people like to remind us of who we once were rather than seeing us as who we are today. This is why is it is so important not to live a limited and confined life. We may well have been shy, geeky, awkward as a child or teenager or we may have been loud, boisterous and outspoken but does this mean we are that same person today? No!

I find it most frustrating when you bump into someone you have not seen for years and  at a point in the conversation they make reference to your past. Whether it be about your character or your appearance.  What on earth makes them believe you are that same person today?

Though life experiences shape and mould the adult we become, to an extent we have the power to influence this. I was extremely shy as a child and teenager, feisty but oh so shy. Due to a lack of confidence and verbal bullying at high school I went into a shell and stayed there for almost five years. I barely spoke at school and with family at home.  Aged 18 I slowly began to come into my own, I experimented with make up and clothes. My confidence grew as I started socialising and dating.

Nobody has the right to keep you in a box or limit your plans and decisions because of their insecurities or thoughts they have towards you. Nobody has the right to continue to remind you of who you were especially if the motive is to keep you in your place.  We all have a past and do not need to be bound by it, particularly if it brings up negative feelings and emotions.

So, if you want to wear that outfit to work but feel you will look too over dressed, wear it anyway. I know the drill – your colleagues may ask if you are going anywhere special and you may feel the need to justify yourself. If you want to join a dance class but feel reluctant due to having two left feet, do not let that stop you!

Whilst I am not suggesting you reinvent yourself,  do not be the person who always plays it safe. Switch it up now and then and surprise yourself! I have considered cutting my hair low and wondered if it would suit me.  I have also considered taking up pottery knowing full when I am unlikely to be any good at it.

How content are you?

 

 

 

 

 

If you are honest there is something you desire in life and for whatever reason you do not yet have this.  Your desire may be unreasonable, not logic or long lived but it can begin to consume you.  Are you able to live, laugh and be happy despite not having this one thing?

Discontentment can make one bitter, resentful and downright joyless.  Discontentment can eat at you and make you a pain and a drain to be around.  Your discontentment may well be justified.  The thing you are after, you may well deserve it as well as waited a long time for it.  Being miserable will not bring it your way any faster but why is it so easy to slip into the ‘woe is me’ role?  Why is it so easy to play the victim and convince yourself you have been dealt a bad hand in life?

I admit to being discontent in several periods of my life, I felt I had the right to be miserable.  Unfortunately my husband and children got the long end of the stick.  Bless them, they had to live with me – day and night and truly deserve a medal.  I was snappy, sharp tongued and always looked so serious.  I rarely recall laughing in these periods and anyone who knows me well can verify that I love to laugh.  It sounds pathetic now but I actually felt if I allowed myself to be happy, I would convince myself I no longer needed what I desired and therefore I would not ever have it.  I cannot get my around my logic at that time!

I came to a point in life when I realised the importance in enjoying the ‘here and now’ and not waiting until I had what I felt I deserved before doing so.  I came to a point where I made the choice to focus on what I did have as oppose to what I did not have.  Something so simple and logic but life altering none the same.  I began to play with the children and truly be present with them.  I began to loosen up and laugh and tease my husband.  Our house was a home of laughter, song and joy not a place where you had to walk on egg shells because someone (I)  woke up on the wrong side of the bed every morning.  This was a major turning point for me and my outlook on life began to change.  I smiled on the outside and was actually happy and glowing inside.  Years gone by my smiles hid a multitude of unhappy feelings.  What I showed on the outside did not mirror what I felt on the inside.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how content are you?

Do you allow your current limitations to affect your joy?

What advice would you give to others who struggle with contentment?

Are you generous with your time?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently I spoke to a friend about the general fast pace of life; our desire to move things on quickly and get to the gist of conversations can mean we do not allow people to express themselves at their own pace.

A natural doer who likes to see end results quickly, I have a tendency to want to get to the point. However I would like to think that my self-awareness has improved over the years and I make a conscious effort to listen to people. Generally I enjoy people watching and listening- they never fail to fascinate me. There are so many elements to us as people and we are rather complex, well I know I am!

There is much we can learn from others if only we would take the time to listen. People are more important that results, processes, success and recognition yet this is not always portrayed. People are at times ignored and overlooked whilst we are in pursuit of what we believe to be more important.

As a child and teenager, barring my grandma (no biasness of course) I found elderly people dull and completely out of touch. I look back with fondness as I remember my grandma’s stories of her childhood, her time spent in Jamaica and my mum’s character as a child. I remember the advice my grandma gave about savings, marriage and children. I remember the sweet tea she made with Nestle condensed milk and her ability to rustle up the tastiest meal from the most basic of ingredients. I remember my grandma asking me to thread several needles as her eyesight was not so sharp. In her younger years my grandma was a seamstress and my daughter appears to have inherited this creative talent.  My grandma passed away 18 years ago and the memories are all I have.

I believe it is important to give a little of our time to others, however busy, frazzled or tired we are because people matter. When my children ask me the same question over and over or continuously discuss their birthday plans for months on end, I try to keep my cool and humour them.  A time will come when I will no longer be the centre of their universe and they will prioritise spending time with friends rather than their parents.