I've written and re-written this so many times. Each time it just seems like a huge block of words on a page. Not because I'm sad, quite the opposite actually. I'm a bundle of excitement. I feel like a kid at Christmas and my brain is working faster than my pen so to speak, so words are just tumbling out at a rate of knots. I have so many exciting and happy things going on at the moment I feel like I'm going to burst. None of it is life changing, but I haven't been this excited about anything since the early months of 2020, and it feels good.
I'm meeting up with a friend I've known since I was 7 and lost touch with. We met again through my group and have arranged to go for a walk on Wednesday. It'll be great to catch up on what's been going on in her life and chat about old times. I also have my jab booked for Thursday afternoon. After them trying for the past 2 weeks to send me to the Isle of Wight I've finally been booked into Guildhall Walk. Most people in my age group are not getting it yet which is why I can't have it locally, so I consider myself lucky as my children are both Type 1 diabetics and the letter of invitation states I'm a carer for a person who is vulnerable to Covid-19. However, I am needle phobic! The thought of the needle, not the vaccine, is already making me nervous. I know, I'm a wimp. The journey to get the jab will be a doddle, but I'm concerned about coming home. I faint every time I have an injection or blood taken so the thought of a bus, ferry and another bus on my own will be interesting. Possibly embarrassing but well worth it. My second jab is already booked for the 13th of June.
This coming weekend is what has got me about ready to pop. I'm going to see my daughter. Apart from a brief moment at Christmas I have not spent anytime with her since her birthday at the end of October. We are meeting up for a drink in the garden rain or shine. I do not care if it is thundering, lightning or throwing it down with hailstones. The gazebo will be up and we are meeting.
I'm also going for garden drinks with a guy who I have known for 34 years. He is a few years older than me and I had a huge schoolgirl crush on him. I was a first year, he was a fifth year, so he never knew, and I don't think he even realised I existed back then. We bumped into each other when we both worked for Butlins 25 years ago but hadn't seen one other until October last year, when I recognised him on my way home from work. After a hilarious chat on the train and ferry, we added each other as friends on Facebook and he has kept me entertained during this last lockdown with his wit and humour. It is going to be great to actually sit and interact with another adult human. 6 months alone with a teenage boy has been a challenge at times.
Next week I go back to the office for 2 days and the plan at the moment is to do so on a weekly basis. Again I'm so looking forward to interacting with people. To see others without a mask on is going to be fantastic. I have missed seeing smiles and people's facial expressions.
The therapy I have had for my self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth has been life changing. I've put some of the weight back on I'd lost at the end of last year, and I'm happy and comfortable with how I look. My parents had commented I had gotten too skinny, as did a couple of people who knew me that I'd bumped into on walks. I think they meant I looked unhealthy, but were too polite to say. On top of my own therapy the therapy sessions we've had in my group have been a massive help. We have covered confidence, trust and last week was boundaries. This week is creating your own reality. The feedback myself and Dawn the therapist have received is fantastic and everyone on these sessions has said how much they have got from it. For me personally I never really set boundaries. As a pleaser with confidence issues, I've never been comfortable verbalizing my boundaries or dealing with it, if I felt that they had been crossed. In the past I allowed 'friends' to treat me however they chose and just put up with it. I no longer have contact with two people I've known a long time as they crossed boundaries time and time again, but I let them. I always thought I would miss these people in my life but in the past 2 months since I last spoke to them, I can honestly say I have not at all. It's also given me a much clearer perspective of what and who I want in my life.
My group is continuing to grow and now has over 600 members. Since I started it as a bit of a joke the day before New Year's Eve, I have been amazed at what has been achieved. I never imagined for one minute I could have created something that has helped so many people. I have already booked in to visit a few members who are scattered around the country and have a few from Australia and Canada who are booking a holiday to the UK for the get together once life has fully returned to normal.
I feel like I did back in December 2019 when life for me was fun and exciting. Spring is officially here, the gardens are starting to come to life after a long tough Autumn/Winter, and that is exactly how I see my life at the moment.
A year ago I could never have imagined living as we have done. It still seems so surreal. I have to pinch myself that what has occurred really did happen. My life has changed so much in 12 months and not just because of a global pandemic. I have had some incredibly low points and some amazing highs.
The past week has been a week full of learning. Not just in an academic sense but learning more about myself and others. My appetite to learn and experience new things is bigger now than it has been in years. I started my short psychology course and whilst it is interesting it is not challenging enough. I've always regretted not completing my A Levels and the course has sparked an interest into further learning. I am not ready to commit to 2 years of study alongside my current work and other projects I have on the go, I do however want to push my learning capabilities further.
The therapy I have been having has made a huge impact in my life, my only regret is not doing it sooner. My confidence seems to be growing day by day in all aspects of my life. I've found a new confidence in standing up for myself and putting my needs first. For too long I have put others' feelings above my own. I became a bit of a doormat and as long as everyone else was happy, cared for and had what they needed that was what mattered. Often this was at the detriment to myself. I wouldn't necessarily say how I felt as I'd be too worried it may hurt someone's feelings, so instead I would hold it in, bottle it up until it broke out in an emotional response that would only end up making me feel ten times worse. I have spent quite a bit of time on me this past week.
Apart from nurturing my brain I have been a little indulgent in my personal time. Instead of just jumping in and out of the shower for hygiene purposes I took time to feel the water on my skin. To look at the patterns the water made. Whilst making a coffee I took time to watch how the granules fell into the cup, how the steam rose up from the kettle then disappeared, how the water acted when poured. When I drank my coffee I held it in my mouth a little longer to appreciate and savour the aroma and taste. I told my friend what I had done, and she thought I had gone mad. I encouraged her to try it. She did and phoned me to say it was great. Those couple of extra minutes with the most simplest of tasks made me aware of all of my senses, something we often take for granted. What may seem stupid to some has made me feel more alert and alive than I would ever have thought.
The group I created at the end of last year continues to grow with 550 members now. I would never have thought three months ago that some daft writing I did has developed into what it has. The group and page gave me so much during a particularly tough time. The group has developed into a community of people to have fun, network, share and support one another. One of the members mentioned she used to sing but hadn't for a very long time. I encouraged her to post a video up. She did and it was amazing. She did a piano version of Radiohead's Creep and the many comments she got were fantastic. It really is such a good feeling to be a part of that.
Some years ago I did a personality traits test. I retook the test at the weekend. The test focuses on five personality aspects Mind, Energy, Nature, Tactics and Identity. Together they make up the sixteen personalities of the NERIS Type Explorer Test that I took, which was inspired by Carl Jung and mother-daughter, Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Meyers. My result has not changed. I am ENFP-T a Campaigner. It describes my personality pretty damn accurately. The website I have used has a host of tools for personal growth. It identifies my strengths and weaknesses. My weaknesses I have always been able to identify with but struggled with my strengths. The tools help you to understand your traits and how to leverage them to grow as a person. I shared the link on my group and many took part and all said how like them the trait was. It really is insightful.
Evenings are becoming lighter, spring is not far off and life is improving by the day. I'm excited at the prospect of finally being able to spend time with my daughter at the end of the month and I am looking forward to life gradually returning to some sort of normality.
If anyone is interested in the personality traits test here is the link.
It's been 11 days since my hypnosis for confidence, self-esteem and self-worth and I can honestly say I feel great. I hosted a Zoom video call last Thursday night for my group, something I would never have done before in a social context, and I loved every minute of it. I have found confidence in everything from work through to my personal life and my anxiety remains under control as a result. I am still in awe at how I am feeling and acting but also still sceptical and have a small doubt that it could end.
I have always been fascinated by psychology, I started an A level in it whilst at college many years ago but sadly didn't complete due to circumstances at the time. Having my therapy and hypnosis has awakened a thirst for knowledge in me that I haven't had for a long while. I have signed up for a short psychology course starting from this week. Whilst I have no wish to pursue this as a career I am fascinated with how our brains work and how as humans we process thoughts and feelings. I have spent a lot of time looking at things that have happened in the past couple of years in my life. Events and people and what triggers my emotions and how I handle them. I now have a much clearer understanding of myself. I am relishing the fact that I continue to learn and grow each day.
My therapist had very kindly offered to run some sessions for my group. The first session last Thursday was an introductory to the psychology of relationships and dating. She got us to play a game that was great fun and showed us our personality types, ideal partners personality and preferred sex life. This generated a huge amount of laughs but was very interesting, thought-provoking and strangely true for all. The feedback from the session was fantastic, and we are running 5 more all completely free over the next few weeks. This week is all about confidence. I cannot wait.
Work has become a joy again. I am thriving and pushing harder than ever to gain the promotion I want. Personally life is fun right now. Yes we are still in lockdown. No I cannot socialise in person, but I can still enjoy things. Something I seemed to have forgotten to do in many months. I have not stopped smiling for the last 11 days. I actually wake up looking forward to what each day has to offer.
My group has been a huge factor in the fun I am having. Being in contact with so many new people from all different walks of life is providing me new hope and possibilities. Friday night we had a virtual 80's party. It started at 7pm and went on til the early hours with over 200 people taking part. Some were on video chats others just using text or comments, some posted pictures of themselves dancing. It was such a good laugh and a much-needed release in the current times whilst following the rules. There were definitely a few sore heads the following morning!
My bucket list is growing and one of my things 'to do' is looking like a real possibility next year. I have wanted to go to The Isle of Man TT since I was about 17. One of my group members lives there and has offered myself and a couple of others to stay so all we need to do is organise our travel when it does eventually happen. I am looking forward to ticking things off my list. I know life is incredibly short, and I want to live and make the most of it, not get 20 or 30 years older and be full of regret for time wasted.
After yesterday's announcement people have a new-found excitement. My social media has blown up overnight with people posting holiday bookings, table reservations at restaurants for 21st June and discussions about garden parties from the end of March. It is great to see the world excited again, but I am just a little reluctant to start making concrete plans and rushing things. I am an optimist but also a realist and a sense of we've been here before is lurking in my mind. Personally I would hate to make plans for it again to be cancelled, this would be a huge slap in the face, so I shall continue one day at a time. Enjoying what I can in the moment and under the circumstances we are in but also remaining hopeful as there is a light at the end of a long tunnel.