Happy Birthday

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Happy birthday beautiful!

I wish so much I could click my fingers, open my eyes and be with you. With the winter behind us and the arrival of spring we could find a nice spot in the park where the sun falls softly on us and the first blue bells in the grass.

Reminiscing of past adventures we realise turning one year older isn’t all that bad. Another year with love and friendship like ours is plenty of reason to celebrate. Like any good adventure story there’s triumph’s and falls, heroes and villains, romance and heartbreak. Let your new chapter begin! I believe the best is yet to come.

On this birthday may you feel steadiness in the waves of life and comfort in your spirit knowing Jesus loves you and so do I.

I look forward to the day we sit on the grass for real. That thought alone fills me with joy.

You’re a treasure.

Thank you for being you and giving all you have.

Enjoy your day. Your birthday!

Overwhelming Thoughts

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Where do i start?? Having just survived the most challenging year of my life, I feel it now maybe time to start unpacking what going on in my head.

The unthinkable happened to my son and I early in 2017, the life we knew was taken away just like that. Somehow, I’ve just had to get through each minute, hour, day, week and month. A year of firsts, every day a new day that i hadn’t lived before. Things i never thought i would have to deal with. Not knowing how to be, how to feel, support my son in his pain. Now the year of first has passed, i feel its time to tackle my thoughts, feelings and fears.

I feel the correct process for me personally, is to write these down and in the months/years to come I want to look back and see how far I’ve come, the ups and uncountable lows. However, every time I sit down and open my new journal/notebook and hold a pen in my hand, out of nowhere all these thoughts flood from my brain to my hand and it starts to shake. The only way i can describe it, is if you had a fountain pen and the ink starts to flood out of the end of it…..that’s what happens to my thoughts which all seem to scream ‘let me OUT of this head’ and they want to spill out over the paper. I then get so overwhelmed and cant cope with the overwhelming thoughts, I start panicking, breathing becomes quick, I get hot and clammy and then i quickly shut the book, put the lid on the pen and then i feel safe. My breathing then slowly returns to normal and i start to feel better.

But am i really safe?? I know those thoughts are still in there….knocking and saying to me ‘we’re still here…..we’ll come and get you eventually’, I then bury them. I feel like I’m putting off the inevitable. Does this mean I just can’t deal with this now? When will I be ready to tackle these? Will I ever be ready to tackle them???

So, I want to heal myself from within and feel this is where I must start but the overwhelming feelings mean I can’t yet…..I’m not saying never – which i suppose is a good thing!

Goodbye

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You tainted my body. Literally in all ways. Through my blood and through my soul.

It was five years ago, when it started. And it’s still haunting me now. For five years I’ve been walking around suppressing emotions and feelings I didn’t even know I had. I could not realise them then, because I did not have time. I had already left you, and home, and everything; I was on plane two days after I knew what you had done to me. Straight to another world where I didn’t have to look back at you, or look deep into me. Avoid it, suppress it, ignore it.

I was stubborn. Too stubborn to admit I was hurt. ‘I am not weak’, ‘I will strive forward’, ‘this will not ruin me’. I can see now that it ruined me. Not listening to my body, mind, soul; that’s what ruined me. I should have listened then, and I should have told someone – anyone – how much I hurt.

Goodbye.

Please Join Me

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Why don’t you see it yet? I told you everything and almost begged you to see it…

You’re still there, still doing it. You left briefly and I hoped you would see it. You’re back now and you’re still there, still doing it.

Why can’t you see it yet? See it. I want you to see it. I want you to join me. Join me in the freedom, the liberation, the confidence, and the meaning.

Why? Why can’t you hear me? I told you what to do, I told you why you should, I didn’t tell you as an instruction – because I know you can’t be told – but I told you in a way which I thought you would see. But you haven’t yet, and I am sad to see you still there.

Come and join me in the happiness, the security, the safety of this world. It’s much more fulfilling, and I can see in your eyes that you want it. Your photos: you don’t look happy. Not genuinely. I can see through that, through you. You even basically told me you’re not happy. And you tried for a bit, to be fair. But that wasn’t enough. Maybe you need more guidance, more support. Maybe you need someone more – more than I am, more than I was. Am I ready? Am I ready to undertake the responsibility of that? I don’t know that I am. I still have my own struggles – logistics – to work through. But god, desperately I want you to join me. You’d be so much happier. I promise you. And I know you want it.

Dance Partners

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We are dance partners; yet we have never met.

We skit and flirt at the lowest of times and decide if we will ever meet for real.

I toy with the likelihood of our paths crossing ever happening. Who it will affect most, what impact it would have. If assumptions will be made. Assumptions are made to soften our own inability to comprehend the incomprehensible.

It’s on the rise, ‘they’ will say. They were always too emotional, too weak, too sensitive, as if it was bound to happen one day. It’s a trend, it’s the rise of the internet, it’s the pressure of modern day living, they were damaged, they were too much of a thinker, an analyser, a middle child. Labels without value.

You are always the last resort, the back-up plan, you’re supposed to be a comfort; to know there is an out, a final point, a conclusion to the circus of thoughts in my mind.

Yet I cannot be that desperate, as we have not yet met. I think of those it would hurt the most and I don’t want to be responsible for causing such pain, some would never heal. I think secretly some would be relieved, as if they didn’t know what to do with me in the first place and therefore, they are freed from the burden. There is also a dark part of me that thinks it would teach some a lesson. How awful of me. Such deep shame.

In some ways I crave the peace you would give me, a serenity that I have not found, yet. Though I know there are other options, a grey area in the middle. I know what would be advised, decisions to make, changes to implement, but they would involve a strength and energy that I don’t know if I have left, or can even muster.

So, nothing has happened, as yet. We meet once in a while, continue our dance, we toy with the notions, the ideas, the likelihood. Mostly you disappear fast and let me carry on as I am. Until the next time. Then it all begins again.

The Men You Are

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I miss the way you say my name, I miss the way you look at me. I miss the way you touch my arm, I miss the way we smile. I miss the way you make me safe, I miss the way you love. I miss the way it made me feel, and it to feel to me. I miss the way they happened, and I miss the way they’re gone. But most of all, I miss the way I was with you, the way I felt for me.

For me I was contented, in your loving arms. For me I was secured, in your loving arms. For me, I was established, in your loving arms.

For me I was myself, as much as I could be. For here I am again, thanks to you at last. But it’s different this time – for now I have a past. A past you have endured, unfair to you. A past you needn’t know, unfair to you. A past you could have left, as it’s really unfair to you.

The way you make me feel is then, before the past I have. The feelings of before the past, the past you came across. For what is different so, is more than what I was. For what is different so, is who I am because.

The power you have given me, is power once and more. The power you have instilled in me, is fire I adore. The power you have fueled in me, you have no idea. No idea in what you reached in me, deep, deep, in there.

For here we are again once more, but this time – it’s different; you are able, stable, resilient, and kind. You see me, believe me, let me be me, and more. Not like the others, who saw me but couldn’t teach me; fuel me and support me.

The me you have is different, to before the past. The me you have is different, to the past itself. The me you have is me today, the me you have is me today. The me you have is me today, and it is me that is because of you, okay.

Why do I rely so much, on having you to begin? Why do I rely so much, on having you to end? Why do I rely so much, on having you to start? I clearly needed you.

A Letter to My Younger Self

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You’ll grow up in the bosom of your mum’s affection.

Enjoy it, it will be a secure attachment for the next 30 years and beyond.

Your Dad will change from a gentle giant to a demanding disciplinarian. He’ll make you work hard and will have a cruel streak. He’ll expect high standards and offer little praise.

Don’t fret. His behaviour is not to do with you, it’s to do with issues arising from his own childhood, far deeper than anything you’ll have to confront in your life. Soon, you’ll be bigger than him, physically and emotionally. He’ll become inconsequential and when the time is right you’ll cut him loose. There’ll be an unexpected bonus from your Dads ways. The working world will be easy. You’ll wonder how you can get paid for what is a fraction of the effort required to work with your Dad. This work ethic combined with your mum’s emotional intelligence will serve you well.

You’ll be soft and compassionate by nature, like your mum. This will make life at school difficult, particularly primary and early secondary school. You won’t understand aggression and will be forced to tolerate it, until you can figure out what to do about it. Your gentle nature will also make you sensitive to your Dads behaviour. It will cause you to over-invest in friends who won’t invest in you. It will cause you to treat women with tenderness and respect but they won’t always see the value in that until much later.

You don’t realise it now but this is your greatest strength. Later in life, it will enable you to form many a loving relationship, mentor people to great feats and be a leader in almost every domain of your life. You’ll come to realise that strong is sensitive. You’ll learn to spread your compassion a little more wisely. There is only so much to go around, so you’ll learn to protect yourself a little better. Your relationship with women will change. They will come to notice your strength and sensitivity. This brings responsibility. They will be drawn to you in a way you are not drawn to them, be gentle with their hearts because one day you’ll wish someone was more careful with yours.

You’ll love sport. Rugby, gaelic football but in particular soccer. You’ll be of average talent. You’ll lack the aggression required for rugby and the skills needed to guarantee your place on the soccer field. This will play on your mind. It will be added to by puberty. No matter how many sit ups you do in your bedroom you cannot fight biology and so, until you grow tall, you’ll remain chubby as your Dad will remind you. This uncertainty about your athletic identity will be compounded by a younger brother full of the talent and aggression required for sporting prowess.

Your early days on the sporting field will be difficult but your love of sport will sustain you for the rest of your days. You and your friends will follow your sports teams around the globe. You too will become an athlete. In the autumn of 2003, with your mum’s encouragement you’ll go for a run with an athletics club. The main thoughts occupying your mind will be ‘how to keep up and not be embarrassed’. What you don’t realise is that this will be the first day of the rest of your life. You’ll become an athlete in a sport where your work ethic is rewarded. You’ll suffer many injuries but your perseverance will pay off. You’ll meet a mentor, an older man, who will become one of your best friends. He will be the first man in your life to tell you that anything is possible. You’ll believe him and with every step you run your confidence will soar. You’ll make a career in sport and understanding all there is to know about it. At times you will feel as though you are living your dream – you are, well done my resilient friend, well done.

In your late teens and early twenties, you’ll still feel a little at odds with the world. You’ll struggle when not surrounded by your tribe of hard working athletic friends. Working abroad you’ll wonder why you don’t want to go the pub with everyone else, every weekend. You’ll wish you could fit in a bit better but at the same time you’ll always feel compelled to choose the alternative path of your interests.

You are right and they are lost. They appear certain by the strength of their numbers. In reality, they crave, at least subconsciously, your hobbies, interests and passions. These aspects of your life are what keep you physically and mentally sharp. It’s hard being the odd one out but on a Sunday morning, look at yourself and look at them. I know which one you and they would rather be. Hold tight, being the odd one out is what will make you a great leader. Remember, although you see things clearly, they cannot, so be gentle. Give more and expect less of them and your friends. They have not yet had your good fortune.

You, your mum and your brother will become the 3 best friends that anyone could ever have and by the way, eventually those sit-ups will give you a six pack.

Aren’t you the lucky one – enjoy the rest.

This article has been published as over five hundred words, only because the author is exceptional.

Burning Bodies

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I will never forget the smell of a burning dead body. You could almost see the ashes floating up from the pit as you were inhaling the murky heavy air. There wasn’t just one either, there were about 8 fire pits all going at once. This, the edge of the Ganges river in Old Varanasi, India.

It’s an old town for sure; the whole thing is like a huge castle town with narrow streets and high buildings. It’s all stone – the buildings and floor. It’s like a maze trying to find your way around and you have to share the narrow pathways with angry cows and motorbikes coming at you at the same time. The ground is covered in crushed marigold flowers, unknown liquids, and cow dung. It’s beautifully surreal.

At the edge of the ancient city flows the Ganges river where dead bodies are brought from all over India to be cremated and gifted to the Gods. As you get nearer to the ceremony there is this thick smell that suffocates your entire body as you know you’re not smelling burning wool but burning human bones and hair. I cover my mouth and nose with my jumper and walk nearer, passing signs requesting ‘no photography’. The sign is more powerful than others as you feel like it’s the spirits asking you to refrain, rather than some business owner who wants to prohibit you making a profit. Not a single camera or phone in sight. We get closer and are asked if we want to be taken to a secret spot at the top of one of the castle-esque buildings. Of course we are expecting to a pay a fee even though the guy insists we won’t, but we follow him anyway. Sure enough at the top of the narrow staircases was a view that can only be described as heavenly; as if looking from the heavens. It was dark, with amber lighting coming from human fire pits and the orange and purple sun set behind them.

My friend and I just stand there, looking out at the view, trying to see if we can decipher body parts in the fires. We think we saw a small chest frame in one, and a skull in the another. Then we see a body being carried from out from the building beneath us, a small body wrapped in bright pink/purple silk cloth. A modern day glamorous mummy held in the air on a stretcher by four or so other men. Her fate – burned and set down the river to be freed from this world and onto the next.

I cry in silence. The chap who took us up there left without asking for a tip. We leave in silence.