A Time to Reflect…or Not

Since 2014 I have written a daily journal. It has become a tradition for me to read back through the whole of the year at the end of December (often accompanied by a favourite-music playlist). I usually spend a significant amount of time reflecting on things I’ve done, ideas I’ve had, and lessons I’ve learnt. I consider how I feel about it now and what it means for the next year. Those few days feel like a break, a stopping point, in which I get out of my routine and often have to remind myself what day it is. I can reflect peacefully without concerning myself with the pressures of ‘normal’ life.

The problem is that the time of reflection can make me even more reclusive than usual. I find myself staying at home as much as possible, not seeing many people, and perhaps reflecting a little too much. I always choose to stay at home on New Year’s Eve, quietly watching a film, and try to ‘dispose’ of the Christmas chocolate. Although the quiet time is valuable and helpful in many ways, I can also start to feel a little lonely. Continue reading

The Day We Nearly Killed Our Brother

Jonny was going through his ‘skater-boy’ phase. A hint of ‘emo’. He was about eleven years old. That day he was wearing his favourite red and black striped wrist bands, a peaked grey hat, black t-shirt, grey skinny jeans, and Converse. His clothes drew attention to his lanky body.

It was warm enough to be in the garden; a day when the sun dipped in and out of clouds, the breeze slightly chilling whenever the sun decided to hide. Jonny was the first to go outside, as was so often the case. Our older brother, David, had torn himself away from the computer and gone out to join him.

There had been a shed at the top of our garden, but it became so rotten that we’d torn it down and were preparing to lay the foundations for a new one. A tree was beginning to lean out over it.

I walked up the steps to see what my brothers were doing, tiptoeing in my sandled feet, carefully avoiding the patio cracks and the colony of ants that spilled out of them. I flicked one off my toe.

It looked like a construction sight up there, largely because of the planks of wood, breeze blocks, sticks and other items that Jonny had decided to collect. The boys were busy attaching a length of blue rope to one end of a small ladder which we had acquired from a rubbish tip.

‘Hi,’ said David, with a glint in his eye as he looked up at me. ‘Jonny’s going to stand on a rung, and we’ll chuck the end of the rope over the tree branch and hoist him up!’ Continue reading

Reading and Writing Ban

I had an unusual Saturday. I decided to spend the whole day without reading or writing, which included a complete social media, emailing and texting ban. A lot of my life revolves around reading and writing, so I wanted to see what would happen if I removed them completely. I also banned television and Youtube – though not technically breaking my rules it didn’t seem in the spirit of the thing to have my eyes glued to a screen.

I knew it was going to be hard because my eyes are always drawn to words and I read things without a second thought. It got me thinking: What do our eyes latch on to as we look around us? Mine get drawn to words. Does everyone have that in the same way? Maybe some people are more aware of shapes, colours, numbers, or people… Continue reading

Migraines and Limes

The last two days have been horrible; I’ve had a migraine the whole time. I’m blaming it on the beginning-of-the-year anxiety, of which I was particularly aware on Monday.

My migraines usually only last for one day, so I was going crazy by the end – I had a stabbing pain in my head, I wasn’t able to eat anything without being sick, and I had to stay in bed the whole time. There were so many things I needed/wanted to do, which accounts for the frustration and occasional bit of hysteria over the two days! I’m not good at relaxing at the best of times…

I’ve been to the doctors about my migraines on several occasions, but I’ve never found anything that helps – I just have to wait for them to go. I get plenty of suggestions from other people though. Today a friend of Mum said I should put lime juice on my head, and Mum asked if I wanted to try it out. I answered in my haze of migraine-suffering – I wasn’t fully awake, so I can’t remember my reply. Continue reading

Books are ‘Sacred’

A little while ago I had a realisation about my family. It was when I was getting ready to throw away a few trashy books, carefully selected in an effort to tidy my mind as well as my bedroom (The Twilight Saga being the main offender). Of course, I wouldn’t re-house them without running them past Mum first.

As she was checking the pile of rejects I looked around our living room, lined with book cases, packed tightly – and that’s before you take into account the piles of books which tend to develop on the floor and other surfaces.

When people walk into our house for the first time they often make comments like, ‘Wow, you have a lot of books!’ I never thought about it because it’s normal for us. We’ve always had books. They’re a huge part of our lives. Continue reading