Sunday, December 21, 2008

Seasons greetings...

Well this year, it came and went- and I totally forgot.
Probably because I was busy doing other things unwriteable about really, well here at least, continuing on my strange journey of self discovery, indulgence and childishness....

And now Christmas comes once more
Once the highlight, the celebration of the birth of he who came to make my life bearable.
Now it has the potential to be just another irritation in a life that seems to be full of them.
If you look at it that way.
I have discovered that by turning things round and inspecting them from other angles, irritations can become pearls, or at least, little nougats of wisdom. I am doing my best to do that with my job, but my fearful side remains firmly in control, all the whatifs overwhelm the havenots and my tummy lurches again.
But still I continue to twist and turn, to put on my half smile, to let irritations slip over my teflon mind.
I couldn't be a Buddhist though- acceptance was never my strong point, though I do have the figure for it now....

I digress
Christmas this year brings a nice break
Peace from work and the phone
Time to do my essay
Time to reflect
And I still have to go to church as I am "vital" says Colin though I think he is just being kind! So I have cut the nails on my left hand ready to play guitar and hope that my more laid back attitude to my former faith continues and doesn't cause me or anyone else any upset on the night of the service.
I shall play and sing about the angels and the shepherds and the coming of he who came to save us, and know that inside me there will still be that wistful side that wants it all to be true and believable again.
And that will never ever go
Nor do I want it to
It is like the remembered joy of the child finding it had snowed in the night, that peaceful feeling when the exam is over, the memory of a feeling that I can have no longer, but that I cannot forget.
Now there are memories of other feelings, the despair, the self hatred, the guilt. Those come from time to time and dance around too, less joyfully.
But with my half smile and my different perspectives, the memories and feelings have lost their power to drive and punish. So they can come too, and join the dance, as they too are part of me.

So as I have arrived at the back of Da Vinci's dark, mysterious cavern, and discover it is the carcass of a whale (that was a bit of a shock!) I am glad I entered and glad I explored, even if in the end I lost something once so precious to me. I will continue to dance on my way now, with whoever wants to join me, exploring, loving and living the only life I have.
Merry Christmas and may the new year bring what you need to carrying on loving and living to the full in your life....

Cath xxx

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Twenty years ago today

Twenty years ago today
Unto me
Was born a son
Not lustily crying
Waving his fists
Sucking and supping at my breasts
But floppy
And blue
And breathless
And while the nurses dithered and the doctors pondered
The oxygen wasn't enough
The glucose fell too low
Sensitive parts went into slumber
Never to awake

Twenty years later
My child man
Makes me laugh
Makes me cry
Makes me hope
And sometimes despair
I love his innocence
His truthfulness
His clear sighted vision

But oh if only
If only I had said
"No, get the doctor back"
Stamped and screamed
Instead of passively sitting
and trusting
Would now he be in some far away town
On the booze with friends
Studying for a degree in something hard
That I couldn't begin to understand?

The tears have come
I have to grieve
It is right to do so
I love him so much
But he lost so much
And that is something
That will always make me cry

But no words of sympathy needed
Crying is what I should do
I cannot undo the past
But I can mourn for what was lost in it
And I can rejoice for what was left to me
The dearest, funniest child man
To whom I dedicate my life

Happy Birthday Tom
Mum xxx

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Casting day

The moon is in the seventh heaven and my birthday has passed, tis time to cast out those faults that most bother the people round me.
In no particular order these are:
1. My tendency to "panic and pester" those around me when anxious. Poor son2 suffers most with this, but also the rest of family and colleagues....
2. My Greed. I suffer mostly as a result, and will throw this ruthlessly into a bubbling stream (well, ok, the small garden pond) in an attempt to rid myself of this tendency.
3. My inability to give up when I should- persisting despite harm! Where have I heard that before hehe
and finally
4. Self deprecation and not acknowledging that I am all that I can be.

I shall venture outside with my terrible cold and 4 crumbs of bread and gently throw them away...and then claim them back
Part of me
For better for worse
But things to be more aware of in this year and to gently prod when they get tiresome!

Onwards in my fiftieth year.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Casting away....

Have had more suggestions
From friend- that I should "Cast away the idea that you have significant faults or that you are somehow not all you could be." Similar to hubbie's really- stop putting myself down but perhaps in a more active way, not to just cast away the behaviour, but also the thoughts and underlying insecurities that go with it...

And from son2, a list.
Written after a weekend that I had struggled for hours to fix his printer...
Things to cast away
1.The way I panic and pester
2. My perfectionism
3. Stubbornness in not giving up when its time to do so
4 My poor memory (which was a bit of a joke as I couldn't remember the first three...)

Panic and pester "Have you done your homework?" "What time does it begin?" My anxieties that I try not to inflict on him but often end up doing so- that is something I can see clearly and identify with.
Perfectionism- I am not about to cast away! It is something i think I still need to hang on to, will keep that for another year!
Stubbornness in not giving up- I think I am better at this than I used to be but it still impacts on others when I continue persisting in something well past the point of no return.

My memory- bleh, wish I could cast it away!!

So I have another day to think before tomorrow, my birthday, when four things will drift away and be reclaimed, to be thought about and pondered and laughed about in the year. So my life examined will continue to grow and be hopeful and joyful, in the face of whatever comes along...

Happy unbirthday to me, and here's to a busy, difficult day that I know I have tomorrow, but with a wonderful evening out with hubbie to look forward to.....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Greed and self deprecation

Well I have two so far.
Greed- this one comes from me, I am always so greedy, wanting more pleasure, chocolate, food, drink, and all other vices that go with greed! So I will cast that in the water and accept that back, as it has always been part of me, a part that I find hard to control! Let's see what a bit of purifying in the water does for it...

Self deprecation- this is one hubby suggested this morning. I often make self deprecating statements, about how I look, think, behave. Sometimes with him, I agree, it's to produce a "No, you look OK, No, you did right there" but sometimes it is because I really feel that way, useless, fat, ineffective (spent over 2 hours trying to set up son2's printer only to dismally fail this afternoon) etc. Negative reflex thoughts shoot in and out and I ruminate on how useless I am, how ugly, how greedy.......
So this too will go in the water.
To be washed and received back
And thought about
Accepted as part of me but something that can wind poor hubby up no end and something that is no help to me.
So, time to cast it away and accept it back and play with it for the next year...

And as for the other two....
I think I might ask son2 to suggest one
That could be interesting!!
Watch this space......

Friday, September 12, 2008

Casting bread upon the water

It's that time again!
My birthday is due and in line with the long tradition established last year, I have to select four faults to cast upon the water. Last year, I cast my tetchiness, my bitchiness, my naughtiness and my wounding of self. Looking back over the year, what can I say?

Well, I think I am less tetchy, partly because my mood is probably better this week than it has been for years. I have read books, watched films the whole way through, focused on sorting stuff out that I have put off for ages. I am quite delighted and hope this is no temporary blip.

Bitchiness- well, yes, probably still there, in my mind at least. I have been more aware of my passive-aggressive bitchiness and as a result have controlled it more, while recognising that sometimes making models of individuals and sticking pins in is the only way to survive!

My naughtiness.......errrrrr.......well last year I decided to cast things on the water and claim them back, so that which is naughty and wicked in me, the naughty playful side continues but with new boundaries and understanding of where lines need to go. First rule is do no harm and in all sorts of ways, I think I have learnt to think through things a bit more.

My wounding of self- well, no thanks to the bread, but thanks to a certain dancer I have been waltzing with for the past few months, I have turned a self destructive tendency round and learnt perhaps for the first time, that to truly be of use to others, one has to love, care and nurture yourself. Thanks to my wonderful dance partner! Our dancing together may be less and sometimes absent, but memories of those dances will ever live on.

So four new faults to pick on for this year, as things I try to throw away but then reclaim and work with, to accept them as part of me and to change them, transform them, from weaknesses into strengths.

Greed has to be one
Possibly a bit of sloth
Internal preoccupation? maybe
I shall muse over this and produce a final list before B day......

Monday, September 08, 2008


Son1 starts college tomorrow.
A new phase.

He will have a 1:1 helper and all I can do is keep my fingers crossed and hope all that has been said about his course is true.
Doesn't half make my tummy go in knots.

What I need right now is a huge lottery win...or an unknown but eccentrically rich relative to leave me all in their will.
Or a new career that doesn't leave me quite so devoid of strength at the end of the day.

None of which will happen, at least not this side of my dreams.

So it is onwards and upward to see what tomorrow brings and to hope, that along with all the expected difficulties, there might be a little unexpected relief too...
Maybe the sun will even shine!!!

Cat xxx

Thursday, August 28, 2008


1 year ago son2 started going out with gf
She is a lovely girl and it's their anniversary coming up
So I have brought him up to Leeds so they can sojourn together and be gleeful and joyful before returning to college after their long summer break.
What the future holds for them, I do not know.
And 1 year ago, I was here too, more or less.
In Leeds, a mess inside, but far more of a mess than I am now!
At least now, I know what the mess is about
Where it lives
And how to deal with it, even though I don't yet have all the tools.
So as I once more sit in Leeds, awake, tearful, but thoughtful and accepting, at least I am more assured that things are on the up.
Getting better
No longer to I think only of the negative
I can see through the tears and mist to where I want to be
And I can see me getting there...

Sleep well
Dream sweetly
Wake better....

Monday, July 14, 2008

All I have to do....

The last month or so has been a bit of a struggle.
I have developed a routine to get me to work in the morning- the "all I have to do" routine.
All I have to do is think my way through one thing at a time.
All I have to do is sit on the edge of the bed....move to the bathroom...take my tablets...clean my teeth.......
I end up in work in the end and once I get going in the daily routine, I have to think myself through things less.
But once home I collapse.
I know it won't last, but I do hate it when my body behaves like this.....

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The sun...

The sun is out again.
I have been having an early morning sit in the garden, listening to the birds and the traffic in the distance on the motorway, and hearing others sit out too, eating breakfasts, chatting, smoking, all enjoying in their way this wonderous event.

The peace that the sun gives me I relish, I lie there, eyes shut, letting the warmth spread over my body and face, stretching and purring, truly cat like.

Then back to earth, boys to talk to, both mournful in their own way, one in the middle of exams, the other getting to the end of school and the uncertainty that will bring.

But my skin is warmed by those rays, and warmed inside I move on and do what needs to be done, carrying the sun and that peace with me.

May it shine on you today too!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Brave or stupid and foolish, he said....

Foolish, so foolish I am
Mutton dressed as lamb
Naive pretending sophistication
trusting the chancer
Believing all will be well
Hoping in others
Living in faith
Till death do us part
Chasing rainbows
Trusting in self

Yet true foolishness
is not being foolish
Not risking, but stagnating
Not loving, but keeping apart
Not trusting, but mistrusting,
Not grabbing joyfully chances that arise
And not going on with the dance....

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Low Patch

I've hit a real low patch, which is partly to do with my totally inadequate diet and partly to do with the atmosphere at work, which is horrendous. That in turn is affecting the way I think, so anything in the least bit negative assumes huge proportions in my mind and I ruminate away, to the point of absurdity.

I can analyse it rationally, but I cannot stop it, and I've reached the point of going back to the GP to ask for a change in medication. I had been doing so well, too and thought that maybe the problem wasn't in the job but was in my attitude to it and was working a way out to change the attitude. Now all I can do is fight to get myself up and going every day.
Because I have to.
No choice.
No one else is going to bring the money home.

And I have occasional days of respite but once I am back into my ordinary life, this cloud descends again and I walk through treacle.

Crumb of comfort?
Or maybe get my act together and try and get these tablets changed....

The latter I think.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Subtle shadows

I have been having more tests, this time a wonderful white cell scan which involved me hanging round all day having blood taken then injected back into me labelled with radioactivity.The results were inconclusive- there were "subtle shadows" of white cell activity in the bowel but not enough for them to be sure I have Crohn's or similar.

So back to the consultant, I suspect he will adopt a wait and see if it gets worse approach, though after losing 2 stone, I don't know what else i can do. I am following his rather stringent dietry advice, alongside some stuff cadged off the net so maybe by the time I see him I will be better and things can move on.

But I was so hoping for a conclusive way or another.

But, as I tell the kids, you can't have everything you want. So on I go, following the advice, sipping my water, foresaking my coffee and eating a low fibre diet. It didn't show anything nastier, and for that, I am truly grateful.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sex, masturbation and a dirty girl

I wrote this elsewhere and finally decided to put it here too. It does refer to sexual matters, so if that is uncomfortable, please ignore this post....

I think some of my difficulties with self image over the years are to do with the early attitudes installed in me about sex.

From early on, sex was something not to be desired, instead purity and eternal virginity was a goal to be sought. My devout Catholic parents ensured that God was a part of our house, someone accepted without question, one of the family. The saints were our friends and I was given books and stories of their lives. One thing to note was that the women all were virgins, allowing themselves to be martyred or tortured rather than raped, going straight to heaven for their purity.

Other messages were given. I once wore a bra and panties and lay on my bed, pretending I was wearing a bikini, sunbathing on a beach. We never had bikinis. My mother came in, without knocking and caught me at it, and yelled at me for my behaviour. Didn't I realise that was not on? I'm not sure if she thought I was masturbating then- in fact I wasn't, didn't learn that skill till later! but the message I got was I was impure, a dirty, dirty, dirty girl.

Then I was assaulted, sexually, in a way that would seem minor to many but was horrific to me. Near the park, on the way home from school, came home weeping and shocked and feeling so dirty. My mother was duely sympathetic and gave me a hug...but then nothing. Never again mentioned or talked about. Years later she was telling someone about it and how she went out driving the streets. looking for my attacker and I was amazed. I asked her why she hadn't said anything and she said they thought best not to, let it lie, then I'd forget about it.

But what she hadn't known was that about two years later I had a similar incident from one of the teachers in the sailing school I went to. he probably thought it a bit of a joke and could easily deny it if I said anything. Which I didn't. What was the point? Happens like that to dirty girls.

So, when at around 18 I learnt to masturbate (don't laugh, I read about it in a book and tried it and *boing* - with me forever...) it tore me into pieces. I would lie in bed, trying so hard to resist, to avoid it, not to do it, as I knew it was a sin, but as I fell asleep, I would weaken and play and come so hard,and then cry myself to sleep, disgusted with my weakness and dirtiness, hating myself for it all.

And as the fantasies I had as I did it grew- they were mainly around other women. If men figured, they were abusive, non consensual, holding my prisoner, forcing me against my will. I was at that stage one deeply mucked up depressed individual, convinced I was gay, who would be cast out from her family as a result. That's another story!

So in the end, courage in my hands, I went to confession and blurted it all out to a poor young Italian priest, while away "on pilgrimage" where I thought there would be no danger of the priest recognising my voice and knowing me and knowing what an evil sinner I was ever after.

He was compassionate but firm. This was a mortal sin (a sin that leads to hell if you die with it on your soul.) I had to stop it- ask the Virgin Mary, who would help and if I did fail, I should consider myself in grave peril and get to confession straight away. I was not to receive communion again, as that was an even worse sin, until I had told the priest what I had done and accepted myself as doing great evil.

I agreed, full of hope that at least I would be able to stop. I kept a diary at the time and even wrote about it, ecstatic that I had had the courage to confess. Don't forget that I was young, had been brought up immersed in one viewpoint that I took as real as the sea, the sand, the air, everything around me. Hell for me was a definite place, for torment.

So I tried.

Really really hard. I wore trousers and pants to bed, with tight tops over them,kept my arms outside the blankets, got up and hit my hand against a desk if I thought about doing it.

But I couldn't resist and I despaired of ever getting a hold on it. I spoke to my mother in the end, absolutely tormented that I was bound for hell and she didn't correct the priest but said she "had a friend" who used to masturbate and she advised her to get rid of the object. That didn't help as the object was (and is still) my index finger.

I did think about cutting it off, but at least had enough sense of reality to know that was extremely stupid, even though Jesus had recommended it ("If your right hand should cause you to fail.") In the end, in absolute despair I went to see a stranger priest who had come on "mission" to the church and poured it all out, this broken young woman. He sounded bored and sarcastically gave me advice, wondering why I found it so hard to go to confession and admit it- perhaps not realising the extent of my despair and self hatred.

Eventually, in one of my confessions which happened so frequently after that, a priest corrected my now all obsessing scruples. Told me that habit was habit and I should aim to break it but not be all tied up with it and not consider myself on the road to perdition if I fell. Gradually, I learnt to accept that advice and eventually managed to get "and I am guilty of impurity, with myself, on several occasions" to come out in confession without too much angst or fear, though my despair at my weakness, self hatred and disgust stayed as major parts of my psychological make up, still present.

Then,when I lost my faith two years ago, you would think that all this angst and fear would disappear, but it is tied so hard into my beliefs about my self and sex. Part of my "exploring" up to now has led to finding all this out and also becoming incredibly angry with a cultural system that leads to so much misery about something so natural.

So I still am guilty at times, filled with self disgust at times, have difficulty celebrating what joy sex can be. But I hide it, so no one knows what a dirty, disgusting girl I am. And even writing that still makes me cry, though far less than it would have done a year ago.

Soooo.....I'm off to dry my face and have a shower. Have a good day and be thankful that few people are brought up as I was now....And give me another two years though, by the time I am 50, maybe I can celebrate and enjoy the sexual side of life without even a trace of fear and guilt.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Not a good day....

Today has not been a good day overall.
Work was as usual and I arrived home, to be greeted as ever, by T
Full of his usual talk and as I answered, I was acutely aware that here was a child talking.
Not a man of 19
But a child, forever a child.
And my heart ached.

Then I noticed hubbie was- not himself. Mw was stuck in his room as usual, curtains drawn, XBox on.
The plan had been to go out for lunch, but it didn't happen, Mw refused to go.

After some diplomatic prodding and probing it turned out that Mw had said no- because he hates going out with T. Cannot stand being with him at the moment. And hubbie was finding this hard to carry.

Because it is.
Hard to carry a son forever a child, a brother forever irritating, a sister forever dependant, a job forever hard and stressful.

So he is downstairs, not wanting to talk- tomorrow I will be better, he says stubbornly, pushing me away.
Mw is in his room and will not come out.
And T is humming while filling his bath and asking me silly questions.
Me, I have my music on.
And when i returned to the room, full of the sorrow of a family hurting, the music on was the sublime U2 live version with the gospel singers- who still, like me, haven't found what they are looking for.

Nobody said it would be easy.
Just wish it wouldn't always be so hard....

But ne thing I know....
I will not be broken
I will survive to dance another day
Mw will grow and learn
And there will always be good days and bad days
But even on bad days, the blossom will not stop blooming
and the birds will not stop singing

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Little Prince (again)

Perhaps my favourite book and one of the best accounts of friendship that exists. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's book tells of friendship, love and loss...through the eyes partly of a little prince, wandering the world trying to get back to his own home.

And he went back to meet the fox.
"Goodbye," he said.
"Goodbye," said the fox.
"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret:
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
"What is essential is invisible to the eye," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

When I lost my belief in god two years ago, for a while I was full of despair, because all I could see was us as machines, bags of blood and bone and chemicals, without souls, with no meaning to life, no goals, no reason. Everything was immediate, nothing that could not be measured existed.
It took me a while to realise that the fox's words below are true...we can be so much more than that.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.

So I cannot see love, friendship, pain, fear, sorrow, they are invisible.
I can measure the effects of them with fancy machines but the essence of the thing is invisible to my senses.
But with my heart, my emotional core, I can see and feel and perceive all these things and more. Life is not just about the concrete realities of day to day activities, underneath our physical bodies is a human spirit, unseen, untappable, not quantifiable but present.
The sum of all those chemical reactions maybe, but definitely present.

The spirit that makes my son1 fight to be the very best he can, despite his difficulties. That drives on son2 to be a listening ear for his friends, listening as a friend to their words and their hearts. The spirit in me that affirms that I won't...
"be made useless,
won't be idle with despair,
I will gather myself around my faith
for light does the darkness most fear
(Hands by Jewel)

My faith is now not in that god, living mysteriously above us, sending punishment and pain on those he hates and rewarding those that follow arbitary rules, but in that thing invisible to the human eye, the human spirit.
And we have to be "god's hands" in this world, as there is no one else to do it.

PS: another favourite passage...

"Good morning," said the little prince.
"Good morning," said the merchant.
This was a merchant who sold pills that had been invented to quench thirst.
You need only swallow one pill a week, and you would feel no need of anything to drink.
"Why are you selling those?" asked the little prince.
"Because they save a tremendous amount of time," said the merchant.
"Computations have been made by experts. With these pills, you save fifty-three minutes in every week."
"And what do I do with those fifty-three minutes?"
"Anything you like . . ."
"As for me," said the little prince to himself, "if I had fifty-three minutes to spend as I liked, I should walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water."

So would I.....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hurt- finding the answer....?

Has anyone else felt like this? How did you get through it? Did you lose your faith?

Someone who has been hurt via contact with Christianity wrote this on a message board I used to frequent. I originally wrote out a reply to the thread but chickened out and just sent it to her instead.....
Wanted to record it here for my sake...

I can only tell you from my experience of pain and hurt and blame- and everyone is in a different place, so this may be totally irrelevent to you- that it was only when I let go of it, of the preoccupation of what was done to me, that I was able to start to reconcile with the things I associated with the hurt, Christianity being one of them.

And that was a painful process and not one best tackled alone. Finding suitable allies in my journey helped, and also learning to acknowledge that part of the problem lay within myself, as a human being. At times, unwittingly even, I have hurt others, I have not been worthy of another's trust, I have let other people down. We all do it, and most of us hurt terribly when we do so, when we see the hurt we have caused. There are few psychopaths in this world of ours that glorify in it. I learnt gradually, that it is safe to trust others, as they are human like me and hurt as much as I do when they wound. And the occasional psychopath who doesn't, well he is to be pitied, as there are many joys that he lacks that I have in fullness.

So I didn't get my faith back, but I found my hurt lessen and my trust in my fellow creatures return, albeit with a more realistic expectation of what trust means.
I hope your journey will lead you to a similar more comfortable place.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Palm Sunday

Those were the days. Off to church as a family, in my mother's car, bickering as children do. But getting the palms when we arrived, one each, and trying to make little crosses out of them. The priest walking round the church, shaking water at us and then the long gospel story, the first telling of the passion and death in this Holy Week.
Then the other services- Thursday, when all the priests would gather in one place for the mass of chrism, the evening mass, where the church was stripped bare, tabernacle emptied for all to see. He is not here, He is taken, captured.
"He is no longer yours."

Then Friday, again a long story, with the solemn condemnation of the Lord and his death retold.

"Surely you were one of them?" The maid's accusation denied.
"I am not one of them, I never knew him."

And Saturday- sleeping in the afternoon so we didn't sleep in the night, at the vigil, holding and lighting candles to celebrate "Christ our Light"
"Deo Gratis"- thanks be to God.

I loved it, always. It lived the story in the ceremonies, vitalised me, energised me, made me live it myself. I was there at the cross, at the empty tomb, I saw and breathed the air in, I believed.

It has taken a long time for me to be able to think that, type it, without a sense of utter sorrow at what I have lost. It is still there, but the utterness is not, it is a background flavour, a hint, a taste of what was once. Now I can lie in bed and listen to the excellent monologue on the radio this morning- the story of Esther, the woman caught in adultery, told in the first person, and gain new perspectives on those stories that still carry with them important messages for all humanity.

"Neither do I condemn you"

He didn't condemn. He didn't blame. He didn't judge.
He didn't even graciously forgive, patronise, use those passive aggressive techniques that point so well the faults of others.
He just acknowledged her as human, alive
Condemnation, blaming, judging, doesn't help in healing, moving on.
It just hinders.

"Go and sin no more."

But what was her sin? Was it the adultery?
We will never know, but such an impossible thing to ask, given the huge numbers of sins he and his church set up! But from a human perspective, he had already set her free, by destroying the hypocrisy of moral judgement from a high ground of worthiness and righteousness. He set her free to value herself, to care for herself, to think of herself as a woman, as human . Perhaps that was her "sin" that she didn't love and care for herself. Her lack of self love it restrained her from doing the same for others, it allowed her to be used, it snared her where she was, a prisoner of circumstances.

So, as hubbie gets ready for church, and I sip coffee and check emails and think things a million miles away from those other Palm Sundays, at least I know one thing. My link to the past is not to be forgotten, but to be nurtured and encouraged, so that the good I have found does not get left behind to wither as I journey on in the dance and exploration that is now my life.

So, go gently this Palm Sunday, condemn no one for faults that we all possess, and love yourself and others, for that is a key that I have found can help
To suffer less
Love more...others, but firstly, importantly, vitally- love yourself. As you are.
Then that can set you free.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Isn't it ironic?

Son2 and I often argue about whether a particular situation is ironic or not. In the famous song of the same name, I say, half the situations are not so much ironic but just bad luck. It was with that in mind that I just read elsewhere on the net about a crisis of faith, a dark night of the soul, like mine. Ironically, the person having it is the person who sniped and snapped at me in mine and effectively drove me to the position where I ended up leaving and eventually losing, my faith. I recognised in his words the agony I found myself in, but am relieved to see that he is getting better treatment from others than he gave me. Although, to be fair, he didn't know the daily agony I was in, as I don't think he ever bothered to read my blog and see it, to temper the words he flung at me. He just saw someone breaking the rules who should be driven out of the church, as the church could only exist if only pure people lay within it.

Do I sound bitter?

Perhaps because I am. I read what they say there and I too would still be saying it, believing it, if I hadn't been pushed down that road. And once you have seen the truth, there is no turning back, one cannot undo the sight of stark reality. And at times, like now, when I am fragile and hurting, nothing relieves me like my faith used to. Thanks partly to him, I lost that. And I will never get it back.

I am crying now. Loss is a terrible thing.

But I will be better in a while. I will think how much better off I am now, not having to believe in this peculiar deity who loves but hates, creates and destroys, punishes and condemns.
Life without God may not have the emotional kick backs that I am seeking, but it is easier to understand and process.

I hope that his agony eases soon. I would not wish what he is experiencing on my worst enemy. And I am sure that soon he will be picking up the pieces, and if I still prayed, I would be offering big ones for him.
Because he never meant to do me harm, and if it hadn't had been his words that were the final straw, it would have been someone else's.
Life goes on

In other news, my tummy is still driving me potty- I go for tests this week and in two weeks (in the middle of my holiday!) I go for a very unpleasant one. That'll learn me!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Son1- college interview2

Posted elsewhere yesterday:-

Taking older boy (19) for an interview in college later. He goes to a special school for people with his disability but failed to get a place in one of the few residential colleges in the country.
So this is second best, although I am seriously impressed with the learning support staff who know what they are doing and how to deal with him. He is determined that one day he will be independent and have his own place, a job and friends like everyone else...

And he has learnt a lot already from life, having been through several nasty illnesses and having to learn to cope with difficulties and the awareness of his differences. At times he would be wrecked by the knowledge that however hard he tried, he couldn't do what son2 did or understand things as quickly and as deeply as he does. He hurt so much then and it was anguish watching him cry as he came to terms with it all when I couldn't do it either.

But he rode it well and has come though a determined young man, who will never win quizzes or be any sort of Einstein, but hopefully will learn to be independent, both practically, and emotionally, so that when I go, he will be able to carry on living and enjoying life.
That's all I want for him, for either of them really...

Ok, better get my skates on and stop rambling away to myself here. Now all I have to do is find my car keys....

And he did well and got a place on an office administration course "unconditional" with a support worker to help him along. Then, in a year, he will have finished and be on his own in the big bad will be up to us then.

Daunting thought
But we will succeed, of that I have no doubt. His determination and my stubbornness and hubbie's quiet sensible strength together means we cannot and will not fail.
I hope
But optimistically...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Underneath the stars

Left at midnight
Underneath the stars
Twinkling high above
Looking down, seeing all
Like once I believed
All I said
Was observed
Weighed in the balance

So now only the stars look down
And twinkle and laugh
At my foolishness and weakness
My humanity
The fragile frame that sits shakily here
Pressing onwards
In love
The best I can
And when I go wrong
I no longer regret
But live
And learn
And find that the answer is the same!

To suffer less
Love more

Go gently.....

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

All I want....

At the moment is to be better. My tummy problems have been round for several months now and any attempt to consume a standard meal results in great groaning and complaining from the bowels of my bowels....
And I now keep a bookcase in the loo to keep me entertained.
My dear docs have been less than useful in all this, deciding first it was an infection, then looking at me as it was all in my mind....
But my weight has steadily decreased (2 stone now) and I am weak and having to reduce my BP medication....
I just want to be normal again! As my people say to me...........
Anyway, a new appt in a week, hopefully will have some progress to report then.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I'm OK, you're OK- and don't you forget it!

From Counselling for Toads by Robert de Board (great book)
"Being OK and believing that other are, requires behavious and attitudes which continually demonstrate this, both to yourself and others. And it certainly is not a shelter from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune."

"I see" said Toad. "You mean to say that to say "I'm OK, you're OK" is really an act of faith?"

"Yes I do." answered Heron. "It is very near to being the Humanist's credo, a belief in oneself and others that does not require a belief in a god or the supernatural."

"You make it sound very solemn" said Toad.

"If by "solemn" you mean full of importance" said Heron "I don't disagree."

Neither do I.
I'm OK, you're OK.
And don't you forget it.
Cat xxx

Fingers and thumbs....

So there I was, lying on the floor of the cavern, thinking, drinking in the scent of those leaves that were dying to become mulch for next year's growth. Thinking of those fingers and thumbs, the first set, that had proded clumsily where they were not wanted, then those second fingers, that had expertly picked the scabs from the healing wounds, leaving them raw, painful, exposed again, before leaving laughing and joking, not seeing me as I lay crying, from more than just this.

But as I lay there, thinking, grieving, breathing, crying, laughing, living; they healed again. Leaving no scab to be picked, just the scar to betray the pain once suffered.

And I pulled myself to my feet and ventured off into unknown parts again; enjoying the thrill of exploration alone in the dark, treachorous cave. And then came another set of fingers and thumbs, another guide and fellow traveller touching me softly in the dark, weaving a story of life and love and strangers together in a hilarious blanket of comfort and fun.

Had I learnt to be cautious? To judge with eyes of suspicion and mistrust?
I will trust till given cause not to.
And dance and weave with my companion until it is time for us to part...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008



Some days all I want to do when I get home is have a hot bath, full of delightful smelling substances and wrap myself in my silly fluffy dressing gown and lie on my bed and give myself up to dreaming. Not nightmarish dreams, like sometimes the days I face become, but satisfying, scintillating dreams.
Of lying on a beach with the sound of waves crashing onto rocks, birds flying, soaring freely, peacefully.
Where death is not a daily enemy to be fought and defeated, or a friend to be grasped lovingly, but part of nature that comes when it will.

But my dreams don't come.

Thoughts crowd in and take their place, of the daily toil to help those who can no longer help themselves.

It tires me, drains me.

And as, once again, the last battle for another is lost, I sit and think and wish I could dream myself away, not forever, but just to a temporary rest, a safe haven, a cove of contentment and calm.
And that when I came back, some of these battles would be won.

Sleep sweetly.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Moving On...

I was sitting in a pub last night with someone talking .Those who know me would tell you how uncommon the former is- son2's cry of "you have no friends springs to mind. The latter, however is common, as Groucho once said of someone else, I must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle. And as it happens, we talked about things that had a major influence on us and the subject of my loss of faith came up.

There are few people in real life, (although I must write about my use of that word sometime) who I talk to on that subject, other than hubbie. One of my most painful experiences, for me to share it face to face takes effort and trust, to delve into it in the exposed air of a pub lounge, teens nearby chatting each other up, brings me close to the tears that are held back so precariously.

And we talked and I shared, risking that he would not abuse this knowledge of my vulnerability, my devastating loss.

And he asked "Are you proud of what you did?"

Not something I have thought before.

Am I proud that I turned upside down my life, my family, my relationships, when so easily I could have carried on pretending? After all, if I had not been so open, so declarative, who would have known? I could have gone every week to church, mouthing the words, singing the hymns with a pious look on my face, eating what I felt was an ordinary mass produced wafer, returning and kneeling, hands held together, eyes shut.

People would have continued to see me, Cath, the guitar playing, scatty working mother, who leads the congregation in singing words that inspire and teaches little children the wonders of the faith. And every week the priest would have said, "Body of Christ" and I could have said "Amen"- Yes, I agree, it is, I believe.

So was it selfish to say, "No, I don't agree, I don't believe, cannot believe" and walk away?

Or the only thing I could do?

I think the latter and therefore am not proud, there was no choice, not then. Where the choice was, well, back in September 2005, when I decided to put it all to the test, to research on my own, and trust that whatever came out, I would accept.

Because I think, deep down, then, I knew what the outcome would be. Something inside me told me none of it would hold up to serious scrutiny. It was in September really, that I knew and I chose and I chose to let it go.

Should I be proud of that?


But perhaps thinking on this has made it clear to me that yes, this loss of faith was the result of a conscious choice, the choice to question and to allow myself to move on.

Something I shall keep on trying to do, to question, to consider, to not accept things on face value but to burrow underneath, and tease out what is true, what is right, for me, and for those around me.

Moving on......ever keep moving on, ever keep questioning and testing, but ever keep loving and living.

Have a good week.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


How do I deal with this anger?
I am sitting here now, seething, burning, so tense, so tied up in knots inside
Alternatively crying and sitting swearing at the person, the situation
At the thoughtlessness, selfishness and supreme arrogance that is displayed
How can I rid myself of the tainted stain when I thought I had washed it out?


I do not have completion, closure
I have unanswered questions, the whys, wheres, hows and whats
And that leaves me with uncertainty- something that I hate

I think I need to lie on the floor with the leaves turning into mulch again
Smell that sweet scent of change
From one form to another
That has ended, this is begun
Say goodbye and realise that could never be, never come true
You are but a fool, a failure, accept it, move on

Then, maybe, that anger will go.

Sleep sweetly....

Monday, January 07, 2008


Have you ever felt incredibly angry with someone and not be able to do anything with it?
Not be able to phone a friend and say "I really need to let this all out?"
I have
And I am
And there is no one to tell, to confide in, to help lift this
This is something I must do alone
And as a result of all this, something that was there as a little light to help me move on has gone
Diminshed, extinguished even.
Inside me the light has gone too
I am heavy, my soul drags along the floor as I walk step by step.
Tonight, for the first time in a long, long time, I looked at death and thought- yes, it would be better than this.
But I have to keep going.
For the boys
For Him
And it just makes the anger worse.
If I could just give up, had the choice to do that even, it would be better.
But no choices, onwards I stomp.

Perhaps tomorrow will be a better day.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Leeds again

Back to Leeds with son2 for another exhausting couple of days spent killing time as he and his girlfriend had fun together. Well, I did a lot of nice window shopping and some real shopping too, having a wonderful time looking for bargains in Harvy Nicholls (none) and the market (loads.) It snowed on the way up but was otherwise ok weather wise and I didn't do anything too foolish. Much.

I did get to thinking about my life now and for a time was filled with repugnance and self hatred that I haven't had for a while. I even had a full blown panic attack on my own on the Thursday night, but managed to contain it and bring my mind back to a more forgiving accepting position, where I acknowledged that I had made a (many, good few, multiple) boob(s) but that, surprise, surprise, I am not perfect and I am newly into life without a big book of rules to guide me. The freedom of living without it and having to find self regulation can go to my head sometimes and balance takes a while to achieve.

Anyway, as I once more head off to probably make a few more boobs and cock ups, if I can just try and remember that I am not perfect and stop beating myself up so thoroughly when I fail, maybe then I might like myself a bit better.

And tomorrow is another day off and will be full of sorting out son1's college placement. Wish me luck.....
I'm going to need it.