This is my alphabet for fulfilling the third requirement of the ABC Award that Celia awarded me the other day, it’s supposed to be a personal alphabet to help you all get to know me a little better, well that seems a little bit big-headed on at least two counts, for example, why should I presume that you would like to get to know me any better?!
Anyway I got creative, it’s rather like doing those stilted acrostics that counted as poetry in junior school, and this one is themed on emotions, a theme that you may have noticed recurring across my blog! So here are an entire twenty-six of my musings, but mainly my ramblings, on the subject.
A is for Anger
I see anger as the sort of default emotion. I’m sure that many would argue that it is the first emotion that we express when at birth we lustily scream our awkward, painful arrival into the bright, cold, dry world that we abruptly find ourselves in. For example, the complex and often overwhelming emotions that we feel when we are shocked or surprised, when we are hurt or lost, when we are afraid or sad may well make us react, behave or feel angrily.
B is for Boredom
For someone like me with a limited attention span, boredom is dire. It’s a fidgety emotion! But I guess that we can also feel bored in other ways, we can get stuck in ruts in all areas of our lives and lose interest and enthusiasm for the precious things that we used to value and cherish. Sometimes we need to reassess our attitudes rather than finding some new replacement for whatever it is. A spring clean isn’t about throwing everything out but it is about freshening things up, renewing our appreciation and making the most of what we do have. Sometimes we just need to chill out rather than always have things on the go.
C is for Confidence
I lack confidence, you may have noticed, but this blog is the garden where I am growing my first crop. A measure of confidence and self-assurance is necessary. A life without confidence is very limiting and painful, I know. I have another post in the pipeline on this very subject so check back shortly!
D is for Doubt
Doubt follows that lack of confidence. It eats away at you, nibbling away at your edges until you’re unable to stand on your own. Doubt erodes safety and peace of mind; it’s like living on the edge of a very crumbly cliff. But there’s more to follow another time!
E is for Empathy
I am an empath. It’s important to have fellow-feeling; it motivates and guides our attitudes and response to not just the humans but also the animals around us as well as the planet that we’re on. Empathy is about more than trying on someone else’s shoes and seeing how they feel, it’s about taking them for a walk too. Empathy can be a tiring burden sometimes because you just feel, feel, feel. But I guess that in this selfish world, it’s also a privilege and a quality to cherish.
F is for Fear
No confidence, full of doubt? Then fear will naturally follow. Fear includes so much. Maybe for many, fear revolves around phobias. I have those too. Arachnids are on that list, or at least my entirely rational believe that these are vicious animals that live purely to ‘get’ me and that cobwebs are harmful may be. I’m terrified of losing things and of drowning, I hate having the windows open on a car journey and bridges over water are the stuff of nightmares. I’m scared of pain and am not ‘keen’ on medical personnel and procedures. I’m afraid of messing up, of getting things wrong. I’m a claustrophobe who hates sitting with people behind me. I suffer with panic attacks, I’ve always got an exit plan and my average ‘bounce’ rate is higher than that of the most doomed website. When times are uncertain and your financial situation shaky then the future can certainly induce fear, a gnawing worry or dread. Living with chronic illness, when you’re just not sure how tomorrow is going to feel adds to the uncertainty, the worry, the dread.
G is for Guilt
When you’re always doubtful and scared of messing up then too you will also spend your life feeling guilty. We quite often accidentally raise our children with guilt complexes: think of the children in Africa and eat your dinner, we can’t afford this but we’re giving you a present, you don’t know how fortunate you are to have the things you do because it was so much tougher when I was a child. Regrets are another form of guilt. Oh to have lived a life free from regrets! I guess that is a question of attitude, do we make the most of each moment, cherishing the precious and valuable in our lives? We have to assess our priorities and give our best each day, each moment. We can’t do more and only an unreasonable Depressed mind would expect it.
H is for Hope
Everyone needs hope. Something to aim for, to work towards, to dream about. It’s when we lose hope that the world becomes impossibly bleak, life unmanageable and unsustainable and we risk taking actions that our loved ones would forever regret for us. It’s important to sit ourselves down mentally and list the good things, to focus on something positive that will carry us forward rather than letting the negative drown it out. It’s like looking for the sailor man’s trousers on a miserable day, keep focusing on that wee patch of blue sky, it is your hope.
I is for Irritation
Irritation, annoyance, frustration. I’m sure that most people could speak for hours on these subjects so perhaps I should leave off now and dedicate an entire post to my pet peeves! (Why hate, life is too short!) I definitely do not tolerate idiots though.
J is for Joy
Joy can seem such an unbridled happiness, can’t it? Something unrealistic if not impossible. I’m not such an optimist so I think I will settle for happiness. Happiness is again about perspective and attitude; you can find joy and pleasure in even the small things; even if those small things are like freckles in a storm. Happiness is the reason we live.
K is for Kindness
Doesn’t even the simplest act of kindness make the world a better place? I love the very American concept of ‘pay it forward’ and as a teenager I had a poem on my wall about how a smile can travel around the world. That’s powerful stuff, isn’t it? It makes you think about what you can do with your power, in fact I think it’s a responsibility, and how even something small can be such an influential agent of change. Do you appreciate the kindness that others show you? Do you remember to express your gratitude for such kindness? What can you do right now to show kindness?
L is for Love
Love makes the world go around. In many English cultures ‘love’ is a bit too much of a touchy-feely word but it is love on a certain level that moves us to show kindness and feel empathy. Love is not just about the mushy stuff, you know. It is the most important gift that we can give our children. And amazingly it is one of the things that people most struggle to express. ‘I love you’. See that didn’t kill you. (The other one is saying ‘I’m sorry’, that one won’t kill you either).
M is for Mortified
I am so easily embarrassed and not just about the usual prudish matters. At home, my husband and I both use the term ‘fingers in ears’ to describe my reaction, mortifying comes close, it’s absolutely excruciating. It’s usually other people’s emotions that trigger me off so watching comedy is usually a painful experience, especially when it focuses on slighting or putting down one of the other characters. I am embarrassed by myself and even get embarrassed about my presence on the planet, at times in my life I have definitely had at the very least tinges of social phobia. I hate being embarrassed.
N is for Nostalgic
Sometimes an entire decade, or even a period, in society is cast as some idyll whilst others hanker after their childhood or student days but the truth is more complicated than that. (Isn’t it always?) I guess in a way nostalgia can be a rose-tinted regret. If we focus on the past, for good or bad, then we aren’t always open to seeing the good things that around us currently. Life will always change and there will be differences but there has to be balance. The past can inform us but we have to experience the present otherwise how can we find our future?
O is for Openness
I’m working on this one. I take a slightly hypocritical view of this you see because although I expect and encourage others to be open about their problems and feelings I struggle to do so myself. ‘Wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve’ is always seen as a slightly weak and dangerous proposition but I do think that there are distinct advantages. Wouldn’t it be easier to ‘read’ people if we didn’t do our civic duty and cover everything up? Wouldn’t it be easier for you if you didn’t have to hide your feelings and pretend that everything was all hunky dory when you stepped outside your front door? Wouldn’t relationships take a straighter, less tortuous path if we could truly open up and express ourselves?
P is for Pain
Pain can exist on so many levels, emotional, mental or physical. Pain is such a personal response because it’s so difficult to quantify. I’d never wish pain on anyone and I wish that there was a little less of it in my own life.
Q is for Quixotic
I’ve never wanted to be quixotic because it has always sounded like a very nasty illness, some tropical disease. Nor am I. In fact, I’m a practical minded person who comes up with all sorts of wonderful solutions (I have a tendency to ‘think outside the box’) and if in doubt, I’ll always fail back on those all-powerful saviours: bluetack, gaffer tape and skyhooks.
R is for Relaxed
Relaxed? Nope, never heard of it. It’s not something that has ever come easily to me, chilling out. I like to be doing something. Or preferably two somethings. At least. My husband despairs of me, I’m like a grasshopper with a short attention span. No I can’t just sit, no I can’t just wait, no I can’t just watch telly. But I have learnt to take naps and rests and also to knit, knitting is relaxing. Except when it goes wrong.
S is for Sorrow
(I’m thinking magpies. Magpies are funny things and don’t have the best reputation when it comes to other people’s valuables). Depression is bound up with sorrow and so are loss and grief. I have those all in my life but I’m trying to be positive. Sorrow is never pleasant but I think that it can make you stronger; again it all comes down to attitude really. Even the bad, negative things we can use and turn around into something positive even if it’s not ‘happy’, we can learn lessons, cultivate qualities that we never knew that we had and grow stronger. That can’t really be such a bad thing.
T is for Tired
Tiredness sucks. There is more than one form of tiredness you know. I guess the good tired doesn’t actually suck; it can be a reward or at least a sense of achievement. The gardening, the major project, the unpacking the boxes from the house move, the ten-mile plus hike. Depression has its paralysing lethargy. This then induces guilt for laziness and failure. ME is all about tiredness, managing the tiredness and trying to have a life despite it. Those two types of tiredness definitely suck.
U is for Understanding
If empathy is asking a bit too much then maybe we can at least try to be a little more understanding. Some folk seem to struggle to realise that theirs is not the only world view, that right and wrong (I’m not necessarily talking about some higher moral code here) isn’t something that they can arbitrarily decide on for the rest of mankind. There may be people in our lives battling all kinds of difficulties and what do we know of it? Sometimes understanding means learning to ask the right questions. Others have so-called ‘invisible’ illnesses, how do we understand such conditions and their victim’s suffering? Understanding is also about knowledge, someone wiser than me once said that ‘knowledge is power’ but as with any power, it’s what we do with it. Life is more fun when you accept that there’s plenty more to learn out there.
V is for Vindictive
I don’t think I am or at least I hope that I never am because being spiteful is just plain mean. Sometimes it can a trifle frustrating, or maybe disheartening, hearing others relate saccharine tales of their perfect lives but never call down evil upon them. Perhaps it’s easy to think or worse still, say out loud, how it’s about time that so-and-so got their just desserts but tempting and easy as it may be, it doesn’t make anyone feel better or change anything. Get on with making good in your own life. Someone might be lining themselves up for some poetic justice but that’s their business. No point in lowering yourself to their standards after all!
W is for Worrying
I worry. I worry a lot. I can worry even when I’m doing half a dozen other things. I can even worry when I am meant to be asleep. I worry about worrying. Need I say more?
X is for Forgetting
Apparently on a questionnaire for Alzheimer’s/dementia, it asks if you’ve ever gone upstairs for something and then forgotten why you came upstairs. Hmm. I think my friends and I are already stricken! Memory is valuable and I appreciate the one I have even if my recall is fickle and if it takes does unscheduled breaks. I think memory is like muscle, children need to be taught to use it and we need to exercise it regularly. I’m afraid of forgetting things, that’s why I started taking photos.
Y is for Yearning
We may need hope but we also have to yearn for things too, we need to dream. Hope is about reality but dreams can be like pipe smoke, chimeras conjured up only to be experienced in the private realms of our imaginations. Or sometimes in shared imaginations. Dreaming adds so much enjoyment to life; it is the beginning of goals and of purpose. It is what fires our creative spark. Good mental health is required however, I certainly don’t dream and I struggle with even the basic forms of creativity, expressing an idea or knitting stocking stitch, when I’m hiding under my duvet. Besides which, the things that you ‘desire’ are the things that you’ll keep in your life no matter and I’m of the opinion that it’s the people that make our lives.
Z is for Zest
Zest for life is enthusiasm, zest for life is joy, zest for life is focusing on the positive, zest for life is making the most of the good things, zest for life is appreciation. I want some zest.