Posts tagged ‘internet’

FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD.

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Since we were without power this morning for hours and hours I have almost finished the packing. Now the power is back on I can fine tune my travel details and make some bookings. The last twenty four hours have brought numerous reminders of how tenuous and fleeting life is. I just need to stay focussed on the road ahead.

There was a facebook outage the other day that lasted just under an hour, so I believe. Apparently Tinder and Instagram went out too. What was most remarkable about that, aside from the fact the world kept turning, is that I didn’t notice. I only knew about it from the news later. Keeping busy is the way to go at the moment and I am filling my days with real life interactions. I have one friend who has deactivated her facebook account and another who has cut down her usage. I haven’t made any bold resolutions myself but practically speaking my focus has shifted. Don’t get me wrong, my love affair with the internet has not diminished; it has brought me far too many gifts for that! However, as I said, I am engaging more with the ‘real’ world and that cannot be a bad thing! I guess too much of anything isn’t healthy. I’m aiming for balance.

Safe onward travel x

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THE REAL THING

As regular viewers are aware I am a super big fan of the interwebs. I don’t usually qualify this but the truth is that I see it as an adjunct to real life experiences. I’m a big fan of communication in all it’s forms and I like the internet for connecting people. That being said I also try to translate ‘virtual’ friendships into real life ones. It’s not that I think online friendships are necessarily less ‘real’, in some ways they can be more intense, more intimate than our face to face contacts. It is conversely easier to expose yourself while hiding behind a screen. But for me I like layers and depth, so if I can I like to get to know my online friends offline too. Then of course there are the real life friends, some of whom I had before I had the internet!! For me, it is in the mix. It is about balance. This video touched me none the less.

On the weekend The Love of My Life and I stepped out of our daily routine. On Friday night we went out to dinner with his children and Son Number Two. Good food, a lovely view and the very best of company – it was wonderful! On Saturday, on the spur of the moment, The Love of My Life decided we should drive Son Number Two to his drama class and hang out to watch. His drama teacher is absolutely lovely and I was interested to see her work. I was also, naturally enough, happy to see my Son in action. I was not disappointed on either count. Afterwards Son Number Two went for a sleepover at a friend’s house and The Love of My Life and I went to meet up with a friend of his. The friend was funny and interesting and entertaining. It was a very pleasant way to pass the time. Intelligent conversation always does it for me. It was stuff I really needed. I hope we get to do it all again soon. Or something like it.

Safe onward travel x

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SAY SOMETHING, I’M GIVING UP ON YOU.

I’ve been reading some stuff about PTSD and the actual brain changes that occur. It’s sobering stuff but it also makes so much sense to me. The brain changes thing just tells me what I’ve known for a long time; I am not the same person I once was. I’ve had people suggest this is a lifestyle choice – because, obviously, what better fun could you have? – or that I should have moved on by now. Or the insightful and deeply profound ‘the past is the past’!

Except sometimes the past is very present and that’s not a choice. Anything and nothing can ‘trigger’ me, sending me back to places I’d rather not ever revisit, so that I physically feel like I am there. I feel things as if they are happening right now. My heart pounds, my thoughts race, panic and terror build, an overwhelming desire to flee – the fight or flight reflex at full force. Once this happens I don’t have much control. I can talk myself down but depending on how big the response that takes time. The Love of My Life helps. He can make me laugh through tears. Touching him centres me and brings me back to the here and now. He can reach always me when I get lost in the fog.

Some things are logical triggers; a white cross by a roadside, a charred accident site marked with tape, the news that bodies have been found in the search for a missing father and daughter, the screech of tyres, the crunch of metal – and these just in the last week. Do you know how many car crashes there are in films? Lots. In almost every movie it seems. And scenes when a doctor or a police officer is informing someone that their loved one has died. Missing children. Murdered children. Children. Mother’s Day. Phones that repeatedly ring out unanswered or go to voicemail time after time. But all of these are logical triggers and so, to a certain extent predictable and expected, easier to avoid and/or manage if they occur. Others are not so clear cut and sneak up on you. An expression on someone’s face, a song playing on the supermarket sound system, a street name mentioned in passing.

I’m on high alert all the time. They call it ‘hypervigilance’. From Wikipedia (so it must be true ūüôā but hey, any further information required you guys have Google too):

“Hypervigilance is an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviours whose purpose is to detect threats. Hypervigilance is also accompanied by a state of increased anxiety which can cause exhaustion. Other symptoms include: abnormally increased arousal, a high responsiveness to stimuli, and a constant scanning of the environment for threats.

In hypervigilance, there is a perpetual scanning of the environment to search for sights, sounds, people, behaviours, smells, or anything else that is reminiscent of threat or trauma. The individual is placed on high alert in order to be certain danger is not near. Hypervigilance can lead to a variety of obsessive behaviour patterns, as well as producing difficulties with social interaction and relationships.”

I’ve spoken here about constantly assessing my own reactions, my own thoughts, other peoples words, actions and motivations. ALL THE TIME. Every waking minute of each and every single day. I’ve told you that trusting is so hard. Trusting my own instincts. Trusting other people. Because fool me once shame on you but fool me twice, shame on me. And oh I’ve been fooled before. The next punch that puts me down I want to at least see coming. But it is so fucking EXHAUSTING! Getting through the day still takes so much effort. That’s not even counting the nights, when it’s either sleeplessness caused by racing thoughts or sleeping which brings nightmares. Why would anyone think I’d CHOOSE it?

Some days are better than others and I have more acceptance now that it is what it is. I cannot go back or change anything that happened. What is done is done and I will never be who I once was. I am ok with that. I’m ok with who I am, with all my flaws. I walk the road less travelled but I’ve met some really interesting people along the way and I’ve truly seen the best of human nature. Those connections, they are what sustain me.

I’ve always been good at connections. Making them, keeping them. It’s just harder now. It takes so much more effort and that effort is so much harder to sustain.¬†But I try, because to me that is the difference between living and existing. Today I had an email that someone had responded to a comment I’d left on their blog. My words had touched them and their appreciation touched me. Like I said last post, to feel heard, that is really something. I heard her and she heard me. I love the internet for that reason. I’ve spoken here about the gifts the internet has brought me. For me it is another avenue for connecting but it is on such a very grand scale. It still involves putting yourself out there though. Taking a risk. Being vulnerable.

I was talking to a new friend’s new girlfriend online the other day and she said “It’s so nice to finally meet a real man!”. I’m not going to get into a discussion about what constitutes a ‘real’ man, or a ‘real’ woman for that matter, but the guy in question wears his heart on his sleeve and I think that is what she meant. How he feels, what he thinks; he says so. He takes risks and leaves himself open. He seems happy at the moment with his new love and I’m very happy to be able to share in his happiness because he puts it out there. And so it multiplies. Another friend is proposing to their love tonight. Theirs is an awesome love story which I’ve been privileged to watch unfold and I’m beyond excited about this proposal. My lovely friend, who has always been generous of spirit, shared the secret with me so I’ve had the excitement and anticipation building and I’m looking forward to the expected facebook proposal photographs sometime soon. It makes me do an internal happy dance each time I think about it. Proposals are just so damn hopeful. When you think about the proposer and the proposee, their daughter, their families, their friends; that’s many, many people who are going to gain happiness from one person’s choice to remain open to life’s possibilities and to share themselves with others.

So the moral for today is this:

Tell people how you feel, dare to risk looking stupid, say what you think, dare to dream, make new friends, leave yourself open, try new things, explore – yourself, others, places, ideas. Because it’s hard this life, but these are the bits that make it worth it. Connect with others and find yourself. Go ahead, reach out and touch someone.

Life is short. Travel safe x

A Rose by any other Name?

What is in a name? Good question William my friend. Sometimes a lot I think. Getting letters addressed to and being referred to as ‘Mrs. X’ has long since lost it’s appeal. I am not married to Baby Daddy anymore, yet I still have his surname and it¬†jars me when I am referred to as Mrs. Baby Daddy. So, what to do? Well, the answer seems obvious really – change it. But to what?

I have no attachment to my maiden name, and I haven’t used it since I was seventeen. Mrs. Incredible Hunk would suit me fine but since that’s unlikely I am forced to look for inspiration elsewhere. My dear friend Matty opened the question on his facebook page yesterday, which gave me the idea to open it up to the world wide web.
So, friends and strangers, what say you?

Please leave a comment if you’ve any suggestions. Thanks in advance ūüôā

We Connect.

One of my talents, before and after,¬†has been¬†making connections. Bringing people together, fostering relationships, maintaining them. I’ve been thinking about connections this week, both personal and professional, both IRL and virtual. I’ve been exploring social media for business promotion purposes. I’ve spent a bit of time online over the last few years – try to contain your shock – and I’ve seen the way communities, friendships and relationships can grow. I’ve been an early adopter of most forms of social media and can see how they can be utilised for promotional purposes. For the small business owner the beauty is there are heaps of things you can do with no outlay except an investment of time. I’ve been working on some things for the owner of the cricket coaching facility that my Son Number Two attends each Saturday. The cricket guys and the involvement with cricket has been so positive for Son Number Two. The guys there are all great and working on this has been fun and reminded me that I have skills I can use. Watching word spread, and more and more people ‘liking’ the fan page I’ve set up is almost as cool as seeing how many people read my ‘Whatever gets you through the night’ posts.

On a personal level I’ve been¬†connecting online¬†with a group of ex-service men and women. They are a tight bunch but very welcoming and we share diagnosis’ of PTSD and related issues. They are funny and super supportive of each other. Our individual roads less travelled, our highways to Hell, may have been different but we have all ended up in similar places. Talking to someone who knows how you feel cannot be underestimated, nor can sharing with someone who gets the associated black humour. The thing is though, is that they have left themselves open to connecting with people. With a lot of mental illness it is an uphill battle against detachment. The temptation to isolate yourself, to curl up into a little ball and shield yourself against a world that is too harsh, too noisy, too in your face is huge. After my Daughter Number One died it was a conscious effort not to live in anger, hatred and bitterness. I felt that would be giving more power and allowing more to be taken from me¬†by someone who had already taken so much. Fuck, it’s been hard though. To trust, to make friends, to love. The effort cannot be underestimated. Because if you do leave yourself open to the good you also leave yourself open to the bad, and no one’s life is completely plain sailing. You always hurt the one’s you love and they you, because those are the people you leave yourself vulnerable and exposed to. The point though, is that the payoff is so worth it. To have someone know you as well as anybody could, to have someone who understands you better than anyone else, to have someone who hears you when no one else can, to have someone¬†who¬†sees you as you truly are and have that someone love you anyway. With all your faults, your imperfections. Through good times and in bad. For me, that’s absolutely worth the risk of hurt. Because for me, that is what life is about. Living is loving.

Not everyone can do it. I understand that. For some it’s just too big an ask to let anyone ever be that close to them again. You can only do what you can do. My very special friend, who introduced me to all his special friends has found a new love and they have been very open about their affection for each other. Being privy to that has been so cool. It makes my heart so glad. It is a privilege really. It’s all about hope. And how lovely of them to share that hopefulness with their happiness. For me, hope is what you need to carry on through the tough times. Hope things will get better, easier. Hope that the good times will return. Hope things will work out. Without it there is no reason to get out of bed in the morning, no reason to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

The kicker is, though, is that you have to find the energy, and the guts to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and soldier on. There’s a whole wide world out there and in spite of many indications to the contrary there are lots of good people out there too. You just have to be open to it. It’s like using the world-wide web for small business promotion. The potential is there, but the fact is unrealised potential is the same as no potential at all. Maximise your potential. You are the only one who can.

Travel safe guys x

Sunday bloody Sunday

Moments of quiet contemplation today. Time to ponder life’s big and important questions. Like, can I lose a few kilograms in two weeks so I can wear my new dress to see my friend play in his band? And what impression¬†is¬†someone who has 27 pictures of themselves on their dating profile really¬†trying to make?

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio….. and all of it is out there on the interwebs.

 

A little less conversation….

I think I’ve made this confession before in a previous post, but I actually remember a time when there was no internet. No email, no IM, no World Wide Web. It’s a bit trippy to think about considering my dependence on it now. This was highlighted again for me recently when the always interesting LatumWay took a hiatus from his YouTube channel and I experienced an actual feeling of loss. There are blogs and sites I visit weekly, some daily, and they make up¬†a large part¬†of my interaction with the rest of humanity – a pretty sad indictment if ever I heard one, but the truth none the less.

I also love instant messaging, with MSN Messenger being my fave. I love words, and I have no patience. Instant messaging and¬†and I were¬†always going to be a match made in virtual heaven. It was hammered home to me last night though that even this favourite form of entertainment/interaction has its limitations. I was talking at length, on Messenger, with a friend. We were talking about relationships, and the ghosts of relationships past. While friendships over the internet some times develop quickly, having an air of intimacy enhanced by the safety of being able to hide behind your computer screen, there are times when the written word just doesn’t cut it. My friend was recounting the loss of¬†an amazing love and started to cry, and I was speechless. There were no words, nor emoticons appropriate to the occasion. All I wanted to do was reach out and hug him.

We spoke about having that one person who gets you, in ways no one else does. Who speaks the same language even in silence. Oh how I¬†want that. And it occurred to me then, that as much as I love my computer and the internet, that type of connection is only really achievable in the ‘real’ world. I’m not knocking internet friendships or relationships. I’ve been lucky to have a few good ones myself. And luckier in that I’ve managed to parlay some of¬†them into ‘real’ life ones. I just need to tip the balance from weighing heavily on the virtual to including more reality. The realness, the rawness, the agony and ecstacy- I want it all!

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