Happy holidays & All the Best for 2016

Dear blog friends,

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This is not a blog post

I’ve struggled with blogging lately. I’m happy and doing fine but my brain is preoccupied on other things now; I just can’t hear my writing-self. I’m not worried.

This happens from time to time. When I’m still and reflective, there’s a voice in my head dictating every word and I cannot help but stop and write. I’ve been known to park on the side of the highway to write. I even walked out of a crowded concert to write. I’ve written on the table, on a napkin, behind of a business card – I just needed to put it down. Yes, I could carry a notebook around but sometimes the words are gone when I try to “formalise” its capture.

These days, I’m thinking about ideas. My thoughts are in pictures and concepts. Not words or feelings. Like I said I’m not worried – not this time. I’m at peace because the words always find me. And when it does, I don’t always notice until the end.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today was a good day

This week’s photo challenge is an opportunity to talk about my great week. I’m busy again after 13 weeks of doing “nothing”. It’s good to be back, at least in part. I can even say it’s refreshing. I spent the weekend before the busyness started with friends at a barbeque.

Chilling at the Barbeque last Saturday

Chilling at the Barbeque last Saturday

Here’s my mesh gallery. Check out my first day at my part time job, plus a few lengths of the swimming pool on a Friday morning (my off day!) and then completing a personal essay I’ve been working on.

Mesh photo credits to flickr users:

Lee Coursey : Swimming pool Pattern #4 – see license here

Sean MacEntee : Work – see license here

Denise Krebs : 2012-259 A Writing Six-word Story – see license here

Blogging Review: Why I’m Rubbish At Small Talk

For me, blogging restarted in March this year. I wasn’t expecting to do so little blogging in 2013 and I did even less in 2014. What triggered a restart?

It wasn’t just the quantity of writing that worried me. The depth of it was unlike me…there was a lot of small talk with very little to go on in terms of how I was feeling about life in 2013 and 2014.

Then fast forward to March 2015. Blogging has become deliberate. I owned the fact that writing helps me verbalise my thoughts such that I can move on quickly.

I got great encouragement early on such as the pleasant surprise success of “I lost my mojo. Then I found it on a plane.” I tried out a different writing style with that blog, more present in the story. It seemed to work.

I occasionally take part in the weekly photo challenges. I have to confess that those take very little effort compared to my musing but I’m always surprised by how many people read/engage with those. WordPress promote those well and I get the most likes with weekly photo challenges.

A small portion of people engage with deeper thought provoking posts such as my recent one, “My Early Midlife Crisis: Bear, Manoeuvre or Heal“. I expected more attention for that post for sure.

The first half of 2015 has seen me blog more and blog honest. I have had to pause to wonder if I should please the majority of folks with more weekly photo challenges and small talk or whether to say what I want when I want regardless of who might engage.

I will need to keep blogging for me and I hope that’s ok. 

But I wonder: 

What makes you read and engage with a post on a blog?

I lost my mojo. Then I found it on a plane.

Be yourself, be kind to others and your soul will rejoice

– me

I am on an Aberdeen-Birmingham flight. The plane is small and full. As I sit down on my aisle seat, I do my best to tuck in my limbs so as not to irritate the window-seat passenger. My mindset on flights is that unless the passenger next to me looks particularly friendly and/or initiates a conversation, I’m willing to sit there in silence for the duration of the flight. A little brutal maybe, but it’s the safest option.

reading passenger

I am halfway into a paragraph in my book when I hear the voice of a young lady in the seat across from me. She is talking to the passenger next to her. She laughs a lot. I do not hear the other passenger (a man) speak for the first 15 minutes of the conversation. She talks and talks. I learn that she is 23 and got married about 18 months ago. I learn that her husband is a doctor and a similar age to her. I also gather some information about her 2 siblings – one a brunette and the other blonde (she is a red-head).

Believe me, I try not to listen but I think the whole plane is listening. She isn’t perturbed by the quietness of the passenger she is chatting with. He nods and smiles from time to time. About 30 minutes into the flight, his voice becomes more audible. He laughs. I hear that he has a girlfriend and has been to Aberdeen only a handful of times.

The two talk for the 1-hour flight, with the young lady leading the conversation, asking questions and probing for detailed responses.

I have to be honest. I am half irritated by her. I have a book in my hand and I can’t get through more than a couple of pages due to the distracting conversation. We passengers glare at her periodically, hoping she just ends the conversation. We already know too much.

missing plane

The other half of me greatly admires her. She is bold and confident. At 23, I think she displays tenacity that is uncommon in many young women. I think about my safe option to keep to myself on planes (and in other public places, especially places that ‘move’ e.g. trains).

Then I realise something:

The young lady…that used to be me

I have let the fear of rejection change how I behave in certain situations. Being an extrovert by nature, I have a lot to say, a lot going on in my head that I want to share. But more and more, I don’t. I think it’s not important. Or the slight frown coming across my listener’s forehead becomes my cue to be quiet and withdraw.

As we disembark from the plane, the man thanks the young lady for great company as it helped the time pass quickly. I can’t help smiling. I want to thank her too.

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I’m glad to witness that young lady on the plane. I am on my way to attend a workshop (I wrote about the workshop here). The workshop is an awesome experience in part because of the young lady on the plane. I walk into the venue deciding to be yourself and not to shrink when people don’t take me on as I hope. I smile and talk to complete strangers with no malice even when they appear not to welcome my intrusion. It is liberating and I have fun. My spirit is light. My soul, gratified. I am not holding back.

My extroverted nature has been partially suppressed for years. In fact, I think there are times I lose it. Somehow, I’m finding it and I want to keep it even when I’m gray. I just need to have more faith in who I am. And gentle (and not so gentle) reminders are welcome. Thank you, Red-Headed Young Lady :-).

Images from flickr users: Dreemreeper – reading passenger on plane; Eole Wind – Missing plane; Paula Bailey – Paula Bailey

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