Personal Development

The Morning After The Week Before

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It’s officially winter here, now, in the Southern Hemisphere and in the last two days I have awoken to thick mist on the slopes of our beloved Mother City’s Table Mountain. It’s quite a change after a week in the desert, where only the wispy clouds of the upper hemisphere were visible.

We are meant to go on a journey to change things, shift things and find a new connection. Increasingly, more and more as I get older I find myself even more earthbound. That no matter how big the adventure, no matter how far I go, that the physical journey barely changes me. The beauty I find is no more transformative than the cinematography of a good film. The things I find wow for a moment and then they’re gone. I am left with a photograph, a story, maybe a new friend and a slightly shifted future transmuted to help me discover another side story. These days I head off on adventures curious to find something new and instead I always end up anxious to get back. When before I would have longed to stay now I’m always ready to come home. Maybe that is because of something better waits for me here.

If there is one thing that I have learned in the last 12 months is that our life journey is more caught up in the emotional environments of our friends and relationships than they ever might be from escapist journeys of travel, about who we are in our day to day lives and the intricate weaving of the shared emotional journey we seem to embroider each other with. That relationships are the stitching that holds us together.

It seems for me now that mystery and adventure somehow seem to hold far less magic that the long drawn out conversation that occur between two people. That the pasts that the histories that people share are far more imbued with wisdom than the idea that we might learn something from leaving the lives we are in. People are valuable they are all round us with ideas, dreams and understanding that moved beyond our own life experiences, that no matter where we go we take ourselves with us. That we view the world from the paradigm in which we occupy and that magic only truly finds us when we are ready to upgrade our own frequency. That, that frequency only every changes on the basis of how much we are willing to give of ourselves. That sharing is, in essence, is caring and that holding space for people including ourselves is the best chance that we have at deepening the connection we have with the world around us.

Change

IMG-2579Well, I can assure you that change is something I’m pretty good at with 34 house moves under my belt, I might even say that I am a master craftswoman or something like that. It’s something that many businesses and corporation go on about a lot these days, change management. Let’s face it the world has been speeding up for a while. Technology is outdated before it’s even hits the shelves and everybody wants to be everywhere all at once. FOMO seems to permeate the millennial life and more than that there is already a whole new generation getting ready to emerge. Millennials are already old news and insta perfect lives seems to a get to be a less manageable delusion. We all make mistakes. We all have bad days. Most of us crave more than we already have. Something different, something new, even if it is just that new restaurant that opened up in town. While other stick to the daily grind stay in their rat runs of existence and do there best to protect themselves for unseeable forces or simply embrace making the best lives that they can (Gold stars for them) My mother once said to me a long time ago that “Life is change”. My life of all people’s is certainly demonstrative of that.

For me right now it’s not so much what is going on for me in my personal life than is the challenge. It is the world at large. We often hear people talking about this period in history, as if nothing like this has ever happened before. Like religious, political, racial and gender persecution hasn’t been a thing. It is hard to acknowledge that it always has when we have experienced 75 years of relative peace in the western world. It’s so easy to forget that that peace is built on conflict. That the privileges that we have right now were developed in response to deep crisis and that most of the world systems have developed through exposure to disaster, whether it be in health, education or governance. Like Game of Thrones and the White Walkers, the biggest threat that we have right now is the preservation of life itself. It goes beyond what little scrap of Earth we may be able to dig out and protect for ourselves. It goes beyond our individual materialist needs and individual survival. It’s about land, waterways, communities and respect and believes that we are now on the very brink of a major paradigm shift where the world as we know it is about to change. Every ten years or so there seems to be a massive emergence of what we might call the radical left. Last time it was the Occupy Movement this time its Extinction Rebellion. Fundamentally what you need to know that movements evolve that many of the people involved in the Extinction Rebellion were involved in Occupy. The goal posts have moved somewhat but what you need to know is that the requirements for a successful resolution to our global challenges have not. What we need is a wellbeing economy that put the needs of the planet first. As The Life Doula, this is at the core of my work as I believe that in order for that change to happen that we need in essence to heal humans of the sickness of greed and the disconnection that fuels so much of our insecurities. That we need secure attachments, strong communities and the ability to sustain ourselves, having all the resources that we need for survival within walking distance. It’s time to get back to where we belong, in loving families, intentional tribes safe from the disruptive forces of capitalism.

Our Bacon Tree

IMG-2295Our Bacon Tree is actually a Spekboom (Which is Afrikaans for Bacon/Pork Tree) that were given as a token reminder of our wedding. At the moment it lives on our balcony and has had a pretty epic year on its own. Having survived two moves, re-potting and being devoured by caterpillars. (Yes your right that is very symbolic, our wedding token was devoured by the Earth’s universally accepted animal change agent.) It has also given up a limb to spawn a fully independent mini-me.

The good news is that is has survived the process. Like most living things it has a variety of moods that I now use it as a relationship weather vain. Which has forced me to create a new relationship in my life and I find a place to focus the nurturing qualities of marriage. I talk to it. I encourage it and I tell it how beautiful it is. That it belongs in with us and that I am very grateful to have it in my life. That I love the work it does and how much it is doing for the planet. I make sure it’s loved, though I’m not sure it believes it after the caterpillar incident.  I wonder at what lengths people go through to keep a plant healthy and happy. Especially in the times, we live now.   I know it is a miracle in my life and it represents hope for the future. Especially as it loves munching carbon. Over a decade ago someone once told me “If you think you are ready for a relationship to get yourself a plant and if it lives a year, you are ready for a pet”. In recent weeks it has also been highlighted to me that a husband is a sort of pet. (I know it’s terrible) As we shouldn’t have such high expectations of people. After all most pets behave and do as they like and we love them anyway regardless of how inconvenient that might be.

The marriage process has made me confront things that I literally never thought possible. Miya Angelo said, “When people tell you who they believe them”. All of a sudden I do. There are many things that we choose to overlook when we get into relationships. For all the right reasons. We want to love through it. We believe that anything is possible. That we can love far beyond our own truths and live somebody else’s. Then we begin to understand just how wild that is. What a massive adventure is laid out before us and that in undertaking this path we are reconstructing the world in which we have chosen to live. That our world is no longer controlled by our personal truths and that shared realities are complex. That living with another person is like living with another reality that we might never fully discover. That we can’t colonise another person’s mind with ideas that aren’t true for them, any idea, and that somehow we might be able to navigate that together. That these are the decisions we’ve made and that we resist them at our own peril. Alternate truths are real. Yet somehow we are surprised by this. As if politics alone wasn’t enough to play that out for all to see.

The thing is though we don’t have to convince anybody. We don’t need to change anybody’s mind. We don’t need to make them understand how we see it and we certainly don’t have to expose facts in order to be heard. All we can ever do is turn up and be ourselves and live our lives as fully as we always intended, love ourselves enough that there is space for another perspective. Live our truths and through the process and know that we are enough and the world’s madness doesn’t change that.

They say that there are lessons in everything and that what we see is our mirror. What we don’t fully understand is how deep that reflection goes. Of course, what I’ve just said is a paradox. As there is no depth in a mirror. All we have is a flat perspective that can move and change giving us all the information that we need in it. Reflecting back all the details of our backstory and simultaneously our present. It soooo fucking magical. It’s totally understandable that we would be highly confused by it. Relationships take personal understanding deeper, as we unpick everything. We find that our internal traits, have external matches. Cause meets effect, openness meets rigidity, reflective meets reactive, embracing meets denial, truth meets reason. There’s also no telling where each of us may take that ground in the ever-shifting sands of life.

We all like to believe that we know the best way forward and that we can talk through everything. Then honestly what if you can’t? What if after nearly eight years of being together you finally realise that actually, you have totally different belief systems that literally took seven years to show up. That the veils have well and truly fallen and love can still dwell in the places where we can’t meet.

We may be very familiar and safe with our own demons and the process it might take to coax them into a ferral state of benign co-living. When all of a sudden you find yourself discovering somebody else’s lurking in the previously unexplored recesses of their mind.  We don’t know where they start and end or even their true form. Like the film, Alien we don’t fully understand what we are seeing. It takes a while for the nature and intentions of the wee fucker to fully come to light.

We can liken personal relationships to revelations in history. Where the nature of the universe even now is under debate. That the best ways forward are often argued about. Great breakthroughs are often dismissed and even ignored until we find ourselves in a new reality depending on who has the fortitude to push through. The lesson will be repeated until it is learned. Love always, especially when it is hard, confusing and frustrating. Yup.

Fuck, Being Yourself Is Difficult

IMG-1561You may have guessed I’m trying to up my game, be deeply authentic, pretend that I know what the fuck I’m doing with my life in order to be able to guide you in yours. Yes really. So I’ve been reading some pretty awesome blogs of late where funny women with high standards and a heavy dose of reality are literally recording their daily fails to serve as an inspiration to us all. Me, Baby & The Beard.

My life which is very comfortable revolves round dysfunction that I’m still figuring out. In the last week or so I’ve been having flashbacks to my 24-year-old self who seemed very together and super capable of fitting into the capitalist dream. I was even using my anti-wrinkle cream a year early. I was soooo together and then whoops that millennial life crisis or should I say xennial life crisis hit. Since then it’s been a whole load of figuring out who you’re brushing your hair for? If Mrs Flemming isn’t going to scream at you?  Equally well who are you brushing your hair for if everyone isn’t going to fawn over you? Do you really have to pretend to look this good to get a job? To be noticed? To be valued? Is the amount of care I put into my appearance really representative of how much I love of value myself? Or am I really just buying into a value system that has been imposed on me rather than ascertained for myself? Or am I forcing myself to question something that should just be universally accepted? Would this idea then be dogma? Praise and blame they’re all the same. So that question [Who am I brushing my hair for?] alone has lead me down some long winding passages and thought trains, that have ultimately lead me back to the idea of nurturance. That we have to be able to invest in ourselves enough in order to create our own growth. It’s a step beyond caring. It’s practical love. At first, I thought of it as self-parenting. Lately, I was introduced to the idea that nurturance might be the process of learning how to mother. I think in many ways that nurturance is more radical than mothering. It’s a step beyond, as it releases the obligation of a perceived role that we may never have experienced. Why should we be mothering ourselves if we never had a mother? Why should we be re-mothering ourselves if the lead female in our lives didn’t meet up to the perceived norms of “mothering”.  Or that we should know how to parent when the truth of the matter is that anybody with an ounce of self-reflection will admit that parenting is nothing more than terrifying, experiment with no clear outcomes.  Self-parenting leaves us with nothing more than unpacking a parental programme that we have most likely survived rather than thrived through (that is certainly true for me, I’m open to the idea that I am projecting). Nurturance gives us an opportunity to ask a question of ourselves. What do I need right now? If I wanted to grow what would I provide for myself? If thriving looked a certain way, what would it look like? How would I feel? All these questions help us figure out what is true for us and find deeper alignment with ourselves. Making our lives easier in the long run.

Last year I thought I’d cracked it with a course in Dharma (My own personal course) which involved largely getting water in my mouth first thing in the morning. Resolving situations as they arrive and then realising that largely I was doing a very good job of doing an all singing all dancing performance of sweep it under the carpet. Humans -they don’t do what they say they will even the one you actually control.

Getting married will do that. Then, of course, the minor shit storm becomes a major one and oh well. Back to Dharma, Carry Water, Chopping Wood. Pay Attention to your feelings. They are fucking wild and take you on the craziest adventures without even leaving the room. The stories that we tell ourselves.

 

I Nurture My Human

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Do you every get to a point where you think I might never nail this? I think that’s where I am today. I’ve got unfinished projects, new progressions and self-nurturance projectories that I just can’t keep up with. Then I fall back let go, look around and realise my head is driving me crazy. My life is great. I have enough insight to know that my life is on a gentle upward trend. I have a secure homes, running water (Which this time last year might have seemed an impossibility. Find out more here) money in the bank. More importantly I like myself and for someone who often feels like that there personality seems to be bouncy castle embedded with hidden razor blades I love myself plenty. I just have no idea what that looks like to the outer world. For the most part I don’t really care much about that, excpet of course I’m always doing my best to serve and love other people. Cause after all who wants to end up with a personality that’s a bouncey castle with hidden razors blades. quite frankly that’s a lot of what I deal with – Yes my personality me. Sometimes I wonder how it is that I make it into the future and other times I wonder how I used to managed that so well way back in the day.

Working for yourself is such a different ball game when it’s almost entirely customer facing and perfectionism isn’t the end goal. That you need to keep it real that you need to say. You know life? It’s fucking hectic and messy. There are so many things that act and do exactly what they want and they are wonderful. Sometimes I just want to follow my intuition down rabbit holes or do what’s easiest in stead of what’s hardest. That sometimes placating a situation is far easier than drawing lines in the sand. Every day feels like a negotiations tournament of priorities of me, my clients, my husband and then the things you own that own you. And of course then there are such things as the greater good. The collective will. Collective futures and better ideas of how life is. Then you stop and take it all in for a minute. I’m here for you. I really am. If you reach out to me I’ll pick up the phone, I’ll answer the mail and I’ll get to you where every you are if it your fucking falling apart and it bits and their is nobody else to call.

So from here on in – with my consistantly inconsistant self I’m letting me off the hook. Cause I live a real life where Mondays aren’t predictable. I don’t know most days what time my husband comes home from work (cause he does shifts) and well feelings are important to me. That my feelings almost always come first because thye dictate everything that I am and am able to do in the best possible way. That if I can manage my emotions. It might take coffee, it might take sleep or even some kind of meditation. If I can make that time for myself then fuck I’m doing the best you can and showing you what that looks like.  That it’s part of a greater goal of what a wellbeing economy really looks like.

Lessons for 2018

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Really are we doing this? It’s kind of a must, to get a little bit of self-reflection into the programme. End cycles are such a crazy time for all of us. By the time we hit December we are already hitting 2019 hard and we are trying our best to get a clear idea of what worked and what didn’t. 2018 has been one of the hardest years that I can remember. I got married the planets went background and what was meant to be a clear trajectory to the finish line of life got all muddled up. Things were not what they were supposed to be and life long dreams coming true can mess with your head more than you can imagine. You don’t hear about this stuff much. That wedded bliss doesn’t last long or that a solution only presents a whole set of new challenges, it’s been a bit brutal. Add into the mix living on another continent from where your from, living in a dual language/culture family and well, these are a mix of challenges that a lot of people never have to deal with. For me I think 2018 has literally been the end of a 10 years cycle of wait and see. Yes 10 years of wait and see. What does that mean? It means if you are not sure what to do. Do nothing, it’s sitting back and letting it unfold knowing that the master plan may not be of your making. 2008 probably heralded my journey into personal healing after having ticked all the boxes and still not having resolved what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be in my life. Since I gave up the idea of an end game I can promise you I have over all been much happier and had a much more fulfilling life.

Saying that in that 10 year cycle I have moved continent, so I’ve done plenty. It might be better to say that life had other plans. Sometime we are dead certain on on thing and then whoops you fall in love with a man half a world away and you find yourself literally on safari. It’s been an incredible blessing.

On the other hand you adapt. You change you grow. You forget parts of yourself simply because they don’t get spoken about much being a #scotabroad experiencing #diaspora and all the complications that might bring. When even the person closest to you only occasionally see your true tartan colours a complex mix all woven together in a peculiar way that only a Scottish person might understand. Then on the other hand, doesn’t, cause after all how many Scots have lived in Cornwall and the South Africa, studied Art History and well married Boer. More people than I might imagine and then of course they aren’t here. All of the above can make for a very strange affair. Where we constantly have to negotiate our beingness to be. So very counter intuitive huh? The main news is I trust myself.

What’s the formula? Love

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First of all even though I preach love, light, compassion and nurturance you’ve got to know that I am human. I’m espousing about the mastery of the potential human condition that I myself have am still working on. I get angry. I’m far more likely to jump to angry than to sadness any day of the week and I have a reputation for resolving conflict somewhat aggressively, even in what should be serene moments of bliss. I kid you not. What has that got to do with love? The fact that I am able to love myself in that process. I don’t reject the feelings. I don’t judge anger bad, I don’t  judge aggression as bad and I also know that we all make mistakes. That although at times I can be a dick, it’s because I am not yet able to permanently tap into endless universal love. Yup that’s me. Imperfect. Fuck it’s wild huh? To find the solution is always love. In 2019 I have finally come back to myself and my way of thinking. Where my own personal mantra is “I trust myself”. Yes little old me. I trust me.

Trust isn’t exactly love though? Is it? No not exactly and yet most people would say that in any relationship that you can’t have love with without trust. So they kind of go hand in glove. The connection of love and trust  is far harder to put a finger on when we think about love and trust when it come to our own interpersonal relationship with ourselves. Through my own journey I am becoming increasingly aware that self-trust is the key to any kind of love. That we have to trust ourselves, our preferences, our feedback, our story in order to experience love. That if it feels right it is right. That something feeling right is only a hop skip and a jump into personal happiness. Happiness is only a 1/2 a centimeter from love. Any kind of love, love of a person, love of a situation, a place or even a thing. If we can create love by trusting ourselves, we can change our world.

Sooooo I trust myself.

This year after many years of trying to figure out how to be a coach I’ve made the decision to go donation based. Sounds crazy right? or does it really? I trained as a Life Coach as I wanted to find great tools in order to be able to assist the people that I talk to on a daily basis. I knew that if I  was able access conversational tools that allowed people to truly feed into their own potential, that there was totally new way of accessing how each of us engaged with the world. For a very long time I have always known that each of us has the ability to create positive change in the world. For some of us it’s a lot easier than others. There are a whole plethora of situations, family experiences and personal circumstances that can seriously impede our ability to thrive as adults in what can be a cruel world. Combine a few short term problems with that physical or mental health concerns and it can create a maelstrom of events that have the ability to rip lives apart. All to often the people who need the most help are totally unable to access any positive support systems. Where a small intervention for a little bit might constructively allow someone to simply make a few better choices.

This anomaly has been something that I have witnessed and experienced over and over again. That entirely capable people end up living hand to mouth as they do daily battle with painful negative self-talk and limiting beliefs. All fueled by spiraling anxiety based on a perspective of lack and scarcity. For people on the outside it can be mind boggling and frustrating to witness what they consider an intelligent person making the same mistakes over an over. So that’s what I’m doing putting and end to this bullshit for free. I’m here to help. All you have to do is turn up.

MisGuided Guides

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As many of you who are members of my Healing Humans groups will have noticed I have been using a productivity system recommended by James Clear on how to improve systems rather than goals. As a result I’ve been reading all those email subscriptions in order to source amazing articles and insights for the group.

So I’ve been checking out Medium that seems to be written by a Millennial crowd. Millennials make me think back to other times and I like to think that every  youth generation has it’s thing The Beatniks, The Hippies and The Punk. Apparently I’m a Proto-Hipster with a Punk approach. That was sorted out for me several years ago already, to save anybody any confusion about my cultural origins. I dropped out of the idea of being classically successful probably round about the day I was born. Yet I still floundered in the public schooling system got an education (in the arts (What else?) ). I turned my hands, then lost my head doing the best I could to make sense of the incredibly fluid and systemised world that we live in. None of it makes any sense, it’s all bonkers, absurd, wilder than imagination and well like tripping. We go into offices, charities, start ups, NGO’s, governments and work at just about everything we can. To find that our bosses Dad left him at four so he has self-worth issues, that the girl two cubicles along from you is a refugee from Zimbabwe or lets here it for all the working mothers who are watching the clock all day making sure they gets to the school gate on time.

In the meantime we are trying to run logical no error systems with human robots, who keep bringing to the party exactly what they should. They bring there humaness. Their flawsome. We wonder why the system doesn’t work? We wonder how we can fit in? How we can get ahead?  How we can grow from criticism? How we can integrate feedback? How we can thrive through this? All massive challenges and questions and I wonder what I know about all this for sure. Lets be clear about this. It’s what I know. It’s not what I have mastered.

Turn Up

Just turn up endlessly without question. All the time. That shit gets noticed.

Set Boundaries

Know what your job is. If you don’t know what your job is. Your job is to do everything. Until such time as someone tells you it isn’t and changes their mind the next day. This is normal. Stay calm. It’s capitalism at it’s best. Be kind to everybody even when they are “challenging” – Step outside and scream and repeat.

Do Your Job

Yes I know it’s everything!!!!! Do it all. Don’t take toilet breaks. Don’t question your boss (Even though they ask for questions. If you do ask questions be sure to ask the ones they know the answers to). Don’t take on anybody else’s work until yours is done. Like totally done. Like you’ve been in the parking lot for 15 min thinking over what you’ve missed done.

If You Think Above You Pay Level You Have To Act On It 

You can only think above your pay level once you have mastered the first job you have. Everyone is busy. Make a job easier, faster more efficient you’ll get some fans. Yup start your fan base here.

Set Time Limits

Never take work home unless you have kids and their survival depends on your job.

Use Your Spare Time To Build Your Dream

It could be making floor cushions out of your pubic hair. If that’s what gets your vibe, do it.

THIS APPLIES TO EVERYTHING YOU UNDERTAKE WORK, PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT, HOME LIFE, EVERYTHING.

 

 

 

Take Care Of Yourself First

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This is Delphine clearly an Oracle looking badass while mothering hard. When the tough get going the tough drink tea.

Every so often my mind develops little mantras. This one “Take Care of Yourself First” came to me a few weeks ago while I was literally about to wet myself while trying to turn on the laptop to save time. Fucking ridiculous right? Right? Do you do this? I do this kind of stuff all the time and it drives me more then a little crazy too. Like many people I think that I am a multitasking god. Which I absolutely can be at times. Then you have moments like the one above where you mindfully facepalm yourself and decide going to the toilet is more important than productivity or in fact essential to productivity. I mean seriously. It’s the small things right?

Sometime in a my mid-twenties I remembered becoming so acutely aware of running on autopilot about many small tasks, only because I started to have “accidents” or lets say oversights. Not necessarily wetting myself more the inside out pants situation; cause you didn’t actually check. For want of falling into a stereo type things like leaving the hand break on and that kind of stuff. Then you remember I’m not God. I just need to be firmly assured in the fact if I’m not paying attention I’m likely to make mistakes. As are you. We are all human after all. That’s a humbling realisation for many of us. The great news is we can save ourselves deep levels of embarrassment and humiliation. If we pay attention to the small stuff, notate the it’s daily mastery is a minor lesser noted miracle and achieving beyond this is well worthy of note, recognition and possible some kind of award scheme.

A mate of mine Sonia Mather (a womanly demigod and my one of my personal gurus) often refers to this strategy as Oxygen Living. The principle behind this is that you have to put your oxygen mask first before helping anybody else. Being a mother she learned early on that as one of the main co-collaborators in her family life. She was personally responsible for holding that the family together (groundbreaking I know). Caught in the exhaustive and endless quandary of taking care of two young children;  she realised if she wasn’t taking care of herself who else would? Her two young children couldn’t do it and nor could her husband as if like here he wasn’t battling his own challenges, he two was wrestling with two small children. Other than taking turns at alone time there really weren’t any other option than to put personal care at the top of the list. Which is incredibly challenging with two small kids. Cause guess what you can’t leave them alone and personal control is a human skill that many adults have yet too mastered (me included). Mothering is a masterclass in personal survival (that’s why Mothers are amazing).  This also reminds me of my own mother defiantly drinking a cup of tea at the end of a long day at work before delving into our stuff. Or the many mother that have barricaded themselves into a bathroom for a long awaited bath with the music turned up. So there you have it. Taking care of yourself first is essential for the survival of future generations and the human race and thus very very important.

I Am Celebrated

4EDBF04E-2251-4EC4-BDD2-1A023FF077CDOctober was my birthday month. As another sun cycle has hit me it became clear that it was time to celebrate. I have made it to the humble age of 38.  Life is getting better and better and I know it. The past week has felt lit up by my achievements and personal power. I wonder what life has got in store for me next it’s got to be something exciting. After all I am excited to be here, now. The must be something up? This Birthday has been another great opportunity for growth. Where I break further and further away from the idea of a permission based existence. That I need to stand up, take what I want from the counter and give back what I can in return. Imagine if at Birthday time we didn’t mop about waiting to be acknowledged or loved and that we just celebrated the life and love that we have. Celebrating is a step beyond gratitude. It’s like a love explosion.

For years I waited for someone to notice or for someone to love me just they way I might want them to. It’s an impossible task to hand to someone. Who else could know or celebrate me better than I can. It’s only very recently that I began to figure out that my Birthday Celebrations were being dictated to by a bunch of people who actually didn’t like me very much. Can you imagine that. Who wanted me to be someone else. Aspirationally demure filled with elegance and discernment. Ha ha ha ha I now sit back and laugh at all those unhappy birthdays that had nothing to do with me and realise exactly why I didn’t enjoy them. They weren’t for me they were for everyone else. What everyone else thought I should be doing. Getting taken out for dinner, etc etc etc.

So do yourself a favour, take time to celebrate you just as you are. Invite the people you actually like a long for the ride. The maybe just maybe a Happy Birthday will turn up for you.