When you call me beautiful… the life of the insecure

I am going to preface this with simply saying this is not an ego piece nor is it designed for you to tell me I am wrong or say ‘oh but you are beautiful’. I am not fishing for complements here I can assure you that. What I do want to do is learn to be more honest with and about myself. With that honesty hopefully it will not only help me, but give some insight to those around me about my weirdness. Maybe this will even reach out to you – perhaps my sharing will give words to your own thoughts and feelings. As today is Time to Talk day – I chose to talk about part of my Mental Health I don’t often talk about my insecurities and physical dislikes.

I really struggle with compliments I honestly do not understand what the etiquette is if someone says you’re beautiful or pretty, sexy… blah blah blah. This goes as much for my boyfriend as when anyone else says it, for example if you compliment me over twitter I usually just say something along the lines of thanks, but I am I meant to compliant you back? Doesn’t that then sound false? How do I make it sincere when it feels like I have been prompted? It’s even worse when it’s the boyfriend, he is so flattering and so loving and I am like ‘Uh… yeah… um…thanks’ mean while my head is going ‘COMPLMENT HIM BACK!!!!’ Followed by ‘No don’t, how fake will that sound I know wait, then do it,’ ‘how long?’ ‘I don’t know – 10 minutes, is that too soon?….JUST SAY SOMETHING!!! START WITH THANK YOU!!!!’ – darling if you are reading this, this is why sometimes for just a few seconds I stare at you – this is what is going on behind the eyes.

The other problem is that I do not get why you compliment me, now I can be subjective in the sense that I understand that I have nice shaped eyes, that my mouth is a fairly nice shape, that my hair frames my face well and my cheek bones are a nice shape. All together that sounds like I should think I am beautiful… far, far from it. I can look at the individual parts but the package is nothing special – it’s tired looking, and well it’s just a face, it to me is just average. It’s difficult to explain as I do not think I am ugly I just do not think I am anything special – I exist in this state of just being an average face one that at times I just don’t like.

This leads to most people having no idea I am not confident, no idea that I am insecure. That I really do not like the way I look. Sometimes my insecurities lead me to being embarrassed I’ll hide or cover up the part that is being complimented and yes even after 11 years of complements from the boyfriend I will go all coy and shy, hide my face – I just simple do not know how to handle it I am not sure I ever will. So remember when I am weird about things this is why – be gentle, be understanding – more importantly if you feel the same be reassured that I know that feeling, I know the insecurities and I know it goes deeper than just a pretty face (or not.).

A lot of this feeds into feelings of value and lack of worth, when I do not feel worthy I certainly do not feel worthy of complements. Every day I will struggle to feel worthy and every day I do it reminds me to tell you – you are worthy too.

 

Every day is a day to talk about Mental Health

Today is Time to Talk day – and yes it is time to talk! Grab a cuppa, grab your colleagues, grab your friends and be open about Mental Health, discuss it in an open manner with pride! However there is just a few things I want to say about Time to Talk day because when the clock strikes midnight tonight don’t pack the conversations away till next year. Keep talk – do you have a friend who is depressed? Then don’t let today be the only day you take them for a cup of tea and ask them if they are ok. Don’t forget that tomorrow and the day after they will still be suffering in silence, make this the day that you talk about Mental Health and that you pledge to talk about it every day – make sure today is the day you break down stigma and you keep it down because tomorrow we’ll still need you and the day after that.

Today is important to tackle stigma, shout out about how Mental Health is not shameful and that seeking help is not shameful – the proudest thing I did was this time last year when I admitted that I’m not ok. I went to get help, I was signed off work and I went on medication, a year down the line I am not ashamed to admit I am still on medication I am ok with the fact that it might be sometime. I swear though that I won’t just be proud today, I won’t just talk about my wellbeing and my mental health today – I will talk about it every day if needed until I don’t see stigma anymore.

Remember that today is about having all the conversations, about reaching out, that as someone with Mental Health problems you discuss it with honesty and openness. As someone reaching out to those around you with Mental Health problems – be respectful, remember we struggle because stigma and negativity says that we are faulty, we aren’t and we never will be. Our greatness is in our struggle, are greatness is in the fight we face every day, offer us the chance to show you the world through our eyes.

Be respectful, don’t push and remember sometimes a cuppa and a hug works just as well. Let us know today that you are prepared and ready to try to understand, that you are willing to be open and loving and that you will be there through the better times and through the dark times. Remember even with Time to Talk day – sometimes we don’t want to or need to talk sometimes we just need to know you are there, that you love us, that you aren’t ashamed of us, that we aren’t broken or faulty. Today don’t let go of the fight and don’t let the compassion leave, after today remember to make everyday time to talk – make every day a day where you say no to stigma and you say yes to love.

And should you need guidance on how to talk, or with mental health here are some links to help:

Mind Website

Time to Change Website

Violence and Hatred, what now is the answer…. Where does Love and Unity belong?

More and more when I read the news, when I look on social media I am sick to my stomach, I am not sure I even recognise the world around me anymore. Where once I felt that the majority of people were ok, good and decent now I am not so sure. I know for the most part the people around me both in real life, at work and in the realms of social media are like minded. For so long I took for granted that this was the great wide world out there full of decent, caring, humble people. These days not so much I realised how narrow my view was and how naïve I was to the world brewing out there – and it’s a cold dark world that is threatening decent folk…. No wait let me change that it’s a cold dark world that is threatening folk – every single one of us one way of another is threatened by this fear, this hate, this violence and every one of us needs to stand for what is decent and right.

We need to stand up and we need to fight – does fighting mean violence, is violence ever the right answer? Yes they threaten, harm and terrorise innocent people because they have the wrong beliefs, or the wrong skin colour, the wrong gender or sexuality, and that is unforgivable, disgusting and deplorable because each and every human deserves the right to be themselves, the right not to fear for themselves and the right to be accepted as themselves, I still believe that and always will. As the right movement grows and gains traction, I will always believe humans deserve to be themselves. But this is where that gets tricky because to believe everyone has a right to their own belief, to be their own person means you have to accept both ends of the spectrum the decent with the less decent. So let me rephrase that everyone has the right to their own belief, to be their own person, but they also have the right to safety and freedom and therefore I can’t support and will not support a belief that threatens the safety and freedom of others. I support the fact you are entitled to it if you must but I don’t support you I don’t support your hate.

I have to be clear here though I am not sure I support hate on either side or violence on either side, all across twitter last week I saw celebrations of the ‘Nazi Punching’ and yes don’t get me wrong he is a vile, deplorable person and a small part of me inwardly cheered to see it, but all we do is diminish our arguments. You see on one hand yes he deserved the punching on the other hand all it did is feed into the rights rhetoric that they are right, the liberals are wrong ‘look at them saying no to violence and hate then punching someone, they are hypocrites’ which perpetuates the continuing cycle, the continuing hatred and lies. All we do by shouting down each other is make the gap wider, make any way of aligning too far away. I can’t support violence, I will always help someone in need and I believe we fight by being better than the other side.  Don’t get me wrong I am not for one instance saying that we lie down and accept that we become meek and passive. Not. For. One. Minute – Fight, stand up for people, stand up for those who are the most affected – fight alongside each other – but for me I believe there is more to fighting than violence.

I still feel there is a better way to fight this bigotry, the racism the misogyny the vileness by decency, by kindness and by love. I remember last year walking to work and discovering a guy passed out along the canal, I waited with another person, only two of us stopped to help this person. We called the ambulance, we waited and when the passed out guy came too I calmly sat and talked him down from a freak out, he was under the influence, very worse for wear, cold and frightening and kept lashing out at people. The ambulance turned up and eventually with some encouragement we got him to agree to being taken home. I’d been there some time, hours, I was late for work because of it, at the time I remember people being amazed by my kindness, ‘wasn’t I scare that he might have been deranged, violent’ – that I was ‘brave for helping because I didn’t know what kind of person he was’. No I didn’t, I still don’t, what I do know is that he was a human being and life is precious and valuable and it was in my power to do something. I guess my problem is I am still that person I would still stop and help that passed out person in need of kindness.

I’ve been thinking about that event a lot recently, because I realised that I will always be that person so I can’t say I’ll help anyone except ‘Nazis’ (which I have seen people stay now) but how do we know – how do I know that person wasn’t right winged in his beliefs, how do we pick and chosen who to support, who to hate, what identifies the other as ‘other’– how do you know. Just because I will be kind and loving I am no push over, I do not have to believe in, or support and share your rhetoric. Your systematic abuse of those not able to stand up and defend themselves won’t go un-noticed. This year I will do more good, I will love more, harder than before, a friend shared this tweet on twitter (you can view it here). This speaks so hard to me – I won’t be quiet this year, I won’t be passive and repress my fear but I won’t hate and I won’t condone violence – don’t be passive, love, laugh, find joy, spread joy – share joy with all around you and come together. Love all those who share this earth with you – show them that gender, race, religion, colour, sexuality and everything else in between does not matter.

 

Yes I feel like an aging dying hippy, I sometimes feels like the last of my kind but I believe love to be more powerful than violence, there has to be a better way.

 

Trying this art thing and learning to accept being adequate

So art… you know art is hard, creating is hard and being imaginative and original are well yes ok are hard.

So one of the things I’m trying to be this year is more creative… those who have been here a while know this was something I started with d&d and being a DM. This is something I am still doing but for the most part I find writing comes fairly easily  to me and thinking off the cuff as a DM is the easiest part, I find I go through life rarely Really knowing what I am doing and feeling like I’m blagging most things. Even this blog of course is an attempt to be creative… in fact it was my first attempt and in a lot of ways my default creative, because I always have thoughts and I can always write, not always grammatically well but it’s not terrible.

So what more can I do, well photography is something that if you have read more than this I have started to get back into. It started with photos of beautiful clouds for a friend… which in turn taught me to re look at nature, to find beauty and in turn I discovered I really don’t have a bad eye for photography at all. I’m now working on teaching myself to edit them which I am writing about in these blogs so you can see my 1st attempt (here). This brings me to art… I’ve always liked to draw but I don’t think I’m particularly good at it. I have a fairly ok imagination, I can imagine how the piece should look and in theory I get the technicalities of art but my God it’s hard. I sometimes feel my mind’s eye is more talented than my hand…. my hand is sort of rubbish and doesn’t do the lines on the page as I want them. I find it frustrating and at times a little demoralising…. ok a lot demoralising.

Why persevere? Why keep doing something that you think you suck at? I hear you ask….Well because at times it can also be relaxing and rewarding and there is a therapeutic element to it. You see one of my biggest problems and the thing that probably most set off my breakdown last year is the fact that I am a perfectionist. As someone who is highly intelligent, has high expectations and is used to doing things well I hate, and I mean hate doing things badly. To the point where if I have no choice to do it and it is not perfect I will beat myself up, I only ever expect perfect from myself. If I can avoid something I’m not good at then I will, I’ve proved that time and time again when working out. If I can’t do either of those things I tend to be slap dash as a way to protect myself, if I’ve rushed something and its crap well I didn’t try anyways. I did this with being a DM at first, I thought I’d be shit so I’d do everything last minute including battle maps but I’ve had many people complement them and I’ve also been told off for rushing and still producing good maps, it’s a bugbear of my boyfriend… he thinks if I put more time in I’d produce exceptional maps. The problem with the breakdown last year is the lack of belief and confidence it has left. I realise a lot of what I do these days is that slap dash approach because well I stopped believing I was any good at anything so learnt to present quick/ rushed work because well then it’s fine if people hate it, criticize it.

So art, art is something that is difficult to really rush – I mean you can do 1 minute sketches, which is something I am trying but otherwise it takes as long as it takes to draw or paint or colour. Being creative or arty is rarely perfect especially first time and requires patience, practice and time to be good, so this year I want to focus on something I suck at in order to become better, but more importantly in order to learn to be less of a perfectionist and to not be so critical or hard on myself. As I write this I have posted my first attempt at using markers on twitter in fact it’s (here) and the stress of it not being liked or commented on is, well hard – I rarely put myself in a position to fail and I am even less likely to do it on a public forum. I mean anyone and everyone can see it and they might say it’s shit (I mean it is but that my job to say) and thinking about this gives me palpitations, makes me panic, I feel just a little sick…. I might just delete it all. Instead I will leave it on twitter and try to have the determination and belief that there is nothing wrong with not being perfect, there is nothing wrong with sharing something less than technically perfect and in time the anxiety will lessen and the battle against perfectionism is one step closer to being won.

So remember comfort zones are great, but once in a while step out of them, challenge yourself and you might be surprised. Besides my artwork of Zahra might not have many likes, might for the most part go ignored on twitter and that’s fine because you know what I did it – I tried something and I stepped out of my comfort zone and more importantly I survived, although likes and re-tweets are always appreciated!

 

 

Weekend writing and photography – trying to be more creative

I had a great intro to this blog planned, I promise you it might have been close to literary genius but I got distracted editing photos (there was a point to that) and well now you have this intro which is a tribute to probably the greatest intro of all times….

 So being more creative –  I know I have discussed this both here and on twitter before, both my desire to be more so and the benefits of being more creative as an outlet. For some time now I have been getting back into photography but with limited funds I have been relying on the camera on my phone which don’t get me wrong is a good little camera but the photos have been somewhat dull. Not in topic, I think I have an eye for the right image, but nothing is the colour, depth or vibrancy that real life offers. The answer editing and recommended was the phone app snapseed.

This is a nifty app with a lot of different elements that can be touched up and played with to bring contracts, shadows and warmth back to images that look washed out, dull or grey. Now because I do not really know what I am doing I can’t give you a technical analysis of what I have done but I have played, changed and brought life back to the photos… But I’ll share them and leave it to you to decide.

When it comes to nature shots I like subjects that look magical, other worldly like a bleak lightening like tree or fire in the sky. Mostly what I take never has the depth that I want to capture hence the editing. Partly I am writing this because I like the images but rather than just share them on twitter I also want to keep a record of what editing I have done – that way in time I hope to learn when is it time to add shadow, or when is it time to remove highlights, add warmth, take it away. In time, I might learn what I am doing and in time maybe start presenting better photos.

Below I will share the original image and the final edited one and notes on what effects were used and my thoughts on why I used those effects and why I thought they would work. Feel free to give me your thoughts, recommendations – this is all part of the learning.

Image 1: Beach Scene in Norfolk

I initially used the brush function to change the saturation set on 10, in the lower part of the image and Exposure set on 0.7 to add light to the sky and the top part of the sand, then tuned the whole image in the following way: Saturation +23 Warmth +11

Suddenly we have a sun-drenched beach scene with golden sands, it isn’t as dark or as cold looking. I wanted to make the sand look less dirty and sharpen up the colours in the background.

 Image 2: Spider web

This time I just used the tune image function in the following way Contrast +73, Highlights -62 Saturation +61. I love this image but I wanted to dew drops to be more prominent and I wanted the colour contrasts to be more vivid. I am not totally convinced the droplets are as crystal clear as I wanted but maybe that is as much due to the original photo as my editing!

 Image 3: Lightening Tree

I call this image lightning tree because some said to me they though it looked like forked lightning, I wanted to bring out the contrast in the image to play with the light and darkness and the shadow. Firstly, because the image is quite dark (it was a very grey raining day I took it on) I used the brush function to lighten the whole image with Exposure set to 0.7. Then used tune image in the following way Contrast +78, Shadow +94 and Saturation +34. I like how the forked lightning branches still look like lightening but I think adding more colour and saturation to the image has given it some life. The colours and tones in the bark have really come out now and there is something more magical about the tree.

 Image 4: Sunlight through the trees

This image I was never able to photograph in the intensity I originally saw it, I think now with the editing it is more than it ever was in real life. With this image to bring out the bright light and to add the shadows and contrast back in, so the image captured the light playing through the trees I used tune to do the following Brightness +72, Contrast +92, Highlights +45 and Shadow – 43. It wasn’t a matter of just making the sun beams more vivid but also the sunlight and shadows at the bottom of the image more prominent and making each tree more defined.

Image 5: Sky on fire

The day I took this the early sun breaking through the clouds looked like fire rolling across the sky, like something foreboding and apocalyptic. It was quite disheartening not to be able to capture it. To add the fire back in to the sky I used tune to add warmth +26 and saturation + 38 but also to add the contrast to it I wanted to also darken the image so I used brightness – 40 so the trees in the for ground were darker against the blazing sky.

 These are all first attempts and I will continue to play and learn and hopefully document, but in the meantime advice is always appreciated.

 Now having been doubly creative by editing and writing about it I am going to use the rest of my weekend wisely and watch Critical Role, but remember find some time to make something, write something or art something.

As I side note I will add that as the editing and anaylsis of the images were done through my phone I will aplogies if you see them differently, graphics cards are a tricky thing and even loading these images onto my PC has made them look slightly different to how my phone shows them.

 

 

 

 

D&D, A New DM and Expectations…..

So I know this has been covered in a couple of blogs both Goblin Stomper (here)  and Zardogames (here)  both make interesting points either in their blogs or over on twitter, also the wonderful Terminally Nerdy’s discussion on YouTube which is really worth watching here do he makes some really great points. I wanted to talk about my experience’s in this, you see I have only been DMing for a year and I will be honest yes things like Acquisitons Inc. and Critical Role made me nervous I spend hours watching Matt Mercer thinking I will never be at his level I will never DM like he does– as Terminally Nerdy says in his video I will never be as cool as them.

I have experienced both the positive and negative, I have had players worry and be unsure of the game because it’s not as funny, or as slick or whatever as Critical Role and I’ll be honest it never will be…. Why? As much as I respect and look up to Matt Mercer I do not have the will to put that many hours in to D&D, to make things that smooth, to know the rules that way that he does or say Chris Perkins does – I’m not a professional and I do not work for Wizards of the Coast. Also I’m here to have fun around my other hobbies and work and having a life.

The way this player dealt with it was to watch some less professional streamed D&D to see more home run games…. In all honestly we aren’t a bad group, it’s not as slick as it can be but I think we do alright and once this was addressed he was more than happy that we might not be ‘Critical Role’ level, but I never expect to be, but actually we weren’t bad in terms of knowledge or how we play. I have also had players say how great it would be to have a top down camera, or full on battle maps, or full soundscapes etc. etc. etc… after watching Force Grey and Titansgrave… you know it would also be nice to have post production and fan art but that’s not happening, this after all is what home D&D is all about – sat in my lounge, with my friends.

However I wanted to throw a counter argument into the mix because as much as I have experience the expectations that comes with being introduced to D&D via these play casts I also have a differing experiences.  At New Year  I got 2 of my friends to join us for D&D  now their first experience of it was actually watching another friends home game – but we are talking a friend who is at epic level storytelling and has done this D&D thing many a year and therefore far, far surpasses my abilities.

After near on 2 days of D&D with them we introduced them to Force Grey they devoured it, in an instances and have now watched past where I am. They are desperate to jump into Critical Role and that made me nervous. I was honest with them and said I am never going to be to the level of these DMs (once early on when I first found these online D&D games someone said to me ‘Chris Perkins, Matt Mercer and Wil Wheaton – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – the trinity of D&D’ and you could say that.) How refreshing was their answer, the fact they never even though to compare those DMs to my skill – they were far too busy watching these and learning and assessing their own abilities and not in the ‘oh I am never going to be to that level’. Instead they were learning and developing their understanding of the game – not comparing not demoralising but wanting to get into the role play more – seeing what more they could do once they have played more. It’s made then more not less eager to try. In terms of the DM side of it – each one was so in awe of how much work being a DM is it never crossed their mind to say I could be better.

I guess what I am saying is that both experiences are possible and what we need to do is rather than compare ourselves to these professional level D&D players, and DMs is be inspired by them to tell a story, be inspired to leave your comfort zone…. Be inspired to just play, have fun and be silly and most importantly enjoy D&D for what it is…. and not for what you aren’t doing.

New Year, Newly Resolved Me….

As the saying goes a New Year a New You – this year I am not going to say that I’m not looking to be a new me. Let’s take things easy on myself and try not to change everything. Why? Well for two reasons really, firstly if you’ve stuck with me all this time you’ll know what happened this time last year, and one of the things I have realised is I put too much pressure and expectations on myself. I set hundreds of goals both achievable and unattainable and then breakdown when I can’t achieve everything, unrealistic or not I have set myself. I am also too hard on myself I may not be perfect, but then who is? But I am honestly not as bad as I think I am and therefore do not actually need to change everything and that brings us nicely to reason two. I don’t actually want to be a new me. I know right? Slightly terrified to say it because now you’ll hold me to it, but I sort of like me – don’t get me wrong I could exercise more and probably be less lazy but on the whole I think I am alright so why should I be a new me.

So I am going to be a newly resolved me – I’ll still be the same goof that you know or maybe don’t, that will never change. I am going to try to spend more time being kind and loving myself. My plan is to do this in simple ways for example I’d like to go back to yoga I am not saying this will be tomorrow or next week but that is something over the next year I’d like to get back into. Towards the end of last year I re-found though my job a love for music and that is something I wish to continue with. I plan to read more, the most upsetting thing about my breakdown and the year or so leading up to it was I stopped reading – I am getting back into it but I want to make sure I find more time for simple things like reading. This blog too I let this slip while I was working hard to re-find myself so I am not going to set in stone how often I plan to write – but I will definitely try to find more time for this.

I want to spend more time on photography this year – it was a great part of my healing process in 2016 and has become a massive part of my life now – and I want to keep up with it. Sticking with the creative side I definitely want to do more D&D this year – more DMing and more playing with a variety of people – I want more DM and D&D experience. I want to try and draw more, apparently I am not bad and I find it really rewarding so here’s to trying to be more creative!

Find the right balance between me time, partner time and friend time, there are so many wonderful people I already spend time with, who I need to spend more time with and those I have never met but want to meet/ spend more time with. So this is going to be a big part of my year – trying to put more time and effort to those who deserve it and not worry/waste time on those who don’t. I only have so much of me to give and only so many cares I want to give and one of the reasons last year happened is I spread myself to thin, I try too much with others and I give all I have to give to others – often those who don’t deserve it and I give very little to me.

They only fitness target I’m setting this year is related to Tough Mudder, I proved in 2016 I am fit enough to do it – this year my only target for it is I’d like to be able to run more of it than I did in 2016, I on a personal level feel let down that I struggled to run more of the distance between the obstacles and my team waited a lot for me. I would like to also have a bit more upper body strength, just so I don’t have to be lifted and pulled around over obstacles quite so much. I honestly don’t care if I tone up, lose weight, get super fit this year, those resolutions are off the list and more realistic ones replace them.

I think I wrote early in 2016 about wanting to be the best goat herder I could be (HERE) and one thing I realised is I wanted to be the best, better than everyone, top of my game that missed the point because I wasn’t being the best me I could be. The best me is the creative, funny, weirdling that if you know me well enough you know I am. Well here is to 2017 a new year and a newly resolved me, I resolve to be the best me I can be, to be kind and loving to myself and others and be a weird as I can and have as much fun as possible. No targets just do more awesome things and try to be awesome.

Whatever your 2017 resolutions are – don’t forget to be kind to yourself and do good things for you. Go achieve greatness for you are great! My advice to anyone reading this is remember 2016 was tough for a lot of us and 2017 can be so much better if we make it so – be kind to yourself and good to others first and foremost.

 

The end of Liberal Thinking? The Rise of a Dark Lord? Or just the Next Twist in the Game of Politics…?

So I don’t totally think this is the rise of the Dark Lord or the beginning of the end, Ok slightly I do…. maybe. What I do think is we have some unsettling times ahead and in all honesty 2016 has not been a good time for liberal thinking and to be a liberal.

Reading twitter this morning, having just woken up, rolled over and grabbed my phone I saw the potential outcome and a little I wanted to lash out in fear. Yes I live in the UK, and yes this does affect me. As a country that has already made a move against liberal thinking, a country that has voted to leave the union that as a woman, a worker and a human gave me the rights and protection I currently hold, this does affect me. You see giving up one of the most powerful countries and putting it in the hands of the fascist makes me fear that my country, ever desperate to follow the big boys footsteps will continue down this path.

But I don’t want to talk about the fear and the hate, because as much as so many people are scare, hurting and angry right now – lashing out is not the answer. There is indeed a divide, there always has been, but definitely recent elections and the rise of right wing movements across the world makes that divide feel more like a chasm – one that right now doesn’t look like it can be crossed, one that looks like we may fall and be lost forever.

A few posts on twitter inspired me to write this, as I see the crushing defeat and fear for their lives from the people I love in America. I worry that for each and every one of them, especially those that do not tick the white, middle age, middle class, cis criteria will be at risk. I feel the hurt and fear in each and every one of their tweets – but what we have to remember is love, compassion and humanitarianism needs to prevail. I am proud that the Critters and Team Hooman community have reached out; it warms me to see that love and support are still strong.

What saddens me is the bile and hate that is going around, the threatening rhetoric that is rising up and I do not just mean because he is in power. Of course there is so much hate because, yes he represents and brings hate to the table. But does the average Trump voter? There are so many answers to this – and please bear in mind I am talking voters and not supporters, I do see them as distinctly different. I guess the answer if you are liberal thinking or someone who does not fit into the white, middle age, middle class, cis criteria is yes, yes, they do. To vote for Trump is a vote for hate, for racism and for violence. Don’t get me wrong, I do agree to vote for him is a vote for all those things, it’s a vote against females, a vote against POC it’s a vote against every signal one of your LGBT+ friends.

However we have to also think about how much fear, change, social and economic stress has fed into this outcome. I’ve seen it compared to what happened in the lead up to the 2nd world war in Germany. Remember the average German was never a Nazi they were just scared, downtrodden, disenfranchised and well we all know the outcome there. Fast forward to the world we find ourselves in, 2016 and people are scared, downtrodden, disenfranchised. We find ourselves in a world where people struggle to pay their way and work hard to earn just enough, a world where some are looking for a person, persons or group to blame. Maybe that isn’t even it maybe they just hope someone will make things better, will… Make America Great Again and after all that’s what he promised, whether he does or not we have four years to find out.

Where this leaves us is fighting amongst ourselves and therefore not looking out, protecting those who need protecting. I have a friend on twitter, I’m not naming but he’ll know who I mean. He did vote Trump and this morning we had a long chat because he knows my views, it’s hard to miss the fact that I am basically a lefty, druid, hippy. However we have so many other things in common and rather than bickering, instead of blame we discussed the importance now more than ever for love. That as fellow gamers, geeks and lovers of life we both wanted to make sure that the people round us are safe, protected and cared for. I worry just as much for the hate he’ll get as I do for my friends who are scared of a Trump America. Because each and every one of you who feels threatened by this and the future of America deserves no matter which way they voted to feel safe, to feel loved, to feel that as a world, as humans, more importantly as Hoomans we stand together.

So today and everyday moving forwards remember we are all Team Hooman and we all need to have each other’s back. To my American family – I love you all, stay safe, stay protected and look out for each other. We can fight for liberal thinking and a freer world together, but we can’t do that if we are too busy slinging mud at each other.

Magic, Depression and a Revelation of a Weekend

So this is my first post in I don’t know how long, things happened, got in the way. I got a job which I love but I did struggle with reality, work, home, being a ‘together’ person and my writing fell by the wayside. I am going to attempt to change this. I can’t promise anything and it won’t be right away but writing is definitely something I want to get back to as well as exploring my well-being through writing.

I think one of the problems was I worried that I was dwelling on things, for example was writing about my breakdown helping me. As well as just trying to be functioning and normal… Well ok I accept normal is not my strong point. However I have missed writing and I do think about ideas continuously I just haven’t written – that’s going to be rectified and I will back write some of the awesome stuff I have done like seeing The Cursed Child…. And my pumpkins I carved But not today, today is for brain stuff.

The title of this blog comes out of the fact that this weekend helped me find my feet again, helped me find a little of me. Between pretending to cast spells on my sister, to watching all 8 Harry Potter films in the company of ALL my Harry Potter toys I feel a little of me come through. Your probably wondering what happened, where had me gone, well I think my boyfriend and I have both wondered the same thing, which brings me to the last part of the title – this weekend’s revelations most certainly answered some of that.

You see what happened was I went away to the most beautiful place, I, just a little, have fallen in love with Barbados and when we left I watched the island from the plane grow smaller, I’ll be honest I nearly cried. I’ve never been so emotional to leave a place before – on its own of course that would have been ok, we’ve all been somewhere so lovely we haven’t wanted to leave.

Then came the disastrous visit to the psychiatrist, now in hindsight I can see that she was trying to be reassuring and helpful. Unfortunately I was not ‘ill enough’ to be a case worthy of their time, which resulted in reassuring coming across as a brush off. You see the doctor thinks I have Bio-Polar tendencies. I’m not talking type 1 or 2, even I am 100% sure that is not the case and I believe the doctor is too – however he felt I might have a more mild case, having done some reading up this would most likely be Cyclothymic disorder. There was no mention of this with the psychiatrist because I was a number a case to complete, tick off to achieve targets and well you have to be a certain level of ‘ill’ for them to consider it worthwhile.

Comments like referring to my medication as a baby dose, and advising that she’d prescribe that to a child. When asked if I suffered from paranoia she advised me that was normal paranoia and she meant proper paranoia – I think she thought I was just a touch insecure when I said I though people didn’t like me and therefore she brushed that off as not severe. I don’t think accusing your other half at your worst that he’s trying to make you look stupid or revelling in the fact that you are wrong is normal. I don’t think thinking that all your friends and work colleagues hate you/talk about you is normal. Don’t get me wrong I know people feel that way worry that people don’t like them. However I’m talking 24/7 all the time, to the point where I stop talking to people because I think they don’t care, that I become moody, resentful and withdrawn, that I believe is not normal or at least not ok. But guess what it did do – it validated my behaviour and more importantly those statements as well as advising me that after meeting me for half an hour, that she didn’t think I had linger long term mental health problems made me feel like a fraud. This is a bad place to be because I always have felt I made this up – that was the crux of my worst moments, that I was a fake, that this was all about attention and well isn’t that what the physiatrist said after all?

So I took myself of my medication, now I am also aware that she did advise I stay on it for at least 6 more months, but that is the nature of the mental health beast isn’t it – you hear what fits into what brain wants you to think. This weekend I honestly thought it was over for me and my other half, as we travelled to London for an anniversary day out bickering and snapping, me in tears…. In fact this has been my last 3 or 4 weeks, I felt a little like I was reliving the worst points from last year. In a moment of strength I did point out some things that I needed to that are personal to him and things that are affecting him. More importantly however I realised I am not ok, after a chat with a close friend who has experienced a variety of mental health professionals (both good and Bad) I have come to understand that 1 bad visit shouldn’t undo what good I have done. The fact that I am on a low dose of medication is a triumph to my hard work and determination to not be defined by my illness. That I am ill and that’s ok because I can also get better and that 1 half hour appointment should not affect me so much, I know my wellbeing and I know my mental health and you know what I am starting to be ok with that, and if there is a touch of mania in what I do that’s fine too – because I am me and thanks to the daily reminders (yeah you critters each of you) I know that is what makes me awesome.

Beginnings

So the lovely Thessaily’s Place has created the beginnings of Keri, Kuruk and Lia’s story – well the beginnings of their adventure together. Having role-played this out she has now started to write it up and I couldn’t be happier so please find below the beginnings of D&D on the fly….

Oh also the picture for this blog you will find on Thessaily’s Place too – it’s drawn by here and it is the group…. Oh who now are called the Cleansing Flame!

Keridanyth Keridanyth awoke on the morning of her 40th birthday with a sense that something amazing was going to happen. No doubt, she thought, a party. At least she hoped. Keridanyth had never had…

Source: Beginnings