4. JOY

Such a small word that has a huge meaning!

Joy is something else I always strive for.  I find joy in the simplest of things, whether it’s a pretty creation I’ve made, a piece art I have done, or just spending time doing anything that makes me feel uplifted.   Just doing the things that I enjoy, makes me feel good about myself, and it’s something I can’t get enough of, it makes me thrive.  Another thing I always say is:

“Out of my misery something beautiful is always created”.

Because it’s often at these times that I am most imaginative.

So, I am going to promise myself that I will make more room in my life so that I have the proper time to follow my heart.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(31st December 2016)

Update:

I am pleased to say that in spite of having such bad health over the last couple of years, I have at least continued to be as creative as I can be.  After this entry, I began creating a scrapbook full of the inspirational quotes and words, many of which had been previously stuck to my walls as daily visual reminders.  It has been a labour of love creating this book, as each page has been hand-decorated in a variety of different ways, making it a beautiful book to pick and browse through.  I still have several more pages to do, before this first book is completed, it is not something to be rushed, and If I’m honest I will have many more of these to do.  If you would like to see some of these scrapbook pages I have added some photos under my lovely creations tab.

The other positive thing that has happened, is that I have taken up my writing again, something that has been dormant for quite a while.  I was inspired to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and I haven’t looked back.  So much so, it’s what brought about “My kind of beautiful”, and for that I am very thankful.Word art: JOY 4

I have bottled up so much up over the years, not realising just how fundamental it was for me to write my feelings out.  It was also the inspiration behind the word art “Joy” that I did, because the word itself is important to me.

It was such an important reawakening for me, to once again have an avenue to channel my thoughts and emotions.  It feels like finding an old friend again…

It gives me great joy to see the words I have strung together and the creations I have made on my website and other social media.  It is even better knowing that I have the courage to put myself and my truth out there, and that I am touching so many strangers who are responding back.

I don’t feel unheard anymore, and whatever else may still be lacking in my life, at least joy is not one of them.

Sx ❤️

(updated Weds 13th February 2019)

 

Letting go: 3. LOVE

For some time, I have felt this air of woefulness about me, along with an emptiness when I realised that I have gone through this entire year ‘feeling’ so very little love.  It saddens me greatly, when I think of all that I have so freely dispersed to friends, (in particular) and family, and how little I have actually felt coming back.  It has left me feeling quite lonely and isolated, as I fear, giving out anymore to anyone who doesn’t appreciate it, for what it is. bb5ea-to2bremember2bwho2byou2bare

Knowing that I’ve been on someone’s mind, getting a quick message to check on how I’m doing, spending time just catching up, talking on the phone, being told that I’ve been missed by someone, makes me feel loved.  All these little things don’t really need to take much time or effort at all, but somehow everyone’s been too busy, or they just want to talk about themselves.

I have felt quite hurt by the lack of that kind of love.  So much so, it has caused me to yet again go through the ‘life laundry’ process of re-evaluating some of the people in my life.  A process I seem to go through every few years, which has finally taught me that I am spending too much time, energy and effort on the wrong people.

I am naturally a kind and giving person, it goes against the grain for me to standby and do or say nothing, when I recognise pain in someone, especially when I know I can be of help.  But it would seem that’s just how I need to be, even though it’s going to be a hard habit to break.

46933401_203824973879851_3954533898762846208_nThe lessons I have learned from this have broken my heart at times and left me completely confused, trying to understand why things had gone wrong.  It took a while before it hit me that it wasn’t even my problem, it was theirs and the way they chose to see things.  But one person’s discontented whispers can travel far, and I wonder to myself, ‘Was I like this at their age?’ and then I hope to God that I wasn’t.  Perhaps having reached the age of 51, I can see their insecurities and lack of confidence quite clearly; maybe that’s why they just don’t get me.

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through, to achieve that beauty”.

Maya Angelou

I often say to people that

“The only reason we get hurt by other people, is because we care for them”, 

and

“We are not betrayed by our enemies, but by our friends and loved ones”.

Both statements are very simple truths, so I guess the question I need to ask myself is:

  1. Why do I care?”.
  2. Why do I continue to give time and show kindness to people, when they have systematically disrespected or abused me?
  3. Am I that desperate to be with them, that I will accept anything?

The answers to these questions are:

  1. I have absolutely no idea
  2. Sub-consciously maybe I am hoping they might change
  3. Fuck no

Now I know the answers, I realise that I have been incredibly fucking stupid!44953681_2063941743917987_7052957489741955072_n 46933401_203824973879851_3954533898762846208_n

Stupid in the sense that I had been sucked into and absorbed by their bullshit antics and immaturity, just because I had foolishly made myself believe that they actually gave a shit about me.

But I have distanced myself from those kind of people now, I really don’t want to play their silly games and I certainly won’t share my private life with them.  All they know, is that each time they see me now, I always look better in their eyes and they need to press me to know why.

To me, if they aren’t bothered to know about my everyday life, why should they be interested in my private life?  So, fuck them, I’ll keep them guessing!

I am not afraid of removing or losing people from my life, if they have shown themselves to be unworthy.  I have made progress by stepping away because by not giving my time and love to them, it means I have more time and love to lavish on me, and it really has been quite liberating.

I know I have been stupid!  But not anymore, I have now drawn a heavy line underneath all that and moved the hell on.

Sharon carter-Wray

(31stDecember 2016)

Update:

What can I say?  All I know is that when I initially wrote this, it was coming from a place full of pain.  But I am pleased to say that over the last 2 years I have continued to re-evaluate the people in my life, and what they really do for or mean to me. It has given me so much clarity, and I am fully aware of where I stand within my close social environment.

Where once I might have internalised all questions and feelings of self-doubt, I am now empowered enough instead, to hold a strong belief that if someone has an issue with me, which they can’t discuss with me… then it really is their problem and not mine… 🙂

Sharon

(Updated: Tuesday 5th February 2019)

7e0d4-1939978_725772217442728_937133909_n

One of my favourite quotes.  Sx 🙂

Letting go: 2. Life

It’s been two years since my divorce, the best, the most significant and most life-changing decision I have ever made.  And more importantly I followed through with it until the end.  There is no denying that little piece of joy that flickers in my heart, every time I think of my ‘lucky’ if not timely escape, from the beast that had done nothing but devour me.

I know now, that if I had let things go on as they were, today, I would have absolutely nothing, probably not even my sanity. 

He knew no end to draining me of all my resources and emotions.  Every day I am so grateful and thankful for my resilience, my inner resolve and my free spirit, that gave me the will and the strength to save myself and set me free.Don't depend too much on anyone

It’s odd how when we think of erosion, we can imagine pictures of the sea stealing back land by gradually wearing down the cliffs.  But what’s not so easy to comprehend, is how the same can happen in an abusive relationship.  One person always gets worn down, whilst the other continues to be relentless and strive.

Memories keep flooding back, causing shudders to run down my spine.  Memories, that are constantly flashing up different events and situations, that have been locked away like time capsules in my head.  Thousands of tiny fragments, made up of images, conversations, arguments and feelings of real discontent, burst like fireworks in front of my eyes; bringing on pangs of silent agony.

Each time it happens, it is a painful reminder of how much and how deep I let him cut me, with his words, his attitude and his appalling behaviour.

But now, each little nugget makes me question why I took on the responsibility of his actions, rather than blaming him.  Maybe, I thought it was easier to do this, just so that in my mind I could be free.  But in actual fact, I have been punishing myself by taking on his army of demons.

If you knew me in the pastI see him now for what he really is, not that I had had any clouded ideas or fluffed up the rough bits, I accept that he was a master of disguise and I was drawn in.  I had nicknamed him Jekyll and Hyde as a joke, quite early on in our relationship; but in the end it was a very accurate description. I had enabled his capacity to feed, and I gave him a good supply… but that’s all I’m guilty of.  I didn’t make him the person he was.  I didn’t make him do what he did or think the way he thought, he did that all on his own, driven by some incredible greed to swallow up anything that was good.

He did not want to fight for me.

He already knew he had lost me way back along the way, so there would be no point.  But he simply could not control his urges to hurt me more, by any means he thought he could get away with.  However, I played his game better than he did.  So, so many of his antics backfired on him.  I foolishly let the blame rest at my door, not speaking out or voicing to anyone how he had literally driven me to that point of no return.

He was a very cruel and manipulative man, a true narcissist through and through.

It took a long time, before I finally labelled it for what it was… mental abuse.

How stupid I have been.  For ages I have been giving out the impression that I was ‘okay’ with this, but in actual fact I was totally churned up.  I was incensed by the sheer fact, that someone would want to treat me so badly.  Someone, who was forever expressing his ‘love’ for me!  A man I asked nothing of, but took so readily…

29340229_2149895215232624_7440674882020442112_n
I am thankful! Sx 🙂

Only now, do I really view that period of my life with real clarity, I thought I had done so before, but now my eyes are really seeing things for what they were and are. Now I fully appreciate the damage that his persistent chipping away had done to my confidence, my trust and my self-belief.

So much so, that I not only felt it, but I believed in my own unworthiness, instead of questioning his.

This has got to end.  I am still allowing him to destroy me from within.  I am letting all those negative memories and images from that life invade my daily being.  It has soaked up so much of my time and energy, battling with negative thoughts and reliving bad experiences for more than just the second time.

I have continued to emotionally beat myself up on his behalf, and by opening that door, I have enabled others to think they can do the same thing.

There is no doubt, that he has left me deeply scarred with many insecurities, weaknesses and fears deeply etched in my mind.  He has damaged my belief in men, being who they say they are, and saying exactly what they mean.

This last year I have forgotten how to celebrate and enjoy my newfound life and liberty.  I have stayed being caught up in the past.  Somehow, I let his demons in and they took over and took a firm hold.  Of course, no good has come of doing this or being this way.  But at least now I can openly admit, that I have just successfully managed to further maim and cripple myself, with things that have no place in my present.  I must forever remind myself when these thoughts appear, to acknowledge that that was my old life, I am a survivor and not a victim.

This mental and emotional intrusion of my past into my present day has got to stop.  It will always be where it is now and where it belongs… in the past.

Yes, I have been incredibly fucking stupid…!  I have been struggling with this pain for far too long, and now I need to let it go.

It is time to forgive myself.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(31stDecember 2016)

 

Update:

I am pleased to say that part of my ‘life laundry’ session that I went through last year, included virtually eradicating any evidence of my ex-husband from my life. I was brutal.  I had to be.  I even got rid of things that I loved, if they were tainted with any negative connection to him.  It took a while to go through everything, but it was not only necessary, it was essential.

White acrylic on canvas, with black ink

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 4 years since my divorce, and almost 4, since I started my life over.  But I am also very conscious that it’s part of my incredible journey, it was just a very long pitstop.

Thankfully, I recognise that I have already come a very long way and my story is not over yet.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(Updated Monday 28th January 2019)

 

 

Letting go: 1. Loss

“I have learned that many people are not good for me.  No matter how hard I love them.” 

 

So where do I begin?

Maybe I should start with a question. “Why is it that at the end of every year, and for several years now, I always end up with feelings of such utter sadness, loneliness, and still feel that I have felt no real love in my life?”.

LOSS

There is a void in my life that has been filled with sad memories, disappointments and unhappy moments that have choked me up so much, there has been no room to let real life in.

I have often said, “I have had no time to grieve for the loss of my brother, my mother and my sister…”, and this now more recently includes my beloved dog.  But in truth, I have done nothing but mourn, and grieve, and ache for them and others who have passed.  As well as many other losses or things that have happened that I cannot change.  No amount of tears, anguish or darkness will bring about a better resolution or a change in circumstance.

I have allowed grief to completely envelop me, thereby imprisoning me with demons of my own making.

Truth is

Of course, I miss them dearly, they left at a time when I needed them most. Not that there could be a more convenient time…

The emptiness they left behind has been a part of me ever since.  Gone were the many daily conversations.  Gone were the sharing of woes, and the laughter that inevitably followed as we saw the funny side of each dilemma.  Gone were the feelings of love I accessed through a telephone line, when sickness on both parts prevented travel.  Just gone.  No second chances.  No more time.  No more opportunities.

Not many people actually appreciated what Christmas was really like for me 8 years ago, but it was an extremely difficult time.  Two days before Christmas, I had sat with my mum in hospital while we received the news that cancer had spread into her liver, and that there was nothing more that could be done.  The next day I was driving up to Kent, to be with my sister for Christmas, for what we knew would inevitably be her last.

Crying is how your heart speaks...During this time, my mum and sister did video calls, so they could speak with each other from their respective beds. Two days later I was back with my mum at the hospital, and so it continued, until she passed away on the 29thJanuary.  Little did I know that 2 months later, after sitting at my sister’s bedside for nearly a week, that I would say goodbye to her too.  And my brother also passed just after the new year, but many moons before.

So I guess it’s not surprising that Christmas has never been the same since…

At the time, I struggled with keeping my mums’ wishes by downplaying it to everyone, instead of speaking the truth, so that they were fully in the picture.  But I did my best to honour both sides.  At times it felt like they needed my permission to stay away, to not have to face it, as if their busy lives were more important.  At times, it felt like they didn’t want to take the responsibility of their choices.  But my mum definitely did not want or need anyone weeping at her bedside.

Trying to be rational while others around you are falling apart is by no means easy, and I felt the full force of that from every direction as people looked to me for answers.  Endless phone calls, endless questions, endless explanations, endless tears and endless sorrows.  Not one of them even thought about how the same loss, was affectively silently killing me inside, and they were making me bear the weight of their grief too.

Many wished them back, saying it was too soon, but I had to remind them what they were really wishing for… more cancer, more pain… when their bodies had already been violated by illness and/or surgery.

Naturally, I bore feelings of resentments, and I probably have never forgiven some of my family for their behaviour back then; while they took a back seat to participate in the grieving process.  I have often sensed that somehow, they resented me, as I was the only one with my mum when she died.  As though I had left it to the last minute to tell them of her downward turn, which meant they had to rush to get to the hospital in time.  It’s a horrible thought, but it’s one that crosses my mind at times, but I didn’t choose her moment to slip away… Understand that you own nothing

I was with my sister when she took her final breath, and at that time and the days that preceded it, I felt there was no other place I was meant to be.  I had done the right thing for me, and the right thing by my darling sister, making sure she had company throughout all her waking hours.  I did not want her to slip away unnoticed, and it being there gave me some kind of peace.

After so many years of feeling this way, I am exhausted.  I have been trapped inside this darkness for so long that I am nearly blinded by it.  The sadness still overwhelms me, because only memories have taken their place, nothing real.  Getting my little dog was the best thing I could have done, unconditional love was mutual, and she had my heart in every single way.  Sadly a month ago she too was taken early, at just 7 years old I had to let her go.  It broke my heart all over again, but in a different way.  I can only assume that the attachment you form with an animal, is on a different level to that you’d form with a person.  I suppose the sadness I felt at her premature death, was unlike any other loss.  She’d emotionally and physically seen me through times where my sister and mum could not, she was so very precious to me.

But, it is now time to put those painful memories somewhere for safekeeping. It is time for me to say goodbye, to release the burden of this grief, the weight is far too heavy, and I have been wearing it like a mantel for too long… it is time for me to take a deep breath and move on.

It is time for me to let them go.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(31st December 2016)

 

UPDATE: Having read this again, I can see why it was so important for me to write 2 years ago.

It did not give me closure and I didn’t expect it to, that is not the reason why I wrote it, what it did do was to enable me to put my sadness in it’s rightful place.  Thereby allowing me to view Christmas time, in particular with fresh eyes, with hope and to have love in my heart again.

The worst day of the year for me is still Mother’s Day, even though I don’t really give in to all the commercialism, it still tugs something inside.

There is not a day goes by when they do not come to mind, or I don’t have a conversation with them, whether it be in my head or out load.  They are a still very much a part of me, and I like it that way.

More and more, I am reminded of the many ways that I am just like my mother.  Her kindness, her generosity, her humour and her attitude to other people in need, has certainly rubbed off on me, and I am grateful for that.  I can still hear the things she used to say, and her wonderful quotes about getting on in life.  There are still many moments when I smile at something knowing my sister would have found it funny too.  So in that way, they have never gone, they are still very much a part of me

I so strongly believe that grief cannot be rushed, and even when you think you’re over it, it will strike again.  The pain will be less, but it will happen… most likely at an unexpected time, place and probably triggered by a complete stranger or something utterly unrelated.

I am in a good place with death.

Strange as it may sound, I’m used to it, and I accept it as being a natural part of life itself.  Now, I appreciate and dwell on the joy they gave me, rather than the sadness they left behind.  Sx

(Updated Tues 22nd January 2019)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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