I Don’t Do The New Year Thing

I know I’m boring.  I know it would be much more exciting if I was actually excited about the New Year, but really what’s the big deal?  It’s just another day.  You have your parties and have a great time.  Enjoy the fireworks, if that is what happens in your part of the world, but me?  I’ll hopefully sleep through it.

So with that bah humbug attitude I won’t give you another ‘2012 highlights’ post.  I’m sure there will be lots of those, and good on the bloggers who take the time to look back.  Actually this will probably be my shortest blog ever.

As for New Year’s Resolutions, I don’t do that either.  Maybe I’d be more focussed and maybe I’d achieve more but hey, I’m happy (and that’s an achievement).  I’m just going to keep taking one day at a time.

Some of the content in this link I’m about to give might be a bit corny but basically it just demonstrates that there are still good people in this world.  Many of them.  What’s more there are good people doing great things.  Some of them get noticed and recognised, but many more just go on being great human beings, behind the scenes.  In a year there is so much heartache and tragedy, far too much to mention, but no matter how awful it is there are still good people doing great things.  That’s what I’m celebrating (while I sleep through the New Year).

26 Moments That Restored Our Faith In Humanity This Year

Thanks to BuzzFeed for the reminder.

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.” 

―    Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

I Matter

One of the things I battle with on a daily basis is that I matter, and whether I actually matter to anyone else.  Do I love myself enough to say I matter to me?  And does anyone else love me enough to say that I matter to them?  And will they show it by their actions?

Some of the struggle with this comes from the Christian upbringing I had which constantly told me to put others before myself.  Songs I sang in Sunday School taught me that I came last.  And I guess that’s where I always put myself.  As the youngest child in the family, my name always came last.  I’m not saying that my parents put my needs last, but that my brother’s and my parents names always came before mine.

In the school roll my name came near the end because my surname was Reddell, near the end of the alphabet.  I can remember wishing my name started with a A, so that I could be at the beginning.  But then the Christian upbringing  would no doubt have listed that as a sin.

Another thing I was taught was “pride cometh before a fall“.  That meant I couldn’t be proud of myself, I couldn’t take pride in my achievements, and actually no one else was ever going to proud of me.  It might not be what I was meant to learn from the statement, but it is what my young mind concluded.

My Christian upbringing even served to protect those who stalked me.  I was specifically told in relation to them that I should ‘love my neighbour and do good to them that hate you“.  What that meant in reality was I was supposed to be nice to them, and my needs for protection didn’t seem matter to anyone.  Christian love and compassion was what was called for.  When I was a teenager I thought that was just how life was.  My needs didn’t matter.  Now I am an adult I worry that teenagers might be taught this stuff now days.  I hope not.

Since my mental health ever became an issue (it’s interesting that it simply doesn’t matter until diagnosed with a mental illness) people have been telling me that it is okay to put myself first.  It’s okay for my needs to matter.  At this stage, after many hours of therapy I can tell you that I do matter, but I still find it hard to put it into practise.

At what point do my needs matter more than loving and accepting another person?  I still haven’t worked that out.  I still am not sure how to put this into practise in everyday situations.

I struggle with it in a number of places in my life, and still there is this little voice in the back of my head that recites ‘Jesus first, Yourself last and Others in between’.  It’s so ingrained in my head that I don’t know how to say ‘well actually my needs come first’.  Even as I type that, I’m thinking “selfish“.  I’ve done the textbook learning but I still don’t have it totally in operation in my life.  I don’t yet know how to strike the balance between me and the rest of the world.

Last week in What Matters To Me This Christmas Eve I told you about my family starting a family meal before I had arrived.  As I sat there that day my thoughts were “I don’t matter to these people“.  It seemed to me that I didn’t matter enough for them to think/say “We can’t start yet because Cate’s not here yet“.  Now I can see a number of logical reasons for why it might have happened, but it still hurts.  Not that they started lunch without me, but that I didn’t matter to them enough for them to think of me.

What makes it more painful is that I look around for people who I matter to, and actually most people have their own lives, their partners and children, and I am just me.  I know that I mattered to my father when he was alive, and so it makes his absence is more painful when something like that happens with my family.

The thing that I wonder is ‘who’s going to put me first?’  Will anyone?  Or has everyone got greater priorities than me?  I promise I’m not having some pity party for which I need huge doses of sympathy.  I don’t.  But I know that learning to matter to myself is helped when I can know that other people say to me “you matter to me“.

Maybe the psychology of that is all wrong, and I need to be able to just matter to myself.  But don’t we all want to matter to other people?  And surely knowing that I matter to someone else teaches me about mattering (Is that a word?  It is now.)  to myself.

I know I matter to some people, and yesterday I spent time with some of those people, purposely because I desperately needed to feel I matter to someone.  I knew with them, I would feel that, and I did.  It was in complete contrast to the lunch I nearly missed last week, simply because I knew without at doubt that I mattered to them and that my needs were important.

PS.  I need to say this isn’t at all a criticism of Christianity.  It’s not.  All it is, is my experience.

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the
person you are.” 

―    Marilyn Monroe

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.” 

―    Harvey Fierstein

Hurtling In CyberSpace

This post was removed on 30 December 2012.

But I still want to finish with a wonderful piece of music, shared with me by my good friends at Bullying Is For Losers  It’s a message I needed to hear yesterday, and will probably need to keep listening to.  I’m not going to hide my True Colours.  Somehow I’m going to find a way through this.

The Other Side Of The Story

On Christmas night I sat down for a short while to watch the headlines of the daily news on television.  I have been cutting back on what news I watch recently because of the often traumatic nature of it.  Now days I might watch the first ten minutes and then leave it.  That way I know some of what is going on, but don’t need to torment myself with the rest.

The first story was the record number of people who had attended the Auckland (NZ’s largest city) City Mission Christmas dinner.  These types of free meals have been run in major centres for years, and provide a free meal and entertainment for those who can not afford to have their own celebration.

What struck me was the way the newsreader told it.  There was almost glee in his voice as if he was talking about record numbers attending a car show, or some other event where record numbers would be looked on as a good thing.

For me, I see the record numbers as a terribly bad thing, that more and more people are having to turn to charitable organisations to enable some celebration of Christmas.  We should be looking to find ways of making these numbers go down rather than up.  It’s just wrong.  Ironically there were even people there who were tourists in New Zealand.  the bus tour they were on had brought them there for their Chritmas meal.  I admired the head of the City Mission who said it was fine they were there because they were seeing another side to New Zealand.  I just hope they paid for their meal.

I love that these events happen each year, and actually I have grown up  all my life being part of such events.  My parents would regularly do family Christmas celebrations for us at lunch time on Christmas Day, and then we would be involved in putting on a community meal at night for those who had no where else to go.  Mum would do most of the cooking and Dad would be out front welcoming people.  Us kids were often doing the dishes.

It is wonderful that so many give up their time (and money) to run these meals, but the fact that there is growing need for such events simply suggests to me that people are struggling more and so many people are alone.

This is one event where record-breaking statistics should be very unwelcome.  Yes there will always be people alone, and for them I am glad these events still exist.  But many of the people attending are families who simply can not afford to celebrate Christmas.

Image credit: FB/Fresh Minds Matter

Image credit: FB/Fresh Minds Matter

Straight after Christmas Day, in this country comes Boxing Day on 26 December.  It is a day recognised in most Commonwealth countries (although feel free to correct me if I’m wrong).  Boxing Day used to be a day to go to the beach in New Zealand, or better yet, the day to head off on your summer holiday.

Traditionally though, Boxing Day was a day to give money and gifts to the poor.  I grew up with the explanation that is was the day when servants packed up (in boxes) all the left overs from Christmas, and gave them to the poor.  Also it was a day when servants who had worked hard through Christmas Day, could have time off to visit their own families.

Boxing Day is probably one of those events where there are many different explanations, but it seems that giving to the more needy is a common thread.  I suspect most countries who recognise Boxing Day have lost this aspect to it, and I think that is sad.  I also have this question in my head of why the poor had to wait to simply get what amounts to ‘leftovers’?  And why couldn’t the rich give to the poor before Christmas?

I think what disturbs me most is what has happened to Boxing Day now.  Boxing Day has lost that charitable aspect and now is a consumer day.  It is now the day when the retail sales start, in the same line as the Black Friday sales in the United States after Thanksgiving.

How did we go from a day recognised for giving to the poor, to a mad scramble around the shops to get the best bargains possible?  Isn’t there something wrong with that?

Personally I don’t handle large crowds of people and so the idea of going shopping for the Boxing Day sales is completely beyond me.  I’m not interested in what bargains I might be able to get, and would rather preserve my mental health.

Boxing Day was yesterday in New Zealand, and like I had done the night before, I watched the first ten minutes of the television news.  The headlines were the record sales for the retail sector.

What I’m wondering is how many people buying up on Boxing Day could really afford what they were buying?  How many purchased on credit, and will struggle to pay it off?  And dare I say it, I wonder if there were people at the Christmas Day meals who were also at the sales, trying to get a bargain?  I don’t mean to criticise them personally.  I criticise a system that has the extremes of wealth and poverty, which no one appears to be trying to align.

There is something wrong with this side of the story.  The news readers don’t stop to align the two, but I bet the social workers who will be trying to help people budget their money know it only too well.

“Every life deserves a certain amount of dignity, no matter how poor or damaged the shell that carries it.” 

―    Rick Bragg,    All Over But the Shoutin’

Peace on Earth

Merry Christmas

from New Zealand

New Zealand’s Pohutukawa flower (the NZ Christmas Tree) Image credit: Sarang/Wikipedia.com

Christmas in New Zealand arrives right on time for a summer celebration.  While I see pictures of Christmas celebrations in the snow from around the world, that seems completely foreign to me.

We have the usual pine Christmas Tree in our homes, but the real tree of Christmas (and probably the most well-known symbol of New Zealand Christmas) is that which produces the flower above.  The Pohutukawa tree.  If there are plenty of the red flowers out in time for Christmas, we know that summer will be a good one. Most of these trees are found in the North Island, where I spent my childhood, so I have lots of good memories of them, although they’re not that common down here in the south.

I grew up having a hot Christmas dinner of roast turkey and ham, but really it always seems a little crazy considering the warm weather outside.  Now days, and today’s plans with my family, will be around the barbeque outside followed by pavlova and fresh berries for dessert.

So that’s my Christmas plans, but I have to admit that I’m not big on the whole Christmas theme.  The reason I think I struggle with it is this expectation that everyone will be on their best behaviour, and we are cheerfully ‘nice’ to people who during the rest of the year, we perhaps don’t want a bar of.  If only we could use Christmas to find peace in our world and in our families.

I wish for a Christmas that spells the end of war. 

I wish for a Christmas that spells the end of hate, and a return to loving our neighbours.

I wish for a Christmas that contains no crime.

I wish for a Christmas where we all stay safe from harm.

I wish for a Christmas of love, especially for those grieving as a result of crime and war.

I wish for a Christmas of peace.

There are no doubt millions of people in this world who wish for the same, regardless of any religious beliefs they may or may not have.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could take those individual wishes and turn them into both an individual, and global reality?

Santa Claus, presents and singing Christmas Carols are simply not what matters, in my mind.  What matters is working out what each of us, as individuals, can do today to turn this planet towards peace.

Image credit: FB/ONE HUMAN FAMILY

Image credit: FB/ONE HUMAN FAMILY

Two years ago my family celebrated Christmas with a new child, my niece L.  She was born about six weeks before Christmas.  It was to be our last Christmas with everyone there, as my father died suddenly four months later.  It was a stressful time for us as the earthquakes had started to hit Christchurch and while we were all together, it was a difficult time.

A baby in our midst lightened the mood and promised of good to come.  She bought hope.  We had no idea of what trauma we would go through in the months to come, how much we would lose, and how much pain there would be.   But somehow L’s presence in our family gathering offered us hope and joy.  And no doubt today, she will continue to provide that to me.

And that’s on my mind as I’ve picked out this music (complete with snowy scenes for those who need that to connect with Christmas).  The lyrics veer towards a Christian understanding of Christmas but I don’t think that needs to exclude anyone.  We can use Christmas to celebrate new life, regardless of our religious beliefs.  That’s what I’ll be doing anyway.

I wish you all peace, love and hope as you celebrate your Christmas.  Enjoy the young.  Take joy in their lives.  And most of all, find a way to be at peace with yourself, and with our fellow beings.

“Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special!  How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer…. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously? ” 

―    Bill Watterson,    The Essential Calvin and Hobbes

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What Matters To Me This Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve here in my part of the world.  I have a list of things I need to get done before the day is out, but for now I want to stop, and think about what matters, what really matters to me this Christmas.

Christmas is will be about family for me this Christmas.  I am expected to be part of the family Christmas by some, simply because I don’t have a family (I mean a partner and children) of my own.  But that is small stuff compared to what matters to me.  I play along to meet expectations but really my heart is some place else.

Yesterday I went to a family Christmas lunch.  The whole family wasn’t there, but those I wasn’t going to see on Christmas Day were.  I arrived on time armed with Christmas gifts for the children, only to find they had all started the meal without me.  When I asked why (calmly and politely), there was no explanation forthcoming, and really all it did was tell me yet again, that to those people, I don’t matter.

“Family isn’t always about blood.  It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are.  The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”

I am fortunate to have some family members who are blood-related and fit this definition.  They weren’t there yesterday, sadly.  The people who were there simply told me by their actions that I didn’t matter… and yes, that hurt like hell.

I’m not going to get bogged down in how that hurt, but rather focus my energy on those people who do matter to me, and I know I matter to them.  What is difficult is that this Christmas I am cut off from the people I would prefer to spend Christmas with.  People who would want to include me and want to show their love for me.

I also want to be with my friends who are struggling this Christmas.  Christmas can be a time of hurt and depression, and I hate that.  I really hope that somehow those friends can find some peace tomorrow, and know that they are loved (even from afar)

Those I want to be with are thousands of miles away, and so today I will place them in my heart, where they belong.  And I will take them with me as I celebrate Christmas tomorrow.  That way they are with me, in my heart and the physical distance doesn’t seem so harsh.

And to finish, a quote from my favourite wordsmiths.  Not because it necessarily fits with what I have said, but simply because I like it.

Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)

“CALVIN:   This whole Santa Claus thing just doesn’t make sense. Why all the secrecy? Why all the mystery?
If the guy exists why doesn’t he ever show himself and prove it?
And if he doesn’t exist what’s the meaning of all this?
HOBBES:   dunno. Isn’t this a religious holiday?
CALVIN:     Yeah, but actually, I’ve got the same questions about God.” 

 – Bill Watterson

Just Like Me

It’s been a busy week for the news media.  Wow, I guess they’ve all earned their negotiated salaries, although I do wish they would be paid somehow on the basis of what truth they spread.  Social media has also been busy.  Often partly a response to the news media, sometimes spread what they’ve called their own ‘truth’ and sometimes simply spreading lies (like the news), or popular opinion.

It’s made me pretty sad.  Sometimes it’s made me cry, that they can get away with saying the things the do, let alone convincing a somewhat gullible public that they are right.  Other times I took my own advice (Step Away From Your Screen) and literally stepped away from my computer, my television and my phone.  I had to do that to save my mental health because the whirlwind of information (true or otherwise) has wanted to wrap me up in it.  At times I wanted to fight some battles (because that’s who I am) but mostly I took my advice, backed off and watched with sadness.

Image credit: Chenspec/Wikipedia.com

During this week a lot of people have died in this world as a direct result of violence. There are the many who have made the news media, but there are also many more that we never hear about, yet their death’s are just as tragic.

The obvious victims are the 27 children and adults who were shot in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.  A tragic loss of so many lives that were mostly just beginning.

For a moment I want to consider two other deaths I have been aware of this week.  One is the 28th person to die at Sandy Hook, the shooter himself who turned the gun on himself.  Another tragic death I heard about this week was a man in England who was murdered in his own home. The details aren’t really important to what I am thinking, apart from to say that it appears his death was some type of vigilante pay back for a crime this man had recently been accused of having carried out.

In the case of both these men, the news media and the social media have played a part in spreading accusations and generalisations.  One man we have heard a lot about, the other you probably haven’t heard about.  What hasn’t been given is the truth.  We don’t know what is real and what is simply hearsay.

What I do know is that both of these men were just like me, in some ways.  They weren’t so different.  They had blood flowing through their veins. Like me they needed love, affection and acceptance.  At some point they had both probably been hurt badly, just like me.  These men were human beings, just like me, who it appeared that for some reason, everything went askew.

Maybe it was mental illness, maybe it was a developmental disorder.  Maybe too, they had some degree of evil (whatever that means) in them to drive them to the things they are said to have done.  Those things haven’t been clarified, yet the world has been quick to condemn.  Of the Connecticut young man I have seen a number of people describe him as ‘not human’.

That’s what leaves me sad.  I’m not condoning the actions of either of these men.  It was all wrong, and terribly devastating, particularly for those who lost family members and friends.

But these men were human, just like me.  And somewhere in spite of the horror of what has been happening, someone is no doubt grieving for them too.

I believe that these men were victims too.  I know that might be an unpopular stance to take, and I have no problem with people disagreeing with what I write (as long as I don’t get abused for an opinion).

Once, a number of years ago, both men were little boys and sometimes I find it helpful to think about them as when they were innocent children.  Again, because of the tragic death of 20 children last week it’s even hard to look at one of these men that way.  It just helps me to realise that while something has gone terrible wrong, these men were once just like you and me.

Yesterday I was at a barbeque (it’s summer here) which was a Christmas party for a group of people I know.  At one point I was sitting at a table with a lovely young man who I don’t know very well.  I’ve only met him a couple of times but what I do know is that he has Asperger’s Syndrome (a condition that has been subject to much media scrutiny this week).

It occurred to me while I was sitting eating my lunch with him, that it must be pretty difficult for him this week.  I know what it’s like to be looked down upon because I have a mental illness.  This young man doesn’t even have a mental illness (that I know of) yet the media have been putting him and other sufferers of Asperger’s in a group and saying we have to be careful of these people.  Apparently they might do ‘what Adam Lanza did’.

This man I was sitting with was, again, just like me.  He doesn’t deserve to be judged just because he has a disorder that makes him a little different from me.  Like me, he was enjoying having a drink, eating fresh berries and getting silly ‘Secret Santa’ gifts.  He had less to say for himself than most people on the group but that was the only noticeable difference.  He was, like me, having a good time.

Let me be very clear.  I’m not saying that horrific crimes committed against innocent people are acceptable.  They’re not.  It’s a terrible tragedy what has happened this week.  But we can’t afford to be looking at these people and thinking they are somehow different to us.  I’m not qualified to say why they might have done what they did.  I do have views on things that need to be done in society to prevent this from happening again, but those aren’t important right now.

What is important to me is that all the people who died this week (somewhere in the world) as a result of violence are human like me.  Someone loved them.  And to me, that puts a slightly different spin on things.

“The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy,  we can all sense a mysterious connection
to each other.”

~  Meryl Streep

“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have
been all of these.” 

―    Siddhārtha Gautama

Just One More

The Courageous Confessionals Award

I said a few days ago that I had just one more award to mention and that is the Courageous Confessionals Award  which my friend Kina of Human In Recovery has presented me.

Kina created this award a while ago to honour the kinds of blogs she was reading, which offered a variety of styles and content, and spoke to her at a heart and soul level, those where the authors are taking a huge risk by sharing “their rawest, deepest, darkest, and most painful struggles and allowing the rest of us a chance to see what lies beneath.  These are courageous people who are basically confessing their truest sense of self, whatever that means for them”.

To be included in those who have received this award is a great honour.  Since I published my book three years ago, and my story became pretty much public knowledge, I have somehow tended to put aside the fact that what I share in my writing is pretty personal.  It just is, for me and while there are obviously things I don’t share, particularly to protect other people, I strongly believe that being open and honest is my way of contributing towards getting mental illness spoken about in a more open way.  It’s not right for everyone and I completely respect, that but it is right for me.

There are two pictures which go with this award, and I love them both so you get to see them both.  There are also no requirements of things I must do or say.  I like these ones. ;-)

courageous-confessional-blog-award-e1348843850139

Thank you so much Kina for firstly creating this wonderful award and for considering me worthy of it.  Your recognition of why efforts to be open and honest, with a purpose, make it worthwhile.  Thanks.

One final note, that when I first read Kina’s post of my award, I mis-read the title of the award as the Confessional Blog Award.  I thought, that’s funny that Kina has created an award just for Catholics.  That led onto but I’m not Catholic.  LOL.  At which point I thought for a moment that I was a completely fraudulent awardee (I often feel like a fraud, that’s just life for me)… until I read the title a second time.  The moral of the story?  Read it properly the first time.

“Life, she realized, so often became a determined, relentless avoidance of pain-of one’s own, of other people’s. But sometimes pain had to be acknowledged and even touched so that one could move into it and through it and past it. Or else be destroyed by it.” 

―    Mary Balogh,    Simply Love

Belated Acknowledgments And Thanks

I have been very slow to acknowledge receipt of some wonderful awards from some awesome bloggers.  So before I go any further I need to say to those bloggers that I very much appreciate their recognition of my blog, and that my slowness to post about their awards is no reflection on how I feel.  Actually I am quite overwhelmed by the recognition.  So thank you.  Now let me tell you about them, in the order I received them.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

veryinspiringblogaward

Zen Lady  from Reflections on Life Thus Far nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award (I admit this was quite a while back).  I really like what she has to say on her blog so am honoured to receive her nomination.  Thank you.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award Rules

1.  Display the award logo on your blog.       

2.  Link back to the person who nominated you.     

3.  State 7 things about yourself.      √   (see below)

4.  Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.      √   (see below)

5.  Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.    

7 things about me

(apologies if I have told you these before)

1.  I’ll eat any chocolate, but prefer dark.  BUt I hate melted chocolate.  The texture is just all wrong for me.

2.  My first LP (it was in the 1970’s) was The Best of Abba.

3.  I failed French at school.

4.  My favourite paper at university was a Sociology course on writing life histories.  So far I’ve only done one and a half life histories.  The half is my father’s life history and is still waiting to be finished.

5.  The only pets I had as a child were two guinea pigs (called Patch and Badger).  A few weeks after I got them some teenagers from the church next door let them out of their cage and Patch and Badger were never seen again.  My parents refused me having any more pets.

6.  I hate brussel sprouts.

7.  I’m scared of Doctor Who.  I have been as long as I can remember that music.

Nominations for Very Inspiring Blogs

(in no particular order)

Miss Mental Health’s Rant Space 

dailylifewithfibromyalgia

Just Another Canadian Gurl

Being a Beautiful Mess

Mused

And yes you’re right.  That’s not 15.  But 15?

The Brilliant Blog Award

The next award that came my way is the The Brilliant Blog Award from Lulu of Sunny With a Chance Of Armageddon.  I have to admit that I was always an average student at school.  Brilliant was not a word any teacher would have used to describe me.  I did manage a couple of A+’s in my first year at university but still ‘brilliant’ wasn’t exactly me.  So for Lulu to include me in her inaugural presentation of this award put a huge smile on my face.  So thank you Lulu.  It is very much appreciated.

Da Rules

  1. Write an acceptance speech, linking back to the person who gave it to you.   
  2. Write 7 things you believe in.      √ (coming up shortly)
  3. Give the award to as many brilliant blogs as you would like to share the love.     √ (below)

7 things I believe in

The right of all people to be treated equally regardless of:

age

gender

ethnicity

sexual orientation

beliefs

class

health

religion

And yes, that is seven.  It maybe not be exactly what Lulu meant but I suspect she’ll let me off.

Nominations for Brilliant Blogs

(still in no particular order)

Empathy 2012: wake up – change yourself – change the world

…But She’s Crazy

Sweet As NZ Girl

Rebel Youth NZ

myspokenheart

Voices of Glass

one-lovely-blog-award12

Zen Lady Meditating from  Reflections on Life Thus Far has been very generous in also nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  Big smiles.  Thank you so much.  May I be thought of as a lovely blog for a long time to come.

The rules are:

  • Display the award logo on your blog    
  • Link back to the person who nominated you    
  • State seven things about yourself      √   (I’m cheating.  See above)
  • Nominate fifteen other bloggers for this award and link to them        √   (coming up)
  • Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements       √

Nominations:

(in no particular order)

The Mirth of Despair

Pride in Madness

I Love Being Hypomanic

bipolarandbreastless

Summer Solstice Musings

NB. Again you’ll note that I can’t count to 15, but I did say above that I was only an average student.

Sunshine Award

sunshine-award

Carolyn Hughes of The Hurt Healer has kindly awarded  me the Sunshine Award.  Carolyn’s blog is one of my favourites simply because I feel like I’ve been sitting in the warm sun when I have read her post.  They make me feel good.  So it is indeed a great honour to receive this award from her.  Thanks Carolyn.

This award is given and passed on to bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.’

The rules are:

  • Acknowledge the person who gave this award in a blog post.     
  • Do the Q&A below.      √   (see below)
  • Pass on the award to 10 deserving and inspiring bloggers, inform them and link to their blogs.  

Here’s the prescribed questions.  I think I have answered these before but it was a while ago so forgive me if I repeat myself.

1.Who is your favourite philosopher?            

Calvin & Hobbes

2. What is your favourite number?                  

I don’t have one.  Why should one number be better than another?

3. What is your favourite animal?      (you’ll note I can’t count again)

1.  Bears
2.  Elephants

4. What is your favourite time of day?       

Early mornings (when I can make it)

5. What are your Facebook and Twitter accounts?           

Facebook:    Infinite Sadness… or what?

Twitter:     #CateReddell

6. What is your favourite holiday?       

Canadian road trip 1990

7. What is your favourite physical activity?   

It makes me tired thinking about it.   Right now all I do is walk, usually to the car.

8. What is your favourite non-alcoholic drink?         (and again)

1.  Coffee (strong and never instant)       

2. Freshly squeezed orange juice                                   

9. What is your passion?    

Check out  The Passions Profile Challenge

10. What is your favourite flower?  

Daisies (I think that goes without saying, but I love pretty much all flowers).

 Nominations for Sunshine Blogs

aliceatwonderland

jumpingonclouds

Canadian Hiking Photography

Crazy In The Coconut

Sparkly Blue Butterfly Magical Fairy Dust Sprinkles Of Love

Human In Recovery

Reality Blog Award

reality-award1

The last award I need to acknowledge is the Reality Blog Award, given to me by Kevin from Voices of Glass.  Being real is something that is important to me.  To me it can be a fine line between too much and too little.  I hope I manage to balance that line and I very much appreciate Kevin’s acknowledgement that he sees my blog as rea.  Thanks Kevin.

The rules for this award are:

  • Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you      
  • Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back to them        
  • Answer the 5 questions presented        √ (coming right up)
  • Nominate up to 20 blogs for the award and notify them on their blogs      
  • Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere         

The Questions (and Answers)

1.   If you could change one thing what would you change? 

Peace not hate  (I say hate rather than war because I believe that hate causes war)

2.   If you could repeat an age, what would it be?

I’d like to be a pre-schooler again because I’d like that little girl to learn that she matters.  I want someone to say to her “You is Kind, You is Smart, You is Important”.  Not just once, but over and over again until she believed it.

3.   What one thing really scares you?

Fire.  Even the flame of a match scares me.  The fear comes from witnessing an extremely traumatic event a long time ago.  The trauma might be dealt with but the fear remains.

4.  What is one dream you have not completed, and do you think you’ll be able to complete it?

I’ve got a couple of very special people who I need to meet in person.  And yes, one day it will happen.  I don’t know how, but that’s not important.  What is important is that it will happen.

5.  If you could be someone else for one day, who would it be?

This is a really hard one that I have had to put off posting this until I sorted this out.  So many options, but only one choice.  I think I’m going to have to pass.  I know that’s terribly slack but…

Nominations for Real Blogs

behindthemaskofabuse

Soul Destruction – London Call Girl Diary & Book

Come November

Reflections on Life Thus Far

fibrofella

Tracie Louise Photography

And finally I have one more award to tell you about that I just got yesterday.  But as this is already so long, I’ll hold off and tell you about it soon.  Thanks for bearing with me. :-)

“The applause was so loud and insistent that I had to respond with several encores. I was numb with happiness, when it was over, I knew that this alone must be my life and my world.” 

―    Leni Riefenstahl

Like Minds, Like Mine

LMLM image

We all know how good it is to find that someone thinks like we do. A like mind, like mine. When we find that like mind is worth connecting and sticking close. Especially if we’re a little bit different from most.  Finally someone gets us.

In New Zealand there is an organisation dedicated to a public education programme working to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness in New Zealand. I love it. A whole organisation, funded by the government (Ministry of Health) no less.

Check out Like Mind, Like Mine’s website  and their Facebook page for more information.

I think this is really exciting to have such an organisation working on stigma, something which I am passionate about.  They are doing a wide range of activities to promote this message and for some years there has been a television advertising campaign working to spread the word that anyone can have a mental illness.  Like Minds have used prominent Kiwis (at times) to spread this message, people who have struggled with mental illness themselves.  Names like ex-All Black John Kirwan, musician Mike Chunn and fashion designer Denise L’Estrange-Corbet all took part in early campaigns to let people know that people like us, (and them) suffer mental illnesses.

So I was really honoured to be interviewed recently for their latest newsletter.  You may as well have told me I’d won an Oscar when they asked to talk to me about this blog.  Wow!  For me, it’s a great opportunity to link up with an organisation doing something I feel so strongly about.  It will also, hopefully, let more Kiwis know about my blog (as well as the other kiwi blog featuredin the article).  If you’d like to read what they had to say about me, and many more topics, here’s the link to their PDF version:

http://www.likeminds.org.nz/file/Newsletter-Archive/PDFs/lmlm-51_web.pdf

“Have no fear when darkness falls because there’s a light that shines within us all. There’s a flame that burns in every heart. It’s the will we have that lights the spark. Once in every lifetime, there’s a chance to stand apart.”

 ~ Theme song from 2002 Winter Olympics