Tag Archives: Truth

No drama

I had a friend once, I use the term friend rather loosely now but then she was what I would class as dear to me. We had walked though a lot together and I assumed we would continue to do so.

Then when in the midst of Livvy’s regression I was crying down the phone to her when she uttered the words that have scarred my heart for such a long term “I swear your life is like a trashy soap opera, everything happens to you, or maybe you just like the drama”.

I remember the impact of these words as if it was yesterday. How anyone could believe that this was the journey of life I had wanted to take was beyond me but to accuse me of being dramatic hurt. In fact it hurt so much that I shut down, I didn’t allow my feelings to show. I closed the door on that friendship and many others in fear of judgement.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I am in a place now where I am ready to own my own story. Ready to embrace what I have lived, not with echoes of shame but with pride.

Having a child who was born with a debiliatiting condition was hard but not knowing what it was and not expecting it was literally a nightmare. I cannot find the words to explain how painful it was to lose my daughter to Rett Syndrome, twice. Watching her eyes leave my face, her words disappear from my ears and her movements lost to the stereotypical.

To see the fear in her eyes as she screamed and screamed, crying out for me to rescue her. It broke me in inside, I cried out to God so often to heal her.

But he didn’t.

Yet slowly and surely he healed me.

I finally began to embrace the journey I was set upon, although it was very different from anything I could have ever imagined it was full of wonder and joy.

Joy, does that surprise you?

My daughter had a severe devastating condition, my son has a very complex disability but both of them loved, loves life in a way that brought, that brings me so much light.

It’s took me a long time to get to a place where I don’t apologise for what some see “as drama” in my life.

I have surrounded myself with people who get it or who try to understand it.

I have walked away from those who don’t or who don’t want to.

I can accept that some people cannot understand the life I lived or now the life I have chosen and that’s ok.

We are never going to be a typical family and I am embracing that, celebrating that.

Yes at times I am lonely and I do get sad at having to apologise for another missed get together, group activity or friendship meal.

But my children will always be my first priority, always my heart.

I don’t know if my friend understood the impact of her words or how they would change me inside. Maybe it was meant as a throw away comment that wasn’t supposed to find roots and bury itself deep.

Maybe it was my state of mind back then that fed and watered these seeds of deceit.

I don’t know and I actually don’t care.

Because I’m not that person anymore.

I cannot say that harsh words don’t still sting or dig deep in my heart, but they don’t get to stay and or get to take root anymore.

I am stronger than I have ever been.

I have faced the darkness of death and my memories, love brought me the light.

I face the suffocation of fear but my sons smile breathes air into my lungs.

My children are my world, they are the air that I need to breathe.

I am stronger for being their Mama.

My faith is stronger than my fear.

Writing when it hurts

Sometimes I get scared to write, scared to allow the truth to flow through my fingers. I preach about transparency and owning my truth yet at times my reality frightens the crap out of me.

Right now I feel on the edge of cliff I can see the rocks bouncing down the sides disappearing under the waves and I wonder how long this ridge will hold me. I can feel the erosion burning up inside of me, my will, my strength slowly crashing towards the water.

To say there is a lot going on in my life right now would be a massive understatement, the stress of exams on my girls has been worrying. Watching them tie up their hopes and dreams in pieces of paper is heartbreaking. Their value should not be decided by a cluster of standardised tests.

But this is the truth of life isn’t it?

We search for our own value in others judgements, others tests, others expectations.

I don’t want to do this anymore, I don’t wish to turn myself inside and out by the expectations my anxiety has created or those that don’t matter.

I cannot be all things to all people and cannot or will ever be perfect, yet i live each day berating myself for just this.

See this is maybe why I should have stayed quiet, yet a wise woman told me that truth can heal and that truth can set you free and that I needed to continue to write.

So here is my truth, the strive for perfection is an never ending quest, yet it also the biggest load of bull I have ever been told.  Perfection is a farce, something that can never be achieved, never be obtained. You see perfection comes with chains where truth comes with freedom.

Its ok for me to admit I am overwhelmed right now, to admit that anxiety is eroding my soul. That I want to run away from the world for a while or to simply just find some peace to calm my mind. It’s ok to admit I’m human, I hurt, I cry and at times I will break.

This is my truth.

Be true 

Transparency how I love this word, yes I may have mentioned this before but I just cannot help it, it actually may be one of my favourite words. I celebrate that what you see is what you get and I want that for me, I want that to be me. 

For a long time I have felt like I was living life at 60% hiding away for so long, hiding from my emotions being embarrassed by my empathetic nature. I am now finally embracing my transparency and loving life a hell of a lot more.

Does this get me into trouble ? At times maybe , but being open and honest matters, it’s allowing my soul the freedom that it sorely needs. 

I don’t want people in my life to not to know what I think of them, how much I love, cherish and admire them. I don’t want to wish for second chances or to cry over missed opportunities. I want to die empty with nothing held back. 

I often think of Livvy and her transparency, anyone who was with Livvy knew exactly how she was feeling, happy or sad. If Livvy loved you she made sure you knew it. Her eyes, her smile surrounding you in the warmth of true love. The flip side being if she wasn’t keen she also let you know that too. The looks that little madam could give you well, it’s lucky some didn’t turn into stone. I will never forget one doctor turning to the nurses after prodding her with needles for way to long and saying “I don’t think she likes me” the nurses burst into laughter because Livvy had made her opinion clear I mean from turning her back to him to refusing to look up when he was near. She was totally transparent and I loved her for it. 

It’s this need for openness and truth that is leaving me struggling right now. When the country seems to be changing in front of my eyes. People I have known or thought I knew having opinions that seriously shock me. Statements of pure hate coming from those I though were about love. 

Yes I can accept that the country is scared  the right wing propaganda is blaming immigrants for everything. Hey I burnt my toast this morning, blooming immigrants,  but this blame game isn’t one of truth.

People are falling for the lies, the blatant misdirection of the corrupt. Blame these people whilst we screw you over as you look the other way.

Yet we aren’t all gullible, at times I think we know we are being sold a pile of horse poo but it’s easier to blame that it is to fight. To stand up against the hate and say enough. 

It’s the hiding in shadows that is tearing at my heart right now. When the people in power are playing egotistical games with the vulnerable. When winning points is more important than saving lives. 

I’m craving for transparency, for the curtains to fall away and the whole stage to be seen. 

It’s time for a change. 

This world needs transparency and it also needs accountability, another rather wonderful word. 

People need to be accountable for their actions, their words, their decisions, their votes. 

Imagine a world where you had to be accountable for every decision you made.

For every word your spoke.

For every action you took or didn’t take.

I truly think the world would be a different place. 

A place where people thought before they spoke. 

Deliberated before they acted.

This world would be a kinder place.

We would have a more loving world. 

And a hell of a lot more happiness and laughter. 

Live life full, live life transparent and live life true. 

Is it pretend…?

My daughter was in her sociology class last week when the subject turned to fostering and adoption. She was sitting there listening to the views of others when one boys opinion really annoyed her, it seemed that to him fostering and adoption is “pretend parenting.”

Well I’m certainly not going to argue with the viewpoint of a 15 year old because as we all know at this age they are always right, but I would ask him to think about this.

Is it pretend when I walk the bedroom floor for hours soothing a teething baby?

Is it pretend as I wait patiently and worryingly outside the hospital theatre’s door?

Is it pretend when I hold them tight when they wake from nightmares?

Is it make believe the pride I have in all their achievements?

The worry I feel when they are sick?

The missing I feel when they are not with me?

Is it pretend when my heart fills with love for them?

I don’t really expect most 15 year old’s to understand but so many times I come across adults who just don’t get the love I feel for my fostered children. They see them as a means to an end or just part of my job. In fact the current government seems to view fostering as second class parenting but that’s for another post.

It just drives me mad that people view it this way, as it’s so far from the truth.

You see the moment I open my home up to child I also open my heart to them.

Slowly we both get to learn about each other.

I get to watch them as they come to understand that this is their home too.

I want them to know they are so loved, that they are so cherished and that they are so wanted.

I want them to put their stamp on their bedroom, knowing that it is their’s for as long as they want it.

To sleep without fear of moving on or not being safe.

I want them to know that they are now part of the tribe, that no matter what they do there is no giving up.

We fight for family in this home.

We fight for dreams to be realised.

There is no pretend is this family, just pure real true love.

A families love. 

 

 

Monday is the start of the Fostering Network’s Foster Care Fortnight. This years message is Time to Foster, Time to Care. They  want to spread the message that for many prospective foster carers NOW is the time to care and NOW is the time to foster. Please go take a look over on the Fostering network’s website and if you have ever considered fostering now is the time to do it.

There are so many children out there waiting for families to reach past pretend and to embrace them in real family love. 

 

Becoming a foster carer was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

It’s not always easy but it so worth it. 

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If my words were never to be seen. 

“Write as of no one would ever see your words”. 

I saw this statement on Twitter yesterday and it really made me stop and think, what would I write if my words would never been seen?

Would I tell you that I am pissed off at humanity, that the images I see and the news I read from around the world actually makes me sick at times to be part of the human race. 

The disgusting way we are treating the refugees from Syria. Destroying make shift homes, attacking those that already have nothing. Treating them as the enemy as they flee from all they know all they love. 

The current state of the political system the way it’s leaving people soul destroyed. Budgets being slashed for the things that really matter, social care disappearing, vulnerable people being left in crisis. 

The NHS slowly being sold off to rich selfish corporations whose only compassion is for the money it can make. 

People coming second to financial gain.

Would I tell you that I truly believe the world has changed. Gone is the love each other sentiment of this planet to love myself. 

The art of conversation is lost, gone are the days of real words and sentiment now we are a society of text talk or emojis.

If my words were not to be seen by anyone I would tell you that I worry. I truly worry for society. That I wish people would wake up and realise that we aren’t meant to walk through this life on our own. That our actual DNA needs to us to be sociable and to build relationships. 

We need to think outside ourselves. That the greatest joy can be found in giving not in taking.

If my words were never to be seen maybe I would admit that I’m tired of selfishness. Of seeing some that have so much and others that have nothing.

I’m angry at the rise of homelessness, emotionally corrupt landlords raising rents that only the elite can afford. Forcing families who have lived in an area for generations to have to move away from all they know, all they love. We are building lines between those that have and those that don’t. 

If my words were never to be seen I would admit that I too have to change. 

That I know I can be selfish at times. That my expectations of others can sometimes be to high. That I need to learn to let things go. 

If my words were never to be seen I would admit that I hurt. 

That sometimes I actually feel as if my heart may physically break. That I’m tired of pretending, that I crave to be true. That sometimes I don’t want to be the bigger person or rise above it. I want to call some out on their behaviour. Tell them it’s not ok. 

If my words were not to be seen. 

Well then they would be just words. A formation of letters that hold no power.

Words are to be seen.

To be shared 

To be experienced.

So I’m writing today without fear, writing with my heart wide open. 

For I want my words to be seen.

I want my words to matter,

But most of all I want my words to be my truth. 

My word for the year 2016

As I start the new year I want to continue with my tradition of choosing a word for the year. A word I hope will be something I can turn to throughout the year.

My word for 2016 is ‘truth’.

2015 was a year of two halves. A real mixture of celebration and heartbreak. 

I got to live some amazing moments, walking the catwalk for amazing brands at Style XL in July. Not just jumping over my self confidence barriers I crashed straight through them. I’ve enjoyed every moment that I got to model and have grown so much in confidence. I’ve learned what I like to wear and how to wear it. Hoping 2016 is another year full of fashion and fun. 

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The experiences I have had from the plus size fashion world have been wonderful but to be truthful it’s the friendships that have blossomed from this community that have really blessed my life. I have had the great pleasure of meeting some truly radical, inspirational women. Women who fight daily to get women of all shapes and sizes equally represented in the world of fashion. But also women who have really shown me what community means, support, guidance and encouragement. 

I also got to start on the journey of achieving one of my longest held dreams. I started my degree course in September. I still get goosebumps when I realise that I’m now in the 2nd year of my degree. I was lucky enough to move past year one due to the prior knowledge and training I have had. My degree is in Therapeutic childcare and I’m so exciting to be learning as much as I can to help and support children who have faced neglect and trauma. This is truly where my heart lies. The fact that I’ve also made some rather lovely friends on the course is a true added bonus. 

To be fair 2015 was a good year, I have had some incredible moments and a lot of things and people that I am so thankful for. 

I’m also ending 2015 with a new addition to my family as we have opened our home and hearts to a second foster son. So be prepared for some baby posts as I find my feet with my new addition. To say I’m a little excited is a massive understatement.

2015 also brought with it some amazing opportunities for Livvy’s Smile, we created some wonderful memory making days and got to see some truly beautiful smiles. Excited to see what we can achieve in 2016.

  

  

Yet 2015 hasn’t been all good, I have watched my friends walk some painful paths. We have to say goodbye too soon to those who just couldn’t stay. Nothing I can say will help ease the pain of these losses but we will remember and honour those we miss. 

So why am I moving into 2016 with the word truth as my beacon? I’m not sure if I can actually find the words to describe why and what this means to me but I guess I will try. 

For a long time I have felt lost, like I wasn’t hundred percentage sure who I was and to be fair what I believed and what I wanted to stand for. Yet over 2015 I found myself really searching deep inside about what I wanted from life. Looking into oneself has never been easy for me, I tend to self judge and cause myself pain. Yet this last year I decided to stop blaming myself for anything and everything and know my own truth.

So that’s why I’m moving into 2016 with the word truth at the forefront of my mind.

I’m going to focus on knowing my own truth, I’m going to work towards being able to help children know their own truth.

I’m going to stand up for the truth needed in the world today. To see all people treated equal, fight discrimination against disability, ethnicity and faith. To see everyone celebrated for the people they are. We are all unique amazing individuals. We live our own truth.

So as I welcome in 2016 I do so with excitement and joy. I’m know the next 365 days are going to be full of challenges and changes but if I could have one wish this year it would be no more “too soon’s.”

So today I wish you all a Happy New Year and hope and pray that 2016 is all you wish it to be.  

Know your own value.

Dear teenagers,

There is nothing more than I hate to see then you posting photographs on social media asking for likes. Your need to get reassurance from others. The value you place in the number you receive really worries me.

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You cannot allow your self worth to be based on a number.

The world of social media is a fickle place someone may not like your photo for reasons that are way beyond you, but the fact is, that is irrelevant.

You need to know your own worth!

To know how truly amazing you are.

Post as many photos as you want but love them yourself.

Know that what you see is a beautiful, handsome incredible individual.

Know that each and every one of you is an amazing unique person.

That your life is worth so much more than a like or twenty, in fact no number can hold your value.

You are priceless.

Go ask your parents for a number that holds your value, they couldn’t give you one as their love for you infinite.

Go ask your best friends to number your friendship, believe me when I say true friendship  is beyond any number.

This world is so quick to put a number on things, from the latest iPhone to designer clothes.

This is not true value.

Your smile, the twinkle in your eyes, the sound of your laughter this is what people will remember.

A new dress will become last seasons fashion, a kind giving heart will be cherished forever.

Hey I’m not saying don’t share that photo of you in your new top, coat, jeans hey we all do, personally a good make up day is always a share for me.

It’s not about not posting, its about why you post.

Post because you feel good, post because you are happy with the way you look, post because you just want to.

Don’t hold on for likes, know you are liked and loved.

The number does not hold your value because it cannot,

Because simply you are priceless. 

Priceless

 

No, I’m not OK… 

I’m tired of the word O.K.

We hand it about so often that it’s become a nothing word.

It has no meaning.

No substance.

Often we use it because we think we should. 

It’s up there with the sentence “I’m fine”.

It’s polite, it’s expected, it’s crap.

You know what , it’s actually ok not to be ok.

To feel upset, angry, hurt. 

You don’t have to be ok. 

“You look tired is everything alright “?

“I’m ok” No you are not you have been up all night with children and are surviving on caffeine, you are tired and exhausted. You are not ok.

I heard you have lost your job, you ok?

“I’m ok” no you are not you are worried about paying bills finding money for the kids new school uniform. You are feeling rejected and confused. 

“I heard what that woman said to you, are you ok?”

“I’m ok” No You are raging she embarrassed you for no reason other than pure rudeness. You are angry and hurt.

Why do we say I’m ok when it’s obvious we aren’t and why do others take it knowing that we are not? 

Is it politeness?

Is it a fear about getting involved?

Or a general don’t really care ? 

Maybe all of the above, I don’t know but I want to banish I’m ok. 

I’m challenging people today to be open and say “you know what today is hard I’m struggling”. Or even “I’m feeling fantastic today is a good day”.

I also want you to challenge others “I’m ok” when it’s obvious they are not. “Can I help” or simply “I’m here for you”. Could seriously make someone feel less alone. 

Because “I’m ok” can destroy you, it can leave you feeling so isolated . It can make you question yourself and drive yourself crazy ” why aren’t I ok” ? “What did I do wrong? Why do I feel this way?

When the truth is our emotions are part of who we are. We feel, we laugh we cry. We know joy and we know sadness. 

Our emotions are our humanity. 

By pretending we are ok we don’t allow ourselves to validate our hearts. 

Let’s leave the polite bullshit behind and be open and honest. 

Let’s share how we really are feeling today. 

Let’s be be vulnerable. 

Let’s be transparent,

Let’s be true.

No, I’m not ok… 

#mybloggingtruth – A challenge to all bloggers

I started my first blog back in the early part of 2008, I wanted to share my life and what it was like raising a severely disabled child. How it could be hard but it could also be truly amazing. In the last 7 years I have seen many changes in the blogging world some good, some not so much. I know it has expanded greatly thats for sure, both in the personal and business world. Bloggers have become influential and can really make a difference to the public perception of a brand or a product.

It will come as no surprise to my regular readers of which I know there may be one or two that I am an emotional writer. My words fall from my heart onto the pages here. Sometimes I read my old posts and think maybe I shouldn’t have shared that or maybe I could have written it different but often I write for freedom and at that time writing that blog post may have given me that.

Sharing your heart here in the virtual world isn’t easy, especially when you put your name to the words. Of course we have all read the anonymous nefarious hate that has been written by trolls but in my book if you don’t put your name to it well then your cowardly shit isn’t worth the webspace you are taking up.

But even the most honest of all writers hide.

Are we really not photoshopping our words, our lives, hiding behind the filters.

Do we really share all our true faults, our failings?

Hands up I know I don’t.

Why would we?

It’s scary being vulnerable.

Well, as a writer who has shared her struggles and also from reading and talking to others what I have learned is that honesty makes people feel less alone.

How many of us moms have really felt that we have had enough, I know have. Seriously at times I wonder if I am cut out to be a mother. I screw up so often that I’m glad my children don’t keep score. Yet when I read blogs that seem full of perfect parenting I truly struggle. Questions like “what did I do wrong”? Raise their mind destroying heads.

Or the blog of the woman who dropped her pregnancy weight in 2 weeks whilst 14 years I still have my baby belly.

The perfect home baking whilst my kitchen looks like a war zone.

All this seems just out of reach.

So I’m setting all bloggers the #mybloggingtruth  challenge.

I want you to write a post sharing your truths.

Be open and be vulnerable and lets come together to celebrate our imperfections, our  struggles and our mishaps.

I will start the ball rolling here’s my truth……  I run away. 

I get so scared of failing that sometimes I’m to scared to try. I hate this about myself, I look back at the opportunities I have missed because of fear. The friendships I didn’t allow to blossom because I didn’t believe in myself. The many times I have said no when my heart really wanted to say yes. So many experiences, prospects lost to my fear.

I’m working on this but  I am truly still a work in progress.

So join in with me, write your post, tweet it to me @livvyssmile and use the hashtag #mybloggingtruth and lets use our words and our truths to make us all feel less alone.

Let our transparency be the the light for others.

Let’s do this, lets share our blogging truths.

Loving hard

Being emotional.

Is it a bad thing?

For many years now I have felt it is.

I have held back my heart, my feelings, my emotions.

And I feel suffocated.

 

Years ago when I was a teenager my Nan told me that wearing my heart on the outside would get me hurt.

She was talking about my heartbreak over a boyfriend at the time and she was trying ease my pain.

She said that I needed to hold my head high and act as if it didn’t matter and that i was ok.

I know she meant well but I believe I took that advice a little to literally.

 

You see I do love hard.

Its as simple as that.

But over the years I have held back.

Tried to be someone I’m not.

Taking words as emotional, dramatic, as insults.

Changing who I am to please others.

 

Even when Livvy died I never allowed myself to let go.

I didn’t fall apart, scream at God or generally let rip.

I held on.

I could tell you that it was to be strong for my girls, or my husband but that would only be partly true.

I held on because I was scared to let go.

If I let myself fall apart would i be able to put myself together again.

Well I was praying about this last night and God gave me this beautiful image of a mosaic and he reminded me that some of the most beautiful things in life are made from broken pieces.

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I have to allow myself to break,

Allow myself to really feel.

Holding back is suffocating me.

I can’t breathe.

 

I do love hard.

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It is who I am

I am emotional

I am dramatic

I am all or nothing.

But I love with all my heart.

I will fight to the death for those I care about

and I will be by your side always.

Remember if I love you, I will love you hard.

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