Lazy or genius?

Is it a really lazy thing to do to get rid of everything out of my wardrobe that isn’t black and just create a uniform of black clothes? Black trousers, black tshirt and black jacket, cardigan or jumper. With a range of colourful scarfs that I just could wear to brighten things up.

As a girl guide leader I have a uniform to wear, at least on the top half and I just wear whatever I have had on the rest of the day on the bottom. It is smart, it always looks together and I never have to think about it.

I work in schools quite a lot and sometimes look at the uniforms with envy. The kids (and their parents) don’t have to think about what they are going to wear each day, they just put on the same thing.

Although I have simplified my wardrobe a great deal (inspired by project 333), and only have a limited number of colours in my wardrobe I still have to think about what I am going to wear when I go to a meeting. It would be easy if I had a uniform that I wore when I was client facing.

But, with my limited colours and number of clothes I worry that people think I wear the same things all the time, I am sure that really no one gives a damn, but I notice what people are wearing and remember when they wear the same thing again. Of course I am not judging them, it is just that I notice and think that it really suits them and I wished that I was able to wear that sort of thing. Which I guess is a form of judgement, just positive to them and negative to me.

Of course, within that there is a whole level of worry about other people’s opinion, as well as a stress about such a minor thing. And that is what I mean, will just wearing the same thing take all of that away? Will I no longer waste brain power on such a thing?

Outside of meetings it is easy, jeans, tshirt and hoody/fleece. I only have one pair of jeans at the moment and it is actually working out, about 5 tshirts and about 4 hoody/fleece. Nearly all of my tshirts are merino or bamboo, so they are breathable and non smelly!

I have two pairs of walking trousers, it is very muddy round here and as I walk Buster everyday I need to be able to wash the thick mud off. On the top I tend to wear a tshirt/hoody which I have worn as normal clothes for a couple of days. At the moment, aside from a pair of loose trousers for yoga and my swimming kit I am not wearing any exercise clothes as I still can’t run or cycle. I just wear what ever tshirt I have been wearing to yoga.

So, would eliminating the options for work stuff away from blue, black, grey, purple and burgundy and different types of trousers/dress/skirt make life easier? I think the burgundy is going to go as it doesn’t work with purple and so I have 2 items of clothes which I can’t mix with others so well. Would 2 pairs of black trousers, 2 black long sleeve tshirts/2 black short sleeve tshirts and then a black cardigan, jacket and jumper work? Or would it be too boring? Maybe a black dress and a black skirt for variety?

I then wouldn’t need to think about fashion, new clothes (apart from when my black staples run out), or what to wear when I am heading out to a client.

I am of course, over exagerating, and I don’t think I would go this far, but it would make life so much easier!


Selling the past

(this was written before xmas, in case any of it seems out of joint with the rest)

So today I am selling all of my Viking reenactment kit.

Yes, I used to spend my weekends dressed as a viking, running around with a sword, knife and bows and arrows and fight with people. I would like to point out that these were metal swords, but they were blunt. They still hurt if you got hit with them though. They hurt a hell of a lot.

I haven’t done reneactment for over 10 years now, I think it is ten years. My kit has spent a lot of time being moved from one place to another, or stored at my parent’s house.

And yet, there is a small part of me which is reluctant to sell it. When I opened up the bag of stuff last night a heady smell of wool and wood smoke came out and enveloped me in a cloud of memories.

I hand sewed, embroidered and other embellished all of these clothes – both male and female kit.
I took a great deal of pride in all of the accessories I made. Not to mention all of the jewellery and metal kit I had bought, this was when I was working in marketing and earning a great deal more than I am now. My status symbols were in my Viking kit, rather than in my every day life.

I also take a great deal of pride in knowing I can fight with a sword, axe, knife and longbow. It makes me feel like I could survive the zombie apocalypse if it comes(!). I can also light a fire with a flint and tinder, make tinder, cook for huge numbers of people on an open fire, spin wool, sew whole outfits by hand. That gives me a certain confidence in myself I have to say.

I was part of the Vikings group, and the level of authenticity in our work was high, we were sought by English Heritage and National Trust to put on fights and living history displays for the public. I have fought the Battle of Hastings more times than I can remember.

I am keeping a small brooch to remind me of all of the happy times I spent around campfires at night, fighting with friends and having fun.

I am also keeping my longbow as i am joining an archery club in the new year and all of these new fangled bows with sights and triggers seem like cheating to me, not to mention unnecessarily complicated. (sorry to my husband!) I love the simplicity of shooting with a longbow – it is, essentially, a stick with a string on. A very expensive stick with string, but still.

I am sad to be selling all of this kit, something which was my main hobby in my life for quite a long time, but I also have not liked having it in the loft. I have felt like it was tying me to the past in a way and I am ready to move on.


I found this on the wonderful Kindred of the Quiet Way blog, and it I think it sums up what I am thinking at the moment

“Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.” Roger Ebert.

Of course this can be more simply, and slightly crudely put as Wheaton’s Law

Don’t be a dick

Thank you

Thank you all so much for the positive comments to my recent outpourings, it has been really great to hear such support from you all. I don’t know why I was so worried about it all.

It is hard to talk about such personal topics, I don’t know if it is being British and one generally doesn’t talk about these things, but I have struggled to share, which is why when I read back over what I have published there is quite a time lag between writing and publishing, to give me time to chicken out or to re-think what I want to say.

I try to write most mornings, although that has not been happening as late, I write in one big note, often several blog posts at once, then I separate them out and edit them at a later stage. Or delete them entirely. I like to keep the writing and editing process separate (like most people I suppose) so that I can stay in the creative zone. This does mean that the whole process slows down the time between writing and posting.

Which I do think is a good thing.

Never the less, thank you for you support and encouragement in my meanderings!


Yoga acceptance

Yesterday I went to a yoga class, even though in a bid to get well I have cancelled all appointments, meetings and even seeing friends. This yoga class is different, it is a relaxation and restorative class and my teacher has trained in yoga for MS, CFS and cancer. She also knows me well as I have been going to her classes on and off for about 4 years now, since she started up.

As I have said before, yoga around here tends to be done in village halls, with everyone is either see through leggings or track suit bottoms, no lulemon here!

So, it is in no way a pretentious class.

During tree pose I did my usual highly wobbly practice on my left side – hypermobile ankles mean that I can be as still as possible on my legs, but my ankles will not stay still at all! But I couldn’t stand full weight through my right knee. So I did mountain pose instead.

Then we came onto doing equestrian pose, with an extended practice here. This was too much for my knee, so I went up into a full lunge, again fine until I had my bad knee at the front, then I couldn’t do it at all. At this point I started to get cross and angry. This is not particularly hard yoga, and I can’t do it. I then did the rest of the work sitting down, sobbing quietly into my forward bend. My teacher noticed and came over and touched me on the shoulder and said I was too hard on myself and I know it. She is right, I am and I do. But it was so frustrating not to be able to stand and do the yoga moves.

But then something shifted. I accepted my body for what it can do today. Not yesterday, or three years ago, today. I went through the rest of the class feeling sad, but yet deeply embracing where I am. Up to now I have been fighting using a walking stick to get around, pushing myself to get well and to carry on regardless. On Monday I find out what is going to happen with me knee, if it is something they can fix, or if I need to live with it. If I need to live with it I am getting a purple and silver stick.

By the savasana at the end of the class I felt such a deep relaxation, my body felt heavy, but in a good way. I didn’t listen to the visualisation, instead I took my awareness around my body, listened to the pain in my back and the sharp pain in my knee and embraced it.

I slept well last night, deeply and I have woken up feel like I have rested, for once. My body still feels deeply relaxed, although I am sure that will change as the day progresses.

I also feel like something has shifted, that maybe I am beginning to accept my body for where it is right now and that feeling might even stay around for a while, before I find something else to rail against!

Going omni

As you know, I recently went vegetarian and this has been a great struggle for me, I have felt much better ethically for being vegetarian, however it has been causing me a lot of stress.

Firstly my body has been craving meat, not just the occasional bacon sarnie, but like it needs meat. I have been ill a lot recently and I worry that it is partly related to that. When I told my mum I was going vegetarian she said that I should be careful not to get ill, as that did happen last time I went veggie for a period.

Although I don’t think my illness is totally related to not eating meat, I don’t think it has helped.

As I have said before I don’t have the best relationship with food and I struggle to know what to eat and cook. And this has added a new layer of complexity to eating and another aspect to worry about – am I getting enough protein to give myself energy?

So, I feel like I am cheating in going back to eating meat, especially as it just felt so right ethically, but I can’t do it anymore. What doesn’t help is I am a very fussy eater and there have been times when I have been out that I haven’t eaten much at all because of this and that hasn’t helped my overall health and how I feel at that time.

I am going to buy ethical meat, and I will probably go back to buying from Abel and Cole again, as this is a good way of getting ethical meat.

It is also difficult in announcing to people that, once again, I have changed my mind. But once again, I need to learn that it doesn’t matter what other people think about me, I have to do what is right for me.

Spiritual questioning

I shared my posts about my retreat and I wrote them a long time before I shared them with you and this will probably be posted far behind where I actually wrote them.

As a result of my retreat and the very strong feelings I had when I was there I decided not to start my mitra studies, not to carry on my work with Buddhism. I feel, again, like I am going round and around and that I am unable to stick with anything.

But I have to be true to myself and when you have a very negative physical response (almost passing out and having a panic attack) to a physical situation your body is clearly telling you something. Or at least mine is. I am generally not good at listening to my body, to my intuition, but actually on this occasion I am trying to.

So, I guess I no longer consider myself Buddhist. In fact I no longer consider myself anything, except a Seeker. I will continue to read and study religious texts, talking to people and listening to their thoughts. I believe in something much bigger than me and I regularly pray and meditate but I guess for now I don’t fit into any one category, there isn’t a spiritual box that I can tick next time I go into hospital and I will have to live with the uncomfortable feeling that generates within me.

I can notice it and explore it, allowing myself to see where it goes and what it shows to me, maybe I will go back to a Quaker meeting or two, and maybe I will go back to the occasional meditation class.

I have no altar in my house at the moment, and yet I am beginning to feel closer to my spirituality than I have for a while. I guess that as there is no altar there isn’t a fixed place and I am beginning to listen to myself. Thanks to having a dog I am getting out into the woods and nature a lot more than I have done in a very long time and that is a healing process for me and a chance to connect with spirit/God/ess/’it’/’that’. Sometimes the English language is very inadequate.