Beautifully Imperfect…


I came across a challenge on WordPress, to compile a list. One suggestion for the list was ‘beautiful imperfections’.

This idea appealed to me enormously. I have never really admired perfection. I see beauty in flaws and quirks.

Perfection is boring.

I approach all my projects with a gung-ho attitude. I get paint on the walls and worry about cleaning up afterwards. I pound my thoughts out at machine-gun pace on the keyboard and leave editing for another time.  It works for me to grasp onto a feeling or idea and just do it.

My OH is the opposite. Meticulous. A measure twice, cut once type of guy.

He sees, not a painted room, but the imprecise cutting in at the ceiling or skirting boards.

He sees, not a painting, but a crooked frame.

He sees, not a new flower border, but the serpentine outline of my frenzied digging.

I appreciate the strength in seeking to get things right, but I prefer my attitude. I would rather delight in a finished project and fix any faults later than get so caught up in achieving perfection that the project eventually loses all appeal and dies a dusty, forgotten death. I think he is missing out.

Aiming for perfection inhibits creativity, in my humble opinion. To achieve results, I believe one must be unafraid of making a mess, of making mistakes.

Oftentimes, the mistakes turn out to be wonderful. Mistakes lead you to look at something differently, to learn, improve, or perhaps to simply accept the error or fault.

My bread rolls may not look precisely measured and cut, (because they are not), but they taste amazing. My roasted garlicky sea bass might not look as well presented as it could, but once it hits your taste buds, do you really care?

Sadly, my singing will never allow me to win any talent shows, but the sheer joy I get from blasting out a tune in the car is what matters. The laughter it elicits from my OH is also of more value to me than hitting the perfect notes every time.

The lines I see, more and more often, around my eyes and mouth can bug me of course, but less so when I remember I got them from laughing, smiling, crying, frowning. From living a full, authentically emotional life.

My hands look much older than my years, mainly because I have never adopted a good handcream or work gloves habit, but what marvelous things they they achieved. Digging garden beds and patios, (sans gloves), furiously scrubbing floors or baths, (sans gloves), kneading dough, making food, crafting, painting, typing. They might not look good, but they work, they allow me to do things I love.

Incidentally, glancing back over this post I realise I have in fact created a list! Mission accomplished and I wasn’t even trying. That’s a benefit of not sticking to a rigid plan or method. I simply started typing and allowed my thoughts to wander and develop.

I will leave you today with these wise words from James Joyce, “Mistakes are the portals to discovery”.

I will ask you to give yourself permission to make mistakes…

To have a go…

To be imperfect…

Imperfection-Is-BeautifulCiao,

💋

 

 

 

 

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Feel the Fear… and run away.


I am an arachnophobic.

I am truly, deeply, unwaveringly terrified of those eight legged freaks that invade our houses and gardens.

Don’t tell me they are wonderful creatures who eat the flies etc.

I don’t want to hear it!

This fear stems from a very young age. In fact I cannot remember a time I was not scared witless by them. (notice I cannot even bring myself to type the word)

It is second nature to me now to instantly scan a room upon entry, floor to ceiling, doing my recon as to whether or not it is safe for me to be there.

I have left my house and walked the streets in the rain because I saw one.

I have slept on the sofa rather than share a bedroom with one.

I have screamed and cried hysterically, many, many times if confronted with one.

My OH endures living in a practically hermetically sealed, (and possibly very unhealthy), house. Windows and doors remain locked, even on the hottest days.

I consider hanging out the laundry an extreme sport, due to the risk of eight legged visitors to my washing line.

As a child, I was mercilessly bullied by other girls, who found it immensely entertaining to catch one, or even to pretend to, and chase me with a cupped hand. I have memories of the absolute primal panic and feelings of total helplessness and being trapped as I frantically tried to escape them.

I have, of course, considered having therapy to cure me of my phobia, but even the thought of that terrifies me.

Recently, my OH and I were in a pet shop that is part of a national chain, buying dog food. As we wandered the aisles I noticed there was a dark corner at the back of the shop containing glass cases.

I just knew what was going to be in those cases.

I pointed it out to my OH and we agreed we would avoid that area of the shop. He reassured me that the monsters would be well contained and that I was safe.

Still, I could not stop myself from constantly spinning around to make sure one hadn’t escaped and was creeping its way towards me.

As we paid for our purchases I could not resist asking the assistant, a very smiley friendly guy, what was in the glass cases.

He replied casually, “Some snakes”.

I was not satisfied with this level of information and asked about the things I dread.

“Oh yeah! We have a Chilean Rose tarantula!” he said excitedly, “would you like a look?”, as he reached under the desk for keys.

“NO!” I screeched, hands outstretched, “No, no please!”

He then went on to tell us he is quite afraid of them too and that he refuses to handle them but is happy to open the cage and show people the beast.

I felt the familiar pull of being caught between a need to flee the situation and a need to get to grips with this life limiting fear. I explained to him how I felt and asked if my OH could go back there and take a look and report back to me. It’s as brave as I was willing to be, viewing by proxy.

The two men set off on their journey back to the darkest corner of the shop.

The other assistant, a young girl, stayed with me at the counter. I began to regret my request immediately and shouted down the shop to my OH to not allow the creature be taken from its glass case, and definitely not brought up near me.

She smiled at me with a half sympathy, half ‘is this chick crazy?’ look on her face.

knew the assistant doesn’t even handle the creature, so even thinking he would bring it near me is ridiculous.

knew my OH has saved me countless times from my nemesis, but I was now afraid he would suddenly turn all Mr. Hyde on me.

I felt like that little girl back in the classroom being chased by those mean girls again.

I began to sweat.

I said to the girl assistant I regretted this whole endeavour. She laughed a bit nervously. She clearly thought I was a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

I was gradually getting closer and closer to the door and car park. I realised I was doing this and joked about it with her, about how ridiculous the entire situation was.

It felt like hours since they went back into the depths of the shop. I finally saw them coming back my way and, once again, could not stop myself yelling out that they better be empty-handed.

My OH informed me that I was correct in my decision to stay away from the glass cages, as I would have died on the spot. We  stayed and chatted for a few more minutes, learning that they are actually very popular pets and fetch 180 Euro!

This is mind-boggling to me. It’s not as if you can take them for walks, play fetch or cuddle with them!

We left the shop and I grilled OH all the way home in the car for details, all the time squirming in my seat and doing my finest Exorcist head-spinning impersonation, checking all around me.

It’s a mystery to me why I want to know so much about the thing I dread most.

On reflection, I guess it’s my desire to be free of the fear perhaps.

Have you any ‘irrational’ fears and do you feel they limit your life in any ways?

Are you hopeful for a ‘cure’ or do you accept it is part of who you are?

Ciao

💋

 

25 Songs, 25 Days… all in one day!


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Day 1 – Clout, ‘Substitute’, 1978

I was 6 years old and found it very entertaining to sing loudly, “I’ll be your prostitute, whenever you need me…”

 

Day 2 – Sinead O’Connor, ‘Nothing Compares to You’, 1990

Slow dancing in the nightclub. He left me…

 

Day 3 – ‘One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus’, no idea by who or what year.

Have memories of my lovely, (incidentally, non alcoholic!), mother singing this around the kitchen. She just liked it I guess!

 

Day 4 – Damien Rice, ‘Delicate’ 2002

The chords, the harp, the soft sound of Lisa Hannigan and him in harmony… bliss.

 

Day 5 – (cringe) Ronan Keating, ‘Life is a Rollercoaster’.

No idea why, seeing as I hate both the singer and the song. Just one of those annoying songs that bang around my head for no good reason at all.

 

Day 6 – Sugar Ray, ‘Every Morning’, 1999

Sitting in a surf bar in Fuerteventura late at night, happily sozzled.

 

Day 7 – summer? I’m blogging from Ireland you guys!

 

Day 8 – Coke Cola advert. This sweet boy made my heart melt when he told that when he was with me, life always felt like a coke cola advert. How lovely is that!

 

Day 9 – Labi Siffre, ‘Something Inside So Strong’, 1990

I literally get shivers and feel the airs on the back of my neck stand up when I listen to this powerful song. So inspiring and empowering.

 

Day 10 – I don’t have an absolute favourite band but lets go with Bruce Springsteen, ‘Thunder Road’, 1975.

This song has one of the best lines ever, in my opinion… “You ain’t a beauty, but hey you’re alright”, classy Bruce, so classy!

 

Day 11 – Liza Minnelli, ‘Maybe This Time’, 1972

Cabaret is my all time favourite film. The juxtaposition of the hedonism of the seedy Kit Kat Klub with the sinister shadow of rising Nazism is enthralling. The subplot in particular perfectly portrays the ugly face of anti-Semitism. Sally Bowles singing this song is heartbreaking.

 

Day 12 – Green Day, ‘Brain Stew”, 1996

The uber talented Billie Joe Armstrong tweeted this song this morning. It made me happy because I hadn’t heard it in too long.

 

Day 13 – Zoe, ‘Sunshine on a Rainy Day’, 1990

My college friend Linda loved this song. The trouble we got into… happy memories.

 

Day 14 – The Cure, ‘Just like Heaven’, 1987

Such a sweet love song.

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Day 15 – Five for Fighting, ‘Superman’, 2009

I LOVE singing this song in the car. The initial gentle high notes descending into the deeper rocky bridge is just too much fun to resist. (FYI, I do a mean Andy Dwyer from Parks and Rec’s singing voice. Cracks the OH up every single time.)

* Honourable mention to Queen/Bowie ‘Under Pressure’… I like to sing in the different accents. Such a dramatic song. Such great ad-libs from Freddy. ‘Ok!’

 

Day 16 – Damien Rice, ‘Amie’, 2002

There is something about the violin strings at the end of this song that make me feel very emotional. Tearful, but not in a sad way. The notes just hit a nerve or something. The power of music I guess, I cannot explain it.

 

Day 17 – Way too many to list for this! It’s safe to say I will dance to anything, anytime, anyplace. If a song I love comes on in Tesco, I dance. Life is too short not to.

 

Day 18 – Bob Marley, ‘Redemption Song’, 1980

I wonder why I don’t listen to this song more often? I remember on honeymoon in Jamaica, we used to pass a guy sweeping every morning and he used to be singing this under his breath. I will add it to my most played playlist today.

 

Day 19 – Ed Sheeran, ‘A Team’, 2011

Sad song. Great song. Great video too.

 

Day 20 – Fall Out Boy, ‘Yule Shoot Your Eye Out’, year unknown.

I am honestly listening to this song for the first time! It was an extra song on the Fall Out Boy download and I never made it down the playlist.

 

Day 21 – An impossible choice! I refuse to choose! Nope.

 

Day 22 – Willie Nelson, ‘Help Me Make It Through The Night’, year unknown.

A truly cringe worthy experience, when I was a young and fresh-faced 20 year old at a summer school in the UK. A much older Yorkshire man serenaded me one night in public. Oh the horror!

 

Day 23 – I cannot even write its name.

 

Day 24 – Green Day, ‘Minority’, 2000

Christmas. Crazy drunken dancing to MTV. Resulted in me almost crashing into the TV and a very badly bruised back. Great fun though.

 

Day 25 – There are several. Numbers 4, 6, 16 count.

Adele’s version of  Bob Dylan’s song, ‘To Make You Feel My Love’, Jeff Buckley’s ‘Hallelujah’, many, many Foo Fighter songs, Fall Out Boy’s, ‘Sugar We’re Going Down’. Too may to list, just like number 21.

I can honestly that say sitting here all morning, listening to some great music and allowing long lost memories to return has been a wonderful way to pass some time.

I would love to see other peoples lists.

Have go… its fun!

Ciao

💋 

 Note: thanks to Suzie81Speaks for the inspiration!

 

Can You Help Me?


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I decided to create a new page on my blog called F.A.Q.s

However, I have no idea what people might actually like answered!

If you would take the time to perhaps pose a question or two my appreciation would know no bounds!

I cannot guarantee will answer anything and everything but I will do my best.

Keep it clean people!!!!!

Thanks in advance, (that’s how much I trust you will help me!)

Ciao

💋 

 

 

 

 

Trapped…


I have hurt my foot.

I have no idea how it happened.

I have no idea what is wrong with it.

An x-ray has ruled out a fracture so I remain in pain but with no diagnosis.

60mg of codeine did nothing to ease my suffering. Its only effect was to render me a spaced out, confused, mumbling mess. I no longer bother with it.

Apart from the pain, my chief complaint is my enforced house arrest. It is impossible for me to walk more than a meter without the pain becoming so bad I need to stop. Furthermore, to compensate for the pain I have developed a rather awkward limp, which results in more shooting pain up my leg, and a feeling of shin splints in both legs.

I do not drive.

My mode of transport are my feet.

Without use of my legs and feet I am housebound.

This is driving me crazy!

I need fresh air!

I need to see people!

I need to shop!

I need to get out of this goddamned house!

I must rely on my OH to bring me to the shops once he gets home from work. The feelings of dependency and helplessness are hard for me to endure.

I bore the affliction of being immobile many years ago due to an illness and this is a reminder of those immensely frightening and dark days.

Recalling and re-experiencing feeling I never wanted to encounter again.

Feeling…

Helpless

Powerless

Weak

Feeble

Dependent

Vulnerable

I want to put on my shoes and coat and leave the house.

I have no place I need to go, I just want to feel the freedom of knowing I can walk when I want to.

Instead I sit here, typing. Trying to connect with another human being via my blog, twitter and Facebook.

It’s no good though.

I remain trapped.

💋 

 

 

 

 

Shop Assistants and Me… Part III


Tesco.

Honestly, my local branch employs some very odd and peculiar folk.

There is the giant older gentleman with the deep bass Barry White voice, who towers over customers and insists on teaching us how to use the self-service checkout every single time, talking us through steps we already know as if we are children, or maybe he sees us as just plain feebleminded.

Next is the relentlessly happy and very loud Nigerian lady who laughs vociferously throughout the entire checkout experience, shouting comments to co-workers and other shoppers as she scans customers’ items.

Memorably, there is one checkout girl in my local Tesco that, how do I put this, rocks a very, and I mean very, butch vibe. Seriously, she could make Russell Crowe appear girly.  Now, we have all enjoyed the 25% back offer if you buy 6 bottles of wine or more, yes? I use it as an opportunity to stock up on my favourites. So what that it was 11.30am and I was buying multiple bottles of Cab Sav?

One morning, as my collection of wine was being scanned through, she looked up at me, all Princess Diana seductive doe-eyes, winked, cocked her decidedly unplucked eyebrow, grinned and said, “You’re going for it tonight then?”

I mumbled something about it not all being for one go and she continued, “I can do a bottle and a half myself, and that’s me gone!”, and other wink.  As they say in the best tabloids, I made my excuses and left.

However the winner for today’s post is The Very Strange Woman, as my OH and I have christened her.

She sits.

Slouched… emitting a menacing air.

Face like thunder.

Staring you down as you place your shopping on the conveyor belt.

No word of greeting will emerge from her lips.

Then it begins…

As she scans, she inspects every single item as if she has never before encountered such a wondrous thing.

As a chimpanzee inspects new food or tools, she manipulates each purchase with slack-jawed wonder. Then, when she has decided she has sufficiently assimilated this new information, she offers you your purchase, by hand no less, and moves on to the next fascinating item.

Needless to say, after a few visits, we now avoid her checkout, but we do enjoy watching other unsuspecting shoppers fall foul of her scrutiny…

I will return with more tales of my odd encounters in shops, stay tuned!

Ciao

💋

(I do have one more tale, which I will reserve for a post of its own, involving a tarantula… stay tuned!)

Shop Assistants and Me… Part II


Lidl.

Since us Irish were hit full force with the recession and have accordingly ceased having ‘notions’* about ourselves, Lidl and Aldi have become the New Black in shopping terms.

Who amongst us can say they haven’t popped in for a discounted free-range chicken and come out with a hovercraft or an **angle grinder?

I have found that I always seem to end up at the checkout line of the most stunningly beautiful Polish girl.

(I say Polish, I haven’t a clue really, but let’s just go with it…)

Her ethereal face is perfectly proportioned, fine boned and almost feline.

She has a very unsettling habit of making direct eye contact with me as soon as I join the queue, then she constantly glances away momentarily, only to return to a dead-eyed stare right into my eyes.

It is impossible to look away once she turns those ice cold blue eyes on me.

I have never seen her smile. Ever.

I smile, and always say hello when it’s my turn at the till. She replies with a barely perceptible nod.

She continues to just stare at me… as if trying to read my mind, or see the secrets of my soul.

I remain kind of scared of her, but drawn to her at the same time.

One day, one day I will make her smile…

Ciao

💋

* Notions: an Irishism describing people who have ideas above their stations, delusions of grandeur.

** You will find the angle grinder is a useful aide in getting rid of past spontaneous ‘bargains’ at a later date.