Soul of a Poet

I am frequently told that my poetry makes the reader feel my sadness.  In response, I usually advise that they aren’t always written from a place of sadness, I just seem to sound that way.  (This observation isn’t exclusive to my poetry, it seems the tone of my text messages also emits the same impression!)  It used to be a standing joke, with an old friend of mine, that the mere mention of my putting pen to paper must mean a looming depression.  It is true, of course, that some are written purgatively, as though to exorcise a dark daemon.  When this occurs I usually feel instantly better and free of negativity; the rest of them are written purely as an expression of thought – some directly pertaining to my own emotions/experiences, the rest pure imagination.

I am a person who has known great sadness, but I also know great joy; yet like a true Wednesday’s child, I can only seem to harness the former in my thoughts/writings.  I presume that the lack of finding true love is the culprit.  Perhaps, should I ever find my soul mate, I will no longer write poetry?!  It seems I am, as yet, unable to write a happy poem.  For my birthday, early last week, I received a wonderful gift from a colleague and friend.  She had a selection of my poetry printed in a hard-backed book and wrote a most flattering dedication for the back cover.  I took it to show my family; many of these poems my mum had seen for the first time.  She said it made her sad to think that I lived such a sad life.  I couldn’t seem to reassure her that I didn’t live a sad life, I live quite a full life, and rather a charmed one in comparison to some; however, I do concede my heart is a permanently heavy one – heavy with the burden of unfulfilled love; but let’s face it, it’s not the end of the world, life goes on regardless of one’s marital status. (Sigh)

It is unusual why I can’t seem to write something that captures happiness, I am not impervious to life’s intense and varied beauty.  I tried recently.  I had so many lovely gifts for my birthday, a lot of them very personal and creative ones.  With all this happiness, appreciation and love in mind, I sat outside Costa one morning (I had my birthday week off, naturally) and set about capturing that gratitude on paper.  What emerged was utter rubbish!  All it reflected was how badly I translate happy thoughts into poetry.  I shall have to leave that to the likes of Pam Ayres, rhyming with a comedic wit, intent on making the reader chuckle.  The soul of this poet is somewhat cumbersome, not unlike my physicality.  I could write about the happiest day of my life in a blog and the reader would feel the joy pouring from each word – but put it into a poem and it would surely sound like my worst day ever!

So therein lies my niche.  I am the world-weary, heavy hearted poet, but being just expressions of a single emotion, they do not detract from the fortunate life I currently lead.  When the day comes that I publish a truly happy poem, please raise a glass in my name, and congratulate the love I have undoubtedly found.

JG

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Luckiness

I consider myself a very lucky woman, in so many ways. Except one. Crucially, it’s this one exception that has dictated my feelings for my entire life; one that consistently makes me feel like an unlucky person. You know me so well! Yes, love.

Irrespective of intellect, insight, perception, wisdom, understanding, we all need reminding of just how lucky we are. My Mum has said, for as long as I can remember, “There’s always someone worse off; count your blessings.” She is, of course, quite correct. Yet, as intelligent and insightful as I regard myself, I have bellyached this evening to a friend about how much I hate where I live and that I have not had access to the kitchen to prepare my dinner (according to the diet plan) because one of the three others in the flat that have use of the communal areas has been hogging the kitchen since I got home. Diet plan went out the window and I have had to settle for scrambled eggs and beans. I’m not allowed baked beans, so this was even more aggravating. I am so desperate to have my own place again (saving like billio for a deposit) and this evening’s situation has only compounded my frustrations further; as the chances of actually moving are slim for at least a further six months, having already endured nine months in this hamster cage of a room.

There is so vastly much wrong in all of the above paragraph, I can’t even begin to understand how petit my thoughts have been. I’ve just watched part of Panorama which documented working families who really are on the bread line and one man who only had some teabags and two tins of mushy peas in his cupboard. He’s so strapped for cash he hadn’t even eaten for two days and the poor bastard has a flat but no furniture, not even carpet. Can you imagine? And here’s me, with enough cash in my account to buy up a plethora of goods in the local supermarket and I’m fed up because I haven’t been able to produce my deconstructed beef burgers with rocket salad tonight. I hang my head in shame so I do.

I have a very good life. I have registered my own company, I earn a very good living, I have a good social life and even when I’m not around others I make damn sure I am off doing something I want to do. I am continuously up and down the country; just this weekend a friend and I went to Chester to see one of my favourite bands play an amazing gig, then went on to Liverpool, the next day, for a while before driving five hours back home. This kind of weekend is commonplace for me. I am here, there and everywhere, all of the time. I don’t really know how to be any different. Life has been like this for the best part of four years; it has become who I am, even though at times I would kill to settle down. And it is here that I have to consider luck.

I managed to settle down when I was in Manchester with my partner. I found myself in love and gradually moving in with her. Once we settled into the relationship, all was good. There was so much love and laughter for much of our time together. I had found myself in ‘normal’ mode; a typically, normal life. I worked, came home, we ate together, watched T.V. or whatever, go to bed together and come the morning, off I’d trot to work again. This set-up was something I had craved for so long. To this day it pains me that it didn’t work. Lord knows I did love that girl, but the love just could not be sustained with the issues surrounding our life together.

Since then, I have felt settled again…………but only when Ms Brighton came along. Sensing a pattern emerging?! An entirely different experience to Ms Manchester, and yet that wasn’t right either. It is pretty clear that it is in my nature to feel happiest when I have love. So what do we want the most? I have the money and the lifestyle but I lack contentment because this abundance of love I have within me, aching to be given to my soulmate, lies wasted. I have far more than a person needs to survive. I have squandered more money over the last few years than I’d dare want to realise. It’s criminal really. (Though I should point out that this was after having worked my arse off for years to get debt free, whilst also supporting myself.) It has, if you like, bought me many happy memories…….without the cash I wouldn’t have half the memories I have of all the places I’ve been to, or the days/nights out, the weekends away; and yet it can never buy happiness.

Luckiness is relevant. To the poverty stricken, I am extremely lucky to be in the position I am in….even though I don’t own my own home, I am merely in a dorm type accommodation whilst on contract in the area; I can at least say I have an affordable roof over my head, a warm, clean, safe environment and the money to buy whatever food I want, when I want and to travel whenever the mood takes me. Ironically, a lot of those poverty stricken people who could only dream of being on the salary I am currently on, have the one thing that money can’t buy………the one and only thing I want out of life…………love. I would happily trade any day of the week. I would hand over everything I had and live on pasta and salad cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner until the day I die, if it meant I got to wake up with the woman of my dreams. In a heartbeat. In a Buckinghamshire minute.

I am lucky in life; and, in truth, I can’t really say I am unlucky in love. I have had love in my life; I just haven’t found ‘the one.’ So shall do as my mumsie says and count my blessings. I may never have my one true love, but I will always provide myself with a good life. And as we simply don’t always get what we want, at least some of us can say we have everything we need.

Godless, Loveless, Hopeless….?

There have always been far too many questions and not nearly enough answers in life. It’s like having a recruitment drive these days; there’s only one job, but there’s a thousand applicants. Just where do you start? Mind you, at least you can sift through the individuals and eventually hire; finding answers isn’t so easy.

I have always questioned existence, especially my own. It’s easier to justify other people’s existences (for the sake of my own sanity.) The most plausible reason is procreation; I have no desire to procreate, no maternal instincts at all. Some are here with their soulmates to walk through life with; I have no soulmate. Some were born to love; I have entirely forgotten how to and, even if it really exists, I question whether I am capable anymore. Some follow the word of religion and even base their life’s work on it; I am distinctly irreligious. So just where do you go? What do you do when you have absolutely no purpose or belief system? I realise I am merely concentrating on what I don’t have, as opposed to what I do, but what I have isn’t making me happy at my core; so.

There are, obviously, two options. Live, or die. We have the right and freedom to choose either. And how easy would the latter be; to have it all over and done with? You may say this is morbid, but this doesn’t come from a state of depression; it’s a logical, practical thought; death would be a blessed relief to my mind. And I know that life is precious and I know there is much enjoyment to be had; I do fill my life with……stuff, and just maybe there are better things to come. I have had love, I have friends, I have family….but this search for happiness keeps proving inconclusive. I just don’t understand what needs to be achieved to be perfectly happy, apart from being in love. Maybe there is no such thing as perfect happiness. Maybe it’s an illusion; a blind faith/hope. Death would end the quest. Death would bring relief (well, it would if you were around to enjoy it.) No more questions, no more striving, no more pain, no more bullshit. Now, to be brutally honest, that sounds like heaven to me.

So then there’s life; the option to just carry on living. The thing about having no purpose, no meaning, no hope, no belief, is that it’s two fold. It’s intensely depressing…..but also, it’s quite liberating. If there is no meaning, there’s almost no consequence. That’s not to say that we should ignore right from wrong; but at the same time, what does anything matter? Live, die, love, be happy, be sad, it’s all completely irrelevant. We will all die one day anyway, so no matter what you do, we’ll all end up the same; in a box or a furnace. And at that point, will how you lived your life have any relevance? Either way, why not go for it? Learn everything, do everything, go everywhere, fall in love, be heartbroken, break hearts, fuck up, make amends, be reckless, who cares? You’re only here once, thank goodness, so do whatever you want. Choose whatever you want.

Do, or do nothing. Be, or not to be. Pick one and don’t worry about what comes next. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway. If true happiness comes, bonus. If not, oh well, at least you can say you lived as well as you could. It all depends on how much effort you want to put in. You could have it all, if you wanted; couldn’t you?

JG

Choice is a gift to us all…….

Happiness is a state of being we are all capable of, if we’d only allow ourselves the freedom of a better perspective on life to reach it. I spent most of my teens and early adulthood believing that happiness was a myth; too caught up in my own cynicism to appreciate that we all had the potential to smile and mean it.  For me, it took being at an emotional rock bottom, for the gazillionth time, to realise it was my attitude that needed to change, not my circumstance; something of which I have been reminded of recently.  We all hit a bit of funk now and then, especially, if you’re like me, you know something needs to happen but you don’t have the patience to wait for it.  This simply results in mental and physical suffering.  Sometimes all it needs is a gentle nudge to help open your eyes and regain focus.

This is all well and good if you already have the knowledge and understanding to realise that, beyond the single hovering cumulus, your life remains on track, and that it is merely a case of blowing the cloud away.  For some, no amount of reasoning can assist in manoeuvring clouds from above their heads.  They are permanently hard done by, permanent victims.  I was one of them once; so blind I thought the world was conspiring against me.  Fortunately I grew out of that.  With a simple adjustment to attitude, and even despite no real change whatsoever to circumstance, your whole life can improve.  It really is all about perspective.

When you are so embroiled in bitter unhappiness, nothing goes right for you.  And why should it?  When you are filling life with so much negative energy, how can you expect to receive, or maintain anything good?  Naturally you are going to deny yourself opportunities; sabotage your own potential and eventually wind up alone as you push the right people away forever and keep the arseholes of the world around you.  I recognised this pattern in my life many years ago and continue to make changes to prevent it from happening again.  If you believe you have done no wrong and that it’s everyone else that is to blame for your lack of happiness, then you will never succeed in anything.  In truth, you are solely responsible for the state of your life……if you always lose, where others seem to win, whose fault is that?

We all deserve to be happy.  There genuinely is so much happiness to have.  There are some poor souls out there who have been through the most terrible ordeals yet still have the presence of mind to be thankful for the things that made them who they are, for the blessings they have been afforded and actively choose to be happy; because, when it comes down to it, it is all about choice.  You can either choose to live in misery, or choose to live in happiness.  We can all be forgiven a temporary lapse when things go wrong, we are none of us infallible and need support occasionally; but we should always be aware that the storms pass and brighter days continuously beckon.

I am the happiest I’ve been in a long time.  I have a much more positive attitude to life than my in formative years and the people I choose to have around me reflect that.  I’m not perfect; I still stress about things I can’t change, to a certain degree, but then that’s not always a bad thing; it means I constantly strive to be better as opposed to just plodding my way through life.  I take responsibility for my actions, I accept blame when I make mistakes and I treat the people I love with the respect they deserve; I am deeply thankful for everything I have and have had.  These are the reasons I have a beautiful love in my life again; these are the reasons I maintain good friendships;  these are the reasons I hold my head high.

Don’t wallow.  Let go.  Be blessed.  Be healthy.  Be loved.  Be happy.

JG

Get Them To The Church On Time!

I am a guest at my first gay wedding this week. My friend is marrying the woman she proposed to two years ago. I’ve known her for many years and we share many memorable times. I couldn’t be happier for her. She called me earlier to read a poem to me: the poem that she wrote and is dedicating to her beloved during the ceremony – just incase it needed any tweaking and for her chance to rehearse it aloud. It needed no tweaking. It was honest, genuine, it flowed and was from the heart. You don’t need to be Shakespeare to accomplish that.

Naturally in situations, you tend to reflect upon your own circumstances. I surprised myself when I felt my heart warm and my smile broaden at how happy I was for her. The old me would have collapsed in despair; wracked with jealousy and resentment at life for providing ‘everyone else’ with love and marriage but not me; like I was the unlucky recipient of a severe cosmic bullying…

However, a funny thing has happened within me. Before I met my ex, I knew I would love again; I knew it was coming. I felt it. Life prepared me to love again, with a series of events that led me to her door. I have had my ups and downs since the break up; from the questioning, self doubt, confusion; to asking the Universe for love, to help me find ‘the one’ and being excited about the prospect. These are all the varying stages of grieving, but now, all that has gone; and today confirmed it. Talking to my friend, I realised how much love and happiness is within me and how much I felt at somebody else’s fortune. I love my ex, of course I do, love doesn’t just switch off, and there is so much about us to miss; but the fact that I loved again, when I never thought it was possible, is enough for me. Not forgetting that I, too, was loved; more than I’d ever felt before; that is more than enough.

All of this has brought me to a point where I can finally say I am happy. I may only be young (ish) but if I never find love again, that’s okay. I have enough love in me to keep me going. I can be a singleton. Finding someone doesn’t seem as much of a priority anymore. The relationship may have ended….but I did find it. I found what I was looking for.

If it happens one day then I will probably burst with joy, but if not, there is plenty of happiness to be gained from the joys of the people I care about.

All the best to them two herberts, I wish them a lifetime of wedded bliss.

JG 08.01.14

Onwards and Upwards…or in my case Southwards

Which is harder; breaking up, or moving on?  Back in August, the actual break-up itself happened over a couple of weeks, but for me, moving on has taken months; and now that I am finally, literally doing it, life feels slightly more surreal, but not necessarily in a bad way.

My ex and I were only together for 18months.  It’s barely any time in the grand scheme of things, but when it’s love, a nanosecond is all it takes to ensure a break-up to be painful, confusing and heart-breakingly soul destroying.  I can imagine what you are thinking….’get over it already,’ ‘shit happens,’ ‘there’s plenty more fish in sea,’ etc, etc; and fair play, you have a point.  Consider though, that I am a fool with love.  I may not fall very often but when I do it is everything to me; and as a deeply (and somewhat irrationally) sentimental person, I am doubly doomed when it comes to love.  I have done nothing but allow sadness at the loss of my relationship (which I had waited so long for), the guilt for my part in allowing it to fail, and the consequential limbo, to overwhelm me.  I let my world come to a stop and to a point, on several occasions, where the resulting depression would make me wish for an eternal sleep.  There is no-one, nor indeed any situation in life on this Earth that is worth feeling like that over.

So, after all of this grieving and healing I am in a place, spiritually, where I no longer feel guilt, I wouldn’t even say there is sadness, but there is a melancholy upon reminiscing.  Now, though, it is combined with such an overwhelming sense of thankfulness, of happiness.  I am packing up my belongings, a lot of which have been given to me by, or bought with, my ex and I am happily taking them with me.  I wrote a poem, a couple of months ago, describing unpacking my belongings and then repacking them and putting them out of sight as it was too hard to see them.  The memories would initially make me smile, but that emotion was instantly replaced with intense sadness and I would breakdown and cry.  Now, though, I just feel happy.  Happy that it even happened; that although she wasn’t my forever, she was mine for that time and a piece of my heart will forever belong to her.  (oops a teeny tear welled in each eye just then.)  I will take these things and remember the love that accompanies them, not because I am pining for something I can no longer have, rather that I am so thankful I had it in the first place.  Nothing, nor anyone can ever take that away.  The scars on my heart will always send a pulsing shockwave through my body when I think of what was lost, but my thankful soul will rescue me from pain.

I am happy to be starting over.  I am being given a second chance with this move…. to achieve the things I didn’t the first time around and boy am I gonna make it work this time!  My ex moved on in the quickest of ways, distracted from life with another relationship, within no time of our split.  This did not come as a surprise to me, but it was the additional factor that secured more weeks of agonising soul searching, self questioning and a distinct absence of understanding of what the Universe thinks it’s playing at with my life.  She has made her declaration that she is trying to find new happiness and is on a quest to find herself and I wish her well.  Personally, I believe a new relationship is the last thing you need when trying to learn how to stand alone, but we are different people and deal with things differently.  Now I am ready to make the same declaration……to find my own happiness again, of which I have every right.  (Took me a long time to recognise that.)

For me, a new relationship is the last thing on my mind.  I only enter into a relationship when I have real feelings for someone, which is why it happens so rarely.  There is far more beauty and purpose in sharing a life with someone you are genuinely in love with, rather than being with someone just because you don’t want to be alone.  That’s not to say that the latter is wrong, it’s just not for me.  I will find someone again, when the time is right and I am in no rush.  There’s a lot I’d prefer to achieve on my own, first, but as life has its own plan, I will keep an open mind to it all.

JG

In Pursuit of Happiness

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What is it that makes you happy?  Is it a combination of a variety of things?  i.e., Is it the love of your partner?  A smile from your kids?  A wink from a stranger?  A win at bingo?  Fitting into smaller jeans?  Surely these examples are just causes of momentary happiness; and if so, I must adapt my original question.  What is it that makes you truly happy?

It has to come from something deep within; a state of mind; an inner calm; a mental well-being; a life choice; an acceptance of self.  How does one achieve that when so much in life goes wrong?  How do you stay happy when your heart has been damaged, seemingly beyond repair, during your life?  How can you be happy when you work hard all throughout your career only to be made redundant and fail to regain the lifestyle you had become so accustomed to?  How can you stay happy when the person closest to you; your partner, parent, or child dies?  Do all these types of negative life events earn you the right to be bitter and unhappy?  Some cope, some fail to, but with or without these events, we still deserve to be happy.

I have been happy in my life, at times, but I don’t consider myself a truly happy person…..yet.  I am a definite Wednesday’s child and far too sensitive for my own good.  Maybe I’ve not had the opportunity to realise my full potential, or maybe my dreams are bigger than my reality is ever meant to be – if so, I am doomed to never find true happiness, let alone any amount of inner peace; that’s for me to work out for myself.  Happiness is certainly something to be envied.  Some seem to have it all….the marriage, the job, the lifestyle, the family…..and if you possess what it is that makes you smile everyday, don’t ever forget how lucky you are because, sometimes in life, luck runs out.  Take nothing for granted.

Music makes me happy.  Independence makes me happy.  My own head space makes me happy.  A random ‘touching base’ text makes me happy.  Love makes me euphoric.  To have love is to have all, in my opinion.

What if, for some, true happiness is only found in the arms of the one you love?  Is that so wrong?  Isn’t that what real love is supposed to do; lift you higher than you believed possible?  Of course, that is why it’s such a crushing blow when a relationship cracks.  Love is supposed to take you beyond any level of happiness or contentedness that you can achieve on your own.  If it didn’t enhance your life, or your happiness, what’s the point in having it?  It is important to find some way of being content and at peace with your own life; for some unlucky people, love constantly eludes them.

Me?  I was born to love – I had always believed that within love lies my truest, deepest happiness.  Yet if I am to be unlucky in love and remain alone; I shall just have to bestow all the bursting love in my heart to myself, my people and my cat; living life doing only the things I enjoy, striving to attain my pursuit of happiness,.