Gift wrapped conversation…

Yesterday I volunteered to gift wrap presents at the local shopping centre for 2 hours.

I wrapped with another lady and people paid a gold coin donation to charity.

Not really sure what the charity was but that’s probably beside the point.

I sat with a stranger for 2 hours.

She is a board member for the charity and was a little bit posh.

We sat at a table at the bottom of the escalators and chatted.

She has 2 grown up children.

A daughter who married a man on the other side of the world who she doesn’t see very often but has promised to move back home eventually.

And a son on the other side of the country who is getting married in 3 weeks.

We talked about the price of real estate, the Christmas sales and the importance of understanding your partner and what is important to them in a long marriage.

I talked about my job and she talked about hers.

We talked over the top of each other a few times. There were no awkward silences.

So it’s strange that when I go out with my husband we don’t really have much to talk about.

I guess it’s because we know each other already.

But it’s still strange the ease in which I can talk to a stranger.

There was an empathy between us and an honesty to our conversation.

I would look her up on Facebook and send her a friend request but Anne is quite a common name.

It’s kind of like a plane ride I guess. Stuck with someone for a designated amount of time.

Nothing to lose by sharing your joys and sorrows with a stranger.

It was good though. Good for the soul to just talk. Kind of like free therapy but getting to know someone too.

A different point of view.

I didn’t think we’d have much in common but we did.

Because as I’ve said before a stranger is only strange until you get to know them.

And next time I’m out alone with my husband I’m going to try and talk about more than the leaky toilet.

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Summer holidays…

If my face were an advent calendar then I’m pretty sure that in the next 2 or 3 days I would be unwrapping a very large pimple.

I only tell you this because it’s the season of giving… too much information.

Giving TMI is my go to gift for people I know well and people I don’t know at all.

“How’s your day going” ask people in the shops and instead of staying good I tell them the truth.

I tell strangers about my pimples. And my strange falls. And how I sometimes get bitten at work. And how I’d rather be in bed sleeping than waking around the shops aimlessly.

The other day at school pick up I started a game with the school mums called places we would rather be than picking up the kids from school.

It was a fun game. I won.

I tell lots of people stuff to bond with them. To make them smile. To lighten up their day.

I like to cheer people up.

(I must remember that it’s not my job to make the world happy though.)

I am overly friendly to people who work in shops and cafes. Sometimes in a flirty way. Sometimes just in a strange way.

The receptionist at my doctors and I often end our conversations with “love you”. I do like her a lot. She has spiky pink her and a killer laugh.

But there are also things that I don’t know how to bring up or things that I don’t know how to share.

Things that aren’t really anything except thoughts in your head and they’re not worth bothering people about.

Thoughts that I don’t know how to articulate or who to share them with.

I guess I just have a switch that I flick.

Don’t we all.

Back into real life, getting on with the responsibilities mode.

I have only a few days of teaching left before the long summer break.

I’ve had back to back to back work hell weeks that I’ve survived.

And now the noise all around my head is getting quieter and the noises in it are getting louder.

Just gonna make sure that my down time doesn’t get me down.

xx

P.S I’m okay and even if I wasn’t well you know…

Changing Tracks…

There is a radio program that I listen to regularly. On Friday afternoons at around 5:10 they have a segment called “Changing Tracks”.

People write in and share a story about a song that meant something to them when their life changed.

They are often poignant.

(Love that word.)

One that has stuck in my mind for sometime was a man who wrote in about his daughter who fell down a cliff accidentally when she was a teenager.

And some time later after stressed relations with his family his son played him “Sweet Child O mine” and he let everything out.

I’ve thought for ages about what I would write but decided that there wasn’t anything that had happened to me.

No major change.

But today I started thinking about the song that I played on repeat just before and after I was diagnosed with depression.

At a time when all was dark and I had more thoughts about dying than living I listened to a song by Mark Wilkinson called Middle Ground.

The line “just hold on for one more year then maybe these skies will start to clear” spoke to me.

And because it spoke to me I listened to it even though I couldn’t speak back.

A week ago I listened to Ave Maria and cried or tried to cry.

(The meds seem to stop the tears. Which I guess is kind of the point.)

Ave Maria and the beauty of that song made me feel so low but it felt good too.

I’ve been writing about music a lot lately. One could almost be mistaken for thinking that I know something about it. I don’t. But sometimes it moves me.

But back to my Changing Track.

It would probably go something a little like this…

In August of 2013 I was a wife, a mother of 2 young boys, a daughter to parents who split up a couple of years before and a pre-school teacher.

I was trying to make everybody happy and avoid conflict. I was resolving issues in my head that would never occur in real life and I was exhausted.

And then it all got too much and apparently I was depressed.

That diagnosis still doesn’t sit right with me because it can’t just be that or I should have been stronger than that or I should be struggling more now.

But I remember listening to this song on my iPod after I’d been admitted to the mental health ward.

A place where I was surrounded by like minded people and not necessarily in a good way.

Sleeping in a room with no sharp corners and a bathroom with no shower rail.

I have no idea why this song helped but while I was listening to it I felt like I had some hope.

That I could change and that if I kept holding on that better days would come.

And I guess the thing that I still don’t understand is if it’s all in my head.

If I made it up for attention and milk it for what it’s worth because I was never really that sick.

Or perhaps I’m just so good at hiding it and acting out my “she’ll be right mate” script that I fool myself.

Said the girl who now feels scared when she’s sad.

xx