The Brain

When I was between about 16 and 18 I was diagnosed with depression. I opted not to take medication for it, but went with talking to a therapist. I won’t lie, I didn’t think it would work. I was right, it didn’t. But it did help me understand myself. One day something really random happened that snapped me out of my depression. Since then I have learnt how to deal with how my brain reacts to things. I still have no control over my mouth!

As I’ve got older I’ve been surprised with who else has suffered or suffering. Some of those people are the strongest people I know. It could be due to a massive trauma in their life, or lots of little things.

Most recently my first born has suffered from confidence issues and anxiety. The anxiety has been so bad it’s made him vomit. Now nothing major happened to him, just lots of little things. And he’s tried desperately to hide it. To stop the anxiety I found talking to him, listening to him, making him understand and most importantly finding an answer that makes him feel secure helps. Confidence issues are not so easy. He’s had me give him a talking too, he’s had other people give him so much support and advice, he’s also had people tell him to basically snap out of it otherwise his dreams will not come true (probably the least helpful of all). He’s also had people who don’t believe he struggles because he comes over as extremely confident, almost cocky. It’s not real guys, it’s just an act.

Luckily he is now back to his old self. Thanks to a mixture of kind words and people showing they believe in him.

What I have learnt over the years is never be embarrassed by your mental health issues. At the end of the day your brain is amazing, look at all the things it controls. What I will say is support people and don’t judge, you could be that one person who could help make a difference. Or you could be the person who makes things seem ten times worse. One day it could be you, so always be kind.

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Friendship

I was told to do blogs that you feel passionately about, as it makes the process easier. So I decided to ask people what my next blog should be about! I’m going with friendship, what could go wrong!!!

I moved to Devon at the age of 12. The above girls circled are Sharon, me, Michelle, Jaye and Beccy.

We have been friends from 12-40 (yes that long). Our friendship has never changed, and probably never will. We don’t see each other much, but when we do get together we are like teenage girls again (well teenagers that prefer an early night instead of all weekend benders).

Now I’m obviously not going to tell you what we’ve got up to over the years. For starters it’s none of your business, secondly it was so awesome I actually can’t remember much. What I can do is tell you what makes us work.

Personalities

Me- I’m the blunt one who doesn’t have a filter. I come across as rude and aggressive at times. If you want an honest straight answer ask me, but you might not like the answer. The things the other girls tag me in on social media tells me they think I’m the nutty one. I am protective, I’m the one who is more likely to get in a fight.

Beccy- Our drama queen (pretty sure my kids should be hers). She’s loud, bubbly with a heart of gold, all wrapped up in a tiny package. Born for the stage, and is definitely entertaining to have around. Very protective over us. Would say she’s more nutty than me.

Sharon- She’s lovely. She has the best warmest smile. She’s very calming yet funny to be around. She would be the one not to piss off, as she socks a good left hook. She’s very caring and supportive.

Jaye- Very private. Keeps a lot to herself. But she knows we are always here for her. She’s funny, intelligent and the grown up. She can also drink us all under the table. Another very caring and supportive friend you can rely on.

Michelle- The matriarch. The glue that holds us all together. She keeps us all in contact, and in check. She knows everyone and remembers everything (she is god). She is the caring, emotional and most loving one. She will drop whatever she is doing to support any of her friends, and will fight your corner. I really don’t know what we would do without her. If Shell is your friend you are very lucky, so treasure it.

All very different characters, but put us together and you can guarantee laughter, bitching and fun.

I don’t think we’ve ever fallen out. I’m sure our memory bank Michelle could clarify this.

The best thing is that although we don’t see each other much we support each other. We have all suffered losses and sadness, and we have always made sure we are there for each other. We share the joys, the pain and love for each other.

I’m feeling slightly nauseous now so I must stop.

And finally. Although I am the tall gorgeous one, at no point have they ever shown any jealousy towards me. Thanks ladies­čĄ¬

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Fringe theatrefest Barnstaple. Who would have known!

Anyone who knows me, knows that this whole drama, singing and dancing malarkey has been forced on me by my first born. So why am I writing my blog about it? Well turns out Barnstaple theatrefest is amazing. So much variety to suit all tastes.

Now I’ve know about theatrefest for a few years now and have avoided. Nothing personal, just not my thing. But this year the first born is actually taking part with Total Theatre School.

I arrived in Barnstaple today, parked up and got the message that total theatre had to cancel today’s show, due to the lead being extremely ill (heartbreaking for the lad, and hope he is better very soon). It will have been a devastating blow for them all. I really feel for them, as I know how hard they have all worked. But I was still going to make sure my kids would get the feel for theatrefest.

First of all, first born did get recognised and received really positive feedback about the show from the previous day. And a lot of support for total theatre, which was great to hear and see.

We visited the square where a couple of cows were entertaining people (well it is devon). I had a clown that came charging over to me (nothing like from the film IT luckily).

We went in to Greenlanes and watched the children from centre stage school. Wow those kids can sing. Their harmonies were amazing. Will definitely try and catch one of their shows they put on.

Next was Amena. Now I know this lady can sing, I’ve seen her in a number of local shows. But in a room with just her and her ukulele, you realise how beautiful her voice is. She is such a talent, there is no limit to where she will end up. I see a bright future for her. My youngest absolutely loves her, so she’s not just amazingly talented she super nice as well.

Next! Leg it over to the library, where Brook.Wood Puppetry were doing some grime tales. Now apart from the very loud samba band outside I really enjoyed it. Nick is very talented, and surprised to hear he actually makes the puppets himself (they are really cool). Now I know Julie who was also performing, was very nervous. She has only been doing it a few weeks, well you couldn’t tell. She should be very proud of herself, both her and Nick worked great together. It was really enjoyable.

Walking back to Greenlanes we saw a street performer with a 7 foot unicycle! Well your not going to just walk past that. Apparently it’s The Tom Show. Well he was fantastic, so funny. I could have watched him all day (well at least an hour in that heat).

Then tonight we watched Upclose theatres around the world in 80 days. Probably wouldn’t have been something I would have watched if it wasn’t the fact I know them. But really glad I did go. It was very clever and funny. I generally don’t laugh at jokes. My sense of humour is when someone falls over or walks in to something. But I actually laughed out loud a number of times. Don’t get me wrong I think some of the humour wasn’t for me, but all in all they’ve done a great job.

Tomorrow we see An audience with Billy Buckingham and hopefully my big fat Tudor wedding. Might catch some other things as well if we can.

Well done to the Barnstaple fringe team for bringing such an array of performers. And for the sponsors for supporting them. It really is a great way for people to see the arts.

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The truth about turning 40!

Well I ache most days. Could be joint pains, sudden stabbing pains or just a good old fashioned headache.

I can no longer count my grey hairs, there are far to many. Won’t even start on the fact I’m turning in to a werewolf.

Cameras seem to age me. When I look in the mirror I see me. The same me from twenty years ago. The camera ages me beyond my years. I know this because I often see pictures of people I went to school with and they look amazing, and they are forty. So why does the camera lie about my looks!

All I ever want to do is sleep. I can fall asleep as faszzzzzzzz. Sorry dropped off again.

Skin tags? WTF. Liver spots or the correct term, age spots. Just rude!

My personality isn’t much better. I like to be on my own. I like silence. I’m a total bitch when I’m with the rest of the human race. I’m brutally honest. In fact I can deliberately go out of my way to crush a persons soul. I never say sorry. If I need to say sorry it means I shouldn’t have said it in the first place. And well I did, so I’m not sorry.

Everything annoys me. People with pushchairs, people walking down a pavement and not going in single file. People walking slowly. People driving. People shopping. Parents, children, yapping dogs, yapping old people, people, the snail I stepped on in the garden, the stairs, the door I walked in to, the bed I stubbed my toe on, when my kids say mum every five seconds. Think you get the picture! Yes I’m very grumpy.

All this happened before turning 40, so can’t really blame it on that. In fact 40 is no different than 39. The truth about being 40, I just don’t care. I haven’t changed as a person. Like me hate me, I just don’t care. I actually like me. I find myself amusing, and I’ve got some good friends who get me. If you don’t, that’s actually your problem.

People need to take a look at themselves. If your unhappy with something about yourself, change it. Answer these questions without being self absorbed. Have you got friends who you care about, and they care about you? Do you have family who will be there for you, and vice versa? Can you look in the mirror and despite your faults, still say your a good person?

Love the good and the bad and embrace who you are. You will probably find out you’re pretty awesome. We have one life, so live it to the full.

The truth about turning 40! Apparently you become philosophical.

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Parenting

As a kid most people can agree that parents supply you with love, support and most importantly money. They also embarrass, annoy and say no a lot.

When you become an adult, you realise how hard adulting is. And you grow a strange respect for your parents. When you become a parent you realise that your parents are like gods. Not only did they give you life, they didn’t kill you when you were being a little shit.

I find myself as a parent hiding in the bathroom for some me time (you must lock the door as they will still find you). Bathrooms are also not sound proof, so although you are locked in your safe place they can still shout through the door and post letters underneath.

I find myself hiding my chocolate. My eldest knows all my hiding places, he’s like a bloodhound when it comes to chocolate. They will devour your treats without a second thought.

They ask for stuff all the time. It’s like a test that you will never pass. Constant wanting and moaning must be so hard on the little lambs.

They do really embarrassing things that can be cringe worthy, so cringe worthy you wish you could deny they are your off spring.

We are often left in a nervous state because of something they might say, do, have said or done. Think they call it living on the edge.

If you were stupid enough to have more than one child, you have the joy of being a referee. Don’t step in until blood is drawn! You will regret getting involved.

Why do we do it to ourselves is the main question.

Maybe ask someone who can’t have kids, or maybe have lost a child.

Despite the daily headache I get from the noise they make, they actually are pretty cool. They give me undying love, they make me laugh, they make me proud and they make my life complete.

I have a sense that if anyone hurt my children I would destroy them. And I would give my last breathe for them.

Maybe parenting isn’t all that bad after all. And I’ve always got my bathroom to hide in. Would I give them my last chocolate? Not a chance!

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Education

I really wasn’t a fan of school. I very rarely attended. When it came to choosing my options, I picked the easy ones. Not the subjects that would help me achieve my life long ambition. Mainly because I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. And i still don’t at the age of 40!

Now I need to give you the back story about my first born, before I make my point with this blog.

When my son was first out of nappies we used to holiday at caravan parks. He loved the nightly entertainment ( except the one time, when one of the giant mascots scared him and he pissed all over my lap in fear). When he was four I took him to our local theatre to watch the panto. It was jack and the beanstalk, starring Todd Carty. He was petrified of the giant (luckily he wasn’t sat on my lap this time). After the show he told me he wants to perform on that stage. Thought it rather odd, a child so young would say such a thing. After all the only one who is partly in to entertaining the masses, is my mother.

Primary school years we discover he finds it very easy to climb on stage to entertain people. We also discover he has amazing ability to remember lines. He won a school talent contest and won a local contest.

I signed up for a performing arts school on a Saturday. Turned out he was rather shy and was terrible at singing. Drama he was fine. And as for dance, well he had two left feet when he started. But turns out he wasn’t to bad.

We then moved him over to a local youth theatre group. He would be with his own kind, they put on shows so thought it would be perfect for him. And it was he got straight in, made friends and got to perform in a few shows. He was also learning off people his own age as well as adults.

When he started senior school he found out that they put on musicals. Still not confident with his voice, but there was definitely an improvement he decided to audition. He’s had a few lead roles and been in the chorus.

The crowning moment was getting the part of Edmund in the lion the witch and the wardrobe with a popular local theatre company. He was finally getting to perform on the stage he had wanted to since the age of 4. The show went well, but for me seeing his face when he took his bows at the end, will stay with me forever.

He has done other shows since. Some have been amazing, some not so much. But it’s all been experience. Disappointment for not getting a part, or not getting in a show. Yes he gets pissed off and disappointed. But generally he knows it’s part and parcel of the industry.

He’s now at a fantastic theatre school on a Saturday morning, and they really push him out of his comfort zone and challenge him. He’s getting to take his LAMDA exams. And he’s feeling good. And he now feels confident with his singing voice, and with good reason. He can sing!

Back to education. It was the boys time to pick his options. Well he was obviously going to opt for drama and music. Unfortunately due to the lack of uptake for drama, it’s been dropped.

Now my son knows exactly what he wants to do with his life. And although I always thought if my child turns round to me and says they want to be a footballer, singer or actor I would tell them to get a proper job, as the chances of me winning the lottery is greater than getting in to any of those professions. But my son doesn’t really socialise that much, as he’s always aiming for the next show or improving himself. He is constantly practicing the three elements he needs drama, dance and singing. He has drive and ambition I never had, and probably never will. So who am I to tell him not to follow his dreams. In fact I’m going to help and support him as much as I can. He was even willing to move schools and leave his friends so he could go to a school that would let him take drama GCSE.

The plan has changed. He will stay at the school he’s at and sit his LAMDA exams instead. He will keep auditioning and keep learning from the fantastic people around him. And hopefully his dream will stay alive.

The actual point of this blog. EDUCATION. Ive since heard other subjects are now under threat. Not for my sons year, but following years.

Not all children are academic. Some children have dreams and ambitions outside the box.

I’ve been thinking about drama as a subject. I took drama at school, I was actually good at it. They threatened to give me a lead in the school musical (I definitely don’t sing) and it put me right off. Has drama helped me since leaving school. Apparently it has. It helps me socialise with people, it’s helped me get jobs, it even helped me pass my English GCSE. A subject I took at school as it was a doss lesson, has actually really helped me. Then I thought how else it can help. Build confidence, help with speech issues, entertain, make you feel different emotions. Turns out drama is important after all. In fact I can probably make a list for most of the subjects at school which could also be taken away.

Schools and teachers do a job that I would never want to do. I actually feel for them. A lot of teachers are leaving the field they joined, due to the pressure they are under.

Am I angry at my sons school. No actually I’m not. I’m not happy with lies and how things are handled. But the situation the schools are now finding themselves in, is ridiculous. Not many schools in the area are striving. They are nearly all struggling to meet ofsted standards and budget cuts. Something has to give, as our children are the ones who will suffer.

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