Blue Sky Update – March 2024

After a month where it seems that the situation with my relative is not going to resolve itself any time soon, here is my round-up for March as a coach, writer, and human being.

And Still, I Rise.

When I first saw the video clip of Diane Abbott repeatedly trying to speak at the House of Commons debate two weeks ago – I was left feeling profoundly depressed and worn out by yet another example of a Black woman being ignored and sidelined.

This week, I looked again and realised what this video was showing me:

And Still, I Rise.

Because this is what we as Black women do, and if I can’t do it now because I am worn out and tired, I KNOW other Black women will until I can get back into the fray. We can support and uplift each other as we need to.

So, two weeks on, I will celebrate Diane Abbott’s resilience, fortitude, and humanity with the phrase:

And Still, I Rise.

The class of 82

Wow, what a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon – a few drinks, some great conversation and a few rounds of darts with the men I studied industrial engineering with at Hatfield Polytechnic. I can’t even remember the last time I played; it was that long ago. I’d forgotten that this was something I enjoyed along with the odd game of pool. The afternoon and evening flew by, especially since I last met with them five years ago.

I can’t quite believe it has been forty-two years since we first met, and I don’t think we have changed that much; we are still essentially the same people.

 So, I’d like to finish with a quote:

 The noir hero is a knight in blood-caked armour. He’s dirty, and he does his best to deny the fact that he’s a hero the whole time – Frank Miller.

Without my classmates, I might not have made it all the way through, especially during our final year.

Thank you, gents – you know who you are.

Embracing a new reality

For the foreseeable future, I will be making regular trips to Kent to visit a relative. I am sharing this responsibility with my sisters, so I am grateful that we are all largely pulling in the same direction.

Fortunately, I am self-employed and have the flexibility to schedule visits around my work commitments. However, at the start of this episode, I was almost overwhelmed by panic and resentment (maybe a story for another day). I was thinking myself into a panic, worrying about the future and how things might pan out.

Thankfully, I am now more emotionally settled and able to take things week by week. We will need to review our options for the long term at some point, but only once we can see more clearly what is happening. This is the one time my imagination and incessant what-if thinking have not been helpful.

So, what has helped?

First, I had to accept that we are facing a new reality, and that this situation will continue for a while, and there are unlikely to be any straightforward fixes.

To look after myself physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Slow myself down and work at a pace that I can manage. Remind myself that saying no in the given circumstances is completely fine.

Accept what is within my control and what is not – what I can let go of.

Talking things through with friends and family – I do not need to carry this all alone. I have people around me.

And to quote one of my sisters – you can only do what you can do.

So, I’m curious: what helps you when life throws you a curveball?

Celebrating International Women’s Day

The idea of acknowledging and thanking my past selves came up while I was on the @JennyGarrett retreat – How to be the author of your life story.

Then, after listening to the phenomenal edition of Radio 4’s Sunday Worship, hosted by 1Xtra presenter Swarzy Macaly with rapper Deyah and DJ Rachael Anson as guests – with their take on the Beatitudes, I was inspired to write this week’s post.

So, as it is International Women’s Day tomorrow – I encourage you to recognise and celebrate the women who have supported, uplifted, and inspired you. But I would also invite you to celebrate your younger self, the younger versions of you that contribute to who you are today.

Consider the decisions you made in the past that you are profoundly grateful for today. What would you thank your past self for?

Today, I choose to thank the Janice – who did not give up and finally passed her driving test on her seventh attempt.

I want to thank the young woman who, when offered the chance to stay rent-free in a friend’s house – decided to save the money she would have spent and could then put down a deposit on a flat when needed.

Thank you to the Janice, who took the advice offered forty years ago about paying into a pension.

Thank you to the not-so-young woman who signed up for a life writing course in 2017, without which I would not have started on my collection of stories.

But most of all, I want to thank the little girl who not only found a way to survive but eventually thrived.

Introducing Lego, Janice

This is a short post this week as I continue to make regular trips to Kent; our family member is now at home after three weeks in hospital. But I did promise to share the assembled Lego of myself – and here she is, Lego Janice.

I am impressed with the details they have included: my dreadlocks, glasses, and my favourite, orange clogs. They even included my chain and the wrinkles around my eyes 😉.

Thank you, @Izzy, for putting me together; I’m not sure I would have managed it right now.

So, I’ve got to ask: who else is tempted to create a Lego model of themselves?

If so, I’d love to see it 😊.

Until next month