27 February 2013

He Used To Be A Punk Rocker.


I love this man. His name is Frank Turner, he used to be the singer of a heavy punk band called Million Dead. 
After the band's split he went solo and veered off on to a slightly folky path. 

I have been a fan for a long while and I'm really not sure how or why I've not posted about him before. He is an excellent musician. 
The fact he is also physically my perfect man does not hinder the appeal either ;-).

He is some kind of performer live and I would say that if you get the chance to see him perform live, then grab it with both hands as he really is fantastic.

Anyway, these are four of my favourites from a very long list of hidden gems.

For me, this is sheer beauty.




This one has lovely lyrics. A cheery tune that disguises something slightly poignant in the words.



I adore the video of this as well as the song itself. Something a bit special.




This one? This one makes me think of my hometown :-). It also has something of a delightful melody to it.




22 February 2013

Magic.




I spied a comment from somebody on a post earlier and they mentioned a post I did a while ago so I'm re-posting it,  partly because I love of what it reminds me of :-).
It was written way back in 2007 which feels like a lifetime ago now! Six years and I still love my addiction to the horse as much now as I did then :-).

------------------------------


"Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark" ~ Saying of the Claddagh Gypsies of Galway



I think I've tasted heaven. My older brother is very into racing, he goes to Cheltenham every year, that's his 'holiday'. He also goes to a lot of meetings at other tracks. All this means he knows a lot of the big trainers both locally & nationally. My sister, who is my build wants to go into racing so today me, her & my brother went up to one of the local trainers yards, her to spend the day there getting a feel for it with a view to getting an apprenticeship & me because I begged to go. So I got to be stable lass for the day & my God, those horses are heaven on earth......


All of them in racing condition & you can feel & see the power, the muscles rippling & the hardness of the sculpted bodies, amazing & so awe inspiring. The pure grace in their movement, gentleness in their face but at the same time the ominous air of awesome power & strength, completely & utterly amazing. Needless to say neither me or my sister were allowed on the big boys but we did get to go out with the string on 'school' horses, the ones that aren't racing but usually used for trainee jockeys/lads to hone their skills etc.





Mine was a bay gelding & hers was grey, both of them gorgeous & even though they weren't the top class you could feel the power beneath you, smooth long strides but as soon as they got onto the gallops you could feel them bunch up & gather themselves, like sitting on a coiled spring, you could feel the horse's excitement travelling up through the reins & the saddle, mouthing of the bit & the jogging, feel the hard body gathered beneath you, knowing with one touch of the heel or slack on the reins & you would be gone, flying. We both ended up going upsides (racing in pairs, I say 'race' but the idea is to keep pace with each other rather than race) each with one of the yard lads. I broke into a canter with mine, got ourselves ready & on the mark broke into a racing speed & my God! The speed literally took my breath away, you know when you're excited & you get that rush in your chest? That excited/sick feeling? I had that.



I could feel the horse bunched beneath me, gathering his hindquarters up to push him forward, feel the pull on the reins & then....gone, having to bridge the reins to avoid having them slip through my fingers, crouching low & feeling his mane whipping up, hearing his breathing & glancing down seeing his legs like pistons shooting out, eating up the ground. Feeling the wind whip past me & feeling the euphoria gather in my chest & throat, the sheer joy & freedom at the speed & motion but at the same time that innate sense of danger. My fingers knotted in his mane, cheeks stinging, looking ahead & seeing out of the corner of my eye the speed at which things are passing, no more than a blur.





The sheer, raw power beneath me moving at 25/30mph+ needing control from my hands & heel only, the speed & energy at which we were moving & feeling the air catch in my throat, feeling a shout of ecstasy escape. The excitement & the knowledge that this horse wanted the speed as much as I did, having to collect him up to stop him running out of steam, keeping my legs on & guiding him with my whip to keep him straight & trying to fight the urge to go flat out & just race. Smelling the smell of horse, the smell of his coat & the glancing over to see the same grin on the lad I was pacing with, euphoric. Relaxing into it & moving with the rhythm, respecting the power but urging it on as well. Feeling the resistance in the reins, the responsive mouth, the iron hard neck seeing the veins raised & feeling my horse fight for his head, gently keeping the reins gathered giving an inch but slowly taking it back again, keeping him paced. Both of us fighting not to give into the temptation to go flat out, him constantly asking & me bringing him back, checking him back down to a working pace.




Reaching the end of the gallop & slowing to a canter, trot & eventually a walk. Coming down from the high & seeing the sweat on the horses necks, feeling the heat of my own body & ache in my thighs from riding short, catching my breath & letting the reins slack, watching the horse stretch his neck long & low, gathering him back up to ride back down to the others. Joining the string to ride back down to the yard & realising it's still only just 7, the sun rising higher & feeling the freshness in the air, the clean clear earthy smell & breathing it deep, feeling my heart return to normal. Watching the steam rise from the horses as we make our way back, back to unsaddling & breakfast but above all remembering, remembering that sheer, pure unadulterated adrenaline rush at that first burst of speed & wondering if I'd have been able to stop even if I'd wanted to.





That's why the horse is my drug of choice.



"Visions of horses ... make the moment brighter, inspire respect, and make
the heart beat faster. God forbid that I should go to any heaven where there are no horses" ~ R.B Cunningham-Graham.



14 February 2013

Snapshots.


I don't often look back if I'm honest, there's not much to be gained from it but there are moments when something happens or is said and it's like a snapshot rushing up to 'greet' me.
I have a lot of happy memories but an awful lot of bad ones too. They weren't enjoyable but they've made me a better person, I try not to judge, I have a lot more empathy than I otherwise would have, I see the positives in life  and I don't stress about the small things. I don't get caught up in pointless arguments and I really could not care less if the small details don't add up. 
I don't know, I just see the bigger picture as a result of various experiences.

It's safe to say I am still a bit of an emotional cripple despite working on things, I hate people getting too close emotionally, I cover up hurt and difficult situations with sarcasm and black humour. I don't take people at their word very often and I please myself a lot. I push people away, if I'm finding things difficult to deal with or I feel somebody is getting too close I shut down completely and the barriers come up. There may as well be a fort with razor wire around me sometimes for all the welcoming vibes I give out. Too often my defence mechanism is 'get away from me'. I do a good job of faking it but it is always there, I've never let somebody get close enough for me to be truly and properly vulnerable, not after the first time. I've never since properly trusted somebody with my feelings and it's a vicious circle because I've often been proved right, that it wasn't safe to trust. The problem is, the older I am getting the more I am wondering just how much was my fault with my self-preservation instincts and self-defence mechanisms.

Today was a 'snapshot' day. I had a friend on the phone to me in tears because her best friend (a girl unknown to me) had ended up in hospital beaten black and blue by the 'man' who is supposed to love her. 

Now I know the easy answer is 'she should just grow some balls and walk away'. Except it isn't that easy, it never is that easy.

When I was younger, too young to know what I was getting myself in to and running from problems at home, parents moving abroad to take chunks out of each other on Foreign soil instead of home ground, I ended up in a relationship with an older man. 
I thought I'd landed on my feet, I adored him. Things were so good for a few months, I started to feel good and 'safe'. He was so good to me.

Then the tiny little digs started, the sly comments about weight, looks, what I wore, how I behaved, what I said, what kind of friends I had, started coming from him. 
I was young, messed up from a home life that was at that time like a war zone and seeking comfort in arms I should have steered clear of.

People say 'walk away'. It's like somebody telling you to stop breathing, you believe you need them as much as you need the air you breathe.
The worse he became, the more I craved his love, his attention, his approval. I wanted so much to make him happy, I would have done anything to try and make him happy, I frequently did try anything to make him happy. The worse the verbal abuse became, the weaker I got. The more he pushed me away, the more I craved his affection. The more he withdrew his affection, the harder I worked for it. The more he criticised me, the more I criticised myself. 

On the bad days (and there were many) I wondered how I could ever have got myself tangled up with someone like him but the thought of leaving him, or him leaving me, left me feeling sick, shaky and with a racing heart, in tears often. It was too awful a thought to contemplate.
There were times he threatened it and each time, I promised I'd be a better person, I'd be the girl he wanted, I'd love him more.
The power he had was absolute. He never physically hurt me, there were no physical scars or marks but mentally? Mentally he beat me black and blue until my emotions were in bits and my heart felt like it was going to break.
The names, the insults, the cruel words. I felt like it was my fault. As he said, didn't I always push him to it?

I hung on his every word, the often bad ones and rarely good ones. The 'good' days made it all seem so worth it, the high I got from him saying something nice, telling me he loved me, it was unreal. It made me feel like I could change him, like I was changing him. That it wasn't his fault that he said what he did but mine, after all, he could be nice so it wasn't him just being awful all the time, it must have been my behaviour, it must have been me tripping the switch. I must have done something to make him say what he did, to make him threaten what he did.

There were times he'd pick me up from somewhere and say he'd had an offer of another woman's company and tell me how lucky I was that he hadn't accepted it.
There were days on end where nothing seemed good enough but for the odd moment, the odd hour, sometimes even an evening where he made me feel like I was on top of the world. 
It's like a drug, the euphoric feeling that it will 'all be okay', the rocketing of emotions when he told me he loved me, the heady feeling of having his undivided positive attention and then he gut-wrenching twist of guilt and upset and emotion and goodness knows what else at having it all snatched away again.
It makes you want more, it makes you crave it until it becomes the only thing on your mind. From your first waking moment to your last thought at night, the plans and ways to gain an affection that should be shown in unlimited amounts, not handed out for 'good behaviour' as and when it was decided. 
It messes with your head in the same way a drug would, it's all you think about, the 'hit' of emotion when you've finally found the golden moment that makes it all okay and you desperately try to hold that feeling close and remember every single step that led up to that moment so you can get his approval again except you never do get it again through the same steps because the 'acceptable' steps change each time. 
Wearing a skirt = good. I was his woman doing it for him.
The next time it would be wearing a skirt = bad. Other men were looking, I must have been doing it for them.

The constant high-low of emotions, the highs feeling like the greatest love I'd ever had for someone and the greatest love I'd ever receive and the lows feeling like I was never going to see the light of day from the pit I was in a heap at the bottom of, crying my heart up for another misdemeanour, another wrongdoing. 
Apologising, promising it wouldn't happen again, promising I wouldn't upset him again. That I loved him, that I'd do anything for him, that I needed him, I wanted him.
Craving his forgiveness for what I'd done wrong, craving his affection and the aching need to know that he loved me too, he needed me too. That it would be okay, that he wouldn't do it again. 
Except he always did, it always happened again and it always left me feeling bruised and battered from the inside out. 

The sheer exhaustion of working for his affection and the sheer relief when it was given. This time I was home and dry and it wouldn't happen again, he was sorry, he'd never say such awful things again. Telling me that I deserved better, that I didn't deserve him, that I should just go. Go and be happy and leave him, walk away. 
Except it always did happen again, he was never sorry and he knew very well that the thought of being without him was unbearable for me.

I'm a tiny build anyway but I went to under six stone while I was with him. I never ate because I was always feeling guilty and if I wasn't feeling guilty I had no hunger at all, no strength in me to physically want to eat and of course the other thing was, if I was slim then he'd love me. That my weight may have been it, even though I was far from fat I felt so unattractive, I felt ugly. 

That maybe if I lost weight, that would be the key. 

If I stopped wearing certain clothes then that would make him happy for good.

If I stopped wearing the perfume I loved and he hated that maybe that's where the secret lay.

If I stopped wearing heeled boots because they looked like 'slag boots' then I'd finally gain his approval.

If I stopped wearing the makeup he hated then he'd love me for good.

If I didn't return smiles to men who smiled at me then that would make him see how much I loved him.

If I remembered to call him exactly when I said I would then he'd see how much he meant to me.

If I replied to his texts straight away then he'd see how hard I was trying.


None of it worked, none of it stopped me craving the high of his 'love' and his affection. None of it.

Obviously, I walked away, eventually. It was that or end up a complete shell of myself but it was still the hardest thing I've ever done. The sheer pain of walking away from somebody who, at the time, I was convinced I loved. 

There is a difference between physical abuse and mental abuse, with the physical you live in fear, you still crave the 'good man' but you live in fear.
With the mental abuse, you live in self-hatred, you hate yourself for not being good enough. For not being who he wants you to be, for never making the mark, for never gaining the glory. Because you hate yourself, you believe what you are told, the things that are said about you, to your face. You believe it all and you promise yourself you will be a better person so the need will no longer be there for it to be said. 

The problem is, the drug is always there and for as long as the drug is handing out the highs, there you'll be, waiting for every 'hit' that makes it all worthwhile.
Nothing ever changes, no matter how much he promises it won't happen again, no matter how much you promise to be better for him. It never changes.

It's never a case of 'just walking away'.

I never got punches, or slaps, bruises or broken bones. I never got so much as a scratch to show from him. He left his mark in other ways and as hard as I try to shake it all off, still bits remain. The self-doubt, the lack of self-confidence, the need for approval, to know I have done okay and to know that my best is good enough. To feel content that I am loved for who I am and that really, it is fine, I am fine and I am good enough. 

I swing from needing constant approval to not giving a damn and flicking two fingers and my heels as I pretend I don't care. As hard as I try to be 'normal', to not have the baggage, it always comes back. 

That was my 'snapshot' for today. 

It's the most honest post I think I have ever done on this blog and I was going to say that it was terrible timing doing it on Valentine's Day but it isn't, not really. 
Not everyone is going to have a dozen red roses and undying love declared today so appreciate it if you're one of the lucky ones.








20 January 2013

Truths.



I love this purely because it is so very true. 

At 19 I felt like an ugly duckling. If only I'd appreciated then what I do now when I look at photos, that actually there really wasn't that much wrong with me. Not nearly as much as I considered.

I worry but only to an extent, it changes nothing.

I've had people be very reckless with my heart so I always endeavour to look after others.

I try to forget insults but it rarely works.

I do miss my knees. The bionic ones are no comparison.

My one sister is my closest friend. She is my carbon copy personality wise, despite the fact she looks like a supermodel, I love her to pieces. When we fall out, we do it in spectacular style but we don't hold a grudge. We'll fall out, say our piece and then go back to normal conversation ten minutes later. She knows things about me I'd never trust anyone else with and likewise with her. She's my best friend.

Some of my very best friends are spread all over the UK. One in Northern Ireland, two in Scotland, one in Brighton and one in Hertfordshire. Those are my 'I'm really up shit creek, help me' friends. The kind I know I could call night or day and know they'd be there, whatever the problem. 

The words are very true. It's worth listening to.




18 January 2013

Kind Offer....



When I'm down visiting my parents, I make the most of the time to go and see a lot of my horse and get in some riding. Because of where my parents live and where my horse is kept, it means me getting the train and then getting a bus from the train station to the yard so it requires a bit of planning and making sure I've got times right.

The other day I'd forgotten to draw cash out for my bus fare so had to stop at the cash point. Just because I needed to get on, there was of course a queue at the cash point. It wasn't worth me walking on to the next one as by the time I'd have got there, the queue would have been gone at the cash point I was at so I decided to wait. I'd been waiting a minute or so for the two ladies in front when I became aware of somebody behind me. Now, as I was on my way to the yard I was in my riding gear. It's nothing special and truth be told, carries the lingering odour of horse. I always get told by my boyfriend when he picks me up from the yard that I ''stink'' so like I say, nothing special. 
I turned slightly because the person behind me was stood quite close so I moved forward. By this point the two ladies in front had finished so I moved forward to sort out my card etc. I'd just finished drawing my cash out when the man behind me said "Nice day for riding. You can ride me anytime you like sweetheart".

Now I'm not being funny but that's completely inappropriate. I can take a joke and equally, I can give it back out but I don't take kindly to crude comments from people I don't know and have never seen before. 
I looked up and frowned slightly and he had a really leery grin on his face and that was it, a retort flashed in to my mind and I probably shouldn't have said it but then, why should I be spoken to like that and intimidated? So I flashed a smile back and replied with "Kind offer but the last thing I want between my legs is a weedy and under-muscled gelding. Bye." 
It did not go down well at all and I got called a bitch for my efforts. The fact I just smiled and walked off didn't go down too well either I don't think.

Did he honestly expect that I'd take kindly to that sort of comment? 

I'm quite pleased I had a flash of inspiration and managed a cutting reply rather than just walking off and letting him think he'd embarrassed me or intimidated me. 
Idiot!

9 January 2013

Green Eyed Monsters.



Ahhhh what is it with some people? All I do lately is moan on here but it's better to do it here than it is to bend my poor friend's ears. 

A couple of weeks ago I was down South and I'd had a couple of texts from somebody I'd call a 'mate'. Somebody I get on with and like but not somebody I'd consider a close friend. Anyway, he had text a couple of times asking how things were, how I was etc and said that when I was next down South, he might have some spare time so would I like to meet up for coffee for a catch-up. I said that yes, if his spare time coincided with mine then we could do that but to let me know what was going on as when I head South, I tend to have stuff loosely planned.
He text me on the Tuesday to say about coffee but by Friday, he hadn't confirmed whether that Saturday or Sunday would be free so I just assumed that he wasn't free and I'd hear from him in due course. I text him on the Friday afternoon to say I was around that weekend but not the whole weekend so to let me know. 
By Saturday I hadn't heard anything so assumed he was busy and carried on with my plans of horses, riding, family etc. I was at the yard on the Saturday mid-day and got a text from him asking if I was free that afternoon for coffee. I replied that sorry, I wasn't because I'd made plans to ride, be at the stables and catch up by going out riding with some friends.

The reply from him? "Oh, okay. Well I guess that's it then, if you'd rather spend time with a horse than me then it's c'est la vie I suppose. Good luck and fair well xx"

Seriously? What planet is he on? I haven't heard from him since and in case you're thinking this is some 16 year old boy, it's not. He is a 33 year old man (supposedly!). I know 4 year olds that would act more mature than that!

I could understand it if I'd cancelled on him at the last second or not replied to any texts or if he was a close friend but it was none of those things. It's been a few weeks now and I'm still quite flabbergasted by his reaction. 

Whoever heard such a thing, a supposedly mature man getting jealous of a horse! After my initial 'what on earth is he playing at?' reaction, I did find it quite amusing!

Music-wise, I really am liking this lady's voice right now :-).