life, Poetry

Fear just down the road

What is this overwhelming sadness…
This longing, this darkness, this void

An absence of something that was never there, but missed all the same.
A feeling of not belonging and not knowing why

Who is she….this voice that’s silent
Finger pressed to mocking lips
Making a secret of the noise within?

Here is where doubt lies
Here is where confidence dies
Here is where joy departs
Here is where the nothing starts

Tears just behind
Grief just below
Pain just out of sight
Fear just down the road….

This familiar foe, unwelcome and uninvited
Hiding in the shadows



…Like a dark cloud

a haze

a fog

a burden

It creeps and it follows…
It covers and then settles…

Leaving no air
Leaving no light

Desperately balancing on a pinhead of hope as the world falls away beneath clumsy feet

Still to fight
Still to cling

Still to fall

This exquisite drawing by
This exquisite drawing by
family, life

Love….of a different kind

An amazing thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been wanting to write it down ever since but wasn’t sure if I should…

Let me start by saying I don’t believe in ghosts. At least…I don’t think I do.

I think I believe in spirits…well…let’s just say I’m getting more used to the idea as I get older

But I DO believe in love

* * *
A text msg to my sister was not answered as fast as usual.
Knowing she was working through some differences with other family members I wondered if I’d said or done something wrong…

Doubt rising, worry filling in the blanks, I feared the worst

The whole day passed and the reply finally came back.
Colder than normal and in a strangers “voice” it confirmed my suspicions.

All night and the next morning I grappled with the most natural of human instincts…fight or run (in other words, hide and avoid dealing with the conflict my brain was inventing)

I knew I needed to call. I knew I’d done nothing wrong.

But I also didn’t know what was going on…all I knew that there was a massive disconnect in my family that I hadn’t been able to fix…and I feared it was about to get worse.

Fear. Worry. Doubt. Pain. Repressed “stuff” (we all have it…)

I felt numb

Then, for some strange reason, driving to work, I saw my Nans face in my mind. The brevity of time spent with her before she passed, did nothing to minimise the love I still felt for her.

Love. Family. Connection. Life

I found myself clinging to this feeling.
I felt my heart grow with a fullness of warmth and light.
I realised then, that all my efforts to stay distant and avoid possible conflict wasn’t actually the answer, but I just couldn’t get past all the negativity that had settled into my bones…

So I sent all that love outwards into the universe and said

“I need your help Nan. Our family needs your help. You’ve done it once before…(I know it was you and Grandad who did it last time!) please help fix our family….”

I arrived at work, went about my day, called my sister, had a really good talk, reconnected, cried a bit, laughed a lot and then went to my dance lesson….filled with a newfound optimism that my family would, in fact, be okay!

* * *

Driving home two hours later I did what I always did while driving…singing along to very loud music I had my very own little in-car party.

Somewhere in between “Livin La Vida Loca” and a Coldplay song I can’t quite remember….

…I saw her

I stopped singing.
Stopped breathing.
I wondered briefly whether I’d been thinking about her without realising it?
(It was like she was there)

Then it hit me.

A smile that came from somewhere surreal, filled my face without effort.

Goosebumps ran up and down my arms, though I was feeling anything but cold…

“Oh…thanks, Nan…” I whispered

Poetry, Uncategorized

Built by thoughts controlling

I see you holding onto your fear, cradling it in trembling hands, not wanting to know it, yet unable to let it go…

I hear you making plans. Bigger, better, faster, more. Distraction from the quiet within…

I feel your relief

No discomfort
No pain

See you still within your walls of safety, built by thoughts controlling

who and what is allowed inside

Breathing not, lest the walls collapse.

Holding tight
holding on

Shallow thoughts

Moving not
Changing not

Shallow breath

Feeling safe
Being safe
Needing safe

* * *

But control is a lie you choose to believe
For fate will one day have it’s way…

We control nothing in the end

With the next turn of the hand bad news may come

Will come

What if the walls were to crumble, under the sheer weight of it

…if one on the outside was suddenly gone, just as you find you need them there…

And the quiet within became so loud, that the whole world could hear?

the hands unable to turn back
the cries contained no more
control surrendered

No distraction great enough to ignore the unexpected gasp pulling the breath from your lips…

deep thoughts filling empty lungs

fear slipping from futile fist…

…as your pain finds it’s way home

crap I say, humour, life

Embracing the new me

I fulfilled a life long dream one week ago today…and in that same moment I embarked on a nightmare I didn’t quite anticipate…

Ever since I’ve been old enough to look in a mirror and form an attachment to the image I see there, I’ve hated my teeth.

They aren’t awful. They aren’t even bad. But I’ve hated them.

Maybe it’s because it’s in my nature to have everything perfect in my life, maybe it’s because I am sick of biting the inside of my cheeks or perhaps I’m just vain…(or maybe it’s because my teeth actually are that bad and I’ve managed to convince myself otherwise…but my subconscious knows the real truth, and secretly booked the appointment)…..who knows?

But whatever they are….or aren’t….

I did it!

At nearly 37 years of age…and with my 16 year old son there to share the experience and sympathise…

I got braces!

I knew it would be painful (people tell you that)
I knew it would be expensive (they tell you that too)
I thought they would look ok (because son and I had googled lots of pictures beforehand!)

And I also “knew”…..deep down….that it would be worth it….eventually

But what I didn’t know was just how badly it would effect me.

At first I thought I was really cool for actually getting it done. Like I’d joined a club!

Then I tried to eat. There is something about the sensation that you are literally eating your own teeth, in public, that very quickly removes all feelings of being “cool”

Then I decided to just suck it up. I went to work the very next day, with lipstick and a very painful “lip closed” smile on, and proceeded to tell my clients, through pink gloss smeared, metal capped, “spring stretched” (yet still noticeably crooked) teeth, self consciously covered by closed lips, just how happy I was to be finally “fixing” my awful teeth.

God I felt like crap…

My son (who’s dealing with it much better than I am…perhaps because he’s surrounded by “metal mouths” at school – or maybe because he simply didn’t inherit the vanity gene – said quite pragmatically to me, while examining his new train tracks in the mirror…”you know what, Mum? Braces look much better on straight teeth”

hmmmm….funny that

Then I got drunk on the Friday night and, while clumsily attempting to apply soggy beeswax to the protruding metal prongs in all 4 corners of my mouth, and while feeling the pain, inconvenience and frustration (all while simultaneously feeling massively sorry for myself) I looked at myself in the mirror….

no makeup
mouth open

and emotionally raw

the wine and the realization hit me…

This is it. For at least 12 months (I’m clinging to the orthodontists diagnosis…it sounds far better than the info they give you to bring home – 18-24 months?? Ummmmm…no thanks!)


Like it or not…I will have a mouth filled with wire. I will surrender to the pain, the pressure, the sharp edges scraping my soft cheeks.

And I will accept the ugly new smile, that (ironically) makes me think my old teeth weren’t actually that bad.

I will brush 3 times a day, floss, pick out chunks of food constantly and cut my lips just to smile.

I will feel self conscious. I will cover my mouth when I laugh. I will accept a peck on the cheek (or awkward closed mouth kisses) when I just so desperately want to KISS!!!!



I cried. (I’m not ashamed to admit it)

I really, REALLY, REALLY cried! Sobbed and shook and felt the most sorry for myself since I can remember!

And then I fell asleep….and woke up to a hangover and crooked teeth covered in wire.

* * * *

At some point the discomfort eased and eating became some kind of normal.

I can talk to people now and not mention it until they say “hey, have you had braces put on?”

I can smile and I can laugh…and I can ignore the scraping of metal with the help of my new friend “beeswax” or, time not allowing, great big doses of “toughen up, Princess”

I think I’ve actually made friends with my braces, as we’ve learned to co-exist, and I know they will eventually leave me in a happier place.

I can honestly say I’ve surrendered some of my vanity too.

I realise that the face you’re given to present to the world is merely that…

A face.

If you can be honest with yourself and your struggles in life, and just keep smiling (somehow!) people will see the real you.

And they will still love you

And at the end of the day that’s what really matters.

* * * *

Oh, the irony….

life, Poetry

Over exposed

Sometimes the world outside gets so loud it forces you inwards to face your own fears. We all have them…our fears, insecurities and doubts that can be triggered by other people or circumstances. The temptation can be fierce to break down right there and then. But we stay strong, hold it in and sometimes create a nightmare of turmoil and anxiety within.

Fearful we will be exposed for who we really are.

Who we all are. Human

Over exposed, heavy heart…
emotionally worn and hung out
Tears on the spill, cried by a need
Will be dried by the need and wrung out

Dull, empty void, the head is a Space…
Where happy thoughts turn dreary
Voices unheard, mind numb disarray
Alone. surrounded. weary

Questions intrude….no answers are found
sadness and madness implodes
Confusion invades a battling mind
Silence wins and explodes

Running, escaping…invisible fear
tormentor well at the heel,
Conspicuous conflict, battled in silence
Of who and what is not real

Pound in the head, assassin attacks
Fighting and fleeing the source
Invisible hunter, it’s bred from within
And fear will direct it’s own course

This is me, keeping it real
Mandy x


First Breath

For my first blog post EVER I have pondered for a whole week, just what would I say??

What remarkable morsel of inspiration would I thrust upon my waiting audience (of two, possibly three people).

Then today I witnessed something so moving, so touching that I felt compelled, in my car pulled over on the side of the road in peak hour traffic, to put pen to paper (or finger to iPhone) and the end result was, surprisingly…a poem.

So, instead of attempting to be fabulous in my first ever blog post, I have decided instead to simply open my heart.

The story, as it turns out, is irrelevant, for this poem is the story of many.

I hope you like it 🙂

No more

That he may cry…no more

That he may have life… no more

That he may fall in love…no more
No more, will he marry his sweetheart
No more…their children…

Now of age, in suit and tie
a night to dream, of youth no more

His mothers cheek the last to kiss…

That she may bury her child
That she may say goodbye

That she may have only photos and memories…

…memories of a night to dream

That she may never hold those children of his…
That she may only weep and fight…

Fight what she may feel
Fight that she may ache
Fight she should accept?

No more his dreams
No more her dreams

That he may cry….no more

That she may cry.

No more

until next time…..keep it real 🙂 xx