Monday, 8 April 2013

Panic at The Disco..................

Hello there everyone, how are you all today?

I'm not very well today, hence the title of this blog. Sorry guys if you were expecting either a modern rock band (well I say rock, but really they are just too young and pretty for me to consider them a proper rock band), or a wild story of alcohol and debauchery at a real disco then I am afraid I must disappoint you, but this blog is about the condition that some of you will be very familiar with, anxiety.

So what are you anxious about then?

This is probably one of the most asked questions for someone who suffers from anxiety ( or depression, a nervous disorder, panic attacks  or any of the other labels associated with this type of illness) and although it most often comes from a  well meaning sympathetic individual, it is not a useful or even answerable question a lot of the time.
I will try to explain to you now exactly why I say that by describing my day for you. I woke up this morning when The Man got ready for work. After having a nice cuddle and a cup of coffee, he left and I went back to sleep.  I woke again at 9.15am, which was not a good thing as I was suppose to be at work at 11, and this involves a long walk plus a bus journey, so I was already late. Firstly I called my dad and asked him for a lift but he wasn't able to help, so I caught the later  bus and let my boss know I would be a little late. He was fine with this, problem solved.  Now most of you would probably understand how being late for work might trigger a little stress, and I was a little bit concerned until I had contacted my boss, but he is such a chilled guy, and he was fine with it, so it really was not a problem and certainly not anything that would cause me to get stressed about.
Fast forward to 11.30 and I get to work. "Don't take your coat off, we're off out" is the greeting  I get when I get in.  So  my shift today involved taking a group of guys I love spending time with out to the pub for lunch, pretty cool huh.  We enjoyed a nice relaxing lunch at Weatherspoons, I had a burger if your interested.  However despite the relaxed nature of my shift I felt a little uneasy. nothing I could put my finger on, but just not quite right. A bit achy, a little bit sickly. Similar to if I were coming down with something.

So maybe your getting ill??

Well no. As anyone who suffers from these type of disorders will know, these are often trigger signs for a panic attack. They are the feelings associated with the 'Fight or Flight' reaction. This usually occurs when a person encounters a situation that makes then instantly fearful ( imagine encountering a burglar in your kitchen one night) and is designed to prep your body either to attack or run away.
It appears that individuals with anxiety type disorders have an oversensitive fight or flight response. This does not mean that they are worriers, or unable to react properly in situations that would normally trigger this response ( far from it, we are often the most able to deal with stressful situations with outward calmness and control), they simply have these responses to things that should not/ would not usually trigger such a response.

How did that effect your day then?

Simple answer is it didn't. I finished my shift, did a bit of window shopping, had a coffee in town all until The Man picked me up. From the outside I was perfectly fine all day. An unfortunate misconception about panic attacks is that they leave you an emotional wreck, unable to function properly while suffering form one, and I can understand why that may be thought. After all people with these conditions often are housebound, can't work  or socialise because of the condition.  And indeed it can  be a dissabilitating condition, but its not the attacks themselves that disable. I am perfectly capable of going about my everyday activities whilst having an attack and most people would not have a clue that there was everything wrong. I am able to function incredibly well.

On the outside I am like this
However on the inside I am like this


The dissabilitating factor about this condition is two fold. First is the immense effort it takes to put on the smiley face mask when inside you struggling to control the physical symptoms, and they are PHYSICAL symptoms. Many people think anxiety is a condition of the mind, but what you are feeling are symptoms caused by the release of a  number of very powerful hormones into the body ( adrenaline and noradrenaline) that slow down the digestive system ( hence the sickness) speed up breathing and heart rate ( to increase oxygen available to the muscles), and prime the muscles for activity (shaking muscles).
The second and possibly more dissabilitating factor is the fear of having attacks. I  myself have a very good understanding of the physiology behind what is occurring during an attack. I do not think I am having a heart attack, or that I am going to die as some  suffers believe during attacks. However, even though I understand what is occurring, I cannot prevent it from happening once it has started or lessen the effects once it has started ( it is a futile as trying to prevent a sneeze). 
There are two options to dealing with this fear, either accept the symptoms as part of your everyday life and live with it as I do, or avoid the situations that can possibly trigger an attack. a lot of people go for the avoidance route. I do not believe for a minute that they are taking the easy option, leading as it does often to social isolation.

So your all better now?

Not really, no. This attack has lasted all day, and shows no signs of debating. I am bloody tired now, and I have a headache to boot. I think an early night is definitely in order.  however I will not let it get me down. tomorrow is a new day, and hopefully my evil little friend will not visit again. There is no amazing insightful ending to todays blog i'm afraid. It has helped me to stay distracted for a few hours tho, which is always a blessing, and possibly one of you reading this will gain a little more insight of what goes on behind the mask of someone who has panic attacks.

 Hope to see you all again soon when im back on form, till then C' ya XXXXX



Sunday, 17 March 2013

Tattoed lady Part 3

Hello there everyone, here we are again, part 3 of my tattoo story.....

My most sincere apologies for the delay in posting part 3, I have had the most awful luck with my laptop recently, but am now the owner of a super duper new one which is bright red and has lots of magical technical wizardry inside, so fingers crossed all my computer problems are over.
Isn't it beautiful :-D

 But I digress, I am suppose to be telling the story of my tats, so here goes..............


Number's 5 and 6 

5 is the smallest of my tattoo's and not typical of the ones I get done. As mentioned before it was done in the same sitting as number 4, and again I love it because it is a little reminder of my growing confidence and rebelliousness against my bully husband. It is also dispite its small size one of the most painful tats I have ever had done, right above my right outer ankle, where there is very little flesh. I am glad it wasn't my first, as it would have probably ended up being my last as well.

Number 6 is another small tatt, this time on my left outer leg, a little above my ankle this time (I learnt my lesson well). It is another Indian themed one, a single feather this time. It was done again at East Looe a year after 4&5. Not much else to say about it apart from the fact that I realised that I do not tolerate red ink very well, it took ages for the little red bead to heal up.

Number's 7&8

These make up a matching pair of tatts, done in the same sitting. I have always had a love of all things celtic, I think it goes along with my love of all things historical, and I had always wanted a celtic symbol of some sort. 7&8 were a new experience for me because they were the first tatts I had done that were in a visible area of the body. Until then all my tatts could easily be covered up with clothing, so on meeting me, you would be unaware that I was a tattooed lady. I thought long and hard about having visible tatts. It was at a time when tattoo's were only just becoming popular with female celebrities, and obviously still very much frowned upon by much of the general public. This was only some 6 years ago, it is surprising how much attitudes have changed in the last few years. I was at the time ( and still am) working as a social care worker, and obviously there was a concern about how people would feel about having a tattooed lady looking after their loved ones. However I had built up a good relationship with all the families of those I looked after and knew they would not judge me by my outward appearance. I love my little celtic knots. they are a perfect mirror image of each other, quite dainty even. I was expecting them to be very painful as they are on my inner wrists, but surprisingly not so.

Numbers 9&10

9 and 10 were done in two separate sittings in my last visit to East Looe Tattoo's. after getting the knots on my wrist I felt brave enough  to get a slightly bigger visible tatt. There is no particular reason why I chose the design for 9, I just liked it, a modern twist on a celtic design. I asked for the centre ring to have a little bit of purple shading just to make it a little different. 10 was initially done at East Looe, tho it didn't look initially like it does now. I do not have a pic of the original tatt, but if you look closely at it you will be able to identify the black double heart within the centre of the tattoo. I liked this design, but once home I realised that there needed to be a common theme linking the two outer wrist tattoo's. it was at this time that I first met my current tattooist Phil. He had just opened up shop in town. I went to him with a query about what could be done to make the double heart design more similar in size and style to the modern celtic design on my other wrist. Phil doodled a design that matched the celtic star shaped and shading elements of the other tattoo, and a week later I had it done ( no longer can you get to see Phil with just a weeks notice).

So there you go people, we have covered a fair few tattoo's in part 3. None of the ones in this part are particularly big or significant in any way, but all part of my tatt history, and deserving of being part of my tattoo blog. I hope to cover my last 3 tattoo's in part 4. hope you stick around for that. C ya all soon, Tracey Xx


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Tattooed Lady part 2

Hello everyone, where did we get up to the other day??

Oh yes, we successfully covered tattoo's number 1, 3 and 12. Well if we move along in history the next tattoo is again actually a series of tatt's done over another long period of time. They make up the collection 2,4 and 13, and today they look like this........

Number 2

Is actually no longer visible on my current tattoo. I got this tattoo about 6 months after my first one, and was done again by Mike Price. At that point in my life I was unknowingly suffering from depression, and this has a great bearing I think on the circumstances of my second tattoo and my subsequent feelings about it. I had in mind at the time to get a Celtic band design ( a girl I worked with at the time asked me if a Celtic band was a style of music..... err.....nope!!). However when I looked at what Mike had available in my price range on the day, I simply could not get anything that I liked. Now today my sensible adult self would say, OK,  you could start on a design that I like and I can have it finished at a later date. However on that day I was badly hung over,  in a very 'I don't give a toss' frame of mind, and ( as I am strive to be completely honest in all my blogs) I had a very sore arm from a session of drunken self harming too. So what I did was randomly pick a design and said "I'll have that". The design I chose was a Phoenix. Now some might say the subject choice was quite me, and I can't disagree, however it was a very brightly coloured tattoo, rather 'old school' and from day 1 I hated it.   This is the only picture I have of it (  along with tattoo number 4 ) and was taken just before the cover up, just so I would have a reminder of what  I was covering.

Number 4

Has a much shorter story. this was done a year after my dream catcher tattoo. Again we were on holiday in Looe, Cornwall, so I took a visit back to East Looe Tattoo's. This design is one I had pictured in my head for several years, although I had always wanted it as a much larger design on my upper leg. I was however at this time in my life far too fat to have a leg tattoo, and so I settled for another arm one. My now Ex hubby did not complain too much about this one to start with, although he did not like me getting it. But he complained very vocally when he realised that I had disobeyed him and had another tattoo done on the same day (number 5, to be covered in part 3). I have always loved this tattoo, it was in a small way a symbol of my growing defiance of my bully husband, and so when I decided to get a cover up, I wanted to save this one.


Number 12

Number 12 was started in  Nov 2010 and is to date my biggest and most expensive tattoo. It was done over 8 sittings of between 1 and 1.5 hours each and in total cost me in excess of £450. It was worth it though. Lillie's are my favourite flowers, and my brief to Phil when I went for the cover up was simple. I wanted a lily to cover up the Phoenix. I had an image in my head of a small cover up, but Phil explained that the Phoenix would not be easy to cover, and so a larger piece would be required. I trust Phil's expertise and so let him go ahead with what he had in mind. This tattoo is different to all my others as it is a newer style of tattoo. It does not have outlines drawn in black, but is more similar to a painting and so is far more lifelike. In each initial sitting I had a single lily added to my arm.

As you can see I did not have my beloved Indian band covered up, but instead let it lie above the bunch of lilies. Once the four main lilies were complete it took another 4 sittings to put in the dark foliage which covered up the Phoenix and then the finer details such as the half opened lilie's. it is a work of art. My favourite tattoo and one that gets compliments where ever I go.
So there is a another three tattoo's covered. I have realised during writing part 2, that although I currently have 11 tattoo's, actually my tattoo history covers 15 tattoo's if I include cover ups and joined tattoo's. I have also realised that the only two tattoo's that I have had done that I did not lke, or that went wrong were done  without much thought during bad periods in my life. But as with my tattoo's everything is repaired and beautiful now. I hope you are enjoying this 'mini series' of blogs, and I look forward to telling you about more of them next time. Until then, C ya, Tracey Xx

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Tattooed lady........ part 1

Good morning everyone, It is a fine day today, and I am getting myself a tattoo!

Well to be more precise I have finally got round to booking another session with my lovely tattooist Phil in order to get more of my latest tattoo done. Those who know me, or even those who have seen pictures of me will see that I am a complete tattoo addict. I always have been from a very young age, though  I do not know why.  In many sites on the wonderful Interweb you can find out what particular parts of tattoo's are suppose to symbolise. Personally I have never consciously chose a tattoo because it has a specific meaning, they are just what I have chosen at the time, however each one now represent a little part of my own history, so today I would like to take you on a journey of my tattoo history, so if your sat comfortably......

Tattoo's number 1,3 and 9   

I had decided that the best way to tell you all about my tattoo history is to show a picture and then describe when/where and why I had each tattoo, however I realised this theory falls down before I even finish describing the first tattoo I had done because that tattoo is now Incorporated into a much larger tattoo, so instead of describing a single tattoo, I will begin with the story of 1,3 and 12. Collectively they make up a picture of a unicorn and dream catcher surrounded by a leafy/scroll vine which is situated on my right upper arm.

Tattoo number 1

Is the unicorn part if the tattoo, completed when I was just a wee teen, weeks after my 18th birthday. I loved tatts even back them when it wasn't a fashionable thing to have done. I have always considered myself to be a little different from a lot of people and a bit of a romantic and maybe that is reflected in my choice of a unicorns head. The tatt was done in the home parlour of a bloke called Mike Price in Ruardean. He was a lovely bloke with an awesome Wizard back piece. He was very professional despite working from home and I was very pleased with it. I however had not told my mum that i was getting it done, and still lived at home at the time. Mum wasn't ( and still isn't ) a fan of tatts, but no worries I thought, I can keep it covered, she will never know. fast forward a few months till christmas and my mum bought me a gorgeous top with chiffon sleeves!!!! I knew I was going to get bollocked, so went on the offensive. I sat her down one day and said I had some bad news. I had done something that she wasn't going to like, something that could not be undone and something that would now be with me for the rest of my life. I asked her not to get angry or judge me too harshly. At this point I think mum was already picturing being a nanny, so when I the proceeded to show her my unicorn, she was ' oh for gods sake, s that all', I had got away with it.

Tattoo number 3

Is the dream catcher. This tattoo was done around 10 years after the unicorn. I have always had a love of American Indians and love the  idea behind the dream catcher. At this point in my life I was married and had 2 kids. I had not been in  tattoo parlour for 9 years, ad at the time thought I would never be allowed another tattoo. However we had gone on holiday and i guess the sea air had gone to my ex's head a bit. Our holiday destination was Looe, Cornwall, and on the harbour there is a fantastic little tattoo parlour. The guys that run it look quite frankly scary, heavily tattooed and pierced. However they are the sweetest guys, and I managed to get a booking. They rely on holiday work in the summer, so the price was a bit more than i pay at home, but the work was good and again I was pleased. Originally the dream cacher had brightly coloured beads in red, yellow and blue. However a problem with parlours like that is that they rely on flashwork, pre designed pictures that they trace, so there is always the risk of another person having exactly the same tatt. I just put dreamcatcher into google search and found this pic, an almost the exact copy of the my dream catcher, on someone else ( I have an extra feather).

Tattoo number 12

We can do another huge leap forward to tattoo number 9. This one was done in 2011 and is the handy work of two tattooists, though i think calling the first person to work on it anything other than a scratcher ( a tattoo term for an individual who has very little skill in tattooing) would be very wrong.
 I decided back in the summer  of 2011 that I needed a bit more consistency in my tatts as the arm ones were a bit random. I loved both the tatts I had done on my right arm, however the unicorn was almost 20 years old and badly faded. So i designed a vine pattern to act as a boarder for the two tatts. My regular tattooists at the time was very booked up and so I would have had to wait two months to see him. At that time in my life things were beginning to go a bit awry and I was not thinking as logically as I usually do. I wanted a tatt and I wanted it NOW!!!. At the time a new parlour had opened up in town, it had good reviews in the paper and a friend had been there. So i went along to have a look and she could fit me in that day. Guys, if your ever going to get a tattoo, please, please never go to a place that has no waiting list, it is a sign that they are not very good. But I didn't listen to sense and went there. She traced my design and tried to match it to my existing tatts, giving up after 3 tries, she said she could do it all free hand, which I did not worry about as I have had freehand work done before. well, BIG mistake. After half an hour  could see she was doing an almighty balls up, so I stopped her saying it was hurting too much. I paid my money ( as I am a true Brit and unable to complain ) and left. I eventually got an appointment with Phil!/pages/Hannya-Tattoo/172715366083033 and he did a fab job of repairing her attempt at the vine. This does leave me however with a very different tatt than I pictured. As Phil had to repair her wonky shaky lines and blobby leaves, I have be left with thick base lines. He has done an amazing job adding the scrolls to make it more delicate and it is beautiful. He has also completely relined the unicorn, putting back more detail than was there to begin with and he had also rmoed the colour from the dream catcher to make it match the monochrome unicorn.  As so much in my life, it is not how I planned it but lovely all the same.

I think I had better leave my tattoo story there for today, I never realised that I would take such a long time describing each one. As I said, there is a little or alot of my personal history tied up in each tatt. So the lessons for today, never go to a tattooist who isn't booked weeks in advance, and if you have to tell your parents bad things, make them think your news is gong to be far far worse that what it actually is and you will get away Scott free.
Will continue my tattoo history soon, C ya all for now, Tracey XXX

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Planning a party.....

Hello there everyone, how are you all?

 As you may know, with the exception of last weeks post, its been a while since I've blogged, and as that blog explained part of the reason for that is because for alot of the time I have been quite happy, life has been going well. Now obviously when things  are going well, its Sods Law that you are not going to notice the huge great banana skin that Life periodically throws in your path, and subsequently you end up a cropper. Today is still not quit the right time for me to open up about the details of the particular banana skin I experienced, bear with me, I'm sure at some point I will blog all about it, but not today. Instead I want to talk today about funerals,specifically my funeral.  Woah, woah...hang on...don't panic this is forward planning. I have no intentions of popping my clogs any time yet, but I have become a regular funeral goer in recent months, and I think I could use my newly gained knowledge to plan a superb bespoke funeral, just for me.

So what do I want for my big day.........

Now first things first....I have no intentions of being left in a cold dirty hole, don't even think about it. I like to be nice and warm, so I think a toasty fire is the way to go for me. I also am not, have never been and don't think I ever will be religious, so we will keep all the Jesus stuff to a minimum please. Choice of this again is an easy subject  simply because I plan to have already have my coffin and be using it by the time I depart from this fine earth. I imagine at this moment you are imagining some vampire type scenario, and it is true that I am a bit of a goth girl at heart, but in this instance it isn't quite what I have in mind.
Rather what I have in mind is a wicker coffin. I saw pictures of some recently and my first thought was that they are quite beautiful. Laced with flowers and in some cases ribbons they are simply too good to either bury or burn. Instead my coffin will hopefully spend many years at the end of the bed being used as a bedding box before it is needed in its official capacity.

Guests and Stuff.......

OK people, Now call me perverse but I hope you will all be a little bit sad to be attending my funeral. However I aim to make it as pain free as possible for you, and hopefully you will even have a giggle or two before the day is out. Dress code has just got to be purple hasn't it. Its my favourite colour, and wont look too outrageous when you turn up at the crematorium. Of course if I could, I would have everyone in fancy dress. My best friend in the whole world married several years ago now, and she had a medieval themed wedding. It was without doubt the most awesome wedding I have ever been to. I would love to watch you all turn up in your medieval finery, but I'm a realist, purple clothing will do fine.
The music is something I have given a great deal of thought over. Some of the most beautiful songs I know have been rendered unlistenable  to me  ( I'm sure that is a real word ) because they were played  at funerals and the connection now is there. These include The Beatles 'Yesterday', Sarah Mclachlan 'Arms of an Angel' is a particularly painful song to hear, Westlifes 'You raise me up'. Even Ken Dodds 'Happiness'  is a song that now has the power to make me smile and cry at the same time.
 This is the song I would most like to hear at my funeral :- The Calling 'Wherever you will go' I apologise in advance to anyone who will not be able to listen to it afterwards, but it is such a beautiful song and I'm sure is how I will feel after I'm gone. 
Another request, please if there is no one who is willing to stand up and say a few words about me, just skip that bit, there is nothing sadder at a funeral than a half hearted and often not accurate description of the individual involved read out by the presiding minister.  I understand they are doing their best, but come on guys, we have had some awesome times together, share those stories, I won't mind, I may even leave a prize to the one who can tell the best one, tho I don't know quite how I will judge them.........
Hymns if we must have one will have to be 'All things Bright and Beautiful', its the only one I know the words to, and I expect you all to sing, or I'm gonna be whispering in your ear, and you don't really want that....... Mwahahahah!!!!!

The wake and ashes

This bit i am largely going to leave for you guys to organise. Have a party  and a few drinks would be my suggestion.....simples. I have never been one for fancy things, have a laugh and a joke, tell stories and cry if needed, but please laugh more. And when my ashes are sorted, take me to the seaside please. I have always loved the sea. The gorgeous little bay just off Looe beach will suit me just fine, tho you might want to wait till the beach is a little less crowded than in the picture.........

So that's it people, how I would like my funeral to go. I hope you don't think this blog is too flippant, I do actually have a serious point to make. Arranging a funeral is without doubt one the most difficult things you will ever have to do, weather its for  partners,parents, children, siblings, other relatives or friends. the choices are overwhelming, at a time when your least able to make decisions. So don't be afraid to talk to your loved ones about it, doesn't have to be a serious discussion, but let them know what you would like, or what you wouldn't want. So that if and when they ever need to they can call on all those little scraps of information. Doing so will make that most difficult time just a little easier to get though. That's all from me today, Bye everyone, Tracey X

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Prince Charming.........

Hello there everyone, how are you all?

It seams like ages since I last had a chat here. life has managed to interfere with blog and twitter life a little bit over the past few months ( I know, it is not acceptable and I promise I wont stay away for so long again ). Some of the stuff has not been good, and  I'm not quite ready to share that stuff with you, however it hasn't been all bad and today I want to tell you about some of the good things that have happened in the last few months. OK, at this point I must issue a massive.......


The following blog is going to be full of soppy shite, if that's not your thing please look away now, if however you wish to read about the good things occurring with me read on..............

So what's been occurring?

Well given the vomit alert about I'm sure you have all worked out that the good news is a new man in my life and that asumption is correct. Now usually I don't make big announcements about new boyfriend's because 1:- I am a little superstitious and I believe the fastest way to spoil a new relationship is to tell other people about it and 2:- I simply don't believe other people are all that interested in my love life.
So why I hear you ask are you making a big announcement now?  Well I am 39 years old  (yes for the first time, honestly) and  I have previously been married for many years,  yet I have never had a relationship like this before.

Who is this amazing person then?

People please let me introduce to to Mr Stuart Abrahams, known to his friends simply as Stu.  Basic details, 41 yrs old, brown hair, hazel eyes, we met online and he is quite simply my prince charming. 

 You maybe wondering at this point what exactly makes Stu a prince charming, and also what makes this relationship so special.  Well I could spout on about all of Stu's wonderful qualities, and he is smart, funny, caring and  in my opinion quite gorgeous, but these qualities alone do not make a man into 'Prince Charming'. 
So does  he have qualities above and beyond that of a normal man? ...... well no.
Is he the rarest of men who does not have a single fault? ......  again the answer is no, he has all the typical male faults, he even farts in bed.  ( is there is ever a point in a relationship where that should become acceptable?!?!?!? )

So why is he so perfect then?

The answer to this question I believe lies as much in my previous perceptions and expectation of relationships as in anything Stu is or does.   For those of you who may know me personally, or who know me via twitter or Facebook will know that two years ago I split form my then hubby of 16 years. It was not a good marriage, and probably something I will never blog about in detail, but it is fair to say that it left me with certain very low expectations of relationships. The notions of true love, soul mates, 'The one' I believed were romantic fiction that belonged in the same sphere as Prince charming. Likewise I thought that actions such as cuddling in public, holding hands walking down the street were at best the action of lovestruck teens.
I simply did not believe that I would ever find a relationship that was everything I had believed it should be when I was a young girl.Those true love relationships were, if they existed at all, not for the likes of me, I was not special enough for that. Instead I thought that settling for 'good enough' or  'not that bad' was what I had to accept.
and that ladies and gentlemen is what makes Stu and this relationship so amazing. For the first time ever I have a man who may not be perfect, but who is perfect for me and a relationship that is exactly what I have always wanted it to be without a single compromise.   Stu looks at me and treats me like your the most important  person in his world, and that is what makes him my prince charming.  This song prfectly describes how things are when i'm with Stu.
So there it is, I warned you that it was going to be a soppy blog and I hope I have delivered.  On a serious not though, if anybody reading this blog is thinking ( as I would have been six months ago) that it is all very sweet and everything, but never going to happen to you PLEASE stop and reconsider. Don't do as I did and settle for second best, all of us deserve more than that and should not settle till we find it. That's all for me today, hope to see you all again soon Xxx

Monday, 3 September 2012

My special friends...........

Hello everyone, today I want to tell you about some of my special friends...... no, not those sort of special friends, that would be a COMPLETELY different sort of blog.... this is about the friends that make up your support network, the family that you get to choose.......

What is a friend?????

Now that my strike you as an odd question, because everyone knows what a friend is right??... but actually I think people have very different opinions and expectations about what a friend might be. I will give you an example to show what I mean..... My baby boy has a facebook account with 400 odd friends, and I only have 70 odd friends. So is my boy wildly more popular that his mummy? well no... I could easily have more facebook friends if I wanted, but I have different criteria for who I class as a friend than my boys does. Many people that he considers to be friends, I would call acquaintances. and neither of us is right or wrong, we just have different ways of looking at it.

So what is my criteria for a good friend??

Well I think the quote says it quite well. I have a very small select group of good friends, most of whom I do not talk on a daily basis, or even a weekly basis ( I have never been a friend who enjoys living in another persons pocket, and likewise do not chose friends who need constant attention....I'm a busy girl lol). But what makes us special friends is our ability to pick up our friendship exactly where we left it after weeks, or even months without speaking,  and equally importantly is the knowledge that if I need them at 3am in the morning for any emergency then they would be there. Now you may have spotted that I have used 'talk' and 'speak' rather than 'see' and this is because not all my Friends are people I live close enough to in order to be able to visit in person.

Let me introduce my lovely friends......

Now the first friends I would like to say you to meet is one of my oldest friends, and fellow twitter queen miss @ForestFlower23. Now we became friends when we were still at school some *ahem* years ago. We were both newbies to our school, me moving to the forest from Kent and Anthea from Milton Keynes some 6 months or so before me. So obviously as new girls, we were tamed up as the ones who  come from the same place (foresters are not generally known for their geography skills, we came from the other side of the country dispite the 100 or so miles between the two places, and that was close enough for them)... and you know what? it didn't matter, we got on fabulously from day one. Anthea was ( and still is) far cooler than me, but we clicked, same humour, same taste in music..... Our favourite Saturday pastimes included making soup in her kitchen listening to Adam Ant and Duran Duran. Now fast forward a few years, and I had met and married my now ex. He did not like any of my friends, and slowly because of him, they drifted away. However about 4 years ago through the miracle that is social media me and Anthea got back in touch, and I am truly grateful for this. After some 12 years without speaking we picked up like it had only been weeks, a sign of a true best friend.
Now I have several friends I could introduce you who I have met through work, but are now members of my bestest friends family, however to list them all and how we met would bore you I'm sure. Needless to say they are all special, wacky sense of humour, honest, caring, wonderful people who have supported me through some very difficult times these past few years... they know who they are and they know I lurves them.

My last group of friends who I want you to say hello to are a somewhat controversial group, not of course as individual people, but because they are 'internet' friends.  Now I am guessing that as readers of this blog, you are probably among the group of society who have embraced the social media explosion, but many people still fear it, as a dark destroyer of minds, social morals, the art of writing, conversations, and even the rain forests ( OK, I may have made that last one up, but you get my  drift).
I have been told by countless people that Internet friends are not 'proper' friends. This is a very narrow mined opinion I believe for two reasons... firstly what is a 'proper friend'? Is someone you speak to on a daily basis online less of a friend than the person you stand next to and have a brief chat with a few times a week in the bus cue?? Secondly, nobody has the right to decide weather a person is my friend except me. So thre are my Internet friends, fabulous people who I have (shock horror) never met, but I consider to be real, good friends. We all have an interest in psychology, as Open University students this is how we became friends. But we have more in common than that, and it is these things that make us friends. these ladies have offered me a shoulder to cry on many times, as well as sharing happy times too. So Hana, Kathy and Gil in particular..Helllooooo Xx

So there you are, my special friends.  I would love to know what you think about what makes a good friend, and your opinions about social media and online friends...... See you all again soon,
Tracey xx