Personal Blog: 2018 A Quick Reflection

Christmas was hard this year.

It hasn’t been easy or wholly enjoyable for some time, but this year was the first Christmas without mum.

Life, for the past few months, has felt a little like going through the motions. So it was no surprise that Christmas managed to sneak up on, and then past me before I could really process it.

Those that got in touch over the festive period I very much appreciated hearing from. Even now though, the thought of replying and acknowledging reality leaves me with a knot in my stomach that is twisting and making me feel more and more ill as the days go by.

Anxiety is crippling me lately, and in the last few weeks, in particular, it feels like it is shutting me down both physically and emotionally until the very idea of trying to function leaves me a wreck.

I cannot go it alone, I understand that I need help, but asking for it is hard. Asking a stranger is ultimately easier to do than a close friend. The closer a relationship the more likely that rather than being able to pretend or hide how you are, you will be forced instead to be who you are at that very moment in time.

2018 wasn’t a bad year, far from it. But it was the hardest year I have ever faced, and it has taught me more about who I am as a person than I could have ever hoped to learn. It wasn’t always easy, and I am thankful for the support network I have. Even with such a strong set of friends and support though I admit that it hasn’t been easy.

After my mum passed I began thinking again about suicide. Not as a course of action, but as an option. One which I acknowledged, but more as a reflection of my past. Like getting hung up on old thoughts. As well as my support network of friends, I have been working closely with a counsellor for almost 18 months. Thankfully I can detach myself from these dark thoughts, knowing them as memories rather than desires.

I started going to counselling after losing myself to life in 2017. I had to take three months off of work to get my head straight, and it was in this time that I began to address what was important to me. I looked at my life and did not recognise how I had gotten to where I was. I looked at my life and did not recognise the person I had become. This was the hardest thing in the world for me, to realise I had spent so much time looking after other people, that I had no idea who I was as a person.

I felt insignificant, worthless, and of little value. Yes, I have great friends, but I didn’t feel like I was worthy of their friendship. I began to avoid people because in my head I was protecting them from my company. Depression and anxiety lead to irrational thinking, you can tell yourself you are well, but this is a lie, and until you recognise it as such, you will perpetuate negativity in your own life, wilfully living a harder life than you need to, seeking this hardship as a self-imposed penance for your own existence.

Gradually I came to realise which of my thoughts were rational, and which were not and slowly I became calmer. Not all of the time, but generally.

My life changed considerably over the course of 2018 whether I was ready for it, or not. The end of a long career, the loss of the same part-time job, twice in the space of three months. Moving to a new flat, but never being there. Becoming a full-time guardian and carer, again, and having to put someone else needs first at all hours of the day; providing waking night support. The complexity of a relationship and ultimately the end of nine months spent with someone I grew to love. Recovery from surgery, two weeks of quarantine, and three weeks of Tonsillitis, my first broken bone. Then, of course, there was the loss of my mother, this was the hardest of all things, and something I still find myself in disbelief of often.

But the challenges weren’t all bad. I applied for and was accepted into college, despite everything else going on. I got in and have so far not only completed work but done so well. I have learned more than I ever thought I would and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am doing what I should have been doing all along. I joined a band, and after eight months of rehearsals we played our first paid gig, and have more lined up. Despite the relationship not lasting, 2018 was also a year in which I fell in love, and was loved in return; getting to share my life with someone in a way I never had before. The best part of this last point was when my mother met my ex and got on well with them. Considering how little time I have given to relationships in my life, I was so thrilled my mother got to see me being loved before we lost her.

And of course, I wrote. More than I have ever written in such a small space of time, and intend to keep on doing so.

I hope that 2019 is a continuation of all of the good things I have had in 2018 and that the harder things push me onward, serving as reminders of just how far I’ve come.

The one thing I hope people take away from what I’ve learned is that there is always help available you just have to have the strength to ask for it and the patience to accept it. Life is hard, and it will challenge you whether you are ready or not.

If you are feeling lost especially, don’t give up. It’s harder to make good decisions all of the time than it is to make bad decisions just once. But some bad decisions can only be made once, and if you just persevere I promise you will find something worth continuing for.

Sometimes you have to give up on the things that you are comfortable with or that you are good at, these things may be easy, but if they do not offer you fulfilment, you will invariably never find what you need the most. Be selfish, do things that are just for you and no-one else. Try things you haven’t done, push yourself when your first reaction is to throw in the towel. But if you try and it hurts, walk away and hold your head high knowing that you gave it everything you have.

Love, yourself before anyone else. Be beautiful, be yourself.

All the best when it comes.

DSC x

Free Verse: Chaos

I feel like
Everything is happening
All at once.

I can’t tell
If the chaos
Is abnormal,
Or if it is just life?

Trying to find
“The new normal.”
Was there ever
A ‘normal’ to begin with?

Unanswered questions
Far surpass, those to which
I can answer with any certainty.

I seek clarity,
Yet am surrounded
By chaos.

It fills me physically
Shutting me down
Until I am nothing
More than Raw Emotion

Overpowering and unprocessed,
Like a pit of snakes
Each one filled with venom.

Fear, Rage, Lust,
Ego, Shame, Guilt,
Resentment.

Each one venomous,
Paralysing not killing.

Drawing out an existence,
Into a slow and terrible
Spiral to downfall.

Is it hubris
Which fells a man,
Or obstinance?

At least a man
Who falls to hubris
Can say he is proud,
I cannot. I do not feel
Proud of myself.
I feel like I’ve walked away
From every good thing
I ever had,
Because I was tired.
Now I find myself
More tired than ever,
with less than ever
I thought I could have,
That which remains
is precious and heavy.

Love, Duty, Honour,
Obligation, Frustration,
Devastation.

Love, Ignorance, Demanding,
Beautiful, Incomparable,
Inexplicable.

New. Everything is new,
I recognise nothing,
And am further displaced
From paths so far ventured.

Rather than trying to find
My way back to them,
Perhaps I should be
Moving forwards.

I have been given a chance
To whitewash my canvas.
The heavy pattern and colour
From my painting so far
Still there, lurking
Under this new,
Crisp layer.

But even with this fresh start,
I am afraid to mark the canvas
As I know how easy it is to fill
And overwork, so desperate
For the result to be beautiful,
But not trusting myself
As an artist to create.
Working to a standard
Beyond my own ability.

My canvas remains
Unpainted on,
But marked regardless
By outside influence.

I allow myself no control,
Sharing my canvas
Rather than fill it
With my own Masterpiece.

Free Verse: Honourable Intentions

I have very little to say
That I haven’t already
Said before.

I cannot think straight.
Cannot focus
On anything
Besides the darkness.

I am lost. I am lost.

I am looking
For something
I do not know.

I tried to explain
Why I hated my job
And I couldn’t.

You see it’s not the job I hate.
I still have passion.
I just can’t access it.

It’s not the job I hate.
It is my life.

To hate the life
That one has created
For themselves.

Yet no. I didn’t create this life.
I merely followed the path
Which I was set upon.
I’m too far forward to go back.
But I no longer want to reach
The destination
Being signposted
Along the way.

I gain experience.
More and more every day.
But I am no further forwards.

How do you change a life;
That you are honour bound
To continue being a part of?

Is a life lead by honourable intention enough,
Or will obligation mar
The person I am to become,
Until the life I desire
Has slipped away forever.

The life I cannot even consider
While bound to the obligations
I have imposed upon myself
Through a sense of duty
Change me beyond the capacity
To ever be what I want.

Even if I don’t know what that is.

Free Verse: Letter To Myself (Aged 14)

DS,

There are so many things
That will challenge you in life,
And challenge will push you
To learn things
You should have never had to know.

Sickness,
Emotional pain,
And death.

You know all of these things early,
Yet I’m not sure anyone
Ever thought
To explain them to you
Properly.

Instead, you take everything in,
And you understand it
As best you can.

Help will always be there
When you need it.
If you need it.
But it will take you
A long time
To be okay with asking,
And even longer
To actually accept it.

You spend years,
Trying to repress
Any part of yourself
That makes you different.
That makes you stand out.

After realising you’ll never fit in,
You try to change yourself,
To make it less obvious
That you are different.
You try so hard
To make yourself invisible.

You will repress
Every part of you
That makes you unique,
For fear
Those other people
Will judge you.

But all the while,
You will desperately seek
Some form of acceptance.

First from adults,
Because as far as you are concerned
They are right,
And know what is best
For you.

Some will see you,
Really see you,
But their influence
Will be fleeting.

Most will side with the masses.

Most will tell you to be
Like those that make it hardest
To be yourself.

People will tell you to change,
And because you can’t
You will tell yourself
You have failed them.

That you have failed yourself.

I need you to know
That is not the case.

DS I wish I could tell you
That the loneliness goes away.
I wish I could tell you
That the love
You so desperately want to feel
Is something you will have
In abundance.
Perhaps never in the way you yearned for,
But know you are loved.

Your family’s needs will drain you,
But they also love you.
You have real friends,
Friends who you have absolute trust in
And who love you.

Not a pretend version
Of yourself, not a facade,
Not even the version of yourself
You portray to the world
To make it seem
Like you are confident.
They love all of you,
With no parameters.

Love is hard
For you DS.
It’s not something
That comes easy.

Even now
The most important person
Who could love you,
Needs to remind himself
Every day
That it is okay to do so.

I am so sorry for the damage
I have caused to you
Over the years.
I’m sorry for punishing you,
When you had worked your hardest.
I’m sorry for not understanding
What you gained, when you walked away
From a path which seemed important.

I’m sorry for pushing you
To be something you are not.
I’m sorry for blaming you,
For the things in your life
That you never had control over.

I’m sorry DS, for never trusting you
To make decisions,
For hiding and playing it safe,
When I could have instead
Let you live.
Truly live.

Worst of all DS
I am so sorry for not loving you.
You are wonderful.
You won’t always feel like that,
But it is no less true.

What you overcome in life,
Is truly outstanding.
You judge yourself
Against the worth
And the attainment
Of others.

You push yourself
To grow and develop.
But everything you do
Is done with passion,
Dedication,
And a sense of purpose.
Commitment
Which I cannot begin
To commend enough.

You can turn your hand
To anything
And make it work for you.

You’re flighty.
You are easily distracted,
But you always get done
What needs to be done.

You have so much love
In your heart,
And you willingly invest it
In others
Before you invest it in yourself.

You push yourself
To make life better
For others
And in so doing
Make it harder for yourself.

You struggle to get by.
You push to be better.
And if those around you
Aren’t flourishing
You will do anything you can
To help them, or blame yourself
If you can’t.

It is both the best
And the worst thing about you.
It will take you far in life,
But the one thing
That will evade you
Is your own sense of self.
Your own purpose.
Your own happiness.

But help is always there.

Eventually, you’ll ask for it.
Eventually, you’ll accept it.

Where you go after that
Is up to you.
But know that wherever you go
You have my love,
My support
And my trust.
For once, above all else I have
Your best interests at heart.

One day
I may feel like I have found
‘My purpose’.

But until I know for sure,
I would like
To make you a promise:

‘To keep trying, to enjoy
What I’m doing,
And to take care of myself.

To live a life I am proud of,
And one which allows you
To be as happy
As you possibly can be.’

Free Verse: Personal Statement

For twelve years,
I have worked continuously
As a sessional worker
Supporting children
And young people
With a broad range
Of additional support needs.

After being elevated
To the position of team coordinator
I planned and delivered
Bespoke events
For the young people attending.

Promoting socialisation
And inclusion
As a focus of planned activities.

Alongside this role,
I have studied
And worked
Full-time
In a variety of care
And education support roles.

As an SLA
I have supported
Both Primary & Secondary age students
To access a mainstream curriculum
Differentiating resources
And activities to ensure
They are accessible.

Promoting learning
And development of life-skills,
Whilst creating a holistic learning environment
Unique to each learner’s needs.

For the past three years,
I have worked
as a Team Coordinator
For a Care Charity.

This role
Required a great deal
Of forward planning
And accurate and concise
Record keeping, monitoring
And evaluation of feedback
To ensure
A high-quality service
And identify
Any areas for development.

My project has been funded
By external funders
And so, I have been required
To complete regular grant reports
Feeding progress back to funders.

This has to be done
To a very high standard
Ensuring deadlines were met
At key points throughout the project.

As an in-house trainer,
I supported the development of staff,
Some of whom
I was also a direct supervisor to.

As a trainer
I delivered staff inductions,
Management of challenging behaviour,
Autism awareness,
And communications training,
Delivering training
To both staff and young people.

In addition to this, for two years,
I held a Volunteer Coordinator post
For a Charity Music festival.

In this role
A number of small charity evenings
Were run throughout the year
To facilitate a much larger,
Citywide event
At the end of each year.

I directly organised, recruited
And interviewed volunteers
For both supervisory roles
And general volunteering.

Organising and liaising
With volunteers
To ensure all events
Were well staffed
And ran smoothly
Was a key part of this role.

I believe
I have a well-balanced
And varied skillset
That paired with a genuine passion
For working with people
And supporting their experiences
Makes me an ideal candidate
To work with your team.

I am dedicated
Enthusiastic,
And keen to learn
As well as share my own experience.

Free Verse: To The Resident

To the resident/s
of flat 15 LFR,

At your earliest possible convenience,
we would ask
that you please remove the bike,
which is currently being stored
in the mid-stairwell.

This stairwell is a main access point
and unfortunately
the bike makes access to the handrails
difficult for people with movement issues,
who regularly access the upper flats.

We appreciate your cooperation with this matter.

Free Verse: Why I Write II

The most annoying thing
About being a writer
Is that unless you write,
You cannot really consider
Yourself to be a writer.

I usually write
Everything I do
At least five or six times
In my head
Before I ever try
To commit to paper.

Invariably,
This means that a lot
Of information
Lives in my head alone
And a few
Of the really good ideas
Or musings, have gotten lost
Through no fault of their own.

I’d like to think
That with some real patience
And perseverance, I can make
Writing a daily habit.

Like most ‘good’ habits
Which one would like to adopt
Into their life,
Writing is something
Which I have always put off
Until tomorrow.

I do think though
That the commitment
Which I seem to lack
For writing,
Has more to do with
Feelings.

Lack of confidence
In the things I write,
Rather than not having
Anything to write about.

I have always written
From a place of pain,
Emotional pain
Which leaves me
Feeling empty
Most of the time.

Then when I write
I slip, back
Into this mindset.

The biggest problem with this
Is just how draining
This can become, but secondly,
Just how awful it is
To realise you are only able
To do the things you want to do,
If you succumb to the person
You do not want to be.

Finding the right balance
Between channelling inner darkness,
And controlling it is hard to achieve
And rather than try to find
The balance that I so clearly need
To attempt to instil within me
I often find myself instead
Leaning into Darkness.

I think
The thing which most concerns me
About finding this balance
Isn’t so much that I don’t know
Where to start,
But that I don’t know
Where it will end.

I am going to be forced
To explore aspects of my inner self,
Which I have suppressed and ignored
For a very long time.

Some things I already
Know about myself,
Others I worry
I might discover
For the first time.

However,
Fear is never a reason
Not to do something,
Just a catalyst
To try harder.

The only thing
To fear
Is fear itself.

I think
That can be interpreted
To mean many things.
But on a personal level,
It has meant coming to terms
With the aspects of myself
That I don’t want
As well as developing
The aspects of myself
That I like and am proud of.

Humans should be defined
By their actions
And not their nature,
For evil is part
Of the human condition,
And lives within the soul.

But not all humans
Choose to act
On the evil that resides
Within them.

Instead,
Some humans
Who may have had
An innate darkness within them,
Can choose to overcome this
By embracing light,
And giving out
Only love
To the world around them.

Personal Blog: One Hundred

This moment has been coming for days. Weeks. Months.

Years. Four of them to be exact.

On the 18th May 2014, I posted on Forever Distracted by Life for the first time.
My first post, ‘So. Let’s Get Started…’ was my statement of intent. A first public outcry of my desire to be an author.

Writing has been more than just a passion of mine, but a desire. For the most part, I considered it a pipe-dream, one which I never really believed I would do anything to make happen. For years, I was right. Life was too distracting. Too many things vied for my attention, and writing never seemed important enough to pursue above anything else going on.

Yet as time moved on my desire and compunction to write grew, plaguing me whenever I tried to ignore it. The few times I tried channelling this creative desire led to outbursts of emotional writing coupled with the development of a long-planned fiction project, which rather than refining grew arms and legs until I had no idea where to begin.

Without trying, writing kept happening, but unrefined and uncontrolled.

In August of 2018, my life changed when I returned to college to study writing full-time. For many reasons, 2018 has become for me, a year of transition. Slowly, I learned more about who I was and not only what I wanted, but how to make that happen. My life is very different to the one I was living in May 2014, but what has remained the same is my desire to create, and my belief that doing so will be the catalyst to a life that leaves me feeling fulfilled.

So why is today important?

Today, at 13:00 my 99th post will go live, having been scheduled to follow post 98 which went live at 12:30.

By the time this post is live, I will have finally made it to post 100. I cannot begin to tell you how amazing it feels to have finally made it to a landmark moment that has taken me years to reach. I hope that this is just the beginning of my writing journey, but as I celebrate this personal achievement I want to thank every single person, who has ever read a post of ‘Forever Distracted by Life.’

Your likes, comments and kindness have kept me going during some of the more challenging periods in the last four years, and I know that in the future they will continue to do so.

So Thank You, and hopefully, it won’t take another four years before I get to celebrate the next one hundred posts.

Darren Syme Coremans

Free Verse: Have You Ever Been Lost?

Have you ever been lost?

I remember a time
With my parents
For the life of me,
I don’t remember when or where.

What I do remember
Is the moment I looked around
And realised
I was alone.

In the middle of a busy crowd
Of course
I wasn’t alone.
Yet the people
Were part of the problem
A busy crowd
Is no place for a lost child.

Too many people
Distracted
By their journey
From point A
To point B

I panicked,
And the crowd absorbed me,
As fully as my fear.

Neck-snapping from side to side,
I looked to find them,
My parents,
But to my mind
They were gone.

Time passed,
But the dread did not,
It filled me,
Leaking from my eyes
Mixed with falling tears.

A child consumed,
Both physically and
Emotionally,
Will shut down
Rooted to the ground,
Rationality removed
From thought, and action
Or lack thereof.

Defeat.

And then,
From in between shoulders,
I could see my Father.
His usually stoic face appeared,
Contorted with fear.
An expression which I was sure,
Was reflected
Upon my own face.

Relief upon my rescue.
Quelled any unease,
Which came when he spoke.

His words were stern,
“Don’t wander off”
But his eyes betrayed his tone.
Relief, the only thing
We both had come to know.

Safety brings comfort,
And once it is felt
Dread is quickly forgotten.

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