Picture Prompt: Sunset

The Challenge:

Using this picture as inspiration write a poem or piece of flash-fiction. There are no set themes or genres, just write if you feel inspired to do so.

If you feel happy sharing your work, please paste it along with a link to your own work in the comments section and I will add all entries to the original post along with a link to your work.

My hope is to highlight the work of the many talented writer’s of WordPress and beyond; while at the same time Networking with those who take part.

Happy Writing. DSC

About Today’s Picture:

(At the end of each week, I will add your entries and links to your work to the original post. Along with a little more information about each of the pictures I choose.)

Personal Blog: A Dropped Ball

Last week I began the transition of ‘Forever Distracted by Life’ from an infrequently used writing portfolio to a daily posting, collaborative writing space.

Up until this morning, my scheduled posts have gone ahead without a hitch, but this morning I dropped the ball. As always the name of my blog makes me smile because lately I have been so distracted by life that my planned targets and schedules haven’t quite worked as they intended. But rest assured I still intend to keep sharing, and regularly. I just needed a catch-up day to sort the content for the time ahead.

Much like when I began transitioning my diet to a primarily plant-based diet a few blips along the way aren’t going to make me throw in the towel. I just need to evaluate a little and get back on it. In the meantime, thanks to those of you who have been reading regularly I really appreciate everyone who engages with my work.

DSC

Personal Blog: On The Train

One of my favourite places to write, is on the train. Every journey to college, becomes a space to create and in particular poetry.

Where do other writers do their writing? Where is the weirdest place you’ve found yourself writing?

Personal Blog: Challenge Accepted

As most of the regular followers (as I understand it, there are some out there, do feel free to say ‘Hi’ sometime) of Forever Distracted by Life know I have in the last few months been bitten by the poetry bug. Having never really engaged with poetry beyond the mandatory level of academia as presented by High School, I never felt ‘worthy’ of reading poetry, let alone writing it. But as soon as I was introduced to the poetry unit on the course I am currently studying at college, it was as though I had suddenly learned a new language. A language which allows me to express things I have never before been able to put into words.

Once I started writing poetry, I started reading it. And not just the poets of history, but the poets of today. By following some of the blog authors that have engaged with some of my work, I have found myself immersed in wonderfully insightful and relatable poetry. 

Some blogs, in particular, I find myself going back to regularly.

https://reowr.com is a site I find myself on daily at the moment as it is full of great poetry and regular challenges being thrown down. This mornings sent me down a rabbit hole of writing that has already filled pages of my notebook, and has given me a few more things to share over the next couple of days. 

The challenge posed, was to write a poem using the ‘Zanze’ poetic structure.

If you aren’t familiar with the style, or are interested in taking part in the challenge yourself, I highly recommend checking out the original post here: https://reowr.com/2019/01/08/when-the-mountains-a-zanze-and-a-challenge/#comment-10179

I have already shared my first two attempts today. Which you can find here: https://dscoremans.com/2019/01/08/freeform-zanze-fearless/

And here:

https://dscoremans.com/2019/01/08/zanze-fearless-ii/

2019 © DS Coremans

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: 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.’

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

Personal Blog: Over Reacting

The Following is an extract from my Personal Log:

Unknown Date (Between 06.09.14 – 12.04.15)

I overreact to things. I already knew this about myself. But…

For the first time in the longest time, I had a dream which I remember.

I received a gift from an old family friend, a calendar with precious pictures of us and then some pictures of her family. Each picture had a beautiful quote on it which related to the picture. I was so overwhelmed rather than just put it straight onto the wall, I took it to my mum’s house to show her it. She took it out of its bag and then for whatever reason removed the binder. I was so angry, I watched as all of the pages of the calendar fell to the floor and I couldn’t help but shout my frustrations. My mum, realising too late what the binder was for started crying as she had unintentionally upset me.

Even in my dream, I was devastated, I said quite calmly, 

“Actually it doesn’t matter, I can just use blue-tack to put it on the wall, it doesn’t change the beauty of the gift itself.”

I then hugged my mum and tried to reassure her that everything was okay.

Then. I woke up.

I felt guilty. I was devastated that, even in my dream, my actions resulted in my mum crying.

I overreact to things. I already knew this about myself. But for the first time, in the longest time, I realise that my behaviour does not just affect me, but those around me. When I become irritable, irrational, irate at all of the little things. When I demand and expect the world from myself.

Personal Blog: The Beautiful Warrior II

Written on Tuesday, 18th September 2018:

On the 8th September 2018 my mother’s physical journey ended. Where death for me has always come with a fear of nothingness, what her passing taught me is that the end of a physical existence is just the beginning of new existence. One in which the spirit and energy of a person is free from the confines of their physical form.

Tomorrow I, along with my family and friends, will gather together to attend a service planned to allow the people whose lives my mother has touched in some way to say goodbye to my mother’s body, the vessel that carried the soul of a warrior into her final battle.

Called in on a Monday morning to spend what we were told could be our final hours with mum we began a journey with our mother that lasted six days. Perhaps the six longest days of my life so far.

My mother was thrifty, and creative. She could create something from nothing, and always worked hard to provide anything that we required. So when she was given hours, she somehow managed to find days. Those days were long but she was never alone. Those of us that were with her ensured that in her final days she was constantly surrounded in love. Her family, and friends around the world prayed for her, loved her, and thought of her. Strangers who had never met her, heard of her and asked to pray, and to share her story. The story of The Battle of Room Seven.

Although the illness which took her into her final battle came suddenly, my mother’s health had been in decline for a while. Small things at first, things which we passed off as inconvenient, but which mum would never directly complain about.

As was her way my mother put the needs of her family first. This was her way in life, and so to was it her way in death.

With each day that passed in that bloody week, we struggled to come to terms with what we were being told. After the first two days of watching her fight so hard, I had to ask. I had to hear the words be said and so I spoke to a nurse and asked her to tell me what I needed to hear.

“Your mother is dying. She isn’t going to get better. She doesn’t have long left.”

The nurse who said these words said them because I asked to hear them. It didn’t make it easier, but it allowed me to change my thinking. To begin to process what was actually happening rather than what we wanted to happen.

We prayed of course for a miracle, but miracles come few and far between. To have shared a moment with Thilda was to experience the miracle of her generosity, of her kindness, of her ability to love indiscriminately and unconditionally. As a close family, I have the luxury of a lifetime of memories with my mum and I hold each memory dearly now.

As hours stretched into days, mum’s transition from physical to spiritual became a testament to ‘The Beautiful Warrior’. A woman who championed those she fought for.

I asked my mum a number of times throughout the years to tell me what made her happy. Her reply was always the same,

“I am happiest when you are happy.”

This was my mum’s way. To live for others and in particular to live for her family. As her final battle drew to an end, I was struck with a moment of clarity. The fight, the bold and bloody fight which my mum had put up so far had never been a fight to get better. It was instead a fight to be with the people she loved for every last second she could be. Each breath in and out a gift to us, to give us the time we needed to come to terms with what was about to happen.

During the whole week my mum was unconscious. Though she was surrounded in love. Love which transcended the physical environment she was in, and surrounded us all. Keeping us strong, and protecting us in this time before we say goodbye.

Mum’s last week with us was a powerful one. One in which myself and all of her family members learned about ourselves and each other. Even in death my mother brought us together, creating bonds that ensured we would always have people to surround us in love when our time comes.

Losing mum feels like losing a part of ourselves. It is a living nightmare from which we can never wake. The loss of such a profoundly wonderful person has affected so many people, but what I have learned about my mother since she passed is that she has given so much in her short time on earth.

Solace comes from the memories and love she gave and left us with. I treasure not just my own memories of The Beautiful Warrior, but those shared by the people whose lives she touched. Memories which keep her with us, until we see her next.

Personal Blog: The Beautiful Warrior

I wanted to write something grand and beautiful. I have tried a few times now, to find words enough to express an experience so profound it has left me changed and very much in shock.

On the 8th of September 2018, at exactly 8:00am my mum died.

The drafts I have will likely be developed into content that will be shared in the near future. I hope to tell you more about my mum, she was an amazing woman who was compassionate and selfless through and through. She had so much love to give and all she ever asked in return was to be around the people she loved the most as often as she could be.

During her last week of life, she was a warrior, and she proved her strength and love in a six day battle that she gloriously ended. On my last full day with my mum I told her about Valhalla, I told her about the mead halls of vikings and warriors of great battles who she could regale with her tale. I can see her now bringing a rowdy hall to silence as she takes them on a long and rambling tale with many false starts and tangents. I can see them hanging on her every word.

I wanted to write about her sooner, to acknowledge what had happened. But the longer I left it the more difficult it seemed to write about. Even just writing it down makes it feel more absolute, writing about it makes it feel more real. No matter how much I want it to a lie to be false, I find myself having to come to terms with the fact that she is no longer a part of my physical life. Thankfully I still feel very close to her spirit and the love that she built into the fabric of everything she did, but I miss her dreadfully. I long to speak with her, to sit with her, even just to hold her one more time. But of course the finality of death is to accept that however much we want these things, we must accept that they are not to be.

Grief has been both horrific and beautiful. Trying to control it is like trying to control the tides, it comes and goes as it pleases, dynamic and ever changing. A reflection of life itself, which is also dynamic and changing. As painful as losing my mother has been, life has so far gone on relatively unhindered, and will continue to do so long after I rejoin her.

But before then I have a life to live. A life that I promised my mother would be as happy and full as I could make it. This was my final promise to my mother, and one that I intend on keeping.

Rest peacefully mum, your final battle may be over, but the legend of ‘The Beautiful Warrior’ has only just begun being told.

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