To be honest I started 2018 badly. A sudden onset injury on 29th December 2017 (yes I remember the exact date) sent shooting pains down my left side making it extremely difficult to stand or walk. I tried to ignore it. Because denial. And it worsened quickly. I became housebound. My eldest had recently moved away with her fiance. My youngest was in Budapest on holiday with her partner. And suddenly, at the beginning of a brand spanking new year, I felt very VERY alone. I remember sitting in a hot bath, crying into the water and tweeting this:
“I feel the The Universe has a plan for me. There’s no way I’d be in so much pain & stopped practically in my tracks without learning SOMEthing. I guess I need to figure out what”.
Twitter as therapy has its moments. Often I use it to get stuff off my chest, so to speak. I did that classic low mood thing where I didn’t want to call or bother anyone. And, frankly, what would I say? All I could do was cry. Online sympathy duly arrived. But then I got a call. Randomly, my good friend Nat had seen my tweet and KNEW the usual Karen had left the buiding. This needed more than a click.
We talked (well, I blubbed). She imparted her customary wisdom . We decided that my body was telling me to stop STILL. I realised that, since becoming self employed I had never scheduled breaks. Teaching had allowed me to stop because there were holidays. Freelance meant that I had to set my own holidays. My body was rebelling. Who knew?
Over the next week I was able to fold up my Superwoman cape and reach out to friends and family who stepped up to help me. Groceries were bought by my eldest daughter (who I finally asked), I was ferried to and from the doctors (thank you Nneka). My youngest returned from her break and went into Florence Nightingale mode. My mum hitched a lift with my youngest brother to get him to swing by my home so that she could surprise me (and check up). They live eighty miles away! I finally relaxed. I didn’t look at my inbox. I watched trashy TV and I did some much needed Art. As I mentally exhaled my body started to heal. My daughters took me for a walk to the local cafe. The usual five minute walk took half an hour. But I did it! We also had a discussion that led to a life-changing decision. I decided that I would volunteer for a month. But more on that later.
Take a trip down memory lane with me and relive some (of many more) definitive moments from my year.
With my heart in my throat, I launched a GoFundMe campaign in March to raise money to travel to Zimbabwe with 13Rhythms. The campaign smashed it’s initial target in less than two days! Watch my plea below:
During my birthday month I decided to get up and perform my first piece at Spoken Word London. Watch ‘Legacy’ below:
Joined 29 other creatives on a Loneliness lab sprint to end loneliness in London and Craftmoves was born. I explain our concept below:
That same week I was also a guest on Hey is that me… blog ‘A day in the Life’. Phew!
I was invited to speak at Featured in 15 in Forest Hill. I spoke about my lessons from volunteering. Watch a snippet below. Captured by my eldest daughter.
I ended 2018 volunteering for the sewing service at Crisis at Christmas. My 7th year with Crisis and my 5th with the sewing service. Together we took in and mended 701 items for our homeless guests! So if YOU sew and fancy joining us next time read more here.
There’s no doubt that it’s been a brilliant year and I am extremely fortunate and grateful. And this one is starting to look even better! Thank you to all who have supported me either by constant encouragement in whichever form or by allowing me to work with you in some small way.
So was The Universe teaching me something at the beginning of the year? I’d say! And I’m trying to heed it by scheduling regular breaks where I truly stop and breathe.
Happy New Year!
Have you ever received a sign that has forced you to stop and take notice? What changed? I’d love you to tell me more in the comments!