LIVING WITH DIFFERENCE & BEAUTY THAT’S BENEATH.

  

A laid bare post..

The Mad Blog award ceremony is only days away and I’m absolutely bricking it….but not for the reasons you’d think. 
So here’s why I’m petrified of the awards pretty much just the same as I’m petrified of school runs, playgroups, meeting people, socialising….I’m hoping a little honesty may support me a comfy shoulder. 
Vanity is shite, there’s no getting away from it, it’s a natural blanket that either keeps us warm or gives us a chill….some personal perceived flaws can be hidden, make-up and clothes do a good job..some flaws can be hidden by radiance or smiles, or a confidence that flattens your flaws.

Others cannot be hidden or no matter what you do or what logic tells you, those flaws, which are teeny, even unnoticeable to those around you are the hugest thing in your life. 
There’s an ironicness to the natural play ethos that we live by…we love sticks! We love climbing trees, throwing, rolling, jumping…living dangerously within childhood…we don’t care about ‘you’ll have your eye out!’ or ‘you’ll break your leg!’ echoes… we’ve not got cotton wool here, we’ve got bruises and war wounds and oodles of knee scraping memories to keep smiles forever with us. We get our hands dirty, filthy our fingernails and fill our hearts.
At 3 years old I lost my left eye in a childhood accident involving sticks.

It really puts play to the term that ‘everything changed in the blink of an eye’.

Damaged beyond repair I was left with a hideous looking ‘dead & deformed’ eye. I was provided with a contact lens shell for vanity purposes which I wore through school but due to health problems I had my eye completely removed at the age of 8. This was then replaced with a full bodied non moving artificial eye, which i still wear today. 

I was fortunate in my school years to never be bullied much, there were occasion but all in all other children were often in awe of the girl with the glass eye. Friendly banter, a harmless acceptance. But inside I hurt. 

I’m a girl, vanity runs deep. Mirrors don’t lie and every time I looked in them the truth confronted me, and quite frankly the truth hurt. I could not hide my flaw. I still can’t. 

Isn’t the saying ‘the eyes are the window to the soul’?….

Monsters were always portrayed with a disproportion amount of eyes, or with just one eye, like me. Badies always seemed to have missing eyes or patches. It was constantly accepted and still is now to make yourself look like a fool or a freak by crossing your eyes….even today my newsfeed is full of people thinking it’s the norm to post selfies of eyes out of line/crossed etc…. I don’t do selfies….I wish I could. 
Truth is, it’s easy to acquire a confidence when sat behind a computer screen….people can judge by portrayals you give but they can’t judge on what they see. If first impressions last like they say then the impression I give is not pretty, but there’s nothing I can do to change that so I avoid first impressions where I can. There’s no getting away from looking someone straight in the eyes…that’s what you’re supposed to do, it shows confidence, self worth, spirit etc…..unless you’ve a glass eye and are faced with inquisitiveness, confusions & on occasion looks of horror. In a nutshell that’s the truth. It’s human nature to be inquisitive about difference but unfortunately when that difference is a deformity in the eyes there’s no ability to display discreetness. Apparently the eyes don’t lie and are the first point of contact. 

With no movement in my artificial eye I often look at people and they look over their shoulders to decipher if I’m looking at them or somebody else. It’s a natural thing to do but momentarily reminds me of my difference and breaks my heart.
The eyes don’t lie..

But the eyes do lie. 

Strange really as its so easy to paint an unrealistic picture of yourself from behind a screen, to big yourself up, show the good bits, but equally, sometimes it’s the only way that some people, like me, can be who they are without judgement, be themselves without giving the false first impressions that people naively take when faced with difference, the only way you can get to see the beauty that goes beyond the skin but is often shadowed by the first impressions that are left by either disfigurement or the issues that make us unapproachable, not able to fit in, the things that we deem to be unacceptable flaws within social circles that make us refrain with the sad knowledge that because we’ve got little confidence, we may have anxiety, body issues, self doubt etc, we refrain knowing that we’ll be viewed unsociable, rude, ignorant, arrogant, better than others…..it’s a vicious circle and it hurts.
Most often the people that seem the most comfortable in being solitary are the ones that really would rather not be but can’t bring themselves to step forward. 
We don’t help ourselves sometimes, not because we don’t want to but because are scared to do so.

We all have reasons that make it hard for us to fit in, low self esteem that situations put on us. We all want acceptance. Some of us can be deemed as loud but still amble along the sidelines feeling teeny and unable to jump in.
We’ve all got our own insecurities that can make social situations excruciating…..most of us hide that really well. 

What may be a mountain to me could be a molehill to you…and most often is.
I’d like to be the life and soul of the party, I’d like to fit in, I’d like to rock up and slide into the conversation with ease. I don’t want to stand on the sidelines scared of unacceptance feeling meek when I’m really not. I don’t want to be the weird one. The loner. I don’t want to feel pushed out….But i make myself feel pushed out. 

Socialising is ridiculously tough, and it’s not because you make me feel uncomfortable, it’s because I do that to myself.  

 
The brutal honesty of my post is that I am so so SOOO proud to be going to the MAD Blog awards…proud of myself beyond belief but I’m petrified and sad that I’m anxious, I’m scared & i’m embarrassed for who I am, what I look like in the flesh.. for my flaw…it’s what circumstance has given me and no matter how hard I try I can’t shake off my feelings of difference. 

If there’s a sore thumb in the room then that’s me.

I don’t want to feel like that and that’s what I hate most.

I’m scared of the cameras, photos which capture reality and never lie, photos that I don’t have chance to pose for that capture hideousness…I’m scared to be me with false first impressions.

I hate that it’s such a small thing to everyone else in my world but such a stupidly overwhelming thing to me.

It’s the people who care about me that matter, I know that, but I care about myself and I want confidence, I exude confidence in so many other ways but am void of it within social situations.  
 
I don’t even care if I’m not deemed as beautiful on the outside I just want people to have the ability to immediately see what’s beneath without judging from the outside in.

  
I’m still Mrs FD..my heart is laid bare on FD because it comforts me that it remains a place without vanity, a place without face to face judgements…a place I feel I can be accepted for who I am. Not a rosy portrayal or bullshit made up words to turn myself into something I’m not…it’s a place I’ll happily give warts and all….I may sit behind the screen and make my choices but I don’t choose falsely, I choose to be honest, to grasp onto confidence that the shadows gives me. I don’t bring with me a vain disfigurement that I struggle with in tow….I just bring me…deeper than the skin..a beauty that’s there without a face & I fit in. 
So there you go… the reason I might hide behind my shades at a red carpeted awards ceremony than I’m ridiculously proud of. 😎 It’s not because I’m arrogant self obsessed rude or a vanity driven woman… 
It’s because I’m scared to be me although that’s all I want to be.
Maybe a little vanity driven too. 
Vanity is shit.
Most importantly though, I absolutely know that whoever I am or what i look like, I’m loved and am soaked in the beauty that surrounds me when I shut my front door. It’s those who see me without glasses and look into my eyes directly at who I am that matter most. 
My family make me feel beautiful but no matter how I try I can’t grasp onto that feeling of beauty and take it with me into society… 

 
Maybe one day I’ll shed that.

The aim of this post is a completely selfish one in the hope that laying myself bare will help me step out and not give a shit what others think..truly. To look people straight in the eye….And smile. 

FD MAD BLOG KIDS AWARDS FOR FAMILY FUN

IMG_8047.JPG
This week we won the MAD blog award 2014 for best family fun, we were over the moon to be chosen to obtain the title & received our award at a red carpeted ceremony in London.
The ceremony was adult only & we wanted to show some recognition to the kids for our win so we embarked on our own prestigious award ceremony for them, after all we would not have won a ‘family fun’ category without them!

We had originally planned to throw the table into the back of the car to find an outdoor spot with a beautiful backdrop with a stop off at Toby carvery for a takeaway roast but had to go with plan B due to a poorly toddler who just wanted time on the sofa….so, our gala event took place in the garden complete with a red carpet and blow out dinner which I nipped out to Toby carvery to fetch. (A child’s portion is £4 but enough to feed 4 children!)
The kids scrubbed up and there were lots of winners!
Here’s how we got on…

IMG_8025.JPG
They looked very posh..

IMG_8027.JPG
We made a menu..

IMG_8028.JPG
And laid the table by throwing sheets over the table and chairs.

IMG_8029.JPGI made some award envelopes and award pebbles to be handed out with a golden chocolate coin..

IMG_8036.JPG

IMG_8034.JPGonce the red carpet was laid the girls practiced walking it..

IMG_8033.JPGI used an old champagne bottle which I filled with squash..

IMG_8032.JPG

IMG_8031.JPGwe added the finishing touches to the table with some chocolates for pudding.

IMG_8035.JPGand I nipped out to buy our food.

IMG_8038.JPG
With food dished up we feasted before the announcements started..

IMG_8037.JPGeverybody had bubbles..

IMG_8039.JPGand with a good luck toast the announcements began..

IMG_8040.JPGit was very tense…

IMG_8041.JPG
The category’s were

IMG_8048.JPG
along with
MOST WILLING TO GET UP AT A STRANGE HOUR.
MOST CREATIVE INPUT.
MUCKIEST PUP AWARD.
BEST PHOTOGRAPHER.

The first winner was Elis..

IMG_8042.JPGthen Eden..

IMG_8044.JPGand finally Mila..

IMG_8021.JPGthere were also awards for Noah who received his when he woke up from his afternoon nap 🙂

We couldn’t of won our MAD blog award without the kids, we were all winners….TOGETHER!!

IMG_8046.JPG

MAD BLOG AWARDS 2014

20140329-135143.jpgHow did we get here…

2 years ago I’d never even heard of blogging, my only form of social networking was a personal Facebook page, twitter evaded me (& still does) and anything else with more that a few channels or Apps on would completely drift over my head, I knew how to log into Facebook on my iPhone but was lost if I needed to navigate my way to finding my own phone number, and nothing has really changed or moved on much, I daren’t try changing the radio station in the car as I struggle to return from the white noise back to a decipherable tune. I have a love for photography but do little else than push a singular button and hope for the best…. To be fair I’m pretty crap with technology all around, a cashpoint machine is probably my most adventurous, eligible & successful technological achievement even though not losing my card or remembering the pin are a whole different struggle. I try over & over again to make myself learn this new era, the way forward, but simplicity swamps my head & I often give up before I’ve even started, then my failings in not seeing things through after promising to force myself to learn make my head hurt. I want to learn, more than anything I want to learn but the whole process of being able to do what the rest of the online world seemingly seems to be doing with ease makes me feel defeated. I want to be a confident, able & successful blogger…
So I continue to try, blindly, without knowledge or understanding of what I’m doing, pretty much like clicking the button on my camera & hoping for the best…. This is how I blog, I’m not gonna lie, I haven’t got a blumming clue, I struggle to organise myself or dust up my memory enough to remember what my passwords & user names are, I don’t know the basics, the jargon is like a foreign language, simple things like replying to comments muddle me & I’ve more chance of picking winning lottery numbers than explaining to you what a widget is, the water seems deep & as long as I tread it then I’m hoping that that’s enough…. But I want to learn, I want to swim in an ocean of bloggers, ideally I would like to sail in tranquil waters in a sea of crystal clad blue… I’m just learning, & thankful for being afloat.

My taste for blogging really started on Facebook, my comfort zone & security blanket. Almost two years ago just after our 6th child, baby Noah, arrived in the world, we set off on an adventure to inspire others to make magical childhood memories regardless of amenities, abilities, location or finances by posting what we do as a family, and it’s been a truly beautiful journey so far & continues to be so. I’ve shared stupid amounts of good stuff, bad stuff, highs, lows, up & downs, I’ve laid bare our everyday lives & never been ashamed of the lack of money in our pockets or unfortunate situations life has thrown us, I’ve shared smiles, laughter, milestones & life changing events in sickness and in health, happiness & sadness, I’ve shared our dysfunction as a family… But our real aim has been in sharing the little things that tick over a fleeting childhood & make it enchanting, the magical ability that we firmly believe we have as parents to install memories, I’ve shared the effort and the enthusiasm of our actions as parents & the joys in reaping what we sow, I’ve shared my belief that parenting has no wrong or right way, no mapped out suggested direction,nobody is perfect, we make mistakes, i’ve shared those mistakes….we’ve shared adventure & explorations, blue skies & mountains, waterfalls & the oceans, we’ve shared our love for the outdoors & eating cake on mountain tops, we’ve shared slight of hand, illusion & many discoveries of fairies & natural beauty…I’ve shared with you almost everything that parenting throws at me, Family Days has shared the love that exudes from our hearts..
…..and it appears to have been gratefully accepted and returned to us in the form of inspiration to make more memories, keep dancing through the rain & the confirmation that our page & blog confirms that dysfunctional is indeed an accepted normality, we all journey in the same direction…

Rest assured we still continue to adventure & are just embarking on a truly beautiful, scary & magical exploration, shortly to be revealed & shared….very soon.

My reasoning for this post.

Ultimately it’s a thank you…
I don’t often write much on my blog, trying to gain advice within the bloggers community It was once suggested to keep things short & sweet should I ever want to become a successful blogger, so that’s what I started to do, I steered away from long winded and became… Short. Sweet. Basic. No blabbering on…I reserve that addiction for Family Days on Facebook…
Unlike the essays & rambling I first started out with on my blog, it seemed a strange direction to move from because I enjoy writing, I love to babble, so for today it’s your choice if you’d like to read on & my hope that you’ll continue.
I can’t really tell you what a tough couple of weeks we’ve had in the Family Days household, it’s been a bumpy ride that our followers may be a little familiar with, a 5 year old with a dodgy heart has certainly tested us recently (but not grounded us!), the loss of a dear friend, a health scare & circle of life situations have all come rapping on our door at once…but we’ve smiled, faced reality, never hidden the children from the everydayness of life that will ultimately round them as people & we’ve cracked on appreciating the good & eating cake….but from out of our darkness came an unexpected & incredibly bright light! A pat on the back for the last (almost) 2 years, a high five, for me…a huge achievement…

I AM A FINALIST IN THE MAD BLOG AWARDS 2014 FOR BEST FAMILY FUN!!!

Dysfunction is what we do best with family fun coming in at a close second 😉

Obviously I would like to win but that’s enough for me, I felt a sense of specialness to learn a few weeks ago that Family Days Tried & Tested had been nominated and to since add to that glorious cake and find out we’ve become finalists….I have to admit it’s made my head dizzy. Which doesn’t take a lot. It’s made all the times I’ve sat at the computer wondering if I could cut it as a blogger & if blogging was a place for me seem an answerable question. I think I’m swimming.

Over 200.000 nominations were received in the Mad Blog awards! That’s insane. 75 blogs reached the finals. That’s ludicrous. 5 blogs became finalists in each category. Just 5. We are one of those 5 & I really can’t explain how ridiculously humbling that is. Does that make me a successful blogger? In my heart, that’s more than enough & I am excruciatingly proud of myself…

Apologies for babbling, but Eeeeeeekkkkk 😀

If you fancy voting for us to win then that would be lovely, you can do so by following the link below, look for ‘Family Days Tried & Tested’ in the ‘Best Family Fun’ category.
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.the-mads.com%2Fawards%2F&h=bAQETnRbhAQGNeplmxztBdzYUXFnzus-qpdGmnX3IR90Kig&enc=AZNRw8TekSq0hzFCN4tay0sybzSFamWNXGSLTkB9HdMMiyEp0BfOiT9Aaxs1xKVhgM19jdUrbOEOFoZeq9Hne-JW&s=1

Good luck to everyone in the running and if ever there was an excuse to eat cake then now we have one 😀

20140329-140730.jpg

If you would like to follow more our daily, fun, frugal & magical memory making activities & adventures during a childhood that’s fleeting you can also find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-days-Tried-tested/287237957955725?ref=tn_tnmn