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As mentioned last week I have signed myself up to do a weekly challenge, why?

Because it forces my mind to think about something else, sometimes the word given might be something hard to relate back to the subject matter of this blog, but I figure that isn’t such a bad thing?

It’s not that I don’t have other blogs, I do, but I just felt that it would be good for me to have a sort of ‘time out’ section or a ‘break’ for myself and readers sometimes from my ‘chronic pain’, will that work or not, I don’t know, when I am on this blog, I am in that space that relates to my journey with this particular issue.

So this weeks prompt is the following:

Dungeon Prompts – Season 2, Week 5: Community

So, I thought well I could go the obvious route with Community, that being the prompt word.

The Community Event – No 1 piece

A warm welcome to the Community

A warm welcome to the Community

I just did an article on one of my other blogs that relates to where I live and it’s surrounding area.  I was asked to cover a Community Project at a Community Centre that lies within a pocket of financial stress within affluent surroundings.

Volunteers hard at work

Volunteers hard at work

You can see the full article here, but to summarise, a company called Groundwork, got Ebay to donate a days worth of labour to help the local residents on their allotments, make a skate ramp etc.  The idea also being to try and encourage other local companies to donate Local Corporate Funding towards such well deserving projects.

For me, it was an amazing event, firstly the atmosphere so warm and welcoming and the enthusiasm ten fold from the volunteers doing the work.  Personally for me it also was a milestone, it involved driving, to somewhere I didn’t know, it makes me anxious incase I get caught up in my pain cage and also obviously I had to be sociable, take pics etc and wanted to be on top form.  Though medicated to the hilt, I did it and felt great for having done so and was very chuffed to have been asked in the first place. I think even had the pain cage caught me, they were so relaxed and friendly I could have indeed thrown myself on the floor to try and make myself feel better.

So there you go one community event, bringing people together from all different kinds of background in to one pool to help each other out.

Then there’s a different angle – Trying to break in to the Community – No 2 piece

Now I moved here four years ago, my ‘chronic pain’ hit me three years ago, and yes I am finding myself going back to that subject urgh when I was meant to stay away from it.  I promise I will later 🙂

Solitude vivifies; isolation kills. Joseph Roux

Solitude vivifies; isolation kills.
Joseph Roux

To continue, I didn’t move a hundred miles, but far enough that my children moved school, my friends children ended up going to schools even further away.  So was starting afresh, having the hope of making new connections.  Moving house and settling in takes a while, starting children at a new school, it’s quite overwhelming at times.

Then my chronic pain struck before in my mind I had really had any chance to establish ‘bonded’ friendships let alone be part of a community.  You see I don’t think you just become a part of a community, I think this takes work.  It’s not a god given right, you have to contribute to this ‘community’, make friends, participate, be places, be seen, be active.

I could not do this, I was bedridden for some time, then eventually I could get downstairs, I certainly couldn’t get out, when I did get out it was to the postbox down the end of the street.  This was over a period of 2-3 years.  So I have sat on the periphery looking in, wanting to be in, but couldn’t be.

It has been an eye opening experience all around from friendships, to a community based around you that really in hindsight should have perhaps helped a little bit more, a school community in this case, as many knew of my situation.

I have two children that needed to get to school, a husband that needed to work.  Yet no one offered in three years to take my kids to school, not once.  I asked once, got turned down, then eventually I got a yes, which was such a relief.  However, my husband has had to take the children in most days and pick up, so reduced hours, financial stress etc.  So sometimes if honest I have felt a little resentful towards this community around me.

Past Community – No 3 piece

“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn't as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.”  ― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.”
― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

My children and husband still go to the church where we used to live.  I went for a while, I actually introduced him to the church and then I stopped, don’t ask me why, I just did.

We then moved, they still carried on going.  I couldn’t then cope with the drive or sitting on chairs, chairs send my pain factor rocketting and it doesn’t just go, it then stays, so I avoided church again.

However, I know my children love it and one was due to sing a solo and the other read a piece, so I mustered up, dosed up and went along.

I have to say the welcome I received from faces seen so long ago made me have that feeling I get when I used to go back and see my mum, that at home feeling, nice and warm and that is a Community, a gathering of people who don’t bare a grudge because you havn’t been there for years.  They were genuinely interested in how I was, not a fleeting hello, a proper conversation and I feel comfortable enough to know now however often I go, I will always be welcomed 🙂

Now I wanted to do a out of the box piece based on a childhood memory – No 4 piece

So, as a child I used to get shipped off to see my father in the Summer Holidays.  I must have been about 10, I really don’t know.  But he lived in France a lot of the time with my step mother and step sister.  Of whom I was very fond.

They had friends in France, their own little community, but for me it was always a little daunting being shipped out having not seen him for months, going in to an environment where there was already a ‘family’ unit of which I felt like an outsider plus being in a foreign country of which they all spoke the language and had a bond.

One evening we were taken out by my father to a french restaurant, one that you could sit outside.  The evening was beautiful as were the surroundings, the chatter was friendly, animated as they all socialised amongst each other of things past and new.

Occasionally the odd adult would ask us (as in children) a question, include us be it for a fleeting moment.  I was shy and felt acutely embarrassed every time this happened, but savvy enough I suppose to know why.  I just wished I spoke the language, had that history and connection to be able to contribute to the conversation in some way….so what happened?

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Food was ordered, steak and chips.

It arrived, raw steak and lovely chips

I looked at the steak, could it be that bad as it looked?

Fork was prodded in

Blood drained out

Blood on my chips

I cut a bit

Just raw

Stomach turned

I felt sick

Hotness spreading over my face

What was I to do?

Couldn’t eat it.

Just sat there

“Why aren’t you eating?” my father asked

“It’s raw, there’s blood on my chips”

A scowl upon his face, irritation with his child, showing him up

“Waiter, take it away please, she doesn’t like the blood, cook it a little more”

It went

It came back, exactly the same

Cold chips now, covered in blood

Same steak, raw

Hotness over my face

I want to go, disappear, he will be angry

I cut a piece, it’s slimy

I can’t eat it

I pick at chips

“why aren’t you eating it, the waiter was good enough to take it back, whats wrong with it?”

“its no different, it’s raw, there is blood on my chips”

Everyone is looking at me now

No one says anything

Rage

Rage

Fist slammed against the table, red face, fury takes over my father

“don’t be so ungrateful, eat your steak”

I cry quietly

I can’t eat it

I want to go

I didn’t eat it

I didn’t speak

End of evening

Everyone’s gone

“you showed me up tonight, your an embarrassment to me, that’s how the French eat their steak”

I think to myself “I don’t fit in, I’m not French, this isn’t my family, I am not part of this community, I want to go home”