Welcome to the page that contains The Blog!
I thought that spouting random prattle at you every week on Stephen Speak wasn't enough so you can catch up with my additional thoughts all captured below, in the written word.
The latest Blog will always be the one atop, so scroll down to travel back in time... well not really but they were written in the past!
Well, my blogs are like buses, you don’t get one for a while and then two show up in close succession.
I write this while once again travelling home on the ferry from Northern Ireland with my wife Sarah, after a week of seeing my mum, and this time my brother too, as he was also there visiting.
We were over to see my mum and take her away to the Republic of Ireland for a short break as this year, a couple of weeks ago in fact, turned seventy. Should I have disclosed that? I am sure that she won’t mind. She definitely doesn’t look nor act seventy.
We stayed in a small farm cottage about twenty minutes north of a quaint town of Ennis. Galway was an hour to the North and Limerick was forty minutes to the south.
The cottage was located on the driveway of a working farm, and surrounded by the lush green fields and boulder covered fields that Ireland is renowned for. There were cows, horses, swans (there was a small body of water and river) numerous birds and at night bats and other eery sounds, that were more wondrous than scary.
The cottage had was a bit rough around the edges but clean and had everything that anyone would need. It had a homely used, and welcoming feel. Going through the door, there was two doors in front, the left one was the bathroom with shower, separate bath and a couple of resident spiders that luckily I don’t think my mum noticed. The door to the right of this was a bedroom with a double bed, which my mum claimed being close to the loo. To the right adjacent was the living room.
A door adjacent to the left lead to the Kitchen and dining room, a well proportioned space, what I would call a bakers kitchen. There was a hearth with a large log burner, which sadly we didn’t light as it was too warm- although we were grateful of the good weather.
As you stand in this doorway, the door in front across the room was a laundry room, a door adjacent to this was another bedroom with twin beds (my brothers room) and to the left was another bedroom, again with a double bed (mine and Sarah’s room).
The house was small but spacious, and rectangular save for the shape of our room jutting out to the front elevation. All in all very nice.
We didn’t use the kitchen really apart from toast and brew making although on the second night we had a BBQ and cooked on a disposable BBQ outside, typically the sun went in when we lit it- even in Ireland the gods can be cruel to the BBQ lovers!
We had two cars with us, mine and my mums. I was driving mine and my brother chauffeuring my mum, and during the stay we took turns at driving us all around to the various towns that we visited. We had to take two cars as my car has a silly small boot (trunk for my American readers) and with all of Sarah’s stuff felt it would be too much of a squeeze. But with the stuff unloaded into the cottage during our stay, car sharing was back on the menu.
We had a lovely time and I will post some of the pics to my social medias (@StephenSpeakPC) so that you too can indulge on the joys of the emerald isle. I may have said this before, but go to this beautiful place, north or south and revel in the tradition, and prepare for engaging friendly conversation and cake. Lots of cake.
I thought that this Blog could be something that I have been meaning to discuss on the podcast and that I don’t believe I have as yet. That subject is the choice of colours for the Podcast- and don’t worry, it’s shorter that the last bugger!
My Podcasts ‘Stephen Speak!’ & ‘Stephen Speak! Xtra Speak!’(even though they are uploaded to the same platform as the same Podcast) have different colours to differentiate them, but these colours also have some significance.
Now, I will admit that some of the meaning lurking behind these chosen colours had not occurred to me until after the decision had been made upon the said colours- these being bright green, for ‘Stephen Speak!’, and orange for ‘Xtra Speak!’.
Now the process was not partially technical, I wrote some text in Affinity Designer, and then looked at colours. I wanted something eye eating for the main episodes, in fact ‘Xtra Speak!’ wasn’t even a thought at this point in the creative process. So I quickly dabbled with some colours and green was the first one I looked at, before trying blue, purple (I love purple), red and yellow. But I came full circle back to green.
I chose the green as it reminded me of a vibrant version of the Philadelphia Eagles Kelly green. So that was it. Green it is. I also thought it was like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (although this was actually pointed out to me), and later thought about the Irish connection too! I felt that the green I had chosen was in your face and fresh looking which I liked.
When I came up with the idea for ‘Xtra Speak!’, again the process was again similar a couple of colour ideas and then back to orange!
The connection here is once again Philly related but this time ice hockey and the Flyers! The orange is also a call to the railway and my orange track safety uniform. But I have always liked orange as a colour. It reminds me of sunsets, zest (much like the green in the other logo), and feeling cosy by fire embers. I also think it suits me in clothing which is lucky with the railway uniform referenced above.
So there you go, the design process for colour choosing was minimal at best, no colour wheels, theme boards, focus groups or other peoples opinions just I like that, it references things I like so that will do [Pig].
One of my earliest memories of travelling, or even going on a holiday, is one of traveling to Ireland. Travelling from my home in Cheshire, either by car or by Caledonian Sleeper train (another Podcast or Blog there I feel!), to get to the Stena Ferry at Stranraer, West Scotland, for a close to five hour crossing.
I had just turned thirteen when I first flew on a plane, but was little more than a new born when I boarded my first ferry voyage, my first memories of the crossings are vivid to me from the age of about two or three.
The Ferry was always an exciting part of the journey, and still is for me today, for I write this Blog (5th March) while sat on board the Stena Embla half-way across the Irish Sea bound for Liverpool, having spent a week in Ireland visiting my mum. So I am still using the ferries nearly forty years later [I don’t like the numbers involved here!].
I have always enjoyed traveling, the journey for me is part of the holiday, even plane travel with it’s security protocols and mad queuing systems, it’s part of the adventure so I try to soak everything in. It may have lost some magic as an adult with my ever growing cynicism, and shortening tolerance of others’ stupidity [although this has always been a trait- it is getting harder to retain all of my thoughts] but I endeavour to make the most of the experiences and enjoy it as a whole rather than a step to get to the holiday.
Lying down, curled up, dosing on on a comfy chair upon the overnight sailing from Stranraer to Larne was for me my earliest memory of travel, and some of the biggest adventures of my young life. It felt naughty. Mature. Exciting. To a child to be up so late, wandering around on this hulking sea vessel so far from the shore and solid land. It was an adventure that my friends had not ever done, so was a unique experience I could share, something that continues even into adulthood occasionally.
It was a very different experience dependant on how we actually arrived at the ferry.
The car; meant my Dad driving. He did not like to stop for toilet breaks too often, and even when he did, it was a rushed affair for there was a schedule, or plan to adhere to! [One that apparently hadn’t accounted for human bodily functions- or at least stopping to relieve them! Well short of the planned stop- woe betide you if you didn’t take the opportunity to go when we had stopped] This is something I must say, that I have inherited from him- although I feel that I plan stops adequately so that I don’t have to panic about the delay to the journey time [I still do though].
By train; This was different as when we travelled on the train minus dad. It would just be me, my mum and older brother. We normally used the train when going without my dad, as my mum couldn’t drive when we were younger [she wouldn’t have undertaken the long journey even when she did pass though to be honest] this was either a quick trip over without him, or to precede my dad on the journey- we would sometimes leave a few days prior to hime if he had to work or couldn’t get leave that would fit in with the school holidays- so we would go as an advance party without him. I am sure my mum must’ve had anxiety doing this journey alone with two small kids. You don’t think about this at the time but wow, yeah she’s awesome.
Dad if he was to join us, would do so with the car. Having your own transport with two kids takes some pressure off, and was in some ways vital to visiting relatives and entertaining us. Having said that with or without the car we still utilised the public transport in Belfast frequently, and even used it to travel down to the coast where my grandads caravan was. Seaview caravan Park, in Millisle. It’s still there now. Not his caravan sadly, but the location.
We would board the train just before midnight, seen off by my dad, normally in his smart railway Intercity West Coast uniform as he was normally working or just finishing- it made me feel important, proud even, as my dad was sometimes dispatching the train, and speaking to the guard to get us some special treatment.
We would find our room, play games, eat a snack and sleep. Well I would try to sleep, or pretend so I didn’t get told off by my mum, but the excitement was just too much so would peek out the window all night. In those days I needed only three hours sleep to be fully functional, I would run on minimal calories and rest- what happened!
The rooms were bunkbeds and I can recall very clearly just looking at the blackness out of the window, looking the twinkling lights of the stars and towns flying by, trying to distinguish shapes in the night shadows, my mind racing with imaginative thoughts and very much resisting sleep in case I missed something. I am still the same.
Arriving at the ferry.
Boarding the ferry by car involved arriving at the ferry port, booking in, parking in a lane, and then going for brew before returning to the car to drive onto the massive Ro-Ro ferry. Me and my brother would normally ask mum for some money for so we could have a few goes each on the ‘Golden Axe’ arcade machine. We were devastated when they changed it one year for a game neither of us liked!
At a certain time or when called you’d return to the car and then drive onto the ferry in a long convoy with other cars, vans, holiday homes and the occasional motorcycle (the latter always thrilled me- I was a biker at heart at a young age!)
You would exit the car inside the belly of the ship and take stairs to the passenger decks. I found this a bit mad, confusing, scary and the most epic thing ever!
Ferries are so big and so heavy, yet they float!? During loading they get filled up with people, cars, coaches, vans, animals, lorries, goods and cargo and they still float! I am somewhat familiar with the physics of this, the equation for buoyancy [upthrust] that Archimedes surmised but it still blows my mind.
The process for the train was much the same but the difference being was that you walked from Stranraer train station along mostly covered walkways, this was vital as it was nearly always raining in Stranraer and into the terminal building, check in and wait. Then, there was the long walk along the gangway to board- you walked straight onto the passenger deck level. From here you would go and find a place to sit and this would be your nest for the crossing.
We nearly always did this journey in the dark, dusk or early sunrise [due to using the sleeper trains or driving overnight to catch the early hours sailing]- I don’t actually believe that I saw daylight in this place until my age reached double figures!
So, why is the ferry such a good and happy memory, and also why do I still use it?
Nostalgia will obviously play a part in my love of the ferry journey. Having done it so many times over the years it feels part of my childhood and my life I suppose as I still do the trip now- and oddly on a slower ferry (I now journey between Liverpool Birkenhead to Belfast port which is a freight/ passenger ferry that takes eight hours).
Also, having the viewpoint that the journey is part of the holiday you can enjoy the time aboard, the ferry is less stressful than flying, there is security but it is a quicker affair to board and less waiting around. The waiting you do have once on board, awaiting the departure, passes quickly as you find a space and make ‘the nest’, before wandering the ship.
There were, and still are plenty of amenities aboard [this isn’t an advert, and I am in no way sponsored, but Stena if you’re reading this then…;)] a shop, cafe, different seating areas, restaurant, kids play soft play area, cinema and gaming area. The restaurant ‘back in the day’ was more like a canteen which I prefer to be honest. A thing that was missing on previous ferries from my youth was at seat power, which the modern ferries have, but then again there were no smart phones or tablets to keeper juiced. It was a simpler time, and made for an enjoyable gaming time aboard, with cards being played for hours! Although I suppose I could have utilised a plug for my Sega Games gear, which ate AA’s in minutes.
On today ferries there are TV’s all over the place, showing sports, programming and news. You can also upgrade to the ‘plus lounge’ where you get free drinks and snacks in an exclusive private area at the front of the ship. Something never available on previous sailings of my youth.
Or you can sleep [there are cabins if you want to be comfortable!], read, or like me write a blog! There’s the deck area for fresh air and you can even bring your dog, as we have on this trip.
Although not as equipped as a cruise liner, there is always something to do and with a few episodes of your latest Netflix show downloaded, a book, or deck of cards, eight hours really does fly by!
My favourite memories, and joy I retain from these early experiences, are family life- being with my parents, and brother on an adventure to a place I love, Ireland. Roaming the ship with my brother and feeling grown up, having a full belly and playing the arcades.
Just being a happy child.
This will be a more positive blog, as the last couple have been a bit serious potentially bordering upon depressing. So, sorry about that!
Anyway, I wanted to document a dream I had this week which was ridiculous, funny and a bit weird to be honest. Not sure how long it will take to describe all of this, but I will do my best to be concise (good luck me- and you!)…
OK, so I woke up-I think this was on Friday morning having had one of the most bizarre dreams I believe I have had in a while. I may put these nighttime visions together in a book one day…
So, basically the premise was- for one half of the dream (I will explain this shortly)- I was Steve Irwin, in a ‘Tomb Raider’ kind of environment (When I say I was Steve Irwin, I mean I even had his face when I saw my reflection!). This ‘Tomb Raider’ ‘set’ was a merging of that aesthetic, mixed with a ‘ye ole British pub (complete with dark and muddy aesthetic), and a zoo. Obviously. As I said, bizarre! When I wasn’t Steve Irwin, in this other storyline in the dream, I was myself on holiday in America with my wife Sarah, worrying about having an illegal stroller (pram).
OK, so my dream started with me doing some very Steve Irwin things (jeez I miss that guy, he was the best!) entertaining people, showing of animals, and generally being an awesome guy. Suddenly someone said that someone was in one of the exhibits, a big massive pool- very ‘Tomb Raider II’ - being attacked by two sharks! So, being Steve Irwin I jumped straight into the pool, but I had to dive into a small rectangular pool, swim down, round and up in a ‘U’ shape to access the large pool. Immediately I was in the sights of the sharks. Baring in mind I am free diving here!
I can hear the muffled sounds of the crowds viewing my antics from visitor viewing area of this most odd zoo. Then a tannoy kick in really clearly and starts narrating my adventure, I think this was Steve Irwins wife… She starts explaining about the sharks, how they are only doing what comes natural and that the person I (Steve Irwin) is saving, shouldn’t have entered the pool area, also that this pool in fact was two hundred and fifty metres deep!This last fact seemed to surprise me, as I save the people and free them form the two smallish sharks. They swim safely to the surface, and I am left to fend for myself.
After a struggle, and continuous narration from Terri (well done subconscious for incessantly creating ‘facts’ and statements), I make a break for the surface, thinking I may not make it while also having a strong sense of calm because the sharks were safe.
I have to mention that the above didn’t happen as a continuous vision but was interspersed with the next dream sequence. My brain, seamlessly flicked between them, making the experience even more odd and hard to follow and interpret. Like a poorly edited low budget public access drama.
Now, here’s the second story, this one maybe even more of a weird concept. Hold on to your butts!
So, as I have said, myself and Sarah are in America on holiday- seems to be Philadelphia at first but NYC is mentioned so maybe a suburb there? Anyway, we were in a travel agents (it may have been a tourist office) quite worried and Sarah was quite distressed. We apparently had an illegal baby stroller with us for our baby, and we were told this was a federal offence! [Oh we had a baby too- but this was the normal bit even though we are still trying in real life!)…
So the situation seems that we were able to enter the country with this so called illegal item, which was just a normal, quite expensive looking pram, and somehow it was discovered, maybe upon our visit to this travel agents/ tourist info office, that it was a banned pram. Either way we were technically felons with an illegal wheeled child cradling device.
We are getting into it a little with the lady who was working there, saying this is insane and that no-one said anything and that it was a normal stroller. She tells me to google it and true enough there it is all over the web. I didn’t find out why it was an illegal stroller at any point which is annoying- make up a reason for yourselves.
The lady then says that we can purchase a new one from her and this issue will go away, which immediately makes me suspicious so I question this and she points down the street and says “its this or the Stroller PD will arrest you when they see that”, pointing at the stroller.
I scoff at the suggestion and she says, “go check”, and proceeds to give me a push scooter to set off on my surveillance outing.
Off I go, scooting up the road, and I just go straight up to the car window and ask the officer “Hi Sir, are you the local PD?”, he responds with a “no” and points down to his door panel, where it reads;
“Oh how unusual” I say, “May I have a picture? I’m a tourist”, he agrees and I take the most terrible selfie!
I was in shock and suddenly was back at the office, asking to buy a stroller, for the bargain price of $800 no less, saying to Sarah, “its all true!”. The woman takes the payment, removes the old pram into a store cupboard t and wheels out the new purchase which is identical with the exception of the brand name!
I make several comments on this but Sarah suggests we just leave as now we are covered and safe. I protest emphatically at the rip-off and leave- but with the original pram and an $800 refund!
Then we are left sneaking around the streets hiding from the police…
Then I woke up.
In the past week I have been talking at work about being a carer. I am at work part of the carers network, a group that supports fellow carers and shares info with the company. The story below was written to the D&I team to share mine and Sarah's story. Hope you find it interesting, and informative.
"My story is much like others' and maybe not as severe in part, but we are all on our own journey. I never considered myself a carer. Not until my wife and her nurse brought it up, at a hospital appointment and then I considered it, and thought well yes, I suppose that I am, but I am only doing what anyone would do for a loved one surely?
I still don't fully consider me being described as a carer a 'duty' but on the face of it I now acknowledge that firstly, not everyone is living this life that I consider the ‘norm’; and secondly, that not even those closest to me still fully realise the role I play and the effect it has on my persona and wellbeing.
Since being with my now wife, I was aware at every step that I was embarking on a different road with this relationship. One that would be so rewarding, as I loved her immensely and unconditionally, but also a road that would be fraught with new challenges and the possibility of grim outcomes further down the path we were now on.
My wife Sarah, has CF, Cystic Fibrosis. A life limiting, degenerative genetic illness, in which life expectancy is in most cases is dramatically reduced. On the face of it, looking at Sarah most days she shows no indications of anything awry (short of an occasional cough), however her lungs are scarred, has a vastly reduced lung capacity, and must battle regular infections. Her daily regime of tablets and nebulisers would scare most medical professionals not familiar with the disease.
We had been friends prior to becoming romantically involved, but lost contact. But one night, while out with friends we coalesced and that, as they say was that.
However, only the next day, there was a frank and all too real conversation to have. Sarah wanted to be open and honest with me about her illness, and what that could mean for our future if we committed to a relationship. Like for example how the average life expectancy was only 40- 42. I was 32 and she was 30 at this point. That was a difficult thought. Going into to a relationship this either isn’t considered or put off as a thought for old age, for the long distant future. However, I was not phased. Having an illness like Sarah has, means that she has no time for beating around the bush so wanted me to have all the answers and information from the get-go- so if I wished I could run for the hills, I could.
Needless to say, I didn't, and we have been inseparable ever since, buying a home, getting married (after I proposed after only six months) and now undergoing IVF to start a family (that is a whole other story). All of these things Sarah thought out of reach, or would never be an option due to her shortened time on this planet.
This moves me onto the carer side of our relationship. Sarah had never really opened up to previous partners and kept her illness private, for various reasons. But I was the first to see all aspects of her CF life. The daily grind to breath. To be 'normal'.
I have never been phased by any of this, but I have been tired. Exhausted even.
When preparing our new home there was extensive building work, I would go to work on a twelve hour shift, setting Sarah's meds out before leaving, preparing food on occasion, then working on the house for two or three hours before cooking and doing some house work- no time for me. This would repeat for weeks. Yes I had days off and we would make the most of them but when your partner has such a timetable of meds and is on oxygen, everything requires a plan.
I am happy to say that Sarah has improved vastly in the last two years, thanks to a new treatment, a modulator that helps treat the root cause of CF and the difference in her is dramatic. Although, we are aware she still has CF, still has that lung damage and also still has bad days although I am happy to say the majority are now good/ better days. I am content with my life, and would not have it any other way, despite how hard, and emotional it can sometimes be.
To care is to be selfless for that person you love. Forgoing thought for yourself. I am glad however, Sarah realises this, and treats me with the highest regard and shares so much love. We are a team, always balanced, I may support her physically, but she supports my mental wellbeing.
...We were meant to be together."
Exhausted. That is what I have been for a long time.
That kind of explains the gap in the blog posts (I did say not to expect a regular pattern though so a liar I am not!) but also that my job, podcast stuff (season 2 launch) and general life is all going on too.
Anyway. Why am I so tired, and so regularly?
Well, firstly, I have put on weight and my work role (and hobbies) are not particular about the movement. I really do need to rectify this, and soon. I think that doing something active and importantly, making it a habit, will perk me up and give me some energy- and enable my clothes to fit better or at all as I have outgrown some. That in itself mentally will help as I am a bit miffed that I have regressed to chunky Steve as I did so well in slimming down. The problem is, like JB says in the School of Rock, “…I like to eat!”.
Secondly, I am constantly learning new information, processes, being on meetings in my most recent role and this has taken its toll. The railway is a great industry, and you can quite literally learn something new everyday. However, I have never experienced a learning curve like the one that I am going through right now. It’s fun and benefitting my knowledge base, but sheesh, am I wiped out from it.
Thirdly, over the last three years (yes since COVID) my holidays from work have been sporadic. No large chunks of time of, and no leaving the UK (I don’t count going to Northern Ireland to see my mum). It’s been my choice to take the leave the way I did as I didn’t wish to take large chunks of leave and come back to loads of work… this is not good. My previous role was a tough one, on call, and managing 30+ staff. What I never considered was that if I snuffed it tomorrow, I am replaceable (sad as I may feel about that), maybe not immediately but lets face it, the rail network would keep ticking on quite nicely.
Lastly, my brain. As I have said previously on the Podcast. I have been ever more convinced over the past 12-14 months that I may be on the spectrum or have ADHD- or both. Since this realisation I have been analysing my actions both in the present but also from my past. This has been hard.
Was I always being me? Was that the right decision? Why couldn’t I do that? Who am I? (Maybe the who am I? One is a bit dramatic) I know I was masking but not always and I felt less anxious when I was just being me. I am not trying to make this blog entry a pity party, but this new truth has sometimes made my eyes leak when I think about about how my brain first reacts to some information- I was definitely burying and ignoring that fact and by not admitting to it, I have found that now I am pulling the curtain to one side and showing this stage right of my brain, I have genuinely been elated or extremely sad and confused by the way my brains thinks. It is a strange era in my life that I know I will get through and be better for it- despite my moans grumblings about life, I am as ever a positive person internally. I find I am interested in where I am going now, but also, at the same time, in the interim at least, it is restrictive.
So, add all these elements together you get a pretty strung out Stephen, trying to stay frosty.
But I am still here and I am not depressed or in despair (to reassure you), just growing and trying to make sense of it all.
Making my old brain, adapt to the new brain and find a sense of structure, and most all being (when I can bear it) compassionate to myself.
Which, may be the hardest thing in life I try to do.
Well, I was about to start with the sentence, “I wasn’t expecting to write a second entry so quickly following entry One. Look at me go!” But then I realised it had been a little longer than I thought!
But the subject that I wanted to touch upon is the same nonetheless- and that is my Podcast from Sunday 11th December, which was about living alone, vs living with someone- in my case my wife.
In the episode- not many spoilers honest- I basically say that I like a bit of both, and that may seem like fence fitting but I think humans in general are social, but do need that time alone, to reflect and to reenergise for lack of a better word.
I have always enjoyed other peoples company and sometimes the company of strangers too. I am a natural entertainer when the moment requires it, and I don’t mind being that person, especially if it is putting people at ease, or to get the party started (I will normally volunteer to be the first person on the dance floor at a party to encourage others-I have done this too many times to recount). I hope this side of me comes out on the Podcast, I am trying to include some of this flare into the episodes - I would hate to appear monotone. It’s surprisingly hard without an audience I can see to play off of!
But I also just love, being in my own company doing something that I love. But just like entertainer Steve, I can also only cope with this for a certain amount of time. Unless I fall down the rabbit hole, which sometimes happens too. So the best balance is to have company to hand if I need it. THIS is the balance I think me and Sarah have. From the start of our relationship we have been independent. Allowing each other space and not imposing or complaining if the other needs their time. We each have our own rooms in the house. My cave. Her Yoga room.
The only problem with me when I am with someone, and I can’t really recall if it was the case for other relationships as an adult in my own space (own home I mean) I feel incredibly guilty doing my own thing when Sarah is in the vicinity. Even down to doing the DIY jobs. I feel like I shouldn’t be ‘suiting myself’, and with the house jobs, I just prefer her not to be in the house full stop, or better still leave me to my own devices for a few days.
It’s an odd way to be, and I have tried my utmost to shake off the feeling, but alas rarely I succeed. So, I am just trying to understand and identify triggers.
Am I more eloquent in written form? - believe me no more thought goes into this, than my Podcast!… but I feel like I am…
When I was a bachelor of the highest order, I could choose everything in my life, minus my working hours, but even they, at the time, were regimented and ran in a pattern.
When to eat, sleep, stay in, go out, watch a film, play guitar, have a bath, tidy, do the dishes- or not! Everything on my terms, my timings, my feeling, and being completely selfish. Now I am not, or was I then a selfish person, just lived my life differently, with only me to cater for- but that freedom of self does make a difference.
Mentally I was freer, but personally not happy. I needed a Sarah in my life! I was straying from differing relationships but never settled or finding that special one. But now, I would like a guilt free slither of the free life above, which Sarah grants me, but that I feel the guilt for. It’s a bizarre turn of events.
I hope I don’t sound like I wish to live alone once more, as that is definitely not the intention. Living alone for me was hell if truth be told. In those moments of focus, and creativeness I loved it. But I was alone. When I wanted human contact, it wasn’t easily found. Like most things with me I spin from extremes going from wishing to be alone- and being angry about the thought of human contact, to within minutes, wishing to be in a crowd or be with someone laughing and joking. This is still the case.
What changed in to make me feel this? Maybe the guilt I feel isn’t for not spending the time with Sarah but maybe for the wasted time in my single 12 year bachelor life.
I have little to show for it other than stuff I accumulated. I was in a prime position to compose and record my music, but only dabbled. To travel with no strings, but didn’t as I spent my holidays visiting relatives and friends or jumping on my motorbike (not that these are not valid and a good use of my time- it’s just I always settled for the easy route). But to contradict this, I did stuff, and I am the sort of person that believes in the road that you take is the right one at the time. Hindsight is a wonderful thing as they say.
The more I analyse Stephen, I do think that my personality and persona played more of a role than my brain has lead me to believe, thinking I was making decisions based on choice, when in fact some or most of my decisions, were based on a hard wired anxious driven logic, or carnal need for a quick fix, or feeling of familiarity.
This blog has taken a turn!
Anyway, what am I getting at? Well simply put, I haven’t got a clue! Well, not completely, I think its a comfort zone thing. When I feel guilty, that’s on me, Sarah isn’t projecting that emotion, or saying I am abandoning her, it is me- restricting me. I do this self sabotage regularly (don’t start me on the imposter syndrome that I have) and I did this when I was single and lived alone too. But at least it was on me and my terms. When I cannot decide what to do the anxiety kicks in and then it is easier and self soothing to do nothing or to repeat the familiar and therefore achieve nothing but the feeling of temporary calm. Until you acknowledge the thing you had to avoid. On another day this task won’t phase me at all and it will be accomplished without drama.
In fact thinking of it, when I lived alone I conducted myself in a kind of reward scheme, If I did something I didn’t want to do, I got a prize. For example, do washing or another menial chore, I got to watch some tv for an hour (maybe an episode to two of my favourite show at the time). Do seem DIY, reward with motorcycle ride to a coffee shop.
Maybe I should restart this Stephen based reward system?
You would quite possibly think that with talking to you [incessantly] for about 40-45 minutes per week I wouldn’t have much more to say. But boy, would you be incorrect on that fact. [Think how my wife feels]
You see, the way my brain seems to function is that information arrives as quickly as it can also depart. In short- by the time I have thought of my next thought it is gone. Lost forever, or until I am in bed awake at 3am. This isn’t a constant occurrence, but I didn’t think my speech flowed on the podcast as it does in real life. I am more random and I have someone to entertain so to speak. I realised in finishing season one and starting season 2, that I am finding it hard to speak to no-one, so going forward I think I will use my awesome imagination to imagine I am talking to a friend or Sarah. I think you can tell the episodes, or parts of episodes when I relax a bit more in to it. This is supposed to be fun, and this is the reason I have gone for the “don’t give a f**k” kind of works ethic. I obviously do, but if I aimed for perfection I would go from the no edit principle to seeking a perfect tone, subjects, transitions and everything else. So this view of just do it and tweet where you can plays well to my perfectionist side as my logic part of my brain knows I am meeting my own brief and expectations, so anything beyond that is above and beyond, and so I can say to myself “well done Steve”. Does that make sense? Am I barking mad!?
I have said in previous episodes that my brain often eludes me in its working and I am- surprisingly, at the grand age of 39, beginning to realise why I am the way I am.
So why the Blog as well as the verbal ‘prattle’? Well, I like to write and thought I could articulate in a different way here. When I talk my thoughts are rapid. But sat here, in cafe Nero, I am methodical in my thoughts as the typing slows my brain. Do I forget points still, well yes I am still using the same brain but I think I get in a zone as ‘they’ say, and it really helps.
I think you may see another side to my Speak, in this, here blog. Well that is what I’m hoping for.
By just venturing out to sit and have my free coffee (I have italicised the word free here, in case, you wondered, because like most coffee house and their schemes you have to spend about £50 to gain this freebie. More of a bonus round coffee I suspect! Even when writing I can digress- hoorah!), I saw a chap wearing a Philadelphia Eagles cap. The Philadelphia Eagles are an American Football team, and in fact the one I support.
Now I thought about talking to him, but instantly recalled several previous local encounters with potential Eagles fans which ended badly. In brief I would, in the first example at least shout “Go Birds!” Or “Fly Eagles Fly” pretty much in their faces, much to their confusion and when I would point out their like minded apparel they would not have a clue, and say ‘I just liked the design’. So, you can understand my reservations.
Anyway, I rarely shy away so in the most reserved Eagles fan to [potential] Eagles fan I just asked, while pointing to his cap, are you an fan? To which he replied to my absolute delight. ‘Yes I am! Go Birds!’.
I didn’t wish to disturb his coffee to much so I refrained from getting too excited but it is a strange thing to get so excited from, but I was. I am close to my home town and here is an Eagles fan! He went on to say that he had lived in Philly and while there became a fan- probably a good idea knowing the sports town that Philly is. I told him that I was jealous of him. In my mind I quickly recalled my trip that was, seven years ago I think. I fell in love. With no point of reference to many other world cities [that needs rectifying), and never having visited any other American city, Philly is my favourite!
I got my laptop out to start writing this very blog and I mentioned my Podcast to him and that I was going to do an Eagles episode if he wished to take part, so maybe we will hear his full story along with mine?
The one thing I regret from this short meeting meeting, which I am sure he picked up on, was that I didn’t reply with an Eagles chant or repeat ‘Go Birds!’ Back at him when he said it, something which in Philly would get your fandom questioned and a possible violent chanting blasted in your direction. Rookie mistake. Forgive me Eagles community, I do bleed green, I was just excited to meet a fellow local Eagles fan. I’m weird.