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Sixpence

Sixpence -Sandra Pollock

I’m really excited to share with you news of my latest publication.

Sixpence is a series of short stories through which I share some of my experiences of living with an abusive parent.

A difficult thing for many adults to open us about, but the truth is many children still suffer in abusive home environments today.

Statics from the NSPCC tell us that around Over 51,000 children in England were identified as needing protection from abuse in 2017.  Having lived through the horrors of this, I believe that sharing my story as an adult might help raise the issue, support the look at its causes and bring about a small change for even one child.

Our past is our past.  We should not be ashamed for afraid of sharing it.  Doing so will show others that they are not alone.

‘I loved and hated the stories in Sixpence at the same time as it dragged me back kicking and screaming to the mind games that many children of migrants played struggling to balance issues in the home (poverty, lack of wider familial network, old-fashioned ideas and punishments) with plain old racism outside of it.’  Sonia Thompson

Copies are available here at SanRoo Publishing and retail at just £3.00 each plus postage.  To get your copy mail: editor.sanroopublishing@gmail.com

This pamphlet was written and published as part of my MA in Creative Writing which I am currently undertaking at the University of Leicester this year.  I am due to complete this course of study later in September.

 

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Listening to the Messages Life Sends

imagesTrue reality (your true reality) can sometimes be so bombarded by the irrelevant, the distractions, the time stealers, the detractors, that you lose track of what it is, for you.
Sometimes it takes a life moment, an occasion or event that happens, to remind you how fragile life is, to help you remember what’s really important.
We all have them. We all need to have these moments, occasions.
The blessing is being able to recognise and act on them when they are just a little nudge and not a great tsunami of life.

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Finalist – The PRECIOUS Awards

finalist2016

I am extremely honoured to be a Finalist in the 2016 PRECIOUS Awards in the category of Women of the Year in Professional Services.

Sandra PollockThe PRECIOUS Awards recognise the work of women of colour across many sectors in the UK.

I will keep you posted on the results, but to be a Finalist in this category is pretty awesome.  Thanks to those who have been so kind as to put me forward in the nominations.

 

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Self-Worth

Self-worth .jpgOne of the most difficult things to maintain when running your own business is your self-worth.  The level of competition to get business and make money can make people make choices that adversely impacts on their self-worth.

It is so easy to allow the insecurities of others to influence your self-value.   I have always held people at their word and when at times for whatever reason, change happens, I am happy to adjust my expectations to continue to work along with them.  However, that does not mean to the point where my self-worth is damaged.  Being true to who I am inside is what brings me inner happiness and peace and this will always be my measuring stick for anything I do or anyone I work with. I am clear about my own values. I know who I am.

If you cannot be honest with myself, that is your issue, but allowing you to be dishonest Self-worth 4.jpgwith me, when I am clearly aware of it, is my issue.  If you choose to treat yourself or other unfairly, that is both your and their issue.  To knowingly allow you to do the same to me, is my issue.  It is at this point that the power is with me to accept your inappropriate treatment or not.  I choose not, every time.

Self worth and net worth are not the same.  Rick Warren.

As we run our businesses and progress in our careers, we need to know our own value, be clear about our self-worth, and not lower these for anyone.  The right customers exist out there for you, who want exactly what you have to offer, value it and you enough to pay you fairly for it and treat you respectfully as you work together.

Hold firm and believe in yourself.  Self-worth is not only about money although that is a part of why we’re in business.  Self-worth is also about respect, honesty, self-value.   It’s about knowing what contribution you bring to the world just by being here.   Self-worth is not based on what others think of you or say about you, it’s about what you think and says about yourself.  It’s about who you are and what you stand for.  It’s not about what you are.  What you are may well change and you go through your life. Sometimes it’s high, sometimes it low.  But who you are is built and developed within and you alone.

self-worth 2.jpgMany people devalue themselves in business so that they can make more money or get people to like them.  This measure of self-worth is based externally: on the opinion of others, something fickle and very changing.  People that make this choice may make more money for a short time, but they ultimately may not like themselves or what they become.  And the truth of who they really are, they’re insecurities and will soon show at the surface and in all they do.  These people pay such a high price to impress those who will also fall by the wayside in their hour of need.  This path leads you to a total disconnect with who you really are.

Self worth 3.jpgRunning a business, like any other activity we may embark upon in our lives is just another avenue for us to learn who we are inside and develop that.  To realise that we have much to offer without having to compromise our truth, sell ourselves short or devalue our uniqueness just to please others.

Self-worth is who you are.  Do you know who you are? Are you prepared to hold on to it in the face of the pressures to be less?

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In The Face of Turmoil

imagesThis morning we all reading about yet another terrible attack of violence, this time in Nice, France.  It is easy to feel a sense of frustration, heightened fear, loss, and helplessness,not knowing what you as an individual can do, or feeling that the world is becoming a place of far greater danger and hatred.

Unfortunately, there has always been violence and terror but it is much easier for more of us to find out about it now due to social media, technology, and our global connectivity to each other.

This connectivity does not make it any less difficult for us to deal with.  The apparent increasing frequency of these happenings can for some people, however, increase the sense of fatigue many people feel at seeing these types of things day after day.  One can even feel the fear of feeling the fatigue of it because none of us ever want to get to the point of where we feel it’s okay to ignore the suffering or death of others.  This would hinder our sense of humanity and oneness.

So what can we do?

I believe we should all make a conscious effort to realise and believe the following points:

  1. That there are far more good people in the world doing good things than those who would want to proliferate evil.  This is true.  It is just that the actions of the millions of good people do not make for sensational news stories in the eyes of those profiting from the media.  This acknowledgment is not to make the terrible actions we hear about each day less terrible, it a means to balance our mental state and belief in humankind.
  2. Understand the motivation the those who carry out such atrocities is to create fear, confusion, frustration and hatred so that they can force their ideas on others whilst people are in the state of confusion and fear (when you guard of good is temporarily down).
  3. Maya Angelou wrote that words are things, but I believe that thoughts are also things and that even in our thoughts we are creating.  So if thoughts are things, the more time we spend thinking hateful, vengeful thoughts, the more we are assisting in creating more of what we do not want.  If thoughts are things, we should spend more time giving out thoughts of a more peaceful, harmonious and supportive world, thereby working to create what we really all really want to see and achieve
  4. Then if words are things, I’d like to remind us our Maya Angelou’s words on this…

Maya Angelou

“Words are things.  You must be careful, careful about calling people out of their names, using racial pejoratives and sexual pejoratives and all that ignorance.  Don’t do that.  Someday we’ll be able to measure the power of words.  I think they are things.  They get on the walls.  They get in your wallpaper.  They get in your rugs, in your upholstery, and your clothes, and finally into you.”

5. There are many things that we can do to change the world we live in:

  • Help those who are suffering, even if it is in a small way, like giving to the poor (money, physical help, listening, sharing what we have, etc.)
  • Pray for those who are suffering and even those who may have caused it. Someone must be in a terrible internal mental and emotional state within themselves to carry out such atrocities.  We all know that no human being in their right mind would do such things if they were being, feeling, thinking or experiencing their best self.  It does not matter what excuse they use to justify such actions, be it religion or hatred, racism or anything else.  Are actions are indicative of our internal state.  Mankind at our highest and best self is a state of love, harmony, peacefulness, and kindness.

6. Don’t allow fear to create hatred within you. We are all one human race and where we hurt others or hate others, we only hurt and hate ourselves.

I am a positive person and like to keep a higher belief about myself and the world and what we can achieve together in my thoughts.  Therefore, I do my best to spend as little time reading the news as I can.  There was a time when I would have had to listen to or watch almost every news bulletin, and would be particularly annoyed if I missed the 6pm and 10pm news on the TV each evening.

However, I realised that this was not bringing the results of a peaceful, loving or positive state within myself that I wanted because the only news that would be recorded and presented was bad news.  So I now limit my intake of news from the media.  I’m not in a cocoon, unaware of what’s happening in the world around me, but I’m more in control of the impact of the media on my everyday mental state.  Getting myself wound up and full of hatred against the perpetrators will not change what they have decided to do.  I am better placed supporting those who suffer and helping others not to become filled with hatred by living a life indicative of love for all mankind.

One does not gain peace of mind from shrinking away from the world or the horrific or unpleasant things going on it, and this is not what I am promoting, but one can gain inner peace, even in this changing world by taking responsibility for what one allows into one’s heart and mind, whilst still being able to be real, connected and able to see and be the love in the world that is needed in our individually unique way, because this is really what I means to be human.

Let hope, love, and belief in the very best of the human race be what we hold on to each day.  The odds are not against this being the outcome when you look at the number of those living a more human, peaceful, loving existence.

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It happened and You don’t like it

disappointmentWhat do you do when things happen in your life that you’re not happy about?

Well although this is part of life, you know, things happening that you don’t like.  We never seem to be able to get used to it.

This week I found myself in a situation like this.  Basically, something was agreed, we started on the path towards making it happen and someone got cold feet.  Funnily enough, this same thing happened this individual a few months ago and I was the person who helped them out.  Actually, I am still absolutely happy that I did and have not had a second thought about that at all.

However, to be let down is hardly ever leaves you with a good feeling or experience.   So what do you do about it?  It’s very easy to want to retaliate.  You want to remind the individual of how many times you’ve been there for them.  You may want to share your disappointment and all of the other emotions that you may be experiencing at the time.

And when you hear the news it can be quite hard to even want to listen to anything else the individual has to say, because you are in the place of shock and still trying to process your own emotional state.  It’s a hard place to be in, but know that it’s just temporary.

I having experienced this just recently I thought I’d share how I got through it, in the hope that my experience may help you if you find yourself in a similar space.

Thoughts that helped me through this type of thing:The road

  1. Think about the longer term and not just this moment

The hardest thing to do at that point in time is to think about the longer term and what you really want to achieve out of the relationship, depending that what type of relationship it is that you have with the individual in question, in the longer term.

Even if you don’t have a long-term relationship or you don’t wish to have one going forward, it is still important that you manage your emotional state.  I’m not saying it’s easy, but to say or do something that you might later regret or that might cause you problems in the future is not worth the brief moment of anger or frustration you might be feeling right now.

Lashing out in anger or frustration, even if  you feel you are justified will have a negative impact on your own longer term self-esteem, on a personal level, and your professionalism in your career or business front.  And besides you may well find some information out later that puts a completely different spin on things.  You really don’t know at this point.

It’s better to:

  • Hold your tongue and
  • Try to remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible, so that you can allow yourself time to reflect on what you’ve just been told and how you can move forward.

2. Belief in the best outcome

Best outcome

I sincerely believe that everything happens for a reason, and everything works out for the better in the longer term, even though you might not be able to see it at this moment in time.

This is the belief I hold on to and this belief helps me manage my emotions: the disappointment, sometimes the hurt and frustration that a change in someone else’s plans has brought my way.

We are all free to make different choices all the time, and at any time.  If someone else were to try to stop you making a change in a previous decision, let’s be real, you would not like that at all.  My freedom is something that is of paramount importance to me and the freedom to make my own decisions and to change my mind is a big part of that.  So with that in mind, I guess I need to extend the same opportunity for free-will to others as I’d expect to be given.

Another thing I have to accept that we both have the right to use the option of free-will whenever we feel the need.  It just so happens that the other person, in this situation has chosen to use it this time.  Be flexible with them and with yourself, if it might be a little disruption in the interim.

  1. A different path does not mean they hate you

People still wish you well even when they cannot or are not able to walk the same path as you on a particular thing.  Mature relationships are those where people are able to see things different and accept the differences, yet continue to build a strong relationship.

Yes, I will admit there are questions of trust, reliability and strength of character that may well be raised by this new situation, but if this is the first time this has happened in this relationship, then I’d say, it is likely to be too soon to consider the individual untrustworthy.  You may find things out at a later date that might change that, but you are not there yet, just deal with what you have before you now.

It’s easy to interpret a no as a rejection of you, but 99% of the time, particularly when dealing with friends, who have been there with you in the past, a different decision does not mean that they have changed how they feel or think about you.

There could be a million reasons why someone has changed their mind, and as stated previously, we change our minds frequently as well, so it’s important that we get a grip and not take it personally.

Let it go

  1. Let it go

Find a way to let it go as quickly as possible.  Now I know that this may not always be easy and that it may take some time, but if you keep reminding yourself of the decisions you’ve made on the previous points, these can help you to begin to let it go.  It’s just one thing, it’s not the end of the world, no matter how you feel about it just now.

Life is miraculous, surprising and an amazing journey. We can never work out how it will go for us.  This change in plans and paths may very well turn out to be a life-changing blessing.  If you hold on to that thought: the possibility of miracles around the corner, you may very well find one even in this.

Conclusion

When I reflect on my life I can truly say that some of the most disappointing times (or so I thought) turned out to be situations that opened the door for the greater achievement of my personal dreams, ambitions and success.  And in fact, should those people who I thought were letting me down or disappointing me then appear now, I would probably say a big thank you to them.

Even they may not have realised that what they were doing at the time was stepping aside and allowing me to become who I am today, as I look back I realise that is exactly what they were doing.  Allowing me to make decisions and do things for myself that, had they been there, I probably might never have done, learnt or achieved.

So look ahead because this is an opportunity for you do achieve a different, better and even more amazing outcome.  You just can’t see it yet, but I guarantee, it’s there waiting for you to get your mindset right and your walking shoes on.  Good luck.

 

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My Journey Down The Stairs

for awesome

Let me tell you about my journey down the stairs.  Friday evening at the end of a lovely day’s work.  Hubby pops out to get some takeaway, which is great on a Friday night – no cooking.  This means that I can just begin to relax and get ready for a long, hopefully, sunny, warm weekend.

Takeaway arrives, and I walk the short distance from my home office to the top of the stairs.  I then realise that I’d not picked up my cardigan, so I quickly turn around and snatch it off the chair and proceed to start moving down the stairs.

I must admit that I was thinking about whether or not to put the cardigan on before I got downstairs as I might be cold sitting next to the open door at my seat at the dining table. So I started my way down the stairs, with mobile phone and cardigan in hand, and mind not on the task at hand.

Somehow as I put my left foot down, I managed to twist it over on its side and lost my balance.  I managed to prevent myself falling forward, which would have been awful, and found myself sliding at some speed from step one all the way down to the final step.  I could see myself moving forward, but there was nothing I would do.  Though I tried to stop myself going, I couldn’t.

As I look ahead of me, still moving quickly downward, I realised that the front had been left open and the thin side of the door was positioned so that it was angled straight at the stairs.  If I was unfortunate enough to be flipped forward, I could end up not only with a damaged foot from which I could already feel excruciating pain but probably a cracked skull as well.  That prospect did not look pleasant at all.

I continued to do my bit for a title in the world championship in bottom skiing

As I continued to do my bit for a title in the world championship in bottom skiing, I tried my best to reach out to grab the bannister, whilst moving myself out of the line of the thin angle of the door.  I know, even in this predicament, I was still trying to more than one thing at the same time.  Fortunately for me,  my ample bottom managed to stop the downward momentum and forward motion just in time.

Well, all of this commotion brought the whole family to the scene, including dogs, cats, daughter, and husband.  I’ll save you the rest of the story, but after some persuasion and the fact that when I tried to move my three smaller toes, the bones didn’t feel like they were putting themselves in the right places, I decided to get my husband to take to the hospital.  I didn’t think I’d broken my foot, but I did not want to take the chance, ignore it and have my bones heal incorrectly if I had.

IMG_0942In just under three hours, we were returning home with a confirmation that I indeed hand not broken my foot but had severely bruised the insides which had resulted in bruising and swelling of the foot.  Considering the pain, I’m glad I had not broken anything.

Thanks to all the doctors and nurses in A & E and Xray at the Leicester Royal Infirmary.

I’m so grateful I’ve not broken any bones.  I know it could have been so much worse and glad it is not.

However, whilst sitting and waiting around at the hospital for my turn to been seen, I decided to record my thoughts on the incident  as a method of helping me not focus on the throbbing pain that would occasionally bring tears to my eyes.

And yes, I took along my little black book of everything.  A notebook I take with me everywhere so that I can record my thoughts to things and situations as they happen.

So as I was reflecting on my painful condition, I wrote this poem.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Note To Self – When Walking Down The Stairs

When walking down the stairs,

Try to use the soul of your feet and not the side.

When walking down the stairs,

Try to concentrate on doing one thing at a time,

Like, just walking down the stairs!

And not putting on your cardigan, 

Whilst holding your mobile phone

And trying to put it into your pocket

All at the same time, whilst walking down the stairs.

When walking down the stairs,

Try to realise that this is a serious matter

That needs a high level of concentration.

When walking down the stairs,

Remember that gravity tends to pull you downwards,

And once the momentum of a downward pull has started,

It is quite difficult to stop it.

When walking down the stairs,

Even when at home,

Lack of care and attention to one’s own body parts,

Can easily mean you end up breaking something,

Like the bones in your foot.

©  2016 Sandra Pollock

Be careful out there, walking down the stairs required more concentration if you are a young child or maybe someone getting a little older.  I’m not saying which category I fit into, there are times when I’m both.