Category Archives: mental health

Finding My Inner Garden Witch and Greenthumb

I have been inspired!

A month ago one of my closest friends gave me two seedlings. Now, I have a bad history with plants, I’ve failed to keep cacti alive. With the exception of two houseplants that have somehow survived long periods of drought and over watering, I seem to kill all houseplants.

But I have discovered my inner garden witch!

My friend, the Badass Boss of Alternative Process Therapies gave me an Aloe and a Spider Plant and not only are they still alive but they are THRIVING!! I feel like Mother Nature.

With age comes wisdom and at 36 years old I think I’ve finally learned a little temperance. I’ve learned to leave my plants alone and not over water them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote “The simple perception of natural forms is a delight”. He was talking about beauty but I also think it applies to nature itself.

I get so much joy from watering my plants and if that wasn’t enough, I had some shoots pop up so I learned a little about propagation (the breeding of specimens of a plant). It’s been really interesting learning how best to take new shoots and repot them. I also love learning about what kind of plants I have. There are so many different kinds of succulents and exotic houseplants, the stranger they look, the more I like them.

Succulents and cacti are always popular plants but they’ve experienced a real boost in popularity lately, so chances are you already have one..but do you know how to care for it?
There’s some excellent advice about succulents on the Royal Horticultural Society website and I’ve made a new Pinterest board called How Does Your Garden Grow? It’s full of tips and advice for houseplants – go take a look!

These tiny cacti were £1 each from Wilko – bargain!

I had cacti years ago but they died, so this time around I decided to actually learn about how to care for them properly. I learned that a lot of plants benefit from being watered from the bottom. And this is a particularly good way to water succulents, which includes catci. Simply place the potted cactus in a saucer filled with a few inches of water and leave it in the saucer for about 20-30 minutes. This method of watering ensures that all of the soil, not just the edges are fully moistened. (It’s best to let the soil to dry out between waterings.)

I’ve been so inspired and it was so unexpected. I find watering the plants really relaxing and, in a weird way, it feels like giving back to nature. Taking cuttings from the spider plants and getting my hands in the soil gives me a little connection to nature.

I’ve been using caring for my houseplants as part of my self care routine. It’s calming, it focuses my mind and for whatever reason it just makes me happy. Just like watching the birds eat the seeds I put out for them. It brings me joy. A simple but totally fulfilling joy.

Taking a cutting, watching its roots grow daily and then potting it and watching it floruish is something of a soul nourishing experience. As I nurture my plants, I’m nurturing a part of me that clearly needed attention. I just didn’t know it until I was given a gift, and that gift just keeps giving. I am so grateful for that gift.
Funnily enough my bird feeders were a gift from my other closest friend.

What’s inspired you lately? Are you obsessed with houseplants? Do you have a black thumb history of killing plants?

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Moxie McMurder
The Badass Manifesto

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One Thing I’ve Totally Failed At

I wrote this blog post about saying sorry, promising that it was a habit I was going to get out of in 2017.  I have utterly failed. 

That’s OK of course, failure is just a stepping stone, not a destination. I’m aware that I’ve failed so I’m going to try harder.

It’s such an irritating trait, I hate that my default is ‘sorry’. That little voice that says you’re in the way or in the wrong and that it’s you who should apologise to the stranger that bumped into you – it’s got to stop! It’s so automatic I don’t think twice about saying it.

By saying sorry you’re accepting blame that isn’t there. You’re also sending a strong message that can justify people treating you like a doormat. Over-apologizing creates a needless sense of guilt and lowers your self esteem. It makes you submissive. There are already so many external influences that can lower our self esteem why should we be doing to ourselves too?

So, I’m going to try harder. I’m going to be more aware of the situation I’m in and train my brain to say something else or to -shock horror – say nothing at all.

Moxie McMurder 

The Badass Manifesto 

What’s in a Name? 

Names are a funny thing. Ever introduced yourself to someone who immediately shortens your name? This happens to me regularly and it’s so annoying. Why do people do that? 

My name is Moxie McMurder, it was my roller derby name and I’ve stuck with it. 

It’s unique and it catches people’s eye, I can’t tell you how many opportunities have come my way purely from people being interested in the woman behind the name! I’m proud of my name and what I’ve accomplished with that name. 

Me wearing skates to work for Sport Relief back in 2012

Everything I write goes under this name and recently someone I was considering working with on a project with, questioned my name. He asked if I would consider using a different pseudonym or being published anonymously. 

I’ll be honest, his reaction spun me out. Was this the Fraud Police knocking on my door? Did this mean no one would ever take me seriously with a name like mine?

I explained that I use the name Moxie McMurder for everything I publish but he kept on, heavily implying that my name was not something he wanted to be associated with. Perhaps he felt it was childish or unprofessional, I’m not sure but all I kept thinking was, ITS MY NAME!

I ended up pulling out of the project because I felt so uncomfortable. My anxiety spiked, I was annoyed and suddenly I was having an identity crisis. It was all so unexpected. 

I remember putting my phone down, having a total wig out, talking it through with a couple of close friends, then going to bed. I lay there going over and over the conversation. Thankfully a couple of other people in the conversation complimented my name and because they work in the same field as this guy it helped validate me. Sad but true. 

Whenever I feel insecure about my chosen pseudonym I tell myself that if Diablo Cody can win an Oscar. I can be a writer called Moxie McMurder.

Looking back do I regret backing out of the project? No. Did I overreact? Maybe. My sense of self shouldn’t be knocked so badly by one guy’s comments. But I’m glad I didn’t allow myself to be talked into something I wasn’t comfortable with. 

That’s something worth celebrating. 

Moxie McMurder 

The Badass Manifesto

Insomnia Is Kicking My Ass

I’m a long time sufferer of insomnia, some of my earliest memories are of struggling to sleep, you think I’d be used to it and mostly I am. It tends to come and go and usually it’s just a struggle to fall asleep, once I am asleep, I’m good. But lately that’s changed.

Over the last 2 months I’ve either fallen asleep for a few hours and then I wake up and can’t get back to sleep or I’m just awake all night. Luckily because I work from home, I can make up the sleep but at the moment I’m staying awake all night then all day hoping it’ll tire me out – it doesn’t always work. 

Insomnia is so frustrating, it’s reduced me to tears many times. I know what triggered it but I don’t know why it’s continued for so long. Also, I’m annoyed that the thing that triggered it bothered me at all. (More on this in another post coming soon.)

Pain plays a part in this too. My back problems (2 protruding discs, one of which is trapping a nerve and degenerative disc disease) have been getting worse. I’m due for another MRI but who knows how long that will take.

Not being able to sleep because of pain is probably worse than my insomnia because with normal insomnia I can read or watch a film until I’m tired. When I’m in pain, it’s hard to take my mind off it, I try to read but I can’t get comfortable. I try to watch something but I can’t concentrate on anything. 

All this uneven sleep is playing havoc with my mental health. I’m feeling down more often and more unsure of myself. I really hope this passes and I go back to having a somewhat nocturnal but normal sleeping pattern soon.

Sweet Screams, 

Moxie McMurder

The Badass Manifesto

What Living With Chronic Pain Has Taught Me

I’ve been living with chronic pain for 5 years. Chronic pain is defined as pain that continues longer than 3 months. 3 MONTHS! My Kingdom for only 3 months of pain.

So, what have it learned about myself through experiencing chronic pain? Well, I’m stubborn – but I’m sure you’ve guessed that by now. But I never quite realised how resilient I am and how despite the way pain impacts my life, in some ways it hasn’t stopped me at all. It has only forced me to think outside the box.

It’s also taught me that my friends and family are solid gold. Their support, patience and encouragement means so much to me. They love me and believe in me and I make sure they know how much I love them. 

I’m also grateful for my sense of humour. Despite the day in day out discomfort and pain, I laugh a lot..which doesn’t help when your back is in spasm and it hurts to breathe let alone laugh! Being able to laugh even your life feels like it’s on pause is of great benefit. 

I have also learned that I am not interested in unsolicited medical advice from anyone who isn’t a doctor. If you have an illness or disability I’m sure you’re all too familiar with the often well meaning but truly irritating experience of having someone explain your illness back to you or worse, suggest a course of treatment.

Over the past 5 years, I think I’ve heard it all and I’m just not interested in hearing unsolicited advice. Especially when it comes to wafty nonsense like acupuncture.

One lesson I keep refusing to learn is that I am not in control – my pain is. I have a lot of back problems and it stops me from doing so much and it’s really upsetting. I went from having a seriously active life to a severely sedentary one. I miss being active but I miss my social life more. I used to go to gigs all the time, I’d go to BBQ’s and events, hang out with friends the usual stuff but now I’m pretty much a hermit. My back is in control, not me. It dictates where I can go and for how long and I fight it all the time.

These changes to my life had a knock on effect on my mental health too. Something I plan to write about more in another post.

Chronic pain can isolate you, make you feel alone and misunderstood but please know you are definitely not alone. Search the hashtag #chronicpain and #spoonie on Twitter to find a huge community of people who really do understand what it’s like to live with pain and discomfort every day.

I’m still learning, still fighting and I’m grateful for the love and support I have. You have that same support in me. I got you. You got you. ‘Cos you’re a Badass!

Moxie McMurder

The Badass Manifesto