A “Grade A” Place

July 6, 2010

Would you think I’m awfully proud if I called Amanda’s Patch a “Grade A” place?

I can tell you now that I do not mean it in the usual sense of the word, although I would like to think that some of my readers might rank Amanda’s Patch up there, deserving of an ‘A’ once in a while! But the ‘A‘ stands for much more…

homemade soup - hearty and affordable
homemade soup – hearty and affordable

It stands for “affordable” and how I am trying to create the reality of my dreams at an affordable price. And I don’t only mean in terms of finances, although they do play a big part. With coming out of work I essentially cut our teeny, weeny budget down by more than half – scary stuff, and it means that budgeting will continue to be one of the most important skills that I possess. Yes, Amanda’s Patch is about being affordable in the financial sense of the word, of course it is, but there are other ways that it is affordable.

Time, for instance. Time is a funny thing – I never seem to have enough of it, and even now that I am at home rather than going out to work, my time seems to be filled with all manner of other things, like trying to make a mark for myself and Amanda’s Patch, and going back to basics to make more of my own things instead of relying on the convenience of popping down the shops to buy what I think I need.

Amanda and Tim - The Family Patch
I often end up being “propped up” by Tim having over-estimated my energy levels

And then there’s energy… I expected to have quite a bit more energy by now, having been out of work for 3 months already, but it is a slow process. Anyone with a chronic illness will be able to tell you how exhausting it is to regularly have something draining away your energy resources – I might not have the flu or a cold or stomach bug each day, but my body does suffer from cramps if I eat the wrong thing or over exert myself in ways that wouldn’t bother another person, and my hormones rage havoc with my sleeping and eating patterns sometimes.

So, you see, Amanda’s Patch is also about finding a way to live my dream in an affordable way in far more terms than stretching my financial budget.

And then there are the other ‘A’, those of awareness, acceptance and achievement

Graduation - 3 in gowns and hats
R and C, I hope you don’t mind me posting a photo with you two on here..?

Achievement seems to go hand in hand with the affordable part of my life – what I can achieve has changed a lot in the past few years. As a pretty much “straight-A” student, I was on track to achieve great things in terms of my career – I had a degree, I was working my way up the career ladder slowly but surely, I applied myself and knew that, had I wanted to, I could have worked my way quite a long way further up that ladder… but was it worth the expense?

With my health getting progressively worse, the cost of that achievement to both my physical and emotional health seemed too great. So I left, giving up the chance to achieve in that field – but that didn’t mean I had to give up my sense of achievement completely. No, Amanda’s Patch is all about adapting to situations and circumstances (there you are, yet another ‘A’ word) and aiming for something that gives you a sense of great achievement that is within your ability (all these ‘A’ words – it is hard to keep track!) You could even say that it is all about ambition

creating a collage of what we wanted to “attract” into our lives

I was once told by a lecturer at university that I wasn’t ambitious enough, which goes to show just how hard it can be to see the real person sometimes, because anyone who truly knows me will realise just what a crazy thought that is – ambition oozes from me, it just doesn’t always fit in with the kind of ambition that people expect. I have a dream about being happy, about being healthy, about helping others and inspiring them too. I have hopes that this site will become a warm, safe place to visit, a nice little retreat from the stresses of everyday life. I want to help the world, in any way I can, knowing that even the tiniest thing I do helps to tip the balance in some way. If that isn’t ambition, then I don’t know what is!

So, you see, achievement doesn’t have to be about being the best or creating that perfect finish – achievement is about setting a dream within your own capacities and going for it. After all, we can’t all be olympic athletes, but we can be so much more in other ways…

Which leads me on to my third and fourth ‘A‘s, both linked together very closely – awareness and acceptance.

There are many things that I have become aware of in recent years, including the multitude of challenges that people have to face, and their amazing and heart-breakingly beautiful strength and courage in overcoming them. For me, the worst part of this is knowing how many people suffer alone, silently trapped by the fact that their particular struggle is far from fully understood by those around them, even professionals in the field. Yes, I am talking about chronic illnesses and how many people out there suffer from these, unable to deal with the demands of everyday life, thanks to a lack of awareness about their struggle. I’ve been there, and it is a lonely place sometimes, even with the people you love because often it is impossible to put how you feel into words. Which is why I am so forthright and honest about it all – if I can help just one person by talking about these things, then that is awareness enough.

Of course, I would love to build awareness for so many things, so many causes I have heard of, not just in the health field but also in connection to the earth and our modern lifestyle. So many people are getting sick thanks to the pollutants we accept as normal, the chemicals we spray without a thought, the stress we put ourselves under in order to meet the demands of keeping our house safe and warm, the list just goes on… I do not want to preach, as I am far from perfect myself, but I do want to spread awareness, and by sharing the thoughts I have and the things I do I hope to achieve this somehow…

And what does that have to do with my final ‘A‘ word? Well, acceptance is a hard thing. If something affects you deeply, accepting it can be difficult – I know that I struggled (and still do) to come to terms with my Endometriosis and how it affects my life. I struggle to accept the facts of life sometimes too, that bad things do indeed happen and there is often nothing I can do about it – whilst I may try to make a difference, sometimes acceptance is more important. Trying not to judge harshly and accept something “as is” can be difficult and finding the balance between knowing when to fight and when to accept something can be the hardest thing in the world. Yes, acceptance is difficult, but I will always attempt to see what I need to accept, even if that is my own short-comings.

So, you see, Amanda’s Patch really is a “Grade A” place – I wasn’t just trying to blow my own trumpet! I am sure there are far more ‘A‘s out there too and I shall keep my eye (and my heart) open for them. Until then, why not leave me a comment to let me know what your own personal ‘A‘ words are?

  • Reply
    July 6, 2010 at 11:33 am

    You were up early not sleeping again? Very good…how come you can write so well so easily. grr. Still the family is proud of you…sure it” get their in the end!

  • Reply
    July 6, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Awesome! ;P

  • Reply
    July 6, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I wasn’t actually “up” at 5am… I wrote the post yesterday and scheduled it to post automatically this morning ;o)

  • Reply
    July 6, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I would say my A word is acceptance too. You know how I struggled with infertility and my endo. I found that once I accepted it all and looked at it more along the lines of “where do I go from here” things were much easier!

  • Reply
    July 6, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Firstly, not I don’t mind you using the picture.
    Secondly, this is an awesome post. A lot of it really struck a chord with me, particularly the things you were saying about how we define achievement. I often feel that I under achieve in terms of my current job, and worry that I will continue to under achieve once I’ve finished the MA. Cos if you have 2 degrees, you should get some specialised, important-sounding job, right? Really though I just want a job that actually makes a difference in people’s lives for the better, but doubt I have the personal qualities to succeed in such work (cos better social skills would probably be useful). So it’s like you say – achievement is about setting a dream within your own capacities. But I’m still not sure what mine are yet, so I anticipate interesting times ahead! I’m just scared of settling for a job that means nothing to me because I don’t have the confidence to try for something more meaningful.
    But then you’re right, even if we don’t have the ‘career’, there is so much you can do in other ways. Things that have been going on recently have really underlined to me how much capacity we have to bring happiness to other people, particularly when we really open up and learn to accept one another. So yeah, I find your post very inspiring, very meaningful 🙂

  • Reply
    July 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Oh, and I forgot to say, the borsch looks awesome 🙂

  • Reply
    July 6, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Hehe thanks – we made it with beetroot out my dad’s garden a couple of years ago and hopefully we’ll make it with beetroot out of our own garden this year!
    Cheryl, thanks for popping by and commenting. I know how much you want to make a difference, I know from talking to you (I still remember our chat in the library cafe about what we both wanted to do when we graduated!) and I understand because it is that same passion to help others that drives me forwards and gives me hope beyond the difficult times and the inspiration to carry on…
    I have no doubt that you will find what you are looking for, but the limbo stage of not knowing when it will come and how it will arrive is so difficult, I know x
    No, you don’t have to have a career to achieve great things, but if you have to work it does help to have something you feel passionate about. I also know that fear of not being good enough and settling for something less (you remember how terrified and low in self-esteem I was in Russia!!) You *will* get there, I know it, because I have faith in you! You are far better than you know and you make a big difference in people’s lives even when you don’t know it (again, I don’t know how I would have survived my dark time in Russia – thanks hormones – without you there to lift me up and help me get through each day!)
    Find what it is you are most passionate about and network – that’s the best way to do it. I often doubt what I am doing with the Patch here, am I living in a dream and it will never take off? But, you have to just go for it sometimes and even if you feel silly, as long as you are doing something you love then that is what matters most.
    Let me know if you want to chat – I’m online, on skype or on landline at any time xx

  • Reply
    July 6, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Yes, acceptance is the biggie for me… I feel much better since I accepted that my Endo makes me tired more than usual and that I needed to make changes to look after myself so that I had the energy to enjoy life. What I am finding hard to accept is that I don’t want to try for children until my health improves (this past year or two I have felt so ill for such a large percentage of the time, worse than I ever was before) but I also desperately want to have a family and until we start trying we won’t even know if I am fertile or not… accepting that waiting a while is what is best for my overall health and long-term chances of trying is hard! I think acceptance is a real challenge with something like Endo, and it really does help to have friends who know what it is like xx

  • Reply
    July 6, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Let me start this blog comment with my favorite A of all. The A in Amanda!
    I would like to Acknowledge all of your hard work, courage, and talent at setting off on this Adventure. Your ability to Adjust to your circumstances is great.
    Your efforts to increase Awareness of chronic illnesses (particularly of endometriosis) is Awesome!
    When I first started blogging, I focused more on Awareness and less on Advocacy and Activism. Now, I focus on all of the above because I have come to see that what I say can Affect other people’s lives in a positive way.
    On a personal note, I have found Acupuncture extraordinarily helpful.
    It is great fun to watch your new venture take off. Witnessing someone doing what they love is a powerful thing!!
    P.S. Thank you for the mention! I love that you mentioned The Canary Report too! 😉

  • Reply
    Alice @ Crochet with Raymond
    July 7, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Hi Amanda… thanks for popping by my blog! I came to see yours as I am insanely excited by blogging still as I only began a couple of months ago! Thank you for your lovely comments about Raymond, he agress wholheartedly with your siamese appreciation. It seems we have a lot in common I believe, after scrolling through your blog… reiki, crystals, manifestation… I like your collage, I do the same thing except I hang it above my bed and read it at night! Keep in touch and looking forward to reading more about your life and the positive ways you deal with your challenges. From Alice and Raymond

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