Haley Eyre: Silver Linings – Magpies Love Cheese

Haley serves up some food for thought about silver linings and whether it matters if you can’t always find one.

winding path on a crisp winter morning

Hello, I’m Haley, I’ll be your Writer today. Who am I? Now that’s a question, with a long answer but here are three facts to start with…I am a Woman, Wife and Mother. This is my first piece of writing for Sheffield Flourish. I wrote the first draft before the First Lockdown; quite a lot has happened since then.

Magpies Love Cheese…or at least the ones that visit my garden do. I wouldn’t have thought I’d be in my thirties, watching a pair of Magpies gobble up tiny bits of Cheddar from a plastic takeaway tub. But there I was, looking out from the kitchen, onto the garden, as we were enjoying a few days of crisp, frosty sunshine. I’d read that a bit of cheese can be put out for the birds, in winter, on the RSPCA website.

Why the Waiter metaphor?…because I’m hoping to serve up some tasty food for thought and, if anyone is reading this, I imagine that you’re in a scrolling session looking for something to read to pass some time, perhaps this will do as a starter. Also, as we all have different tastes and preferences, perhaps you’ll like what I serve up and perhaps you won’t. It might be over or under cooked to your palette, or it might just be “meh” or “OK”, but if someone benefits then that is good enough for me. I think that’s part of the problem, we expect too much and sometimes people cannot deliver. I don’t have any real solution to whatever problem you may have and are scouring the internet for. In my experience, lots of different things can help when I’m feeling stuck.

I’d been feeling stuck and poorly. I’d treated myself to some chocolate and Sweet and Salty Popcorn at the weekend and so I’d decided to start the week with a walk, after the school run, to burn some calories and to gain points on my Pokemon Go app – hey, it’s a great reason to get all of us out of the house and into the fresh air. I’d been dawdling, catching and battling Pokemon, taking photos too, but my hands started turning red from the cold, so I’d decided to go home. I was also feeling a tiny bit smug about my extra step count. It’s all about the little wins sometimes. I got home and was taking my walking shoes off when I caught the smell and realised that I’d stood in dog muck! So true to life, we can be going along and feeling OK, or not, and something happens that we don’t want. After clearing the sink, I was trying to clean those old shoes with bleach and an old toothbrush, as yes, it was clinging and not really budging and the bleach was irritating my eyes. I still had the floor to wash where I’d put that foot down and I decided enough was enough. I’d also found out I didn’t get a job I’d applied for. I had another old pair of shoes that I could wear, so I put the mucky ones in the bin as they were not salvageable. I felt guilty, as they went in the bin, but that muck was not budging and they were years old…see, I’m still justifying it. Either way, they were at the bottom of the bin and I was not going to dig them out again.

What about Silver Linings then? I find that there isn’t always a silver lining, or there is but it takes time and distance from the experience so that I can move out of the fog and see it.

One positive about getting older is that some things that seemed so important at one stage can lose that unrelenting grip and I can realise that the thing simply doesn’t matter as much to me anymore, such as grey, or in my case, white hairs on my head. (I know, do I really want to talk about this?) I found it unnerving when I first saw them and I don’t like them, but I still have hair and that’s a blessing. An illness hasn’t taken my hair from me. White hairs can be covered up, or left; it does take more time and money at the hairdressers now…I’ve tried dyeing my hair and didn’t like doing it, so I’ll just wait, for now, until I can pay someone else to dye it for me. My hair turning grey is annoying, inconvenient and expensive but, I can do something about it. It hasn’t stopped me living my life. This may seem trivial, but I’m trying not to get too heavy.

I’ve been struggling to stick to one theme with this piece and have probably tried to include too many different ingredients…I know, I know, I can’t shake the food thing, I’ve just finished lunch, maybe that’s why. I’ve been worried about what others will think, but I know, if anyone reads this, not everyone will like what I have written. I am cautious of people who claim to have all the answers, we’re not divine after all and, as beautiful as we can be, we also have flaws, but I’m probably not saying anything that you don’t already know. I think we expect too much of ourselves too.

(I’ve since decided to let the hair dye grow out. I look forward to seeing the silver linings in my hair!)

I know that I’ve been procrastinating; that’s another Silver Lining, getting older can bring more self-awareness and therefore growth, that means that we don’t have to stay the same person if we want to be different. Change is possible.

A third Silver Lining, there are lovely, supportive people at Sheffield Flourish and I’m sure they can help me if this dish is a sloppy mess. I can try again.

I hope this has at least been a useful distraction, I’ll leave you now with this thought…

Remember, too much of anything can spoil your appetite and taking time for self-care is good for you and everything or everyone around you….I hope that’s not too cheesy!

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