Category Archives: July 2014

Monday 17th July 2014- People are complicated, but that’s okay.

Volunteering at the botanics today, I helped the outdoor gardener with pulling out brambles in the cafe garden. This is satisfying, but can also be a bit prickly. A man sitting at a patio table talked to us about the Scottish Independance referendum for a long time. Although I agree with some of what he said, I had a feeling that he had an agenda. He congratulated me on points I made, which I hadn’t really made and had an air of educating someone who knows less than him, treating me like someone who has been duped and misinformed. I may be a gardener, not a rocket scientist, but I’m also not stupid.

Over the past few years as my hearing has improved (after Johansen IAS therapy made my Auditory Processing Disorder manageable), I have been able to listen to and understand conversations. Because of this I have learned so much more about people. Mainly that people are complicated. There are tiny little nuances and inflections in every sentence, relating to their mood of that moment or perhaps memories which the conversation is bringing up for them. Sometimes they are trying to lead the conversation a certain way, and they want you to say a certain thing. As in the case with this man, they may be trying to persuade you of something. He was confident, assertive, and a little flattering of us when the conversation went in the direction he hoped. He was a very intelligent speaker.

In the past, before Movement and Learning Centre (MLC Scotland) and Johansen Individualised Auditory Stimulation (Johansen IAS)therapies, I would not have recognized this. I used to be permanently strung out from lack of sleep (anxiety issues relating to a fully-retained Moro Reflex), my brain processing at half-speed. Before I went to MLC Scotland, I was too unbalanced and shy to talk to strangers. Without Johansen IAS, I would still have serious Auditory Processing Disorder. and I would not have heard clearly enough to have a conversation with him if we were sitting side-by-side at the table, let alone while I was a few feet away inside of a shrub, fighting with brambles.

I like talking to other people, even although they seem more complicated than they used to. I always learn something new. Nowadays I understand that it is up to me to decide what I take away from conversations. I don’t have to believe that everything people say is true, just because I like them. That was a big learning curve. Before MLC and Johansen therapies, it was extremely difficult for me to interact with other people and make friends. I had a sort of two-dimensional, children’s picture book idea of people. I assumed that most people were uncomplicated and didn’t have much of a personal agenda. Without Retained Reflexes and serious Auditory Processing Disorder, life has got easier for me. I’ve learned more about myself and my own feelings and I think that this has helped me to understand other people more too. Without Retained Reflexes and serious Auditory Processing Disorder holding me back, I’ve had the opportunity to become more emotionally and mentally more complicated than I used to be. I suppose that this might be what growing up is all about.

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Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th July 2014 – Market

Saturday 12th July 2014 – Market

This weekend I packed up crafts I’ve been making and headed to a market in the city to sell them. I have sold jewellery and crafts at small local Christmas fairs before, something I have done once or twice a year since I was thirteen. Recently I’ve branched out slightly into local jewellery repairs and crafts. It’s not a living. I can count this year’s repair customers on just one hand, but it’s a little money for something I like doing. Since this market is in the city centre, and the stall rent is more expensive than previous craft fairs I’ve been to, it’s a big step up for me.

The traders were really kind and helped show me the ropes and set up my stall. They are all really interesting people, and when I wasn’t trying to sell stuff, I enjoyed chatting to them. The market traders have a wide variety of stalls and goods. There’s T-shirt sellers, bespoke leather bags, jewellery, anime merchandise, and a professional psychic.

A lot of people, including tourists, can come through the market on a good day. I was hoping to make some money. By the end of the day, I had covered the table price, but didn’t have much extra money to show for it. I hoped for a better day tomorrow, when the stall rent was cheaper.

Sunday 13th July 2014 – Market

Something important I learned today was that to be a successful market trader, you don’t just need to have attractive items to sell. You also require good social skills. Thanks to MLC Scotland and Johansen IAS, I now have the foundations to develop good social skills, however, I haven’t had those foundations for long and I’m still learning as I go.

The jewellery seller across from me in the Market alley was very kind to me. He moved my stall beside his, and gave me hints and tips to help me with talking to customers. There is a strong element of social skills involved in selling anything. As the seller of tartan goods told me, people are coming here to buy things from you. So it’s good to be friendly.

What I’m trying to say is that if you want to be successful selling things to people, you have to be a friend to your customers.

However, the first thing I did that morning was put my foot right in it. I’ve been really busy recently, and staying up late making crafts to sell. When I’m tired, my Auditory Processing difficulties can be a problem. I smiled back at a guy of about my age passing my table and he said something to me. The only word I heard was “Joke”. When he said joke, I worried that because I was smiling, he thought I was laughing at him in some way. I said no, to reassure him, probably sounding horrified.

He held his hands up at me in a backing-off kind of way and said “Fair enough”.

Then he moved on to my neighbour, grinned and said “Hey, you want to hear a funny joke?”

I realized I’d got things completely muddled up and out of proportion.

I walked after him and apologized. “Sorry I didn’t mean to be rude, I didn’t hear you properly”. He said that’s okay, gave me a smile and a thumbs up.

Damage repaired, but my first interaction with someone at the market could have gone better.

The jewellery seller had some great advice for selling, which I suppose could also be applied to everyday life.

  • Get out from behind your table and engage people if they want to talk to you- don’t just hide back there
  • Don’t get in people’s faces too much. They want to decide to buy things in their own time. If you look like a trader who hassles people, they will avoid your stall
  • Presentation matters. If your stall seems interesting from a distance, potential buyers will come to look.
  • Small talk- get to know your customers
  • Be friendly

I sold more than before today, feeling like I could maybe just keep going with this wee business venture on Sundays when the stall rent is cheaper. Even if I don’t make much money, I like talking to the market traders.

Even more importantly, I learned a lot of new people skills today. Selling at a market, I have to spend seven or eight hours a day talking to people from all over the world. Today I even made use of some of the French and Spanish I learned at school, although my Spanish skills are very poor. So long as I make more than the table price, I’ll stick at this. Even if it’s not financially successful, I know I will learn a lot.

Trip to the Isle of Lewis! Wednesday 25th – Monday 30th July 2014

For five days, I stayed on the Isle of Lewis with my aunt and uncle. Every summer for the last 4 years I’ve visited. It was so great to see them! It’s a long day of travel, requiring two buses and a ferry, but with beautiful views from the window and an iPod, it can pass quite quickly. On the Isle of Lewis, my aunt and uncle met me at the pier and took me out for a late dinner. On the drive to their house, there was a blazing sunset. Lewis sunsets over the hills and sea lochs are spectacular.

The Isle of Lewis is an amazing landscape, very different to most of Scotland. “Barren” isn’t the right word to describe the open, rocky land, because that implies it isn’t also beautiful. There are not many trees or patches of shrubs. Instead there seems to be rolling hills and marbled grey outcrops of some of the most ancient rock in the world. In some places, lines in the stone suggest that millenniums ago, during their formation, these huge grey rocks were folded over in the middle and twisted like kneaded dough. The sea is also unusual and beautifully coloured. Despite the colder climate, there are white-sand beaches with turquoise sea.

For five days I spent time with my uncle and aunt, helping out on the croft and exploring the seaside rocks just over the hill from their house. It’s very peaceful there down by the sea, sitting in the sun, watching the tide on the rocks. Once of my favourite places is a long stretch of pebble beach, covered in large smooth chunks of the grey-marbled stone. With only many shades of grey next to the blue sea, the whole beach seems to radiate white from the rock’s palest highlights. During my visit I had wonderful sense of peace, along with a lack of desire to listen to heavy music.

I also made myself useful, helping with some shearing. Some sheep were more willing than others. The first pair of little white sheep were reluctant, but not much trouble. The next couple, a temperamental mother and one-year old lamb, fought against their new haircut every inch of the way. They were really not happy about it. We clipped the highly-strung mother sheep’s wool first, and she made a huge fuss, scaring her lamb. She struggled, tried to bite, and at one point, sent my aunt rolling down a slope with her. After her haircut was done, Lamby, at bleated cues from his mum, jerked and fought and tried to butt us with his horns. It was tricky for my aunt not to cut him while shearing, but after a long time patiently clipping away, both sheep were let out the pen completely unharmed, just disgruntled and , without their winter fleece, looking much smaller than before.

One night we had a cinema night, watching a film on a big projector screen, and my uncle showed me how to stack peat.

After a short hold-up before a drive to the ferry because a sheep tried to eat a peg from the washing line, I was on my way home. It was an amazing ferry journey. Not only were there dolphins to see, the coastguard were on a helicopter exercise during my journey. The helicopter hovered over the ferry. I watched from the top deck as a man in a helmet and orange jumpsuit was winched on and off the ferry over the rails.

Wednesday 12th July

This morning I was helping my friend with the community garden project. Taking up turf, digging over, removing bulbs, then replacing the turf. On our way out of the garden two men sitting on a bench, drinking started talking to us. One of them said that he also liked to do gardening. The other man, whose bottle was emptier, said that he paid his way in society by walking around. He explained to us that he had a fear of work. “This is called Ergophobia”, he said. “You’ve learned something new today”. I also learned that there is such thing as a litre-capacity plastic bottle of cider. They wanted to take a picture with us, but we were suddenly very busy.

Friday 6th July

It was a hot, sunny day.

“I thought you’d escaped” was what my gardening supervisor said when I turned up at the yard. Although I have officially left the company, I was doing an extra day to help cover someone on leave. I would have preferred a day off, but I was happy to see them.

I like spending time in the van with the kind, funny gardeners with their banter and hilarious stories.  We had a discussion about what if everyone drove hamster balls instead of cars, and got attacked by what my friend described as “super midges” in a garden on the banks of Loch Lomond.

All day I thought about Grandpa. He was asleep since Tuesday and a doctor suggested he may need to go to hospital. His colours were different from normal when I visited on Tuesday. He usually has a little eggshell blue around him. When I got home my mum told me that he seems fully recovered, sitting up this morning in his chair and eating breakfast! Maybe he just needed some extra sleep.