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Rated: 13+ · Book · Other · #2049546
My first blog
This is my first ever blog, so I'm not really sure what I'm doing *Shock*. I guess I'll learn as I go along.
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September 21, 2017 at 5:55am
September 21, 2017 at 5:55am
I'm meant to be writing a short story for my HSP class right now. I still have my entries for Around The World In 52 Weeks as well. So much to do. But, instead, all I can think of writing is this. You see, it's ten years ago today since Dad died. Ten years. How is that possible? When I think of all that I've lost since then: Mum, Jake, Auntie Gwenda, Uncle Rob, the house in Sherston, my dream of moving to the US. Yes, okay, some of those were my choice. And, yes, I have gained David; the love of my life. I know I wouldn't have met him without, first, losing Dad and Jake (my beautiful rescue dog who was my best friend). What's that phrase? Horses for courses? Something like that.

I'm thinking of happy times with Dad. How he taught me to dance as soon as I could walk. I loved dancing with him, even though all other children/teenagers I've ever met would never do that. But we worked well together. I loved to dance Rock'n'Roll with him. Such happy times. Forever lost. Gone. Emptiness left behind. People tell you to remember the good times, and yes, I agree. You should remember the good times. But it's those good times that break me because they're gone. Where is the comfort in remembering how loved and safe and happy you once felt? When the reality is life isn't like that any more. And it never will be again. I constantly feel like I'm teetering on the edge of oblivion, and it scares the hell out of me.

You know what I hate most? If Dad could see me today, he would be so disappointed. I've done nothing to be proud of. My life is a pathetic mess. (Apart from David. He is the one good thing.)

Okay, I edging into self pity now, and that's not why I started writing this. I wanted to write about Dad. My relationship with him was complicated. I adored him, but I didn't always like him. He was hyper-critical of every part of my life. He was cruel and made fun of me in front of others all the time. But, then we were also really close. He understood me better than anyone. About two weeks before he died, he told me I am perfect just as I am, and he wouldn't change a thing about me. It was, like, twenty plus years too late, but it meant a lot to me. We shared a lot of interests and our mannerisms were similar. I remember Mum saying to me, about six months after he died, that he would never really be dead, as long as I was alive. We shared a passion for music and dancing. The happy times we spent at parties and local dances make me ache deep inside when I think about them. I miss him so much. I miss that part of my life.

This whole week I've been looking back at what happened at this point ten years ago. Remembering every detail of that last week. I know that today, at 8:30 a.m., I had my last ever conversation with Dad. Before I left to go to work (something I'll regret as long as I live) I kissed him and said goodbye, then I told him that if he needed me, Mum could ring me and I'd come straight home. He had lost the ability to say exactly what was on his mind at some point over the least week, so he answered, "But you do need me, Rach." To this day, I'm convinced he meant to say that he needed me, in an attempt to stop me going to work. He knew he was at the end. But I went to work, anyway. That day, I told my boss I wanted to take compassionate leave, so I could be with Dad in his last days. But I was too late. When I got home that evening, he was unconscious. Apparently, the doctor had visited that lunch time and upped his morphine (something Mum didn't tell me until about a year later). Dad died at 10:35 p.m., and I never got to have another conversation with him. Mum and I were both by his side, holding him. I hope he knew that. I hope he wasn't frightened.

The horrible thing is I was angry at him for not holding on just a little longer. You see, it's my birthday two weeks today, and I really thought he would hold on for that. How selfish is that? I think I felt a little betrayed by that. It's crazy and completely unfair and, yes, selfish.

I can't stop the tears today. Today sucks. But I need to get a hold on myself. I have a lot to do. I just don't feel like it.
August 30, 2017 at 7:14am
August 30, 2017 at 7:14am
Anyone who knows me (both IRL and on here) will know I've been struggling a little lately. However, I've spent the last few days putting together a writing plan of action. Writing helped me to get better before, and it can do that again. I'm feeling more like myself just from making the plan.

I'm going to write my novel, and it's going to be good. I'm going to build my platform (that every article you ever read on writing says you must do). I'm going to enter some off site contests. I'm going to be writingly (I think I just made that word up!) active. I have a timetable for my daily writing, as well as a time frame for all the goals I need to be hitting, and I have to say I'm excited about it. Making my timetables and plans has brought back memories of being at school and uni. I was the only person in the class (maybe, in the world!) who got a kick out of revision timetables. I've discovered I still feel the same way. That quiver of excitement has settled in my heart.

Which is all a bit strange. Because I am hopelessly messy and unorganised. When I write, I lean very much toward the side of pantsing. I mean, I always have a rough plan, but I tend to veer off course and end up at places I never expected when I started writing. This novel, though, is different. Maybe it's because it's about the character who has been trying to get me to tell her story for the longest time. It's the story I've wanted to tell since I joined WDC a couple of years ago. With this novel, I've plotted and planned, and I still have a lot of background work to do before I start writing. I'm exploring all the main characters and getting to known them really well. This novel will be good. It will be. (If I keep telling myself that, I will believe it eventually).

I've started an offsite blog. I've only added two posts so far. I decided I need to take a step back and brainstorm lots of different posts I can make. I also need to customise how it looks. So, lots to do there. I'm on Twitter and Facebook already, so I need to think about a plan of action for both of those. This is the side of being a writer that I'm going to find difficult. Get me! I kind of alluded to myself as being a writer *Shock2*

I will set aside time to log in to WDC and socialise a little, as well as looking after my contests and entering some contests. Of course, the September celebrations are almost upon us, so I'll have to have a look at all the fabulous contests and activities associated with that.

Before I can do any of this, though, I have to get through tomorrow. It is my Uncle Rob's funeral, and I'm dreading it. He was my favourite uncle, and I still can't believe I'll never see him again. His funeral is going to be hard. I'm glad I found a fitting poem to be read at the church service. I feel like I made a contribution.

August 10, 2017 at 11:11am
August 10, 2017 at 11:11am
I'm sitting here, writing the blog post I never thought I would be writing, and that makes me sad. When I joined WDC in May 2015, I found a place where I truly felt at home. Instantly. I made friends and gained in confidence. The last two years have been incredible. I heard a couple of stories of people being bullied, a couple of stories of cliques, but I never witnessed anything. Until this last week. Now, everything has changed, and the place I loved like a second home, the place I felt like I actually had some respect, is crumbling around me. The reason? Technically, it's my own fault. No, back up. The reason? Game of Thrones. I wish I never signed up for it this year. But, on to the part of it that was down to me. I made some comments about a couple of reviews I'd read by a certain person. I thought I was replying to an email from a team mate and a post in our private forum. Unfortunately, I posted my comments in the wrong place, and the guy in question read them. It was wrong of me. However, not a single word I said wasn't true and hadn't been already pointed out in our private forum. But I was still wrong. That is where my blame ends.

This person was (understandably) upset. I would've been, too. But the tirade of abuse and threats he levelled at me took my breath away. I don't remember his exact words in the first message. The gist of it was he will hound me for as long as I'm on WDC. He will always be there, I'd better keep looking over my shoulder. Other such comments, too. A senior moderator saw his comments and told him he'd better be joking because, if not, he was out of order. To which, he replied he was deadly serious, a few other threats, then he said he would slit my throat. The messages were all suspended, so I can't see them for his exact words. The only specifics I remember are the slitting my throat part. Subsequently, I received an email from Gaby, stating I should apologise to him. I said no. I don't apologise to people who threaten my life.

That was as far as it went. The more people I tell about this, the more surprising it seems that it wasn't taken any further. Moderators were involved and what he was saying was illegal. A couple of friends have said I should contact the police. But I have no proof. The only person who does is the one who swept it under the carpet. Apparently, it's standard procedure on other websites to automatically ban anyone who says something like this.

But, the next day (Monday), I logged on here to continue with Game of Thrones. My heart hasn't really been in it, though. My head is all over the place. I noticed this man changed his handle to 'Karma Is A Witch. Trust Me.' for a short while on Monday. Leading me to thinking he is not done with this yet.

And so, onto Game of Thrones. Guess what? The team I am on has been disqualified. Why? For banking Bash Reviews. Guess what else? Hannah specifically asked Gaby if we could do this in our Small Council Chamber, and her reply was "As long as you send them on the right day, hon." I can't prove this, though, as our Small Council Chamber has been immediately locked to us. Okay, so something changed over the last week and House Stark weren't party to it. So, we've all been disqualified . . . hang on, the rules say if you break the rules for reviews, those reviews will be disregarded. Yet, our whole team was disqualified? Hmmm. Interesting.

I guess the people who told me about the cliques were right. I'm so upset. I have loved this site so much over the last two years. It helped me with my PTSD and mental health issues. Now, it's making it all worse. I don't want this to be the end for me and WDC. I have so many friends on here (although, maybe not after this week). This all sucks. All of it. The way I was treated and the way House Stark were treated. It's all unjust and it leaves a very nasty taste in my mouth.
May 21, 2017 at 7:18am
May 21, 2017 at 7:18am
Two whole years. Two! It's kind of surreal. I mean, sometimes it feels like I've been a member of WDC forever, the others, I feel like complete newbie. I think I'm slowly beginning to feel like I know something about what I'm doing *Laugh*

These last couple of years have been incredible. I remember the fear I felt when I posted my first poem. Then, the message saying I received a review. I made David read me that first one. I genuinely expected the person who wrote it to tell me to get lost because I had no talent and didn't belong on a writing site. I was fully prepared to never log on again. But that's not how it went down *BigSmile* sunnystarr sent me an encouraging, supportive review, and told me I write beautifully. I cried (I am prone to being over emotional at times). Someone (other than David) said I was good. Now, knowing the poem she reviewed, I feel she may have been a little generous with her review, but the point is she gave me a kernel of belief. I'd never had that before.

So I stuck around. Within a couple of weeks, I believe I became a certified addict. I couldn't (and can't) stay away. This website has transformed my self confidence. I no longer think I'm useless and worthless. I feel like there is something I'm okay at. Honestly, I don't know what I would do without writing.com. But the reason, the thing that keeps me coming back for more, is the network of people who are also part of this community. The moment I joined, I felt a part of something. I felt included and accepted, and I soon made lots of friends. This is a place where I can be myself. I can write about the darkest moments of my life without fear of being judged. The support we show one another in times of trouble is immense. I love my WDC family. I really do. You guys probably know more about me than anyone else in the world.

In terms of writing (because this is, after all, a writing website *Laugh* ) I've learned so much over the two years I've been here. I've taken grammar and punctuation courses, I've had a plethora of helpful advice through reviews, and I'm now taking part in the Exploratory Writing Workshop. This one is a toughie. A lot of work, but I'm learning how to put together a novel. I've never learned this kind of stuff before. I mean, I've taken part in (and succeed in) two NaNos. But I was winging it. With the novel I'm working on now, I'm understanding the art of making it work. I love it. Last year was my year for writing about my demons. I discovered I can write non fiction quite well. I wasn't expecting that. It was hard to write about some of these things, but I felt proud that I managed to do it.

Last November, I was promoted to yellow, which was a massive honour. I didn't come down from the high for a few days. Then, we have the Quills this year. These were unbelievable. I won Best Short Non Fiction, Best War/Militaria, and Best Portfolio! Yeah: me! I know, right? How is that possible? I still don't know. But it sure feels good. I also had two items featured in the '2016 WDC Anthology'—"The Story of Sadness and "Royal Wootton Basset. I'm a Future Rising Star, and I've loved every minute of this course. I've written and researched things that were totally out of my comfort zone. But, you know what? They have been fascinating. I have also had a poem published in an outside poetry journal. Wow. When I list it like this, it feels like I've had a successful year.

Of course, now I feel like I have a lot to live up to. I'm sure I never will. A part of me is still waiting for the moment somebody notices this has all been a mistake because I have no talent whatsoever. I kind of feel like a fraud. It doesn't seem right that I could have talent. Because I'm me. I fight that feeling a lot.

Anyway, back to the positives. I've been running the "Shadows and Light Poetry Contest whilst Aundria is away. I love this contest. Free verse poetry owns my heart. Reading the entries each month is a joy. Probably, my favourite thing to do. I also have my own "Verdant Poetry Contest, which I hold quarterly. This is a wonderful contest, also, with great entries. I love these two contests, and I'm so grateful to everyone who enters. I'm still active in "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group, "The Newbies Academy Group and "The Rockin' Reviewers, and I love the activities I do with them.

Well, that's my update at two years. Who knows what the next year will bring? What I do know is I will remain a member of this fantastic website. I love it here. It really is my second (and sometimes first *Shock2* ) home. Okay, so now it's time to tag some of the people who have made my experience here so special. There are many people I could mention, but these are the ones who first come to mind:

~QPdoll , Sally , ~Alexi~ , ♥hOOvsie♥ , ~Minja~ , Hannah Away 18-23 , Bikerider , Whatas Enjoying Whoville , Kerri J. Miller , eyestar~thanks anon! , Angus , ~ Aqua ~ , sybarrios, GeminiGem , Angel , Krysha - Away , Espero , GabriellaR45 , tucknits , Fivesixer , Kittiara , Robert Edward Baker , 🌓 HuntersMoon , Lyn .

May 14, 2017 at 8:27am
May 14, 2017 at 8:27am
What event in history do you wish you could have witnessed, and why?

This is such a great prompt. It's hard to decide what to choose, though, as there are so many things I would like to have seen. Woodstock, for example. I would love to have been at Woodstock, with flowers in my hair and love in my bones. In fact, I would have loved to live through the 60s, in general. The hope that was contained in that one decade. Antibiotics were the new wonder drug. People started to believe they could live for ever. The pill became available, making love much freer. Medical possibilities were endless. Music filled the air with the sound of happiness. The Beatles, I would love to have seen The Beatles. Peace and love. I could have been a hippy.

When I think about it, most of the things I would like to have witnessed are music related. I've always thought it must have been an electric time when dance halls first filled with the sounds of Bill Haley and rock 'n' roll. Until he arrived in the UK, easy listening was as exciting as music got. Elvis. Oh my wow. I can only imagine the thrill of seeing him gyrate up close and personal.

Aside from music, I would love to have been part of the Bloomsbury Press. To discuss writing with the likes of Virginia Woolf would have been incredible. A little scary, I imagine, but so interesting.

None of these are big events in history. Rather, they are times in history. If I'm more specific, I would love to go back to the early 1800s, just for a few days. Not because of any big event that took place then, but because I would like to witness the poker game in which my 3 x Great Grandfather lost the family farm and all his employees. I would love to have seen the conversation with his wife when he gave her the bad news!

I'm not sure if I've really answered the prompt. But I couldn't narrow it down any more than this.
April 9, 2017 at 8:26am
April 9, 2017 at 8:26am
Wow. That's the word that is floating around in my head. Wow wow wow. The Quill Award Ceremony took place last night, and I am stunned by a couple of the results. Firstly, I want to list my awards, including those from the PreQuills Ceremony. I want to list them because I'm proud of them. Also, because I need to look back at this entry whenever I'm feeling like I am worthless and have no talent.

Best Health/Medical ~ HM for "PTSD & Me
Best Short Story ~ HM for "Charlie's Story
Best War/Militaria ~ Quill for "A Hero's Heart
Best Short Non-Fiction ~ Quill for "21st July 1988
Best Portfolio ~ Quill Winner

You see? Wow. That's why. I never expected this. Ever. I have to admit, I got a little tearful when Best Port was announced. It kind of dawned on me that maybe I can write. Maybe. It was the strangest feeling. Wow.

I'm so honoured to receive all of these awards, and I'm so happy for some of my friends who also won awards. For example, Sally and Whatas Enjoying Whoville . You guys were both on fire! And I cannot describe how happy I am that ~QPdoll got an HM for her No Dialogue Contest. So, so, so happy! Similarly, Lyn , you should be so proud with your HM for the Love Shouldn't Hurt Short Story Contest. I'm so happy you won it.

It was a great ceremony to watch. Very entertaining. Elle did such a great job at organising everything, and her "panel" of guests were great fun. I don't think people who aren't WDC members understand just how much these awards mean to us. I mean, okay, we don't write in order to win awards, we write because it's who we are. But to be recognised in this way is the biggest honour. Which leads me on to my next point. Make sure you nominate all your favourite 2017 items. Here is the link: "The Quill Awards: Nomination Form. If you don't nominate, the ceremony doesn't work. It's great to have such a wide variety of people nominated and winning. Let's make sure that continues to next year.

Well, that's me for today. Happier than my last entry. Still kind of in shock. But definitely happy.

April 7, 2017 at 6:00am
April 7, 2017 at 6:00am
Well, it's been a funny, old week. Last Saturday was a massive high. I closed up my Mad Hatter's Tea Party, and when I added up the figures, I raised over 1.4 million GPs. That was incredible, and I felt so happy to be able to help out my four chosen groups. Then, in the evening, shock central when I won a Quill Award at the PreQuill Gala. I won Best War/Miliaria with my poem, "A Hero's Heart. I was not expecting that at all. What an honour. What a massive, wonderful honour.

After Saturday, my week has kind of been sucky. But that's to be expected. You see, today (7th April) marks five years since I lost my Mum to pneumonia. The events of that last harrowing week have been invading my mind. I keep thinking how could I have not noticed how ill she was before? I should have noticed. She might still be here.

I remember everything about that week as though it were yesterday. She went into hospital on the Monday morning, with the paramedics telling us they thought she had pneumonia. "But you can die from that," I said. On the Tuesday when David and I visited, she was wearing this breathing mask (CPAP, maybe??) that was violently forcing air into her lungs. I almost collapsed when I first saw her like that. She looked so frail. But she was awake and I told her all about our neighbour whose partner had just given birth to my god daughter. The doctors took me aside on that day and said that if she didn't respond to the treatment they were giving her now, there was nothing more they could do. So far, they said, she wasn't responding. But I knew that the moment I saw her. I knew she wasn't going to get better.

That night, I phoned my Auntie Beryl. She was Mum's favourite sister. They spoke everyday on the phone, sometimes five or six times a day. I told Auntie Beryl to take our visiting spot the on the following afternoon, as it didn't look like Mum would make it. She went, with my Auntie Betty. I was glad they got to see her. She was in good humour, they said. Confused, but cheerful. However, by the time I got there in the evening, she was unconscious. She never woke up. I never got to speak to her, or hear her say my name, again. I'm glad Auntie Beryl got to say goodbye, but I'm jealous that I never got another conversation with her.

I was at the hospital with her every day until her final day, on the Saturday. Easter Saturday. I don't know if she knew I was there. When the doctor told me her lungs were clear, but she wasn't waking up, so they thought there was something else going on, I crumpled and cried. I had the choice to make. Should they withdraw life support? You always see people on TV dramas who are given this choice. They agonise over whether to do it or not. Well, I knew straight away it was the right thing to do. Mum was struggling so hard to breathe (even though they said her lungs were clear) and I knew she was ready to go. So they took her off support at 4:30 p.m., and I held her hand and watched her disappear. Her breaths became smaller and smaller. It looked like a part of her was still fighting it. So I said, "It's okay, Mum. I have David, I'll be okay." Within the next minute, she stopped breathing.

It took fourteen minutes from when they switched the machines off. That's all. It was actually really peaceful and understated. As she had been in life, she was in death. It was in sharp contrast to Dad when he died. He fought and struggled and terrified me. Not Mum, though. She just quietly slipped away. And my heart was shattered.

So, here we are, five years on. Some days, I don't think I will be able to live with the pain of losing her. I can't believe she is really gone. Throughout my whole life, she was constantly in and out of hospital. So, for some reason, it still feels like that. Like she's in hospital, and she will come home again. Because she always does. She always did.

I miss her so much. She was the kindest, bravest, most selfless person in the world. She suffered so much pain in her life, and I know I let her down too many times. She deserved better than me. She's left such a hole in my life. Auntie Beryl misses her terribly, too. The one thing I take comfort from is that in her very last breath, it looked like she smiled. I would like to think she saw Dad and was finally home. Maybe she saw God, I don't know. I don't have any religious beliefs, but I really don't know.

Well, I'm crying so hard I can barely make out the letters of my keyboard. So I think I'll leave it there. I love you, Mum. I miss you. I hope you're with Dad and pain free. I hope we meet again one day.
March 31, 2017 at 6:15am
March 31, 2017 at 6:15am
I've neglected this blog this month. For some reason, when I signed up for Pursue The Horizon last year, I started a new blog, rather than using this one. So I used that one again this year and, well, I didn't have time to write in this blog as well. Things have been insanely busy on WDC. I've been running the Mad Hatter's Tea Party Raffle. It ends today, and I can't wait to roll the die and find all the winners. I'm so excited. It's ridiculous. Seriously. I've also been running the Verdant Poetry Contest this month, and I'm still running Shadows & Light while Aundria is away.

Then, we have Rising Stars. I've just about managed to write my three M2M reviews this month, along with writing my piece of slam poetry. Here is a link to it, just in case you're interested:

Healthy Shakes  (13+)
Slam poetry written for Rising Stars. It's best when heard, rather than read.
#2114743 by Choconut

It doesn't look like much, and it probably doesn't read all that well. But it's meant to be read out loud.

I signed up for one of the HSP classes, as I'm rubbish at writing about love and intimacy and sexual scenes. So this is going to help me. I hope. Or maybe I'll find it's just not my style. But I hope I don't. I want to write well.

But, to the main reason I decided to write today. I wanted to tell you about a dream I had last might, and ask for thoughts on what it might mean. I have horrible dreams most nights, but they're usually about my grandfather or my ex. This one was different. It felt suffocating and frightening but in a really weird kind of way.

At the start of the dream, I two of my female cousins came to stay in my house. Except they weren't my cousins, I didn't recognise them. In the evening, I wanted to go to see my two friends, but every door and window had a layer of cardboard blocking them up. As I ripped away at the cardboard, and doors were revealed, I couldn't figure out how to open them. My "cousins" had put some kind of weird technology on them and I couldn't work it. Every time, I asked for their helped, they laughed, then when I turned back to the door it had moved and had cardboard in front of it again. When I finally got outside, I wasn't wearing my shoes, so then I had to try to get back in in again. But the cardboard was now on both sides of the doors. There were people shooting at each other and diving for cover all around me, and I realised I didn't know where I was. It wasn't home, and my house didn't look like my house. I wanted to find a public phone to ring my friend to come and get me, but I didn't know her number by heart. So I had to get back inside. When I did, I was stuck again, with moving doors, boarded up with cardboard and two mean women laughing at me.

At the end of the dream, I got back outside, but I forgot my bag and mobile, so still couldn't ring my friends. But a car came to collect me and the driver said he would take me to my destination. When I got there and stepped out of the car, I was in the middle of No-Man's Land, in a bunker, with shells flying over my head and people dying all around me.

So, that's my dream. It's left me feeling unsettled. I have a headache. I can't get it out of my head. Maybe writing about it here will have helped. If anyone interprets dreams, I would be interested in your thoughts.

January 30, 2017 at 5:19am
January 30, 2017 at 5:19am
Day Thirty ~ Motivational Monday! Former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, born on this day in 1882, once said "I'm not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues." How important to your success (in any part of your life) is it to surround yourself with talented, knowledgeable, and/or fun people?

Ooh, a nice tricky topic for the last day. In an ideal world, I would say talented and knowledgeable people aren't necessary for success. But this isn't the ideal world. We all need to be able to have conversations with people who stimulate us. It's part of human nature, isn't it? I think it also helps ideas to spark in our minds, when we surround ourselves with people with similar interests. For example, being a part of WDC has inspired me to create a bucket load of stories and poems. I know I wouldn't have written half of them without speaking to people on this website. So I think it definitely helps us to be creative. I guess that is success in itself. This whole blogging experience has been inspirational as well. It's been good to know I have to write something every day. I'm hoping that will continue. The people I've got to know have been great as well. One thing I've learned, through the whole of WDC, is that everyone has their story to tell. It makes me feel less alone. I think that connection I feel when interacting with others is as important as any other aspect of surrounding myself with talented people.

In my first marriage, my husband isolated me. I had no friends near me, no job, I moved away from my family. I didn't have the internet. It was just him and me. In that instance, it was important for me to be surrounded by people, period. I didn't only need talented, knowledgeable, and fun people. I just needed someone. But that's probably not what this prompt is about. That's a completely different situation.

I think fun people are important in everyone's life. Striving to achieve greatness is all very well, but if you have nobody to party with, what's the point? We all need cheering up from time to time. Emotional well being is key to true success. For me, emotional well being is success.

But I feel I have just rambled my way through today's entry. I think we need talented and knowledgeable for creative and work-related success. Also, for intellectual stimulus. I think we need fun people to keep our mental health in check.
January 29, 2017 at 7:27am
January 29, 2017 at 7:27am
The Sunday News! Please, I don't care what you want to talk about today, just no politics. Find a story that makes you feel good about the world and tell us about it.

A soon as I read today's prompt, I thought of this guy. His name is Ben Smith, and he is an inspiration. He was bullied for eight years when he was at school, and he had massively low self esteem and self worth as a result. Age eighteen, he tried to take his life. He comfort ate through his twenties, and became very overweight. Age twenty-nine, he had a TIA stroke. This is the point where he knew he had to change his life. He began running and found it was something he was born to do. He loved it, it gave him a sense of self worth. Then he decided to take on a challenge, and to raise both money, and awareness, for bullying. He decided someone had to try to make a difference. His challenge? To run 401 marathons in 401 days. Wow! I can't even imagine how much grit and determination that would take. What an incredible feat.

He completed his challenge in October last year, finishing his last marathon in his home town of Bristol. He battled two colds, a chest infection, and a serious back injury along the way. Wherever he visited, he tried to talk to school children and educate them about bullying. He's an incredible guy. This video doesn't really come close to showing just how incredible. I was fascinated with him every time he was on the news. Our local news comes from Bristol, so they talked about him a lot. What a way to turn your life around! Apparently, after he ran his last marathon, he had to continue running every day, gradually reducing the amount of miles each time, in order to let his heart get used to not running. Can you imagine that?

Anyway. This is the story of Ben Smith (I'm sure this is not the last we hear from this guy):


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