"There is a magical taste in fresh toast that exist for one hour daily; between the early morning hour of 4.00 am, which, like Cinderella's coach disappears upon the stroke of 5.00 am. There is something about the hour of 4.00 am that wakes up the wanting in me. If I've slept five or six straight hours, my mind starts to stir and stays in motion until I arise from my bed.
Since Boxing Day 2017, with the exception of five days, my body has been confined to the hospital as I underwent a battle with an additional cancer the medics discovered had invaded it. For six weeks my mind and body battled for supremacy, and there were times when the failing body beset with numerous infections and no immune system to fight them off was on the verge of winning. Thank God, although the war against my cancers remain as they wait in the background to re-emerge at a future date, the constant prayers and goodwill, thoughts of hundreds of people across the world, along with the many dozens of masses offered up on my behalf enabled God to remain wedded to my existence and keep his faith in me. Thank you all so much.
My recent stay in the hospital brought my mind back to my earlier years of when I was 12/13, when a bad traffic accident necessitated me being a hospital inpatient for nine months and being unable to walk for three years due to a spinal injury. There were many times during this period when my body battled between 'resisting' and 'giving in.' At that time, a television character favourite of mine and the nation was Ena Sharples, who battled all and sundry between Coronation Street and Canary Wharf to get her way with the world. With my legs being immobile for a number of years when I was discharged from hospital back home, I still used my hands to earn a bit of extra money, plus a few other perks. I became a dab hand at ironing clothes (please note, with a non-electric black piece of metal that was warmed in the heat of a burning fire). When my next door neighbour, Mrs Brennan, on Windybank Estate learned of my skills in these quarters, we entered into a business transaction and agreed on 'a swap'. I would be allowed to sit in front of her television watching every episode of 'Coronation Street' while I ironed her family clothes with her electric iron. After a while, I became quite proficient and I'd even go as far as to say, with the exception of my mother and sister, Mary, I haven't yet met a woman whom I cannot iron better than! My proficiency nearly risked me making myself redundant, and in order to ensure that I never 'worked up' and cleared her washing basket, like the good train unionist I was already starting to mentally become, i would slow down and always leave some items to iron another day.
Of all the qualities that the character Ena Sharples possessed, and which I greatly admired, was the ability to 'speak her mind' as she thought it, without fear or favour of the consequences. Apart from being a 'battler', that was another characteristic I adopted in later life, (without the intention of 'putting anyone down' I might add), which Ena was less concerned about!
I have had a number of serious health issues throughout my life, but can tell you as a person of over 40 years studying human patterns of behaviour, that expressing one's views and feelings 'appropriately' instead of repressing them, is far healthier for the mind and body. From the many hundreds of different people which my work as a probation officer, counseller, group worker, relaxation trainer, anger management and assertive training instructor, the most difficult to help were often those, whom on the surface appeared to attract problems as opposed to present them for others.
I refer to the non-assertive person who is extremely reserved in character, the person who avoids all argument and dispute wherever possible; the see-saw buddy who would prefer to put themselves down while elevating you in their vision! This type of reasonable person who wouldn't normally say 'Boo' to a goose stores up so much repressed feelings that they are constantly under the weather. They have a poor self- image and an overall lack of confidence when it comes to socialisation; particularly whenever in the presence of a stranger or interacting in potentially embarrassing situations.
Their repressed feelings grows inside them through the repeated practice of not expressing themselves, and unlike the aggressive person (their opposite type), whose expressed anger hurts others indiscriminately when it 'explodes', the non-expressed anger of the non-assertive person builds up inside them until it gets too much and 'implodes'. It is like having a ticking time bomb inside that will one day take all control from your hands and go off when it wants to; turning the person into an emotional wreck, a disturbed being or even a murderer!
So it pays all of us to have a bit of Ena inside us and not simply take what lands on our plate or believe that we are here to put ourselves second all the time! The 4.00 am hour has passed, my recent months in hospital and toast have been digested and I find myself still wanting more out of life. Perhaps that is why I am so reluctant to relinquish it? " William Forde: February 17th, 2017.