Check out our guest blogger, Susan Parker! She decided to use her time to visit other Mudd Queens and this is her journey through it.
In November 2016, after being out of work for 8 weeks, with no sign of getting a new contract until 2017...I was financially secure, so I could afford to wait and I could afford to have a few adventures. Mentally, I was starting to feel a bit down and trapped in doing nothing. I decided to use my time to get out a bit and meet some people. The UKMQ group on Facebook was such a welcoming and supportive community online, and there were some that just needed a friendly face and maybe someone to go out for a coffee and a chat. I posted up an offer in the group that I wanted to meet up with other Mudd Queens, to share the love, give support and just be a friend and I was willing to drive an hour or so to see them.
Wow – The response was overwhelming. So many people were so pleased to see that I was doing this. MQs nominated friends who were down and others requested a visit. I extracted all the comments and replies to the original post and started contacting people. In the end, there were 8 different meet ups to schedule.
The first was close and easy, a group of 4 of us met at Westfield in Stratford City. We started with coffees and treats, and then moved on to lunch. We talked about everything and nothing. We shared a light sparkling wine (we were all using the trains), and enjoyed each other’s company. It was a gentle and easy start to my challenge.
I next met one of our MQHQ team. She invited me to train with her and work on my goal of doing a pull up. I trained while she worked and I had access to equipment to really help me understand the techniques required to do a pull up. I trained on my own and when she had a break, we could have our own chat and catch up. She said
“No matter what you are feeling, you are not alone. There are so many other people who have struggled in the same way you are. Don’t for one moment believe you are alone.”
She gave me a hug and had to go home to train for her own running challenge. She conquered in true MQ style with flare, fight, determination and a smile.
The next visit took me to Hailsham. This is a veritable community of Mudd Queens. Not all could join the meet up event, yet there were still 8 of them from the immediate area. This time, it timed in with a new Queen moving to the village. It gave her a chance to meet some of her neighbours and learn about the area from the locals. We sat in a large coffee shop chatted and traded stories for hours, and in the end, the school run brought a swift end to the meet up.
Then there was Romford, we had a meet up of 3 of us, with a surprise visit from a fourth. These Queens I had seen before, but only on race days. We were celebrating a milestone for one, and thoroughly entertained by the son of the other. We relaxed in a restaurant and chatted, learned more of the struggles, successes and fears of each of us. It was comfortable and easy, with laughs thrown in from our entertainer.
Another day I drove towards Dover and met with a Queen I knew a bit better. We had run Nuclear Fallout together, and this would be a chance to chat and have a bit of a social time rather than the rush of the race day. I arrived relatively early and we had a wonderful walk to a nearby playground which had monkey bars and played/practiced on them to build the technique (it really is all in the hips), then we went for a walk with her husband and the dogs along the coast. It was so foggy you could hardly see the water and the ships looked like they were sailing on the clouds. I stayed to the late afternoon and received a call which was a job offer to start in the new year. I drove home with a big smile and memories of a great day out and some breath-taking views. I wish I could move to this area!
The next visit took me to Wales. I had never been there before, but there was something in the message that I felt I should just go. She was willing to put me up for the night, so the drive was not so bad. So, off I went! We met at a pub with her friend and there were babies for each of us! Her friend had twins and she had a young one of her own. It was as if we had known each other for ages. We all just clicked. I felt so welcomed and accepted and again, we just spent the day and evening hanging out and talking about not much and at times, some of the more challenging things that were troubling her. The following day we were going to meet with her friends for coffee, and then go on to training. I met even more of her friends and we all talked more about all the things going on and supported this Queen through the trials she was having at the time. Training was put aside, we will have to have that beasting session another time. The purpose was to support a friend in need, and the talking was accomplishing more than a workout would have. The 4-hour drive home was filled with thoughts for her, the comfort that she had such a strong support network (some were fellow Queens), and a new perspective on my own relationship.
Several more happened, again at various locations and it was always the same, Queens supporting Queens through whatever was going on. I loved every minute of all the drives (only a few were less than an hour), and the time I spent with my unknown friends. In every case, there was one thing that struck me – I found every single one of them had, or continued to, conquer their fears, challenges and own mental battles. From a variety of anxieties, difficult or challenging relationships, or just struggling with the day to day beating life can offer sometimes - in every case, they were winning. They helped me see that I was winning too.
I am now back to working full-time and cannot get out to do such big adventures so easily. I have my family to be with and spend my weekends with them. I carry with me the memories of each visit and the strength I could see in each one of them to overcome whatever it was in front of them. If I am between contracts again, I will be making another post and I highly recommend this to anyone else who can do it. You will bring a little light to someone else’s day and learn more about yourself too. For me, it was clear that I really am NOT alone, in any challenge I face, there is another 3 or 4 other Mudd Queens who have had the same or similar experiences to me, and they are willing to talk about it and share their guidance, knowledge and support.