Mermaid

I am sat in the most beautiful azure blue bath, sparkling with gold glitter, feeling like a beautiful mermaid.

My daughter bought me a relaxation bathing kit for my birthday in April. Since we don’t have the fire on until winter, I’ve waited until now for hot bath water.

The bath bomb was blue and the top looked like golden crystals:

I’m not a bath bomb fan per se – I’ve heard stories that they’re not always great for your skin – but this was a beautiful and expensive gift that I’ve waited to use. The bath looks and smells beautiful and I feel like I’m in a tropical lagoon.

I’ve always had a vivid imagination. As a child (teen), long before we worried about the price of electricity, I would have long showers pretending I was in a waterfall or tropical pool. I could construct a whole narrative.

I also used to play outdoors alone, imagining myself in magical worlds or giving myself superpowers. On my pony, I would imagine we were winding our way through narrow cobbled streets on a quest, not exercising in a grassy paddock.

I love being imaginative and creative. At the moment, I’m starting on the decorations for my step sister’s wedding cake. I craft, sew, paint and draw.

One of the many things I loved about being a teacher was planning exciting lessons. Having to complete pupil voice each year, it was pleasing to note that my schemes of work were often the most popular.

It’s what I miss about teaching. Now, lesson plans are standardised. Everyone teaches the same. And, I get it. Shared schemes save workload and support new/inexperienced/ supply teachers. I introduced shared schemes as a Head of Department. But, I rarely enforced them. We had common assessment points. We had set assessment objectives. But I allowed the creativity of the teacher and the necessity to adapt learning for the climate of an individual classroom to dictate how those assessment objectives were taught. Today, many schools feel like examination conveyor belts. Pupils and teachers are bored. I was bored.

Being a tutor means I can plan bespoke, individual lessons to allow these vulnerable and disengaged children to enjoy learning again and feel successful. I love it. I love this job. But the pay and conditions are poor. I’m not compensated for printing and buying resources, or the many miles I travel between houses. There’s no security.

Following my dabble with Mindvalley’s Lifebook earlier this week, I found a few additional resources online to help. I can’t afford the $500 price tag. So, I’ve got to do it myself and I’ve found maybe 1/2 of the tools to help me.

One area of consideration is career. I’ve realised, and probably known deep down for a long time, I no longer care about my career. I have no ego. I’m proud of my successes and sad about its demise but I don’t care anymore about titles and power and notches on my career belt. What I love, is helping children and being creative.

And that, in a nutshell, is what my long desired business is about.

For now, again, it is parked. I can’t afford it at the moment and my focus needs to be on making enough funds to survive, my son and my own mental health.

Today was horrendous. My anxiety had hit tsunami proportions. I was actually shaking – something I’ve not done for 5 years. Tomorrow I have a meeting in my son’s school – the school that ended my career – and I have to face going in there again and try to be strong and fight for what my son needs.

Thank you to my recent reader for liking ‘glamorous’, a post of mine from last month. I always read the post if it’s been liked and not recent. It’s amazing how coincidentally, my own words are pertinent. This was exactly that.

Wish me luck tomorrow.

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Rain

Why don’t we do the things we want to do?

I ponder this question frequently. Or rather, I want to ponder it, but my Fort Knox brain shutters come down as it knows this is something triggering. I try to ponder it.

There are many things I want to do and I don’t do them.

If we have an idea of what would make us happy though, why don’t we do it?

I’ve dabbled in enough self help and personal development mini sessions to know a lot of this is to do with fear, failure and our brains protecting us. It also has a lot to do with confidence, self esteem and self preservation.

I know I’m not happy. I’ve not been truly happy for a long time. I also know that knowing I am unhappy makes me more unhappy with myself.

From everything I’ve learnt this past few years, I know that taking action has a big part to play in the journey to getting out of this.

And I have been. (Cue self celebration). I have been taking small actions recently. I’ve not given up or given in. This is real progress when you consider how I coped 18 months ago, and four years ago. My road to recovery this time has been shorter. I’m still on it of course, but I’ve started on the road quicker.

Take today, for instance. Yesterday I was moody and unsettled. This morning I’ve been in my head, so much so that I have a headache. But I’ve done two things today. One, I completed a Mind Valley Life Book questionnaire (which links to a course I can’t afford, but the report is very helpful) and I am currently sat in my garden, in the rain, periodically throwing a ball to my dog.

And why is this progress, I hear you ask? Because by completing the questionnaire, I’m trying. I’m fighting. I’m taking action. I’m refusing to dwell in the bog of my unhappiness. I’m trying to uncover all behind my brain’s Fort Knox so I can get the hell out of there.

And, by taking my dog out in the rain, I feel better. Yes, I’m wet and cold. But….I felt bad about not taking him out and now I have. And I proved that a little discomfort actually isn’t so bad when it is for the greater good. My dog is perfectly happy:

My issue, of course, is that I’m not sure where I’m heading. I’m still lost. Floundering, floating, directionless. I’ve an idea where I want to go. But I’m not sure. Scared. Terrified.

I have a lot to be happy and grateful about. I am blessed in many, many ways. This also makes me unhappy because I feel bad for feeling unhappy when I shouldn’t be.

I don’t know how I got here. I don’t know if it is a midlife crisis. My Dad dying. Unhappiness in my marriage that I stuck at for far, far too long. Covid. A Long Distance Relationship that exhilarates and frustrates me. Inherent mental health issues. Burn out. Potential neurodivergence. The collapse of the UK’s education systems and society. War. All of the above. Just me. I don’t know.

I guess it doesn’t matter but its in my nature to search for answers and source to the problem so I can solve the problem.

I love my life and hate my life.

I want someone to help me find answers but I also want to find them myself.

I want structure and I want flexibility.

I want to be a good mother and I want time to be me.

I want to lead but I want to be a team.

I want time alone but don’t want to be on my own.

I want to fill my time doing what I love but I want to learn new things.

I want to fill my time doing what I love but still be productive and efficient.

I want to fill my time doing things I love but don’t actually do any of them.

Why don’t I do the things I love, if I love them so much..?

What is it…?

I’m 42.

Is this a mid life crisis? Is this what it feels like? I’ve had a successful life in Western terms: University education, promising career of promotions, married, children, mortgage, own car. Admittedly, no savings. No drugs, crime or deviance in my life.

So why, please tell me, do I feel like I’m at that godforsaken crossroads AGAIN? The one where I have absolutely no idea which path to take.

And…what’s worse…I have no one to ask.

Yes, yes…I know…it’s my decision to make. My life, my decision.

But a rather alarming thought hit me before, as I was stewing in the unfortunate circumstances surrounding me. I genuinely have no one to ask. No father. My mother is, sadly, no longer the person I would go to for advice though I love her dearly. My younger sisters are struggling in their own lives. I have no grandparents. And…well…

Wildcard. Maybe my sister was right all those months ago when we argued. Maybe he and I don’t talk about anything deep and meaningful. I don’t tell him everything. I try. I give him the headlines, hoping he will understand. I’m not sure he does. And he rarely comments. Sometimes I ask him for an opinion and he won’t give me one. He says he doesn’t really understand or he doesn’t know. Not in all situations, granted. But in enough for it now to worry me.

But, what is it?? These are my problems and I have to deal with them? Or he’s my partner so we’re in this together? Hypothetically, of course.

Does he care when I’m upset or stressed? 100%. Does he try to cheer me up? Absolutely. Does he give me answers or suggestions? Occasionally. Am I trying to talk this situation positive? Yep.

My career is a stalled car. Quite a fancy one. I’m currently trying to decide whether to strip it for parts, fix it, dump it or upcycle it. I. Just. Don’t. Know.

What is it at the moment? Please reach out and let me know what you think of this….everyone around me seems to be struggling. My ex is off sick with stress. My youngest sister is at rock bottom. My other sister is struggling financially and feels something is missing in her life. My mum and partner are about to be made homeless. My eldest son was suicidal and has just been excluded from school. My daughter is as lost as me…barely finished studying, failed to get into Uni whilst also claiming she didn’t want to, walked out of an apprenticeship over poor conditions and pay, has no direction and is currently constantly ill and unemployed.

Is this a midlife crisis? Or is this just a really unfortunate set of circumstances? Is this Covid? The UK recession? The cost of living?

If this had happened 4 years ago, would I have had the strength and confidence to help them, like I used to? Should I be thinking about this…or again, are these their problems to solve? Do I carry their weight on my shoulders unhelpfully for all involved?

What is it? I’ve no one else to ask.

Anniversaries and celebrations

Afternoon!

I’m once again sat in my little wilderness, having a moment to think and journal.

I’ve worked this morning. Slowly but surely, my tutoring is picking up. After some issues with references (bitter referees rather than my wrong doing), I accepted more tutoring hours for now. When I get a full week I should be able to tick over financially whilst I consider my longer term goals.

It’s a beautiful day. And a good mood day for once.

Life continues its ups and downs. I’m still convinced I’ve done the right thing, but the right thing has led to a rather rocky path. I will get there though…just not sure where there is….can you relate?

This last week I celebrated three years with Wildcard. It was bittersweet really: I’m so happy to be with him but sad I’m not with him. So are the joys of a long distance relationship. It hit home a little more at the weekend when my mum came to visit. She’s funny with him – laughing and joking – and I love it. But I wondered, morose, if they will ever meet. Will he ever get here? Will he ever propose?

Mum and I were discussing her step daughter’s wedding cake which I will be making in a fortnight. We all talked the wedding and dresses and flowers…and again, I wondered if it will ever be my turn.

Yes…I know I’ve been married. But this is different. I feel different. It’s sad to say that, to admit that…but I want everyone to see and share in my absolute happiness and love for this man. That’s a very different to last time. And again, I don’t think it will happen. Not how I want.

It left me feeling very anxious and vulnerable all weekend. To be fair to him, he called me multiple times when my mum was there – so much that my family joked about it whilst my heart swelled. I want him there, so much. So much.

I have seven weeks to go before I am with him. Yesterday someone read a post from my fourth trip with him and, as always, I read it to remind myself of what happened.

Oh goodness…! I relived him coming into my room at 5am, neither of us able to sleep as it was my first night there. I felt the hugs and the warmth and the intimacy and my heart ached to be near him again.

His mother passed her driving test this week and I’m praying this will give him the confidence to finally make the decision to commit – I know how much worry for his parents is a factor in his hesitancy. It’s so easy for me then to daydream that he will propose on my next visit. But.. I’ve been there before, and expectation leads to disappointment. It will happen when – if – it’s right. I know he loves me, I really do. I just need to be patient.

In other news, following a little trip of her own, my sister has been reinspired by our business ideas. She’s considering moving in with me for a year or so to help me financially and to prepare for the business and also to help her save to hopefully buy her own place. Watch this space.

Frozen heart

Hey there,

I know I’ve been quiet again. From nothing to daily posts…and then I go again.

The day after my last post, reality hit. I started writing a new post.. mainly along the lines of ‘what have I done?’. Repeatedly.

It didn’t help that a colleague messaged me to tell me big changes had happened at my (now) old school. Should I have just waited?

No, I shouldn’t. I can’t deny my financial worries haven’t plagued me all week because they have.

But…

The same day I got a call to say I had been cleared to work. Wednesday I met the young man and I started tutoring him Friday. I also told the company I wasn’t happy with the pay, and they’ve raised it and extra £5 an hour.

Thursday I went for an interview at another agency. It’s local, I like the manager, and he’s said he can find me work and – more than that – he’ll find me exactly the right place.

Friday afternoon I got a call from a third agency. They’ve said pretty much the same thing – they have contacts, they can find me work. They mentioned a job that I can start immediately, subject to checks etc. It will be until July.

So…all in all…I know, financially I’m in for a rough ride in the next few months. But I will get there.

As usual, I’m undecided in which route to take. I’m not planning on making a decision for a day or too.

I can’t…I just can’t get my business idea out of my head. I’ve talked about this..or a simple version of this… for 8 years or so. It won’t come out of my head.

And yet…I’m not really doing anything about it. Yes, I’m thinking a lot. I’ve done some planning. I’ve made a few small steps, unfortunately which haven’t got me even to the starting block never mind off it. But in my heart, this is what I should do.

My head.. well my head tells me to tale the financially secure version. The version which helps everyone but…freezes my heart.

Resilience is relative

Just so you know, I hate that word. With an absolute soul shuddering passion. 
It's a word some people use to dismiss other's feelings and make them feel weak and unworthy. It tells them that they should be stronger, not show their emotions. It hints that you're being perceived as lesser, broken.
I really don't know if this is just British culture - stiff upper lip, you know what I am talking about - this idea that we should all be built with some innate iron strength to cope when life really is the pits.
Resilience is relative though, isn't it?
Someone losing their job with a bank full of savings and a spouse on a decent income is different to a single parent losing their job up to their eyes in debt. And yet, both will feel the strain in their own way, relative to their situation. Therefore, telling someone to be 'resilient' really annoys me. You, on your high horse...you have no idea how that person feels it's not your life, your context, its theirs. Just because you can cope in those set of circumstances but in your context, doesn't mean they can. 
Show them love. Show them care and empathy. Give them a little strength to find their own path to survival. Don't tell them to be resilient.

I saw my cousin last night (his wife is who I’d taken the pot rose to a few days ago).  He told me I was brave for what I had done in leaving my career. “Or stupid,” I replied.

“No.” He said. “You’d have been stupid to carry on, feeling like that.”

*****

It’s another beautiful autumnal day. Golden leaves are falling now. I’m sat outside in a short sleeved t shirt and whilst I’m not warm, I’m liking the slight chill to the breeze that’s rustling the leaves.

My mind was full of Amy last night. I didn’t know her well – knew her little son more who played with my son and niece and nephew – but knew her enough to say hello and stop and chat. I looked at her Facebook page and saw pictures of her happy little family and the gratitude she had for them.

Thinking about that little family’s loss now, things get put in perspective.

So what if I actually shampooed my carpet, only for it to go smelly, leading me to cover it in bicarb (Internet hack) which won’t vacuum up so I now have a cow patterned carpet?

So what if I left a job that left me soul broken? So what if I don’t have spare cash anymore? I have my life and my kids and my family and my Wildcard.

There’s so many clichés to say here….life is short, you only live once, you could die tomorrow.

Clichés are almost as bad as the word ‘resilience’. They are poignant and important but deemed irrelevant by over or improper use.

I’ve had a very lucky life, compared to some.   I’ve had a difficult life compared to others.

What I do know is I’ve spent a large part of it unhappy when I didn’t need to. Either because my head was stuck in the negative or I failed to change my life when I should have. No more.

Life is short but…

Life is beautiful. Life is Love.

If you let it be.

Glamorous

I’ve unfortunately hit the brakes today. It’s midday and I just don’t feel like doing anything.

I haven’t been entirely slovenly though. I woke up early today, using Mel Robbins’ ‘wake up challenge’ as inspiration. Nighttime is often a trigger for me: I know when I turn off that light my mind will race. I’d taken to scrolling just to block thoughts until I’m too exhausted to do anything but sleep. Unfortunately, that way I can hit 1am or later before actually dropping off. Recently I’ve switched back to reading and whilst I’m still passing midnight awake, it’s got to be better than scrolling. Naturally, I’m sleeping in later which is unhelpful.

Well, today the alarm was set for 6.45 and up I got. I took my boys to school, only to discover that on his first day back, my eldest had forgotten to take his ADHD medication.

I returned home, showered and beautified a little and then braved visiting the school with his meds.

As I’ve mentioned previously, this is the school I worked at for over 10 years and the subject of the end of my leadership career 18 months ago. I’ve not stepped foot in it since then, even though my son goes there. Today, I had no choice. Today, I had to do this for him.

Those were my thoughts as I pulled up to the school. I took a deep breath or three, firmly planted my brave face on, and walked in.

I was met with the receptionist, someone I knew from my time there. She looked happy to see me and commented on how well I looked, saying I looked glamorous! I was wearing a slightly bobbly pink jumper and black jeans, so hardly glamorous, but I took the compliment. She whispered about how bad the school was and how unhappy she was there…seems to be a running theme in schools at the moment. I said hello to a couple of other colleagues, gave my son his meds and walked out with my head held high. Whilst I’m not going to happily walk in there again unless necessary, I achieved something today.

I came home, picked up the carpet cleaner and returned it to the store, picking up a few groceries on the way. Since coming home and eating, I don’t feel like doing anything. Not in a depressive way – I actually feel good – but in a lazy way.

It’s now the evening. My writing was interrupted by a message from my cousin’s wife – she’s been a bit low so I went out to meet her and bought her a cute little pot rose. We chatted briefly and I told her about my dream business – despite all the struggles she is having, she encouraged me to do it. I’m tempted just to book the training and go for it. I returned home to clean and completed all the new agency paperwork I was avoiding.

I’m getting there. I’m doing it. I didn’t go back to bed, I didn’t just sit there.

I can do this.

Today

Today, I felt love.

Today, I felt peace.

Today, I felt anger.

Today, I felt fear.

Today, I felt proud.

Today, I felt disappointment.

Today, I felt inspired.

*******

Where to start…?

Today started out with anxiety. My son was returning to school after a week for a meeting about the support they would hopefully put in place for him. My ex took him for the meeting. I used to work there and so couldn’t face it, but I’d done the preparations by emailing requests and speaking to the staff member yesterday.

My ex and son came after the meeting and said it had gone really well. The teacher had brought a copy of my email and had agreed to everything on it. My ex hadn’t had to intervene (I’d prepped him on what to say) and my son was calm and prepared for hai return tomorrow.

I felt what only could be described as relief and momentary peace. 🥰

When they left, I got stuck into cleaning my house. I’d hired a carpet cleaner to remove some unfortunate stains caused by pets and kids. It’s hard work but I quite enjoy it. I had done the living room yesterday and did upstairs today. I cleaned both boys’ rooms and listened to a Mel Robbins’ podcast which motivated me further. I was proud of myself. Mel’s podcasts are BRILLIANT and she inspired me to keep going and be positive.

Unfortunately, my sister did not arrive as planned. That annoyed me as it’s not the first time.

By dinner time I was exhausted.

A colleague from school called me and I listened as she moaned about the state of it all. I did not feel one ounce of regret for leaving: she confirmed all my reasons for going.

I then spoke to Wildcard. Today, he showed me love repeatedly. At one point, he’d look at me sneakily and I’d blow him a kiss. He’d look away and then do the whole thing again. This went on much longer than I expected. It was lovely. I felt loved.

Disappointment soon crept in though. At the end of the call, I went downstairs to discover an alarming smell…. turns out, my house isn’t warm enough to dry carpets and the downstairs is starting to smell like damp washing. All that time, effort and money…

So, tomorrow, before I return to vacuum, I will go over the carpet again and see if I can pick up some calor gas for my fire. It’s an expensive way of drying a carpet, but I don’t have much choice. Whilst today I finally braved calling round for a chimney sweep, I can’t risk a fire until its been done and that’s a few weeks off.

Us humans are emotional beings. I like that I’ve felt all this today: it’s better that just feeling depressed.

I’m doing it…I’m clawing my way back up.

Try

My days plod on.

My brave face lens is working most of the time. I may have to ‘gee’ myself up, but after some time I have been taking action.

I’ve cleaned my bedroom. I’ve phoned and emailed my son’s school and dealt best I can with an education establishment that appears not to care. Tomorrow, hopefully, he will go back.

I’ve contacted the agencies. I’ve been sent application emails. No, I’ve not yet dealt with them. But I will.

I’ve got out of bed every day. I’ve tried.

My brave face appears to be working with Wildcard. Things, on the outside at least, seem to have slipped back to where they were. Almost. Kind of. I’m not sure, really.

It’s hard not to question everything in this dark place. Is it me? Is it him? Are we just not meant to be?? Should I give up? How would I cope if he leaves? Should I back off so he misses me? What if he doesn’t? Am I actually happy or not? What the hell is going on?

Yesterday, my sister and her friend came round. We ended up discussing my business idea – my sister’s friend has experience in this line of work and was a great motivator. I was nervous and scared at times but hope began to blossom again.

She said… she said it appears that a lot of my fear is because I’m doing something for myself. That hit home. A lot of my angst about leaving my career was around how I’d let down others, not bringing in that managerial wage. This business is for me…except, my business is to help others. It is a risk though. In today’s financial climate…

I’m back to feeling a little indecisive…about the big things anyway.

But I’m trying. And that’s the best I can do.

It’s a beautiful day.

This morning’s wins…I’ve practised facial care. I’ve made waffles. I’ve spoken to my mother.

I’m sat outside. Not in bed.

There’s no filter on that photo. Beautiful, isn’t it? Even though my hedge is overgrown and there are nettles in the ‘flower bed’. You can see the roses my dad loved – the ones that have grown into the hawthorn hedge and grow above it to reach the sunlight. It’s October and they are still flowering.

Too high up for a clear picture, but you get the point.

Then there’s the stag horn. Two in fact. These are not the original one. It died years ago. We left these two off shoots – two of many – and they are growing, crooked, in completely the wrong place. Their leaves are just beginning to turn colour. Beautiful.

Neither of these plants should be where they are. They’ve not been cared for or looked after. They’re not planted in the optimum place. In fact, on more than one occasion, I’ve tried to get rid of them -long, long ago when I actually cared for this garden. And yet, there they are on this glorious autumn day. They’ve kept fighting and growing against all odds. And they’re thriving, against all odds.

WordPress, I need your help.

Don’t worry, I’m not asking for money!

For the past 18 months I’ve had a business idea and it’s an idea that won’t go away. It’s something I really want to do but my lack of confidence is stopping me.

What I want from you is your honest opinion. In a way, you are the perfect audience because I’m not trying to sell you my idea because you all live too far away. All I want is your opinion. You have no reason to lie or sugar coat the truth because you don’t actually know me.

If you’re willing to help a stranger from a different land, please get in touch. Ideally, you will have children or nieces or nephews as my business is for children.

Many thanks in anticipation.