Learning

I got the job! I felt a lot of things, relief being the main one. No more stressing about my future, money or job applications. I have a job.

I would not exchange this past year though. It’s been really hard but it’s been a real learning journey. I watched a Facebook video that summed it up perfectly:

When you’re surrounded by darkness, don’t assume you’ve been buried. Think that instead, you’ve been planted.

I’ve been in the dark. I’ve felt the weight of the soil. I’ve fought drought and floods, heat and cold. Now I’ve pushed through. The journey is just beginning though: I’m just a little seedling. But I’m strong, I know that.

This weekend is a big one. My daughter’s 18th, her party, and I am going to see Wildcard for two weeks.

I’m feeling many, many feelings and emotions about both events. But I’m not letting them overwhelm me. It’s a battle sometimes, but I’m winning the war overall.

Although I should be doing a number of things on my prep list, I’m sat relaxing with an ice pack on my shin. Sunday’s gardening for the party resulted in a horsefly bite which is now infected. It’s trebled in size since Sunday and is red, hot and firm to the touch. I have been given antibiotics but I’m terrified – my mum suffers from lymphadaema and cellulitis and has never seemed to be completely clear of it for some years. I’ve long been scared that I will get this. My leg is elevated and I’m taking my medicine so I just hope that I start seeing some improvement overnight or I will have to be seen again.

It’s hard not to attribute this to my weight, although horseflies aren’t prejudiced. Mum is severely overweight. She wasn’t always though. And then of course was my Aunty’s comment that I had been ‘really skinny’ the first time I’d visited Wildcard – a stone and half lighter to be fair – which hasn’t helped.

But, to ensure the self-hatred knife gets truly embedded in my newly reformed confidence, I ran in to an old friend this afternoon as I was shopping.

Not to speak to of course. I saw her before she saw me and then something I’d bought triggered the door alarm and I returned to the till. So she definitely saw me.

We haven’t spoken for about six months. Before that, probably another six months. This was the friend that I used to go out with a couple of times a week – shopping walking, coffee. Our friendship deteriorated rapidly when I started my relationship with Wildcard. She was prejudiced, jealous and disagreed wholeheartedly with my relationship. Some of her words still haunt me – she was someone whose advice and support I once highly valued.

We drifted apart. She re-befriended her long time best friend that she had fought with when she became closer to me. She didn’t contact me when she contracted Covid and became seriously ill – instead, allowing her best friend to contact a work colleague she didn’t actually trust. But then, I didn’t contact her either.

We met briefly last year. She was due to return to work after long covid and I was about to sign my termination agreement.

Last week I actually messaged her – I’d been thinking about her and had discovered one of her favourite artists was visiting our local city. Her reply was dismissive. She didn’t take the olive branch and our two message conversation ended there.

When I spotted her, I was struck by three things. 1 – I didn’t want to speak to her. I was embarrassed and knew there was nothing to say that meant anything anymore. 2 – I was happy to see she was with her daughter and two grandchildren (small babies) and that the 5 year feud was over. 3 – she had lost a lot of weight. As in, barely recognisable.

I’m slightly shamed to say, that’s what I am now obsessing about. She had lost a lot of weight when we first became good friends and then plateaued. She then put a little back on. At that point, I lost my 3.5 stone. I’ve now put some back on and she’s lost even more.

I’m really, really pleased for her. Her life appears to be back in order now. I wish she hadn’t seen me still in the struggles of mine but that is entirely pride.

We meet people for a reason. At a particular time. We support them, they support us. And when that need is no longer there, we drift apart. We fight for those we can’t live without. We fight the grief of when we lose them because they can’t or won’t be with us anymore.

I’m hoping when I next see her, my pride will diminish and I will have the confidence to say hello. I had a feeling that this would have been unwelcome though- by the time I left the shop she was walking away. She could have waited if she wanted to speak to me – clearly she didn’t either.

As the days pass by, I know I can’t live without Wildcard. But I also know that something has shifted there, too. I can’t put my finger on it but it’s there. A few weeks ago I was really anxious about it. I also started putting the pressure on for this trip – setting a benchmark of expectations that will only cause stress and arguments when I get there .

But…there will come a time soon when I may need to make decisions. That is – if he doesn’t make any.

I’m finding it hard to picture our future now . I don’t know how this will all work out. It scares me. I want to fight for him. But maybe, like my once-was friend , he won’t want that.

My plan? Enjoy and see. Let my little life-seedling bask in the warmth and see what happens.

Interview 2

So, I didn’t get the job I wanted. But it’s OK. I left feeling I had done the best I could and if I didn’t get it, it wasn’t right for me.

I was eventually contacted Wednesday afternoon. Friday, I had my feedback. It was as expected – someone with more business experience got the role. They gave me a couple of tips to help but it all ended with me feeling generally OK about the whole thing.

Tomorrow is my interview for the school position. I still am not 100% that I want it

Why?

(FEEL FREE TO SEND VIRTUAL KICKS)

Because I want my own business.

However, this is a means to an end:

Get back on board with my career.

Get my finances straight.

Learn from my new employer.

Start saving for my business.

Leave when ready and start my own venture.

See? A solid plan.

Of course, I have a whole day’s interview to get through first. I’m nervous, doubtful, determined and goodness knows what else.

Wish me luck.

The ups and downs

Hello there everyone. I’m on my lunch break.

It’s been an eventful couple of weeks. I’m sat with a knot in my stomach.

After weeks of contemplation, stress and feeling lost I finally made some decisions about my life.

I decided that I would continue with my application outside of education. I also decided that I would apply for the school leadership role which I had been approached about. Finally, I decided I would have to tell my current employer about it, thus risking his childish wrath again and losing any opportunity for the enhanced role if I’m not successful on the other two.

So how’s that worked out for me?

The interview was Thursday evening. I walked out feeling I had done all I can (within reason) and a renewed confidence in all I’ve achieved. It would be down to what they were truly looking for. I was told me would find out Monday.

This meant, as I may not get the job, I had to fill in the application for the school as that deadline was also Monday.

As Monday dragged on with no communication from the charity, I realised that I needed to let my boss know now. No more hiding behind possibilities. I wrote the email and sent it off.

It’s now Tuesday afternoon. I still haven’t heard from the charity.

I had no strong feeling either way about my chances but knew I had done the best I could. Regardless, I still had a miniscule thread of hope that I would be successful. Today, I’ve emailed them to say thanks for the opportunity and that I assume it wasn’t successful. I’ve asked for feedback. So far, nothing.

A little but of me is angry. They seemed so nice! So apologetic when they kept moving the interview date! But to not communicate at all now? I’m disappointed. Don’t keep me hanging. Rip the plaster off in one go and let the air get to the wound.

Last night I started looking a few more possibilities. My boss emailed me back and was rather magnanimous. And then I realised that it is unlikely I will find what I want in the next few weeks and he knows it. He’s probably quite smug. There a few jobs out there and I will apply for them.

Overall, I’m kicking myself for not pursuing the business. That’s what I really want. I wouldn’t treat people as I have been treated.

And so, life goes up and down.

Talking to myself

I’m at crisis point decision-wise. It’s now or never.

I have a number of paths ahead of me.

The first is to jump back into my career, at a stage not far from where I left it. Responsibility, good pay and my career would be back on track with barely an issue from my year’s absence. I have a very good chance of getting this job.

But…I don’t know if I want it. Thinking positively, I may love it again. A new school, new ethos, new situation. Or, I maybe I will feel frustrated at the symmetry of two academy chains and hate what it has made me become.

The second is to stay with the company I am with. My boss wants me to stay and has offered me an improved package to keep me. Up until recently, I’ve been happy there. But it is a much lower salary than I am capable, albeit for less stress. I’m also unhappy with the way he has gone about trying to keep me – some very large red flags are waving at the moment. I don’t like being manipulated and that’s what he did. I recognise that he needs me to stay on and he is thinking about his business. I also acknowledge that he has been great other than that. But….I’m not happy with him and I can’t let it lie. It’s a nasty irritation that I can’t ignore.

Then there’s the job I have an interview for. I want this job. I have no idea on the salary but I don’t care if I can make it up with tutoring. It excites me and will challenge me and will look good on my CV. It will develop new skills and experiences and I think it will give me job satisfaction.

I think I’ve just answered my question.

However… this job is not guaranteed. If I go for it, I am going to have to pass on the other two opportunities. If I don’t get it, I will have to find a new job. I don’t trust my boss-with those-big-red-flags will treat me well again.

Am I being injust and unfair?

Should I go for money? Or time? Or potential job satisfaction?

The catch

Well, I did it. I have actually started my own business.

I know, can you believe it? Me. I have registered the name and business with the Government, paid for a domain and have started building my website.

There is a lot to do. And one could argue that it is not officially a business until I actually sell something. It feels official though, and that is what is important.

This last few days I have had to curb my excitement somewhat in order to actually work on my day job. My boss has given me some admin work and although time consuming, I’m actually enjoying it. By mid week though, I hope to be back on to my business.

For that reason, today has been a bit of a back step. I woke with good intentions but am not sure what I actually did or achieved today. I just felt overwhelmed with everything and didn’t know where to start…kids, business, house, work, garden, me….

Earlier in the week I actually timetabled my whole week. From experience, it is doubtfully that I will stick to it entirely, but it does help with overwhelm usually. When I feel stressed at my workload, I look at my plan and content myself with just doing what is on my list. I ignore the rest for the day they are scheduled. It works 90% of the time.

What I will say about my current situation, is that it is a lonely place. I wish someone was with me in all this. My sister dips in and out, my best friend made a whole load of promises she never kept. Wildcard is…. too far away. He has helped with some things.

Two of my friends have been a great help though. One, who has been a friend for 20 years now, calls me each Monday to see how  I am getting on. She is a great accountability partner and I look forward to her calls and how it spurs me on.

More recently, I reached out to a friend from here, just to say hello and catch up but she ended up giving me some great advice too. ūüėä.

There is help out there, and I appreciate it.

It is just over three weeks until I go to see Wildcard again. It’s been six months since my last visit. It will be a short one – about four days excluding a day of travel each way. He is worth it though.

Of course, that inner voice which I have learnt so much about has raised her ugly head. She tells me that he isn’t excited about me going, doesn’t care in fact. She tells me that perhaps I shouldn’t go, maybe I would be better staying alone.

There are moments when I believe her. I’ve listened to her for so many years, it is hard not to. Then I remind myself that she is scared. She’s just trying to protect me, keep me safe and in the status quo.¬† Change is scary and dangerous – she is just trying to keep me safe.

Equally, it’s hard not to let my mind go to La La land and imagine all the romantic things I want, that will not happen. Expectation is the root of all disappointment and I refuse to go there again. Well, I’m trying to refuse.

And there it is…the catch. To get what you want you have to follow your dreams. Except in love. Daydreaming about love doesn’t get you anywhere.

Where d’you go?

I’ve talked many times about coincidences. I don’t believe in them. Let me clarify.

Think of the million and billions of pieces of information our amazing body processes each day. Just think about that. So much information, a crazy amount that our brain just dismisses as not important.

Mindfulness teaches us to stop and take note of those things we would normally dismiss. Have you ever done that? I dare you not to crack a smile when you realise you’ve just seen a leaf in the perfect shape of a heart amongst hundreds of other normal ones. Or by gazing in the sky for a moment, you see a clutch of low flying Canada geese – so low you can see some of their colours and markings.

However, the point I am trying to make, is that from time to time information- signs – come together mysteriously,¬† and the clich√©d light bulb comes on. I don’t believe they are coincidences because with so much information saturating us each day, surely there would be such coincidences every day??

Of course, we can choose to dismiss and ignore these signs. We can acknowledge them and do nothing. What has stuck with me recently,  is that every second we make choices which change the very course of our life. Despite this, we choose to ignore or push aside or subdue certain choices, at times.

I started this blog five years ago. I had just separated from my husband and I knew that this was the end of my marriage. I felt a certain amount of hope, amongst the sadness, that my life was going to change. I was going to get the life I wanted. I had paid my dues, you see, I had put my heart and soul into a marriage that was never going to work. I walked away knowing I- at least – had given it everything I had.

I sit here, somewhat ashamed that this blog has failed. It hasn’t documented a new life because my life hasn’t changed a great deal. Sure, there are momentary changes. But so many of them were bends in the road, nothing to do with me and my will.

I will give myself a break and say that I am trying. I have made decisions- of course I have- which have affected my life. Finally getting the divorce. Choosing to date again. Allowing myself to fall in love with a man in another continent. Visiting him. Walking away from a successful and high paid career. So how can I say I failed?

Because I feel like I haven’t found my purpose. I’ve feel like I’ve lived someone else’s life. I can’t tell you how long I have felt that without even knowing it.

Now, as I said in my last post, I’m reaching the point of making some big decisions.¬† Ten months of dilly-dallying and I need to finally make some decisions. I must.

Truth is,¬† I’m desperately trying to find myself. I’m lost. I’ve felt lost for some years. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know my purpose. I don’t trust myself and my judgement any more.

I’m working on that. I’ve taken New Year by the horns and I am working on myself. I’ve signed up to some workshops and I’ve bought some books. I’ve allowed myself to think…ironic, as I think too much…but what I mean is actually think¬† about things that I have avoided thinking about.

I’ve tried to be someone I am not for twenty years. Yes, twenty years. My beliefs about who I am and who I should be, have fueled this. I’ve worn a mask. I’ve worked so, so hard to keep that mask in place and be the person I thought I should be. I’ve never believed I could be who and what I secretly want. I have no confidence. I have no self belief. Because a large part of my life has been a lie.

Despite best efforts, it is impossible to have and do everything we want in life. Millionaires commit suicide. Hollywood stars numb themselves with drug and alcohol. Simplicity is underestimated. Accepting that we can not do and have it all is crucial. Appreciating what we have and focusing on the essential things is key. (Hussey)

Whilst this has been milling about my head all week, tonight I had my first night to myself in some time. Scrolling, I found a new release:

The title was poignant. I’m lost. I need to find myself. It was worth a try.

I loved and hated this film. I almost turned it off half way through. Until I realised that¬† was because it made me uncomfortable. It made me face things I wasn’t ready to.

I’ve been running away from self-truths, from my beliefs – however erroneous they may be –¬† for many, many years. I’m not myself because I’m not allowing myself to do what I want. What makes me, me.

We are our beliefs. Who we think we are, we become. And as many of my beliefs about myself are negative, my life has been dominated by that.

I wrote recently about Mel Robbins and her work. She is fabulous. I follow her on Facebook and it seems like every day she posts something that just resonates..or at the very least, gets you thinking. A recent post was this:

I’m struggling to make decisions because I’m finding it hard to distinguish between my passionate my purpose. I didn’t know there was a difference.

I’m struggling to make decisions because of my belief system. It’s all wrong. And I’ve carried that round with me since childhood. The foundations are all wrong. Therefore the building and the workmanship are too.

There’s a lot of work to do. But I choose to find myself.

Sensible

How are we in the middle of January already?!

As suspected, it wasn’t long before things with Wildcard went back to normal. Sensible me knew this would happen. Unfortunately, sensible me doesn’t always prevail.

I had a HUGE row with my ex this week. I say row but it was more me shouting at him. And that was purposeful. You see, he timed his conversation purposely to ensure both sons were home and listening on loud speaker. He then manipulates the conversation so I explode, and then hammers the message home to my children – quite overtly and calmly – that I am the issue.

In truth, he is selfish and manipulative and deceptive. My daughter – daddy’s girl by the way – is aware of this. My boys are not.

I’ve read somewhere that disappointment comes from expectation. I expect my ex to treat me with respect. I expect him to play fair. I expect him to be considerate. In reality, he doesn’t. Hence the divorce I guess. What I won’t do, is play his game. I could tell my children so many things about him, but I don’t. He can make his own mistakes.

Sensible me knew what he was doing. And as Wildcard said, I should have calmly played along. Then, when the boys weren’t there, I could have said my piece without them hearing. I wasn’t sensible. I was outraged.

Sensible me also knows that I am not earning enough money and that next month I am going to struggle. I’m still lost in indecision. More tutoring? This will take time away from my children and Wildcard – what’s the point in me leaving a high powered career to only overwork myself again? Supply or a permanent teaching post? See above. I don’t want it. I DON’T WANT IT.

I still want my own business. I still want to be creative and helpful and flexible. The small business I launched just before Christmas didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. I’ve done little with it since.

And so, all this ties together to mean one big … huge…decision.

I’m considering selling part of my property to my sister.

She is desperate to have our childhood home. Or at least a part of it – buy land and build on it. At present, she couldn’t afford all of it, but some of it. Financially, I need help. Paying off some of the mortgage or debt would help. I fell out of love with my home years ago. There has been years of conflict over my buying the house from my parents. My step brother and sister hate me for it and subconsciously, I can’t get past that. Finally, my sisters are worried that if I marry again, I may lose part of the house – their childhood home – in another divorce. Including if I was to marry Wildcard, and particularly because of their wariness of his Nationality and intentions.

Oh and my ex is still on the deeds.

He offered to be taken off some time ago but we haven’t got round to it. I don’t know if I will be able to remortgage now I am earning half of what I once earned. It’s a mess.

I’ve looked at a few solicitors and am considering making an appointment to get some advice. If my sister bought half of the property, I could pay off my mortgage, my debt, make a few improvements and maybe even give my ex a little. Even though he doesn’t deserve it.

It would mean that the pressure to work ridiculous hours goes. It seems a sensible option but of course there are negatives too.

I’ve realised that I have no one to discuss this with. My mum is too close to the situation, as is my other sister. My ex? Absolutely not.

I wish I could discuss this with Wildcard but I can’t for so many reasons. The language barrier. The implications about him. I don’t want him to know that I could be struggling financially in the near future. I don’t want to force a conversation about our future although it is what I really want to do. I wish we could plan together. But he isn’t ready. Maybe I need to be a bit more sensible of the implications of all of that.

In the short term, I need to apply for some more tutoring posts and try to boost my hours as much as I can. My sister owes me money and I will have to ask for it back.

It’s hard work, being sensible.

5am

I’m ashamed to say that I’m still awake. It’s 5.30am.

I wish I could say I had been out socialising. Or had spent the night having passionate sex, or talking the night away by candlelight. I’d even settle for working a night shift.

No. Nothing so enjoyable, satisfying or productive. I just can’t sleep.

Since my last ‘woe is me’ post, a few things have happened. My ex apologised…then asked for money. I ranted at my daughter for the unfairness of it all and then realised that I’m to blame. I could say no. I could have a clear picture of my finances to be able to say yes or no.

So this morning in a flurry of purpose, spurred on by last night’s attempt until 2am, I got to work.

Yes, it took hours. Yes, it was absolutely depressing. Yes, I’m going to be severely short of money in January. But I did it. I even managed to sort a few things out.

If my plan to work full time from October had happened, I would be ok. It’s now 22nd Nov and it still hasn’t happened.

I sat and wrote a list of 18 ways I can increase my income. I was pumped, positive. Who says I need one source of income? Why can’t I put all my skills and hobbies to work to earn more cash?

By this afternoon, it had all come crashing down. Maybe, I just need a proper teaching job.

There is a Head of English job going in the next city. It pays well. I could do it. I don’t want it.

I’ve looked at exam marking. Considered babysitting, selling anything sellable in my house and writing. Working abroad. Getting a lodger. Getting an evening job washing dishes like my daughter. Ridiculous.

This, this is why I’m sat here, bleary eyed and a little dizzy and wanting but failing to sleep.

I’m tired. But I’m also tired of lying in bed and worrying, missing, stressing, thinking, hating.

I wish I could afford a life or business coach, but I can’t. I wish I could keep away from my savings but I don’t think I can. I wish I could be there for my children and earn enough money to live comfortably. I think it is impossible.

My positive note for today is that I have faced the rather depressing 6 month old elephant in the room. Now I just need to work out how I can earn some money.

Who, what, where?

So, what life do I want? Who do I want to be?

Is this a midlife crisis – is that what it is? Or is this normal?

Let me take you back 5 years.

In 2016 I was 36 years old. My youngest child was 2. I was still married and my Dad was still alive. I had been promoted to Assistant Headteacher a year before and a new Headteacher was just starting at my school, bring anticipation for good things to come. But…

I was very, very unhappy in my marriage and had been since we had got back together. By the end of October we would have separated for good. My Dad was ill. We knew that we were lucky he was still with us but didn’t know how long we would have with him. Work held promise but was a very negative place. Soon, I would have a burnout from the pressure and stress of my life.

A lot can change in five years. Unexpected things happen. Planned things don’t happen. So much is out of our control but then a lot is in our control, but we don’t realise until it is too late.

In my first 40 years, what did I achieve?

I’m proud of my education and career and how hard I worked.

I’m happy that I was able to support my parents financially

I’m happy about the wonderful home I have and have given my children.

I’m proud of myself for being brave and getting out of an unhappy marriage and surviving.

I’m happy I finally managed to lose weight and keep some off.

I’m proud that I was able to look after my Dad and be there for my sisters.

I’m proud that I was brave enough to look for love again.

I’m proud that I have travelled, and even more so that I have travelled alone.

But what have I not achieved? What dreams and goals and aspirations are outstanding? What have I always wanted to do but not managed? In 40 years time, what do I want my achievements to be?

In five years time, where and who do I want to be?

Time to think.

Decisions and positivity

31st August 2021

Today is weird day. As in, I’ve felt weird all day. It is the last day of my employment. The last day of my current career, a career I’ve been in for 18 years.

I don’t know how to feel. I’ve loved being a teacher but have been unhappy for some time.

I’m tired of initiatives, jumping on bandwagons, the career obsessed, the paranoid, the power hungry, the government interference, the lack of team work, new apps and websites, assessment without levels, new exam specs, ever shifting grade boundaries and goal posts, revolving policies, academies, endless paperwork, watching my back…I could go on. I will miss the kids. Their innocence, their hopes, their fears, their characters, their laughter, their honesty, their gratitude, their potential. So I guess that is how I feel.

People have said that once this is all over, I will feel better and will want to go back to teaching. It hasn’t happened yet. I’ve considered tutoring but I don’t want to. I’ve considered supply but I don’t want to. Yes, I’m scared of failing. But there’s more. I’ve lost my passion for the job. I am disheartened, burnt out and can’t trust any more.

However, I’m a single mother whose ex borrows money from me rather than contributes. I have a mortgage to pay. Three children to look after.¬†

When I get my settlement money, I need to be careful. There isn’t any more after that.


As today is September 3rd, you can see that I didn’t finish that post. I didn’t know what else to say.

I’m still unsure what to do. I’m stood at a crossroads. The way behind me has the Great Wall of China, a landmine field¬† Sleeping Beauty’s thorn wall and goodness knows what else blocking me. I can’t go back.

But in front of me are many paths. I know which one I want to take but that one is the scariest. There are much easier paths that I just don’t want. Decisions, decisions.

I go to see Wildcard in two weeks. I’m excited. I know that I could work a little before then (if I take the easy, less desirable path) but it is not difficult to choose to wait until I get back. More decisions.

On a positive note, I’m on day six of a detox diet. It’s basically vegan with reduced sugar and caffeine too – I’m only having honey occasionally and one coffee a day. There’s lots of healthy grains, pulses, fruit and veg and nuts. Today I am eating chia pudding for the first time and trying to convince myself it doesn’t look like frogspawn. Quinoa looks like bird seed. But, I’m doing well.

Hope you’re well too. After all, positivity is a state of mind.