Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Self Preservation Society

So, the plan for today was get up early, write a load of reports, prepare a load of healthy food, go to the gym, go to school for a meeting, stay late at school marking, rush, rush, do, do.

That's on top of a couple of nights of not sleeping well at all, sciatica trying to take hold, period pains (which carry a whole load of other connotations and echoes I'm not going to go into here) and 2 very late nights at school already.

And we're only on day 2 of a nearly 8 week term during the first three weeks of which I have 30 reports to write, 3 observations to prepare for and endure, a new child starting in my class, governors visiting, workshops and various other schedule changes and goodness knows what else.  Oh, and an NQT year to complete.

So it's not a massive surprise that this morning I woke up with an almighty, ouch-I-don't-think-I-can-actually-move headache and the snuffles.

My initial reaction was 'groan', great, thanks, how I am I supposed to get on with my plan now then?

And then I decided perhaps I just needed to make a new plan.

Instead of rushing and racing around like I'm some kind of superwoman (which, clearly I am, just not today), maybe I just need to slow down and sit back a little.  It's going to be pretty impossible to survive the longest term in the world if I'm already pushing myself to breaking point on day 2.

So I snuggled back down to try and get a little more sleep.  Then I took some time just to sit and be.  Then I got ready for the morning in a leisurely sort of way and sat and drank my hot lemon and drank a nice big glass of water.  Next I decided some very gentle restorative yoga would help, so to the mat I went.  I was just about to reach for my usual breakfast of a green smoothie when I realised I needed something much more warming and comforting so I made myself a lovely bowl of my favourite buckwheat porridge with manuka honey, cinnamon and fresh berries.

Finally, about 2 hours after I intended to, I sat down to write some reports, having first lit a candle under my oil burner with some lavender and rosemary oils which I just felt would help my head and snuffles.

Now I've taken a break to write this, and later on I might walk, leisurely to my meeting rather than dash there in the car, and maybe I won't go to the gym tonight after all.  It depends on what feels best for me at the time.

None of this is massively exciting or ground breaking, so why have I felt the need to blog about it?

Because actually, for me it is quite massive and ground breaking.  It's not long ago that a day like today would have signalled disaster, uselessness and failure.  Stupid head for aching, stupid back for hurting, stupid nose for snuffling, stupid NQT year, stupid term, stupid observations, stupid reports... would have been going round my head.  I would have been beating myself up for being useless and lazy, getting up so much later than planned, not getting as much done as intended.  Or I would have swung the opposite way and like a petulant child declared woe is me and vegged on the sofa all morning eating crap and making myself feel worse, all the while feeling guilty for not doing anything useful at all yet continuing to rebel against the guilt by piling ice cream in my face and drivel into my eyes via the medium of TV and social media.

But today I don't feel guilty.  I feel under par, yes, but I'm listening to that rather than fighting against it. I'm being nice and kind to myself and giving myself a chance to pick back up.  I'm not sticking to my (as always overambitious) plan, but I'm not throwing it out in a strop either.  I'm flexing it, dialling it down where it needs it, steering around it.  Other days I dial up my plan.  Other days I achieve more than I thought I would, it'll all balance out in the end.

I'm doing what I can, with what I have, where I am right now.

And, finally, that's good enough for me.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Shocked and Saddened

In the wake of the UK General Election I am left deeply shocked and saddened.

But not for the reason you might think.

This is not a post about my political standpoint or my personal opinion of the election result.  In any way.

It is a post about being a human being moved by the behaviour of other human beings.

But not in a good way.

I have truly been sickened to hear and read online the way people are talking about and to each other...ripping each other to shreds.  It is shocking. And it saddens me that people treat each other like that, whatever the reason.

Regardless of our opinions. Regardless of our standpoints. Regardless of our own personal situation or journey, we are all human beings.  We are all people.  We are not who we vote for or what we believe...we are people...human beings not human doings or human votings.

We are supposed to be a compassionate being.  We are supposed to be blessed with empathy and understanding.  We've all learnt about being polite and about treating each other with respect and kindness.

But all of this went out of the window last night and today, not to mention the months long lead up.

I get that people are passionate and I love that (but who cares what I think or love, that's not the point).  Passion is fantastic. It gets things done, it moves and motivates people.  But rudeness? Aggression?  Insults and quite frankly revolting language aimed personally at other individual people (not politicians, every day people who may or may not have crossed a certain box)?  Passion is supposed to inspire, not incite.  I am certainly not inspired by some of the words I have been reading over the last few days.  I am horrified.

It's pretty clear very many people agree that the whole system is totally rubbish...but it's the one we've got and calling each other names probably isn't going to mend it.  If the politicians all want to call each other names and bully each other that's their call but why do we all have to jump on their rude bandwagon we're so vehemently arguing about in the first place?  And the way to convince other people to vote for your party (whichever it is) is not to reduce ourselves to sewer rats.  It's neither clever, nor dignified, nor what many would either aspire to or want to be associated with.

I am lost for words.

I know I am what's known as a highly sensitive person and therefore I will be absorbing every single insult, jibe, remark and coarse comment I see splashed about the internet much more acutely than others and that perhaps to many people it'll be like water off a ducks back. But I just can't accept that this type of behaviour is ok.

In fact I'm pretty sure it isn't.  Ever.  For anybody.  In any type of situation.

I am seriously knocked for six.  I've not been able to stop thinking about it all day.  Every new comment or article or post I see hurts, but I can't stop's like picking off that scab that keeps growing back just to check if it still hurts (it does).  It makes me feel sick and I don't understand it.

I haven't and am not going to disclose who I voted for nor what I think of the election result.  This isn't about that.

But if there was ever going to have been a result that would have kept us from beating down each others doors, from throwing fiery tongued flames over each others fences, from becoming wild, aggressive and quite frankly revolting animals...then that's what I would have voted for.

I would have voted for a way for people to express themselves without insulting their neighbour.  To be passionate without being personal.  To debate and argue, yes...I love a good argument.  But without the slanging and fisty cuffs.  No thank you. We don't need that.

I seriously cannot express how strongly or how deeply I feel about this, yet I have managed to express all of this without uttering a single profanity, without naming anybody else, without threatening anything or anybody.  And it wasn't that hard to do because of how passionately I felt about it.

Please, please, please let me not be the only one.

Good things happen.  Awful things happen.  Life happens.

We deal with it.

Without turning on each other.

Shame on you, Britain.  Shame.  On.  You.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

The point.

A few years ago I worked in London, in media and then in adult learning and development.

I earned a fair few pounds.  I put on a fair few pounds also.  I worked long hours.  I got stressed.  

And one day it hit me.  This is rubbish.  I mean I always knew it was, but one day it properly hit me that the rubbishness of it all was too rubbish to carry on with.

But I didn't do anything about it really.

Until one day it got even more rubbish and I found myself jobless.  That bit has all been well documented on here.

So what did I do next?  I re-trained as a teacher.

I no longer earn very many pounds.  The cakes in the staff room continuously conspire to pile back on the pounds I shed.  I work very very long hours, stupidly longer than before.  And when I'm not at work, I take my work home with me and I'm still working.  Even when I'm not working I'm thinking about work, I don't think the teacher brain ever switches off.  I get stressed. Very stressed. And busy. 

So what, then, on earth was the point?

What was the point of swapping London, well paid, well vino-d stress for local, dismal paid, no jollies, work-at-the-weekend-every-weekend stress?

That's a question I often wonder about asking myself.  I read many articles by people who got into teaching and then leapt straight back out again a year or two later because they couldn't stand it or the workload or the parents or the politics or the stress or or or or.

What is the point?

Here is the point:

The point is, in the middle of a god awful, when will it end, is it nearly half term yet week, the world offers you one of the most beautiful, heart warming, uplifting experiences on a plate, right in the middle of where you work.  Just as you're innocently going about your lastminute breaktime photocopying rush.  Just as a matter of course because that's what this place is all about, there in the middle of the hall are 30 children all dressed up as pirates and sea creatures with that look on their faces that says they don't know whether to be terrified or excited.  And seated all in front of them are another 150 or so children eagerly anticipating what's about to come, shuffling to get the best view, surreptitiously waving to their friend about to perform.  And perform they do. As the music builds, they twirl and whirl, they flap and spin, they climb that rigging like that's all they were born to do.  And the crowd go wild.  There's clapping and bowing and cheering and grinning until our faces ache. Hearts are a fluttering like the flags on the ole pirate ship.

And I think to myself: That.  That is the point.