Sunday, September 23, 2018

Snippets from my life as a #socialworkstudent

My life has narrowed down to three main things.
These three things are my focus.

I can hardly recognise this version of myself.
A version of myself that is happy to study in every spare minute.
And quite a few that aren't!

A version of myself where textbooks jostle for space at the end of my bed.
A version of myself that always has a journal article in my bag.
A version of myself that is working so hard on a long term goal.

There's lots of time for Annie to snuggle up with me.
She does her thing while I do my thing.
Reuben actually likes me being home.
He always knows where I am if he wants a chat.
We make the most of opportunities for fun times.
We eat a lot of chocolate self-saucing pudding to celebrate small things.

Sometimes I worry that I'll regret spending this time studying
when I could be maybe doing something else.
But honestly I'm still doing all the important things,
just less time doing things that aren't important.
And not worrying about the rest.

I might not be around so much in this space.
And in my day to day life too.
Because I'm transforming my life
one essay at a time.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Tomorrow is the first day of the new semester....

And I'm going to begin my Master's in Social Work. I was going to do one paper, but I can only get a student loan if I do two papers. So two it is.

Somehow being suddenly confronted with doubling the workload has definitely thrown me for a spin. I mean what if I can't even do this??? I have all these thoughts in my head and I'm struggling with them. A huge part of me wonders why I am audacious enough to even think I can do this.

What if my brains have somehow leaked out my ears over the last three years. What if this is as good as it gets and I can't go any further. What if I can't manage to balance my work, my family and my study. Will I even have any friends left at the end of this. What if I can't write essays any more or can't memorise the facts.

Basically, what if I fail?? There, that's the crux of it. What if I fail??

What's the worst that can happen?? I guess I'll be paying my student loan till I die. Which I probably will anyhow.

Failing is such an emotional term. But what would actually happen?? Probably not much to be honest except I wouldn't get to follow my dream. So I guess I have to want to fight for this dream more than I want to fail, if that makes sense. I have to be prepared to go home from work each night, cook tea, listen to violin practice, negotiate with the Resident Teen etc etc and then once that's over, study every single night. In other words I have to be prepared to put in the hard yards and just do this thing.

One foot in front of the other. Honestly, I'm terrified. But I want to be able to work with people in a meaningful way. I want to learn to be present when they are hurting. I want to listen in a way that empowers them. I want to encourage, make plans, offer opportunities. I want my life to be useful. I want to be useful every day when I go to work. I want to make a difference.

I don't know if I can, but I am going to try. Starting tomorrow with the first day of the new semester.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Getting things done is better than waiting till you can do it perfectly. And sometimes you just need to call it done and move on.

We have been living in our new house for just over two weeks now and it is starting to feel like home. It's so different being in town and having space at each end of the day. I had a lot of plans with what I want to do with the extra time, but I have to confess I spend a lot of it sleeping!! Especially in the mornings, it's so nice to lie in bed for an extra half an hour even if it does feel lazy. 

We are waiting to get the painting and kitchen finished so I haven't been able to do much sewing. But the other night I pulled out this thrifted quilt top. Honestly it's the wonkiest thing I ever found. It's not square, it doesn't lie flat and it has one million threads coming out of it. I honestly couldn't do much to it, so I just hand quilted across the width a few times and put a binding on.

Sometimes I just need a reminder that we don't always have to strive for perfection, that sometimes it is ok to just be a little wonky and a bit unfinished.

I've put an old flannelette sheet on the back and some heavier than normal batting. This quilt is snuggly and heavy... just the way we like them. No one who snuggles under it is going to give a rat's A** that it's wonky, they are just going to be comforted by it's warmth.

It was the perfect project to kick start my project list off. Not perfect, not even close it it, but still perfect for the task. I wish the person who spent soooooo many hours sewing it, could see it finished. I bet they were so discouraged they just sent it off to be donated. But by looking past it's (many) flaws, I can enjoy all the pretty fabrics they included. (I purposely didn't trim it square when I put the binding on to keep the organic feel!!)

I'm keeping this quilt as a reminder to me. I'm going to use it every opportunity. Because even though I'm a flawed human being who fails in so many ways, it's still ok to be me. I have a lot of things I want to achieve this year and I needed the reminder that (like this quilt) it won't be perfect and it might be a bit wonky, but a finished project is far better than an unfinished one hidden at the back of the cupboard.

Here's to moving forward!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

I made a list and I've checked it twice....

Yesterday we shifted out of our house and today I went back to get the last few things
and pay the cleaning company. When I looked in the letterbox, there was my
graduation certificate. It was so bittersweet to get it.
It was great to be able to tick something off my list but
I could never have imagined when I decided to start studying what my life would look like now.
I could never in a thousand years have imagined me living my single life,
working hard and managing the children.

(I would probably have run for the hills!!)

But I did do this hard hard thing. I always admired people who follow their dreams,
but I didn't think that applied to me. When my sister suggested I go to university,
i really didn't think I had the brains for it.

But I decided to give it ago. Remember how I didn't know if I could do it or how I could fit it in?? I decided the best thing to do was to give up sleep. I chose one paper through Massey
and got up every morning at 5am for a semester. I passed that paper with an A
and that gave me the confidence to apply to Canterbury University.

And now here I am with a shiny new certificate,
a house I just sold and a contract on another one.
Today I also received an invitation for an interview in relation to my
application to do my Master's in Social Work.

I celebrated with a cry in the car,
half a donut and a coffee with a good friend
and a fresh intention to keep on moving forward.

I'm still following my dreams.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Wearing a pink shirt #pinkshirtday

If I’ve talked about bullying in this space before, it’s been in a superficial way that doesn’t reflect on my own personal experience. Probably because I didn’t want to think about my experience or acknowledge it. Anyway I’m sure everyone has a story to tell, and well, here’s some of mine.

I was never a physically able kid. I can remember Mum and Dad taking me to some fancy doctor (the staircase had an ornate balustrade, I would remember that!) and Mum telling him I was uncoordinated. Mum said you agree don’t you Deborah. I had no clue what uncoordinated meant but it seemed important so I said yes. 

I did special classes after school. This is the seventies, I must have been bad if they made me do that lol! I do remember trying to learn to hop as a six year old and being horrible at it.

Anyway I was hopeless and everyone knew it. I also wore weird clothes, had glasses and plain/ugly to look at.

You know how the teachers do that thing where the two popular kids are team leaders and they each take turns picking a person for their team? At the end there would be me, and one would say to the other, you can have her, and the other one would say, no you can. Then the teacher would force one of them to have me. This happened many many times. I developed coping skills that involved laughing at myself and being a distraction. 

Then when I was 12 I went to the church school and all of my coping mechanisms were frowned upon and taken away from me. But that’s probably another story.

Growing up I experienced a lot of bullying from the adults in my life. I did not grow up feeling safe, at all. But to be honest I just thought this was normal. I mean doesn’t everyone grow up like that? Isn’t every single adult in the world out to get you? Surely it’s true that a child can not do a single thing right?? 

No?? Ok then. 

So I’m wearing a pink shirt today to acknowledge (probably to myself to be honest) that it’s not ok to let someone put you down or push you around just because you are you. That’s it. There’s no criteria you have to meet to be able to feel safe. You don’t have to be smart enough, funny enough, pretty enough or physically able. You can just be you. 

I feel like I might need to wear a pink shirt more often.

Monday, May 7, 2018

“‎All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”

In some ways I feel like nothing in my life has prepared me for living the life that I'm living now. By that I mean, that I never ever planned to be this person. When I was growing up (in the cult) we were going to be "wives and mothers". All of our education was based on this premise. And for the majority of my life, that's what I've done. I carried out my role to the best of my ability, until I couldn't any more.

As I have mentioned before, I'm making lots of changes this year. My house is on the market and we are looking for a new one. It's weird how the places that I'm looking at to live are world away from any of the expectations I had before. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would look at a tiny tiny town house, joined to other houses, with a tiny scrap of garden; and think oh yes, that will do.

It's like I just keep taking layers off my expectations. More and more layers. Until my expectations are starting to line up with my ability to earn a living and sustain some kind of lifestyle. I don't know if I'm excited or terrified. Actually probably both.

This week, if it all goes well, the sale on my house will confirm. I can't even bear to consider the possibility of it not happening now. I think it would actually break me. Here's hoping we don't find out!! I've been going through my house getting rid of stuff. And then more stuff. And then more stuff. It's crazy times. Let's just say, downsizing is not for the faint hearted. It's painful and exhausting, and I know I'll have to go through again and try and get rid of more things.

The one thing I'm not getting rid of is books or houseplants. Everything else is pretty much fair game. Oh and maybe quilts. Not too many of them to get rid of, I think. 

Wish me luck xox

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Parenting: it works until it doesn't. so then you change things up

I've been parenting now for almost 25 years.
25 years.
You'd think that I would have it all together now.
Sadly I don't. It's been proved to me this week.

Anyway as a result of this, I've been reassessing my current parenting strategy
and working out what needs to change.
I've been coasting along for a while hoping it will all work out,
but then that stopped working so I had to take a deep breath and change things.

One of the things I did was join the Resident Teen to the gym.
This has been so great, that i wish I had done it years ago.
Honestly there is nothing quite like dropping your teen at the door
and knowing they are going to suffer for an hour
and you don't have to do anything.

It's feeling great.

There were also some major changes around technology time and use of phone.
Even after a few short days I can see changes and I feel bad that I didn't try them sooner.
But the thing is what you do works until it doesn't.
And then it really really doesn't.
{do not ask me how i know this}

It really doesn't matter what age or stage your kid is at,
there's always new stuff for both of you to learn.

As long as you all give each other grace to keep on learning
and to keep changing stuff.

It's probably going to be ok.

Well here's hoping anyway.