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.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The in between.

Right now I’m in the middle of making life changing decisions. Lots of them. It’s scary as can be but also kind of empowering in a way. For years and years I chose to live stuck in my situation, but now that I’ve started changing things, I can’t seem to stop!

It’s hard to see the decisions of the past as a mistake. Part of me feels like I should but the reality is that each thing we have done has made the next thing a possibility.

I started writing this post a few days ago, while I was sitting up a hill. I didn’t make it to the top but who cares?? The view was amazing and we had fun. Honestly I think one of the biggest lessons I'm learning is to keep trying things, even when I don't succeed, I'm learning lots along the way.

So yes, life is kinda challenging but it’s also really exciting. I am working hard to make a life that fits me and the children, while learning to stay strong to my personal values. A good friend of mine challenged me a few months ago to make a list of goals with time frames and work towards them. I'd never actually been brave enough to do that before, but I keep pulling out my list and making sure I'm making progress on some of them. It's amazing how many little tasks I can chip away at while working towards my big goals.

I realise that I am very very fortunate to have a small group of very excellent friends to keep me on the straight and narrow. It is so good to be able to bounce ideas off someone else and make sure that you are not making too many big mistakes!

Hopefully in the next few months, we will sell and buy a house, move house, start studying all while working hard on the day job and my creative goals. Exciting times. It probably won't be seamless, there will be tears, there will be exhaustion, there will be challenges. But as long as we are doing it together, I think we are going to be ok. And if we aren't, lucky for us (thanks to Aunty Sharon and Uncle John) there's Kaituna Valley Homestead to go back to and lick our wounds!!!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Cheesecake and trash talk

Yesterday was my last day at Big Boy Websites.
There were a lot of jokes and a lot of back talking.
There were some very very funny in jokes.
There was a lot of work done too, tying up all the loose ends.

We ate a shared lunch of Keri's curry and crusty bread that Sarah brought.
It was delicious.  I made a cheese cake and that was delicious too.

There were a few liberties taken.
This meant that everyone got to drink at 3pm because
what are you going to do? fire me??!!

It was actually fun.

We have worked super hard as a team at Big Boy Websites,
I came on board when Alex had graduated from working in his wardrobe
(true story! I called it Narnia)
to working at the Exchange.

I'm really really proud of what we achieved and I still believe
that the Big Boy Websites offer to business owners is the best around.

(The Exchange is still my favourite place in Christchurch.)

We have had a lot of successes and some spectacular failures.
We have laughed, we have cried, and occasionally
we have raged.

There's been a lot of swearing.
The office has been changed around 5673422 times
and every single week Alex changes the process.

I don't know how we all survived!!

I loved the fact there was so much trash talk yesterday.
It showed they cared. If they has all been quiet and nicey nicey
then I would have been worried. 
But they treated me like they always do, like family. It was great.

I have never felt more loved!

Monday, March 12, 2018

A perfect storm of change....

I knew when I woke up on 1 January that I needed to change things in my life. The first thing to tackle was my health and fitness. It turns out that being healthy is not just about eating less rubbish and walking around the block more often. Sometimes it means tackling the big difficult problems and finding solutions for them. For me this means that I had to come to grips with the fact that I could not manage our big garden and house, working full time and commuting to Rolleston.

I have to admit that I just can't do it all and that I basically failed at my endeavour. So I put my house on the market (the feedback is I needed to clean it better - um yes, that's why I'm selling it) and I'm going to move right into town at the centre of things. It's going to be great even though most people would agree with me that shifting house is awful. We have found a town house that we like and hope to purchase but there are so many factors in the air, we can't hope too much.

And then this week I unexpectedly was made redundant from the company I have poured my heart and soul into for the last two and a half years. I guess I would never have made the jump myself, so the universe gave me a kick. I wasn't quite ready for that to be honest, but now that it's here I can see some opportunities in the space that has been created.

So right now we are right in the "pain" part of change. The part where there's lots of things to deal with and frankly not enough energy to do it. The part where lots of things are out of our control and we have to trust the process that it will all be ok. And I really believe that it will, we just have to get through this bit. 

Let's just say that diet and exercise are on the back burner, but reducing stress levels and therefore being healthier are definitely works in progress. I will keep you posted on how it's all going!!