Thursday, March 21, 2019

#headscarfforharmony


As you will all know, it's a week ago today, that a terrorist went into two mosques here in Christchurch and shot people who were peacefully saying their prayers. A horrifying thing, that has touched everyone here and across our nation. It's so hard to write about this, because firstly it's so painful and raw and so many people that we love are hurting, and secondly the seeds of intolerance were sown so long ago, that it's impossible to know how to even begin to change things.



I've seen a lot of things written this week until I had to stop reading. People are hurting and angry and they want change. But change won't just happen by telling people to change. I've seen a lot of love and acknowledgement too. We are all flawed human beings, but it's heart warming to see so many people recognising their privilege and committing to change going forward.


Today Annie and I wore headscarves to work and school. It felt like a real honour to be able to do that. It was also very very confronting. It gave me (I think Annie was oblivious) a small taste of what it must be like on a daily basis to go out in public wearing a scarf. And yet in some ways I loved it. I liked being able to wear it and not have to look anyone in the eye, I felt protected under its cover. I could just put my head down and do my business and be invisible.

I saw a bunch of people online, saying it was tokenism and pointless but unless you have put on a headscarf and hopped on a bus and walked down the street and gone into your work meetings, you really have no idea how it feels. I cannot even explain all the feelings I've had today. I was scared and anxious and I felt like a stranger in my own place. People stared and people ignored you. These things are everyday occurrences for muslim women.



I also feel like we cannot have this whole conversation without acknowledging the Maori people who have lived with racism since the europeans arrived. It's a whole other topic, but even though we have been working so hard in the last few years to honour the Treaty, there's a lot of racist attitudes around. Up till now, I often haven't said anything when someone made a comment, but no longer. In the last week, I've looked at my own heart and attitudes. I've unfollowed a few people, I've called people out online and I've blocked people. I'm not going to be silent any more, it's hard to speak up, but if all of us do, things will have to change.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Hopping back on the blogging horse again....



I have been thinking about this space. When I logged in this morning, I realised I hadn’t written since last September. In part this is because I never quite got over the feedback that my life was “sad and depressing and no one needs that kind of negativity” and in part because full time work plus full time study turns out to equal a health breakdown by the end of the year.

But I’ve rested, dusted myself down, picked myself up and realised that writing in the space was a huge part for me of processing the feelings I have about things that happen. In short it was good for my mental health and now that I don’t do it, I have a lot of unresolved thoughts in my head jumbled about. I always wrote for myself first and foremost and so I’m taking up the pen (keyboard) again to sift through life and make sense of it.

Follow along if you want, but if you don’t that’s fine too. Life is messy and complicated and sometimes it’s sad. That’s just how it is. What’s that saying, it ain’t all sunshine and roses, but some of it is.

Here’s to finding the roses.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Snippets from my life as a #socialworkstudent


My life has narrowed down to three main things.
Work.
Parenting.
Study.
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.