When Everything Changes.

I have just realised my new year starts at a slightly different point than that standard 1st of January.  Or the changeable Chinese New Year (31st of January this year).  It actually dawns of the 10th of January, tomorrow.   Along with my own new year date comes a taking of stock and a nod to wear I’ve been and how far I have come, and we have come.   As my new year of the 10th of January only started 6 years ago, it is still fairly new, and yet in that time I have:

  • Moved house twice, including clearing, packing, organising, unpacking, etc, etc etc, the whole thing.  The first time my eldest was 14 and youngest was 5.  The second time my eldest was 18 and youngest was 9 – second time was much easier! Both moves were down sizes, so both required huge clear-outs.  Loved both moves.
  • Learnt to drive.  Took me a year and one failed test.  It is still one of my most favourite achievements to date (after having kids that is).  Bought my first car.
  • Went back into education.  Firstly just one morning a week, then full time university for 4 years.  Loved every minute of it.
  • Got divorced.  I can’t say I celebrate this, but it is notable nonetheless.
  • Completed the Race for Life.  Epic wonderfulness.
  • Stood up to one local authority, and won.  Shouldn’t have had to do it in the first place, but given that I did, I am so proud I managed it.
  • ‘Diagnosed’ with Dyslexia.  This is here as, after I recovered from the shock of it and stopped being angry with everyone (and myself) for not noticing sooner (I was 41 when it was ‘discovered’), I embraced the difference fully and started to understand my coping mechanisms.  Two of my children are also Dyslexic, so we share tips and understanding.
  • Graduated with a 2:1 in Fine Art. Say no more.
  • Became a student representative and was nominated for Faculty rep of the year.  Loved that too.
  • Learnt to love public speaking.  Now, if you had known me 6 years ago at this point I could barely caste my gaze off the ground, so to be able to stand in front of a room full of people and debate the merits of employment education, give talks on artists, debate with lecturers about the strengths of another’s work, etc, well, let’s say, you wouldn’t recognise me.
  • Gave a presentation that enabled me to join the artist group I am now with. This is my future.
  • Taken part in and/or co-organised 5 exhibitions in the last year.
  • Found myself. I didn’t know I was lost till I discovered myself.  This is a good thing, although I think age has turned me into a bit of a gobshite at times.  Tough.
  • Had therapy.  Fabulous stuff.  If you are willing to work hard on yourself, this is so worth it.
  • Discovered my ‘other’ side.  The bit that makes me special. 😀
  • Got a paid job, and another voluntary one.
  • Rekindled and maintained my relationship with my father.
  • Found love – couldn’t find it elsewhere until I learnt to love myself again.

 

And many many more things, this list seems tiny compared to what I have achieved, but this is perhaps the most palatable (for want of a better word) and publishable.  This list is not in any particular order.  So, it has been a busy 6 years.   Here’s to the next six!

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Yes, They Are All Mine.

And no, they don’t have different dads.

Over the years I have had many a strange look from the general public while out with my brood.   When they were younger we did take on the appearance of the Pied Piper with a gaggle of little rugrats trailing behind, but these days it is much less likely that we are out all together, so I had forgotten the age old questions and stares.    These days, the only regular evidence I have of them is my huge trolley full of food as I make my way around my local Aldi store once a week.   Perhaps mildly more offensive than the sidelong stares have been the comments regarding their parentage, although in all honesty, you’d have to be blind not to see the family resemblances in them all.  And, what does it matter anyway? The is reality, most people have been happy to see my small tribe, and even more so when they have spent time with them and observed their relatively good behaviour.

So, today is weekly trolley dash day.  I have got into the habit of planning meals for the week and writing shopping lists as it really helps when you’re on a budget.  I work out before hand how much I can afford to spend each week, and plan meals accordingly.   This means having to know at 6am on a Wednesday morning what food I’ll need for the week, so that I am ready to head to the supermarket as early as my youngest will allow (ie, when she’s gone to school).   Keeping children fed is a bit of a mission, as is keeping clothes clean and the house liveable.   I have realised that to manage all that, on top of my own work means I am up half an hour earlier now, than I was when I was at university full time.   It is just as well I am a workaholic, and that I enjoy it!  😀

Possibly the strangest thing of all in this house full of teenagers is how quiet it often is.  They are all so busy doing their own thing/working/studying/at college and school that it is easy to forget they were ever charging around screaming and shouting, or that I ever had to herd them all up and get them into the bath and bed.  Sometimes I miss the hustle and bustle of small children.  But mostly, I don’t.  (Peace mannn….).

So, yes, they are all mine, and my cupboards and refrigerator are full again, but not for long.


Can’t Do It, Wont Do It.

I was going to be all grown up and set out my goals for the year, but I can’t.  I feel that writing them down will jinx them, and will also somehow prevent me from doing other things as well.   Last year I set out to graduate, which I did, and I also did a whole load of other stuff besides.    This year I am doing the same sort of open book/blank page type of thing.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a list of things I want to accomplish, but I do find as soon as I have written them down, the power has somehow dissipated and I am more likely not to do them.   But saying all that! I did put the word ‘Bless’ in my art journal yesterday, having said I would.  So it isn’t impossible that I can’t set out a promise to myself.   I have just realised I am less likely to do something if I verbalise it too.    I am now wondering why that is…maybe I am just good at keeping things under wraps, but maybe, as I said the other day, I am just afraid of failing and would rather say nothing that disappoint myself.

That sounds about right.


Word Association.

I saw a post on here yesterday and just the title made me shudder.  I couldn’t even steal myself to click on it to read, not because I feared the content, but because the title reminded me of something I would much rather not think about again.     This caused me to give myself a little bit of a ticking off.  I mean, I can’t go through life avoiding phrases/scents/places/objects/people/the bank manager just because of a little discomfort.  I’m not talking life or death here, just that sense of “Ugh, not right now thanks”.

Of course, there are some ‘innocent’ remarks/etc that can open up a whole can of worms that, once escaped, wont leave you alone until you have dealt with them.   When no matter what you do, they hang over you, threatening to ruin your very existence.  Now those ones, need dealing with, as quickly and safely as possible.  But remember not to shoot the messenger, and definitely not those who, without realising or knowing, dangle the can opener of doom in front of you.

Years ago someone said the word “bless” quite frequently me, who went on to be anything but a blessing in my life. Now every time I hear that same word I am catapulted into a mess of fury that anyone should dare to bring up such awful pain in my life! Only of course, that isn’t what they are doing at all.  That is what I am doing.  The word bless itself isn’t a bad one, it’s the memory of its usage that is.   But truthfully, the word itself can’t hurt me, and even the memory of its use can’t hurt me.  The events have been and gone and haven’t repeated themselves.  Yet still I have this irritating association with an otherwise innocent word.

The only person who can fix it, is me.  I can’t wipe the word from the English language (it would mess up a few Church services if I did!).  But what I can do is forgive myself for using the word as a can opener in the first place.   Maybe I need to create a whole piece of art dedicated to the word ‘bless’ by way of asking forgiveness for turning it into something unpleasant!  Actually, that’s not a bad idea.   I think I will add it to my missions for this week and add a page to my art journal just devoted to the word ‘bless’.

I will post a photo or maybe a video when I’ve done it.   But for now it’s time to rouse children and young people! Happy Monday 🙂


Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes.

Ok I am the first to admit I am a routine junky.  In part it is because I am a parent, but most of it is to do with learning differences and the coping strategies I have put in place to help me function ‘normally’.   You know those people who have post its all over the place to remind them of things? Well, that’s the same sort of thing, except for me I need all my ‘post its’ to be in one or two very safe places.   I am, by difference, a very organised person, but still prone to leaving keys/purse/boots/phone in unusually random places, despite each of these items having a very specific home.

So, today I am playing catch up as my weekend’s organisation was slightly (very) thwarted by an arrangement I wasn’t aware of yesterday.  People who know me well will know I need to be very clear about arrangements, and may well ask for the same details in a number of different ways, just to ensure my brain has processed it all correctly (my youngest daughter and son are both just the same, which can be frustrating for those who get fed up with the being asked for the same information over and over again).  So, a passing suggestion will remain so until I have digested it, talked about it, mulled it over, and agreed to it.   So, this passing suggestion happened yesterday, and it was a lovely day for it, even though it messed up my OCD type organisation for the weekend.   See, even I can cope with changes! Most of the time.

What brought me to mention this was a question I have been asked ‘How do you cope with time away from your favourite person?’  Well, that’s something I do on a daily basis, so actually thinking about how I cope means a trip back to the days of old when I learnt how to deal with those sorts of separations.   I am talking about my children of course.   So, each time one of them started school I have had to deal with a new form of ‘missing’ to cope with that particular person.   As they are all different, they have all required a slightly adaption to the change, usually brought on by their own adaption to the change.   My youngest son found leaving me very difficult so there were plenty of tears to deal with, whereas my middle son, after the first day or two, walked off without batting an eyelid.   Needless to say, I found it harder to cope with my youngest son’s misery, than my middle son’s delight at new adventure.

Now we are all dab hands at saying good-bye in the morning, and there are no more tears, although having a houseful of teenagers means there are lots of bleary eyes and moans.  But they’re old enough to know I’ll give them the usual ‘maybe you need to go to bed earlier/get your homework done sooner/eat something sensible for breakfast’ as lets face it, you can’t really tell teenagers anything.  It doesn’t mean I don’t miss them, as I still do, it just means I have got used to being apart from them.  That time will carry on increasing as they get older and move away from home, but I am sure I will always miss them, no matter where they are, and how long they are away for.  But oh imagine the peace…and the tidiness…every cloud has a silver lining. 😉


When Writing Isn’t Fun.

I have a quote that keeps me sane at the moment, and it is “Build your own dreams or someone else will hire you to build theirs” – Farrar Gray.  The reason this quote is so important to me is I am starting out on the road to self-employment this year.  However, I have hit a stumbling block that just is not leaving me.

I love writing – when it is fun.

Words just flow from my finger tips in the same way they do from my lips (I love speaking too!) but why is it, as soon as I open up my business plan documents, I suddenly need to clean the entire house from top to bottom and start looking for more and more ridiculous tasks to keep me ‘busy’?    I have my quote in front of me now, I read it and feel it and absorb it and want it and crave it and covet it! But stick me in front of my business plan and I suddenly want to be anything other than self-employed.   I know I’m not alone in this, as there are great articles and resources for us right brain doers, but there’s no getting away from the need to get over this left brain writers block I have.

Perhaps part of it is the fear of having my ideas judged unfavourably, but I know I have the ability to sell sand to the Sahara.  Perhaps also it is my own fear of failure, but I know I don’t fail, I just find creative ways of succeeding.  Maybe also, it is a fear I will be judged myself.  I am a single parent, I have five children, wouldn’t I be better off in a safe, guaranteed job with safe, guaranteed pay?  Well, yes, maybe that would be the case, and maybe it wouldn’t.  Nothing is guaranteed.

So, today I am sitting surrounded by sheets of paper that have the ‘clues’ I need to write my plan, along with written documents that serve little more than to create a question mark over my head, and once again, I find something else more interesting to do, this blog, the laundry, making breakfast, washing the car…


I Can’t Get No Sleep.

I lied.  But I am an insomniac.  So last night’s 8 hours straight is something that doesn’t happen very often, and today I am feeling slightly shell-shocked and more than a little bleary-eyed, but pleasantly well rested.

So, if life were a song, which song would yours be?

Faithless’ Insomnia did spring to mind first as it was the last track I listened to last night while traveling to pick my son up from work at 10pm.  I don’t usually pick him up but mistimed puncture put an end to his usual mode of transport so yesterday saw me doing a mad dash back home to pick him up, take him to work, then, with my eldest daughter in tow, we stood and looked at the bunny rabbits in the local pet shop/store for ages before walking away.   I do feel a furry creature is on the plan for this year, I just don’t really know what or when yet.   Anyway, I digress!  Song!

Well, Insomnia is great one for me.  But I am aspiring to another even older track that is going to be my song for the moment, Kiki Dee’s ‘Star’ from 1981…1981!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKVas1Qozo4 For anyone old enough to remember that one, I salute you!  Actually, are there many bloggers in their 40’s?  A curious mind would like to know…