My 2014 …

It has been a big year and a mixed year. But I really love living. And I love ageing. And growing. It really can’t be beaten.

2013 ended with a failed IVF attempt and that too, was repeated during 2014. However, the former proved to be a miscarriage that resulted in bleeding constantly for three months in 2014 (oh lucky me lol). Apart from hormonal migraines and other hormonal issues I was able to dodge the more feral cold and flus that circulated until two weeks ago when I contracted a horrid chest infection (not enough balance in 2014). Of course, it eventuated right at the very beginning of my holiday period, as life is prone to do. Just when we think we are safe … hehe. 2015 hopefully will see a reduction in hormonal issues for me and a generally healthier year with more balance; fingers crossed, strategising started.

2014 started with my very first real cruise and has ended with a cruise. I truly am blessed to be able to undertake such things, remembering too that I cruised in October for a few days too. Truly relaxing way to holiday but not very adventurous. And ultimately, P&O has great showers in the staterooms and unbeatable vegetarian food but Royal Carribean trumps it in so many ways. April saw a getaway to Melbourne with Lauren and Sara for a few days that cemented those friendships.

I regained my dreads. Focused a bit more on my witchcraft, healing and talking to the spirits. Finished my Masters. Started this blog. And need to extend all of this practice into 2015 religiously.

Whilst I do not have a friendship group, I have many friends. Most made it through 2014 with me, even though I have reconstructed some walls. Some friendships grew much stronger, others just persevered, and some have become a little more remote. My family relationships are strong and I have invited myself into the Cusack clan as part of their family; happened quickly and seamlessly with no real effort. I hope that they choose to stay in my life. I like them.

I am still collecting people, and I like that.

Books remain my truest friends. Thank the universe that Jodi Picoult writes at least one book a year and I am now immersed in Deborah Harkness. I also read a life changing book in Melbourne during April (The True Secret of Writing by Natalie Goldberg); reinforcing the notion that everyday practice strengthens the psyche and the soul. This was probably one of my best years in terms of living in the present moment and minimising stress.

Not that work helped that. Probably the biggest time chunks during 2014 centred on work. Whilst I love my job unconditionally, I really need to bring balance back in 2015. Long hours are not conducive to relationships and broader life experiences like religious practice and writing.

I gave much advice during 2014; professional and personal. And I accepted advice during 2014. I sought out advice at times (rare for me) but still remained disappointed at times (referring an ‘alleged’ paedophile at work and no real support from DET or the counsellors because there is just no way to move through working with an ‘alleged’ paedophile in teaching when a victim chooses not to come forward and make the allegation formal). I grew to empathise with others more and become less judgemental (except for the ‘alleged’ paedophile), and developed very strong relationships at work through my work as a visionary and a leader (the former a little tongue in cheek).

I learned how to teach my kids how to read through David Rose’s exceptional Reading to Learn program and strengthened my own practice by embracing creativity and embedding more 21st Century Learning skills. I missed Renee, Donna and Jenny at work. They had been my creative stimuli during 2013. I continued my fetish with dresses and tattoos but failed to get a tattoo after my two in January. Definitely need to rectify this during 2015.

I do not know what 2015 will bring me but I have faith that I am on the path to where I am meant to go. I know that I want to include more religious practice, and hone my witch skills in healing and being autonomous and powerful, in my own right of course. I want to continue to love teaching and expand my skills further, helping to create a wonderful climate of learning, and raised expectations and standards at school. I want to clean out all of my baggage in my home and create a more open and minimal space (minus losing the books; I will never part with my books). I want to rid my body of its new found allergen and live a less convenient but infinitely more natural food life in 2015. I want to reconnect strongly with those I have drifted from and consolidate the bonds with those I truly love. I wish for my Max and Molly to stay healthy and happy (my pets) and I wish to resolve, one way or another, my journey to motherhood.

It will be another interesting year. I am sure it will have its own ups and downs. But I relish the opportunity to have breath so that I am able to take the first steps towards it tomorrow.

For those of you have who have read my blog, who have commented, who have supported me since June, I wish you the very best for 2015 and hope that majick weaves its way into your lives, making them incredible tributes to all that is good and beautiful in our world.

Much love and strong blessings from my household to yours …

Tina

PS. I hope you keep reading ­čśë

 

The Loss of My Friend …

Two years ago today, in a little while, one of my closest friends died. Her death has impacted me profoundly and there truly hasn’t been a day that has gone by without her in my thoughts. When someone that you love dies, a part of you goes with them. And I don’t know that you can ever be the same again. I definitely haven’t been.

My friend truly was an incredible woman. She had health issues that told her she would struggle to have her own kids. In spite of this, she gave birth to two incredible boys and their health, safety and development became her life. She was very intimidating. I met her when her oldest son was in my Year 7 English class for one period a week or fortnight; I can’t remember. She soon became known as a force to be reckoned with. But looking through the fierce spirit, it was obvious that it was borne from an intense love for her children.

The following year I taught her second son full-time in English. He was/is a gifted writer. Much quieter than his older brother. I loved that class. The relationships from that group last today with quite a few of them. A wonderful group of spirited kids with very intimidating parents. I was grateful that they all thought I was a good teacher. And I wasn’t as good then as I am now lol.

Anyway my friend and her husband were old school. They became very involved in the school and every Christmas they would buy thank you gifts and hand deliver them to the boys’ teachers. They possess very giving spirits and were very grateful for anything that anyone would do. This doesn’t happen anymore; teachers are public servants and gratitude isn’t high on the public agenda. My friend and her husband were truly breaths of fresh air.

I am shy. Parent Teacher Nights terrify me. But to some extent I have always been lucky to find parents that I develop good relationships with and our catch ups take the sting out of the ordeal for me, even today. My friend would come in and we would talk, even after I no longer taught her boys. By this stage though, we were friends outside of school hours. I would call in for a quick chat and five hours later I might make it home. Golden memories. Cherished moments.

And this friendship grew even stronger through soccer/football. As President, my friend became Registrar and we spent hours together finalising registrations. She was incredible with paperwork and making things happen. And always the family stood by each other. No matter what. To be embraced by that was a phenomenal feeling and privilege. And it was a time in my life where I was perpetually surrounded by that love from many of my friends and their families.

And then Nat became really sick and ended up in hospital. I was constantly terrified that she was going to die. A feeling that wouldn’t go away. But Nat was a fighter (she still is for those that believe in life after this one) and she came home. By this stage I had struggled with my own infertility issues and had started to withdraw from everyone.

One of my favourite memories of Nat’s early hospital stays was our late night phone conversations and her input through some of these on the sperm donor for my baby. Nat always vowed she would babysit and feed my children the necessary meat they needed to survive; I have no doubt that had I been successful she most certainly would have done this. Two bulls charging would be that result lol.

I fell into work and started drifting; connections with others were difficult so it had been a while since we had shared hysterical laughter and gossip when I received a phone call from her eldest son letting me know that she was in hospital for probably (definitely) the final time.

I am so grateful that I spent some time with her, with her family. I am so grateful that they are still in my life. I am grateful that Nat occasionally pops in to chat to me (yes, I do believe in life after this life and make no apology for it). It isn’t the same though and I do miss her.

I really am struggling through tears to find the words to do her life and her the justice she so richly deserves. An incredible woman, mother, child, aunt and friend from an incredible family.

I barely cope with her death and I really struggle to understand how her family continue; testimony to their closeness and resilience.

Just before I received her husband’s text message two years ago, my dog started to bark at a chair in my lounge room, a chair Nat always sat in, and I saw her there. I knew she was gone.

Empowerment: Twenty Seconds of Courage

An update to my last post …

I felt a sense of peace and right after writing my thoughts out. I am forever telling my students that we can only process so far in our heads; eventually it needs to come out and if we control how it comes out, it can be less damaging.

Terrified, I spoke to one of the people on Friday. I think it was empowering for me to show my vulnerable side. They saw a different side to the perception that exists of me. Don’t get me wrong. I am strong, arrogant, forthright, etcetera, but I am also very soft, very fragile and very damaged. In my workplace though, that me rarely has the need to be seen.

Apart from being fixated on my tattoos, they were very responsive, very honest and very genuine. And as a result, another layer of trust was constructed. The context they afforded me completely made sense. The eyes and gestures were not directed towards me but to the day. And I can appreciate that; I myself have made comments about training days.

And even after that, he still apologised. So my respect for him grew.

It highlighted for me how important communication is, and how important that type of confrontation is.

Being vulnerable ensured that I went in with an open heart and an open mind. Knowing that I had Sara in the staffroom waiting assisted  me to find the twenty seconds of courage it took to knock, sit down and start.

I learned several things from this experience. Support is vital. Courage is only ever required for twenty second bursts. Perception exists but shouldn’t be trusted; there are always layers to truth. And contexts need to be understood before judgement of any kind occurs, if judgement is necessary at all.

I was terrified but I did it anyway.

I’m a little proud of myself … just to go against Ekhart ;-).

Maturing :-/

A few years ago, probably six years now, I managed to read Ekhart Tolle’s very dense text on the importance of living in the present moment and dismissing the claims of ego. It was a difficult read and so I would wake up every morning, sit on the balcony of a holiday flat in Queensland (I know – wtf), and read until my friends woke. I would spend the rest of the day thinking about and processing what I had read. I think most of the good advice I have gleaned during my 43 years of existence has emerged from books. No wonder I write to process.

I have experienced a monumental year of professional growth. I have really blossomed in my practice in the classroom, embracing new ideas and strategies, and loving being in my classroom as a result. I have blossomed as a leader in my school. I love the staff I work with closely, in my faculty that I lead, my faculty I teach in, my Literacy Committee, and my network of friends. Most of my school are really good people. And the kids, well it is no secret, I adore them. They are my lifeblood in teaching. Tomorrow I will have finished my 22nd year of public education teaching, and I am so proud.

This last year has been my best. I feel like I have arrived. Finally. Part of that has been my maturing attitude towards conflict and resolving conflict. This will all fit together shortly (I am hoping). I try not to engage with the other person’s emotions but really try to hear what they are feeling and trying to express. I’m not perfect but this strategy has succeeded more than it has failed. And you see a different perspective of contexts as a result. I had several tests today. And after hours of mulling them over, all in the present moment (what a long moment!), I feel the need to be sitting here typing when I should be heading for sleep.

So the tests, hmmm. The one that has impacted me the most has hurt my ego. The ego I try to not engage in these situations. And I am faced with a dilemma. Is it ego to speak to someone who has disrespected you?

I am scared to face them and talk to them about it, and over the last few hours of running different scripts through, the scripts have become significantly more gentle and, I think, less ego-centred. I have moved through blatant anger, “How could they do this to me?!” to “I will make them regret saying it by telling them how wonderful I am” (that’s always a winner – rolling my eyes at myself) to now, “I just want to talk to you about something that happened yesterday and was reported to me by other staff members. I have been told that during my presentation to staff you were seen rolling your eyes to someone else in the room. Is there something in my practice that I need to change?”

I am most comfortable with this. And I am comfortable in just approaching the more senior of the two people. I know I will be bitched about as a result, but my hope is that next time someone is presenting, they may be more sensitive to the audience who may or may not see their behaviours.

No I didn’t see it. But I do believe it happened.

Once upon a time hearing it would have reduced me to tears and raised so many doubts about myself it wouldn’t be funny. But their dislike of me is their issue. They do not know me; they only ever see the portrait of me, my public self. And I am not convinced that I even always like that me. So sitting back and seeing myself through their eyes, I can understand how my ┬ápassion for Reading to Learn can be misconstrued as arrogance or false hype. They don’t know how excited I get sometimes to just be alive, or at trees, or at moments of honest love. So to them, my excitement for a Literacy and Numeracy program could be misconstrued or misunderstood.

I am also not sure that they are blessed to feel about teaching and our students as passionately as I do. They haven’t been there quite as long or been engaged the same way I have. That’s not to say that my commitment and passion comes from longevity, it doesn’t. There are many teachers in their first year at our school that do feel my passion and enthusiasm in exactly the same way that I do. So really, as I process this, I am starting to feel for them. In my inbox and on my desk have been so many gestures of love and respect, and so I choose to hear those voices.

Unfortunately I can’t drown out the negative completely, but tomorrow I choose to empower myself by confronting with compassion, extending the proverbial olive branch to a supervisor who really should know better.

Much love to you all …

A Year Down

I was reminded this afternoon that this time last year I was lying in my own blood as I miscarried. Not that I knew that at the time. At the time I just knew that I had arrived home from Bali in the morning, relaxed and happy, dashed off to have a pregnancy test, and home to prepare for my return to work the next day.

But that didn’t happen. I was convinced I had fallen pregnant this time. Had not stocked up on sanitary things, was in no way prepared for the amount of blood, the consistency of it, nor the constancy of it. Or the loneliness and fear that came with it. Still not sure I have come to terms with it. Not sure I ever will.

Because that day changed me.

In the year since I have buried myself in work and have really ceased to exist outside of that persona. My work situation made that easier, necessary really. It has been a huge year building a creative and performing arts faculty as well as coordinating our literacy program, and all of the other little bits and pieces that I do.

And I am not sure where I am or who I am anymore.

I love christmas, but I do not have my own family to make it wonderful for. I am the addition to other people’s families. Reminding me that I do not have my own to celebrate with; the perpetual loner.

And it will be the second anniversary, a few days before Christmas, of the passing of one of my friends. And there still isn’t a day that goes by where she isn’t in my thoughts.

Man I sound so negative. Usually I am happy. I am blessed with my life. Not just token words. But this time of year sucks. Even though I still maintain that there needs to be a channel dedicated, all year round, to Christmas movies; so much hope and promise. I think it would change the world.

Maybe I need to advocate that.

Christmas hope and cheer every day.

Not a bad thing.