Success Requires Patience and Perseverance

I am a very patient person explaining things to kids but that is probably the extent of my ability to be patient. Once I make up my mind about something, I need things to move quickly. I think that is because I spend so much time processing whatever it is I am thinking about, that when my mind commits, it really commits.

I read the Barnados Information Pack for potential carers last night. I cried.

Not tears of sadness or of grief, but tears of confirmation. This is my new path. This is my path.

And so today I rang and scheduled an appointment for an information session (the next step). Tuesday 28th July. Three days after my return from New York. Unfortunately they are not completing any more assessments for six months, so after the next step I have a very long wait. The process to be approved then takes a further six months.

This will be a test of my patience. I keep telling myself to focus on the prize.

I so want to be a mother.

I think I am finally refocusing my energies away from being a maternal mum. I just feel that I have so much love to give. And so much wisdom to share.

I  have healed so much and I strongly wish for that to be useful for others. Especially broken children. I know it won’t be easy. I understand that I will be choosing to help raise mini me’s. But to offer hope, to inspire hope, that dreams can be made real, well that would just be the best gift for me, and for me to pass on.

I am second guessing everything I say, everything I think. I am so worried that what I say is wrong. That it could take this opportunity away from me; that I could stuff it up royally. I am also worried that I am being selfish.

Yes, this is about me becoming a mum. But I know it isn’t just about that. To offer children from broken homes a safe haven makes me feel like I am being a mum, not just wanting to be one.

Oh man, it is going to be a long twelve months … lol …

Signs and Laughter 

  

Just a quick reading this morning for me, feeling energies shift and all that jazz, and this was my last of three cards (literally pulled out 42, 41 and 43 – what are the odds). 

She represents working with the shadows within me and within my life. 

Surprisingly to most people, I am an introvert and unless I am with children, I am painfully shy. At times, this has stopped me from embracing opportunities. 

During the week I was invited to a workshop that two of my soul friends are coordinating (one teaching/facilitating) in the Blue Mountains in August. The workshop is focused on working with our blind spots. 

Shadows. Blind spots. The same thing really. 

I was already intending to go. 

Laugh out loud. 

Now I have no choice. 

As I say to the kids: twenty seconds of courage is all anything takes, and feel the fear and do it anyway. 

Listening to the signs makes happiness achievable and longer lasting; I know I am where I am meant to be. 

For now. 
If you are interested in the details of the workshop, you can send me a message at tinameyer@live.com.au and I will forward you the details. Marcus and Ginny walk the walk. It will be worthwhile. 

The Benefit of Long Term Gratitude Practice

On Wednesday, after the ‘incident’, I was wrecked. I felt hopeless and very sorry for myself. 

I woke on Thursday after a very bad sleep (if you can call your eyes open most of the night sleep) nauseous. I really didn’t want to go to work and I really didn’t want the full, very full, day that lay ahead. With our Creative and Performing Arts Showcase I knew it would be a late night and long day. Well over fifteen hours at work. 

The nausea passed by afternoon. The sadness dissipated. The anger subsided. 

After being powerless as a child, I vowed I would never feel that way again. Conflict and violence always trigger those feelings in me. It’s logical. And it’s okay. 

One student came up to me and we joked about a hit list, and I laughed. The love that does exist at my school really is something to be grateful for. 

And that brings me to the point. 

I have intermittently practiced a gratitude journal for the last eight or so years. Every time I start to feel myself sliding into a depressive state, I start up my practice. And every time, no fail, I move through it quickly. 

I have encouraged many students, many friends and many adults to engage in this practice. It works. 

By Thursday night, I was good. Exhausted. But good. Friday, with my protector Max in tow, I was normal. Max has a tendency to bring the love out of people. 

Max is my dog. He is two and a half years old. His mum was a Maltese Shih Tzu and his dad was a mini Poodle. Max is a beautiful combination of the best of all breeds. He practices love every day, and even though he is a small dog, his spirit belies his size. He has been coming to work with me since he was eight weeks old. Some of the kids have known him his whole life. And most of them adore him, and he them. 

When he is around, the best in the kids comes out, and the best in all of us (for the most part). I am grateful for his love. And his spirit. 

I practice gratitude almost every day, when necessary I write it down but more often these days, it’s embodied in my thoughts and actions. 

Once upon a time, the potential of Wednesday would have incapacitated me for days, possibly weeks. These days, after long term gratitude practice, not even thirty six hours. Phenomenal progress. 

The way it works is straightforward. Every night before going to sleep you list at least three things from the day that you are grateful for. The list does grow as your mindset changes. Over a few days your spirit starts to lift as you see and acknowledge more to be grateful for. 

And it is okay to have a bad day and spit fire and brimstone. Give yourself permission to feel the bad. But then, make the conscious choice to move forward again, in gratitude. 

The practice prescribed in my counselling course was to write the bad from the day for ten minutes and then focus on the good. Releasing the bad before acknowledging the good gives the mind the open space to move forward. Daily practice, especially through difficult times, can be life changing. Daily practice through good times, brings peace and happiness. A still happiness that permeates every fibre of your being. 

And that allows faster return to that state after trauma. 

If you don’t already practice gratitude, give it a try. See what changes manifest in your life. 

A huge thank you to all of those people that became my gratitude list whilst I needed to be fire and brimstone. 

Slipping Social Standards

I am going to sound really old in this post. Just a heads up. 

You all know I love my job and I love my kids. But man, this teaching thing isn’t easy and today it has tested my mental health. I cried all the way home, cried coming in the door, slipped in a puddle of wee, hurt my foot, became exceptionally angry, swore repeatedly at Max (the dog), locked him out, went for a shower, crying – no, sobbing – resumed, continued crying as I fed Molly, let Max back in, cried, replied to a couple of friend’s text messages – crying – and the thing that stopped the tears was Grant Denyer on Family Feud. It settled me. 

But then I started thinking. 

And now I don’t want to go to work. 

Some boys were running around and playing silly buggers. Loudly. Outside my staff room. Out of bounds. One said he had hurt himself. Laughing. Ignoring my instructions. Not a nice kid at the best of times – argues with teachers all of the time and refuses to accept any responsibility for anything. He told me to, “Wait!” In that adolescent tone. 

Every parent must have been subjected to that tone at least once by the time their children leave home. 

Anyway, the older boy he had been mucking around with came up to accept responsibility. Long and short of it the situation escalated when I thought the second boy was being highly disrespectful to another staff member by yelling at her. She was walking away and he continued yelling so I told him to be quiet and when I was ignored I told him to shut up. 

He went red in the face, tensed his body and arms, puffed his chest out, and stormed at me. 

I was terrified. I thought he was going to hit me. Unbeknownst to me one of my staff members had heard what was going on, saw him storm at me, and stood behind me. In retrospect, this was probably what stopped him hitting me. As he walked away he told me how lucky I was. 

Yep. I felt very lucky. 

I have a reputation as a bit of a hard arse. But I am fair. If I make a mistake I own it, and I go well beyond the call of duty to help kids out, often sacrificing myself to do it. And the real truth is, I am quite a softie. 

I don’t like being the tough one; it isn’t organic to me. 

And I experienced a very violent childhood. I don’t like violence. I don’t like conflict. It hurts my soul. 

This is the second time this year I have felt threatened by a male student, truly believing they would hit me. I hold my own but then I crumble. Away from them. 

I am a human. Not a robot. 

At another school I did six months at when I was on leave from my heart school (the one I teach at now), I literally shielded a Year 9 student with my body as a mob of kids threw punches, kicked at him and screamed names. Most of the blows landed on me. I managed to get him to a classroom and lock us in as the mob descended against the doors and windows. 

The school did not support me. They did nothing. 

Earlier this year the other student wasn’t suspended. He and I resolved it because that’s how I work. 

But I can’t do that this time. This is the third one. 

When I was a much younger teacher, fighting every cause, my Head Teacher took care of me and told me I needed to pick my battles or I would burn out. She told me to ask myself, “Is this the hill you want to die on?” 

It has given me longevity and taught me how to play smart. 

I cannot believe that the student today believes that what he did was acceptable. That he even has the right to do that to another human being. I have supported him for three and a half years. 

But no more. 

Tomorrow is going to be a struggle for me. It is my faculty’s Creative and Performing Arts Showcase; I can’t miss school. 

But I want to. 

Yes, I’m strong. I’m resilient. 

But I am also worth more than how I was treated today. I deserve more. 

What is happening to our society? 

What makes these children believe they have the right to violate another human being’s rights? And what is wrong with a society that permits it, and an education system that doesn’t protect its teachers? 

High rates of burn out. Young teachers leaving the system in droves. 

I wonder why. 

Feminist

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jun/22/bridget-christie-feminists-sex-men-book-extract?CMP=fb_gu

Clementine Ford. I’m not a big fan. I find some of her ideas interesting but most a little too self-indulgent. This is quite probably because she triggers a mirror for me … I was once a Clementine. But as we age, we develop a stronger awareness of the ‘other’ and the much ‘bigger picture’. And some of our youthful idealism is sacrificed. Some. Not all. 

Last week she posted a piece on Facebook that was anti-victim blaming and shaming. Her post was spot on. 

Our society does blame women victims … All. Of. The. Time. It’s implied in the language we use and the expectation that women should change their behaviour to avoid becoming a victim. 
The problem with this is that it also marginalises men and strongly suggests that they aren’t capable of behaving appropriately. I’ve known enough men who do behave appropriately to know that this is unfair. 

Anyway, I’m breaking away from my point.

She was hammered for her piece. Metaphorically of course. But only because they couldn’t get to her, and I think they lack conviction. Men and women saying atrocious things. 

One man told her to sit on a butcher’s knife so that she couldn’t reproduce – it won’t be a surprise to you whom have followed my fertility journey to know that I could happily kill this man. 

She has been called a ‘whore’, ‘slut’, a ‘c#*+’, and her body and general appearance denigrated. She has been told she is fat and unfu*#able. Like, really! 

What has our society become? Sisters turning on sisters, and our ‘protectors’ violating trust. How did this happen? 

I am a feminist. It is not the sum of me but a significant part. I am so grateful to the women who stood up for basic human rights and later equality, so that I can write this blog using my own name, I can voice my opinions, I can  have dreads and tattoos and swear and laugh out loud and be WHO I AM without too much fear of persecution. I am a feminist because I own our collective pasts as integral to who I am today. 

I am a feminist because I am grateful. 

And all this means is that I believe in social justice, in equal opportunity, in equity, and in service that reaches far beyond the proverbial kitchen. 

I am proud of Clementine. She stood up and she fought, and fought hard, at a personal and probably professional cost. And she still fights. Whilst I am still not a huge fan, I have respect. And I stand with her … 

With her, and against misogyny, and against patriarchy, and against ignorance, in all its guises. 

Julia Gillard endured the same. And that devastated me. Likewise, I wasn’t a fan. But there is respect. 

Feminism is clearly needed … A new fight ensues. 

Pause. Stop. Rewind. Play.

I am not exactly sure how to start this one. Usually I would wait until the thoughts have processed themselves; words form themselves then.

I rang one of the Foster Care agencies this morning. We had played phone tag for most of Friday afternoon. I was excited about the prospect of being able to support and help provide opportunity for young children. And that was probably my first mistake. Actually, getting up this morning was probably my first mistake today. This, a close second.

I knew it wouldn’t be an easy process. Any process that entrusts children in to a stranger’s care can’t be too easy. But I didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be for me. I was a bit too honest and as a result, the lady doesn’t think I should apply now to be a foster carer. I’ll explain …

She asked some basic questions relating to age, health, smoking status, occupation, marital status, other children, housing … and this is where I cam unstuck. Rather than saying, plain and simple, that I was renting, I was honest and outlined my plans for the next two years. I thought I should be honest about it.

I wish I hadn’t been. I feel like such a dick now.

Kids in care need stability. The process takes six months. If I were to move in the next two years, I would not be able to offer a stable environment.

I have no idea how I managed to continue the conversation. Tears were streaming down my face well before I hung up the phone.

It’s just not fair.

She is still sending me the information package but has said that she wouldn’t start the process until I was in a stable, long term home.

I am thinking of arguing my case further.

But man, today I am just going to cry until I have no tears left.

Transition 

I wasn’t going to write about this yet but I’ve just had another rush of overwhelming emotion. And I need to get it out of my head. 

I made a decision on Thursday night. Quite a big one. And then I acted on it. I’m not exactly sure where it will take me. That’s why I wasn’t going to write about it. 

I adore the girls in my Extension class. So I am also blaming them for this lol. They will know why. 

There are increasingly more students/children in foster care. I have commenced the process of becoming a foster carer before but then opted to keep trying for my own with IVF. I thought I would struggle to give it back to the birth parents if I had to. I didn’t think I would cope well with that. 

This story actually starts last December. I am a firm believer that parents should support their child: successes and failures. Two of my students, sisters, were unable to attend the school’s Presentation Evening to collect their awards because no one could take them. 

I was gutted for them. So I organised with their parent to take them. 

One of these girls graduates high school next term. Again, the parents can’t be there. Sigh. No judgement it is just so sad. So I’ve told her I’ll be her champion that day, standing in her corner and cheering her on. I have done this before for Graduation. 

And then I became overwhelmed with emotion. And then I had a soul epiphany. One of my best friend’s has said, “I’ve been telling you this for years.” My epiphany was: I have so much love in me to give out to kids. I can be a champion to a child or siblings that can’t live with their birth parents. I can make a positive difference in their lives. I can love them. I can be their champion. Even if it is temporary. 

And so I’ve taken the first step. 

Finally. 

And I am so emotional about it. I just hope my period is coming so the tears are from PMS lol. 

My Drive

Every day I am greeted with a gift from Gaia. No two gifts are the same. I start every day feeling blessed. 

I love my drive to work. 

   
       

The Beauty of Aging

I had an experience as I drove to work this morning. It was dark as I left home. And foggy. The daylight broke through as I left the village. With the fog embracing the tree tops, and the pink and the orange streaking the sky, it was a beautiful picture. A photograph would never do the majesty justice so I didn’t stop to take one; some moments are better savoured by the memory.

As I drove, a dangerous stretch of the road, at the speed limit because that’s how I roll, a car came speeding up behind me and sat itself securely on my arse. Beautiful scenery, almost dangerous conditions, cigarette hanging out of its mouth (because that’s how close they were to me), I was tempted to brake. Teach it a lesson. I had the argument – who am I to judge another etc etc blah blah blah, so I calmed myself down and returned to the serenity of the drive. Matt Corby, Joss Stone, Smashing Pumpkins, Eddie Vedder, Elvis Presley, Whitney Houston … each taking their turn to add to the vibe and to my peace.

It moved far enough back that I could see a green P plate. Yes they were in their late teens, possibly early twenties. As they overtook myself in fog and then the car in front of me in a 40km zone that clearly states DO NOT OVERTAKE, I grinned and imagined the photo that could incriminate their behaviour to the police. I smiled, knowing it was a matter of time.

And then chastised myself for not being nice.

And then realised, once that was me. I used to race around, zipping from place to place like the destination and how fast I got there was THE most important thing.

And now I know that it isn’t. It is worth leaving home a little earlier to take a leisurely drive to work, or to anywhere, especially as day breaks. It is worth noticing the environment that I am driving through. Contemplating the existence of the sheep, alpacas, horses and cows I pass every day. The constancy of life. It is worth noticing it. Embracing it. Being coccooned by it.

Life is worth it.

The race is not.

And I continued to think about aging. It is true you become more anonymous as you age. You are no longer the pretty young thing and it really does not matter. As I have aged I have gained immensely in power. Over myself amd over my choices. I know who I am. I am proud of who I am. I am wiser than I was. I am the sum of everything that I have ever seen, heard, thought, read, experienced, lived, processed … and I would not exchange it for youth. Not ever.

I have no desire to win this race, or run it as fast as I can. I am happy to drive leisurely through it – seeing everything as if for the first time, breathing in its scent, languishing in each moment so that I may remember it forever … through every incarnation, its presence sweetening my life.