Why They Leave

There has been more exposure in the last week, in the broad media, regarding the increasingly high numbers of teachers leaving teaching. One such article suggested that 53% of trained teachers are no longer working in the field. They always focus on the young teachers. Older teachers are leaving or taking extended periods of leave too. Like me. 

The reporters state that there is not enough data about why teachers aren’t teaching. I scoff at this. The Department has our details. Call them. Or continue reading …

When I decided to be a teacher, I felt the calling. I was only 5 so I couldn’t articulate why, I just knew teaching was what I was meant to do. Initially I wanted to be a primary school teacher but by the time I was seventeen, I had moved into a calling for high school teaching. I loved English, so high school English became the dream.

My home experiences during my adolescence also impacted this change. After my parents divorced when I was in Year 8, and fighting in both homes became the norm, culminating in me moving between my mum and my dad’s houses, and ultimately living in a caravan in a friend’s backyard for a few months after receiving the beating of a lifetime, I didn’t want any child to feel as alone as I had during my high school years. I vowed that whilstever I was in a school, kids would have an adult they could turn to for support, whether I taught them or not. For me, it was the responsibility of the adults to protect the children. 

When I was in my first year of teaching, 1993, I was interviewed by a local newspaper. They asked why I wanted to teach. My response was simple, “To change the world.” 

Over time this idealism has tempered itself. I still want to change the world, and believe education is vital in this, but have settled for changing the children’s lives I teach so that they are empowered and enabled to change the world. 

So, why am I on leave, initially hoping to leave teaching (but not so much today because I miss it from my core)? 

Because teaching is run by bureaucrats and politicians who have absolutely no idea about what teaching is, and why teachers teach. 

As a result, the art of teaching has been seriously compromised. 

Administration duties have taken over from the magic of programming, preparing lessons and units, and actually teaching. Stupid behaviour and clothing restrictions have been mandated to ensure that teachers are “professional” (pfft, please, professionalism is an attitude not an appearance). 

Data collection, which only serves to demoralise teachers and students, and takes away from the magic of teaching by taking time from preparing resources, has become the most recent catch cry; let’s take time from teachers teaching to collect data do that the results for kids stay low. 

Teachers, young and old, to stay on top of everything that is required, lose the precious work-life balance, lose time with their families, lose time to exercise, lose time full stop, and begin to resent the career they so nobly entered. 

Not only that, but teachers are no longer respected by society. Parents think nothing of abusing teachers, of telling them how to do their job, and of enabling their child’s poor behaviour choices to continue. All the while, belittling the teacher’s knowledge of children and pedagogy. The media, politicians, parents, the average person on the steeet, all think they know better than the people at the chalk face. I shake my head. 

And then, there is no protection for the teachers who find themselves facing an investigation, or accusations of misconduct, or being bullied by other teachers/deputy principals/principals/students, because the child comes first. And whilst they should, it shouldn’t always be at the expense of diligent teachers who are doing the best they can under hopeless circumstances most of the time. 

As a classroom teacher, throughout the last twenty four years, I can’t tell you how many mandatory referrals I have made to principals with students who have suffered some type of heinous abuse. I can tell you how many times the system has supported my welfare needs at these times. Nil. We are expected to listen to the crimes of others, deal with the results of post traumatic stress in our kids, refer them so that the system can continue to let the kids down because the system is under resourced and under funded, WITH NO SUPPORT for us. 

At the end of the year before last, I faced an excruciating decision: immediately refer alleged misconduct of another staff member possibly setting the kids up for reprisals without ongoing support, or protect the welfare of myself and the kids and build resilience so we could cope with the fallout. I waited to refer, I did refer, but not straight away. 

Investigation. 

I could cop that except that it was months of not knowing before I found out why I was under investigation, and then more months before I had a chance to respond, and then because other people lied in their reports and the investigators did not ask me for evidence (dodgy investigation at best), I was labelled as a self-serving liar.

Teachers are leaving because it is not the profession it once was, and because they are not protected from ever increasing workload, attacks from every angle, and dodgy investigations. Because they receive no support to do their job. Because society is disconnected and kids embody this disconnection and teachers deal with the impact of this every day. Because the system doesn’t cater for changes in the way kids learn in the 21st century. 

Because it is just too hard … 

and no one cares. 

The Times They Are A ChangingĀ 

I think that it must be normal that your childhood heroes start to die as you age. They are that little bit older than you, and most have lived hard lives. It does leave me questioning though, who are the childhood heroes today? 

Wake Me Up Before You Go Go is my first choice funeral song because I imagine the people I love in tears, and then wryly laughing as the music kicks in. I’ve had an amazing life, and more often than not, feel blessed and grateful. I have experienced so many incredible things and known amazing people. 

Not that I intend dying today. 

Carrie Fisher has died today (US time). The trailblazers are passing this year, in droves. The people that inspired me to be real, to stand up, to fight for what I believe in, are dying in the year that shackled me. The irony is not lost. 

For a young girl growing up during the seventies and eighties, Princess Leia was a mainstream, socially acceptable, strong woman. Carrie Fisher embodied these qualities in her own life, maybe not always socially acceptable, but definitely authentic and real, fighting the good fight. A true role model, a true hero. 

Emma Watson is a positive role model for young girls. I think I’m struggling beyond her though. Maybe I’m just too old to appreciate what young women offer. 

I was also blessed to have had exposure to the life and work of Audrey Hepburn, an attitude that subconsciously pervaded my role as teacher. Especially relating to where I choose to teach. Her elegance and grace touched me, not necessarily with the language I choose to use. I’m more Carrie that way. Lol. 

I have been blessed to have been touched by female celebrity as much as by real women in and through my life. Strong women who never give up, even when they want to. 

My mother is there. Not always right, but always fighting to survive, to look after us girls, and to live her life. She has been hurt but has never given up. She is real. Her struggles have been real. She endures. My first role model. 

My second took the form of a friend’s mother, becoming my second mum. She struggled with mental health issues in a time when mental health issues were nowhere near as acceptable and understood as they are today. She was there for me, validating my experiences, my reactions, my existence, when all I felt was awkward and insecure. 

Most of my female friends are strong women, living their lives the best way they know how, battling and surviving their demons. 

My third role model is one of my closest friends. I often denounce her wisdom initially, so that I can process it before embracing it, but I acknowledge that that is what I’m doing. And acknowledge this to her. I’m a rebel at heart. Lol. 

Like me, she grew up in dysfunction. She is strong and she is a fighter. She is strong willed and strong minded, whilst being vulnerable in moments of, for want of a better word, defeat. She is unashamedly and unapologetically, her. And she has stood by me, even when I’ve pushed her away, consistently. 

She, too, has been fighting her employer, and through that fight, has confronted herself many times over, resolving little pieces of life struggle triggered by the present fight. Similarly to George Michael and Carrie Fisher, her heart has struggled with the enormity of her fight, but thankfully, her heart has not succumbed. 

I continue to be blessed. I surround myself with strong women who are real. I grew up in a time when it seemed more acceptable for women to not just be tits and arse. And I have been open to the power of love and the desire to survive. 

It is women like my mum, Anne and Donna, and Carrie, who have forged paths that empower and inspire others, that I am most grateful for. And it is important that all of us women who follow, forge our own paths so that we may become beacons for those that follow us. 

No Idea What To Call This Post

In the interests of living life because it is short, and in honour of all of those who have passed and can’t make the most of each day in this realm, I am trying to reclaim Christmas spirit and my friendships by spending time. 

I have, for the last many decades, put work first so often that I stopped living fully. At the time I would have argued that I was living fully, and maybe for some of it, I was. Maybe it’s only been since the IVF journey that I stopped. I’m not sure. It’s all a bit muddy. However, I learned this four years ago and it is only now that I’m attempting to do it all differently. 

I process emotion well but in the past I have shut myself off from others to do so. As a result, when one of my closest friends died four years ago, it had been a fair while [read, way too long] since I had seen her. I carry that regret. I can’t go back and change it, and I know that. I have to breathe and accept that that was the way it was. 

And, I have to learn from it. 

So today, I spent time with some of my longest serving friends who are family to me. We have experienced trials and times when we have been distant, but there have been significantly more beautiful and happy times. I am grateful for that, and for them. 

I think, that when someone dies our hearts never really get over it, but we learn how to assimilate their loss into our lives without them. We memorialize them in different ways. For me, it’s been four years in the making, but I’m trying to be my best self living my best life. Some moments I am more successful than others but the important thing is that I haven’t given up and I keep trying. 

I have had many chats with my friend since she died. That is the liberating part of what I believe in, and it helps me to still have that contact. I’m still trying to make sense out of something that will never make sense but I’m also accepting that there will never be a satisfactory reason. So, I must stop hiding in work, stop needing to be the martyr and the perfectionist, and focus on building a calm, loving and happy life. 

I love all of my friends, past and present, wholeheartedly, and even after bad endings, I never stop loving them. I like this about myself. I focus on what existed that was positive, and the fun and laughter that was shared. Even if I don’t like them any more (one person only really). I remember the love. 

Man, thoughts are messy today lol. Yoga in an hour will go a long way to helping that. Hopefully. A little bit of a headache too – repressed tears methinks. The body is such a strong mirror to the mind. 

I am okay. The process of life is never smooth. And it’s beauty rests in the contrasts. Without contrasts we can’t appreciate what we have that is good. A paradox, and one that often stings on days like today. A necessary paradox. 

And on that note, time to fester a bit more before yoga … because that’s how I roll šŸ˜‰.

Namaste šŸ™šŸ»

Nothing ProlificĀ 

Anxiety and fear have passed. Gone. Faith in the universal order has been restored. Friday, my last day at structured and guaranteed work for a year, felt surreal. Yesterday, I hosted a partial family Christmas. 

Surrounded with reasons for gratitude. There was a moment that I sat back, and just soaked in the conversation around me, and felt truly grateful, peaceful and like, yep, this is what life is about. 

Nothing else really matters. 

It was my first Christmas being really present after Natalie’s death four years ago and my miscarriage three years ago. 

Time. Weird concept. There hasn’t been a single day where Nat hasn’t been in my thoughts. Her passing doesn’t feel that long ago. I try to honour her life by trying to live my best life. I’m not always successful; I am human, after all. 

Sixteen years ago, on the same day I miscarried three years ago, I woke up and went to work as usual. When I arrived, the day of Year 10 Graduation, we were all informed that one of our Year 10 students, one of my students, just hadn’t woken up. The kids, the staff, her family – shock doesn’t describe it, and then the grief. My. She, Erin, has visited my classroom through the years. Some of my more sensitive students have felt her presence and one heard her call out. An interesting lesson that was lol. 

Like Nat, life cut short way too soon. And then Luke and Steph, followed by Jamie, Nich and then, last year, another Nicholas. Lives all ending way too soon. 

In my head, it has become important to honour their lives by living. I think, in part, that inspired me to take leave for next year. I also promised myself when I stopped all fertility treatments, accepting that I wasn’t going to be a birth mother in this lifetime, that I would really do something in my life, beyond the every day; my legacy would not be in the realm of birth children. I would travel and have adventures. I would create a different life. 

A Tina type of life. 

One of the ways that I have already started to do this is by saying yes more, and making plans. If someone asks me or suggests to me something, and it feels right, I don’t pause to think of the practicalities, the anchors, I jump and am trusting that the universe will provide or know that my savings will be lost in travel next year. 

One of my inspirations for this is another ex-student, Justine. Justine was one of Erin’s friends. She created a bucket list of sorts, things to have done before she turned thirty. What a rich life she has lived in honour of herself first and foremost, but also in honour of Erin. Amazing inspiration. 

There are always ways to make money to pay the rent šŸ˜³šŸ™šŸ».

Hehehe. 

So, I’m going to write my book, I’m going to grow my business by sharing my strategies for healing and living, I’m going to travel, and I’m going to host game nights at my house. 

Living is more than safety, more than routine, more than working yourself to the bone. My ‘gap’ year is going to explore the potential for my life, for me. Not as youthfully as it would have when I was eighteen or in my twenties, or even in my thirties, but ‘appropriately’ for now. I will foster the things that I love and see where it leads me. 

Jumping is scary, dying unfulfilled and without passion for life though, well, that’s terrifying. 

Ahhhhhhh

My brain has been processing a great deal this week. I’ve had a massive couple of weeks. I’m really tired lol. 

I started to pack my office yesterday and move my things to the English staffroom – where I started in April, 1999. A young, idealistic, passionate teacher. More cynical, old, but still passionate these days. I left my school in 2008 for six months and taught elsewhere, and it reinvigorated my practice. I also started to believe that I was a good teacher. 

Today, I say with contentment and confidence, I am an exceptional teacher. Exemplary. And an exceptional leader. I have matured into myself, enough to realistically assess my strengths and weaknesses (areas for improvement lol). Imperfect in my perfection šŸ˜‰. And, I am grateful for all of this. It has taken years of commitment and dedication, tears, ongoing learning, mistakes, courage, stubbornness, tears, laughter, fighting, resilience, and then more tears. And more love than I ever dreamed would be possible. 

But I need a break. 

The system is nowhere near as competent as I have become. It’s changes have negatively impacted its constituents. It’s growth has not been as significant, and its stubbornness/courage has not yielded the best results for kids. I could keep going but there is no point. If you aren’t a teacher, I’m just whinging, and if you are, you know. 

My investigation was resolved, two days prior to hitting 42 weeks. Paradoxically this year has been my best and my worst in teaching. My best in the classroom and in leadership, my worst in confidence, doubting myself, and shame. 

It took from March to July to find out what I was under investigation for. And from August to Tuesday this week, for it to be resolved. 

During the last couple of years I have relived the tortured feelings of an abused child, culminating in being called a liar and self-serving by two women who have never met me and whom, realistically, did not conduct a very thorough investigation. I am guilty of the charge, and I own that, did so in my response to it, but I am not self-serving or a liar. 

In the world of contemporary education, it has become mandatory to report the behaviour of other adults. I was charged with failing to do this. In the world of contemporary education, it has become mandatory to extend a duty of care to all students. They say I failed to do this by failing the first part. I say, we cannot ever know this for sure. The context was muddied. 

They say I receive no consequences, an acknowledgement of the difficulty inherent within the context. Apart from the anxiety and shame filled year I have had, that has resulted in one of the proudest and most capable public education teachers, resigning her union membership and needing to take leave from a job that once filled her joy with love, to heal. 

My union failed to support me, failed to provide me with a welfare officer when anxiety filled, I reached out to them. I was instructed to speak to no one. When I did reach out to people, my job was threatened. Forty one weeks and five days. The gestation period of a human being. It’s a long time to have to hide and to be voiceless, to not own the narrative of your own life. 

But, it’s over. Shackles withdrawn. Lips unsown. Healing can start. 

What a week. Starting with a funeral, another reminder that life is short and should be filled with moments and adventures that bring us joy. 

Resolution on Tuesday. Reaching out to friends as I stood on the ledge, wishing it all to end, as I read the words liar and self serving. Words existing because of the lies of others and their perceived greater integrity. Not the way I would describe my work in education over the last twenty four years, or my commitment to the children in the schools in which I have taught. 

Wednesday brought anger, lots of it. 

Thursday, great disappointment. In my employer, myself, others. We should never have been in this situation. 

Friday, yesterday, the realisation that we are all just victims of the choices of others. 

Today, understanding that we choose our lives. We choose how we deal with hardship. We choose whether we remain a victim or become a survivor. We choose how we let others treat us, marginalise us, betray us. We choose … everything. 

I will move forward. I’m an amazing teacher. I love my kids. I love being in the classroom, motivating my kids to be more, to live more, to dream more. I love empowering them to achieve, and to believe. I love seeing them embrace all that they can be. I love being the smallest part of helping them to make that happen. Their success is their success, and it brings me joy. 

This will be my legacy. And it lives in the lives that I have touched. Everything I do is the result of love, even my mistakes. 

Today

I kept myself so busy last week so that I didn’t have to grieve or think or feel or anything beyond function. If Uncle Ian crept into my thoughts, I shut it down and found something to do. 

As a result I have had a relapse of my throats and blocked nose – Louise Hay would say unresolved and congested emotion. I would agree. I worked hard to keep that emotion at bay. 

But, not today. 

Today I am feeling a week’s worth of grief. It started last night. The acknowledgement that today is a funeral. A funeral for one of the strongest and most positive male role models I have had throughout my life, my childhood. 

One of a small group of adults who tried to keep us safe, to show us another way. 

I don’t remember much from anything past. My brain keeps me safe, probably to the extreme, by locking things away. I remember emotion though, deeply, and my body remembers emotion. 

Uncle Ian was funny. He made us laugh. He brought things home from the Commonwealth Bank, where he had worked for decades before retiring, in the days when loyalty to a workplace was commonplace. 

He had a small Hookey board and we would spend hours in their garage, doors open, throwing rubber rings onto brass hooks. He would cheer our wins. Drinks were consumed from small blue and pink and yellow metal cups, brought out by Aunty Val. 

We went to The Entrance for our only ever overnight holiday away with Aunty Val and Uncle Ian. It was overcast but we walked along the water anyway. It was amazing. They came to Taronga Zoo with us on the ferry. They were our Christmas. 

They were just always there. 

When mum and dad had fought, and mum didn’t think it was safe for us to be there, we were scuttled, in blankets, next door to sleep. We also just had sleepovers there. Just for fun. 

They loved us. They protected us. They spoiled us. They were a significant part of our village. 

And today, I will see Aunty Val, without Uncle Ian, for the first time ever. I have known these people, as a couple, for over forty years. Aunty Val and Uncle Ian. They worked together, as a unit, her giggle to his dry humour and funny tales.

Uncle Ian has gone. 

What is that about. 

Another Reminder

Growing up in Australia in the seventies was a blessed experience. We were free. I have wonderful memories of us neighborhood kids hanging out with each other and disappearing all day every day during summer. We were safe to do so. Most predators lurked in the homes rather than in the streets, or that’s the way it felt. We were accountable to each other’s parents as much as we were our own, and could be smacked by anyone. It was an extended family, a community, a village looking after and raising the children. 

For my sisters and I, this was vital. Mum and dad were from European families, Finland and Germany respectively. We didn’t have a typical extended family as a result. There was no internet, no mobile phones, and an overseas phone call was expensive and consisted of a noticeable time lag. I was a pen pal, snail mail, to one of my cousins in Finland. 

Our street community, Manooka Crescent, became our extended family. Our friend’s parents, our aunts and uncles, and the two older couples in the street, one next door and one across the road, our grandparents. 

Until today, we had only lost one of the four. Today, the second of four has passed. 

My sisters have kept in better contact with our childhood family than I have. I have always been so busy with school and keeping in touch with my adult friends that I let go of this childhood family. Physically, not emotionally. Emotionally they are pivotal people in my life. They empowered and enabled me to make it to adulthood. They were the oasis in the storm of dysfunctional childhoods. They saved us by taking us in … regularly. 

Especially the couple next door. 

And today, mum rang me first thing this morning to let me know rhat one has passed away. He has been in hospital and this time, didn’t survive. 

My tears are for his wife. They built a life together that spanned over sixty years; a phenomenal commitment, taking in lost children all of the time. Not perfect, but always doing their best. 

Somehow, we expect that we all will live forever. But, we don’t. 

Life is short. Some of us have a good innings, others’ interrupted or cut short too early. Death teaches us that it is important to truly live every day. 

If we are unhappy, only we can control the change. And not in a destructive way, but finding what will work to keep moving us forward, closer to happiness. Into happiness. 

The Dalai Lama believes that happiness is the purpose of life. I agree. What other reason can there be for existence that makes consistent and logical sense. 

And our lives feel most joyous in service, of some type, towards others. Those that are happiest often work for others. Service provides soul fulfillment. Giving is better than receiving. 

Ian gave. To his own family, his country, the bank, and to everyone that he met. He had a cheeky sense of humour, sharing jokes with us before we were probably meant to hear them, Val chastising him and giggling as she did. He was funny. They lived,  providing a freedom and normalcy my sisters and I probably wouldn’t have had. A normalcy that enabled us to see the bigger picture of life, beyond trauma and dysfunction, and empowering us to create better lives for ourselves. Their gift to us was resilience in its purest form, giving us contrast between what was and what could be. 

We never say thank you enough. We never let people know their value to us enough. We take our’s and everyone’s mortality for granted. Death teaches us to feel grateful that little bit more, to hold our loved ones a little tighter, and to say I love you more often. It teaches us to grow, to be mindful, to take risks, to live in happiness. 

To live. 

Much love Uncle Ian. 

Life is Short

A friend’s mother has passed away. I had the fortune to meet her and have lunch with her a couple of years ago. She was adorable. And I know that her daughter, my friend, loved her very much. Her mother was, for the most part, a stable point for her through some rough times. The funeral is Friday. 

I have felt this a few times today, and have shed some tears. I am very lucky; my parents are still alive. I love them dearly and am not looking forward to their inevitable passing. 

I think we tend to take our parents for granted. My relationship with my parents has significantly improved throughout the last ten or so years. Prior to that, there had been long periods of estrangement. Justifiably, for where we all were in our journey. 

I am grateful though, that we have worked hard to develop healthy and happy relationships with one another. 

It hasn’t been easy. My childhood was traumatic. I expected better from my parents. As an adult, I came to realise (it was a process) that Dr PHIL is right: when we know better, we do better

My parents were struggling, individually, with the impact of their own choices when I was younger. They didn’t know how to do that and protect/nurture their children. I know, without any hesitation, that if they could have done it all differently, they would have. And, as a result, I have been able to forgive them, and we have all moved forward. 

Thank goodness I had the time with them to be able to do that. I am also grateful that they know me, and I know them, as equals. My mother is one of my very best friends, and I love and appreciate my dad, especially the humility that aging has gifted him with. Above all else, all of the mistakes, and ill informed choices, I know that they love me. 

Even now, when I suffer and they are powerless to fix it, I can feel their frustration at not being able to protect me. 

Does it make up for my childhood? 

No. 

But it doesn’t need to. I gained as much as I lost. I developed resilience, inner strength, a love of learning, compassion, empathy, idealism, principles, and a bloody strong work ethic. I am sure there is more. The things that I lost, like self-esteem and trust, well, I am a work in progress and they are slowly evolving. 

I am going to let my parents know that I love them, whilst I still can. It is easy to hold on to anger, resentment, pain, but it solves nothing. It eats away like cancer. It destroys the heart and soul. Finding the way to forgive is the key. For me, forgiveness saved me. Friendship with my parents was an additional blessing; forgiveness ensured I had no regrets, and that’s all I wanted. 

To save me, my narrative needed to become about me, my needs. Familiar theme here. Cycles ending so that my next phase of growth can commence. 

How blessed. 

FuneralsĀ 

There is no experience better at reminding us that life is short. Funerals symbolise the body moving from this realm into earth or ash whilst the soul moves on. Our physical bodies can only carry us so far. 

I had the ‘pleasure’ of attending a funeral today for someone I had never met personally. I attended to offer ‘support’ to one of my dearest friends. Just so that she knew she was important to me, and so that for a couple of minutes she could be in her grief without worrying for everyone else (as she is prone to do; as so many women/mums are prone to do). 

And what a wonderful man her father in law was. The funeral took the form of a Catholic Mass. And, no I wasn’t struck down. My brother in law and nieces follow this faith, so God and I have developed an understanding regarding my presence in his houses. 

I don’t know if my friend’s father in law worshipped in church regularly but I do know that he followed the essence of Christian teachings. And anyone who knows me, knows how much respect I hold for those that walk the talk. 

And this man did. 
His son delivered the eulogy. A very human story. And a story signposted by service to others. In the last few months I have heard a lot about this man and it was always obvious how much my friend adored him. Today his son captured why. Eloquently and with touches of humour. A life lived in a way that touched many other lives without expectation of reward. 

As I sat there, listening and watching, I reflected on the notion of service. It is through times of service that I have felt great happiness; there is something soothing/empowering/uplifting when we are giving to others. I think it is the Dalai Lama who proffers that a life lived in service to others, is a life lived in happiness. I think he is right. And today reminded me of this. 

I am so grateful that I was welcomed to attend. I am so grateful that I went. And grateful to have ‘met’ a man that epitomises and lived his life philosophy. 

How powerful are each of our lives in contributing to the happiness in the lives of those we traverse this lifetime with. 

Make sure you tell those that you love, that you love them. Never let there be any doubt of where people stand in your heart. 

Blessings and love from me to you. 

LifeĀ 

I once heard that life will only throw at us what we are capable of dealing with. I’ve used this mantra, and everything happens for a reason, to get me through some dark moments in my life. I also try to remember Rome; the very old with the new side by side – everything will be okay. But, I digress. 

I was at my Body Talk appointment last week. And, in the middle of it, I had a flashback to my childhood and a vivid recount of being sexually abused. I have known for a long time that this happened. But always in like photographic moments, never video. This was a week ago. It was bizarre. 

I felt it. Felt the trauma. Felt the peace. All within like five minutes. Processed the event and restored the balance quite fast. I told my practitioner. Thought about it later that night. Mentioned it to a friend on Monday. Thought about it this morning. And, I’m okay. Really okay. 

For me, I think I have been so aware of the impact of the trauma of my childhood on me for such a long time that my goal for happiness and peace now overrides everything. Or, I’m deluding myself and am in shock. Lol. Meh, how do we know. Just have to trust the present moment and current reaction. 

So, why am I mentioning it now and here. Well, sexual abuse stigmatises a child. Definitely of my generation. It was never discussed as openly as abuse is these days. And realistically, how did a child know it was wrong except by how it made them feel, and what frame of reference did a child possess to empower them to trust their reaction. 

But secrecy in general, stigmatises people. I have been involved in something this year that I am not allowed to discuss, under threat of losing my job. The secrecy hurt my sense of self and my concept of my place in my world for 28 weeks, and then I didn’t let it anymore. Within four weeks, this flashback.

And, I’m okay. 

I can’t wait for the day when I am no longer shackled. I will blog freely again. I will be okay. 

Secrecy is not okay though. It damages the psyche. I have always spoken freely about my childhood experiences in a bid to empower others to own their stories. It is only through owning our stories that we believe that we are okay, not the sum of the trauma only, and through which we can claim/reclaim our lives. We move from victim to survivor to enlightened. 

I wish this for everyone. 

Own your story. Own the depths of it. Trust that the emotions are part of the processing of the trauma, and that they are valid. And trust too, that doing the work yields the results. And the result is inner peace, integration of the different parts of us, being the best version of ourselves living our best lives. 

It is possible. 

It is the journey.