It’s All About You

Human beings are amazing. Each of us has the potential to survive anything, be anything, do anything, and everything. Even in death, we can inspire and empower others.

So many humans, though, choose not to. We allow ourselves to become stuck, to become crippled, to become small, to not achieve all that we can.

I was stuck for so long. When I reflect, I know that my soul was no longer filled with passion for the work I did. There were moments of passion, but they only served to make me think I hadn’t become stuck.

I learned new pedagogies to support my teaching (which I am and will always be grateful for). I had new adventures, like trying to have a baby (for too many years). I studied and learned new things. I went on annual trips with people I love. But, I was still stuck.

I’ve written about this before. 2016 became a life-changing year for me. I had not listened to the whispers of being stuck, had not listened to the talking or the shouting or the screaming of the universe. I was paralyzed. All I had ever wanted to be was a teacher. Or a writer. I didn’t know what else was out there, and truth be told, I didn’t think there was anything else out there.

When I let fear dictate inaction, the universe decided to give me one more shot before my passion for life was extinguished and I just went through the motions of being alive.

Out of fear, I made a decision at the end of 2015 that would come to haunt me, repeatedly, throughout 2016. Rebelling against fear, and realizing I needed a complete change, I made a decision at the end of 2016 that has saved me life.

I took a year leave from my job. I was lucky to have a boss who saw the need and, even though he knew it would mean the eventual loss of an amazing teacher from the public education system, he approved my leave and didn’t force my hand towards resignation. I will eternally be grateful to and for him for his support during the yuckiest year of my life.

Jumping forced me to do and to try and to experience different things. I saw the potential for my life, for anyone’s life.

None of us have to be stuck. It takes a bit of courage to change things, whatever things might need changing, and a jump doesn’t have to be as extreme as mine was (I hadn’t listened for a long time). We all deserve to be living wholly and happily.

My life is in transition. Last year was my gap year. This year is a consolidating and transitioning year. Next year, who knows.

I won’t be going backwards. I love living again. I love the potential of, and for, my life. Every day is magickal. I feel things again, deeply, everything. And most of it is infinitely positive and happy.

I stop to take photos of beautiful things. I talk to the animals as I drive past them. I notice the trees, the clouds, the sun, the moon, life. I have rituals. I work hard, with love. I trust. I have faith. I smile, from my heart.

This … this, was worth the jump.

When I Grow Up, I Wanna Be

I had an epiphany on the way to my mentoring appointment today. I was listening to Sage Levine again, hoping for inspiration regarding what I want to do with my life.

I love tutoring, with my whole soul, but it’s transitional. I need a business that is mobile. By 55, I want to be living on my land in my cottage on the cliffs by the ocean, with Tracey and Dave on the same plot, and others who would like to join us in our utopia.

I haven’t been stressed about this. I have known that when the time is right, the epiphany would occur. Today, it did.

Life mentor. I want to empower others to empower themselves to live their best lives.

Some people say that a lot of the inspirational posts are simplistic and superficial and, basically, no good. They are wrong. Those posts serve as reminders. As sign posts. As ideals.

I have been stuck. I became unstuck. I’m living my best life and it’s only getting better.

It’s about process. About knowing what brings you happiness. About courage. About truth, honesty and risk.

Epiphanies are gold. I feel like I have an occupational purpose again. It’s good.

In This Together

What a week. I feel so drained today. For so many reasons.

My business has grown again this week. I’ve made the decision to work my butt off this year, sacrifice some social time, to consolidate the client base and establish my reputation. I feel that this will allow me to really move towards leaving teaching sooner than I originally anticipated.

It will also enable a very strong financial foundation going into next year. My finances are much better, but I have ongoing expenses that mean my savings aren’t strong. I am looking at the positives though, and I am paying in cash for things I need. Nothing grand. Things like new tyres for the car, servicing, etc.

My true love is healing though. I really want to focus on growing that side of my business. I’m also learning to set boundaries on my healing skills. This means that I’m not completely wrecked like I once would have been in a week like this one.

Interesting times. Scott Pape’s The Barefoot Investor and John Dimartini’s How To Make One Hell of a Profit and Still Get To Heaven have done more than restructure my finances. They have empowered me to start to really see and appreciate my worth. The services I offer, in business, at school, and in my life, really are valuable.

I am valuable.

And, appreciating this, empowers me to live my life differently. I’m not as scared or nervous of asking for what I need. And the guilt I feel is less. Significantly – a twinge only now. I need to put my welfare first, my needs, my dreams. It’s okay to support and empower others, but we need to live the dream too.

And the mask crumbles.

I wore my big girl pants all day today, until ten minutes ago when the tears came sobbing out as I drove closer to home. Too late to go and get a hug from someone, especially with a shit load of marking to do.

I have changed as a teacher. The compassionate, loving creature that this year’s Years 11 and 12 know, I don’t think the younger years have met. It’s sad. This me is a cool teacher. But, fuck, it’s hard.

When I have taught, prior to this year, I was all in. Heart. Mind. Soul. No wonder I have burnt out.

I remember this heart break and all the prior heart breaks, fresh. Belinda has said that this is our seventh student loss. I’ve been close to every single one. And, that’s not the hardest part.

No, the hardest part is watching the kids left behind, breaking in front of you, while you stand with them, powerless to fix their pain, to take the hurt away, to stem the flow of tears. We can only hold them, tell them we love them, and say, “Yep. This is fucked,” as we hold them tighter, scared we might lose them too. Scared that we won’t be enough. Scared … just plain scared. Whilst we break too.

No child should go before old age. But, they do. All of the time. It’s devastating.

I told a couple of the kids today that we honour Blake’s life by becoming our best selves, living our best lives. And, I believe this.

Death of loved ones changes us. It doesn’t matter who we are; death and grief are equalizers.

I am holding a lot of anger towards the senselessness of this, and the selfish arrogance of the ‘perpetrator’. I’ll work through it. He has people grieving him and praying for his recovery. I am sure if he had a chance to do over, he would change each decision that resulted in this devastation. Still …

It’s hard as a teacher. People don’t expect us to have these deep emotions for our kids. We do though. It’s hard not to. We see them every day. We see them at their best and at their worst. You get to know their souls, and you get to help them navigate their way through this sketchy thing called life.

I will never forget many things about Blake: white bloody shoes and a myriad of other ongoing uniform infringements, cheeky grin, stubborn spirit, his compassion and love for those he was closest to, and his honesty.

I had a conversation with him during 2016, before I left, that really highlighted his maturity and battler spirit. I will never forget it. It reminded me of how much some of our kids contend with to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Blake was a survivor.

I believe (ever so gratefully) that his spirit lives on. That his cheeky grin is a flicker away. And that his life will continue to impact those he knew positively through death. Some things just live on.

For now, my big girl pants are with my mask, away for the night, and as I tell the kids, I’m being real and doing what I need to do to self-care and to move through this, peacefully. It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to vent. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to do whatever you need to do.

❤️🙏🏻💦

Our Narratives

Last year, I started to think about where I was born. I was trying to connect with my roots here, in Sydney, in this incarnation. I had never really cared too much about it before. As I started to write my book, I felt a longing to know more about my birth story.

I always knew I had been born in the Salvation Army Hospital in Marrickville. It was called Bethesda at the time.

Bethesda refers to a part of Jerusalem. It contains a pool of water, associated with healing. The hospital was closed two years after my birth. It had also been a home for wayward teen girls. The building is now used for apartments.

It has had a rich history.

I am a part of that history.

I went to see it yesterday, only because I was in the vicinity. My attraction to it is bizarre. I felt a strong connection to it yesterday.

This is the place that my life started. It’s a bit surreal.

My dad told me that he had been sent home. The nurses thought I would be ages yet. I arrived whilst he was gone. I’m yet to talk to my mum about my birth. I have a yearning to know.

Also, though, I’ve been wondering how much the place we are born impacts on who we become, or do we choose a fitting place for our births, maybe to trigger us to remember our purpose here. I’m not sure, but I’m curious.

The Salvation Army do a great deal of charity and welfare work. Bethesda is a pool of healing. My connection to water and my mermaid self is strong. I just query how random all of this is, or isn’t.

Food for thought.

Acknowledging Growth

When my friend Natalie died, I vowed I would live my life consciously and happily to honour her. There isn’t a day that goes by that the people closest to me aren’t in my thoughts. Living and passed.

However, my vow took some time to realise. I lived in, and by grief for a long time. I was grieving Nat’s passing, my guilt, my regret, my infertility, my miscarriage, the unfairness of life, etcetera etcetera.

I have worked hard to become a better person. A person that loves wholeheartedly, but puts self-love first. A person who lives life wholly, and doesn’t just meander along. A person who strives to be her best, to live her best, to ensure nothing is wasted. I get better at this every day.

I’ve worked hard with my therapist/mentor to topple old unhealthy patterns to reinvigorate my spirit and my life. Today, I felt the growth and saw it in action.

I made plans with the daughter to catch up at Easter. In the past, after bad news, I would become invisible, absent, MIA for ages. I would hide from the world so that no one would see my pain; hide away so that I could process what had happened, alone and quietly.

Knowing this, she gave me the out. I didn’t need it. I cried a lot yesterday and I’ve cried some more today. I hate knowing that people are in pain and I can’t fix it. I wish I could.

We all have our own path to walk. We all find our peace in our own time. Today, I showed myself that my legs are stronger and my path has shifted. I can live and process and still love those close to me. I honour lives extinguished too soon. I live. The best way I can.

Aaargghhhhhhhhhhhh

I have always said that one of the hardest parts of teaching is giving your heart to the little creatures. When they suffer, your heart breaks because you just can’t fix the things that hurt them. When things go wrong for them, you just want to hold them in your arms until life is safe again.

I don’t always remember every student’s name, but there are a lot who stand out for all types of reasons. The kids that struggle, that have stories to tell, that are survivors of something, I always remember.

Coming back this year from a year away has been confusing. It’s taken me the better part of this term to realise that the kids continued to learn and grow whilst I was gone. Some kids left and I’m just realising they aren’t at school anymore.

But, you always figure you’ll see them at some point, somewhere. And with social media, we all reconnect at some point anyway.

Five years ago, I taught a Year 7 class for English. I adored them. This time five years ago, we had established a healthy relationship, but the classes were about to change. During that first term though, I gave my heart to the kids in this class. They were such a mixed bag.

I have just found out that one of those kids died yesterday in a horrible car crash. His best friends and his family are grieving.

The best thing about teaching in this modern world, is the kids and the relationships you build with them. I have been to too many funerals for kids. I will be attending another.

Us teachers love the kids we teach. It’s a special bond. My colleagues at one of the schools I taught casually at last year, went through this whilst I was there. Us teachers really feel the loss. We become so invested.

This kid wasn’t a model student, but he had a heart of gold and was a real fighter. He deserved to live a great life and to become a wonderful man.

Another reminder that life is short. I’m raw. No words. Sending love and warm hugs to those suffering. Wishing that was enough.

The Pressure

I received a message from my sister as I was leaving a friend’s home last night. I had an hour and a half drive ahead of me. The message (we always fear the absolute worst) shocked me and so I called her straight away.

Not the absolute worst, but notice that that day is coming for a family friend.

I felt pressured. The mind plays funny games in moments like this.

I went straight to my schedule. Three days at school this week and clients every afternoon until Thursday night. The only time off this week is Wednesday day.

Then to, can I miss a day off school? Not really. Can I cancel clients? Not really.

Then, realisation that I have a couple of cancellations.

Okay.

Selfish this will sound, but I’m tired. Tired of all of this. My emotions are spent. I don’t have much left in the tank. An introvert working six days a week in two jobs: one that I love and another that puts me into stressful situations. I’m trying to balance work, business and a social/family life.

Selfish it is. Self-care, Tina. That’s what you always preach. But, a fear of upsetting others, of letting people down, of not being enough, comes to the fore.

You’re no use to others if you don’t look after yourself first.

Yes, but …

priorities. What are mine?

Where does everything fit?

I have woken with a headache. A to do list a mile long. A desire to run. Or hide. Or to go to the beach.

I’ll work this out. Me first. Everything else, second.

Follow those thoughts. All the while, the soundtrack of a family friend dying, playing in the background. The mind is powerful. Focus on the immediate, ignore the impending. Deal with it when it happens. Ensure no regrets.

Tick things off your list. Make it happen. Self-care. Choices.

What makes you happy? Processing. Values. Feed those. Do that stuff. Emotionally. Spent. No more to give. Hide.

Miserable Weather

We have had sunny, warm (hot) days for so long, I had almost forgotten how refreshing cooler, wet weather could be.

So quickly, the grass has gone from brown near death to lush green. It didn’t take long.

A timely reminder to water and nourish our own selves.

Just sayin’.

Haim Ginott, I know. I forgot.

I had to get something for one of my kids from the staff room today. Today was smooth. It was a nice change. I felt me again.

I did some soul searching during the weekend. I revisited my lessons for this week and put some Tina mojo into them. I tried to inspire and to really teach, not just administer lessons. I got in early. I was focused.

I left the class to go to the staff room. The kids were settled and calm and happy and engaged and learning.

I remembered my teaching quote. A quote that has governed my practice for as long as I can remember.

I am the deciding influence; I make or break the mood, and the kids.

I grinned.

I had forgotten. Today, I remembered, and today I was closer to a tool of inspiration rather than an instrument of torture, for most kids.