Drrrrained

Thank God I’m going out tonight. Hoping to find some positive energy to turn that down pression toward light and sun.

Winter is seeming to drain the life blood out of me.

This week feels like its put alot of us on the back foot

Days are hard and night seems to be the most inviting. Itching for unconsciousness to take me far away.

Ofsted under the brand spanking new framework put the whole school on heightened alert and tension.

Failing hot water drove me and the kids to biting one liners, filling up kettles and buckets with boiling water, incessant moaning and endless calls to the Council.

Proving I should retain child benefit that my ex is trying to take from me, find witnesses for an oncoming court case and fight for benefits that are my Right: enveloped me in mounds of hard, unsympathetic, blank, crackling, white paper – the canvass for hard evidence, I Must Find.

This is too hard.

It’s All on me.

4 hours of driving each day in a derelict car that needs daily top ups of water and oil filled me with exhausted numbness.

Couldn’t even write a blog. Couldn’t enunciate the sadness fog.

Can’t even find it in me to care if the Conservatives get in again, or look forward .. .

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Threats of Failure.

After witnessing something close to shell shock, when my students had to do an assessment…I decided to drill down and find out why…

We had a little ‘family chat’ in between analysing some Steinbeck and their feelings and views bit me to the core.

They believe that if they fail their GCSEs- their life will be over.

It’s as if they have one shot at success and that’s it. Do or die.

One teacher told them that they’d end up homeless if they didn’t get their gcses. Other teachers constantly threaten them with failing their exam in over 2 years if they don’t memorize yet another key bit of information.

They said their assemblies focus on GCSEs the whole time and they’re already fatigued by this incessant threat of possible failure years before the real thing.

As they’re in a lower set, they already feel inferior to their peers and many just expect themselves to not understand or write very little. (Here in lies the issues around setting.)

I know this is how most children feel in Secondary school and the clear pressure they feel from school to get it right NOW is turning more and more children off. This immediately negates a nurturing environment into a monolithic, minimalist definition of success.

I told them straight that you can restart your life at any given moment. There’s no finishing line! That GCSEs or anything else do not define their worth.

After doing some intensive timed work to acclimatise to exam situations, I then sang a couple of verses of an Adele song and they left happier and more confident than before.

Exams Kill.

I have some beautiful students.

Beautiful souls. Eager, delicate, in need of gentle guidance.

We debate, we reveal parts of our personalities, we experience time together…growing older together. Appreciating genius words, colliding with notions, crashing into history and showering us with emotion.

Don’t think for a second that my classroom is idyllic- it’s far from it. I get seriously wound up and so do they. I admit I’m a smothering Matriarch.

But it’s safe. I really work hard to make it emotionally safe.

Until we had to do out first assessment today configured loosely around GCSE exams.

Some of them literally crumbled before my eyes. They wilted. The stress was palpable and they’re 2 years off the real thing!

As teachers we act as a conduit for the extreme expectations of the management. The kids feel our intense burden of how do their books look, are they making adequate progress, are they engaging enough…how that makes Us look.

The current education system makes us care about our career and professional prowess over forming young minds.

It’s agonising to watch. Supremely painful to watch their bravado, their insight, their brilliant inference meld into a quivering wreck.

My bouncy, intuitive student couldn’t find a word to put to paper: despite my empathetic nudges, she had to leave the room, cry and tell me how much she cant cope with getting it wrong. I told her to chill and read a book.

Another boy, spent the whole lesson in sick bay after some sorry attempts of mine to prompt him.

So many students couldn’t remember their quotes and were flummoxed. Any hurdle tripped them up.

Others needed constant reminding sentence by sentence after weeks of prep.

We talk about building robust future citizens. I think this new exam heavy curriculum is creating a massive chasm of the haves and have nots.

The few who can do tests and the many who find the order too tall.

Yes I learnt some important pointers today about their low self esteem and the need to practise the complex requirements of exams in tiny swallowable chunks.

But this kind of pressure definitely takes the joy out of Learning.

Broken

I am with my dear friend.

Have you ever felt like the broken you can only reveal itself in front of very special people?

I don’t even reveal this self to me.

Somehow, the honesty and realness of this connection means the painful stuff just oozes out.

I find myself behaving in strange ways that I don’t recognise…from the strong,independent, black, conscious, single mother I have been told I am.

I find myself filled with fear, a little girl, a baby sucking my thumb, I’m scared of being used, I’m scared to voice my feelings, I’m trembling to say ‘no, I don’t want this’.

Somehow, connecting with this traumatised child inside me is healing me, piece by piece.

Hearing her, holding her, accepting her is eschewing a new serenity.

Thank you Nikolas.

New You, New Me.

I love to celebrate craft, pursuit of excellence, Quality with a capital Q in whatever field.

Well we all know how much our hair means to us. All of it or none of it. Hair plagues the image-conscious- confidence.

My hairdresser has taken me through many life – hair styles. She knew me when I was living the lie- of Happy Families and ‘holier than though’ church.

She saw me try and assert Me in a coercive church and relationship.

She witnessed me go through many breakdowns…she witnessed me leave my family and crawl back in a suicidal state.

She watched me get help from Mental health workers, domestic abuse support, Judges, Social workers, nearly end up in a refuge, sofa surf and be finally housed for domestic abuse by the council.

Then she saw me start to listen to my intuition, my soul, my Politics, my Purpose in a cocoon of new and old loving friends and equilibrium.

Check her out. She does hair of all races, all styles. Dawnette, North London, UK
Mobile 079-563-30484

Peace.

When you’re not used to it. Peace is strange.

It’s a feeling of nothing that is quite disconcerting: moving slowly, mind and body in sink, nothing pressing on the mind.

It’s worrying because I wonder…is this the start of a new bout of depression or some new psychiatric disorder…

I am grounded and I’m enjoying the nothing of mind, body, spirit. Grounded in The Now. The feel of my new extra thick socks, the bitter wind caressing my cheeks, the vision of the shadowy moon hiding behind drifting clouds, the grains of peanuts assaulting my taste buds in my creamy peanut punch.

No rush. No urgency.

The problems will be here tomorrow.

Free at forty…

I had the best night last night.

Just what I needed after a terrifying session at court and drowning in yet more admin around future court cases, benefits,police requests and the like.

Hanging with great people who were foot loose,fancy free and forty plus!!!

Just like me…

I must say…as a recent divorcee with children to care for, life is taking off,taking shape, taking me….

I love it.

I love picking and choosing, musing, ignoring whatever I want with no one to answer to. No muse, mentor, oppressive authority figure.

Just me and my conscience.

It’s invigorating and enlightening to learn how capable I am, with none of those voices of the past telling me how incapable I am.

It’s the best high to see my children slowly coming to life as I am too: resurrected from the religious prison we were dying in.

And it’s super special to bond with other single parents living, loving and hurtling toward our 50s.

The conversation richocheted from cows methane, to fatherly roles,to mixed race politicking, to work stress to mental health to …laughter reigned.

All over Malaysian delectable and wine. Cheers to the first of many.

Blessed bonding.

Much Ado…

Can’t wait to teach this tomorrow…

To 11 and 12 yr olds!!! And make it exciting and relevant…!!!!

Shakespeare always grounds One 😏😏😏😏

Just trying to keep up with the plot twists makes you forget your own problems.

Then there’s the thick layers of language, innuendo, imagery…

I love my job.

Take note

Me before the ballet…

Hold onto special moments… when you’re enjoying things, when you feel good.

Remember them, highlight them, force them to the forefront of the mind.

When existential crisis is simply a way of life-a perennial buzzing noise at the back of the brain, so longstanding and so negatively normal… Good Times must be returned to, savoured, calmly surveyed inch by inch.

With a fearfilled interview ahead of me this week, involving me remembering traumatic events that I have buried to simply survive living… I need these precious triggers of Goodness, anticipation, warmth, safety.

Planning my outfit, pulling on my silky, delicate tights, choosing my bling with a careful aesthetic eye, eyelining with dramatic emphasis, wrapping myself in my faux fur…

Spending 2 hours indulging in beauty that is unnecessary but oh so necessary….

Do this for You, for your loved ones so they can get the best of you, so you can be resurrected once again to that bright, shiny You.