Teaching…. 8am – 3pm.. um NO!!

I cannot imagine and even more so now having the patience with someone saying; “you’re just a teacher, you have so many holidays, it’s an easy job”…..

I think now more than ever I have never been so tired, so exhausted, so muddled!

Yes, we may get to school for 8am, well I always aim for 7:30am, and I never leave before 4, sometimes 5, if there is a scheduled meeting. Never mind the parent teacher evening we have until 7pm, the sports training until 4:30- 5pm, depending on when the parents arrive for collection. Duty of care after all. We look after the students before anything else!

Then there is the lesson prep, the marking, the reports, the e-mails and of course the students in need. When you come across a student in need we may be making phone calls off our own private phones anyway between 6-7pm upto as late as 9pm. Just so we know they are okay. This happens even now when they are not even on campus. Our worries continue..

I receive e-mails at 1:30am asking about assignment work and drafting so when I wake that’s what I see, and that’s at 6:30am.

Lesson covers to help the staff who cannot attend, so the time you thought you had in the day gone, because we look after our own.

Today…. with this COVID-19 it’s even more pressure. Not only have we gone from having students in front of us and not having the interaction of students in a class as now it’s all remote. Online classes, talking to a screen, screen sharing and more.

We teach from a computer, we take roll call through that to. We use an app, a video/camera, a chat line all while trying to teach! Multi tasking at its best! Recording it, streaming it… and more… all so they do not miss out. That’s what we do!

Absences from a lesson fall on us, follow up and if a class is missed twice follow up with the parents. In a 6 minute conversation today with a family member I had over 18 e-mails to respond to.

I also had 60 year 11 assessments to mark, 28 year 10 assignments and scheduled teaching online for the year 12’s who are so lost now with the new system and an air of ‘who knows’ with assessment. After all the year 12 assessment is being dictated by a higher power!

Then to come home to a 14year old, a kitchen full of dirty dishes and her saying she attended all her classes but she found it hard. Tiring…

Her assignment is due Wednesday, a science one, my area of expertise and I do not have the energy. She even said; “mum you look buggered, lets do the assignment tomorrow”…

So while we as teachers are there for you’re children at this time of need, and always have been and will continue to be.

Remember, thats what we do, that’s why we are teachers and love what we do. That’s why we use the holidays, every spare waking moment ensuring your children are okay. Just remember we are tired do….

All at the sacrifice of our own children! Tonight I am to tired to help my own!

The fight for supplies!

It interesting times at the moment! My goodness who would have thought 2020 would start this way! Things have been emotionally? Physically and mentally more draining than ever!

All consuming to put it bluntly! However, I thought I would share with you what it’s like to get a hold of some toilet paper!

Yes toilet paper, of all things…. Who would have thought!

It was a Sunday morning. My sister in law in need of toilet paper. The Sunshine Coast stores depleted and there was just none on the shelves.

I was tasked with a mission…… get up early, be at the shops amongst the crowds and survive! Yes survive…. the throws of battling for a pack of toilet paper. A four pack, a twelve pack, who cares… just some TP (we will call it that!)

So here I was ready and waiting. The battle about to begin! The doors opened and I was funneled in with the crowd. All heading in one direction…. like robots on a mission!

It’s like I shopped with more than a purpose than ever! I entered, looking over my shoulder, the eyes of those beside you knowing we were all here for one thing… who would be first.. would we be at war?

I slipped down the aisle and peered through the empty coke shelves… why empty you say, well I reckon people need mixer for their booze.. army rolled past the empty spam.. yes the spam shelves… why????? Into the TP aisle….. there it was!! With a light shining on it (like in the movies)….

A twenty four pack… of TP still on the shelves…. I zeroed in on it. It was all I could see. The rest of the world faded and I knew the mission was… get the TP and run…

I grabbed and ran… okay not ran but fast walked… like those athletes that move their hips in weird and wonderful ways as they ‘fast walk’ their race!

The phone in hand, double click….. face recognition done.. the card at the ready! It’s all about timing! Who knows what would happen if I had slowed down…. after all it’s toilet paper!!

A fast barcode recognition and the card ready.. beep beep…..and away we went… escape was all on that was on the mind from here… make it to the car…

Fast walk, imagine hips moving, feet not lifting the ground, sweat beads on the forehead as you leave coles and head to the car.

Open the door, with your key, beep beep…. 50m away in preparation, open door, throw in TP, look over shoulder… get in car… start car and slip into drive!

Phew!! Made it alive!!

Mission a success! My niece and nephew can wipe their butts!

The Dam DHL van/s!

Today after a week of semi holding it together, I lost it. I dropped miss C into Brisbane and then sitting in traffic for the long trip back I spotted it…. a big yellow DHL van and I lost it.

I lost it because we used to play spotto. That ridiculous game when we saw a yellow car and had to yell; ‘ spotto’, and whack each other. We took this game seriously after our Mt Warning trip…, and being whacked from behind by my niece.

It became ours.

Your mum even asked us one time while you tried to whack me from the drivers seat….’spotto you said’ she asked what are you doing… well it was our game. Thanks to my niece.

Laura still remembers this and I plan to never let her forget!

There it was the looming yellow van… my head went ‘Spotto’ my heart skipped a beat and my hand lifted only slightly before it again hit me….. you and I will never play spotto again.

Those god dam yellow vans are everywhere now! Why now?

It’s a Friday and usually I would be rushing out the door after a school day either rushing miss C or just me, my bag already packed, in fact it was never unpacked, just topped up, and we would be on our way to you. Tonight I am alone.

The first Friday since you decided to leave us. Alone. I have realised that after loving you for so long and then only having you wholey and completely for just over a year I feel cheated. I feel shattered, exhausted, confused, empty, sad and more. All in one.

The head a swirl of; ‘what if’s’, ‘why’, ‘how do I?’ ‘Where do I’, ‘what am I’ …. but most of all…… what from here?

Dam the yellow vans, dam the memories!

I do however pity whoever is near me when I see one next as I will make sure we continue a tradition we made so much fun! That’s what I can do, is change the game. Change it so it remains a memory, even if a hard one initially but I know you would agree, keep whacking people! Particularly Laura!

Keep it alive, keep it going. Rest assured I will! For you!

The orange chairs..

It was a great day, a fun day and a mysterious day when I purchased the orange wooden chairs!

We had escaped the world for a few days, a getaway you had planned. A few days at a small bush B and B in crows next. A tiny cabin, nestled in the trees on a hillside with a beautiful four poster bed and wood fire to warm us. (That’s another story!)

We unloaded the eskies and explored the tiny space we would call home for a few nights. I had prepared our food, you the booze. A cold beer, cider and a cheese platter we moved to the two reclining wooden chairs on the hillside. About 50m from the cabin. We ate the cheese reclined in the wooden chairs and admired the space, the view and the silence. The sunset, one of many we watched together, beautiful!

I knew then I would have to get a set of those wooden chairs for home. We often woke early and had coffee, the news in the background standing on my balcony. Why not sit? I investigated the chairs, where to get them and of course in the most absurd colour!

I ordered them, collected them in flat pack boxes, and spent the good part of an evening assembling them. God I was excited! We had somewhere to sit now, also a small memory of our time away from it all.

You hated the bright orange, although I think you secretly liked it. Instead of standing we would now sit when on the balcony. Coffee in hand and of course AL Jazeera in the background. We would talk of the list of ‘jobs’ we both had that day. Yours always so full of stuff to do!

I would often stand behind you as you leaned over the balcony, my hands around your body my head on your back and we would just be. Knowing that time would eventually make us get on with it. Moments I cherished and I know you did as you often reached down and just held my hands as they held you.

We would finish our coffee and collapse on the bed. Intertwined and wishing we could just be. That the days jobs would dissipate and we could pick them up the next day. However, they never did. You would be dressed in your work clothes, often the ones with their musty work smell from the day before, socks on, garters on and then the boots.

Again we would collapse on the bed. Intertwined… pausing again for a moment before we had to go about our days.

Saying goodbye, kissing you as you left, watching the Ute reverse and hit the brick wall, often, something you just never did well. The mark still there. A memory. Always for me. Nothing to anyone else but us.

Now I sit on the orange chairs, one missing its person. It’s gathering dust, I promise to wipe it down, but also it’s missing you. The view into the neighbours garden not the same. You always critiqued it. Always had recommendations but hey it was his garden. You would be happy to know the plants he planted haven’t grown. You knee they wouldn’t and given the chance would have fixed it for him!

My garden however, is flourishing, after your touch and complete overhaul! It’s beautiful. A tree is sagging though and I wish you were here to help me. To pull out your tools and do what you always did. I watch it leaning and I know I should do something but I can’t.

I am to busy sitting in one of the orange chairs wondering how I am here. How one of the chairs is empty and what to do now. I know you never liked the orange but you loved that we had our chairs.

They are but a memory, one of many!

The four year plan disintegrated…

Tonight it fell apart, I fell apart. It was the year 12 formal and I watched all the students I had taught, some of which had been in my classes since year 7, arrive in beautiful gowns, corsages and looking so amazing.

I smiled, I danced and I watched them and the people around them enjoy each other. The love in some of the couples, the staff and the students hard to digest.

Here I was alone. No one to go home to, no one to call and no one to share it with.

You took that away just over a month ago. We had a four year plan. We would watch miss C grow up and graduate. You a part of that. You even at her formal. The father figure she never had. That was the plan, the dream I suppose.

Most importantly you would have been by my side at a night like tonight. Amazed at what she had become and how much she had achieved.

I faked it. You would have been proud. I laughed. I danced. I played the part.

I got home and I broke. What happens in four years…. I think this is how it is going to be for me. Lots of memories and heartache at the same time.

The good, the bad and the ugly they say.

Tonight it hurts. As I fall asleep, the tears falling down my face, your jumper still cuddled near m my face, know that in four years, you will still be missed. The plan we made, we had, disintegrating each and every day. In more way than I ever imagined.

I miss you, all of you. I suppose loss and grieving take time. Maybe it gets worse before it gets better. I just don’t know how to explain it to a child let alone understand it myself.

We wish you were here. We wish the four year plan still existed. We will do our best but it will never be the same.

Bangkok at its best :)

It’s the holiday of dreams which began a day ago.

A long awaited break and where did we head but to the bustling streets of Bangkok… well for a start!

The jet lag won’t nail you down once in the city. The tooting of the horns, the whistles of the traffic control and the assault on your nose may keep you up and asking for more.

I’ve never been but wow is all I can say. We got to the hotel after 10pm and still managed to get to Soi Cowboy! Now if you don’t know what that is…. google it!

I have never seen, only heard about the beautiful ladies… or should I say men… that walk the streets or hang out outside the clubs! Well it was breathtakingly weird and wonderful.

The smells of cooked and raw fish, the smell of beer and booze, the sights of DD perfect boobs and butts, only to have them turn around and have a package!

What a holiday it has started off as!

The streets humming with activity, mind your toes as the cars go past! I almost lost mine! Your sense of direction will be tested amongst many things!

Bangkok you have not surprised me only enlightened me!

I cannot wait for more!

Time heals all wounds!

It’s been close to 18 years since I first set eyes on you.

It was a lunch on the deck of my best friends house. She’s gone now, in her early 20’s she was taken from us. You, however, are still around. A constant reminder of who brought us together. I thank her everyday now!

There was a moment when you walked onto the deck and my breath caught in my chest. Since then it always has. In still does. Everyday in fact!

You were young, I was, very young, but at that moment I knew there was something about you. Maybe even something about us. Who would have thought our time was now. Finally out mutual friends say!

You were serving overseas so were in and out of Australia. Although you never knew you were always in the back of my mind, always!

Now so many years on and a few brief interludes in the moments where my life was low, very low, you were there, now wake to each other more often than not. Seeing your eyes and your smile as well as feeling your arms around me is what I wake to! Boy I am lucky!

It was never the right time for us. To much going on, to much mistrust, to much time away from one another and really to much hurt. Now look where we are……

It’s tomorrow, the getaway. The one we have planned for over 12 months. Over a year ago, actually it would be June 2018 you came back into my life and we haven’t looked back. It’s been enjoyable, fun, sad at times and even hard. However, here we are.

I remember you turning to me in December 2018 and you said; why did we cross paths again? What now? Why now?

Well here we are….. about to embark on the first 3 week escape for you and I. Your first holiday in 7 years and my first one away without students or child.

To be honest I can’t wait! I look at you everyday and am amazed at how wonderful you are. Rough around the edges yes, but to me in the quiet of the bedroom and with the door closed you really are the most kind and heartfelt man I have ever know. Yes we may wrestle and you may lose. Not as often as I may brag about, but I love how you can be you and I can be me. Truly!

It’s freedom at its best and I cannot wait for the adventure we are about to embark on!

Let’s hope we are talking to each other still in three weeks!

Thank you for being you and for allowing me to be me❤️

Bring on the next chapter of this amazing, sad, happy, amazing and fulfilled book I am writing of my life!

Tired of being the nail?

Have you ever thought that you were tired of being the nail!

Well I am!

It is funny, in a not so funny way if I can even be explain it, that being the nail seems to be part of who I am.

I have found no matter what I do or who I meet, or even where I am I take on the role of being the ‘nail’. I become someone who people vent to, or hammer down with their emotional, mental and more ailments. I take them on, wear the ‘pounding’ and try and offer an out.

When I began this blog I was sitting at a friends place. A very close family friends, ones who had housed me and my daughter when home was no longer safe. We sat around the dinner table over a home cooked meal and I tried to make light of what was a hideous situation for me and my 13 year old.

It has been a few months, more like a year, and I still find myself acting as the nail.

I wonder if being the nail and being hammered all the time is a bad thing. Maybe at the time, that is how I viewed it.

However, upon reflecting on this maybe I am the nail because I can take it. Life has thrown me more than one curve ball, more than one hard ball that, has no other aim than throwing your life into complete upheaval for a reason.

Maybe it’s because I can be the nail. I can be that someone. With all I have been through and what I have around me makes me strong.

I was, just on Sunday past walking the rocky outcrop mear Point Danger in New South Wales, admiring the bolts and the screws that held the wooden pathway together. Made of stainless steel because they don’t rust.

Maybe that’s me, stainless steel. I don’t rust easy. Over time yes but I have a lot in me in the mean time.

Maybe with a bit of care and tenderness in between the hammering I can manage!

So a year ago, being the nail was a shitty thing, today I think it’s okay.

I can be someone else’s nail! Because I am strong enough!

Maybe it just takes time to realise the strength you have and the difference you can make when you do!

So maybe I am not tired of being the nail! More embracing it!!

Emotional abuse – what is it?

Being in an emotionally abusive relationship will not only scare you, but the scars it will leave you with are worse than ever being scared.

You don’t let go of a relationship because you are worried about the other person, rather you let go to save yourself. This isn’t something that is easy either and the decision itself has ramifications!

It is not a viable relationship when there is a specific ‘criteria’ which has to be met. It is not right to be told that you need to be thin to be sexy, to have the house clean – to have a home, to have a robot as a child – to be a good parent.

It’s been about a year since I made that decision and still I have restless nights, down moments and even worse self doubt. It doesn’t happen as often anymore but when the ‘black curtain’, as I call it, begins to descend you know that it’s going to be one of those days, those weeks or even those months. It will take all your energy to fight your way through the drapes and the blackness to get yourself out of it.

Often someone will say something or do something and you are instantly taken back to a moment when you were belittled, shamed and or told you are nothing. My advice, breathe, let it happen, don’t speak, don’t cry, just breathe. You are no longer in that place, you no longer have to feel like that. You made the choice and you are better for it. Remind yourself of that.

In for three……. out for three…… in for three… out for three…. it’s okay to shed a tear but not for long. Only long enough to let the relief and the body to remember the choice was to set you free. To let you grow, mend and become you again.

Someone once told me; “time heels all hurt.” Well I can tell you that is the truth! Give it time. You will heal. I am!

A Dear John letter….

It is funny when we use names or talk about the stories and adventures of ‘little johnny’. we frequently use the name when discussing hypothetical situations when at school. However, for me, I have written a dear John letter to try and explain why the way I am and why I do the things I do.

The letter would read like this….

Dear John,

I have seen the way you look at me sometimes with a look of suspicion, of unease and lack of trust. You may not realise it then but I do see the hurt and more in your eyes. It is a times like this where I would love to sit you down and explain why I am the way I am and why I do the things I do. I never have the energy or the guts to tell you what I have been through, what I have survived and why it will take time for me to undo what has been done. All I ask is you be patient and come on the journey of rebuilding with me. I ask this as I know at the end of the rebuild you will have all of me, the best of me.

It’s hard to explain but I suppose dot points may be the best as it would take to long to tell you the whole story.

Life was a battlefield, walking on egg shells at all times. I don’t know if you have ever lived like this, but I have.

Here’s a ‘tiny’ snippet of what it was like…. and I mean tiny!

1. The house had to be clean. The sheets, the washing, the sink, the back patios, the pool, the pool filters and everything in between. If it wasn’t then it was A look of disdain and utter disapproval That became the vibe in the house. In front of the children I was made out to be inadequate, even when exhausted and totally drained. Never good enough!

2. The cutlery draw had to match. I kid you not, if one fork was not the same or a spoon was out of place then you were asking for an argument. No one wanted to go there!

3. The kids rooms had to be pristine! Who has ever known a teenager to have a pristine room at all times! It was my fault if it wasn’t, I was an inadequate mother if they were messy! Little did others know the kids had been at work until after 7pm every night with me, waiting, home exhausted and with HW a priority their rooms became something we just managed. After all wasn’t Einstein a messy man and he was a genius!

4. You handed me a carrot and cheese the other day, all I wanted to do was chomp into it but I hesitated. I waited to see if it was okay… okay you say… yes okay to make a noise while I ate. To many times I have been told to leave the room, or to eat quietly. Even made to feel like I was a wild animal all while I thought I was eating quietly!

5. Be showered and shaven! Who would have thought this would be as stressful as it was. There are days and times where this just didn’t happen! Well it had to, whether it be the last few minutes of alone time, of freedom… I had better be shaved and clean. Or clean and fresh as it was said or expect to be told I was unacceptable. You are disgusting, even dirty. Who would have thought being a full time single mum of two, a mother of two puppies and the maintainer of a house was enough of an excuse! Never!

6. Socialising… friends you say, what are they. I had many good friends, friends who I had had for over a decade and they were deemed unacceptable. If I hung out with them the fight, the drama and the tension in the house made it not worth it. I began to think I was at fault. It’s all my fault and I should not see them as it would make the household more peaceful. So I cut them off. Little did I know this was the plan!

7. Bitterness. I have never been a bitter person, I have never had the time for it. The upbringing I have had, was one of opportunity and wonderment. I am more thankful for that now than ever. To have someone in the house who is bitter and angry, always, and I mean ALWAYS, is draining and soon this begins to eat away at your armour. You begin to doubt yourself and question your upbringing. Note to self! Never do this! They are not worth it! (Living with a narcissist!)

8. Naked in bed. To this day when we fall asleep naked I feel uncertain. I worry that when you wake you may see all of me. The stretch marks from my child, the rolls or love handles I have. The slightly saggy (I say slightly but hey…) breasts that fed my child and are not what I want them to be. I am totally exposed. I never had this before. I was always expected to be covered. Whether it be in uncomfortable lingerie or silly underwear, I had to be dressed. Now with you, it’s like a freedom I have never known, a luxury I am having to learn and by god it’s amazing! You are amazing. Day by day you’re setting me free!

9. Adventure? What was that? Until you came along there was none! The furthest I had ever been was the lounge and Netflix. If we ventured further than that it was a mission and to be honest more of a trying expedition than a fun one. Me being on super ‘high alert’ to ensure the kids were on their best behaviour. The food was perfect because my goodness I forget something, even the right butter, then the trip was hell! So adventures were not high on our list! They were more an anxiety and stressor for me! With you, who knows, they are spontaneous, unexplainable, enjoyable and have always made me smile. Your ability to turn a walk in the grass plains into a tree climbing, deer stalking adventure amaze me. Your ability to roll down a sand dune and make everyone laugh is heartwarming. You blow me away with your patience and sheer sense of adventure. Nothing is unattainable! We have climbed mountains, been lost in the bush and much much more all bare foot and care free! I have never felt so refreshed and complete as I do with you!

10. How’s your day been? A simple question but one that was never asked. I can say NEVER asked! You ask it everyday. In the past my day was never a topic of conversation. Never considered as I was the one who was at home every night. No, I did not work shift work. No, I did not drill holes underground and no I never worked over night, in your eyes! My overseas 2 weeks trips never counted! However, I do work with 120 young people every, day at least. I am responsible for 120 as a head of year. Their social, mental and physical well being. I am there 24/7 for them. When they are in tears, when down in the dumps and also when celebrating the small things! Whether it be family, friends or even something as serious as suicide I am there. I am their person. It’s not an 8-3pm job, it’s more than that. Not only did I parent two children of my own and two dogs and maintain a house but I educated and looked after more than you would ever know! I am a parent to more than just my own!

11. Family! I cannot tell you how much my family means to me. I would never be able to begin to explain it to you. You have seen it. We have travelled the world. Continents even. We have been poor and not wealthy but okay. They have been by my side through times normal families would have deserted their own. They have helped me financially to ensure my daughter is brought up the best she could be. We have had sleepless nights, tears and arguments. We have had talks of ending it all, well I have and they have been there. Through thick and thin. To then have someone try and cut that out. To have someone try and turn me against them, was unthinkable! To isolate me from the one thing that has kept me going! Let’s just say thank goodness they did not succeed. Thank goodness I have the family I do. I would not be here, and I mean living, without them. That I say is the truest thing I have ever said!

12. Food and more! While I know you worked away and hard. So did I. It was an evening where I had parent teacher interviews both tuesday and Wednesday until 7pm. I arrived at school both those days at 7am. Those are 12 hour days as you would always say. My goodness, let me think, how did I forget to make sure an amazing dinner was on the table, or a huge meal, all of which you expected. He would fly in from 7 days, 14 days or 21 days away and expect their to be me, in my apron, primed and ready. Sexy, shaven, well rested, the house clean, the kids washed, the lawns mowed, the dogs walked and clean, the e-mails done, the bills paid and much much more but what if I couldn’t. What if I had no option, no time. There were times where this was possible but also times where it was not possible. This understanding was not there. The patience and acceptance was not there. More the anger, the disappointment and the words that could not be taken back, said. It was tiring, it was hard and more than ever I was made to feel like I was never good enough. It took me a while to realise it was not me but him. He was never happy. He would never be happy and the only thing he could do was make others unhappy. Just like himself.

13. Small breasts, stretch marks and more. Unfortunately but proudly I can say I have stretch marks, I have breast that sag a little lower than before and I have love handles. While not an excuse of having a child or being 20 when I had her I wear them with pride now. I did not before. Before you, John, I wore them with disgust and angst. I wished for ‘bolt ons‘ as they are called. I wished for a tummy tuck and the perfect figure. To be honest I was 110kgs when I had her and now I am 76kgs. I think that’s enough of a triumph. The stretch marks will never disappear I wear them, as I said with pride, I built a human being and they are evidence of that. I tried to feed a young child and my breasts sit a little lower because of this I carry weight on my hips because I make more time for her than I do I. For now. Until she is independent and the woman I know she’s going to be. Then I will focus on me. I was told over and over my appearance was unacceptable and how I would be able to better myself with surgery or something. However, I never wanted it, I was made to think it would be the only way to make myself beautiful. Now that seems so stupid, so out there and such a wild expectation! You go to bed with me for me, you don’t pay attention to my lower lying breasts, the stretch marks I have and the love handles. Thank you!

The list could truly go on, but I would never know where to stop! Or expose myself and the hurtful and controlling nature of what I was exposed to. All I know is give me time and I will give you all of me.

I love big, laugh big and give big. I know nothing else. Always do to the detriment of myself. Be patient. Realise when I say I am yours, I am.

You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. You have freed my heart, my soul and certainly my spirit! One cannot ask for more!

You take my breath away everytime I see you for no other reason than you are all I ever hoped for. All I could ever ask for in a partner. You are honest, upfront, loving and most of all appreciative of who I am and what I do.

Thank you for freeing me!