I Quit my Job

I quit my job.

Does this make me a quitter? I just couldn’t do it anymore. The travel was a nightmare. Three hours starting at 4am in the morning. And then staying like a ricocheting tennis ball here there and everywhere, forgetting half my things and living out of a rucksack for the majority of the week. Not to mention my husband and I are not spending any time together at all and I think this is negative.

So, I quit my job.

I had no time for my university study, and I really paid for that this week when I had to submit a mind boggling assignment. I mean, seriously, what IS the difference between semantics and phonology?! I got an extension and banged my head against the desk and ate my weight in sad pasta, and cried tears of shame and humiliation and excruciating pain.

So, yes, I quit my job.

I was earning next to nothing; lower than minimum wage. The money I did earn went straight on train travel. It was measly. I had no time for anybody or anything and my creative spark sizzled a little and then died. I was also horribly moody, because all my time was taken up teaching, tutoring, studying and planning. My family never see me.

So, how come I stayed there so long?

Well, quite simply, I loved it. I love it. I love the kids, I love the atmosphere, I love teaching. I even love feeling drained of energy but still dredging up enough to give somebody some valuable time. I really really really loved my job.

If I was still living back in that city, would I quit?

Hell no. Not for a very long time, at any rate.

But, I quit.

A part of me is worried that I can’t stick anything for long enough to really count. But another part argues that this was unsustainable, and I have to agree with the other part. But I also have misgivings; does this make me a quitter? Does this mean I am fickle? How many other jobs will I quit because I cannot handle the pressure?

But, was it really the pressure?

I quit because I am never home, because I miss my husband sorely and we haven’t been a proper unit since December 2015. I quit because now we have our own place, I need to be home with him instead of away for five days. I quit to put my marriage first. I quit to put my family first.

And I also quit because, in reality, this is not what I see myself doing for the rest of my life.

Yes. It is sad. I quit my job. And I am sad.

But also relieved.

Tremendously relieved. A heavy weight has been lifted from my shoulders. So that is how I know a good decision was made, albeit a tough one.

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Leonid Afromov

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Love Letters 29

The trees whisper secret songs through the breeze, but it takes a hard and strong wind to create a true symphony.

Their leaves are each a small instrument, thrumming against each other as the air surges between their branches. Swaying to and fro, back and forth, to and fro, and the thunderous sound of a million cheers filling the air, taking over.

If you close your eyes for just a moment, you will feel like you are flying. Your heart will swell along with the currents, and you will put your head back and let the sound wash over you.

I have always loved that sound. It is a sound that transports you to another world. The voices of the earth and humanity become distant memories in the background, life recedes in the face of this magnificent phenomenon. They are in harmony, and they speak to each other, telling one another things we can never imagine.

The wind does not roar, the trees do, in a deafening welcome.

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Notes

Notes.

Everyday, with a timestamp, and a small sentence or a quote that, frankly, meant nothing.

6.23PM – Sat 18th November

May this day beam you well, and the rest shine brighter.

What did that even mean?!

It was mid autumn, so the days were short and grey, flashes of red and brown and vibrant yellow swiftly dragging the winter ever closer. Soon even those colours would vanish, as the world settled in its dismal, bare armed huddle to wait the winter out.

I liked this time of year. I loved my jumpers and my thick red scarf aunty Mel had bought for me from Harrods three years ago. I wore it everywhere, and it still looked as delightfully new and pristine as it did the first day I unwrapped it from its cocoon of crispy tissue paper.  I loved the way leaves would pile up in soggy mounds on the wet pavements, and the way damp gravel scraped under my heel. I loved how the tip of my nose and my cheeks glowed with the warmth of my body, as the raging elements whipped around my outer garments. They had no way in, and I loved that.

And everyday, when I left home after giving my mother a toast-and-tea kiss, pulling on my stripy gloves, I would catch a note.

The first note was just lying on the ground. It drew attention to itself because it was so out of the ordinary. It certainly looked ordinary enough, but it had been raining all night, and the note, sitting atop the bush at the end of my front garden, was dry as a bone. It flapped a little, but it was wedged in between the twigs. I pulled it out,

6:10AM – Mon 26th September

I don’t know where pineapples come from, but I would sure love to see the apples my Pines produce.

Huh. I put the note in my pocket. Perhaps it was somebody’s and they dropped it and it got caught in that hedge. I went off and had my day.

The next morning there was another note.

7:23AM – Tue 27th September

Where the wild creatures roam, a sea of orchids will nod.

 This time it was folded neatly and slotted in between the wooden slats of my front gate. I slid it into my pocket again.

This one seemed intentional.

 

 

Are we a society of narcissists?

Lately I have been very disillusioned with society. Not just because Donald Trump won. I know his winning has caused global stress. Not just because of Brexit, or that 25% of voters in France are far right voters.

All I see are selfies every where.

‘Love your body’

‘Lose weight’

‘body image’

‘thinspiration’

‘looks amazing’

‘Wow you look so good’

‘Wow look at you stunner’

And the likes and comments pour in and in and in until they are drowning in comments about their looks.

‘You ugly’

It’s all about appearance. Don’t get me wrong, a selfie here and there is fine. But a constant stream of selfies makes one seem, at the very least, self absorbed.

And then people become so depressed because everybody seems to have such a good life but they don’t. And their compare and compare and all the heads are looking up at those who have more instead of those who have less.

‘Oh her house is nicer than mine’

‘Oh his looks are better than mine’

‘Oh how come he can afford such a nice car wth’

‘She’s ugly’ -she is actually stunning-

And the SELFIES. Instagram is the WORST. All my friends, constantly uploading exact replicas of their face at a particular angle with different coloured lipstick on.

‘Ugh look at my eyebags’

‘Feeling pretty today’

I just feel like society is all a ruse. Nothing is real. People are just projecting themselves out there, hungry for attention. If you look at those who don’t have as much as you do, you become thankful for what you do have. And you become more content, and less ravenous for those likes, for people to appreciate you, for more and higher and better and bigger.

The other day I was on the train and there was a man sitting a few rows ahead of me, blaring music out from his phone. Three people stood up and walked away from him, but he was oblivious. One man tutted loudly and glared at him as he walked past, and the offender waggled his eyebrows at him, and did a little shoulder shake. It made me laugh. I admit, I was a little annoyed with the music, I was tired and his music didn’t sit well in my ears. but I didn’t say anything. So, this guy was happy at 6am in the morning. Why kill a guy’s buzz? Let him be.

I don’t know why that situation depressed me so much.

The screen over the carriage door said, ‘This train is for Stanstead Airport, via Leicester.’

And I thought to myself, what if I didn’t get off at Leicester. What if I just skipped work altogether and went off to Stanstead Airport. Bought a ticket to Somewhere with whatever I had in my account, and escaped it all. But then I realised that wherever I go there will be humans, and humans just don’t make me happy.

They are just so self involved. I am so self involved. A lot of people are. Not all of them, of course. But so many people are.

I want to escape but I don’t know where I want to go.

Maybe I have SAD, now? It probably is that. Lack of vitamin D causes depression, apparently.

Maybe I need to be nicer to other people. Cynicism is not healthy.

So, what do you think? Are we all becoming narcissists? Is this ease of access making it simpler for narcissists to bud and grow, when before such ideas would be smacked right out of their silly little heads?

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Narcissus

On Buttercups and Balance

Two years ago the sun was shining and buttercups rippled across the field I could see from my window. I could watch the sun rise, and set, and then rise again, throwing its magnificent morning rays over the world, through a film of atmospheric cloud. There were no buildings to start and stop the process, and watching that orb climb slowly up the horizon was a bliss I could never miss.

Hazy mornings turned into stunning afternoons, every colour highlighted and illuminated by the bright summer sun.

I was not happy then, even though I had everything I’d dreamed of growing up in an Arabian desert. I dreamed of blue skies to replace my dusty brown ones. I dreamed of vivid greens and the smell of freshly cut grass, to replace my fake grass and the dismal beige weeds that decorated the sand sparsely. I was not happy, though.

And I ate my feelings.

I am not happy now, either.

I just can’t seem to find a good balance in life.

Back then I had no car and no job and was stuck in the middle of nowhere with no neighbours and and no way of getting away unless I spent a fortune on bus fares, which I couldn’t afford because I had no job.

Now I have a job but I have to travel away from home to go to it and it is causing a raucous in my family life.

I suppose it is in the human nature to always want more and never be satisfied with what they have.

I suppose it is also a matter of finding balance. And being content, and making reasonable decisions.

Also there is an element of faith here. Maybe my faith is weak at the moment. In fact, I know it is. And that is why I feel so lost and discontent.

 

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This was such a beautiful day. I walked for hours and hours with nothing but the silence, the wind, the sunlight, the soft swish of swaying grasses to keep me company. 

Spreading Some Joy

I don’t have many words to use anymore. I am spent. So I leave you with a photograph of a snippet of happiness. Children and bubbles, long summer evenings. And a man spreading joy.

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Image Credit: Yours truly

Love Letters #28

Sunlight in his eyes.

She was an uninspired girl, and he had sunlight in his eyes. She was quiet and hid in the corners of rooms, shadows fell over her face and people’s eyes passed over her in a crowd.

She faded into the wall behind her, and her voice was like the bubbling of a spring; soft and gentle and mere background noise.

She watched his movements, the way his feet seemed to never touch the ground, but fly over it. The way his body flowed, in synchrony with itself. She found it so hard to synchronise her mind and her body together. Her mind saw one thing, but her body did the opposite. And how did he twist like that, duck so smoothly, double over laughing while balancing a tray in one outstretched hand.

She knew what he was like. He was like those cartoons of dancers, bending over and looping while balancing hundreds of things on all the points of their bodies.

And she was attracted to his bronze muscles. The way his cheekbones glowed under the warm light of the kitchen, and when he opened his mouth wide to let the laughter gush out, his teeth were so pearly and white, their edges so straight.

Sometimes in her room when she was writing she heard him laugh outside, and helplessly she giggled. Her body responded to him. Her brain gravitated towards him, he made her react.

That is what it was. He made her react, at a time when reacting to things was so hard and so much effort.

He teased the smile out of her, he brought the tears to her eyes, he made her heart palpitate, and her hands hot and sticky.

But he didn’t know this, and this fact made her even more withdrawn. Her feet were desperate to dance on the grass like his brown ones did, but they stayed put under her desk, folded neatly together, tapping gently to the rhythm of his.

Damon Ludwig,

She wrote his name on the back of her Biology text.

I think I am in love with you, Damon Ludwig.

She stared out of the window, where she could see her little sister, a tiny wisp of a girl, but like the rays of morning sunshine flooding the shadows of the night, dancing away on the wet wintery grass, and Tristan, huddled on the wall, his golden curls peeping out from under his heavy woollen winter hat. And George, smoking over the fence, and the fire in the centre of the Ludwig’s’ garden next door, and Damon Ludwig, poking the fire with a metal rod, feeding it so it cackled and rose higher, his legs moving back and forth with his motions…

Please 

Notice me.

Her pencil scraped the paper and dug into it so hard it broke through and made a small marked dent in the wood underneath, and Damon glanced up through his shock of jet black hair, right up into her window.

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N.B. This is for my novel. Characterisation, I think. But it’s more like a love story, even though my novel is not a love story. This love story between two of my dearest characters is dear to my heart.

 

Life

Sometimes I think I want children but then I remember I am an awks person who can’t look some certain people in the face or say their name. I hang up on phone calls mid sentence because I feel too awkward to carry on the conversation and I make a right fool of myself to strangers.

Also I don’t make the best decisions about anything and I think I have a lot of growing up to do. Like, a LOT.

I can run a house, that is easy. I’ve done it since I was eleven years old. What can I say? My mother gave me a tonne of responsibility. I can change nappies; I’ve changed hundreds. Probably. I had two younger brothers, one born when I was eight and one born when I was eleven, and yes I have changed both their nappies and babysat them and bathed them and took care of them and put them to bed and just the usual things the oldest sibling has to do. I also had a tonne of baby cousins growing up and I just loved babies so much, so I helped out a lot with them.

So I can do a lot of things mums need to do.

I can even deal with children very well, since I have had lots of experience. Also I work with young children, I know how to speak their language. I honestly do.

But, I still feel as though I am not grown enough as a person, to be able to bring another kid up. I am a bit selfish, and entitled. I can be very mean sometimes and while I have a lot of patience with children, I don’t really. I can go home and relax and I can send the baby back to her mama.. but when it is my own… I am the mama. Where do I send it then?

Also having a kid might be nice to begin with but all that exhaustion? Also to have to then spend the next twenty odd years taking care of said kid, not being able to be flexible, not being able to get up and go somewhere at the drop of a hat, schooling, nurturing, emotional availability…

Oh I don’t know.

My friend just realised two weeks ago now that she is three months pregnant, after bouts of nausea and fatigue.

She told me the other day that she went for her first scan with her husband and it was such an emotional experience.

‘Why?’ I asked, completely oblivious. Why should a scan be emotional? It’s just a scan, all preggers people have it. I carried on munching my Hula Hoops.

‘Well, because although you can’t see anything there, it’s just a blob really at this stage, you can hear the heartbeat of this person inside of you, that came from the both of you, and it’s just real, it’s alive, it’s there.’

Never did I feel so immature and out of it than in that moment.

I remember my own mother having scans, and us in the room with her, a thunderous heartbeat reverberating around the room and echoing in my mind. 

A child is real.

I remember once my mother went for her scan and the nurse sent me out of the room for some reason. I was ten. I peeped in through the half open door and I heard the woman say, ‘I can’t hear the heartbeat.’ and I saw my mother start to cry, and I didn’t realise how big it was for her and how much pain she must have felt. I saw the nurse consoling her and saying they would check again, and the jelly on her swollen stomach and then suddenly, the tharrump-tharrump, the thumping sound of life swelling through the room.

A child is not a hindrance or a plan or a barrier to life.

My mother’s silent crying in the cab all the way home.

It is life. It is a person. It is a human.

I don’t know. I know I am not ready.

But I also know that I am ready to be ready someday, and I suppose that is enough for now.

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Sweet 16

Six years ago when I was sixteen years old, I hid myself inside a little bubble.

I had just moved the a different city. I left all my friends behind, and I found it phenomenally hard to make new ones. I was painfully shy and irritatingly quiet, so those who did bother in the beginning soon very quickly gave up.

I didn’t see others as people. I saw them as barriers to happiness. I was depressed. So depressed. It was hard for me to talk to people so when I got home I was filled with thoughts and words and I shared them with my mother. I was desperate for human companionship. A friend to walk home from college with. Somebody to call up afterwards and have a chat about the day.

All of it was just stuff I was so used to, being so surrounded by friends at my old school. I still had those friends, of course, but time and distance were an enemy, and soon they started talking about people I didn’t know and had no interest in, so our phone calls and emails and IMs became less and less frequent, until we became those friends who see each other once in a blue moon and when we do we get along beautifully but in between those meetings there is a long, dismal stretch of echoing silence and aching loneliness.

And for two years I tried and failed to make any real friends. I had a few people who would just use me for company, and when I realised that I stayed away. We had nothing in common and they would just call me up when something was wrong or when their own friends ditched them, which I felt was unfair.

I faded in those two years.

I hid away from people. I stopped trying. I would cry sometimes, alone in my room at home. I started making internet friends. It was so much simpler, and I could find the people I had things in common with and soon I was talking to them daily, the minute I returned home from school and way into the night. It was amazing. I still felt desolately lonely during the day, but I had my internet bubble to look forward to later.

I also created more. I dreamt up characters and wrote about them in the hours of free time during lunch breaks and prep lessons, typing away furiously on the computer.

I would say that although those two years are depressing, and I wouldn’t wish that experience on my worst enemy, I am glad for it.

As I am glad for all my experiences.

It made me more compassionate towards others. It made me see through other people, be more conscious of how they might be feeling and try to make them feel included and welcomed.

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