My Boss

So I had an awful spat with my boss.

It all started around a few weeks after we started working together. Previously we were mere colleagues who rarely saw each other, but with a sudden change in management she was put in charge of me. She had more experience in the teaching profession, but none in the subject we were teaching. I know how to speak the language and have been speaking it and also studying it from birth; she doesn’t.

She didn’t delegate, she micromanaged, she was negative about everybody and continuously found fault with other staff members. She had some excellent attributes but I just don’t like her anymore.

Her teaching methods were based on somebody who was speaking first language english, not second language Arabic. So I disagreed with her. She kept putting phrases in like ‘research shows certain things’ despite the fact that this research was not conducted on the subject we are teaching.

She said “I am afraid I will have to put my foot down.” when I suggested a change in the syllabus she had drafted up because it really was pointless. She kept arguing that it was what the management wanted regardless of the fact that the management had said nothing on the matter and have no expertise. In fact I am the only one with expertise on the subject but God forbid I put anything forward and have it accepted.

I felt resentful because I am parrot teaching children vocabulary so old that they will never use it, when I know better ways to teach them a language I grew up with and she knows nothing about.

Still, I bit my tongue. I held it in. I let it slide.

I let a lot of things slide. Time passed and I moved to another city, which meant a three hour commute to work and giving up my car. This made my journey harder, so I quit. I gave in my six week notice.

I told the management why I was quitting, and that there would be times when I would have to be late but I would always let them know prior to my arrival when I would be late. They said this was okay.

More time passed, and my boss started driving me nuts. She was so uptight and nitpicky about everything I did. I would come in saying ‘Oh that was a wonderful lesson we really made progress-” and then I would go on to detail why. She would frown and say, ‘hmmm, Lenora, I think you’re not allowed to do that. Ofstead want to see paperwork etc.”

Which, fair enough, might be true, but teaching is not about what a teaching board will say about how much paperwork your students do. My students are learning, their grades show as much. They are also steadily improving, and I have had good reports from plenty of other staff/teachers about my methods.

I just feel like if something is positive, need it be draped with so much ‘red tape’? Can it not be recognised as such?

Anyway, as time passed these little nuances of hers started really grinding on me, making me more and more annoyed. So I started keeping my distance, being as polite as I could but refraining from being too friendly.

So I gave in my six week notice but am staying an extra week because they really needed me. I agreed to help them out. I was under no obligation to do so. Also, other teachers have quit and they were allowed to leave without giving any six week notice; I felt that was extremely unfair. But, I wanted to help out.

Anyway, with this exhausting commute, arriving at work at the contracted hour was proving harder and harder. Train times were not always perfect and I relied on somebody to give me a lift in the mornings because of my heavy bags; walking for 30 minutes in the freezing cold with heavy bags after travelling three hours since 4am was just too difficult, and no job is worth that much pain. So I kept letting my boss know beforehand if I was going to arrive late.

I am ALWAYS there fifteen minutes before teaching actually begins. I am NEVER late for my students. Contracted hours begin 30 minutes before the first lesson.

She would always look at me and purse her lips when I arrived late even though I always told her I would be arriving late, which would annoy me. And it was only 5-10 minutes.

So yesterday I sent a text at 7:50 saying sorry but we have to drop the child to school so we will be late; (we have started to do this and it has affected the leaving time). She sent a text back saying:

Although I empathise with your predicament, we still need you here at the agreed time. This is the third time in two weeks and it will now need to be escalated.

This text was sent knowing that I am LEAVING in five days. Also knowing I caught two trains and two buses and have been travelling three hours to get here, to help THEM out, even though I did not need to do this and could legally have just left.

I was very annoyed.

Ok. No problem.’

I replied,

Please let me know when and with whom.

She did not reply. So when I saw her I asked her when this would be escalated (I AM LEAVING IN FIVE DAYS, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? WHY ARE YOU SO PETTY?).

She said she had reported it to management (it’s done, see?) and I would have to wait and see what they say, that they would ‘be in touch.’

I told her that I was disappointed that she had reported me, given that I had already explained to them that I would be late and I would always let them know prior. I explained that I am leaving so how can this be escalated.

I even added, ‘Will they fire me?’

She said, ‘I don’t know, we will have to see.’

How malicious is that? When somebody has already quit and is doing YOU  a favour by staying extra, how the heck does it make sense that you ‘report’ them and ‘escalate’ matters?!

She said she did not like my tone. I was not shouting, but she just didn’t like the fact that I called her bluff. How the fudge nugget are you going to escalate things if I won’t be here? What you going to do, fire me?

She is a control freak and didn’t like knowing that I was ‘getting away’ with it, in her books. Which is stupid because I had already EXPLAINED WHY I WOULD BE LATE SOMETIMES SIX WEEKS PRIOR TO THIS.

This woman made me so mad. She then rushed to the head to tell him what happened; and literally ran back to tell me he wanted to see me. AFTER she already reported the issue? Clearly wanted to get dibs on his favour. She was smirking too, which really grated on me. She was also panting, because of all that self righteous running.

He didn’t penalise me, by the way. He was very diplomatic and nice about it. He explained that he didn’t want my last week at work to be negative, and that the welfare of the staff is of equal importance as the welfare of the students.

He did not ‘escalate’ matters. He did not say anything about that at all.

I just. WHY. Why would you ‘REPORT’ me when I am leaving?! I mean, I didn’t get into trouble but it is the PRINCIPLE of the matter.

She basically ruined my last week at this school. I love this school, I love the kids, I love the staff. But my last week feels negative and miserable because of her backstabbing goody-two-shoes Miss perfect attitude. She can do no wrong but everybody else is incompetent. I just really don’t want to go in in the mornings. I never felt like this before. My memories feel tainted now.

RESEARCH SHOWS this, people. RESEARCH SHOWS THIS. Never mind what bloody research shows it. If I hear ‘research shows’ one more time I am slamming my head against the wall. In fact, no. I will say, ‘What research, exactly?’ and smile at her. Because you can’t keep quoting research without referencing said research properly, otherwise it’s just bullshit. And she won’t be able to ref the research because a. it probably doesn’t exist and b. it is not related to our subject matter.

I hate school now because of her. She has made it nasty and uncomfortable. And if I get a crap reference this travelling will not have been worth it.

The End.

 

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Sad.

I’ve forgotten how to write. I’ve forgotten how to read.

Hell, I’ve even forgotten how to live.

I’ve forgotten how to smile and make conversation. I’ve forgotten how to make my eyes light up when my lips stretch from side to side.

I only know how to drink copious amounts of water with lemon squeezed in and a daily bowl of instant noodles with fresh lemon and coriander.

I know how to walk for hours a day, amassing over 20,000 steps to nowhere and running my eyes over hundreds of houses decorated flamboyantly for Christmas.

Sometimes, Christmas is the worst time ever. I don’t blame people for wanting to celebrate a non birthday at this time. People need something to look forward to in this dreary, grey, dull time of year. They need magical lights and bright tinsel to light up the darkness. When the sun comes out, flooding weak rays through naked trees, heat dissipating with the low lying mist that spreads damp fingers along every crack and crevice, every hole in clothes, I feel depressed.

I remember the smell of stale cigarettes. A hacking laugh. Tall, gaunt, skeletal. Long feet with bony white toes. Filthy kitchen, deceased dog. Cigarettes. Dependancy on a puff of weed. Unkempt pale brown hair. Long, face, large head. Skinny, skinny pale legs. Disgusting jokes about kicking me in a place no woman should ever be kicked. Hacking laugh.

I realised yesterday that I really did ruin my life. That even when I do want to publish my book, I can’t put my name on it. Because he will find it and then find me. I have no freedom because I am still afraid of him. No, petrified. That even in my happiest moments he is lurking somewhere in the background and I can’t ever escape, and I always, always have to be careful.

I realised that I threw everything away because I was a stupid, stupid girl.

I realised that I still think about him.

Every.

Single.

Day.

I laugh at a joke and then my insides suddenly curl up and a stinking, dripping rot spreads through my gut and I feel sick with fear because I am reminded of him. I hate that I am reminded of him.

And at night I still lie awake and tremble. For hours and hours. When my husband falls asleep I turn on the lamp because I can’t bear to lie in the darkness. Sometimes in my house I can smell that faint, sickly sweet smell of cigarettes and dirty clothes and I want to hurl. I rush around putting all the candles on and scrubbing until my fingers are raw.

The smell is in my mind. It is not real. But I can smell it as though it is there. I think I am going mad. I clean and clean and clean but I can still smell it. It makes me feel dirty.

I hate this country. I hate these people. I hate this atmosphere. I hate this season. And I have given up trying to catch up with the world. It has long left me by the wayside.

I also loathe myself for allowing myself to make such a stupid mistake.

I realised that I have not healed. And even when I think I have, the dreary winter sun will come out and remind me forcefully, miserably, that I have not. I think all my happiness has been sucked out by him and I will never ever feel joy again.

And it’s been more than three years. I don’t know when I will stop feeling like this.

 

Physical Relief

Had a terribly busy week. I was travelling since Saturday, when I drove two hours to go to a party, where I burned 600 calories dancing, according to my fitness tracker. I then drove to the in-laws’, where I stayed for the next three days to get to work. I walked to work daily and it took a good forty minutes, and helped my mother move house, worked till 2am  preparing lesson plans and studying for my first assignment.

On Thursday I went to work as usual, carrying a pile of heavy books.

‘Want to add more to that pile, Mrs Sparrow?’ one of the teachers muttered as he walked past, then offered to help but I declined. After work I went to my mum’s and slipped on my stilettos, then my brother dropped me off to the train station and we had a massive argument because he can be an arrogant overly sensitive jerk sometimes, and he refuses to listen to me and he kept speeding on second because I told him to put the car in third gear, even though it was a HIRED car, and he has never had practise driving while I have had a good year and a half on my belt. He is so stubborn it is maddening.

I got out of the car in tears, and caught the train to Birmingham where I went to the loos to slap makeup on my face for another party, this time more sophisticated and in a restaurant.

Then I caught another train all the way back home to my husband.

I hadn’t seen him for a good three days while I was at work. The minute I set eyes on him, waiting by the exit doors with hands in his pockets, my heels aching from my stilettos, and my shoulders heavy with bags, a wave of fatigue washed over me and I sank into his fresh perfume scent and the cold of his heavy leather jacket.

I don’t understand this phenomenon.

It was as though the mere sight of him took my stress away and my body began to really feel the duress I put it under. As though my brain subconsciously knew it didn’t have to hold on anymore because he was there and he could take care of me.

My throat felt scratchy and as he took my bags from me, lifting them as though they weighed nothing, my head started to pound, and tears prickled the back of my eyes. I hugged him for ages before I got in the car, just letting the feeling of home wash over me.

I had never experienced anything like this. A second ago on the train I had been perfectly fine!

All day today I have been in bed feeling ridiculously lousy.

 

 

On Ending a Chapter the Right Way

I have realised now, that you can’t leave something unclosed.

You can’t suffer for a long time, and up and leave suddenly with no explanation, and expect your life to go back to normal and the old you to return.

The old me is taking so long to come back and while I have healed marvellously, my dreams have not. I am constantly haunted by him.

And when I wake up gripping my sheets in fear and I turn and see my husband’s peaceful sleeping face next to mine, my relief is palpable. I thank God everyday for this wonderful, handsome man who makes me so so happy.

The dreams are becoming more and more vivid of late.

Perhaps I should have resolved it, and said all the things I needed to say. Because in my dreams, he is always springing up on me when I least expect it, and he is sobbing and accusing. I never told him how abusive he was to me. Maybe he thinks he didn’t abuse me at all. No. That’s ridiculous. He said once that maybe if he treated me better I’d have stayed.

Nu uh. No way. He was a horrible person and I hated him for three quarters of the time we were together. I hated him and feared him so I went along with it. He also threatened me frequently. And I was naive and young.

But oh how I hated him. So when I did get the courage to up and leave, by phone, I really was furious. He said he would drive to my house and kidnap me and I screamed at him. I had never done that to him, ever. I was always so meek and mild.

I screamed at him and hissed, ‘How dare you even suggest such a demented thing? Who the hell do you think you are? You do NOT own me. If you come here I swear I will call the police, I don’t care what time it is. My family is sleeping and if you disturb them because of your own selfish and manipulative ways I swear I will make your life horrible. Leave me alone. LEAVE ME ALONE.’

I was so mad, I didn’t care how loud I was. And he was silent on the phone. So so silent. I had never rendered him silent before, so that’s how I know my words packed a punch.

What a disgusting pathetic douchebag. And he cried so much. I had to listen to it for ten minutes before I guiltily said, ‘that’s enough. I’m going. Bye’.

Why did I feel guilty to hurt him? Hadn’t he disgustingly hurt me enough times? Ugh. He is a despicable human. And I don’t know why I am still scared of him.

I wish I told him what a disease he was. How manipulative he was. He thinks I left him because of my family but HELL NAW. I left him because I hated his guts. His horrible personality. That cringey way he used to cackle, so his brown teeth showed. But I was too kind and gentle to tell him so. I felt bad. So I didn’t think of my own happiness I continued to miserably pander to him. WHY DO I STILL FEEL LIKE I DID A BAD THING?

I DIDN’T DO A BAD THING. I SAVED MYSELF A NASTY LIFE.

Sometimes I hope he is dead. I hope he dies so I don’t have to be scared of him anymore.

Gossip

Don’t talk about people.

I don’t like it. I really don’t like it. I don’t like knowing anything about anybody unless they have told me themselves, or they would be okay with me knowing it. Anything else is just nasty and I really could not care less.

Why do people feel the need to gossip? Also, why do they defend themselves by saying it is not gossip, just facts, when in actual fact it is gossip. Gossip is anything you say about somebody else without their knowledge that might hurt said person.

And that stuff is hurtful.

I would be hurt and angry and annoyed if somebody was discussing my private life with somebody else.

It’s none of their business.

I hate gossip.

It makes me very very depressed.

It’s also hard when a member of your family is partaking in it and they get very emotional/upset when you point it out and defend themselves by lecturing me about ‘self-righteousness’ and listing all the reasons why it is ok to talk about what they talked about. I don’t want to hurt or offend anybody in my family.

I just really REALLY don’t care about that information. I don’t want to talk about it or why its okay to talk about it. It is not okay. It is not our life. It is somebody else’s life. I don’t give a flying rat’s bottom what other people do with their lives. I can’t stress this enough. I don’t care so much that I will cry if I hear any more information I don’t need to. It is clutter for my brain.

Can’t we talk about something else, instead of other people’s lives? Why must we speculate on why they do things? Especially when we know nothing of their lives.

It is not important, really. It makes my insides feel rotten.

*sigh*

A lil Something

I wish

That one day

I can have peace

Of mind

and heart

Also,

A private room

to live in

and to do my washing

Without having to wake up at 5am to do it

And to kiss my husband

As passionately as I like

without worrying about a knock on the door

Cuz PDA is gross

Also

To sleep during the day

Without worrying

about in-laws

thinking I am lazy.

I am not.

I swear.

I am constantly working.

On the move.

That is why

I

am so

tired.

All the time.

 

4 hours sleep,

kind of tired.

 

Cupcakes and Frowns

I haven’t got a story anymore and I am exhausted.

Well, no, I do have a story. But it is shredded to pieces and I am too tired and emotionally drained to pick anything up. Also my heart feels like a heavy sack that is sinking low into my abdomen and it is making me feel sick.

So I am eating cupcakes to mask the pain only the cupcakes make the pain worse. There are vanilla ones with a vanilla buttercream frosting, topped with strawberries and blueberries. There are chocolate ones which came out beautifully glossy, with a sheen of chocolate icing. And a sprinkling of chocolate curls.

Well, cupcakes are delicious and delicious things are good for you – within a respectable limit, of course.

Listen up, folks. Adulting is about dealing with your problems and communicating with those who are important to you, also not being afraid of confrontation. I am terrified of confrontation.

But, Mr Damian, I have plenty to talk to you about and I will talk to you about it. I will. I must. I can’t not.

 

On Suspicion and Trust

I don’t trust people because when I do make that mistake I am usually disappointed.

Maybe it is that I don’t know who to trust, and can’t suss out a person well enough before I make the mistake of trusting them. Or maybe it is just that I have not yet met a decent person who I can fully trust yet.

Once a personal secret exits my mouth, I know it is no longer in my hands. I have no control over the dung tornado that might take place and I cannot handle not being in control of my own personal business.

So I am suspicious of everybody and I trust a minuscule amount of people.

I don’t even trust certain young ladies who I have known for nigh on sixteen years now.

Also, side thought, wow. I can say I have known somebody for sixteen years. Can you believe that? It wasn’t so long ago that I myself had only been walking this planet for sixteen years. Where have six years gone!?

I am not sure why this is. I have certainly been betrayed in the past. I have moved around quite a lot and lived in three different countries because of my father’s line of work. Also I find it disconcerting when I have confided in somebody for them to constantly bring up my private business when they have no business doing that. It is ill mannered and downright rude. Also it makes me realise that they are petty people who cannot behave like adults even though they have been for quite some time.

Do you have problems trusting a lot of people?

My issue with trust has meant that I have more acquaintances than friends, because I am afraid of divulging too much information about myself. Also, in this city that I live in, news gets around surprisingly fast. The other day a stranger walked up to me and knew my name and asked me how did it feel to be married so young and was my marriage doing okay?

I didn’t know this busybody of a woman. Nor did I care to. Also I have been married two years now (almost three) and it is getting SO DAMN TIRING hearing people I don’t know very well asking the same old question over and over again.

‘How is married life?’

That question puts my teeth on edge and makes me want to scream. It makes me so irrationally angry!

‘Sorry, do I know you?’ I said to the lady, as politely as I could. Apparently her husband’s cousin works with me, and she used to be my mother in law’s neighbour. Well, I told her it was fine then excused myself and walked on.

You see? People are nosy and not to be trusted. I mean, if she knows me, could she not have introduced herself and spoken about something else? Also, I see her at work now and all she does is ask nosy questions about my marriage and when I am planning on having kids and whether or not I have had any problems yet.

Well. It is not all salt and vinegar. There are some very lovely, loyal, trustworthy people about who I can completely trust and who would never ever betray that trust. And they are certainly worth holding on to.

Friday

Fridays are my days off. I cherish these days.

On Fridays I still wake up at 5am, and there are still a myriad of chores awaiting me. However they do not involve getting ready and leaving the house. They are not associated with rushing madly around trying to leave by a certain hour, and charging all day from one place to another, always alert, always stressed. They involve minor things like shaving my legs and hoovering and putting dishes away at my own pace.

They involve driving my mum to the supermarket and meandering about as she does her shop. They involve washing clothes and tidying up a room that has been trashed by four days of two adults rushing around getting ready every morning.

Small chores. Menial tasks. Sips of coffee. Gentle face wash. Slow application of makeup. Maybe a cake will be baked. Maybe a friend will be visited. Fridays are my break days, the gentle rest before the mad rush of a hectic weekend and the plunge into exhausting Monday again.

So, lately, my favourite day of the week is Friday. Friday is my quiet day. My contemplative day. My day to relax and allow my brain to ..actually… think.

And I really do thank God it is Friday.

Finding Inspiration

I have my timetable from work, finally. I am swamped. With no breaks. Busy busy. Every minute. Which is awesome yay.

But also means I do not have any time to think. Or any inspiration. So I am still uninspired. Which bodes terribly for the novel I am currently writing. With a deadline in December. I just don’t know how this is going to go down.

I know a girl from college who is a freelancing graphic designer. She designs so beautifully and uniquely. And I really desperately want her to design my book cover. But since I have made zero progress in the last two weeks, I might have no content to present to her for her to design anything!

I really must buck up, if I am to produce anything. And if I am to produce anything close to what I see in my mind.

Lately I have been watching the film ‘Coraline’ on repeat. The making of that film was extremely complex because it was all done by hand, everything, down to miniature knitters and a number of puppets with replacement limbs and different faces with an assortment of facial expressions! Can you imagine the laborious effort it took to create such a detailed movie all by hand? That is so inspirational to me. I watch it and I sometimes slow it down to see movements clearly because it fascinates me how they could pack so much fun detail into a two hour stop motion film. It stands out because it is so unusual, and the story behind the making of it is incredible too. You can read more here if you are interested.

Didn’t they get tired of it, or fed up? I know I would. Their dedication in the end produced something so beautiful to watch and re-watch multiple times.

So whenever I watch Coraline, I let the artwork seep its dainty tendrils into the folds of my brain and maybe spark something there. It almost always produces an idea or two.

So, this is what this uninspired girl has resorted to. Where do you go to find inspiration, when it evades you?

Coraline.jpg