June 2014 archive

Done

Done: no longer happening or existing.
“her hunting days were done”

Social media and I have had a bit of a falling out recently. I’ve not blogged for ages and have taken a bit of a step back from Twitter. I’ve been mulling over this a lot, and whilst I haven’t definitively come to any particularly conclusion as to why this is, I’ve certainly realised a few things.

Social media is a very powerful tool. It influences millions – sometimes positively and sometimes in not such a positive way. When I first joined Twitter I was breastfeeding a newborn baby and enjoyed stalking celebrities at 3 in the morning. Then, as PND took it’s hold for the third time, I frantically used it to find people going through the same thing, either to convince myself I wasn’t ill or to reassure me that you can indeed survive on very little, if not no sleep. I was becoming obsessed with confirming all of the things I thought in my very poorly head and whilst Twitter, blogs and forums provided some comfort and helpful suggestions there were also a lot of dark and dangerous things on there. I read some things I didn’t want to read and saw pictures that once seen, can never be forgotten.

Thankfully I have very wise friends and family who helped me channel my energies and into getting better and starting a blog. Wonderfully cathartic, it felt amazing to be able to write openly and honestly about things I was experiencing. Chats on Twitter were fun, supportive and honest, and some of the people I have met through Twitter and blogging are truly amazing. But recently, I’m beginning to wonder if it all offers a bit of a false sense of security. Some people claim they can only be themselves on Twitter, that they cannot be real in real life and that all of the friends they have are virtual ones. And some say that when they have a problem – sometimes an extremely serious problem – Twitter is the only place they feel they can go for help. Help from people who are not experts. Who do not actually know the person in distress, do not know their triggers or their history – in fact they know nothing about them at all. And I see people offering advice about babies they’ve never seen, giving mental health advice to suicidal people, and becoming outraged for someone they’ve never met, only ever hearing one side of the argument.

Now I’m obviously not saying don’t ever go to social media for support and advice – my goodness no it can be a wonderful place and so many people and organisations on there are doing amazing work for smashing stigma, supporting sufferers of mental health and aiding new and overwhelmed mums, and that’s wonderful when it’s done properly – but sadly social media lets anyone join, and when you’re vulnerable and fragile you can easily take the wrong advice, from the wrong person.

The deeper I have gone onto the world of blogging and social media, the more disillusioned I’ve become. In some parts it’s a hugely supportive and comforting group of people, yet in others it has cliques, comment rings and a whole load of ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ shenanigans I had no idea existed until recently. Some people deliberately provoke, whilst others constantly seek attention. Some blog from the heart, and some do so for ratings and to up their stats. The lives and personalities people project online are often very different from their reality – even mine. It has all increasingly unnerved me over time, and do you know what? I don’t think I can do it anymore.

I’m tired of Twitter arguments. I’m sick of the monthly scoring system which seems to drive everyone bonkers and become totally competitive. It’s exhausting. It’s draining. And it can be extremely upsetting at times.

When I started blogging it saved me and has quite literally turned my life around. I was able to find my voice again after an evil illness. I found new confidence through writing and having people read, comment and enjoy my blog. It has opened doors to me that I never dreamt possible and the future is so unbelievably exciting for me right now. But I do feel I’m done. I’ve reached a point where I’ve no more to give with ‘mummy blogging.’ I don’t want to review endless products; the power of trusting your instincts as a mum has become so wonderfully recognised by so many; and writing about PND is about to happen in a novel. Put simply, my writing and I have moved on.

I will still write, I will always write (and tweet!) and I may even start a new blog all about that. But for now – with heartfelt thanks to all the blogging community has given me and to every single one of you who has read my blog – I’m trusting my instincts, and I’m done.

Shopping

Shopping: Shopping is an activity in which a customer browses the available goods or services presented by one or more retailers with the intent to purchase a suitable selection of them.

Shopping is meant to be fun right? I’m a woman and all women love shopping right? I should be on cloud nine now with bags full of flattering, gorgeous new clothes right?

Wrong.

I am sat in Costas, stuffing my face with a whole load of naughty treats that will come back to bite my lardy ass later, because I’m so grumpy after two hours of unsuccessful clothes shopping. I feel like I have been in every sodding shop possible, and every time I’ve come out feeling a little more deflated and a lot more unattractive.

Are shops designed to make us all feel like lardy lumps of hideousness? It surely must take some effort to get the lighting precisely right in changing rooms so it shows up every single bit of dimpled flesh and uneven skin. And the mirrors, angled perfectly to reflect parts of your body that you – or anyone else for that matter – doesn’t really need to see…ever!!

And what’s with the mannequins that are unhealthily slim with minuscule clothes on them, pinned in at the back to make them even smaller and cling to their fatless torsos? Women do not look like this, and if they did I’d be seriously concerned!

Shops that have size 6 clothes at the front of displays, which can make you think an item is actually quite nice…only to search through to the back of the rail to find that in your size it looks like a small tent. And then you take it to the changing room to find that it’s not your size at all, that it says your size on the label, but that can’t possibly be right because you can’t get it past your shitting neck/thighs.

I don’t think my expectations are too high – I certainly don’t expect to look like a sexy slinky goddess – but I’d like to at least be able to feel good about what I’ve got on and how I look.

Am I at some weird stage in my life where I haven’t a clue how to actually dress myself? Am I stuck in the past, trying to look like I did at 20? I don’t think I am or of I was I’d have picked up one of the gazillion playsuits I saw today. Then again maybe I’m missing a trick, a friend once told me to try everything on as you never know, it may actually look better on you than on the hanger. Maybe play suits for me are the way forward? Somehow I doubt it.

And so what is the way forward? I’m attending Britmums Live next week and in true style have ‘nothing to wear!’

What are you wearing? And can I borrow it?! πŸ˜‰

Help!!

Resignation

Resignation: A resignation is the formal act of giving up or quitting one’s office or position.

Resignation. What a word! Resigning yourself to something implies settling and making do. It doesn’t scream happiness or excitement. It’s almost dull. Yet resigning can be powerful, enlightening and utterly brilliant.

For those of you who follow my blog you’ll notice it’s been properly neglected over the last couple of months. A few poems and reviews aside, I’ve not blogged for ages as my focus was firmly elsewhere, and my happiness had once again disappeared on the end of a very long fishing rod waiting for me to work my ass off to reel it back in. Oh but reel it in I have, and what a massive catch of happiness I caught! (ok yes, strange analogy I know, but stick with me!)

You may remember a couple of months ago I wrote a blog post called Crossroads. A blog post in which I boldly declared I was going to do something to change the course of my life and follow a different path. And follow a different path I will because since writing that post, I have amazingly been accepted onto the Creative Writing MA at Bath Spa…and handed in my resignation…and I COULD NOT be happier!!

I have been a primary school teacher for 15 years and have worked at my current school for 11 of those years. And most of them have been brilliant. I have some wonderfully dedicated colleagues and over the years have been offered some great opportunities, ending up on the senior management team. Yes there have been ups and downs, but before I left for maternity leave two years ago I loved it. Teaching can be hugely rewarding and my classes were like an extended family. However, since going back in January it’s been very different. I’m very different – and some of the people I work with are too – but mostly, education is very different and I don’t like it one bit. I won’t go into why now, yet again that’s another blog post, but I’ve had some of the saddest days ever since going back. Deciding whether to resign or not wasn’t easy at all, but once I’d made the decision I knew without doubt it was the right one. And not just because I genuinely do have something so much bigger and better to be moving on to, but because if I can’t give 100% to something it’s not fair on anyone if I continue to do it. Handing my resignation in made me feel lighter, and in control. And I like feeling in control πŸ˜‰

And the thought of starting on the Masters course still makes me smile uncontrollably. I am unbelievably excited, and a little nervous. It will be an amazing new chapter in my life where I will, in the words of my mother, be ‘living my dream.’

And so hopefully – now my application is complete and I no longer have to edit and re-draft my writing portfolio – my blogging hiatus should now be over…although there’s never any guarantee….maybe I should just resign myself to the fact that as far as blogging goes, I’m always going to be sporadic…

Mrs Vyle

It will come as no surprise to you to discover I love books. Reading them, and writing them has always been such a huge source of enjoyment to me. And as a mother and a teacher one of my passions is instilling a love of reading for pleasure in children – something that is not always easy.

Luckily there is such an amazing array of talented new writers around to help! One of them – James Hallsworth, a father of two who writes fun, rhyming storybooks for young children – sent me a copy of the manuscript of his brilliant new children’s book, Mrs Vyle.

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Mrs Vyle has been illustrated by the fantastic Helen Braid (who illustrated A Monster Ate My Mum for me) and contains all of the ingredients for a book that children will love.

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Here is a summary of the book taken from James’s web page..

A strange and unpleasant new teacher has arrived in class. Pointy claws, sharp yellow fangs and skin that is definitely bit green: could she be a monster? Join the smart and brave classmates as they reveal the truth about their slobbery, smelly and green-ish imposter – despite the snooty Molly. But who can help them overcome the terrible Mrs Vyle…??

It’s written in rhyme which helps the story to flow perfectly, and James is currently very close to the 250 pre-orders he needs in order for Mrs Vyle to be published with Britain’s Next Bestseller. So if you love slobbery monster-teachers, cheeky children and books that are fun and silly, then visit his site, pre-order the book and make his day! Check it out and get more information here…
https://britainsnextbestseller.co.uk/index.php/book/index/MrsVyle