fear journey

Here’s a ‘raw truth secret about me’…

And I am sharing it because I know I am not alone.

There is something big I have been wanting to do. And it is so heavy in my spirit – that desire to do it – that it is almost a physical weight too.
And I know it would be something great! Even the opinions of the few I have shared it with have confirmed this!

Yet… I still have not done it. There are days where I spend hours working on it. But cannot bring myself to the ‘big reveal’.

Why? I suppose that it’s ME that is holding ME back! Well…. it is, but it also isn’t.

I have finally reached the place in my life where I KNOW my truth! And I speak it – to my friends, to myself, to my dogs 😛 😉
I am able to see the error and lie that has been spoken over me and to me far too often in my life, and I am able to contradict it.

The negative emotions – self doubt, lack of self worth, low self esteem – I still have those, but they are fleeting and I am better at handling them when they rear their ugly heads. I believe that for me personally they still come because I always need to learn more, and grow more.

I look at how far I have come in the last few years… and in particular the amazing growth I have experienced this past year. And I’ll admit that when I truly reflect, I cry. (Yes, I am too soft!) But I cry because it’s been a hell of a journey…. and so many years (probably about twenty, if I am honest) of chipping away at a giant boulder, sometimes not even managing to acknowledge or see the very small shoots of growth because they have been just below the surface.
This past year? It’s like I started with a sapling, and all of a sudden there’s a sturdy trunk with branches… and there may even be some green 😉 (And no… I am not referring to lockdown, pandemic physical weight 😛 😛 )

But in all of this wonderful, and definitely worthy of celebration growth, something is still broken in my sub-conscious.

If I look at what I want to do… and address the thing within me that is preventing me from doing it? The questions that come to mind – the ones that make me ‘put down my pen’? They are all related to a sub-conscious fear – limiting beliefs and memories from the past – things I KNOW are not true… and yet they are STILL holding a part of me back!

Earlier, I said that I know I am not alone. Because somewhere out there, there are more than one of you who is in exactly the same place as I am at the moment – it’s just that the thing you are wanting to do may be a different thing to mine.

And I wish I had a clear answer of exactly what we should do, so that we can change the road we are on… conquer that fear… and ‘release ourselves to the world’. If I find that perfect answer, I will be sure to share it. But I have a feeling that ‘the answer’ will be unique to us as an individual – what will eventually work for me may not work for you.

So what is the point of this post? If I can’t help you, and you can’t help me, to get past the fear?

Well….

The point is to know that you are not alone. Neither am I. The point is to help you realise that we ALL have battles that we fight, no matter how great other things in our lives may be. The point is to encourage you – please don’t give up now! It’s hard work, and it’s frustrating…. but I truly believe it will be worth it! I have enough hope for all of us 😉

We will all eventually experience the moments in our lives where we will see a light at the end of the particular tunnel we are trying to ‘conquer’, and it won’t be another train coming 😛 😉

When you are tired, rest. When you are frustrated and angry, pick up that pillow and scream into it. When you feel sad and ‘seemingly hopeless’, have a good cry.
But do NOT give up. Your day is coming! Take courage, my friends! It’s not too late to build a better you!
(What a wonderful thought that even when we think we are at our best, there is always potential for us to be even better! That life can actually BE better!!! I just LOVE that! ❤ )

I promise not to give up on my journey of conquering this major fear. And of course, when I finally DO my thing, my big reveal will be here first 😉

So please don’t give up on your journey either! We’ve got this! ❤

Because We Are Wrong — The Chatter Blog — Peter’s pondering

I logged onto WordPress this morning, feeling a bit out of sorts.

Our strict lock down seems to be getting to me. It’s a little strange that it would affect me like it is, because I am quite the homebody on any given day.
Who knew that the trips in the car for school and extra curricular activities for my daughter, and the odd popping in at the shops I frequent for our needs, were actually so meaningful to my everyday life.

(In case you missed it previously, our lock down is a lot stricter than any other country. Not only have our purchases been limited – so you can’t even buy puzzles, or wool, or DIY things to keep you busy etc. but you’re also not allowed to go for a walk. This includes not being able to take your dog for a walk. I’m not even allowed to walk ten metres out of my house within our gated community. Even if you promise to keep the required social distancing to prevent the virus from spreading. Of course, not all are obeying these rules – some get caught, and are issued with hefty fines. Others? They just seem to get away with it, and the virus is still spreading despite the strict rules, and those of us who are adhering and pretty much finding ourselves under house arrest.)

And so me feeling out of sorts is understandable, I suppose. And I stumbled upon the post I have shared.

My life has been a continuous battle of undoing – undoing the words of the past. The journey has often been difficult, and my self worth has always been the most difficult part to conquer for more than a few hours at a time.
I think the frustration of the way things currently are has led to a little too much self reflection of the negative kind – doubt, fear, inadequacy.

I’ve started taking things personally. Like maybe I talk too much? Maybe I just AM too much. And yet some might argue that I don’t talk enough.
I’m feeling guilty for not being the type of person others may need or want me to be, instead of relishing in my uniqueness and the beauty of my soul – as damaged and vulnerable as it may be. I’m feeling inadequate and unworthy.

My teen daughter and adult son are growing increasingly annoyed with each other, and frustrated with the constraints put on them too. I’ve tried to be the voice of reason, and I’ve tried to be fair, with them both. I’m doing my best to ‘mother’ – being sensitive to their plights, and loving towards them, but still maintaining a disciplinary tone when it comes to situations that need it. I’m used to them pushing boundaries – who doesn’t? But this time, things just feel different.

Lock down is making me feel locked out. 

All very depressing, I know. But it’s the truth of the time and place I find myself in right now.

And then I read the blog post below. I don’t think it was a coincidence that it happened to appear first on my reader.
I have become a lot better over the past few years at accepting good things about myself – at acknowledging that I have worth, and that I am good enough. Being prone to thinking otherwise has lessened. It’s been a terrible struggle to reach the point of acceptance and to be able to acknowledge my self worth in a good way.

The last couple of days have been ‘bad days’.

And as I read the blog post below I was reminded of this :

It’s okay for me to have off days. It’s okay for me to have doubts and fears. The circumstances are seriously tough and if it wasn’t affecting me at all, then I may have started wondering about myself even more!
I’m not complaining about having time – time is something that I have had little of, and I am relishing the abundance of it that I now have.

But it’s okay to be feeling overwhelmed and a little sad.
While gratitude plays a big part in a happier attitude, and I have been careful to continuously remind myself of all that I have to be grateful for (as well as throwing in reminders for my children) … under these circumstances I am allowed to see the sadness and frustration too. Because if I lie, or choose not to acknowledge it’s existence, then how on earth will I go about dealing with it, and changing it.

BUT… I need to remind myself that dwelling on those negatives and allowing them to have such control over my peace of mind and well being is wrong. That I can stop this argument in my head, and the culmination of negative emotions that are threatening to steal my joy.

That I can still allow myself to accept myself.

And that I need to hold on to my belief that ‘this too shall pass’.

Taking it one hour at a time, one day at a time. Still smiling… and feeling determined about the better things that are yet to come. Reminding myself that just because I feel bad, doesn’t mean it IS bad. That there is always hope – and yes, I am still a prisoner of it 😉

I’m searching for ways to see me through this. I haven’t found them yet.. but I am searching… and slowly but surely, something will drag me from this funk 😉 . But I DO know that I have been through some really tough stuff in my life… and I WILL get through this!

 

Some wise words from Colleen. Pop over to her blog to find many more! © via Because We Are Wrong — The Chatter Blog

via Because We Are Wrong — The Chatter Blog — Peter’s pondering

A long version of dire straits

THIS IS NOT MY USUAL TYPE OF BLOG POST – and yet in it you will find the pieces of me that tie up with previous posts. I am apologising BEFORE you read it for the raw emotions that will come across as negative – but there are snippets of positivity and lessons to be learned in reading it. Thank you for taking the time ❤

I’ve been struggling. There, I said it.
I didn’t realise how bad it was until I bumped into an acquaintance on Friday who asked me how the New Year has been treating me so far, and my eyes welled up with tears in response. I swallowed a lump in my throat and shrugged. I don’t know who was more embarrassed, him or me. I do know that when I threw the question back at him, I found myself in a situation yet again where I was the counsellor. Half an hour later we parted, him saying how grateful he was to have bumped into me and how much better he was feeling. I paid for my purchases, got in my car, and cried the whole way home.

This entire blog post will seem like a senseless contradiction – but there are moments where we just have to share what we’re going through and so that is what this is.
Because guess what? You are never going through anything alone.
I have no doubt in my mind that someone out there who reads this is probably in the same place as I am, but with different circumstances.

I read a blog post last week where someone listed their reasons for being depressed. I commented about them all being quite valid and I loved the response : ” I’m all for positive thinking and all that, but also believe in fully feeling and expressing our emotions so they don’t fester.”

It’s no surprise that the picture below is one that I agree with completely :

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Photo credit : onsizzle.com

I am WELL AWARE that things could be worse. I KNOW we could be suffering more. And hearing/reading about other situations and circumstances certainly makes me grateful if I am not facing the same – but just because my struggle is ‘less’, doesn’t mean that the hurt, anger and frustration that I feel has no validity. It also doesn’t mean that no one else can rely on me to be there for them and help them through their struggles.

I DO take time to self care, and just be. And I don’t know quite how to explain this next part, other than that this is my purpose – for some reason, even in my pain and tears, I will always make a way and be strong for those who need help. Yes, it’s a momentary distraction from my own circumstances, but that isn’t why I do it. And the strength to do it is not mine. My friends know better than to say to me, ”I didn’t want to ask you because I know you have a lot going on.”
Yes, I have boundaries. And there have been times where I have had to say to them, ”I’m sorry, I just can’t.” My levels of endurance are far too great though – and as much as I fight discussing religion and politics because of the damage that has been done to so many due to both, I KNOW that my help comes from above.

Recent events have left my faith feeling somewhat shaken – but unlike James Bond (shaken NOT stirred), something within me has stirred too. 

To be completely honest, things are looking grim. But I’m NOT giving in!

To outline some of the circumstances surrounding these things, I screenshotted a dear friend’s shared Facebook post – she is one of the most positive people I know, and very seldom dwells on the negativity of our country as it stands right now.

SAA is our airline. Eskom is our sole electricity provider. SABC is our broadcasting commission. Transnet is the custodian of ports, rail and pipelines.
The Eastern Cape is hit the hardest by all of the above – and that’s where I live.

With major infrastructure falling apart, it is no surprise that the effects are being felt astronomically by small business. There are no jobs available – the ones that are advertised have to select 1 employee from over 180 applications. Employers are offering very low salaries and wages because they know how desperate people are.
Here, if you work for one hour at minimum wage, you will be considered fortunate to be able to use that one hour’s wage to purchase one loaf of bread and one litre of milk.

I have lost four people in these 27 days of January to suicide – the reason being financial.

There has been a recent outbreak of a terrible stomach bug here – people have been hospitalised, and I believe that in the rural areas there have been deaths. It’s no surprise when you see my town’s main water supply – and consider the amount of chemicals that need to be added to make it run clear in the taps (pic from November last year)

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My children and I DO NOT drink tap water – which means we have to PAY for drinking water. And the three of us are water babies when it comes to drinking preferences (as well as coffee for me).

If it wasn’t for my brother, the children and I would have starved to death by now.

But all doors are closing, fast.

Small business closed. 😦 No jobs available. The chain of payment for services rendered is completely broken – A didn’t pay B, so B couldn’t pay C, so C couldn’t pay D, so D closed its doors – which left E, F, G completely stranded etc.

I have extensively researched moving overseas. Those doors are all closed too. I cannot go anywhere without securing employment first – a company that will petition their government/immigration procedures and possibly give me a chance to be approved. The list of candidates and people doing their utmost to follow this route is extensive, to say the least. Their advantages? They are gainfully employed and have some sort of university degree behind them.

I didn’t get a university degree because I fell pregnant, and after being abandoned by the father, I chose to keep my baby. I then chose to get married. Youth, and the struggle of being a mother and a wife and working full time blurred my vision. As did the after effects of abuse. I should have done more. I take full responsibility for that, and understand that my complacency in the years that counted is the reason I am where I am now.

Stuck. Stressed. Frustrated. Angry with myself. Hurting. Sad.

I can’t afford to study now. And with our education system being what it is, there is a very real fear that in the three years it will take, any degree issued here will be worthless anyway.
I am deeply concerned for my son. He finishes his degree in July. There are NO JOBS. Many young people finished their degrees two years ago (I know three personally) and are still without employment. My only hope is that HIS degree will somehow be enough to open an overseas door for him – but he doesn’t want to leave us behind. There is merit in that – but at the same time, I need him to at least have a future.
(I’ll admit that recently I felt more pro New Zealand, for the simple fact that we could all go together – his age would allow him to still fall under me, 24 being the cut off. He can’t go with me, as my dependent, anywhere else. I don’t want to leave him behind either.)

My daughter has been selected for two dancing competitions this year – qualifiers for world championships. My mind is racing with regards to fundraising – I cannot carry costs and will not ask my brother – he does enough. And in the back of my mind there is that voice screaming, ‘how will you fundraise when people have nothing to give’. Impossible.

I’ve looked extensively at further study – diploma wise – with overseas correspondence institutions. I even went so far as to first search the possible industries and fields of jobs available to me in the US and the UK, and then find qualifications relating to those. The financial implications make all of this impossible.

There is a saying something along the lines of this : ‘Sometimes when one door closes, we are so busy staring at the closed door, that we miss the window that has opened.’

And based on the recent reblogged post, how dare I limit God???!!!

My mind is reeling – and I am trying to make sense of it all. Last night, I was just quiet. A meditation of sorts. But there has been no great revelation – I do know though that good things take time 😉

And for now we have food to eat and a roof over our heads – something NOT to be taken lightly in our country at this time.

It’s all hopeless. It’s all impossible. It’s all every negative emotion that you can possibly think of.

BUT

While I have no control over the circumstances and all economic indicators show that it is indeed looking dire, and hopeless – I have control of me. I may be a walking contradiction at this time, because I FEEL hopeless – and yet, I remain the prisoner of that beautiful word : H O P E. I want so desperately to just give up, because I really am exhausted. BUT I CAN’T. And not just because I have two beautiful ”children”. It’s just not in me. My spirit refuses. It simply will NOT.

The negative emotions are screaming loudly at me at the impossibility of it all. The choices I made in my youth, and as a defiance to everything I probably knew because of hurt and abuse that once again were not in my control, add fuel to the fire of those emotions, screaming belittlement and blame on me – leaving me feeling guilty and downtrodden.

But every tear, and every pain in my heart (and yes, it is almost a physical heart pain), whisper to me : It IS possible, there IS hope, keep going. You’ve come too far to give up now. 

And so, dear reader, do not doubt… I may FEEL that I want to give up.

But I won’t.

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Photo credit : Facebook

 

I’m going to look for my dancing shoes 😉

Hearts Cry

A lengthy post.. but worth a read. Not all sunshine and happiness – sorry! I’ll do better next post!

 

7accabc5b3cc60fb680cf012f5dce6ccPhoto credit : coffeelovesme.com

I sure am trying… but yesterday, my morning wake up didn’t even allow for time to smell the coffee. Because there wasn’t any. For four hours. No electricity, and no water.

Further to Monday’s post, let me add this :

There is a schedule for loadshedding. Provided to us in an attempt to help us plan ahead. The electricity cuts fall into different stages. So for example, if Stage 2 has been implemented, you can check the schedule for your area and plan around the hours that you will be without electricity. It’s great – if and when it works.

Yesterday – Tuesday, (in case I don’t get this posted today) they jumped between stages without advising anyone, until after they had switched the electricity off. There was no time to prepare for it. So yesterday, in a space of 14 hours, we were without electricity for 8 of them!

For the first time ever (loadshedding has been happening on and off for many years now), there has been a stage 6 implemented. Things just got serious. Stage 6 means that 8 hours of the day without electricity needs to be expected.

What needs to be understood is this : the tension and total failure in this country is already at dangerous levels – loadshedding is adding to an already highly sensitive situation, and things are looking more than grim.

I always giggle when ‘foreigners’ are not aware of the state of things here. I don’t expect any of you to be. Speaking with family in the UK, and my ‘sister’ in the US, I am well aware that a lot of the time there is a media blackout of sorts with regards to most issues. And who wants to sit and troll through the awful crime and failures of government in other countries when their own areas are enough to deal with.

The other reason I am so ‘well educated’ with regards to other countries (other than the having family and a best friend living overseas) is that I do a lot of homework and research because if I ever get out of this country, I need to be well aware of where we are going, for my children’s sake.

I made a comment on someone else’s blog post, that I think is fitting to share here, and now. Please understand that I am under NO illusion that ‘the grass is greener on the other side’. EVERY country has its issues and nowhere is paradise – unless humans have never found it. But I will say that the severity of our issues is a lot less than what my family and friends overseas face. And this is factual – not just based on hearsay. The countries and places I have investigated are numerous – of course I always start with crime statistics and the types of crime committed. But I also do lengthy research in the form of reading their local online newspapers. It’s not all stored in my head…but I know where we wouldn’t go 😛

Getting back to that grass….

I saw a sign the other day, and I had to laugh. (Although it’s sad when you think of it…but there’s definitely a funny side to it.)
The sign said, “The grass is only greener where you water it.”
I didn’t laugh at the sign as such… I laughed because at the time I didn’t have any water in my taps. How am I supposed to water the grass? Another thought popped into my head… our water is contaminated a lot of the time and municipal advisories are to not drink the tap water in my area – so if there is water and I water the grass? Pfft.

As much as I research other places to live, I avoid our own news. I no longer watch it, and I refuse to buy a newspaper. Our local paper was giving away free copies a month back, and my son got one – and dumped it in the trash after the first three pages. His comment? “Not one good thing. And now I’m more scared.”
I have Facebook – and our local community page is enough to upset and anger me. But I can’t stick my head completely in the sand – I need to know what is happening around me for our safety. Especially considering that most of the things never make actual news.  Every now and then, the radio news catches me. I listen with one ear, but sometimes have to mute it. I know my daughter did the same the other day when they were reporting on yet another baby that had been raped and she said, “Sorry, but I just can’t listen to this stuff anymore.” (My cousin runs a safehouse/children’s home, and we have held and poured love out onto a nine month old baby who required extensive reconstructive surgery due to this very thing, and will have a colostomy bag for the rest of her life…so it hits very close to home for us every time we hear reports of this happening.) 😥

Yesterday, I heard an economist speaking about loadshedding and its impact on us, and this morning I had a look at what he said in a broader light – ie. I went to look at some financial reporting.
Basically our economy is facing its second recession in two years. Mines have had to shut down. Everyone is already financially drained – businesses that are not corporate cannot afford generators and so no electricity means a halt in productivity, which means an inability to generate income, which means difficulty paying staff – forget about business running costs. A local man, someone I am acquainted with, committed suicide last week due to the financial pressures. He’s not the first this year, and I think that the way things are going, even though the year is nearly up, he won’t be the last 😦

Please forgive me for feeling despondent and frustrated and sad. And angry. All of which are emotions that are ridiculous when you take into consideration that they are all because of things that are completely not within my control. But I’m feeling them anyway. And I’m struggling a bit.

It hasn’t robbed me of my joy completely. And I am very grateful that for now the children and I have what we need and we woke up this morning, safe. So I know the negative emotions are a contradiction… but I can’t help feeling them. 😦
And yes, I have been a victim of crime – but the angels were working overtime and my protection was in place. I’ve been stabbed and robbed on a beach walk – saved from worse by fishermen nearby who heard my screams. My home has been broken into – and I live in the centre of a secure complex (a gated community with electric fencing all around). I am grateful we were not harmed – the stuff they can have. I don’t have much anyway.

I’ve never been a material person. In fact, it’s always been a standing joke : Show Meg a brochure without prices and she’ll still somehow love the cheapest things in it. That even applies to jewelry. It’s hilarious. I guess I don’t have expensive taste 😛 But what I really want most in all the world is the most expensive thing – strange huh? I want out of my country.

Whatever you believe, here’s my hearts cry almost every day…..

Dear God,

I know it’s all about timing, but I am asking anyway… and I know that nowhere is ideal… but please can we move overseas? Please make a way where it is completely impossible and unattainable for us. Please.

I want my children’s education to MEAN something – I want them to have a future.

We want jobs that will provide for us.

I want our lives to mean something.

We don’t want to live in fear anymore.

We don’t want to be where human life has so little value – where petty theft is no longer just that.
Where people are killed for the few coins they have on them.
Where rape and murder are everyday occurrences.
Where even the ‘good and previously safe areas’ are areas of violent crime.
Where the sexual violence rate is one of the highest in the world.
Where babies are raped due to a ‘virgin cleansing myth’ that this will cure men of AIDS.
Where a house break in when people are home almost always involves rape, torture and murder.

That’s what we want. The timing may not be right. I get that.
Thank you for your complete protection this far. If this is where we have to be, please continue to provide and protect. Please.

And please help my heart to stay filled with joy. Please help me to continue to be kind to those around me.

Amen

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Photo credit : quotefancy.com

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Photo credit : quickmeme.com

One Lovely Blog Award

The rules are as follows :

# Each nominee must thank the person who nominated them and link their blog in the post.

# They must include the rules and add the blog award badge as an image. 

# Must add 7 facts about them.

# Then nominate 15 people! 

A big thank you to the lovely SFR for this nomination. I really do appreciate it, and hope that my 7 random facts below do justice to the award.

onelovelyblogaward

7 Random Facts About Me

  1. My first car was eight years older than me – I’m not joking. She was a beautiful gold Ford Cortina, named Goldilocks, of course! I also got my first, and only, speeding fine in her. The traffic cop commented to me that he didn’t know she could still make it to that speed. I, in my youthful innocence (19 years-old at the time), replied, “Oh, she can go much faster.” He laughed along with me when I clapped my hand over my mouth after realizing what I had just said, and I took my ticket, and went on my merry way.pic1
  2. I have never been afraid of heights – I still don’t think I am, since I absolutely love being in a ‘flying bird’ and staring out the window. But I recall immense fear, and the feeling that I was going to fall, when I walked along a very narrow path in the rock face of a cliff, to see the view pictured below. No hand rail, and the path was only about two feet wide. So yes, I was scared, as I leaned as close to the cliff as possible to reach the cave at the top.pic2
  3. I have a problem with feet – and not in a foot fetish kind of way. I just don’t like mine. I am still not really sure why, because they’re quite delicate and I have fairly pretty toes. But I prefer to keep them covered, and when I am wearing summer sandals and I notice someone looking at my feet, I feel like I am going to curl up into a ball and die right there. Most of the time, I am walking around in socks. And if I am in socks (or on the very rare occasion, barefoot) I have a tendency to walk on tip toes.pic3
  4. I love the rain, and sometimes when I am out in it, I’ll even do a little hop and skip across a parking lot, while singing, “I’m singing in the rain….what a glorious feeling, I’m happy again!” ….much to my children’s embarrassment.
    (Yes, you may not want to take me anywhere on a rainy day!)pic4
  5. My two drinks of choice? Coffee, and water. Yes, water. I drink too much of both. And yes, there is such a thing as too much water…water retention and all that stuff, you know. A normal water drinking day for me runs at about 0.79 gallons (3 liters). Add to that about 8 cups of coffee, and it’s no wonder my belly constantly sounds like the sea!pic5
  6. One of my favorite smells is vanilla. I love it! My kids get nervous when I bake – which I like to do quite often. If they have a friend over, they avoid the kitchen at all costs. They just know that in between batches and baking time, Mom will be sniffing that bottle of vanilla extract like there’s no tomorrow. I have vanilla room spray, vanilla body lotion, vanilla body wash, vanilla hand soap etc. I suppose it is safe to say that I smell a bit like vanilla too then.pic6
  7. I have never seen snow in ‘real life’ – so yes, I have never made a snowman, or had a snowball fight, or had the pleasure of making a snow angel. Neither have my children.
    I have also never tasted eggnog.
    Both of the above, for me, are ‘American things’ (I am aware they happen in other countries too though – but it’s a me/America thing)
    We DO get snow in my country, just not really near me – and when it is ‘near me’, it’s always at a time when work and school prevent a trip to see it. And it doesn’t cover the earth like a blanket. The US in winter is a big part of my bucket list.pic7

 

(I can’t take credit for any of the above pics, as they were all selected via Google Images)

I nominate the following people (but please, no pressure to participate, promise!) :

And please check out their blogs if you’re still reading this.

Saving Without Scrimping

Random Catastrophe

Bibliophile

Read Between the Lyme

Mother of Necessity

Just Call Me Elm or Something

A Thomas Point of View

t0bec0nsidered

The Scruffy Guy

SincerelyReine

The Bee Sneeze

mylifeinmywords

Yes…I know…there aren’t 15, and I apologize for that. I also apologize if I left you out. Exclusion is not a part of this, and I really didn’t mean to!

EDIT : If you read this post, and your name is not on the list, then please consider yourself nominated. Unfortunately, my brilliance only kicks in after a good few cups of Java – so now no one has to feel left out.

Happy blogging, everyone!

*Please don’t forget to head over to Endever Publishing Studios on Facebook and cast your vote in the short story competition. You can only vote once, for one story. My story (I’d appreciate your vote) is Contestant 1, “Shoebox Sanity” – if you scroll down the page there, you’ll see it. To vote for it, you need to ‘like’ that particular shared post.

While you are there, please also like the Endever page – there is another writing contest coming up that you may be interested in. You can also follow them here on WordPress and keep an eye on what they are up to – I am sure you won’t be disappointed. Thank you.*

Apron Strings and Daughter Things

I really don’t know why they make us go to these parent teacher meetings at the beginning of every new school year. They just repeat everything we were told the year before. This year, it was a combined thing so we were all together, and not in our individual teachers classrooms. At least last year it felt more personal, and the teacher was able to communicate to her parents her methods and what she wanted for that particular year. Last night we were one of 300 sheep, just being told the general rules and regulations that have been told to us for the past four years. It was annoying, and boring.

The only thing different came at the very end. They discussed the excursion for this year, and my brain stopped yawning.

This year, my soon-to-be eleven-year-old daughter will be flying the coop for two nights and three days as she joins the rest of her grade on an outing to the mountains. There, they will sleep in dormitories; go on hikes to nearby waterfalls and experience the icy cold of the waters beneath them; participate in abseiling and obstacle courses; and attempt climbing walls.

All of last year, my daughter kept saying that she didn’t want to go – which was surprising because she loves the outdoors and all those adventure activities are right up her alley. But the thing with her is this: she doesn’t like the dark (we sleep with the bathroom light on at night), she has been the victim of some bullying (and those kids will be going too), she doesn’t like being forced into doing something (and they pretty much make you take part) and she’s rather accident prone (if she hurts her leg/ankle, she can’t dance, and by her own admission, dancing is her life!).

Schools have been taking kids to this particular adventure camp for years. In fact, I went back in the day – except with us we did it as a Grade 7 excursion. My daughter is a lot like me – and my experience was only 70% great.

At night, I couldn’t sleep because some of the other girls in the dormitory were unsettling. I was also scared of the dark and there were NO lights on – and the teachers were sleeping in the room next door, not in the dormitory with us.
I was petrified of the climbing wall overhang for some strange reason (I loved abseiling) and wound up crying halfway through it, after being forced into participating…which meant I got teased by the other kids for the remainder of our time there.
I slipped on the rocks at one of the waterfalls on the last day, and twisted my ankle – which resulted in me having to be carried ALL the way back to ‘camp’, and more teasing.

In all of my daughter’s nervousness, I have been encouraging her, and keep telling her ‘it will all be fine, you must go’. (She knows nothing of my experiences, and I won’t tell her either!) The trip is compulsory, the school doesn’t give you a choice – in fact the only way they will allow that a pupil does not attend is in the case of the death of a family member. Upon returning from the meeting last night, I asked my daughter if her feelings had changed with regards to taking part in the excursion. Apparently, my little adventure queen now can’t wait and is ‘definitely going’.

Now I am the one with mixed feelings, leaning more towards locking her in her bedroom for the remainder of her life, let alone those three days.

It’s not just based on my experience years back, but also on my son’s experience when he went a few years ago – and came home to not sleep alone for six months, which is credited to all the ghost stories that were told, and some teasing and bullying that took place thereafter. My son has always been afraid of ghostly things – he’s improved as a teenager, although I think he knows each and every woven thread of the inside of his blanket from watching horror movies with his friends.

My daughter is tough though – so I am sure she’ll be fine. She’s a strange combination of Princess and Pirate. And I’ll have to lecture her beforehand because I am pretty sure SHE will be the one telling the ghost stories.
I think I’m more concerned for safety sake – because of where we live, and the fact that she is a girl. And deep down there is also that voice screaming, “And she’s my little girl!”

I just have to keep telling myself it will be okay. And somehow let go, just a little.
It’s difficult when she is with me all the time, and only sleeps out for a night maybe three times a year, and at a friends house down the road – not two hours drive away from me!

I can’t help wondering if she will in fact be all right.
But then again, I need to recognize in myself: this is mostly Mommy fear – more importantly, will I be okay?

I don’t think I should cut the apron strings just yet, but perhaps I’ll loosen the knot a little.