On Our Own Heads

What are we without honour, without out own word?

Let’s talk about stress. An extension of those disruptive emotions; your anxieties, fears, hardships, problems, and fight. Let’s forget one moment that we pretend that we’re all okay. Let’s just shove that in our pockets and pretend, no, allow ourselves a moment to understand what stress does to us.

It gives us that crippling sensation, the damage in our lower back where we are tensed up. It gives us that dry feeling in the back our throats and makes us feel like we’re going to be sick, when in actual fact, being sick would be a godsend in moments like that. It applies pressure to our heads, around the temples, at the base of the neck, like a dark shadow looms around you plunging its long claws into your mind.

In reality, its effects can be quite disastrous. I mean, it can make you feel isolated. It can make the easiest thing feel hard, and it can make the smallest of problems feel like a long, treacherous obstacle.

We all feel it, and we are all affected by it. We all know it, and it is and isn’t always there. Sometimes we can push onwards, pretending like nothing bad matters, and that we shouldn’t talk about it, ask about it, or get upset when things aren’t the way we at least try to expect. But then it hits you like a wall filled with barbs, razor wire and seven other annoying, painful things that can be spiked to a fence. But you’re told that’s just life and that’s how it is.

So, even when you want to scream you get silenced, be it by yourself, or by those around you thinking they are helping, or even those who have the exact same feeling tormenting them but haven’t a second thought of how it could be the same for you.

Now, this isn’t some reach for sympathy, it’s a wake up for anyone who cares enough to listen. Being an empathetic person, a severely empathetic person to which point it can feel debilitating to have day to day interaction with people, on a personal, or of social construct, it’s so difficult to  want to talk to people and get to know them without all of the fears of how you’re going to get affected by their mood swings in themselves.

That being said, I’m no saint, I get moody, and swing from tit to tat, quite possibly on the line of a label or two, but insisting that I carry on and be fine, because it’s how I was brought up, and possibly the trickling sensation of my stubborn, yet audacious personality that assists me when I’m down and out.

I made the mistake of airing my laundry on here previously, about some miscommunication, which I’m sure I don’t need to say but I will admit my fault there, but that simply reinforces this stance of understanding that everyone gets pissed off. Everyone gets hurt, and everyone feels.

And it’s okay.

I have a habit of being 100% with someone, and when something goes wrong, I 0% any future conversation because it’s like my defence mechanism due to how much I expect, and then get disappointed. That’s a me thing and my own fault for expecting some form of anything from anyone.

The problem I have is expecting things like respect, or I have a bad habit of taking people at their word. You don’t need to promise me something to give me your word. It can be as simple as,

“I’ll meet you at 10 am on Sunday, see you then.” and naturally, I’ll automatically, and understandably believe that we shall see each other on Sunday, at 10 am. So is it wrong of me to feel a bit shit when I don’t get a reply and don’t get given an excuse, a simple two seconds of time to say “I’m not going to show up, sorry, see you next time.” I mean, is it so hard?

But at the same time, given what I said above, I think there can arguably be a stance on such things like whether anxieties get in the way, mental quirks that I’m sure we all have something or other of, but I’ll admit, I don’t think of that, until afterwards. So I’ve a habit of saying sorry first or just saying sorry.

In fact, I rarely get an apology back, but that again, is okay, because I’m trying to learn not to expect anything. It may seem like a sad way to be but it is the way I’m learning and simply put I don’t write this to ‘lay into anyone’ or hurt anyone’s feelings, but simply show an understanding to how I am, and what I think when things happen.

There are two things that will quickly get me not to like you.

The First is… Ignoring me.

Now I can argue this point with myself on how much leeway to give someone but the fact is, when someone doesn’t have five seconds in a day to say hello, or that they’re busy it does make you feel like shit.

The only time I forget to reply is when my phone goes off, my notifications don’t show up, or I’m talking to someone in person because I think it’s rude to go on my phone; but hey, hit me up again and I’m sure I’ll reply!

I certainly won’t wait weeks to reply and then get upset with you for trying.

The second is when someone makes you feel small for feeling crappy about something. If someone has spent the time to sit down, write out how they feel and try with you, it means they’re trying to save whatever friendship or otherwise you have, not ruin it with negativity, and if it is negative, it could simply be the way it has felt, not the way it has been. So think about that before ridiculing someone for feeling sad.

I mean, with the stress I’ve felt lately, I’ve taken a few things the wrong way, and I know that some of my friends have taken things the wrong way as well, but it usually takes just asking about the problem to solve it in seconds, instead of holding inside your head and letting it grind you down.

The point I’m getting at is that we all have shit on our backs, and bags that we carry, and I don’t want to be a garbage truck where I collect everyone else’s negativity and hold onto that, gifting it to the next sap that walks my path and has the unfortunate opportunity to bump into my grumpy, angry ass self.

Why should I be that person to you?

This is starting to seem so ranty, but it wasn’t my intention. I just don’t want to be the person to be stepped on anymore, and though I’m boisterous and sometimes louder than I seem, and make out I handle things better, sometimes I don’t, and sometimes I can’t so for anyone, including myself who feels it necessary to pour one’s garbage on another human being, we carry our own bags and don’t need other people putting us down… because if you’re like me at all, I do that enough on my own.

So, I’m sorry to all of those who have felt my moodiness. Thank you for understanding me, and looking past it, I will certainly try my best to do the same with you, but if I do push you away, don’t let me, please.

We can be our own worst enemies but we don’t have to be.

A Helping Hand – The USW Playcentre

From my earlier blog name ‘A Student Father’ many of you may know that I am a father at University. Shocker, right? Well, I’ve had my daughter for the last three and a half years on my own, and though my parents have helped me with the odd day or two off here and there, which I’ve been grateful for, I’ve mostly done it all on my own.

I know they are proud of me, and for the first time in my life, I’m proud of myself for getting to the place where I’m at now. It may seem like a small goal to some, or not, and though I may not be getting firsts, I’ve been working as hard as I can, even with all the shit that gets thrown my way from the usual day-to-day.

So, why is it that every single time you get over an obstacle, another pops up, and not even just the ones that are in front of you. They come from all directions, from the sides, from behind you– all around you.

If I put the past to rest for a moment, and think about my future, building up to a hopefully successful career, why is it that it has to be stunted by people who have already had their chance?

I’m talking about the cuts at the University.

I mean, it was hard enough grasping at the courage to get into university, and here I am facing a stone wall, rising tall in front of me with stifling pressure. It stopped me in my tracks for a while, and this is why I’m writing about it.

So, the University want to cut the nursery they have had on campus for over 20 years. In the same email/letter that the Vice Chancellor wrote ‘Perceptions matter’ contained the same reasons for closure, such as, ‘Brexit,’ and ‘inability to break even.’

The nursery is at the top of the University, hidden away. It’s like it is in a world of its own. As you can see here, it’s quite a small and unique place.

ee8be64b-5259-1027-0000-015b2414a514.jpg

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve heard a dozen arguments and reasons why, but the sheer audacity of those same people giving excuses have astounded me.

The fact that I’ve been given reasons such as ‘the current model in the nursery is not working’, but there has been no thought, and certainly no strategy toward changing that model. When met with offers from staff such as ‘Drops in pay’, ‘apprenticeship schemes’, and ‘rises in childcare costs’ still, they met the answers with such hesitation it dribbled out of their gaze when questioned.

The conversation that was held Thursday, 6th of April, 2017. It spoke for itself when they tried to make out even though they made this decision with no plan, no idea of test and trial, no effort, that they were still trying to do their best to keep the nursery open was disreputable.

I suppose attitudes like that are one of the reasons why our university has dropped more than twenty ranks since these people have been in these decision-making positions.

It’s okay though, blame Brexit, right?

Wrong.

The passion this has brought out of me is new for me, but the fact that I’ve moved from my hometown to a place I’ve never been to, and though it’s only twenty miles away from where I used to live, it can feel very isolated. I’ve been here for a while now, and I was so worried when I arrived here, searching for childcare, hearing of the horrors of what childcare centres can be like nowadays.

I remember the first time I walked into the USW Playcentre, and immediately, as soon as I walked through the door, I felt safe. I knew that my daughter would be safe here. Just from an email the manager remembered my position, understood how hard it must have been to come up here, and made us feel comfortable. Every decoration on the wall was made by the children– I mean, it was amazing.

I mean, they give gardening lessons, music/dance lessons, and even Welsh lessons… when it came down to the fact that all their food is homemade as well, it was enough for me to sign the papers and get my daughter there. As well as all those things, the children even get to go on a little walk up to a woodland area:

ee8be64b-5259-1027-0000-015b241562ca.jpg

When I signed those papers, I never considered that I would be confronted with the idea of it closing. I suppose you never do when such a place has been there for as long as you’ve been alive, but the thought of it closing spread quickly. You could see the determined fire lighting in every parent, and every staff member’s eyes as we all suddenly amalgamated together as one unit to march down the road fighting for its survival.

IMG_20170409_084056_371.jpg

So, all in all, this nursery has been an absolute saviour for me and considering I don’t have a partner to lean on, and my parents are unable to have my daughter full time, it is a necessity for my study.

I think, and not just because my daughter attends the nursery, but it will crush so many students/staff members if that nursery closes because it is filled to the brim with smiling adults and children alike, and it genuinely is a community building that is timeless. Its value is ageless, and it certainly does bring everyone together.

So, as the vice chancellor said in her letter, ‘perceptions matter’ this perception should be clung onto because, without it, this university will undoubtedly be worse off.

But, don’t take my word for it:

Not a Wolf

Sometimes all it takes is a discussion with a friend about your future which can kick you back to reality, and wake you up. It certainly is an interesting point to get to when you’re not so interested in the passions of the human body,  but yet, somewhat hedonistic in approach. I’ve been called selfish and been told I’ll never find anyone because I’m unwilling to settle and that I won’t stay in a place I won’t be happy.

I want to be happy, with not just myself, but everything else. I want to be able to wake up in the morning, smile, and say “I got myself here, me.” and I don’t want to settle for someone where I won’t be happy, nor be able to challenge myself.

I want to explore.

It’s a strange concept for me, but I want to climb mountains just to say I’ve done it. I want to see the difference between the way coffee is made on one side of the country to the other. I want to walk through forests and climb to the top of old castles. I want to see the world for the way it is, for what is left, before it’s gone; before I’m gone.

I want to learn.

I want to understand the way our language– the English language works, and then, I want to learn new languages, explore new ways of communication, and I want to express that through my writing. I want to learn new ways of living, and I’m already doing so– with trying to stay positive and such, but really; I would love to go to Tibet and find an understanding.

I want to travel.

I want to visit the wonders of this world, natural and manmade. I want to sit in the cafes of Japan that might remind me of my childhood and all those real-life drawn anime. I want to visit China and read about their history. I want to visit Italy and see the vaults in which the old world sits. I want to visit the places where gladiators fought to the death and where Hannibal killed himself after being captured. I would love to walk a pilgrimage, and one day I will; not because I’m an avid believer in any religion, but because I want to experience the idea of hundreds of people walking with the same singular goal in mind.

I want to be able to let myself be.

I want to not rely on people, and reach out too far. I want to stop looking for love, and looking for answers. I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror, and only want to be me.

I want to exist.

I want to do more than just cling to life, eating, sleeping, working, repeat; I want to live, and I want to exist. I want my days to feel like they are going to last a lifetime even when they only last a minute or a day.

I want to feel free.

I want to be me.

Five minutes.

I finally get to close my eyes for a moment and as always a thundering flash forks through my brain and I think of everything. Automatically, methodically, I plan for my upcoming assignments, my dentist appointment, food deliveries, whether I have enough money, bills, writing, reading, my summer, how to plan my hike, to double check canoeing, back to my brain I try to reset, and I exhale.

I let go of it all the minute later, and in tandem with this I put my coffee mug to my lips, and I can smell the almond milk stirring in the coffee and feel the steam slowly smother my face like a hot damp cloth. I open my eyes, and look at my screen, check my messages, open my word document, and then I stare, at the line between my monitors, and then, then I smile, only faintly… Because I’m still here.

Here’s a page.

via Daily Prompt: Tenacious

 

Tenacity is something that I’ve always had in my mind, be it conscious, or unconscious. I never wanted to be strong, and I never wanted to be smart. I never wanted to be invincible, and I never wanted to fart. (I lied on the last one, who doesn’t.) but, anyway, I never wanted to have a special gift other than the idea of not giving up, having the tenacity to continue, being tenacious enough to push back any obstacles and drive on.

Sometimes, I feel weak, and other times I feel a little broken.

Whether it’s physical from childhood injuries rearing their ugly heads, or the mental injuries inflicted by people I had once held close.

The thing is, I get reminded then, after all that, that I’m still here.

And you know what the funny thing is? Is that I have the tenacity to forgive everyone, and the drive to still push onwards, with, or without the people who I’ve encountered.

That’s all I have on being tenacious, but certainly won’t be my last post, for my last is never my last.

Why I’m never giving up on TESOL

TESOL has been hit by the recent cuts at the University of South Wales, and I won’t see it cut.

TESOL has been an important part of my education at University, and possibly one of the only reasons why I’ve stayed. I’ve thought about dropping out, because of other things getting in the way, but the exciting lessons and the chance to always learn something new in TESOL has helped me understand that I want to become a teacher.

More so, I want to become a language teacher.

TESOL has helped me do this by showing me what grammar actually is, and not just understanding how to use the language correctly, but to label it, to identify language chunks, and so much more.

For example, it has taught me how to identify the difference between the tenses, past simple, continuous, perfect, and perfect continuous, or present simple, continuous, perfect, and perfect continuous, or, future simple (will, and going to), continuous, perfect, and perfect continuous.

It has helped me understand the difference between nouns, noun phrases, countable, and uncountable nouns, gerunds, pronouns and where and when to use them.

It has helped me understand adverbs, adjectives, how and where to use them, the comparative and superlative forms. It has helped me understand how to write in reported speech and the rules behind it. It has helped me understand conjunctions, articles, and so much more.

It has helped me understand how to use the phonemic chart, the differences between hard consonant sounds, and soft consonant sounds and to think of the synonyms of every word I use.

It has helped me understand how assimilation works, and that the way we communicate language isn’t necessarily right or wrong, but rather multiple choice. The fact that language is something fluid, and forever changing, as opposed to something that is outdated and not needing to be refreshed, or modified.

It has helped me identify problems with non-native speakers, in the sense of typically common problems that different language users will find difficulties with.

TESOL has helped me understand how to work with mixed skills groups, and multi-cultural groups, and to identify the importance of building confidence in a classroom, over repetitive study. Fluency being key in this.

I think that it is important to note that TESOL will contribute toward making me a more confident person, and a more understanding person. It helps me understand the use of intonation in speech, the variations in dialects, and to teach a simple way of explaining rules/uses of language to friends and non-native speakers.

Whether that’s down to the subject, or down to my teachers, Rhian and Mike, is difficult to discern but both my tutors and TESOL as a subject have been invaluable to me.

First time making a smoothie. The Berry blast.

So, this evening was the first time I had ever made a smoothie. It was easier than I originally considered and was easy to clean up.

 

The Recipe

1/4 cup of blackberries

1/4 cup of strawberries

1/4 cup of blueberries

1/4 cup of raspberries

1 banana

150ml skimmed milk/almond milk

 

Optional

1tbs Organic protein hemp powder

1tbs flax seeds

1tbs chai seeds.

 

It was a lot nicer than I imagined, and it was successful when I gave half to my daughter (before adding the optional ingredients to my smoothie), and it was delicious, packed full of flavour. I’m not used to drinking a liquid that is thick, but it was grand.

The finished result

17690349_1291484394272608_391440133_n.jpg

Perhaps it doesn’t look that satisfying, but it was, and my daughter asked for two more servings.