Born broken

I’m not sure we’re all born a bit broken, or maybe we’re all born broken in different ways, but I was born a bit broken. It doesn’t hit you until you grow up. It wasn’t my parents’ fault because I had quite the childhood, all the toys, all the games, responsibility, trust, freedom, and understanding. It wasn’t them — it was me. I don’t know. It took me about eighteen years of my life to understand that I don’t feel intense emotions, at first. Bloody hell I feel them, bloody hell I feel them more than many I’ve met, but it takes time for my brain to process information like intense emotion.

 

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It took me twenty-four years to accept myself for who I am, and have been, and who I want to be. It took me two decades to understand that I have been in pain, and in survival mode when there has been little if any reason to be in it. It has taken me eighty percent of my life to accept that it is okay.

I never talked to my parents, or anyone, except someone I met who lived almost two-hundred miles away from me… about me. I never thought of it before then, and I’ll tell you a secret about me — when I was young I don’t know why, but I was sure I wouldn’t be here for long, so sure that I pushed everyone I cared about when I was younger away from me in preparation because I held onto the idea that being a ghost was the better alternative than hurting the people you care about.

I think this idea came from the first person I put my trust in who wasn’t my mother which was my auntie, and I was a pretty shy kid, and a bit weird, I suppose. I wouldn’t talk to anyone else apart from my mother for years, but when I did, and I remember being asked to draw a sheep for my auntie and to give her a kiss on the cheek goodbye. She’d chase me around the room until I refused so much that she would eventually give in.

I remember the night I finally gave in myself and saw how sad she looked when she went to leave, and I kissed her cheek. Little did I know it would be the last time I would ever see her, and that she had a sad face because it was a kiss goodbye. Suicide is a funny thing, and no one knows who struggles with thoughts like that until it’s too late, after all, when you see someone smiling all day, every day, who would know that they aren’t happy?

And you know something, for so many years after that moment, I’d occasionally understand the feeling. The feeling of ‘being trapped’, the feeling of ‘suffocating’, the feeling of being forced to ‘live a certain way’, and quite often I’d sit away from everyone else, and stop smiling. I never told my parents I felt this way. I think I remember shouting it out once, but as childish as I was acting, I don’t think they thought I was serious.

I remember getting bullied, and in return, acting up and acting out. I had anger issues for the majority of my teenage years. I was disinterested in everything that I did, and no one really noticed. Some may have had an inkling and thought I’d just grow out of it, but I don’t think I ever let anyone get close enough to me.

As I grew up, I met someone who helped me see a different way of living, and for a while, that worked, but eventually, I fell back to my neutral self, and I began to feel hate. It wasn’t the bullying that did it, nor a relatively normal childhood. It was me, and it was a hatred for myself. I remember it, looking in the mirror, slouching after playing video games for sixteen hours straight, of thirty-six hours straight, not that it mattered, but I felt disgusted, but I couldn’t stop. The reason for that was because I would have to face myself if I stopped, and for the longest of time, I couldn’t.

My friend, the one that I talked to, helped me reach out, and I met someone who I connected with and that’s when I met my daughter’s mother. I think I met her at a point where I would believe what someone would tell me, no matter how ridiculous, more than my own thoughts, or feelings, or even if I knew the fact was different. The relationship gradually degenerated into something negative, and though I share my part to blame, it affected me more than I realised.

The idea of someone I ‘loved’ if, even to this day I understand the word when it refers to a romantic partner, but when meeting someone who broke me down more, and attacked me when I tried to walk away, on repeat, for about eight or so months, and I still, to this day, say, “It’s okay, we had our good bits.” It isn’t and it wasn’t okay. Her parents never saw it, neither did mine, for a while. They didn’t know she cheated on me half a dozen times, or would throw a punch at me for coming home half an hour later than she expected. It was my first proper relationship, so was this what a relationship was like?

No, it wasn’t. Eventually it came to a point where she brought that hatred and anger out of me and I felt like I wanted to hit her back and that was the point where I broke up with her, and it broke me because for the longest of time I had a chip on my shoulder which made me feel like I should never give up on someone, or walk away, because what would I do if I did that and then the next day, suddenly, they weren’t around anymore?

By the end of that relationship, when I finally made a choice between the man who I was scared of being, someone who you see in the news ‘Another man who hit his fiancee’, I finally made a choice of walking away, and in doing so, it was the first time I looked at myself in the mirror with mixed feelings, and unsure of myself, I tried to do more for me. Sure, it hurt when I found out she had cheated and when I was told it didn’t matter if I was my daughter’s father or not, it’s up to her mother whether I see her or not, and even, the legitimacy of her being mine was questioned, yet tests were rejected, I was lost for a while… and I drank, and meditated, and drank…

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I remember my brother and I got into a fight and I was beside myself — I didn’t remember fighting back, but I did, and for the first time stopped myself from getting shoved and pushed in the corner, but it felt wrong. This bottled up anger I gained from so many years of not fighting back, or standing up for myself, or just simply saying “No more!” had led me to a point where I felt split into two.

Once again, I stood at a point where I had a choice of the type of person I wanted to be, and I chose better. I worked on my anger, and I remember trying out so much meditation I looked at the individual reasons why I was so wound up and angry, and I let them go. I let them fucking go. Twenty damn years of being quiet, holding my tongue, thinking it wasn’t okay, and putting all these tokens into a box as if one day I would enact my revenge, and I just put the box down and let it go. All that fucking pain. I remember looking up and directing my questions at God as to why the fuck all that had to happen for me to learn how to let go, but I guess we are broken to be fixed.

So, I started breaking the habits. I got back into contact, and forgave people, and apologised to people who I felt I had unfinished business with… and though many of them seemed to think I had some ulterior motive, I didn’t, and time moved on. Suddenly, a few months down the line I had a call from social services, asking me to come in to see them.

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I got my life back on track… no, on track, and with a huge amount of help from my parents, my family, and those who stayed, I began taking steps forward, applied to uni, was a support worker, and every so often, I was greeted by a small smile in the mirror. When my daughter was a few months old I was asked what I wanted because so much had happened to her and her mother that she ended up in care. I wasn’t allowed to be in contact, so I wasn’t informed, but suddenly, I ended up with a six-month-old baby, seven days a week, and though I lived with my parents I tried to do it all on my own.

It was difficult, and it was hard, but it was the first person I met who helped me understand what love was and not the romantic kind, but an unconditional love, and though I felt more like I had a pet, than a mini person to look after, considering, anyone who has ever had a child, knows they pretty much poop, cry, eat, poop, and sleep, oh– and poop. Before I knew it we had our first house together, and I won custody in court.

So, it all goes fine, and though we had some hiccups, where I was attacked twice, and have dealt with some difficult financial times, managing University with a child, it took me twenty to twenty-two years to smile at myself in the mirror, and though I have a slip up here, and there, and get down, we spend the majority of our days smiling.

The sad thing for me is that I think I needed someone to rely on me, in order to give me purpose, and that my default feeling is a negative one, so it has taken a lot for me to get into a place where the only path I see forward, is one leading upward…

And here I am. I didn’t have the freedom of being able to go out at night, and I didn’t have the freedom of avoiding life whenever I pleased, and I no longer allowed myself to slope into depression, or slip into a dark place. I no longer let myself because it wasn’t only me who I had to look after. So, it’s safe to say that my daughter has helped me as much as I have helped her, if not more so. Now, I’m coming up to my third year at University, and it is hard. Sometimes, I sit here and think about stopping, but then I look her in the eyes and remember that I’m not only doing this for me but for her as well.

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Separately to my daughter’s needs, I’ve changed mine this year, over other years, and it’s taken me a long fucking time to wake up. In my first year, and second perhaps, I sometimes felt envious of people who could complain about everything and never lift a finger, or people who had it so easy but had a problem, or complained about him and her… etc etc…

It got me in a habit of doing it as well since sometimes, I reflect the energy of those I’m around…

This year… I’ve been distant, and cold with mostly everyone, because of this year, this month, this week, this hour, I realised something… I’m not in competition with them, I’m not in competition with my brother anymore, or my childhood friends, I’m not in competition with anyone in my year, or in uni and I’m not in competition with my best friend.

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The only person I’ve ever been in competition with, is myself, and though I am my own worst enemy, and I have been lucky enough to see both sides of my own coin, I also know that I plan, expect, and try hard to be better than I have been, and better than the person I was before I had a child, but it doesn’t stop there… my aim is to be better than who I was yesterday, and I always see room to improve, but I always see improvement.

So, if you started reading this post thinking it would be another sad story, think again because it’s not, it isn’t, and never will be. I never thought I was strong, and I hope that one day I will see strength in me, but I know, after all this, I’m not weak. So sometimes, I ignore everyone, and sometimes, the only social ability I have in my day is reserved for my daughter, but that doesn’t mean I’m sad, it means that I’m doing more than I’m speaking, and lately, I’m fed up of speaking.

I’ve shared my aims with you in my previous posts, of my weight loss, my writing, and I’ll get them done… so it’s time to remind myself of my own advice, and get on with it, because I am slowly finding pieces of myself to put back together, and I won’t pretend I’ve done it on my own, so if you find yourself reading this, and you’re still in my life, just know that I do care, and I appreciate you, and that even if you’ve never had the opportunity to hold your hand out for me, my hand will always be holding out for you, because I’ve been where you’re standing, and you’re not alone.

My name is Daniel, and this is a summary of my story up to now. It’s time to let go of who I once was, and allow me, who I am now, to be.

That person, this person, me, is someone who will keep walking forward, and never back.

“Less talking, more doing.”

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“And those who are no longer with us, be it by choice, or otherwise… you are never forgotten.”

 

“As for those who think everything is easy for me, I hope you understand a little bit about me now, because nothing is, for me, as it was.”

Axing a question

Sometimes there are things in life that are a lot more difficult than they should be. Sometimes it’s an exercise where we feel that we should be able to do it, but we can’t, and other times it’s something more delicate like dating or getting to know someone.

I’d like to think that perhaps it’s just my experience of dating and a poor judge of character that’s to blame but honestly, I’m not sure where to begin. So, alas, I’m back in my rightful place– a place where I no longer wish to have a relationship and am no longer looking for someone. In fact, if something happens over the summer then so be it, but it will stay in the summer.

The last person I started to get close to have made it so difficult to ask questions that it has put me off trying to date for a while… simply because I’m either faced with a defensive attitude, extra comments, or a demanding nature, and I don’t have time for either, and I’m a bit of a prick, myself, so two negatives, in this case, don’t make a plus. In fact, I have found more anxiety, and mood swings in the last 3-4 weeks of getting to know someone than I have in the two years at University, and therefore, brought it to a close. Who really has time for it?

So, that chapter of my life may be closed but I’m sure it’ll open many more chapters in life. When you want a future entirely different to another, your personalities clash, and you are confronted by an image of confrontation, and bargaining whenever you’ve had, when in actual fact, you’ve been close to the door handle for two out of three weeks. Maybe I’m too picky or that I need to keep my mouth closed, or maybe I’m the problem, but whatever it is… I’ll handle it.

Something else recently happened, I talked to someone who just wanted to be friends and I wanted to be friends with her, but the issue for me was that when we were snapping pics back and for and hanging out, I had the same feeling I did with the last time I made a very close friend, and we all know what happened there last summer and I don’t plan on having the heartache, or the head ache. I nibbed it in the butt before it began. I know some of you may think, “What are you thinking, stopping something before it’s even begun when you’re just assuming, or speculating.” I’m thinking that I wouldn’t be able to handle another headfuck in my final year of university so I opt out. Besides, if they matter so much, they’ll boomerang back into my path eventually. Or I’ll boomerang into theirs. Sadly, it seems escaping problematic situations isn’t my strong suit.

Finally, I have a picture for you!

So, what’s the amazing thing about this sentence?

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Happy days.

 

 

Upwards and onwards friends, it can only get better, right!?

Expectations meet Reality

I think we’re all looking for something, and the idea of looking for something, whether it’s an item, your favourite game, or the latest product in whatever aspect of our busy capitalistic lives or it could be a someone. When it is a someone I think part of us accelerates our movement, and when we find a shot of finding someone who resonates with us, we can sometimes shoot off like fireworks when we could just walk.

The problem with this is that this is an expectation that’s created by our own minds. Running and racing, pushing us down the rabbit hole of various desires, and slight obsessions, but expectations get crushed when the reality hits.

When you take two steps when you should’ve taken one, and you feel like you’re overbearing, and you step back, and then you suddenly seem like you don’t care, and then you stand there wondering how to fix the situation in front of you like it’s a problem that you can even begin to comprehend how to fix, or solve, or win.

It’s a constant tug of war, and when you meet someone who expects you to be a certain way, and you expect them to be a certain way, it can quickly become chaotic, problematic, and a little hard to handle. Arguments happen, and you go to and fro, and get in each other’s way, and if arguments start before you even become something, my advice is to walk away now because what would it be like in a few months? a few years?

So take a step back, without zooming into the distance and look at the big picture, compare what you expected, to reality, and ask yourself: “Is this what I really want” because if it isn’t, then it’s okay to step back. The bad thing to do is for either party to hold on when they’re not really interested in actually doing anything to change the direction it’s going.

This post may sound convoluted, or with dual meaning, but here’s a message for life, don’t do anything you want to do, and when you do commit to someone, if you’re like me, a commitment means commitment, not a joke so when you do feel cornered by the person you start to fall for, let them go, because love can’t survive when it’s cornered.

And if you’re the opposite, and you’re running in their direction, hands open, be prepared for a tumble and a fall, but that doesn’t mean you have to disperse and dissipate. Just look, think, and be honest with each other, and with yourself.

The thing you can do is take a step back and take in a breath of fresh air. Then, live life like a flowing river, so when you feel down, or when you feel trapped, or even when you feel scared, or driven away from what you want and what you love– remember that life is like a river– always moving. It will never be that way for long. Be like a river, and keep going.

Daniel Thomas Whittington's portrait.

“It’s a good thing I’ve stopped looking, else I’d never see.”

– Daniel Thomas Whittington.

 

P.S

 

“Cree en ti misma, y cuando tu no lo hagas, lo hare yo.”

 

It’s times like these I miss you.

I don’t know how not to be a fool

I don’t know how not to be a fool, and this is becoming more and more prevalent the older I get. The issue I have is that I feel like I’m looking in every direction but can’t seem to actually take a solid step in a single direction and in doing that I’m still at the beginning, on my front page, looking at the blank page with nothing to fill it. I have the ink or the ability to type, it’s just I’m too scared to write a destination just in case it turns my life into stone and sets the way cement does between layers of bricks.

I want to think of myself, and then let myself get involved in other people, and I don’t mean the fun parts, but the stress, the drama, and the indulgence of idleness and the worst thing I’ve learned about myself is that I reflect the people around me like a god damn mirror. It’s horrific because I see myself as someone who’s independent and had hoped that I would not be so easily influenced by my surroundings but it turns out I am.

It’s why anyone who impedes with this perfect balance of positive and negative vibes, I can’t deal with and put a thousand yards between us – because balance is something superbly difficult for me to ascertain. Once I find it, I’m not interested in losing it, but the problem is that I seem incapable of leading myself down one path. So, healthiness gets balanced by shitty eating, and intelligence gets harmed by overthinking, and assumption.

I end up in a grey area where I’m not sure where to step and what direction to take. ‘Least of all, understanding the differences between what I should do and what I can do. The issue for me is that I don’t want to be around the mediocracy of people who have hit 18-24 and have already given up on their dreams because I don’t want to give up on mine. In the last 120 days, I’ve probably met with about 8 new people who have been lovely to talk to but lack ambition, interests, hobbies, anything that makes them stand out, and it sounds horrible but I don’t want to be like that.

I mean, my interests aren’t great, but at least I’m trying things out, doing new things, and will always aim for higher than expected. I say that now because I have that mindset, but I do quite frequently stop myself by not being able to take that first step into something more than myself. I think it’s been a switch in my head that activates when I feel like something is expected of me.

My aim is to overcome that fear of stepping, and stop overthinking it, and simply… step.

Even if it’s the first step which is the hardest, I will take that step, but I do wonder how sometimes and get stuck in this grey area where both feet are off of the ground neither stepping forward or stepping back.

So, from writing this I’ve come up with a sort of solution, or at least a…. something to get my started.

  • Sleep my 8 hours a night, minimum.
  • Schedule ‘me’ time.
  • Not only look in the mirror and ask myself what I see, but ask myself for the things I don’t see, and want to see, and plan on how to get there.
  • Spend 15 minutes a night writing a journal on how my progress is doing, so I can look back and see that I am moving forward.
  • Choose a fucking path. – This one might be a good start.
  • Stop breezing through social medias whenever I think I should be doing work. Just turn the phone off, look at the screen with a bit of audacity, and write.
  • Get shit done. Even if it’s one sentence at a time, or one chapter per day, get things done!

It’s already begun, I just need to kick myself up the arse.

‘Less talking, and more doing!’

 

A sour taste

There comes the point in your life when you feel isolated. Isolation is okay, and I need to tell myself that because otherwise, my isolation would be a nightmare. I don’t just mean the fact that I am alone, but isolation in the worst way; isolation when you’re not alone. I think times like these are the worst because even when you know, there are hands around you to catch you fall. You seem unable to reach them, and whether that’s because you feel like you’re slipping through their grip, or they are simply out of reach as you fall beside them is certainly another question.

It is certainly times like these where I feel alone. When the house is quiet, and though my daughter is here she is fast asleep and dreaming of better places, and distant worlds while I am here. I am grinding my teeth. I am stressed out and avoiding the housework like any ‘house husband’ should, and though I lack the wife to be a house husband, it doesn’t stop me from referring to my abundantly clear lack of motivation in housework. I’m sure my mother would be ashamed of me, though, this state is only temporary, and I’m well aware it is so.

A simple moment of solace at the end of the day is enough to make you question the world, and ask stupid questions like ‘Why, how, when, where, what?’ But this time I find myself sitting here just staring at the wall. I’m a little run down from the stress which involves others, but also, myself, because on days like this I feel like I’m slipping, even if it’s just my footing, I am slipping.

I know that slip is temporary, that a fall like this is for but a single moment, but still, I savour it like savouring the taste of fine food. Tomorrow, after feeling sorry for myself, I’ll stand strong and with the motivation to do the things that I need to do. For tomorrow is my dissertation work, for tomorrow is a gym day, and tomorrow is judo. I haven’t been to judo for a while, and I need to go back. I’m a little annoyed at myself.

I’m not scared of death, but I am scared of dying in life.

– Daniel Thomas Whittington

What’s the deal, Dan?

So, yeah, I look back at the last couple of years and it annoys me a little when I see my conscious, and unconscious minds work against one another. I’ve distanced myself from people I’ve liked, cared for and wanted to get close to, and then other times I’ve clung to the people that show me little to no interest? It’s ridiculous.

So, I’ve started to think that after being in a position where it has just been my daughter and me for the last 4 years, other than very short forms of dating, or relationships, I’m a little scared of intimacy. I mean, my understanding of intimacy or experience of intimacy is a little twisted due to being in an abusive relationship for about two years. When someone throws a bucket load of mental abuse your way, or physical abuse and can still tell you they love you every day/night it does shape the way you see things like that.

But, what I’ve found is that I think I’m my own enemy in this, so when I do meet someone who’s sassy, or full of banter, and enjoys throwing a meaningless insult around now and then, it somehow affects me, even when I’m consciously sure it wouldn’t. That’s pretty sad though, isn’t it?

So, I’ve tried mindlessly dating and figured out it’s not for me, meeting people with a half-assed attitude towards something that might or might not be, and it takes one or two of the wrong sentences (not spelling, but rather opinion) to put me off a person entirely.

The sad thing is that I’ve met some really nice people over the last few months, but sometimes I feel like I keep meeting people at the wrong time. Or, simply, it’s just the universe’s way of telling me to walk away. Sometimes, I think life would be a lot easier if I just stopped trying to control my life and let be what it is. But, then, my friend wouldn’t be able to call me a fool then, would she?

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Also, I can’t buy myself a tarot card deck, it has to be gifted, so if anyone’s interested in helping me with that feel free. Ha.

So, after all this time, and I could meet some incredible people, and I have met an incredible person, sometimes, the things I worry about take time to reveal themselves, and those things are worries that aren’t even at this time yet. Situations like, I’ve decided that I want to move abroad for quite some time, and the people I do seem to really get along with or get close to all seem to want to stay where they are, end of story.

I wouldn’t mind staying here, it wouldn’t be my first choice so that person would have to be pretty damn special for that to happen.

The other thing that I find difficult is the idea of getting close to someone again, and I’m really not sure whether I purposely go out of my way to find someone who has the ability to both build me up and shatter me in a few simple words, or whether love is a perpetually walking blind man. That, or I could secretly be a masochist.

This is isn’t a rant, for once, and actually, my life has been going okay, I should be working on improving my mental capabilities much more than I have been, but on the bright side, I’ve lost 13KG so far, and I’m starting to feel better about myself, yesterday was the first time I led on beach with my shirt off in my adult life. Can you believe it? I didn’t feel like I people were laughing at me or anything, which is a massive thing for me because I’ve always felt like I was too fat to do certain things, especially when it came to my body.

In fact, I did a 60 minute run for the first time and it felt great. I felt like I accomplished something really important, and in all honestly, I’m proud of myself for doing it, and now I’m doing them three times a week.

But, enough about the rest, right now, this is about relationships and love.

I’d love for someone to prove me wrong and allow me to understand the positivity and welcoming emotions that love is supposed to bring, and I hope that one day I get to a point where I do feel that way, but at the moment, I feel like I’m asking for something that may not quite exist for me. Simply put, I don’t want to walk on eggshells around someone, and I’ve got into so many arguments over people not understanding whether I’m joking, or being serious, but rather than just asking, things get so heated.

 

Actually, I get a huge blast of anxiety when someone assumes things about me because it’s one of my biggest issues. I seem to come across as serious, and overwhelmingly ambitious, and complicated, and all that jazz, but in reality, I’m probably as simple as a puppy, I just want a little bit of attention and a little bit of love. I know, I referred to myself as a puppy, I’m aware.

Complicated situations, arguments, passive aggressiveness, and aggression are just huge no-no’s when you realise that you can live your life asking “Why me?” or you can live your life asking, “Why not me?” and I want to be part of the latter. I want to live my life asking the question why not me, why can’t I do these things, because I can, and will, not I can’t and give the excuses that I’m not good enough, or better yet, give no excuse at all.

I just want to add that I don’t look for someone who resembles the latter, I look for something so much weirder than that, that spark you find in someone’s eye, and in the conversations that you have. That connection to someone trumps over looks/behaviour any day and I think, though I’m very emotionally aware, I’m also very aware that some people aren’t as emotionally developed, and never thought to ask questions about why they feel a certain way about something, and I think everything is a learning experience.

I just want to fill my life with more of them.

“You can’t beat death, but you can beat death in life”

– Charles Bukowski

 

P.S I could be feeling all of this, or I could be exhausted, tired, and hangry. I’m not quite sure.

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.

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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:

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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.

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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:

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.

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.

The Book of Dan

I keep getting jokes thrown my way due to the overwhelming complexity of my irritating mind. I mean, I think–I think–I think–I think and I think. Sometimes, the conclusions are pretty simple, and sometimes, a penny, and a paperclip equal human evolution. Makes sense, simple, right?

So, from talking about ghosts, historical figures, political distress, over complicated explanations for very simple things, I’ve decided to work my way into the idea of the book of Dan, this is secretly a real thing that all Daniels share; we’re awesome like that. In it to win it, as they say.

–Oh, who am I kidding, no one says that.

Anyway, to bring forth a new concept and idea to this blog, I’ll introduce the way that I think.

I use keywords to determine a pattern that triggers memories, that bounce back, and interlock with those keywords, reverting back to the question. Sometimes, it works, and others not so much.

This train of thought…

Question/keyword -> Memory -> Person -> keyword -> Memory -> Answer.

It’s like a boomerang of thoughts or a patchwork of expression. Awww, shucks, look at me, using my language teaching mumbo jumbo to define my inner elaboration. Excellent.

I’ve got a nasty habit of thinking about the past, I almost wrote pasty then, but I wouldn’t mind a pasty right now, but, that’s not the point. I’ve got a nasty habit of thinking about people from the past, events, regrets, and have trouble reminiscing old thoughts.

When, in fact, I never miss the person, and I think I simply miss those memories.

Since January I’ve been really good at just living in the now and not thinking of the past or the future. This has helped me improve this rather serious looking smile I sometimes plaster on my face and help me appropriate an intelligible idea of happiness. Honestly, I do get happy moments, please believe me! Ha.

Needless to say I think it’s time to put to rest the ghosts of my past, and finally super charge my tired mind into a stream of usefulness, integrity, and thoughtfulness, and all that other good, cushiony stuff that makes things better. You know the stuff.

So, the book of Dan, that was what we were talking about, right?


Rule 1: We don’t talk about the book of Da–

I mean, rule 1: Daniel is not one thing.

People have tried to define me as many things, and they’ve all been wrong. I’ve sought to describe myself and been wrong as well.

The closest anyone has ever gotten, was when I was called a fool by a woman eight or so years ago. The reason why I don’t see that in a negative light is that a fool is someone who is at the beginning of their journey. Able to walk in any direction, and not be bound to a single choice, journey, or have anything about themselves or their life/lives set in stone.

If I am anything, I am unpredictable and predictable. Maybe I’m predictably unpredictable. Jeez, mind-boggling, right? Not really. What’s wrong with you?

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I hope you enjoy my fat emblem.

Brilliant.

Anyway, I want to keep going positive, and have so much going on over summer, in the coming months, and even right now, so I’ll catch you later. *winky face*

I’m joking. Get over yourself. Not everything is about you, that’s why there’s a book of Dan… Jesus.