I often find myself lost for words. In person I am awkward; I stumble over what to say and how to say it, I mix words up, I get so excited about things that I can’t get the words out as fast as my mind is running, or I get shy and clam up, or I get overwhelmed and say the exact opposite of what I mean to say, or say something so stupid that I want to crawl into my bed and never surface again. Anxiety is excruciating to live with…Read More
Filtering by Category: The Inbetween
If I sit down and allow myself to mull it over, to really reflect on what has come and gone, the truth is clear. The past six months have been hard. The kind of hard that leaves me weary and tired down to my bones. Mental illness is like that…Read More
What would our house say if these walls could talk?
As I write this, we are currently spending our last night in the house that has been our home since late 2008; it’s fair to say that this week has been pensive. Moving has been an interesting experience. Given I spent my childhood moving houses every couple of years, you would think that I am used to moving around. Yet, this home has been the longest that I’ve ever been in the one house. Saying goodbye to it has been more emotional than I was expecting it to be.Read More
I am not a loud person.
I am talkative. I am generally able to talk to most people, albeit often awkwardly and completely incapable of small-talk as I tend to jump right for the deep and meaningful questions even when I don’t know people well, but I am not loud. I often have to apologise for interrupting people. I tend to blurt out whatever thought has occurred to me mid-conversation, and have consequently been told that conversations with me can sometimes be hard to follow, yet I am not loud. This can be tricky to navigate, given I am a member of two very loud families. I also tend to gravitate towards friends who much louder than me. It’s not a bad situation to be in, most of the time. However, I certainly appreciate moments of quiet. I definitely work better in the quiet, which is why I often work late into the night when all of my family is sleeping, or get up before everyone else in order to enjoy the peace of early morning when the rest of my house is still quiet and the day hasn’t yet begun.
At work, I talk to my students about everyone having sensory cups as a way of teaching about the value of everyone’s differences. I explain how we each tolerate varying amounts of sensory input and use the metaphor of different size cups to help them understand: I have a supersized cup when it comes to visual sensory information. I can handle lots of words, colours, shapes, flickering images, and so on and don’t seem to get overwhelmed by this at all, but as soon as there is too much noise, I find myself getting agitated very quickly. I have a tiny auditory sensory information cup. Students learn to appreciate this and it makes for a quieter classroom (generally) once they understand that part of the reason I ask them to work quietly is to limit the auditory input I have to try and manage in my day. Outside of my classroom, I find myself shutting down in order to cope with excess noise, which generally looks like burying my nose in a book to help drown it out by activating other sensory cups instead, or at its worst, walking away from the source of the noise until I am able to control the overwhelm. (If only my four year old could understand this concept already as it’s not so easy to walk off on a toddler-tantrum!)
I am not shy. I am happy to put myself in situations that make me uncomfortable, such as attending events alone or going places I’ve never been before. I’m not afraid of asking questions of people or seeking help when unsure of what is expected of me even if it sometimes means standing awkwardly at someone’s side because they haven’t heard my question due to a louder person speaking over me, or having to repeat myself numerous times because my normal speaking volume is lower than people generally seem to expect. Generally, these are things I can fix. Yet being a quiet person in a loud world can be complicated. The world often seems geared towards extroverts and I sometimes find myself overwhelmed. I need time to process, to gather my thoughts and then respond, and often that’s not an option when the pace is fast and responses are expected immediately. I keep reminding myself that it’s okay to take time to process, but that I need to remember to tell people that’s what I’m doing!
A friend loaned me the book Quiet. The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain and I am looking forward to diving into it and seeing what she has to say about this. Have you read it before? I’d love to know your thoughts, so please share in the comments below! I’ll share mine once I finish reading it, so stay tuned.
I’m in that funny place where the fogginess that pervades the week between Christmas and New Year has faded and we are well into January, with a few weeks of holidays ahead of me and the dawning realisation that my break will be over before I know it. This usually means a time of intense reflection for me; a quick flick through my Instagram will show that last January I did just that - lots of reflection and goal setting for the year ahead. When on form, I also tend to cram as much into my holiday breaks as I can. I always say that I’ll take some time out to chill, yet before I know it, I’ve scheduled something for nearly every single day.
This holidays, I haven’t really done any of it though - no goal setting, no resolutions, no daily schedule that has to be kept. Not because I don’t want to, because I do and often find myself pondering those very things. I haven’t written them down though and I haven’t yet made any attempt to start navigating the ‘what if’s’ and ‘imagine that’s’ to come from those ponderings. Instead, I’ve been pottering about my house, deep into my annual summer clean out and making all the choices about what I want to keep and what can go (I have been an avid Marie Kondo fan since I read her book last summer and her Netflix program is totally my jam!) I generally miss the spring cleaning run, as teacher life when you teach VCE is far too hectic during the Spring holidays to even attempt any kind of deep cleaning, but last year I also had to smash out my Masters before the deadline so NOTHING got done at my house but for my writing (I’m still processing that doozy of an experience, so I’ll come back to that in another post).
I’m always so grateful for term breaks when they come around, as teaching really does consume your life each and every term, and summer breaks are the ones that I am desperately longing for by the time they actually arrive. Yet instead of resting, I usually end up flat out, with appointments and plans back to back, work scheduled in between and around the demands of the gremlin who wants so desperately to be in amongst everything and ‘working’ too (kid, you’re only four - don’t grow up too quickly). Consequently, this also puts me firmly in the camp of teachers who would happily go back to work a week or two sooner if it meant I had that uninterrupted time at my desk, dedicated to getting my preparation done for the new school year.
Yet the point I’m trying to make here is that instead of lining myself up another round of challenges to tackle, I’ve for once managed to do the thing I always say I’ll do. I’ve actually had a break! I’ve read plenty, spent a lot of quality time with my gremlin, relaxed at home (around the necessary summer clean out), and am just now beginning to really think about what needs to be done before I officially go back to work again in three weeks.
What I’m learning here is that I don’t really know how to handle ‘free time’ - hence why I usually schedule so much in, and probably how I ended up making the crazy choice to go back to University to study my Masters when my baby was only 8 months old… This time around though, no crazy choices have been made (at least not at the time of publishing this blog!) Plus, my home office is sparkling, so I’m calling the win.
Keep everything crossed that I don’t do something drastic in the next few weeks before school starts for 2019!
Every year seems to be busier than the one that came before it. Is that because we start to forget the moment we stop being right in the thick of something? We’re not dealing with it then and there, we don’t have to manage the chaos, and consequently only focus on what is immediate? Perhaps so. I mean, I can remember feeling like 2016 had been massive, and I can remember feeling like that at the end of 2015 too. I can look at the reflections I have written in the past on each year as it ends and those years were definitely full: of moments, of events, of ups and downs, of life. Yet despite that clarity of knowing I feel this way every time I reflect on a past year, I still wholeheartedly believe that the past twelve months were hectic!Read More
I’m going to let you in on a secret. It’s not exactly the best kept secret going around, for I’m not shy about admitting this flaw, but you mightn’t be aware of it yet. The secret is this. Parenting is not something I feel I’m particularly good at. Don’t get me wrong here – I definitely try to be a good parent. I adore my little gremlin, and I try hard to show him every day that I love him, to get him to eat well, to use his manners, to understand that hitting others (usually me) isn’t very nice, and to not let him watch Toy Story 2 or Monsters, Inc all day long as would be his preference. (I swear, if I have to listen to Jessie yodel or Boo talk about ‘Mike Wazowski’ one more time…)Read More
One of the things that no one ever seems to talk about is how hard life can be. I’m not talking about the really hard parts – the trauma of illness, broken relationships, loss of life, those devastating circumstances of any and every kind – because those hardships, unbearable as they are, get talked about. No, I mean the parts of life that get hard, but people stoically go about their business and just get on with it, rarely – if ever – mentioning what it is that has gotten hard. Yet that’s what I’m going to talk about, because I’ve been absent, and the reason that I’ve been absent, in part, is because life got hard.Read More