On a break

The week from hell:

 

1.  Went to two interviews for jobs I can do standing on my head – but didn’t get either of them.

2.  Had to sit through the worst feedback for these two jobs from two women who don’t matter because:

a) One of them has a well-known issue with me – regularly tries to make sure I feel her authority at every point. This woman has passed off my work as her own before, blocked training opportunities for me and just resents my willingness to live my life to the full.

b) One who seemed to be constructive in her feedback until my silence resulted in her filling the gap with inane chatter about me, her resulting pity for me (WTF) and her encouragement to keep applying for the other job with her because 1. A few people have dropped out 2. this would make it more likely that I will have a tiny chance of getting it (WTF) and 3. I should not get disheartened because there is still the next lesser job coming up and I could maybe (just maybe) scrape up enough skills to do that.

 

This feedback got me sad because the one woman I thought had integrity out of all the female managers I know turned out to have none.  The one I knew would be an uphill battle to impress did not even give me the same courtesies she would have given to all the other applicants and went out of her way to say direct all my answers to her colleague because basically she did not give a shit.

This then got me angry.  This anger was initially directed at them for not giving me the job and being condescending in their opinion but this anger all turned to myself for applying for the jobs in the first place for various reasons:

1)  One of the women has over the course of eight years tried to keep me down at every available opportunity.

2)  The same woman used to get me to do certain jobs of hers and then passed it off as her work.

3)  I already do the job but at a different place, the skills I have are more advanced than they were looking for.

4) In order to get the job I would have had to dumb down my skills.

5) I put my occupational fate in two women without backbone then let them make me feel bad about myself.

 

Next steps:

* Drop out of the next two similar interviews

* Put all my attention into getting the promoted post.

* Start looking seriously into furthering my education.

* Start properly looking for jobs out with my current employer.

* Research possible career changes that would allow me to work for myself.

* Get writing every day.

* Start taking writing seriously.

* Take my future out of the hands of negative, destructive, small-minded people that feel threatened by me in some way.

* Start believing in the skills I have, my worth as a creative person and my overall awsomeness.

* Take charge of my future, my growth as a person and afford myself the self-belief that will make things happen for me.

There now I feel better.

W

 

Warning-Repeat Offender

Loneliness is dangerous.  When everyone you know is part of a couple it can leave you feeling really low.  I know that no relationship is perfect but sometimes being single – the loneliness can feel so real; like a physical entity I carry around with me.  I am a really lucky person because I have five kids and two grandkids that I love with my whole heart.  Many people do not get to experience the unconditional love and joyous responsibility of having children.  I was lucky enough to get them all to myself because I made wrong choices about my choice of fathers but there was nothing wrong about my choice to have them, love them and raise them on my own.  I would never have wanted my life to go any other way.  I do not know what I would do if I did not have them.

Children however, get to a point where they don’t need you so much and they have to get on with their own lives.  Of my five kids my two oldest daughters have made that transition.  They are still very much in my life and the relationship between the three of us is very good.  My youngest baby is now at school so they have all now entered that stage where they don’t need me as much.  He is forming new relationships at school and learning about the world.  Everyday is a learning experience for them and me.  I am continually reminded that life is hard but life can also be tremendously good.  I look at my son with wonder in the same way he looks at the world.  I am memorizing every curve on his face, every delighted expression, that smile that chases away all the heartache involved in raising him alone.  My other kids also mesmerize me.  I produced all these little people.  I did that.  I did that magnificently.

There comes a time when this dependence on me will stop.  I do not want to get rid of them any time soon.  I do however want them to be independent, capable and be able to express themselves in whatever way they choose.  When my daughters left I did think am I such a terrible mother that my kids can’t wait to get away from me but then once the shock of it all subsided I realised they were ready.  Ready to carve out a life for themselves, make their own decisions and live life the way they see fit.  I had fulfilled my role as their mother and they were ready to fly on their own.

I digress a little from the point I was trying to make.

Now that my kids have moved out and moved into school I now have some decisions to make.  I can keep on doing as I have done (looking after them, putting most of my energy into them) or I can look after them but start to look after myself better.  I have decided to follow my dreams, try to do what I always thought was unachievable.  I have decided that I need to give myself the life I want to live after they have left.   I don’t want to be one of those mothers that just lays down and gives up once their children leave.

What I need to beware of is the dangerous loneliness that can throw my decision-making process off.  Most of my relationships with men in my life have occurred because of loneliness.   Sometimes being on your own for so long can make you forget about standards; a way you want to be treated; respect in a relationship.  Right now life is difficult, stressful, interesting and rewarding all at once.  I do feel lonely.  When my kids are in bed I speak to no-one.  I watch tv programmes like x-factor because it makes me feel part of something bigger than my own little world.  It helps me feel less alone.  I constantly have my iPod on because it distracts me from the emptiness in my house at night.  The cold weather reminds me that I sleep in a big bed on my own.  It would be nice to snuggle, have someone to hug me after a particularly hard day.  Twitter, Facebook and WordPress are attempts at connecting with like-minded people.

As a direct result of this tremendous aching loneliness I look at the dad of my three youngest kids and think is he really that bad?  This is the danger.  With this guy I had three lovely kids but that is the only link we have.  He is small-minded whilst I am very open-minded.  He is incredibly judgemental whilst I am tolerant.  We were never a good match.  I have over the years kept diaries and when I read back some of the things he put us through I was horrified that I stayed with him for so long.

When the loneliness seeps in however I forget that life was so bad with him.  I only think of the human touch, the knowledge that someone is there for you (or should be there for you) and the not being alone.  Since we split up I have spent years clawing back the bits of me that I lost.  I have held on to the kids and let them cry when he let them down time after time.  When my mum was dying he told me he didn’t want to know; that he just wanted me to let him know when it was all over. Why would I ever want someone like that?

The point of this post is as a reminder for me that no matter how lonely I get, how alone I feel that going back is never a good option.  I am not the person I was.  I have learned from my mistakes,  I deserve better than he could ever give me.  Being alone is momentously better than being in that relationship.  I am superwoman – I can do this on my own.  I have proven this for twenty odd years.

I embrace my life, I try to bring my kids up to know right from wrong.  I am interested in everything.  I soak up information, I love to spend time with the people who I love.  But for those nights when things seem bleak, when loneliness seems too much to bear then I will read this and see how lucky I am.

 

W (the luckiest woman in the world)

 

 

 

 

My Faimly

When I talk about my family I am usually talking about my three daughters, my two sons, my granddaughter, my new grandson and myself.  My family however is much larger than you would think.  I am for instance the no 9 child in a family of 13 children.  My dad had four sisters who all had families.    My mother’s family also reproduced a few times.  My siblings all have kids and some of their kids have kids.  Huge would not be a big enough word to describe how large my family is.

Nowadays it is really hard to get a sense of family and community as complete as those that existed during both World Wars.  I am close to my brothers and sisters.  I was relatively ignorant of how intense and big my family was when I was younger.  It took for me to have children of my own to get to meet some of my cousins and their families.  It has also taken years for me to realise how important these people are in my life.

I have for the last few years been interested in compiling my family history.  I had spoken to my mother before she died about doing this project.  I have a wish to see this huge, fascinating, interesting and compelling family in its entirety.  I want to see a physical history but also a social history.  The reasons for doing this are:

1.  To give all the people who are not here any more their place in the family tree.

2.  To give all the people still here and those still to be born a sense of place and belonging to something bigger than them.

3.  To feel a sense of completion and a sense of tying up loose ends.

4.  To leave something behind for future generations to see what a strong, hard-working, colourful and inspirational family they come from.

5.  To fulfil a promise I made to myself when my dad died that I would do something to make him proud of me.  (I know he was proud of me but this would have made him happy).

6.  To find loads of characters, scenarios and inspiration for stories I want to write both fictional and non fiction.

7.  To practice compiling family histories because it is a large part of what I do at work and I would like to become an expert at it.

8.  As a reason to spend some time with my dad’s sisters because they are beautiful, wise, caring women who have a great sense of family.

9.  As a way to keep my brain busy because I am underwhelmed with the work I do at the moment.

So as you see I am a little obsessed with this project.

The work starts tomorrow.  I am going to visit my aunties in the afternoon.  I am going to take a big notebook and write down everything they tell me.  I will be a sponge soaking up the language, the lives, the characters and the amazing tales.  I can’t wait.  It will be good to see them all, to be in their magnificent company and learn a lot about life.  These women have all lived through many situations and I would be honoured to hear about them.

I am looking forward to today.  I have a new sense of purpose and enthusiasm for this task.  I am lucky to be part of this family and I want to do everyone proud.  It is a huge task but I think I am up to the challenge.

Watch this space for updates.

W

 

 

 

 

 

Dream Dream Dream

I had a bizarre dream last night.  I don’t usually remember my dreams but this one was so vivid.

I was out in Denny town centre outside what used to be the Registry Office but is now a hairdressers and a tattoo parlour.  It was a clear night but the colours were very vivid with a kind of sunset tint to the buildings with shadows falling over everything but reds and greens stood out.  I was chatting to two people who I don’t know but I had the feeling that one was a good friend and the other one was her friend but unknown to me.

We were chatting about inconsequential things but paying attention to a huge black cloud in the distance that was moving in a calmingly fluid movement.  The few people who were out all stood and looked to this cloud in awe.  As it got closer it was obvious it was a swarm of birds flying in some sort of formation.  It moved in waves going from one area to the next but in a non threatening way.

The cloud got closer and flew so low that the sky was thick with these vibrant green birds that I have never seen before.  Like normal birds you would see in Scotland but a really bright green.  I could not understand how they could fly because they were packed so close together.  Thousands and thousands of green birds.  What made it even more surreal was that most of the birds were carrying a huge white flower in their beaks like a lily of some kind.

They were so close that I could have reached up and plucked one out of the air.

This was just so strange and ethereal that I had an alarming thought that something was wrong.  I began to run as if my life depended on it. My friend and her friend ran with me.  We ran all the way home to an apartment building filled with corridor after corridor – a white mesmerizing building filled with doors.  I seemed to know where I was going and eventually found the room with my kids in it.

Here it ended but I woke up feeling both worried and calm at the same time.  I don’t know the significance of the dream but it seemed so real and vibrant that I had to mention it here.  As I suffer from insomnia sometimes it has been a long time since I slept long enough for dreaming to occur.  The last two dreams I had were horrific and resulted in my worst nightmare coming to pass.  This one was so completely different that I had to write it down.

The movement of the birds was mesmerizing the colour was like that used in films such as The House of Flying Daggers.  If I could paint then I would be trying to get this vision onto paper.

If anyone has any idea about what it means then I would love to find out.

 

W

 

A day of company and unbearable loneliness.

Well I have had a good day today. Visits from my two oldest daughters and their lovely children. We had a family dinner of steak pie, mashed potatoes and various veg but the best part of it all was having company. I still have three kids living at home but it was fantastic to be able to converse with my two eldest. They are living their own lives now but I still worry about them. It is always a good day when they come back to visit and I can see how well I raised them.

One thing that happens when they go however is that I am left on my own after the three little ones go to bed. I am used to coming home from work, feeding the kids, helping with homework and then putting the kids to bed and most days everything is fine. When my girls have been though it is different, the house is quieter, the space seems different.

It is the nights like this when I feel lost and a little bit lonely. I feel unbelievable pride when I think of how well my daughters are doing and enjoy having civilised, adult and entertaining conversations with them. I feel the loss of their company when they are gone.

It is at these times that I now and again wish I was not single. It would be good to have that one person who I could share my day with, snuggle up with and be myself with. When I go to bed I listen to music, I walk through my day with my ipod playing just in an attempt to feel less alone. I have loads of cushions on my bed and sometimes arrange them so it feels like there is someone sleeping on the other side.

At night I some times dream of my ideal man who is usually made up of an amalgamation of body parts of all the celebrities I have a fascination for. For example (depending on my mood) he may have the face of Gerard Butler, the stomach of ll cool j and the quirky personality of Ryan Gosling. He may sometimes just be Idris Elba as i said, it all depends.

My close friend and my sister have both recently hooked up. One with a new boyfriend and the other a husband. This means that I am alone in my loneliness. I go out for a drink with my friend but it only takes a couple before she gets that eyes-glazing over look that means she is daydreaming about her beau. I am left feeling redundant.

I don’t feel like this all the time – just the occasional blip in my busy life.

Most nights I am glad of the peace, glad to have the bed all to myself, glad to make all my own decisions without having to consult someone else. I can indulge my fancies for reading, a movie in bed or writing.

Right now it would only be a visit from one of my amalgamated fantasy men that would tempt me out of my solitary confinement. Now is my time to be creative, selfish and busy.

 

Okay people I have a cistern to fix and a giant bed with space just for me. I will write again soon.

W

Missing you.

Today I am missing my mum and dad.  Peggy and Mick love and miss you both very much.  I see a bit of you in my kids everyday.

My dad died in 1996 and my mum in 2004. Both from cancer.

Dad was my rock, he made me feel safe every day.  He was a big bear of a man.  He knew me as a person.  He knew I was clever enough to achieve anything I wanted but once he was gone I forgot all about it.  I am trying a little bit, to remind myself daily of what he saw in me.

This bookworm is going to find myself if it is the last thing I do.

The Peggy what can I say about her.

Well things were difficult with us.  I never felt close to her as a child.  My teenage years were spent either trying to avoid her or letting her know that I did not like her.  This was of course just a figment of my own teenage imagination.  She was always there for me – even when I was horrible.

Once I had kids everything changed though.  The Peggy was the best support ever.  She loved my kids almost as much as I did.  I know grandparents are not meant to have favourites but I knew that mine were hers.  I think it was because I was a single parent and she helped me to work by picking my daughters up from school.  I spent every christmas at her house because it allowed us all to feel a sense of family again.

My only regret is that my dad did not meet my sons.  He would have loved them to bits.  They are both creative, strong and dependable like him.  My eldest hugs like him.  Bear hugs that let you know you are alive.  My youngest is full of mischief and fun.

Mum would have loved my baby girl.  She was born 16 days after my mum died.  She has the brown eyes that mum loved.  She is hard work but also the most loving girl ever.  She would have clung to her granny like their lives depended on it.

I feel their loss everyday.  My youngest kids have another gran but she doesn’t like them.  She is missing out on so much but it is her loss.  I know that if my mum and dad were still here that they would be in my kids lives.  Of that I have no doubt.

So today I will be thinking of Peggy and Mick and the great job they did of raising thirteen kids.  We are all different, all have different skills and interests.  None of us are really alike but that is what makes life interesting.  We all however have a little bit of mum and dad in us.

Those are the heirlooms worth having.

P & M love ya xxxx

W

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost

I now understand what a mid-life crisis is.  I am not yet forty but it is just over the horizon.

I spent years studying – trying to find out who I am and what I want to do for the rest of my life.  I had decided that as an information junkie I was meant to help other people find, understand and organise information.  I attained the qualifications I needed to follow the path I had chosen but it was almost impossible to break into the occupational sector of my choice.

I eventually got there but on a lower level. I thought this is okay I can work my way up the ladder.  This thought warmed me on the long bus rides –  five days a week to work.  I kept storing up my skills and learning new ones all in preparation for the day I would get that elusive yes.  I worked endlessly, volunteering for new experiences, doing the jobs no-one else wanted to do.  I honed my customer service skills collecting qualification after qualification, doing course after course – whilst almost neglecting my duties at home.

I was on the cusp of some big breakthrough – I could feel it.

Then one day out of the blue it hit me.  Whack, right in the face.

I graduated ten years ago.  Ten bloody years chasing the unachievable.  Ten miserable, over-worked, under-appreciated years.  I could not believe it.

This realisation hit me like a train, I felt that I had been steamrollered.  It became hard to get out of my bed.  There were days I didn’t (sorry kids).  I ate like I had never eaten before.  The only comfort I had was to eat.

I resented work, hated all my bosses.  They were filled with their own sense of importance.  They looked down on me and made it clear that I knew how unimportant I was.  One of them even went out of her way every day to make me feel small.  On a normal day I would never have taken the shit she dealt out but because I was feeling small and insignificant I actually let her get to me.  I was feeling so low that all the pain and resentment just built up until something was going to blow.

I tried counselling and found a lovely woman called Emily to talk to.  I got a few things off my chest – she helped to remind me that I was a survivor.  I had been through worse than this.  I hated feeling sorry for myself.  I wanted things to change so bad that I contemplated moving away, shaving all my hair off and all manner of strange things in an attempt to make me feel better.

I realised though that running away was never going to help me.  I had to do something to help me feel like me.  I used to like myself, I used to like getting my photograph taken.  There was a time in my teens that I actually smiled a lot, everyday almost.  I know this because someone showed me the photos and I was shocked.

I think I am now turning a corner.  I am looking for other jobs.  I have a few interviews coming up.  I will get where I am meant to be eventually.  My career is taking a sidestep.  I am actually contemplating going back to school and retraining to do something else. What? I really don’t know yet.

I am getting my mojo back.  I spend more time with the people who mean a lot to me.  Mostly my kids but also my sisters and brothers.  I have become a grandmother twice.  My lovely little grandbabies give me loads of pleasure.  I am writing a little everyday.  I constantly have music in my head.  I feel like dancing when I am doing something just for me.

My horrible boss left Wahey!!!  So work is now a much nicer place to be.  I can stomach it for a little while longer.  Long enough for some new opportunity to present itself.  I am not going to be disheartened by a career that is dying.  I am going to use it to spur me on to greater things.  I will do it not because of my bosses but in spite of them.

I am back in charge and the world better watch out.

Fierce is too small a word.

 

W