A year ago today, we (Me, F&R) moved into our house. It was a bit of a manic blur, to be honest; I’d never lived entirely on my own, especially not with two very small children in tow, and the amount of people that rallied around from start to finish and got me fully moved in made it so that I felt like I was just standing on the sidelines and watching for most of it. I was starting from scratch and didn’t know how to cope. When the kids went to bed at 7, I went to bed five minutes after; I didn’t see the point in staying awake when I had nobody to converse with, and it would make the next day come quicker. People told me that time was a great healer, and I was desperately wishing for the days to pass by as fast as they could so I could get to a safe space. It’s the only self-care for my mental health that wasn’t a conscious effort – it was me giving up.
My children became my comfort blanket. Although I like to live quite spontaneously, there’s something quite reassuring about the routine that they had instilled in my day. Not everything had to have a purpose, as such, but it certainly helped. Walks around my new hometown gave me a sense of familiarity as well as getting us out for a little while; visits to friends and family gave me the chance to natter off any concerns and worries I had; popping along to mother & toddler groups helped me to see that I wasn’t alone in my situation. Whatever I was doing, it wasn’t around my schedule. I had other people to put before me. They are still put before me in everything I do.
I’m a great starter, OK-middler and rubbish finisher. I am disorganised. I rely too much on the help of others, particularly my family. I don’t have many friends, just a bunch of acquaintances; I’m not as popular as I think I am. Teaching is a profession that I would absolutely suck at, as well as being one that isn’t compatible with family life or relationships. Some things you hear so much that you start to believe them, regardless of how long you have been working towards it or how important it is to you. As such, these thoughts about myself had been swirling around my head for such an amount of time and given me enough self-doubt that I had reached a point where I had become frozen.
Eventually, I stopped going to bed really early. I sat and listened to myself. I went over the thoughts in my head and focused on what I needed to do – not just for the kids, but for me too. I applied for the PGCE that I had been put off doing.
I got rejected.
I’ll say it again: I’m a great starter, OK-middler and rubbish finisher. I’d started and I’d not even gotten to the middle before being turned away. I’m quite accepting of situations, which is my downfall. I had fully accepted that I wasn’t good enough, and that was that. Then my comfort blanket was brought up. How could I show such complacence? How would I set a good example for my kids if I just sat back and nodded and didn’t question a) why and b) what I could have done better? If this was the start, what else would I sit back and let slide by? I went to the top and asked what I had done wrong. The answer was simple: my personal statement wasn’t up to scratch, but I could send another one if I wanted. And so I did. I got an interview. I went in and completed the interview. I came out, and…
I got rejected.
But now, I liked the feeling of not being complacent anymore – of not accepting satisfaction unless it was entirely right for me. I got in touch again. I jumped through the hoops, ran the race and hurdled the obstacles that they set out for me, the conditions that I had to meet over the course of a couple of months. Eventually, I got to the end.
I’d finished. I’d been a great starter, an even better middler and a fantastic finisher.
A year ago today was new beginnings in doing something that I had never done before and previously had thought that I would never be able to do by myself. Today, I started my Primary PGCE – which, to me last year, would have seemed unobtainable. I’m trying to think of things that are out of my reach now that I’m going to push myself to go for. The spontaneity will have to sit tight for a bit, but as long as I have the drive of doing the best for me and my pod, I know that we’ll all do just fine – and, really, there doesn’t have to be an end. Not if we don’t want there to be one.