January

So, I’ve been quiet for a while. Sorry ’bout that. Busy times, lots of change. Plus, I don’t really go in for all the new year shenanigans. I really feel that January ought to be like a time out month. I always seem to need to hibernate, and by that I mean, avoid people, shops and so on and get lots of sleep! I need time to recover from the previous year and contemplate the year ahead. If I do have any moments of activity, I tend to direct them towards making my home a calm and lovely space, where I can do a bit of yoga and meditate (this can be quite a task given that the love of my life seems to be one of the most untidy people in the world*).

Of course, I can’t avoid reality completely, and this January has been a foray into a new era for me. I’ve started doing some supply work and it’s been mostly positive. There was one less than positive experience, but I’m not going to dwell on it. Sometimes negative experiences really are a reflection of the other people you’re interacting with. If you know you did your best, what more can you do? I’ve thought about this a bit recently, and it’s helped me calm down more than once in a less than ideal situation.

I’m still at the stage of seeing how the dust is going to settle. Routine is not entirely possible, as I might plan to do something and then get a call at 8am to go in and teach. But I’m ok with that for now. At least I’m one step closer to my goal.

*I’m allowed a small margin of exaggeration here.

What’s in your way, is your way.

The title of this post is a phrase that took me a while to understand. A very lovely yoga teacher who I follow the teachings of on Youtube uses it in one of her videos. At first I was at a loss to understand. And then one day the light bulb pinged on. And now I love it and use it as a mantra when I’m facing a tricky situation.

It has been a crazy few weeks! I won’t bore you with the minutiae but I’ve been swamped and struggling to find time for everything, even more than I usually do. Studying is not happening anywhere near as much as I’d like. I am definitely not on top of the laundry. The cats are neglected (well, neglected compared to their normal indulgences). But my main issue is a massive brick wall of apprehension due to a big career change step I am about to take.

I have been teaching for 12 years. Eek!! And for the most part of that time, I have had serious issues with the education system in this country. I’m not going to get into it now. That’s (possibly) for another post. I went into teaching because I love kids. I still love kids but it’s time for something new. So I’m taking steps towards another career.

So many difficult decisions. I need to maintain a reasonable income. I need to make enough time to study, so that my new career can begin asap. I need to move seamlessly from one career to the next, cutting back on teaching gradually to make way for the proofreading and editing.

I am very lucky to have such a wonderful, supportive man in my life, who doesn’t hold me back from following my dreams. But that doesn’t change how scary this decision is, or that I’m the one who has to stand in front of someone and say, ‘I’m handing in my notice’. And always, in my weaker moments, the question; is this the right decision?

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So I started this post a week ago, and I have had a deadline bear down on me like a freight train since then, along with a massive kick up the backside (which I needed) and finally, the deed is done. I’m feeling relieved, apprehensive and emotional. I went from thinking about making this change three months ago, and feeling really positive it was the right decision, to feeling full of self-doubt. I needed the positive, certain me but she’s been hiding for a few weeks, so I had to tell the small, insecure, little girl me to get with the programme and step up.

Following my dreams has led me to much greater sources of happiness and contentment in the past. Of course there are little sadnesses in this instance, like saying goodbye to some amazing children who I’m honoured to work with, but in the end, I believe this is right for me. I’m finding my way.

I carried a watermelon.

Well, I didn’t. But dancing was how I met the love of my life. Salsa, to begin with, although we have done a little bachata, tried the tango (so dramatic!), the jive and ballroom. That was about seven years ago – when we met.

It is quite a story and enough time has passed that I can look back now and see what a jumbled mess I was making of my life, but that was my journey and I accept it. To give you the gist of it, I was engaged to be married and had just bought a house with my fiancee. Big boxes on my life ‘to do’ list were being ticked off. However, in my denial that things were not quite as good as they looked on paper, I found a hobby that made me happy: dancing.

I love dancing. Salsa is great. Not Cuban style. I learnt LA or cross body style salsa, and that is what I’ve stuck with. It may be just me, but in trying to be good at that style I find it really confusing to do a similar-but-not-the-same dance! Cuban is gorgeous to watch but personally I prefer LA, it is more formal, Cuban is more earthy. I guess the more formal style suits me.

So after a few weeks, I met my lovely man. I immediately felt comfortable dancing with him in class and, being nervous of dancing with strangers, that meant we danced together fairly regularly after class. Long story short: lots of dancing, friendship develops, more dancing, fall head over dance shoes in love.

Dancing, especially with him, became a joyful freedom from the stress of my mind trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. In the time we spent together when we weren’t dancing, I found he was discovering and more importantly, understanding, pieces of me that had been tucked away many years ago. Pieces of me that I liked, but that hadn’t fitted in the relationship I was trying to make work.

Unfortunately, I held on to my denial for a bit too long and I married my fiancee before acknowledging that I’d made a big mess. It was not pretty, as I’m sure you can imagine, and at the time I remember thinking: how is this my life?! I felt like I was in a bad Eastenders storyline. This was a point in my life where I became aware that firstly, cliche sayings really are rooted in truth, and secondly, if anyone else quoted one at me, I was likely to punch their face.

Well, time really does heal, yada yada, and here we are, years later, happy and still very much in love. Of course, nothing is perfect and other challenges we have had to face have meant that we don’t dance regularly anymore. I am trying to get us back into a routine, but it’s really tricky to find decent LA salsa teaching here in Brighton. Sadly, the club we started at closed, and since then the Cuban scene has held court, with all the good LA teachers seemingly keeping to the London area. But I will persevere, for several reasons, not least because it is so special to us and one day, at our wedding, this is the dance we are going to dance.

I wanted to share my story, even though parts of it are difficult to share. Many people make decisions that lead them to difficult places, yet when that person is you, you feel so totally alone. And people judge you, it’s in their nature, and it hurts. I learnt A LOT about myself and my past choices, and what and who I wanted in my life. And I learnt a lot about my friends. Some of them still are, and some of them are not. Follow your heart, and you’ll find your way *shields face* 😉

Change is a comin’


“You’re always you, and that don’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” 
― Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book

 

I’m studying. I’m blogging. I’m excited about the future. This is good. Ain’t no point moaning about not liking what you’re doing, or where you are in life unless you’re prepared to make some changes. Well, that’s what I finally got round to realising. So I’m working on it. Because I want to wake up every day and be excited about what I’m doing.