Post study – update one

I’m about 10 days out of student life, and while things are looking good, there are certainly carryovers of study life that I am yet to shake.

Like, the horrible level of anxiety which crept up on me over the last few months. I think that this will start to dissipate once a few thing happen – namely, I have the results of my final assignments back and know 100% without a doubt that I’m done. And when I have Lauren’s home schooling approval sorted as well. Right now, both of those things are weighing on my mind an awful lot, to the point where some days it’s hard to get motivated to do anything outside of be here with my kids and facilitate their awesome learning experiences. I’m really enjoying just being with them and not thinking about the essay I should be working on.

However, I still feel like I should be working on an essay!!! This year was intense as I took on a halftime course load on top of life (which is always busy anyway). I have these little panic attacks where I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. I check frequently that I actually DID hand in those last assignments on time and that there aren’t any I somehow forgot about – I guess having that wrong final date in mine for the last one is probably to thank for this. Again, I hope this will be over once I have those final grades. It would be kind of awesome if I could get through a few days without having an anxiety/panic attack or freaking myself out.

I love the irony that I’ve got a Post Grad Diploma in Counselling but can’t seem to talk myself into feeling better about all of this. I know all the techniques, but it’s always harder to apply them to oneself ;-)

In more positive news, I managed to take that week off (mostly)! Afterwards, I realized I probably need more like a month, in a isolated cabin, where someone else is catering to my every need and I can just sleep 16 hours a day and read the rest. Unfortunately, that’s never going to happen, so I am going to have to try and take it easy on myself over the next wee while, and let myself take breaks when I need them. I’ve come to realize that I feel responsible for much more than I really am, and am working on stepping back and shaking loose some things I don’t need/want anymore.

And, finally, in some writing news, I am working on my final final final edit for In The Spirit!! This novella will be released on Dec 1st, and I’m thoroughly excited about it! I’ll share more in the near future, once I have my head around the whole thing :-)

I hope you guys are all doing well! Can you believe it’s November soon? I’m trying not to get panicky about that. It doesn’t take much right now though lol.

Print books and the rise of an old desire

Since finishing study, I have accumulated a pile of paper books. Now, I’ve been an e-book convert or close to 3 years now, so this is a strange occurrence for me. I (hate to confess this but have to…) actually do not have a bookshelf. *waits for the gasps and outrage*. Hear me out, please? I have kids, and in their early years they liked nothing more than to trash my book shelves. I had two. The moment I was out of the room for anything, the books would end up all over the floor and I just couldn’t stand it. Those book defenseless books :-(

So, I packed up the ones I couldn’t part with and kept them in boxes under the bed, and I donated the rest to charity. The bookshelves became toy shelves and I no longer had to worry that any books would be destroyed in the making of my small people.

IMG_20141016_072540564That was about 5 years ago.

And now that they are all substantially older, I am beginning to think it might be time to start a new bookshelf*. Break open the boxes and set my books free. Because, as much as I love to read on my kindle, as much time as I’ve spent teaching them that it isn’t just a book, but a whole library, I don’t think they really get it. Since I’ve started reading print books again, they have started realizing that I do spend a fair bit of time reading. The kindle appears to be just another ‘screen’ as far as they are concerned lol. So, lead by example right?

Now, onto the books…. I grabbed The Strain a few months ago because it was going for 50c at the library. And then I went to the Warehouse on Saturday morning to find they were getting rid of books for a ridiculous $1.47. So I grabbed Doctor Sleep, Cujo, and Grim. And then yesterday Carnival of Souls(officially Carnival of Secrets) arrived in the post from the lovely Book Chatter Cath. I’m looking forward to doing a lot of reading!!!

*Naturally, the kids have bookshelves, two, jam packed with books.

The Beatles notebook

#notebookappreciation is something a few friends and I were chatting about on twitter the other night. After clearing out my desk I came across some much neglected notebooks, and some that had been used for study. Well, that’s all been resolved now and I thought it was time to share some of my favourite notebooks with the world, seeing as I’m hoping to do more handwritten work for brainstorming ideas and planning. There is something about connecting pen with paper that helps unblock, untangle and solve a whole bunch of problems.

IMG_20141014_084220155So, here is my current fav. This is the one that goes everywhere with me right now. This notebook languished in a kitchen cupboard for a bit. I purchased it to add recipes that I found online and really liked, but I think I only managed to put 3 in there, 2 of which I use so often I don’t need the recipe anymore. I love it for a few reasons:

A) The Beatles!! My parents were big Beatles fans. I grew up listening to their records so they have a special place in my heart. When I saw this, it gave me a massive jolt of nostalgia. Instant purchase.

B) It has tear out pages, which is great for me. As much as I love writing in notebooks, I also like to declutter them at times. I can jot down anything in this one and then tear out the pages easily – I can then stick them into another notebook if they belong with a different set of notes, or chuck it out entirely. Win!

C) the paper is really nice to write on. It’s got a lovely smooth texture that makes the pen flow across it. <3

IMG_20141014_084310879Oh and D), it’s also got different coloured tabs on it!! I like this as well, because I can separate out my thoughts. At one point the blue was for novel revision notes (actually, still is). The red had notes from my readings for assignments, the green had notes about home schooling stuff, and the grey has been permanently neglected, but I’m sure I’ll correct that soon.

Some of the gals from twitter also have Beatles notebooks, so I know I’m not alone!!

What is your favourite notebook and why?

I’m keen to get some new ones and indulge in more handwriting.

Things I found in my desk

Over the weekend I spent some time cleaning out my desk – eradicating all traces of study and making it a writerly space again. So. Good. It all feels a lot better now that I know there are no text books or study guides lurking in there. I tore all my study notes out of the various notebooks/pads I’d scrawled on over this year and discovered some things I hadn’t seen in quite some time.

IMG_20141012_081322125Exhibit A is the beginning of the first draft of my story The Dead Way. Everyone writes their horror stories in pink pen right? You know, I don’t even recall starting the story handwritten. I hardly ever do that, though at times it helps me connect with my story more, and I think The Dead Way is a good example of that paying off.

IMG_20141013_113940794Exhibit B is a deck of The Zombie Survival Guide that my husband gave me. I think I’ve barely had a chance to open the deck, let alone have a good look, so it was awesome to stumble on it again – perfect timing too, what with The Walking Dead starting back tonight ;-)

And lastly, there is this. I’m not even sure what it’s called, or what exactly it’s used for. All I know is that it’s from Disneyland and my father brought it home for me that time he was in America and decided he should go and enjoy all the rides he promised he’d one day take us too… Still waiting, Dad!

IMG_20141013_115901317

IMG_20141013_115926878

I’ve been holding onto this for… Jeepers. I’d say 15 years or more. Maybe half my life? It might be the closest I ever get to Disneyland, so I figure it’s worth keeping. But, if anyone knows what I’m meant to be using it for I’d love to hear!! Maybe I can get some mileage out of it ;-)

And, I’m done

IMG_20141011_180820688_HDRAt 5.40pm last night I handed in the final assignment of my Post Graduate Diploma in Education (Guidance and Counselling) – emphasis on the counselling. I did zero guidance papers, and the only ‘education’ component was a couple of research papers. Not that it really matters. What does is that I am finished!!!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

And I couldn’t have done it without you. So, I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you. To all of you. The folks who read here, everyone on twitter who has been there when I needed a nudge, my friends and family, my classmates, my husband and kids especially. I’ve been insufferable at times, forgetful of things, neglectful of my blog, sinking to great lows when assignments were due. The volume of panic attacks and level of anxiety over this year has been more extreme than in any recent years I can remember, so that support was vital for me. When I wanted to quit, when I thought I couldn’t do this, someone (often more than one) popped up to remind me I could.

Here’s to you. And me. And awesomeness.

Cheers!

Confessions of a girl who should be working on her final assignment

I'd love pink hair, maybe one day I'll be brave enough ;-)

I’d love pink hair, maybe one day I’ll be brave enough ;-)

Naturally, I am the queen of procrastination. If I weren’t, I’d be working on my final assignment, which I just today realized is due on the 10th and not the 17th, not dwelling on the random thoughts that have been assaulting me of late. I think, though, perhaps they are all converging for a reason.

This year has been the hardest year of study yet. In fact, even outside of study it’s been hard. I’ve been challenged by the world, by my memories, by my assignments, by my writing. To push past barriers, to question who I am and what I stand for, to not stop when it’s difficult, to step past the hurt and damage and hardship and be really, brutally honest with myself.

Not about all things, of course, but many things, and once you start looking at the world like that, everything starts to change. I think as a result I am both more confident, and more anxious. I don’t know when this self-learning stops. I’m not sure it can be switched off, and my baseline fear is that it will change my life in ways I’m not ready for. My mother changed, dramatically, and when she was true to herself she had to leave my father. I just have to trust that my marriage can withstand my changes, that I was enough myself with my husband when we met that we will still work when I am changed*.

It feels like I am becoming. What, I am not sure. But something, something more than I am right now. It’s exciting, and raw, and fraught with a kind of tension that isn’t normal.

It’s slowly dawning on me that I set high standards for myself. I’ve been convinced my whole life that I half-ass everything. I am going to pin that on my father berating me for being a scruff, for never doing anything properly, never finishing tasks in the way that he deemed acceptable. I’m not up to scratch. I’m a mess. Sure. I’ve been living with this belief for 30+ years now. People have been holding mirrors up lately though, and I’m starting to see myself as they do – hard working, passionate, skilled, dedicated, caring, with a desire to do things well. It’s quite strange to see myself that way for a change. Moments of feeling like a success at anything have been fleeting. I think I like it. I can see myself becoming the things they think of me, or rather, I can see myself begin to believe that maybe those reflections are true. More true than my self-perception.

And that means that actually I get to make some informed decisions about who I am. I get to try things out, experiment with how I show my inner self to the world. This ‘becoming’ is huge for me. I’ve spent so much of my life being the girl everyone else told me I should be – being that proverbial good girl (it’s no wonder that song from Frozen makes me teary) – that it is well and truly time to shake those shackles off. At the end of the day I’m confident I’m still going to be awesome, caring, generous, kind, and hard-working among other things, but I’ll be those things because that’s me, not because I’ve been told I should be that way.

*I’m fairly confident this is the case, I even said as much in my wedding toast – that he’s the first man I could just be me around and feel like that was totally fine. There is something very special about that.

Glimpsing life after study

As my study days wind down, I’m catching glimpses of what life might be like once I hand my final assignment in. It’s kind of beautiful, and I’m so looking forward to it. For a long time now I’ve had very little energy for things outside of my immediate focus. It’s been all about the kids, our family, and study, with the occasional round of editing for friends thrown into the mix.

I see a lot more of this in my future

I see a lot more of this in my future

Lately, I can see beyond that though. I see the sun shining, and can imagine having the time and energy to get stuck back into the garden. I can imagine long days at the beach with the kids, being able to let go of the tension and stress I’ve been carrying with me about assignments and grades.

I saw a submission call on twitter yesterday and thought to myself ‘I could write something for that!’, only then realizing how much I’ve missed doing that kind of thing. The last time I wrote a short story, it was The Dead Way, for Baby Teeth. It has been far, far too long.

There are so many projects on hold, just waiting for me to be ready again. I’m almost there. Almost ready. With one last assignment to write, and just two weeks until it’s due, the end is very much in sight. The light at the end of the tunnel is no longer an oncoming train.