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I missed last week’s blog post. Again. Sorry. Maybe it’s just a better fit for my life at the moment – writing every two weeks instead of every week. Let’s run with that for now… see where it takes us, shall we?

The happy stuff:

  • Weekend before last, we spent Saturday at an SCA event during which I learnt to spin on my spinning wheel. It’s a surprisingly meditative thing. I’m told I’m pretty good at it, which is a nice confidence boost. Yay!
  • Sunday morning was spent exploring The Rainbow Warrior, the Greenpeace flagship. Greenpeace docked in Wellington Harbour as part of their ‘Making Oil History’ tour, and to celebrate New Zealand’s recent ban on new offshore oil exploration. Russell saw it as an opportunity for Sophia to explore a big boat (very exciting!) and I saw it as an opportunity to have a conversation about climate change. It’s also made me so much more aware of how much plastic is around us, and how we need to step up our efforts to move away from it.
  • We popped into the Shoe School for their open day on Sunday afternoon. I’m very excited about the idea of doing a five day workshop with them, especially as Russell would also like to do said workshop. It would be so nice if we could do it together. (Kinda of like a date night, but for a week! Yes please!)
  • Last weekend Saturday we went to ZEALANDIA, an urban ecosanctuary, because the free family pass I’d won was about to expire, and why not? It’s a wonderfully calming place.** New Zealand does education in these sorts of spaces so well. Sophia got her list of fauna and flora to spot whilst exploring, and gosh – did she and Russell get into it. Russell spotted a tīeke (or saddleback), a bird that’s dangerously close to extinction. It was breathtaking.
  • Sunday, we went to the World of WearableArt (WoW) Awards Show. I’m going to quote from their website in an effort to explain what this show is all about:  “Each year, WOW invites designers to create the unimaginable, to challenge the conventional, and defy creative expectations as they make works of art that will be brought to life on a global stage at the annual WOW Awards Show.  For the audience, WOW is a feast for the eyes, where fashion, art and theatre collide.  For the designers, it’s an opportunity to create a work free from commercial restrictions, to go on a creative journey with their peers and to have their talent recognised.” I have it in my head that maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to enter this competition. For now, I watch and take it all in. And I am quietly amazed.
  • I spent the whole day yesterday sewing. It was glorious!
  • And more books!**

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The heavy stuff. (Sorry.)

  • I applied for another position. I didn’t get to the interview stage. I am disappointed. (<quiet sigh> What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t anyone want me to work for them? Is it my skill set? Is it because I’ve not worked in the industry for two years? What? What is it? Why?) Anyway. Moving on. <sigh>
  • It was my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary and dad’s 73rd birthday this week. We couldn’t be there to celebrate with them, and I know we were missed. It’s events like these that make you question your decision to emigrate. Because missing family ‘n friends doesn’t stop being hard. (Also, I came across this thread on Twitter that was strangely triggering because it describes a layer of anxiety that I’ve carried since we decided to emigrate. I wasn’t aware of how uneasy I feel about being an immigrant sometimes.*** It also made me think of my parents, and what it must have been like when they first moved to Jo’burg. Unable to speak English. Being a stranger in a strange land. Having to carve out a life for themselves. It’s no wonder they’re numb and tired. Life was relentless. I appreciate their experience differently now.)

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I often get very grumpy just before I begin menstruating. Turns out, a walk in amongst the trees somehow melted that grumpiness away. It was very noticeable, and therefore a little surprising. Clearly I need the trees.

** Just to clarify – I did not buy all of these books at once. I bought them over a period of maybe three months, because various book sellers had a sale on. 10% to 20% discount is not to be sniffed at!

*** It’s different in NZ in that the resident visa we have allows us to stay indefinitely, but it does have travel restrictions after a certain date. Basically, once that date has passed, you can’t leave NZ if you want to continue living here. What you do have to do is apply for permanent residence. Once you have that, well – horay, you can come and go as you please. Pretty much. Not that we’re going anywhere any time soon. Travelling is pricey given we’re far away from everywhere.

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We had a lot going on last weekend, so blog post didn’t happen. Sorry. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

  • Weekend of the 14th and 15th: a birthday party and a book sale, at which I bought too many cookbooks, and more shopping. For stuff that seemed important at the time… but I can’t remember why now. It made me very tired.
  • Week of the 16th to the 21st: a heavy week of processing, during which I wrote this:
    • I’ve not been feeling particularly ‘vibrant’ and ‘healthy’ for a while, so I’ve let the cleaning of house jobs fall by the wayside. (If Russell wasn’t packing the dishwasher, we’d have a mountain of dishes on the counter. Waiting. I’ve just managed to do laundry and cook a meal maybe twice a week. (Funny, not funny story – Russell is known at the local India restaurant and/ or fish ‘n chip shop  now because he frequents them so often. <cringe>) It’s an interesting source of frustration for me because it goes to show that if I don’t do the housework, or manage the housework… only the bare minimum gets done.  Yes, I know I don’t work a full-time job outside the home (yet). But still. Turns out the family’s threshold for untidiness and mess is a lot higher than mine. So I’m grumpy. (Do people* not see the dust balls in the corner of the bathroom or that the toilet could do with a good clean? Does it not bother them at all? I leave it there, in passive-aggressive protest. Because it feels like it’s become my job, but it’s not a job I want to do all the freakin’ time. Can’t someone else do it for once? Just… take care of it. Yeah?) It looks like we need a system so that the responsibility of who is doing which job, when is clear. If nothing else, it’ll alleviate my mental load. (And sure, I wish it didn’t bother me as much as it does… but I was taught from a young age that the house must be neat and tidy, and I’ve been doing housework every bloody weekend since I was eight years old (pretty much)… it’s a difficult mindset to shake. It’s difficult to lower my expectations. And seriously, why should I?)
    • Responsibility – being able to answer for one’s conduct and obligations; able to choose for oneself between right and wrong. It’s a theme in our household at the moment, yeah. (And here I’m talking about imbuing a sense of responsibility within my child. Because I’m done giving direction. It’s time she took on the mental load.)
    • The shitty part is that my mental load is so heavy, it leaves precious little space for the mental energy that is needed for learning or practicing new skills like pattern construction and sewing – which is what I actually want to be doing. I can’t get to the happy stuff because I’ve got to do the obligatory stuff first. (Apparently.) It’s very upsetting! (People* might be very quick to tell me that I don’t have to do the ‘obligatory stuff’ like housework; in which case – please refer to bullet point one. Seriously. It’s not like I can unsee the dust balls on the bathroom floor.)
    • A friend posted a trailer for a documentary Gray is the New Blonde, and it has got me all riled up, I tell you. All riled up. So. Many. Feelings. Everything from “I’m so tired of the noise that is a woman has look this way or behave in that way to be considered acceptable” to “This was never a thing for me. I don’t know how to be anything else but silver-haired, and I never cared for anyone’s opinion who told me differently”. It feels like polar opposites. Most of my life has been a push-pull between people** (quietly) telling me what I should look like and me being defiant about it all and yet wanting their approval. It’s exhausting. But there is a slow shift happening. The more I explore vintage clothing, the more curious I become about makeup application. My appearance is slowly becoming more about self-care and self-expression. And that’s kinda nice. (A note about a thing that happened this week – Sophia is playing with my makeup. She now has her own lip crayon. I think it’s sweet.)
    • I found this and this, because wanting to know more about feminism. It’s taking a while to process it all so that I can have constructive conversations with people.
  • Sometime during the week: there was indeed a conversation with Russell; during which he pointed out that I find housework degrading. It was a little bit like a slap across the face, because as much as I feel uncomfortable in admitting it, it’s true. I do find housework degrading, probably because it’s not valued… and the people who do it, by extension, are not valued. (Having the conversation was good though… something shifted. I’m less resentful. Now I’m just going to be bossy about it so that it gets done. Probably.)
  • Friday, 21st: we went to Toi Whakaari’s Costume Showcase. (This is the school at which I thought to study costume construction.) Mind. Blown. I couldn’t have a decent conversation with the costumers or the performers wearing the costumes because overwhelm. So we left. And I died a little.
  • Weekend of the 22nd and 23rd: Darton’s Collegium! During which I learnt about the wonders of pad stitching and period sewing techniques for clothing construction, started making a leather bag, tried my hand at making bobbin lace, watched the making of a penannilar brooch from brass rod, and listened to a talk on Viking hats and their decoration. My brain is full.
  • This week:
    • Oh, I dunno. Mostly working with little person and her big emotions and how her big emotions impact on her friendships. (I get an email from her teacher whenever she demonstrates a ‘red light behaviour’ like swearing, spitting, and/ or kicking people in places that hurt a lot. There have been three emails this term. I’m finished.)
    • I realised that I really, really want to pursue a career in clothing something, not instructional design. So we’ll start small… by sewing lots of clothing. And making a spreadsheet of all the amazing places that offer training in costume construction and/ or fashion design. Then I can look at the course outlines, see which one best suits what I want to do, then figure out if studying is the next (big!) step… or if I do this some other way…
    • Also, my CV was put forward for another full-time position as an instructional designer. I know. That doesn’t really work well with (see previous bullet point). But I figure I’ll wait and see. Who knows what will come of it. If anything.

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* and yes, by ‘people’ I mean Russell and Sophia. 😛

** and by ‘people’ I mean my father, an aunt, older female cousins, and/ or society and media at large

I started a 14 day yoga practice this week. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but the idea of going to a class was just. No. So, four days into the practice and this is what I’ve figured out whilst on the mat:

  • Yoga is not easy, but it does offer a choice. I can get rather annoyed with my body because it doesn’t have the strength to do the thing, or I can accept that my body is weak and it’s going to take time to strengthen it. One is a path of frustration, the other is a path of self-compassion. I’m taking the path of self-compassion.
  • I have been thrashing a lot lately. Like. A lot.  For a good two years really. (!)  I’ve been pushing to get an answer to the vexing question: where to from here? Thinking I need to find a job because that would bring us closer to buying a home of our own… or I need to study because the longer I stay at home (doing nothing, supposedly), the harder it’ll be to become a contributing member of society… (you know, with a job and all). None of it feels true. Thing is, I’ve been looking outward for answers. Not inward. So I’m going to look inward now. (I’m following the path of self-compassion, see?) I’m going to give myself permission to find joy in doing and exploring stuff… in dabbling. Because that feels true. Let’s say, for the next year (or so) I make it about exploring. About dabbling. About reconnecting that to happy, quirky person that was engulfed by depression, and then anxiety, all those years ago.
  • The position I applied for has fallen away (companies and their restructuring seems to be a thing in NZ at the moment). And I’m okay with that. Because I have someone in the recruitment world who is keeping a lookout for me… and maybe that’s enough for now. Maybe this harried scouring through job ads, and then vexing over whether or not I should apply, and then figuring out how to sell my skills in such a way that would make people vaguely interested in my application, and… and… It isn’t worth the pain. I think it’s okay to take the foot off the pedal, for now. Because there are other, sexier, cars that need driving.
  • And who knows… maybe Russell mentioning to me that he’d like to go to Shoe School too suddenly gets me all excited and I happen to mention it to a friend who then tells me she’d pay me to make bespoke shoes for her and I suddenly go… oooh. That could be a thing. See how that flowed?  And this same friend shows me her copy of The Vintage Tea Party Book: A Complete Guide to Hosting your Perfect Party, and I’m buzzing with excitement. Because OH MY GOSH – how awesome is this book? SO MUCH EYE CANDY. Imagine having a party or two like this. Imagine?! I think it would be ridiculously fun. (And I need fun.) And tai chi… after my yoga class, I had the urge to look into tai chi again. Because I remember how soothing it was. And I miss it. I miss the connection… I do. I miss it. So much…
  • The thing that seems very clear at the moment is a desire to learn and to make. Perhaps I need to follow that… without questioning or desperately wanting to know what the end game is. Just… follow the little nudges from within. See what happens. See how it all unfolds…
  • It’s Monday. Friday’s blog post had to wait because wedding! We were on our way to Hawera for Brett and Razia’s wedding on Saturday. I say it like everyone should know who they are, and of course you don’t. So… Brett and Russell are mates. He got married. We went along for the celebration. And what a happy celebration it was too! Weddings make me warm on the inside because it reminds me of our nuptials… and how Russell and I have walked together for a good 16 years now. It’s nice.
  • Sunday saw us going up Mount Taranaki. Because why not? Sophia got to play in the snow. And the view was quite breathtaking. It was a spontaneous little adventure, which has reminded us that there’s still so much of New Zealand to see. We really should just go on random road trips. They’re surprisingly cheerful.
  • Whilst having brunch at Ngati Ruanui Stratford Mountain House, just before our ascent began, I noticed a print on the wall*. Point 44 was especially poignant, considering how perplexed I’m feeling about next steps. It was… reassuring.

Wisdom

  • About next steps: I discovered CreativeLive.com last week. It’s basically a learning platform for creatives, so their content is very much focused on making and the business of making. Considering I’m toying with the idea of starting some sort of sewing/ dressmaking/ costuming business of my own (maybe? possibly? because finding part time employment is hard… and best I do something in the meanwhile? and it would link in nicely to studying fashion design or costume design?), this was a wonderful discovery because I have questions… and it looks like they might have some answers. Even if they don’t, learning about the basics of photography is exciting. Now I just need to get comfortable with the idea that it’s okay to take time to learn new skills without having an end goal in mind…
  • And I signed up for an eight week programme on energy medicine with Donna Eden. Because my mind-body-spirit connection feels ‘broken’, and this may help to ‘fix’ it.
  • And now I’m going to have a bit of a lie down. I received news this morning that Tío Américo passed away yesterday from a heart attack. He’s my uncle on my mother’s side, and whilst I never met him, I am heartbroken for my mother. Because she’s lost her brother. And the last time they saw each other was 20 years ago… And it makes me realise, painfully, that this living in a different country to that of your immediate family is just… hard. Because we miss so much. I’m missing my brother’s building a beautiful relationship… missing my niece growing up… missing my sister… missing my parents. It’s just… hard. In among all the things… it’s just… hard.

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* It turns out, by a rather serendipitous turn of events, that I later found out who the artist is. I bought a copy of Good magazine for the trip home, and there, on the last page, was the print. And the artist’s name – Paul Rangiwahia.

  • I went to bed late last night because I was sorting LEGO. (Yes, the Great LEGO Codification continues.) Point is, I’m tired today. I do not function well on five hours of sleep. I tend to go quiet. And this is not altogether a bad thing. Because going quiet sometimes makes space for small epiphanies.
  • Small epiphany one: I don’t have to ‘fight’ anxiety, I can ease into it. More often than not, I picture exposure therapy as being these bursts of painful anxiety that needs to be managed whilst going to a new place. After discussing my trip into Wellington with my homeopath/ counselor, I came to realise that it can also be a gentle discovery of a place, and sitting with the anxiety that might (or might not?) present itself. It’s a very different approach, because the motivation to go out and about is not focused on overcoming the expected anxiety (which feels a lot like work), but rather on exploring, on being curious, on being delighted (which feel a lot more like joyous wonder). I can change my perspective on anxiety. Stop seeing it as a battle. Start seeing it as a travel companion.
  • Small epiphany two: I need to get comfortable with being ‘idle’ or doing ‘frivolous’ things, partly as a means of self-care and partly just because (and why not?). See, my childhood was centered around going to school, cleaning the house on Saturday, going to church on Sunday and then lunch at family or having family over. So, work. Or duty. Or being on my best behaviour all the time. Basically. Having fun for the sake of having fun was discouraged. (Because life is serious, don’t you know!) The housework had to be done first. The homework had to be done first. Play (self-care?) happened after the work was done. As an adult, taking time out for myself feels wrong. Just. Wrong. Which sucks, because my parenting of Sophia is so stressful most of the time. (I feel like I’m either directing her by giving her instructions or I’m nagging her a lot of the time.) I’m the grumpy mommy. <sad face> I don’t want to be the grumpy mommy. And yet… I don’t want her to be a slob.
  • Small epiphany three: in stark contrast to indulging in frivolity perhaps, I also need structure in my life. By structure, I mean I think it’s time I set some goals. Perhaps that will focus, what feels like, the chaos that is my day to day living. The drudgery I fall into from day to day.
  • The happy stuff: we went to an SCA event over the weekend. It was nice. Sophia enjoyed a boffer tournament and archery, and generally hanging out with other kids. Russell and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, chopping and getting nom-nom food cooked. I felt… productive. And we made a new friend or two. (And I can confirm that Russell is a lot more of a social being than I am! He chats. A lot. It’s nice seeing him in that space. His eyes shine and he smiles a lot more. He’s very handsome when he’s laughing. <goofy grin> And Sophia, bless her cotton socks, enjoys the independence; the freedom to play. (Read: being away from grumpy, controlling mommy.)
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Sophia on left. Russell on right. Post boffer tourney. Little people chase barons.

 

(Wherein I spiral somewhat uncontrollably into a puddle of self loathing. If this is not your cup of tea, then please, look away.*)

Today is Wednesday. (So yes, this is not my usual Friday post. The reason why will become apparent in a bit, I’m sure.) I spent Monday and Tuesday in bed. Because migraine and general exhaustion. I do feel physically better today. Emotionally and mentally, not so much. Let’s just say there’s a lot that I’m processing.

  • I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the reason why I chose to apply for a job, mostly because I’ve not heard anything back from the recruitment agency and, although one would think I’d be feeling excited about the possibility of going back to full time work, I’m not. I’m quite relieved that there isn’t any movement either way. Relieved because I don’t know that I can face an interview at the moment (because exhausted and my heart just isn’t in it, and my cold sore has turned into a nasty scab… and a nasty scab on the lip doesn’t exactly make for a self confident me at an interview.) So. Basically, relieved. I applied for the position because I felt like I needed to do something (anything!). I feel like I’m wasting away at home, being a housewife. Mostly because I suck at being a housewife. My work doesn’t feel important or… purposeful. No one really gives a damn if the laundry is done or not, or if there’s a nutritionally balanced meal on the table. There are days when I  feel like I could disappear and no one would notice, at least not for a while. So my thinking turns to an imaginary picture of me pointing at a thing I’ve made (and someone has paid for) and me saying to anyone who cares to listen: “Look, I made this thing. It serves a purpose. It is of value. And by extension, I am of value.”
  • I was taught that, to be of value, you need to be making money somehow. And because I’m not making money… well… I’m of no value. I was also taught that making space for exploring ideas and a new direction is indulgent. (No one has time for that. You need to be working, and earning money!) Anything less is frivolous… or downright lazy. (I didn’t say these were good lessons. I just said it’s what I was taught. It’s difficult to shake off thinking that’s so deeply ingrained.)
  • So here I am… spending money on books and online courses because I want to go in a totally different direction and my head is telling me it’s frivolous because I’m not earning the money that buys the books and the online courses. And then I feel shame. Because I don’t know where this will take me. I can’t… justify it. I just know that I’m happy when exploring fashion history, clothing construction and all things fibre and/ or textile. But being happy doing it doesn’t pay the bills… and I don’t know that it ever will. I’m looking for certainty that can’t be found.
  • For a while there, I was thinking the SCA** could be a vehicle for exploring clothing history and construction, and the ‘frivolity’ of it wouldn’t matter because the SCA is a hobby, right? A thing you do for fun. It’s not meant to be ridiculously serious. It is meant to be a place where you’re encouraged to learn, to recreate.  But I don’t know anymore. The SCA is so much bigger here… we’re exposed to so much more of the politics. And it’s not fun at the moment, not really.*** It’s just… heavy. Add to that, my own insecurities about what I (haven’t) achieved over the years in the SCA… and… well… it’s all just so heavy. We are going to an SCA event this weekend, but still. Heavy.
  • I want to be good at something. Right now, everything feels like I’m starting at ground zero. EVERYTHING. I feel downright stupid. Going back into instructional design was an idea born out of wanting to feel like I didn’t have to start at ground zero. Like I actually knew something. Like I could make a worthwhile contribution with that something. But now I just feel like I’m going in the wrong direction… again… and that’s… a little heartbreaking.

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* and I suddenly think of the theme tune to A Series of Unfortunate Events. Sorry. I know, it’s catchy.

** Society for Creative Anachronism

*** January 2018 saw #Trimgate (the infamous Caid Swaztika Incident), and more recently #IStandWithDavius. If you really want to delve into the politics, here’s a place to start. This article gave me some clarity around the feelings behind #Trimgate, and a way of navigating my own emotions around the situation. But still. Being new to a group is hard enough… being confronted with the realisation that the society you’ve invested so much time, energy, and money into isn’t what you thought it was (i.e. a place where everyone can stand) is a hard pill to swallow. I see the world through rose-tinted glasses for the most part, and I suppose I’m naive to the hatred that’s out there. So when I’m confronted with it… well… yeah. Heavy.

Sorry people. I feel a little like death warmed up, so this will be short.

  • The heading to this post will give you a clue – I have a cold sore. Thing is, I generally don’t get cold sores unless the body is VERY. RUN. DOWN. And I am feeling very run down. The ‘feel-like-you’ve-been-swimming-the-English-Channel-in-a-heavy-cotton-floor-length-nightgown-and-you’re-a-lousy-swimmer-to-begin-with-so-what-possessed-you-to-do-this-?’ sort of run down. And I can’t quite understand why. I mean, looking at my life, I have it easy. So… why?
  • Part of it, I think, was the process of going to the interview last week. That was a big deal because I broke my glass ceiling. The getting down and just doing it took a lot more out of me than I thought. I’m thinking that 15 years ago my anxiety would explode there and then, and I’d be done with it once I’d recovered from the fright-flight-freeze response. Now, my anxiety seems to implode and I get a cold sore (because run down body) a week later. Nice, eh? Still… exploding is harder to deal with than imploding, so I’ll take the cold sore. (As long as I can moan about it too!)
  • Perhaps I should elaborate on the ‘glass ceiling’. Things have shifted since the interview in that stuff doesn’t feel as scary anymore. Sure, I might have an anxious response to some things, but it feels more do-able now. Like I can manage somehow. And that’s a good thing. (Either that, or I’m just numb. Too tired to care, in a way.)
  • Also, I haven’t heard anything back about a possible interview as yet, nor am I too concerned about it. I’m still in two minds about whether or not full time work is right for me. I suspect it is not, and a 32 hour work week would be better. Part time work could also be an option.
  • I’m also finding that, although I do enjoy instructional design, I like learning and making more. The idea of giving up time to do full time work, that could otherwise be spent on making, is depressing. Which tells me something. Perhaps the path that leads to making is the path I should be taking… even if it means I’m not earning a salary for quite some time still. I’m just not confident in the next step. But the frustration of not taking a step is all the more annoying. I just… don’t know where to start. But start I must. Somewhere. ANY. WHERE. <sad face> <shrug>
  • More books! I have acquired more books, of the costuming kind. With the imminent publication of Patterns of Fashion 5 in October (!), I decided that getting my collection of Janet Arnold’s books up to date was in order. And, whilst I was shopping, I found a copy of Elizabeth Friendship’s Creating Historical Cloths.* It’s all so exciting because, besides the obvious glorious exploration of period garment construction, these patterns might just be the perfect size (as is) for doll’s clothing! Right? Right? Look! Look at these beauties!

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  • Sadly, I haven’t had the time to start my course in doll making because things escalated rather quickly this week! The applying for a position turned into an interview with a senior consultant from the recruitment agency who placed the advert. Whilst the interview went well, I am having feelings about it all. What if I do get to the point where I’m offered full time employment? Then what? There would be things to organise, is what! There are the practical matters, mostly revolving around managing a household and seeing to a little person’s needs, that would require some rearranging. I know in my heart of hearts that it’s all perfectly do-able… I’m just… hesitant… because… it feels like a lot of pressure to perform. I honestly don’t know if I can do it all. It would, of course, be an interesting test to see how we manage our household and our relationships if I were to go back to school. I suppose, if we can manage me working full time, we can manage me going back to school. Either way, I’d be absent. Unavailable. And that, somehow, leaves a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. Like I’m somehow… failing as a caregiver…?
  • I’m also feeling uneasy about the things I’d have to give up if I return to full time work – things like the happy socialising with friends at school pickup whilst Sophia enjoys some play time on the school grounds, or the luxury of time to consider the making of things, as well as the actual making of things. I have so many sewing projects in the pipeline, a doll making course to do… all the museums I want to visit (but don’t…). What if there’s no time and energy for that if I go back to full time work? It makes me a little sad.
  • Of course, there’s the upside to being employed – one earns a salary** and one can do good work. Both build the self-esteem and a sense of purpose and value and all those good things. (I mean, there’s nothing to say that I will get full time work. We’re in the ‘submit CV to client, wait to hear if they’d like to interview me’ stage with this application. Still. I’m strangely apprehensive about it all. I thought I’d be a lot more… well… excited.)
  • I am patting myself on the back a little though. Because, once I’d agreed to the interview, I was able to observe my anxiety instead of being overwhelmed by it. Make no mistake, there was the tightness of chest that needed purposeful breathing to relax, and there was the urge to cancel because the idea of going into Wellington on the train, by myself, and then walking to the recruitment agency’s office was very big. Like, scary big. But I did it. Russell helped me with directions, I had a look see on Google Maps to get a sense of the place, and I prepared the best I could. And then I did it.  Buster Moon*** is right.

Buster: Meena, what’s wrong? Are you okay?

Meena: I… I can’t move. I’m… I’m terrified.

Buster: Give me your hand, kid. Okay, deep breaths. Deep breaths, and remember what I told you. You will not feel afraid anymore if you just start singing.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m moving beyond my anxiety and panic enough. Enough to show up in the world. And that’s… encouraging? ****

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* Of course, now that I have this book, I want the other books authored by Elizabeth Friendship – Pattern Cutting for Men’s Costume and Making Working Women’s Costume – Patterns for Clothes from the Mid-15th to Mid-20th Centuries. Because it’s all so interesting.

**  which in turn makes the possibility of (a) accumulating enough pennies for a deposit on a house and (b) going back to school, without worrying about student fees, more real.

*** Buster Moon – the koala in Sing?

**** Russell tells me I’ve understated this experience. And I suppose I have. It was harder than I make it out to be… and that’s the point. I’m tired. Managing anxiety is hard, but it is worth it. I’m starting to understand how my experience of anxiety now is very different to my experience of it 15 years ago. Very different. It’s almost bearable now.

  • I was so wrapped up in writing a covering letter for a job application that I almost forgot today is Friday, and therefore blogging day. Sorry. It is done now – the job application, I mean. My general feeling is one of “Yes, I can do this job and I can do it well.”, and yet there’s the sense of “Let it out into the world, but don’t get your hopes up too high.” Yes, I decided to apply for positions for instructional designers. Mostly because I still find the work of vocational training to be fascinating. And why not? Why not earn some pennies whilst I figure out where to from here?
  • Do I still want to go into costume design? Sure. But it seems like such a lofty idea that I can’t picture myself doing it… not yet. There are *so* many people doing *amazing* costume design. I’m a little terrified of putting my work out there because… well… they’ve got skills! Me… not so much.
  • I can tell you though, I’m working on making some more medieval clothing for Sophia. Just a cloak this time. I hope she likes it. I have grand plans of doing some embroidery around the edges. That would be nice. And I might make me a Kappa (a Sweddish Viking women’s kaftan jacket type thing). And Russell would like a Birka kaftan. So… plenty of opportunity to practice.
  • Other than that, I went a little crazy buying patterns. Because I actually found two patterns for rather lovely dresses, with side pockets (!), and in a plus size (i.e. the pattern includes sizing for a DD cup size). This is amazing because most commercial patterns for women are drafted assuming you’re a B cup. And thin. I am not these things, people. No. I am not.
  • Other than that, I’m going to curl up on the bed for half an hour. Because I am *very tired*. I really don’t do well on six hours sleep.

 

 

  • You know how when you were in primary school? (Or was it high school? I forget. It doesn’t matter. Anyway. So.) Remember how the PE teacher thought it would be fun to do an obstacle course? But you, being awkward in body, struggled with the climbing of things… because no upper body strength? You kinda just dangled at the bottom of the rope, looking up? Arms screaming with fatigue? That feeling of trying so hard, but getting absolutely  no where? Yeah. That feeling. That’s my worldview for this week. I. AM. TIRED.
  • I took Sophia into town on Tuesday*. It was not fun. Not for me anyway. Sophia was fine, fabulous actually. Me, no. Not so much. My sympathetic nervous system was shot by bed time. I don’t feel up to going into the minutia of what happened, because that requires energy I simply don’t have. But, needless to say, looking at it in hindsight, it was nothing serious. Except it felt very serious at the time, and the body believed it was in the throws of death! It wasn’t. Really. It wasn’t. It just felt like it was. Bloody body. ANYway. I’d like to end this point on a positive note saying: ‘Yay, I went into the center of town with Sophia, and I didn’t die.’
  • I’ve spent time on low-key, does-not-require-much-brain activities for much of the week – like sorting LEGO. Or rather, making copies of all the part lists because I want to inventory all the LEGO before it gets sorted. Why, God, do I do this to myself? (Because you like order, little one. Because you like order. Yup.)
  • On the up side. You know how I put off doing the #52recipes thing because we’re trying (very hard… so very hard…)** to follow the I Quit Sugar 8 Week Program? Turns out I skipped a few recipes last time I followed the program in 2015. So here’s three contributions to my 52 recipes:
    • Paleo Chicken Schnitzel with Sweet Potato Fries – sweet potato fries are now a thing in our household. And Brussels sprouts are actually kinda okay if you drown them in a cheese sauce.
    • Juicy Jerk Chicken with Easy Slaw – ground allspice and cinnamon make a remarkably good rub for roasting chicken. Positively medieval. ***
    • One-Pan Sweet Potato + Quinoa Pilaf – happiness in a bowl. Easy to prepare and very nom nom.
  • Last week I bleated on about my feeling like I need to brush up on my skills with tools frequently used by instructional designers if I’m ever going to feel confident enough to apply for jobs in that area. Turns our Udemy had a sale on, so I bought me some tutoring on Articulate Storyline and Acrobate InDesign. Boom. Sorted. Now I just needs to get some trial software and I can start putting together a course of some kind. Maybe something in costume design? <eyes sparkling> Ooooooh.
  • There’s a lot of things coming into my life that encourage the making of textiles and/ or clothing, and it is good. Hopefully, if the stars align, I shall be collecting a loom this weekend. And another spinning wheel. Can you imagine it? Sophia and I, sitting in the sun, spinning on our spinning wheels. I like it.

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* because we’ve signed her up for extra math lessons

** except we’re not. I blame I Love Baking’s Ginger Ninja Cookies. They’re so good.

*** I mean that in a nice way. English medieval cooking uses a lot of spices on meat. It’s weird by modern western cooking convention, but tasty.