Archives for posts with tag: progress

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  1. Pretty much everything you think you know for certain, you don’t.
  2. Plan pee breaks, know where the nearest toilet is…at all times.
  3. My waist is becoming a distant memory.
  4. The amount of fucks I give is rapidly declining; at the same rate my waistline is expanding.
  5. Never deny yourself pleasure. Eat. Drink. Being skinny does not feel as good as real Italian pizza tastes, or fresh sushi, bacon sandwiches, picanha with soy and wasabi. Devour everything.
  6. The internet is dangerous for bored husbands with mobile phones and penis in hand…
  7. Dick pics are rarely enticing.
  8. Don’t try and change people. Everyone tells their own tale, we craft our own narratives, become characters in our own stories. If their reality is different to your version, let them keep it.
  9. Never stop being a kid. Once in a while sing, play, build nests and forts, jump around and laugh until you cry.
  10. My teeth are divorcing, the distance between them is so great, whole sirloin steaks can be found in the crevices. Toothpicks loiter in all my handbags
  11. When you have heard all their stories, if you are not making any new ones…it’s time to move on.
  12. You are as beautiful, sexy, alluring or desirable as you want to be, this does not come from outside. Radiate you, give a giant fuck off to anyone who doesn’t get it.
  13. You can move across the world, twice, and still find kindred spirits, good hearts and wise women.
  14. An early night in your own bed is a moment of pure pleasure.
  15. ‘Just stick it anywhere’ is not a romantic phrase to hear in a tender shared moment.
  16. Never, never, Google your symptoms. Inevitably it will say cancer, then you will have to spend the next hour panicking and further couple of hours reassuring yourself you are not dying.
  17. Your friends will have children who are adults, how is this possible when we all still need to grow up?
  18. Dating is not a game, it’s a procedure.
  19. You have definitely heard it all before.
  20. People may say you are an inspiration or a role model. You remember the time you slipped over in your own vomit after too much red wine and keep quiet…
  21. Travel is wonderful exhilarating and exciting but you can afford comfort over authenticity.
  22. Do not be afraid to be seen, be judged, be stupid, fuck up, fall over, all you need to do is get up and smile.
  23. Sing. Loudly.
  24. Inhabit the body you have, not the body you think you should have. Touch the sides.
  25. No more waiting, the time is now.
  26. There are people in your life who have grown older alongside you, and these are precious gems.
  27. You will experience loss and you can survive it.
  28. The excesses of youth do catch up with you, recovery times are increased, at times I feel like my body is angry with me, I am ever grateful it never gave up on me, despite the abuses.
  29. There are some people you have to let go.
  30. And some that go but stay with you forever
  31. Manage your expectations, be content with the reality of people and not the projection of what you wish they could be.
  32. You will know the meaning of perimenopausal and start to look out for ‘changes’.
  33. Don’t blame others for the consequences of your choices, own it, overcome it and hope to choose better next time.
  34. Vigorous dancing, especially jumping, can result in a little leakage…
  35. Don’t let this stop you jumping and dancing, a life without leaping is a life half lived.
  36. Fear is fading fast, I am no longer as afraid, it is not courage, it’s survival.
  37. There is still so much wonderful music you haven’t heard.
  38. Create, create, create and surround yourself with creative people, this is the real life force.
  39. Avoid people who want to change you.
  40. Avoid people who want more than you can give.
  41. Spend time with people who know and love you exactly as you are.
  42. Birthdays matter less but always take the opportunity to celebrate.
  43. Age ain’t nothing but a number baby

Failure pushed me to Brazil. After 5 years of hard work SEN progress in my school was deemed unsatisfactory. I was reassured by kind colleagues, the reasons for the decision, it wasn´t my fault, hundreds of kind and supportive words. But I couldn´t agree. Firstly, I felt that the pupils were making progress. I could see it, I could feel it. Secondly, I felt responsible, despite the kindness of my colleagues, and the reassurances of friends. So I cried, put on more black eyeliner and looked at jobs abroad.

In the UK education system progress is constantly checked and judged. A pupil, a teacher, a school is seen as a failure if there is a lack of progress. I want to move forward, I want to change and progress. However, we can be labeled ´unsatisfactory´ or sometimes ‘Special Needs’ when we fail to meet external criteria. When we don´t meet expectations.  When we don´t follow ´normal ´patterns of behavior. My issue is not with progress but how we measure it.

My progress through life could be considered unsatisfactory if judged by certain criteria.

1. I’m fat. I’m not a size 10-12. I weigh at least 3 stone more than is considered socially acceptable. I don’t mind because I’m happy and I get to eat a lot of cheese.

2. I am one of lifes non-drivers. I can’t drive. I don’t own a car. I don’t expect to own one and I won’t measure my self esteem based on engine size or type of gear box.

3. I don’t own a property; I don’t want to buy a house. The thought of having to fix a boiler fills me with such dread I have to go and eat more cheese.

4. I’m not married; sometimes I don’t even have a partner. I enjoy spending time on my own; I chose to spend time on my own. Not because I have nothing else to do but because I enjoy my own company.

So, I am a fat, lonely, cheese eating, bus taking, tenant. But, my life doesn’t feel ‘unsatisfactory’ or ‘D’ grade. It doesn’t feel like a failure. I have a job I love, which has carried me 5000 miles across the world to a South American adventure. I have fantastic friends who are intelligent, funny, supportive and kind. Plus I am continually meeting new intelligent, funny, supportive and kind people. I write, I read, I laugh, I cry, I look, I listen, I am happy. I can see my progress.

I have been in Brazil for 9 months. I remember arriving, I was terrified. I clearly recall waking up that first morning jet lagged, wrung dry from emotion and the sadness of leaving. I was too frightened to leave the apartment. I peered down from my 19th floor balcony to the Brazilian street below. I had to force myself out to explode the world, the world that is now safe and familiar. As I walk home from work each day now, stopping to buy the things I need, fully functioning in my new life, I see my progress. Judging by my criteria (very simple: are you still here?) I think I´m doing pretty well.

If I’m in a lesson which I know OFSTED would call ‘unsatisfactory’ because I am ‘only’ reading to the class, is it a failure? I dismiss their criteria for success. I see 30 faces looking up in rapt awe, entangled in the narrative, entranced by the characters, living in the story. When the bell rings and nobody moves, as I hear a sigh of disappointment when I close the book. When I see the true and genuine joy and pleasure in the communication, in the connection. In this moment when we share an understanding of the real value of language as it binds us together as human beings. Is this unsatisfactory?

It feels as though we are living in a reductive world, constantly looking at what we have failed to achieve. I haven’t managed to lose a stone, go to the gym, save money, learn to drive, buy a big house. The pupils, who haven’t managed to get a C grade, make two levels of progress, get their attendance above 90%, complete homework on time, read a book, finish school or avoid exclusion. What has happened to the celebration of success? Why can’t we look at what we have achieved rather than what we have ‘failed’ to do. Progress should be about seeking out the movements forward no matter how small or insignificant they seem. I refuse to waste any more of my life lamenting what I have failed to achieve. I am here, I am happy, that is enough.

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