When the words just won’t come

Writing

I have been wanting to write a post all week but something has got in the way. I have topics I want to write about. I’ve even had the time to write. But, for some strange reason, something is stopping me.

Even now, as I start to type, I am fighting the feeling that is trying to get me to stop. It’s hard.

I remember how easily the words came when I first began to blog. They flowed from me in pages and the only way I needed to push myself was by pressing publish. But now they stammer and stall.

I can still feel them there, hear them form. I long to set them free but something still seems to stop me. I’m so unsure.

So I force them out. Clumsy and ill-crafted they take their shape on the page until I find myself here. Far from happy with these words but here all the same. Here and hoping that this is not the end.

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The Writer

Writing

It’s the early hours of the morning and the house is near silent and very still. She sits dressed in an oversized jumper and a blanket in the dark. Her face is illuminated by the blue glow of her own words on the white screen. Her features are highlighted and her flaws are exposed.

The words have been pouring for a while now. She couldn’t stop them if she tried. Sometimes she wondered what would happen if she did. And then she remembers.

This time alone with them is when she loves them best but they never leave her. They follow her around out in to the rest of the world and she finds them forming and making their presence felt in spite of herself. She has learnt to listen.

As she takes in their shape on the screen, she questions where they came from. Are they even true?

My love of lyrics

Uncategorized

I have been a lover of lyrics for as long as I can remember. One of those girls who took the words of a song and went with them; no matter how vacuous, I would make meaning and live by their message. Or try, at least.

At school, my contact book was covered in songs scribbled alongside the names of boys who were breaking my heart that week. As if the words would provide an answer to the problems my life was starting to pose.

I was a fan of the music – the beat, the base, the melody – but that’s not what held my heart.

You see, words are what it’s all about for me. Whilst the opening bars of a song can conjure up a memory to make you smile, well written words play out like poetry. Like a mirror, they help you see. Parts of yourself that are raw, desperately needing nurturing or even waiting patiently to be exposed are presented in the words of another and and you realise that you are no longer alone.

Words I want you to read…

Uncategorized, Writing

So it happened again. Just when I needed a little blogging motivation, I got some! Last week the very kind Inspiring Max took time to let me know that they are enjoying the words I write. And it felt good. Of course it did! So here I am to say a big thank you, to let you know a little more about me and, in turn, to share the words of those writers I love to read.

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Seven Facts About Me

1. I hate and love change in equal measures. I spend my days dreaming and playing out in my head a fictional future but dread doing anything new. I know I should live in the moment but I just wish I knew how.

2. I wear matching underwear. Always.

3. I binge on books. I can devour them in hours for day after day and then not read a word in weeks.

4. Blogging was much easier before I knew my mum was a reader. I don’t really share anything she doesn’t know already. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t mind if I did. However, as I write, I read it back through her eyes and, being a mum myself, know all too well that your child’s words can unintentionally harm. That aside, hi Mum!

5. Colouring in equals therapy. I should find time to do it more often.

6. I cannot spell. I couldn’t spell at school. In the days of handwritten essays I could spell a word incorrectly at the start of the page, correctly in the middle and get it wrong again by the end. In the days of google and predictive text I haven’t had to finish spelling a word in years. I teach English.

7. People probably like me more than I like myself. Or more than I deserve. I really am very lucky really.

My Nominations (or blogs I think you should take the time to check out because they really are quite wonderful!)

Earlier in the summer, I was first nominated for this by Tempest Rose at Nonsense & Shenanigans and her words really are awesome.

After that nomination I took some time to find some other writers I really enjoyed and, although not the full fifteen, these are fast becoming my new favourites…

heels not required offers warm words and super shots of her very wearable wardrobe.

I love This 20-Somethin’ Life especially this powerful post

The Bippity Boppity Beautiful Blog offers an eclectic mix of pretty things to make you think.

Just A Small Town Girl offers super strong words on a range of subjects as wide as you might wish to imagine.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do and if you want to get involved find the guidelines (I love that, I can’t get along with ‘rules’) below…

Thank and link to the person who nominated you.

Display the guidelines and the award.

Share seven facts about yourself.

Nominate 15 other blogs and comment on their posts to let them know you have nominated them.

Proudly display the award on your blog and follow the person who nominated you (optional).

What to do when your child uses the F word

Family

I worry far too much about the damage I do to my daughter. Or maybe I don’t worry enough. Or maybe I worry in spite of the fact that the things I worry about won’t be the things she will spend her twenties (and thirties…maybe her fourties…even beyond?) carrying around with her and fighting to let go of and instead these will be some other thing I did to try to save her from myself. Or herself. Who knows? All I know is I want to protect her from it all.

An impossible task.

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Her father and I spend lots of time discussing the language we use with her and around her. After some training at work he became a huge advocate of mindset thinking and took from this that I should ban the word clever (something I say all the time) in favour of telling her that she succeeds because she tries hard. I can see the sense here. However, we then spent the weekend using this phase to a ridiculous degree in regards to any minor success she had. Even she started to look at us as though we were crazy. And in secret I still told her what a clever girl she was. I can’t help myself. I think she needs to know.

But what good does all our worry and concern do? She learnt all too quickly to speak of selfies and emails and characters in shows I have never sat down with her to watch. It’s a big, bad world out there and she’s been taking it all in.

And then she said something shocking.

“Look at Mummy’s fat tummy!”

Aside from being a little offended (ok, I was carrying a few post holiday pounds), I instantly began to worry. Where had she learnt that word? Does she know what it really means?

Since becoming a mother, and in turn a feminist, I have worked hard (and evidently failed) to discuss people in regards to their value as a person rather than their external appearance. I have spent a lot of time (and money!) working on my own sense of self worth so I can be a positive role model as my daughter grows up.

I have VERY strong feelings about this particular F word.

Sadly, I know my partner does too.

And I know that knowing the word in itself is not the terrible thing. Being the person I am, upon hearing this I then ran my mind though the books I read with her; Fat Cat (a story about a large cat nobody realised is about to give birth) was the first title I came to before I’d even got to character names, traits, themes,messages or the other places I thought this word might be hiding.

Now you may think I am paranoid (and you are right, I am), but there was something in the way she said it that told me she knew that this word had the power to hurt. My mind raced and I pictured decades of scars. This was then reinforced when, whilst having a tantrum, she called her father fat too.

And this is why I worry.

Despite my care and concern about the words I use, she has picked up on something greater. She has seen the power and fear of this word elsewhere. Our bathroom scales. My sidewards glances into shop windows. And what else has she learnt whilst watching me ‘get ready’ each morning?

I can’t save her from the words, they are out there. She doesn’t even need to search.

But can I give her the tools, the thinking, to fight the fear when everything else suggests it is a battle that can’t be won?

Wise words

Family, Love, Uncategorized

Somewhere at the start of my twenties I broke into the stale shell of a Chinese fortune cookie and read these words;

Time, nature and patience are the three great healers.

And I was lonely and in need of healing and those words spoke to me. They seemed to make sense. And I folded the slip of paper, sipped my complimentary Baileys and tucked them safely in to my purse.

I carried them with me. I carried them with me on good days and bad. I carried them with me to work. They were there when I was proud and determined and positive. They were there when I was tired and bored. I took them with me when I travelled. Nestled in my hand luggage they bypassed passport control and went straight through security. They were there on nights out. As I waited at the bar they rested alongside my lipgloss and listened in to the girly chat. They were there with me at 3am in the bedroom of a stranger. They were there on first dates and on last. They saw it all. I carried them with me closely and cast my eyes over their italic font again and again and again. I forgot about their presence. I forgot about the pain. They were a constant; solid and safe. They were there all day, everyday.

I thought the words were guiding me. Time was on my side. Time kept passing me by. I felt a bit better. I went outside. I walked. I breathed in the fresh air. And I waited. And waited. And waited still.

Then today I took this picture;

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My daughter proudly holding high her first strawberry. Planted weeks ago by her own fair hand, she has checked on them daily, each time turning to me to say firmly, ‘Not yet.’

I have no idea where the words from the fortune cookie have ended up. I can’t remember the meal where I acquired them. Who I was with or why I was there. I laugh that I chose to keep them.

But I see those words in her smile. I understand them. And I know that a part of me has been healed.

Powerful words

Teaching

Reading and writing are a big part of my life. As an English teacher, I spend my days (well, 2/7!) teaching teenagers the skills for understanding and analysing texts and using words to suit the purpose of their writing and effect their readers in certain ways. And I hoped that with it I would share a love of language and help them to see just how powerful words can be. But I have clearly got it very wrong!

Writing here the last two days I have realised just how much I love to do it. Truly love it. It makes me come alive inside and I am learning more and more about myself with every word I type. I have barely stopped thinking about it. I love the release. I love the escape. I love the self indulgence. I love breaking the rules. I love sticking to them. I love the responses. I love the black and white certainly of my posts and being able to have the last word. Every time I put virtual pen to virtual paper I realise I love doing it just a little bit more.

And I realise now why nothing I do in my lessons ever makes my students feel this way.

I tell them what to read. I tell them what I want them to write about it. I give them topics. And titles. I tell them how long to write for. I give them the rules for success (and, in turn, failure) and spend countless hours telling them how to make their writing better in my detailed marking. And yes, I am familiar with a whole range of strategies for how I should be engaging and enthusing students in my classes and use them at every available opportunity. I would ever consider that one of my strengths!

But it is never like this.

At school I was always aware of my own poor spelling. It never really held me back but even today I am overly conscious of it. It made me cautious and scared and even today it is one of the first things I share with my classes; I hate writing on the whiteboard as a direct result because I just know I will spell something wrong. Now, I am good at English but imagine if I wasn’t. How hard must it be to try something new if all the rules are telling you that you will get it wrong?

But here it is different. Here the words are free. I write what I want. I write for who I want. I write about what I want. No one knows the rules so no one can judge me against them. I decide.

I want my students to feel the way I feel when I write this; powerful.

Maybe words are just the beginning. Maybe they are becoming my own keys to open the locks, to break the rules and make the changes to become how I want to be.