Writing for the most exciting audience

“Day 9 of my 110 days of practicing being more courageous” Project

I know I will one day become a published author and I have been sifting through my interest treasure chest wondering what sort of books I really want to write. I noticed that I have been captivated by children writers for a while now and I happen to be doing a lot of reading children books with my toddler at the moment and I marvel upon the skill these writers seem to have to capture the young minds. And I want that.

Yesterday as I drove to Uni to pick up my ID, I stumbled upon Mariella Frostrup on Times radio as she interviewed Malorie Blackman a genius, prolific writer of children’s books.

Upon asking her why she wrote for children, Malorie said, she prefers to write for children and teens cause they are inquisitive and challenge the conventional.

Like most writers, she stressed that she is that type of writer who was shaped by her background and environment and the love of reading pushed her to becoming a writer.

 I too find myself wanting to  to be such a writer who will  relish any challenge and  write things that scare  me and even  controversial at times as long as it opens  up more conversation. This would definitely include race, equality and gender issues.

 When asked about why she is always playing the race card.  Malorie’s beautiful answer was “…because I am always dealt this card all the time ”So true!

I too find that my white colleagues and adults friends by virtue of the colour of my skin, tend to bring race up all the time. I suppose perhaps it’s fascinating for them to want to know how it feels like to live in my skin and world! But I have noticed that children who notice (not all notice that  I am different by the wqy) are ever so curious too but go further and ask those awkward questions freely and innocently  yet some even want to feel and touch or play with my hair. I find this very interesting and definitely I am interested in dispelling some of the myths that shroud my being Black.

I concur  again with Malorie that when asked a question such as how she views her life in the whole scheme of things as compared to other people, It’s very hard to compare your life with other people cause only you have lived your life.

I think growing up too, albeit in Africa, I realised that quite early that in all the children’ classics  children’s fairy tales, princesses and princes that looked like me did not exist and I seemed not to be there in the books. I even recall that my very first doll called Doreen had blonde silky hair. Come to think of it, in all the Tom Sawyers, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drews, Dickens or even during my Mills and Boon season as a hormonal teen (🙈), no black characters seemed to be having adventures.

Therefore,  I absolutely think that all children deserve to see all races. Thank goodness, I think dawn has broken in the equal representation front what with the influences of the Black Panther, Beyonce and the Obama effect we  are really in the era where its actually becoming ubiquitous for black characters to be protagonists in the media.

Crafting an idea

Malorie has written over 70 books and counting and writing this much I wondered how she did it. Her answer was simple. She said coming up with ideas is always easy for her. The First draft always seem to come naturally quickly but it was the editing that was harder and it took her about 6-7 edits before the manuscript  even saw the light of day.

Yet Malorie said that initially her work was rejected  a total of 82 times  but kept  going by the sheer determination  of knowing that this was  what she really wanted to do more than anything and therefore giving up was not an option. She said that also being simply stubborn. It surely takes a thick skin to continue like she did.

She added that she had learnt very early that when someone stands in front of you saying you can’t have this or that, you can either stand and argue with them or you find your way around and achieve it anyhow. She had resilience. She said the last thing she ever wanted anyone to say about her was that she had not tried- so, she kept going.

Later yesterday as I put my little toddler to bed- I read him his school bring home book  Connie and Rollo by Dick King Smith. Absolutely fell in love with his writing and went to work to do a little dig on him. In one interview before he passed away he quipped that he considered himself a very lucky person who had done lots of different things in his life and most of them not very well till he stumbled upon writing. He claimed he had been a soldier, and wasn’t a very good at it. He said he tried farming, failed as a farmer, also became a bad business man and a sales man who couldn’t  sell much. But by golly he was a prolific genius  at it and wrote over 130 books in his life time yet he started late at the ripe age of 56!

His self-deprecating manner was awfully hilarious 😂

His website shared the most amusing of fan letters from children’  innocent yet blunt letters. A few that blew me away were;-

Dear Mr King-Smith, I was going to write to Roald Dahl, but he died, so I’m writing to you instead.’

‘I do enjoy your books, please try to write a few more before you die.’

‘Dear Dick King-Smith – my favourite author is Jacqueline Wilson.’

‘Dear Dick King-Smith, are you dead yet?’

 (From <https://www.dickkingsmith.com/about/a-writer-at-last/> )

You really have got to love children. Surely how can I resist writing for such an exciting bunch. So, my courageous self is choosing sharpening my skills in captivating this hard to please audience. I really must be a sucker for pain alright! But I  refuse right here right now to be refused!

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. 

Day 8 of my 110 days of practicing being more courageous” Project

With the smell of gloom from this past weekend still lingering heavily in the air, I refuse to start another week burdened with a feeling of apprehension. I do not care whether my body has decided this it the best time to succumb to a punishing cold which is making my nose run, head spin and my body weak unable to even update my blog.

If it wasn’t this painful, it’s would definitely be hilarious. It all feels as cruel as it sounds. I have a heartbroken young man in my spare bedroom, a inquisitive and hyper toddler laden with his school run demands, a crazy social work full-on week schedule, a sick body yet I am also supposed to be dedicating a huge chunk of this week to getting my bearings around my MSc Psychology conversion course. Its officially University week 1!

I am choosing to see this week for what it is- a new season with new potentials and possibilities littered all over it!  I enter it full of excitement, wonderment and expectant as to how it pan out after I have sprinkled a bit of my good charm and energy.

I am reminded of what is said on joy in the classic book “The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran”

“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. 

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. 

And how else can it be? 

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. “

So, I feel my “courageous self” project is taking a whole new meaning and direction all of a sudden, yet fundamentally still the same path. It’s all about how I handle this challenge and disappointment after-all and still or must triumph in the end. I am focused on getting my boy up and running.

I am more determined to pull my son through this and whatever sorrow has carved into his being, thus roaring joy shall occupy when all is said and done.

If at all he inherited any virtuous character from me, I pray it be having a bounceability attitude.

Linzi Drew’s autobiographical book “Try everything once except incest and Morris dancing” is exactly my current mantra as I tackle this week head-on. My son will find his calling in life and will smile again. Unlike Linzi, I am definitely going to try even Morris dancing! 😊

 So week, bring it on!!

Today I am hanging tight…

Day 5 of my “110 days of practicing being more courageous” Project

I do appreciate that Its early days into my 110day, but oh my goodness, this project is turning out to be ever so cathartic to me and oh boy oh boy how I need to vent right now.

I have always been a type of girl whose attitude is if life dishes you 🍋 lemons- add some sugar and bingo! You have lemonade. I feel right now as my life road curves- I have got to respond by reducing my speed lest I lose control.

Today I found myself  squeezing so hard my  emotional brakes that are swirling relentlessly  in my head in order not to lose control. I have zillions of questions why life has dealt my little boy such painful  cards right now. Yet then again, who knows why anything happens especially in the realm of good luck or bad luck , good fortune and all but  I am really sad for him right now and questioning what is he going to do with his life this coming year. I really would hate him to idle long enough to be bored and desperate.

I  recognise it’s a all change for him right now and the disappointment he had etched on his face yesterday as he learnt that going to uni was not going to happen for him this year was unbearable to take. The worst part being that its not even his fault he is not able to go- after all he worked his socks off the last two years in college to gain these good grades that got him into uni. However the curse of being a migrant has  reared it ugly head and for some technical reasons he can’t start until Sept 2022. It a matter of delayed not denied but it hurts so bad and like a fragile dish his heart shuttered into smithereens right in front of mu eyes. But like I have nursed his broken little heart several times before, I am just going to find a way to rinse spin repeat the tactics that have worked before hope they work once more.

My dear son although his heart is weeping profusely, he is ever stoically trying to lighten how he really feels by being more talkative and cracking jokes as we rally around him right now. We are all very mindful that it’s early days and maybe reality really hasn’t registered and will do so in the coming weeks and months as he connects with his friends whom  he would have started with this coming week.

So, through disappointment and pain, DH and I decided to go to the university town my dear boy was supposed to go.  Given we had already booked for the weekend excursion to drop him off, we decide to make the most of our booking. So for the rest of the day we went to this little beach called Bovisands and actually ended up having a brilliant day out trying too hard to forget the bummer the whole situation really was.

We really tried to create a swell time to comfort my older son but my younger 6year old son, his little brother seemed to enjoy a little much more than all. He fussed over wanting to get into the water and swim in the sea. There and then, he suddenly dived into the salty water fully clothed before any of us could stop him. I stood desperate and fearing that if he decided to venture into the deep-end I would have to dive after him as I watched the currents sweeping ever so strongly and bouncing against the rocks. I quickly rolled up my trousers, ditched my shoes and decided to follow him into the water.

Ouch the icey sea water stung like a bee as I stepped in feeling the crisp and cold yet within a  few minutes  the water turned out to be lovely and warm. Still being unable to  completely immense myself into the water cause I didn’t have change of clothes – it didn’t go down too well with my little one as he really wanted to go into the deep. He complained for a little while about this but seemed happy to let it go and just swam in the shallow end.  Later after we had left the town and headed home towards the M5 – the little guy from nowhere quipped ever so politely saying “Mum, I don’t know about you, but next time we go to the beach you should take your swim suit with you”. Caught off guard I replied,  “Yes sir”

So today I must have courage to hold on tight as I help my son to hang in there too.

Day 4 of my “110 days of practicing being more courageous” Project

If you’ve never been hated by your child, you’ve never been a parent.” ― Bette Davis

The day has finally come when I let go of my once little boy now young adult as he leaves. My 18year old is leaving for University, how time flies, just yesterday he was 11years old and I was so excited that he was going to BIG school. Alas,  just a few weeks down the road felt equally overwhelmed by the changes in his behaviour that came with it  and suddenly I realised that he was no longer that little person who  believed everything I said as pure gospel. I have come to appreciate this period as the dreaded “year 7 dilemmas”- a few parents (England residents) have shared a noticeably different child  in their own kids when they transitioned into secondary school. Ahh, good times.

Today just a few more years later, my once little boy is flying away, thank goodness not forever at least but for longer intervals than ever before.  I marvel upon the fact that nothing ever prepared me for his teenage years! I didn’t realise they would spun from little boy starting secondary school to a Young man going off to University- just short 6 years but it surely feels like a lifetime.  Not even those sweet moments playing in the park with him as a toddler or days spent comforting his bruised ego when he got dumped the first time or  when he got his confidence clipped by what unkind kids said about his hair or skin.  You are never ready to be a mother to a teenager regardless of how many times you bandage those scrapped little knees after falling off their bike or explaining in embarrassment where babies come from when they randomly asked you while getting them dressed for school as a toddler.

I must add even having worked with hundreds of teenagers in my role as a social worker never came close to getting me ready for my own. Don’t get me wrong he was never an impossible child at all. He gave me loads of laughter, joy and gladness but a lot of tears too when I just couldn’t figure out how I could possibly correct some of the behaviours without damaging him for life. I wanted to remain a firm but kind parent, serious but fun at the same time. Although I wanted to provide for his every need and more, I also wished to prepare him for life and not spoil him. I quickly realised striking this balance was pretty difficult cause as parents we overlook the fact that they are external factors such as friends and peer pressure to put a spin at every turn and messing our every well organised parenting plans. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. I quickly realised that being a parent of a teenager was like being a firefighter- you found yourself thrust into dangerous situations you did not create in order to rescue a life. At times it was all about damage control.

My little man tried harder than most I know. I know he did not find it easy integrating into a different culture having been born and spent his early years in another totally different one. He did suffer from culture shock no doubt, all migrants we do to some extent.  It was never easy for him having an African mum who had also read The Battle hymn of The Tiger mother book by Amy Achua! I was determined early never to drop the ball and be held culpable of him amounting to nothing- no matter how much he resisted it.

As I stood firm with my ideas instilling boundaries after all that’s what experts say give a structured life to a child- right, the more I realised I had my work cut out as he pushed and tested them with my every effort. It consumed me to get it right with him and it became my mantra to shape him into a filly fledged gentleman and I so pray he sees it that way now, I know at the time he didn’t. Funny though I think I did do something right along the way cause he has turned out to be this handsome, amazing cook, gentle soul who touches every person he encounters with his culturedness and kind acts. All people he gets to interact with at work or play within our culture confides or community at large think he is golden and those who know him as being my son make it a point to tell me so which makes this African mum’s heart swell every time.

So, this weekend will I have enough courage to let go of my little man as he further separates from me. I am acutely aware that the next time he comes back home he will be acting more like a guest hopefully never like  a stranger. I so hope that he continues to charm the socks off all strangers he meets as he has always managed to so that life  treat him a little kinder and make his falls softer as he will have created a lot of cushions around him in wonderful people he will have surrounded himself with.

I definitely know I will need to be more courageous to trust the process and the universe that my baby boy will make it out there and continue to make my heart swell as he forges ahead in the world.

Oops, life is being funny right now. Just when I thought my son will be starting Uni this coming week, life dealt us another blow and his student finance fell through just this morning-literally the 11th hour!😢We are going back to the drawing board. Although my gorgeous son is taking it ever gracefully, I was in pieces and beside myself when he broke the news to me following receiving the fateful email. He certainly has guts in bucketloads  and resilience I lack right now.

Hope is merely disappointment deferred.

W.Burton Baldry

PS. I did try to publish this post last night- but my laptop wouldn’t connect to the network at the B&B we slept last night.

Day 3 of my “110 days of practicing being more courageous” Project

Well done me, I made it to day 3! 😊

This morning, I am absolutely one happy bunny around. I think this pinning down yourself business to accomplish and achieve something really does works. Holy macaroni! I can actually see myself achieving in other areas of my life if I keep this up.  I may actually just about do it, this time round honestly. That alone makes me so happy.

Following up on my previous post where I touched a bit on a very sensitive nerve of my precarious, particular close  relationship- my marriage, I brave tackle it one more time.  I think its an area that needs my undivided attention right now as a priority because if you find yourself obsessing over one area in your life for the thousandth time- action is needed. Otherwise its just wasted reserve of your energy that could have been channelled to better use. It boils down to your mind  definitely tripping and your emotions going round and round a closed loop round-about.  I believe that’s where I find myself right now.  As a realisation of this truth, my fear is that as I cruise round and round this loop just like the principle of momentum, I think my emotions continue to pick speed. However,  as nature will have it, when an object is caught in a spiralling moment going at a crazily high speed the risk is that one wee loss of grip will send me flying out of control causing insurmountable  damage and possibly irreversible and  immense collateral damage along the way.

So, I can absolutely say it loud that this area in my life needs more attention once and for all. Like most marriage issues, this did not just crop up from nowhere. I think if I am honest with myself, I partly saw this coming. At the time I did not want to believe the reality that was unfolding. How could I, our relationship had weathered many huge storms and earth quaking moments and I reasoned this was not even registering on the Richter scale.Oh boy ,oh boy was I so wrong. I will call my husband DH. So, it all kicked off when DH decided to go and have an affair (I don’t think it was as this sudden, nothing ever is, but hey ho). Initially after denial then in some perverted way I blamed myself. I resolved we would work things out and reasoned there must be an explanation cause surely he was a good man and I was lucky to have him, everyone said, and besides many marriages survive these things right? Yet something deep down in my very core I knew instantly that things were never going to be the same again for us, regardless of the outcome.

I have now resolved In my heart that things indeed have been irreparably damaged.  I still question myself whether this was the icing on the cake or the final straw for me cause to be honest the feeling that something was wrong started way before the discovery of DH’ affair.We for a long time seemed to be viewing the world through different lenses and the clashes of opinions seemed to be the order of the day. We just seemed never to agree on a single one thing and that was painful to me. So, in some funny ways the discovery of this affair regardless of its shuttering my heart into a million pieces, it  was some sort of a relief that I had been right all along that something had changed in the way DH saw us as well as his view of me.  

I  know some couples when they have such problems they work them out. So, I also did try to get us help. I shared with DH how I was struggling to come to terms with this and I suggested we sought help- perhaps a marriage counsellor or a trusted family friend. DH would not have it. Instead although he knew his relationship with this “other woman” was slightly inappropriate he thought I was being unreasonable and melodramatic to make a big deal out of this and that we didn’t need to see anyone and besides nobody needed to know our business and said we just needed a family holiday and time to re-group cause we had not been connecting for a while. While I saw it for what it was- a mess needing all hands on deck to rescue our marriage,  DH was burying his head in the sand and wishing this would all go away without a fuss. He made it clear that I was making a mountain out of a molehill. At this time I was now having panic attacks from nowhere and found myself so sad all the time for no reason.  In my desperation to feel some relief I agreed- to go on holiday that is. As a family we took a family holiday for the first time in years.

After the once hailed as a saviour holiday was over and done, needless to say my sadness did not go away, nor my feeling of inadequacy disappear. Instead I found myself contemplating divorce form the very first time or at least a separation. Although everything we did as a couple just felt laboured, forced and awkward, DH chose to pretend everything was back to normal and I should just trust him that he had ended any liaisons with the other woman. DH continued to ramp up his narrative that everything was back to normal and wouldn’t talk about why and how we got to where were.

DH continued like before and pretended he was all loyal and faithful at every turn. However this proved not true, cause in my scepticism rightly or wrongly I viewed his mobile phone once again looking for evidence to validate bad vibes I still felt. Given that this is how I had found out about the affair in the first place by reading his Whatsapp texts. I think DH didn’t think I would keep the other woman ‘ number  cause although  he did delete her name from his contacts, he did not cut her off completely. So, second time around when I viewed his Whatsapp messages- although the name was gone, there were several photos and videos from a particular unsaved number which when I loaded onto my mobile, lo and behold, no prize for guessing belonged to the other woman. She had sent  a number and uncoordinated messages proving that conversations in between had been deleted but DH somehow could not delete these particular media. At this point, every fibre of hope that I held that maybe we could work things out despite his refusing counselling and his laissez faire attitude evaporated instantly.

 A few days later when I put it to DH that he was continuing communicating with the other woman even though he had promised it had stopped, he instead again denied ever reconnecting, blamed me for being nosey, and untrusting and said the famous Elvis line  to the effect of how can we go on, with suspicious minds, and bla bla bla …how can we even rebuild our dreams and family on suspicious grounds.” So, I dared him and asked him on the spot to show me  his mobile convinced that I would prove it to him that the number matched the other woman. To my surprise, he had actually deleted everything and was denying senseless that they were ever there. I explained as we wrangled about it but he kept denying saying I was becoming very paranoid about all this and it was messing with my head this obsession I was having.

Fear and anger flushed across my face how mist have thought imwas so stupid and how dare he insulted my intelligence and how silly was hismploy to turn tables around and gaslight me like that! This time he had under-estimated my investigative ass cause  I had actually taken screenshots of these messages and the dates they were sent to prove they were more recent. At that point I  decided enough of this cheating liar- I showed him and he bowed in defeat feeling cornered and apologised for calling me paranoid and obsessive.

You would be forgiven to think that we separated. Nope, this was 3 years ago! Hence labelling myself as spineless and gutless and no longer a cut-throat badass I used to be when I was young.

I do need to deal with my fear of the unknown I resolve.

I want to one day say, Here’s what’s worked best for me over the years and how I finally kicked being timid. Unfortunately,  I think nature is against me on this one cause research states that most of us get more timid with age cause our brains process chemicals differently.  However this girl is ever an optimist- challenge accepted-so game on!

“Day 2 of my “110 days of practicing being more courageous” Project

Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. Mark Twain

This morning the stars are out because its still blooming 5am and nice and dark as I look out my garden facing window I am currently using the dining room as my office. Its gorgeously calm and I feel so peaceful and privileged to be tasting and entering this day while the majority of the people are still in the world of snooze. I of course realise that this just applies to only a fraction of the world and only people in and around my time zone, thus the (GMT+1)

Today is day 2 and I am absolutely buzzing for sustaining the project by showing up another day. I continue my quest to a transformational me in the coming now 109days as I spotlight and explore my courageous self in these areas:

•  Social relationships (partner, children, friends),

•  Structuring my time (work, study, hobbies, parenting)

•  Prospects (basic attitude, /point of view/perspective, opportunities of growing my side hustles)

•  Money and vitality. How I can exponentially transform and how I can boost my health and my net worth through my daily exercise and current day job and other streams of income I am currently exploring and pursuing.

These four areas I am focused on will of course expand and inflate no doubt as I research and sink my teeth into various aspects of my more courageous self project. Yesterday as I read the book by  #Sean Whalen’s “How to make sh*t happen” I loved how he summed up all the facets in our lives into 4 areas he calls the “Core 4” He stated that these areas are fundamentally everything that concerns and affects us and getting them into ship-shape is the secret and beginning of achieving and succeeding in all areas per sei.

These #Core 4 are 1. Passion (which is all about our relationships), 2. Power (which in general covers all things body, wellbeing and vitality), 3. Purpose (this is all to do with the mind) and  4. Production (all about business).For my quest journey I found myself wondering how in shape my core areas are holding up. I know I score High in assertiveness and courage in the Purpose and power department but equally poorly or at least work-in-progress in the passion and production department.

Me thinks its actually brilliant that I have actually discovered about this lack and flaw this early in my quest to becoming more bolder than ever before. It’s all good to discover this about your character but it led me to ask why are these two core areas in my life sh*t when it looks like my purpose facet which is faring more or less not too bad?

I definitely know deep down that my relationships are not where they’re supposed to be. So this is a beautiful opportunity and chance for me to absolutely prode deeper into this area and see how this can be transformed moving forward. After all that’s the essence of my quest isn’t it?

So,  I want to know how I can be more assertive in the passion area which is my relationships . When it comes to my relationships I am kinda a back seater at the moment. In my young-self days I used to be very passionate and good at building strong and lasting relationships but I suppose as life happens to you things and priorities shift and change and I  just can’t do it as easily any more.  I just seem to have stopped growing in this area and kept the same friends that I made like decades ago.  I’ve met  and made very few more recently but I seem to lose them eventually and find myself reverting back to my old loyal. I don’t know maybe in life we settle down with very few people earlier in our teens and almost avoid bonding stronger later in life. Its either that or its just me having lost the touch of picking and keeping people around me. This has jolted me to wanting to actually explore which is which and if it’s the former- fair enough but deep down I suspect its the later- which means I have become rubbish at picking mates, cause somehow I still wish I was as freer as I was before when I had confidence in buckets loads. I therefore think then something needs to change and I need to know where it all went wrong.

Don’t get me wrong I do have a bunch of really great and loyal friends, such beautiful women around me most of the time I need them but I just don’t seem to be up to scratch when it comes to formulating new lasting relationships anymore. I am wondering whether my once bubbly character has just gradually fizzled off.

So this quest seem to betaking me to some really deep corners of my mind where I’m thinking- have I gone soft with age? How did I get here and if its not the best place to be how do I get out of it? I suspect once upon a time I got hurt and I coiled in to protect myself from getting hurt. Its human nature to react this way isn’t ?However I think in life such subtle changes at time they simply creep upon you and ultimately you just can not point to an “event” per sei as to when it actually happened. From my experience working with people going through crisis in their lives – I know I probably picked up some toxic relationships along the way that are to an extent also contributing to keeping me prisoner.

I Read an article from https://www.joinonelove.org/ and it mentioned that dropping any toxic relationship in your life is often more of a process than an event. I find myself admiring  badass people that make decisions such as sassing that someone in their life is toxic and without delay drop them straight away. In fact if I am honest I used to be such a badass! Hellow! However, now I find myself having been transformed into this ever careful, ever cautious kinda of person. Normally I would say- its not a bad trait to have picked cause maybe it makes me a more deeper and reflective person rather than an impulsive happy go lucky person. If truth be told, think not- I loved being pollyannaish, cause I wasn’t shallow or rude. In fact I was confident, intelligent ,likable and fiercely ambitious in my assertive optimism besides I actually think i made and kept some wonderful friends I adore and enjoy to date during those seasons of my life. Had I been a poisoned chalice I am sure I would have found it impossible to create these relations by the way they really are awesome and amazing people.

Lessons I intend to implement to journey back to my old self by getting rid of toxic relations I picked along the way will be partly as suggested in a nutshell by the article I read from https://www.joinonelove.org/

  1. Keep a journal- thank goodness I already do. In fact I have also been writing myself letters reflecting for over a decade now through a beautiful platform called futureme.org and I so look forward to these letters which serve as a snapshot of my emotional position at the time. I must say through these letters I have gleaned that nothing changes much yet nothing at the same time stays the same. Each time I receive one letter from the past- I have been comforted, thrilled and surprised by the ridiculousness of situations I would have considered a  crisis at the time.
  2. Giving yourself some TLC by giving yourself a slack, creating happy ahh moments on purpose and baring negative chitter chatter swirling around your mind. This is when you tell yourself and believe it fully that you deserve better even when all in you is going “you fool you don’t deserve to be happy and this is the best it will ever be for you”. I am going to believe fully that I am worth it and I deserve to be happy and I deserve people around me who will definitely love and support me to that extent, and that they are out there.
  3. Above all, don’t isolate yourself but at the same time watch out cause sometimes when you reach out to well-meaning friends and family networks,  you will be given relationship advice that is not healthy or realistic. All so very true in my case actually. Added on top of that is that I come from a culture that naturally compress and depress  women’s opinions and voices. So, it’s uncommon as one of my dear close contact when I sought advise about my fractious marriage once said to me- you can’t get a divorce- there are no men out there for a divorced mum, while the other said divorce is the worst legacy you can give your children. I must admit they both touched a soft nerve cause I believed it.  To be fair I do come from a dysfunctional home and deep down believe my parent’ divorce has also become my family legacy. What with all my sibling relationships breaking all around me. So, in an effort to remedy this wrong I have found myself persevering in a bad marriage (or did I say this loud for the first time 😱! Maybe I have. Good day everyone.

“Day 1 of my “110 days of practicing being more courageous” Project

After being reliably notified by Alexa that there are only 110days left to New year- I came up with this idea. Yep! its true 110days left to the 1st of January 2022. Goodness me- where and what happened to 2021? So, as a result I am giving myself a challenge to new year to try and blog daily till then. So, of course I need a plan. Given that I journal daily- that shouldn’t be hard right?

I am usually a very determined person in many areas. I just seem to keep going no matter what but I know that I do lack in the area of being assertive and bold in my decision-making. This has always been an area I really want to spruce up. So, I am going to spotlight this area in the coming 110days- learn all I can and change all I can and see where that may lead me.

So, in doing so, I am also pinning myself to the ground in order to achieve some consistency with my blog writing habit. On face value, I am seeing some high potential for a boost in my psyche and becoming more courageous in the following areas of life and know I will probably pick more areas as I go along. Hello, I am sincerely hoping that some of these wonderful and fundamental areas needing attention within my character will present themselves naturally and squarely stare at me to deal with along the way. So for today from the top of my head: – I will spotlight my courageous self in these areas:

•  Social relationships (partner, children, friends),

•  Structuring my time (work, study, hobbies, parenting)

•  Prospects (basic attitude, /point of view/perspective, opportunities of growing my side hustles)

•  Money and vitality. How I can exponentially transform and how I can boost my health and my net worth through my daily exercise and current day job and other streams of income I am currently exploring and pursuing.

I am mindful that probably my courage project may and will not usher in 100% successful days and be plain sailing; but I will aim high- besides what did Mamie Brown’s boy #Les Brown say about aiming high

“Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.”

So, I will aim to reach for the sun and believe I can achieve this. However, if not I may just about manage to secure various little glimpses of courageous me and lay the foundation for more moments of courage in so doing. I am determined to take small, constructive baby steps such as being bold and fearless in making those decisions and aim to fix this area once and for all. I am also rubbish in the area of punctuality such as appointments (not so much though these day – thank goodness for virtual meetings, it really makes it so much better without any driving involved since Covid-19 started). I do though want to be better at being on time in general and eventually have a system and a more balanced everyday life with my family, colleagues, customers and friends.

I want to experience loads as I discover more and find as many interesting things about myself along the way too. If nothing at all, or if I do get stuck- I will revert back to my pre-established motto that Its part of my learning and growing and I will get better. After all, I do have a teachable spirit in general and I tend to learn things easily and enjoy it too. So should anything go wrong such as failing to keep up due to demands on my time, this will not be a deal-breaker and if I found myself falling behind a few times I will simply dust myself up and start again. So, in general I’m really excited to be actually embarking on this at such a time as this. What more, after reading Marie Forleo’s “Everything is figureoutable”; I really think that I will figure this out somehow.

I really am I sucker for pain I know, starting such a project when I’m also starting my MSc in Psychology.  So, to hell with moaning and whining- what I need is to be super organised! So you may ask why psychology. Well, how this came about was through really serious self-talk. I came to a place where I was no longer enjoying doing my beloved Social Work and found myself dreading the thought of even getting up to go to work!  This for me was panic time, because I always thought I was built to be a social worker and I loved being a social worker so it was really difficult to find myself not enjoying the job that I so wanted to do for such a long time and here I was finally doing it but I was not enjoying it any more. What was going on- I needed answers.

 Thus, following a lengthy navel-gazing I became aware of this and understood that I was simply burning out. I knew I needed to do something and I just couldn’t continue like this. So, it was either continuing along until I totally collapse as a social worker or I take a break and explore other passions and maybe return to it in the future. So as a result of that, I am transitioning from social work for now. I still honestly think social work is a beautiful profession.  Social work can be so beautiful and rewarding but it’s also very very challenging. There are days I absolutely struggle to do the basic such as just writing up a visit and find that so stressful. Yet other wonderful days I find myself so invigorated when I get to see results working with amazing children and their families, I may have initially held very little hope for in the progress or change department. At times, when a case that’s been so complex and dire that I am made to feel so inadequate suddenly turns for the better and a breakthrough emerges, and that’s when I actually think to myself- Oh my goodness-its either I am such a lucky fish or I’m not that bad at this am I?

Although I am transitioning for now- my passion remains and has always been to help children achieve better outcomes in life. Therefore, I found myself questioning the best way of doing so without the bureaucracy that comes with social work. The paperwork and processes can relentless and punishing and this was really killing my mojo. So, I sought really hard as to which area I could actually continue working with children and maybe achieves more or less the same really positive outcomes for them without the bureaucracy of social work?

 So, the next step in my research led me to the discovery of Educational Psychology. I leant that they kinda more or less do the same thing of achieving positive outcomes for children in the education area. So, long story short, that’s why I am converting to psychology to enable me to do my PhD in Education Psychology in the near future.

So, hopefully at the end of these 110days, I will see the pattern emerging in all areas of my life and maybe notice a beautiful template I can wash, rinse start over again and apply it to other areas of my life.

The “Raducanu Effect”

Yesterday the world awoke to the miracle of what the sensational Emma Raducanu had done the previous night at the US Open.

 Following her epic and miraculous win surely who am I to  ever say or think anything that has never been done or seen before is impossible!

what a demonstration of the sheer beauty and power of sport so absolute and undeniably powerful. I am a natural early riser and early to bed kinda of girl- the night Emma played was different. I couldn’t muster any sort of sleep till about 3am after watching  that match live! what with adrenaline coursing through my veins, sleep evaded me. Ideas wouldn’t relent swimming in my brain. I was like…this is the moment everything changes for this girl, but more excitedly for me too as from now on I refuse to live with limits.

The significance of what happed when this 18year old girl won- will go down as phenomenal for a long time. So courtesy of #Amazon Prime:

So, if anyone is unable to take a leaf out of the significance of what this mean my opinion, this individual is not only missing an opportunity  to appreciate the gorgeousness and awesome beauty of life and sport but they are also failing to harness the important reminder that all things are possible and there is a first time for anything. What a loss as they are also denying themselves the bravery and courage to recognise that  whatever they set their eyes to achieve, if they believe fully they too can achieve.

Henry David Theroux summed it up so beautifully saying to the effect that don’t go where the path may lead but instead go where there is no path and leave a trail! This girl surely did exactly that.

For me what a timely lesson as I am about to embark on an uncharted journey! More about that definitely in the days and months to come, but all in all, I super excited!

If indeed its never been seen before; it doesn’t mean it can never be done- full stop. So today i dare to believe again. I dare so naively throw myself again and say I am all in. I can be all I dream to be. After all Cinderella in the 1950 version movie put it so nicely by saying “our dreams are wishes our heart make” and therefore if that’s true; success and happiness in life is the attainment of those dreams cause it surely makes one’s heart sing and dance with gladness.

This morning as I woke up super convinced that I really need to start actively pursuing my writing once again and doing it as often as I really must. I remembered that I did start this blog for that reason after all. I love and continue to journal daily-on paper. Why don’t I just do it electronically-well, I don’t have a clue why not- but today I have succeeded! HOOPY YEY!

A few days ago I watched this beautiful sky movie called #Long story short. Such a poignant reminder of the passing of time and so well done and I realised that I stand guilty really of living my life as if I will live forever and this it that I will do tomorrow or later. It’s so true too that this life is really passing us so much faster while we procrastinate things we really want to experience and delaying going to places we really want to go.

So, my take away lesson today the world is desperate for a fresh take on anything and everything. if all things are possible and nothing is impossible- what am I waiting for?

Mastering the art of showing up

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

How does one reach the peak of mountain Everest? Simples- one steep at a time. These steeps though all differ- some steeps could be a huge bolder or a tiny step. Some steeps are slippery and could set you back a few steeps behind while some can be so easy they allow you to do two of them at a time.

Mountain climbing then is similar to life in general. One day at a time and one breath at a time. The principle is the same yet success at achieving one’s goal summit or reaching the summit of mount Everest requires first a conscious and deliberate step taking. Behavioural psychologist note that highly performing individuals in any field tend to all have consciously mastered their areas of expertise. How do they do this?

How my humble mind understand this is that repetition is king. Top players in any field simply decide to utilise the principle of showing up whether they feel like it or not. Thus, they consciously learn to adopt productive habits incrementally into their lives until these lots and lots of habits become part of their DNA. When these habits are done over and over again- nature has it that they seep nicely and quietly into their sub conscious and thus the magic of automation taking over.

Life in general is composed of little frames that when put together make up a bigger picture. James Clear- The author of Atomic habits states that your life is a sum of your habits- routines you do over and over again that with time compound and form patterns your life follows. James states how important it is to master the art of showing up, the power of the two minute rule and how habits form the corner stone of our identities.

The beauty of this is that repeating important and necessary albeit boring activities eventually becomes a habit and in turn becomes literary more palatable than before. How I understand this is because when one repeats an activity over and over again, the brain creates a mental short cuts with time- just like tying your shoes, remember how impossible this task once seemed when you were 5years old. So, experience in a nutshell is having done something over and over again until your brain picks the action without effort. Voila! activities automated eventually take shorter time to accomplish with time. So, my excited self reckons, I can then gain time to do other things such as more fun things that enhance and edify my life. Life made beautiful indeed!

James Clear asserts that a two minute rule is all you need to build better habits and work smarter, faster and more efficiently. Thus, anything can be automated when you decide to do it for just two minutes over and over again. He gave an example of someone who struggled going to the gym to train but decided he would initially just go for just two minutes and leave every day. It turned out with time he decided what the heck- I am here daily and losing money for a mere two minutes- I might as well do a little more. This is the art of showing up at its best. Given the obvious notion that the only way you can improve on something is when the particular thing is established. It makes sense to then consciously automate important habits so that with time one can improve on them. The knock on effect of that is that when you improve these habits- you are beautifully yet skilfully re-shaping your identity and behaviour one “steep at a time”

So, my solution to of my desired outcome of posting blog post more frequently is to start off by just showing up for just two minute and create a post. This I have already noted creates momentum as when I get here aiming to just post a short post- I go, what the heck, I am here in any case, I might as well complete that draft post I did not complete. With time, I know it will be the person I want to become- a blogger!

Flexi working- finally the new norm!

Sunday Times polled people during lock downs to gauge their attitudes towards Remote working results in August were:

45% of workers expected to work more flexibly post lock down

33% expected at least 3days a weeks to work from home

81% expected at least 1 day remote working….

Flexi work- it’s official everybody With polls like  that☝🏽:-

I must say, this I have been hoping for since I became a mother. How such common sense was almost obscured from view for this long is almost ridiculous to imagine. I remember how I saw this as the blooming obvious way forward to counter costs for childcare that seemed to be spiralling higher and higher. This to an extent sadly I recall led many mums of non-school attending kids choosing to stop entering or practising as social workers. I too almost gave in had it not been for me finding an amazing Germany au pair who moved in with us for 18months and enabled me to return to work following the birth of my son. I had sworn that I would not be leaving my son in a nursery setting type before he was at least 2years old.

This resolve had come about following a painful 1 day trial at a local children’s nursery. I recalling literary weeping as I picked my then 9month old covered not only in dirt but dry poo, wee and stale wet clothes (not his by the way as he had been changed into some random oversized dirty baby overalls apparently) as I picked him at the end of the day. What shocked me the most was that regardless of my instant take that it seemed as if my baby had been crying for such a long time, given that he had dried blocked noses and streaks of multiple layers of tears stains running down his cheeks- the nursery assistant’s report to me was that “he had a really lovely day, ate well and even made a new friend” I was like… really! as my insides churned with disbelieve , regret and sadness. This was not helped by my observing another possibly 7month old who was crying sitting alone against one corner with no worker seemingly worried or bothered as I picked mine. I imagined this was exactly how my own son spent today feeling. My little boy’s face was so sad and his eyes looked hollow and I so wished he could speak to tell it all but again was relieved he couldn’t as I feared he would have said “what the hell mum….what was that about? Why on earth did you leave me here?”

So, Flexi and remote working becoming main-stream to me feels like the natural reasonable and logic way forward.

Flexi working in general not just in Social work post COVID looks  totally different yet almost inevitable . Not least the dress code could be heading south in a big way. Social workers in the past were notorious for rubbish dressing. One would say, they absolutely did not care how they projected their image. Social interpreters and observers even going the word “sandal-socked” fashion bashers especially for them. Its beginning to look like all professionals now due to working from home may find that dressing up will become less necessary- apart from that crisp white shirt and tie and jacket on top with your favourite pyjama bottoms or shorts for those Teams or Zoom calls. However, it’s the in thing now to almost forget you have that court shoe which is sadly gathering dust in the back of your shoe closet. Is this the end of high fashion brands?

As I was reading the Sunday Newspapers the columnist India Knight  speculated on how Covid has changed how we dress because rocking the latest look now seems pointless. I caught myself agreeing 100% with this as I contemplated the last time I rocked a suit since lock down- let me see…never actually! What, with even some court hearings going virtual. As a social worker mainly the need to dress up has always been unnecessary because as I was advised during my training  that if you’re trying to relate to young people or less privileged families and aiming at building  an effective relationship with them, you didn’t  want to dress up to look like someone who might oppress them with your tailored suits and trendy slacks, so, hay ho..dressing up is toast! 

COVID-19 has indeed made dressing down acceptable. Sweat pants are in with a vengeance. The Sunday Times reports that even massive fashion brands such as Ester Lauder are cutting up to 2000 jobs as they react to waning profits  due to decrease in sales and perhaps going virtual and needing less staff due to man their brick and mortar shop fronts.

In social work since the lock down we are like all areas in the society have too gone virtual. All our core-group meetings and conferences are done virtually. This is still on-going even following easing of lockdown restrictions. Building we could use pre- COVID are still closed.  I must say some of families I work with have gone super fade up with lack of face to face as they seem to be struggling with video calling and are calling for the return to physical meetings. I don’t personally see this happening soon due to risks these meetings could present. Imagine the transmission rate to start with. For instant on average most of my meeting reviews usually have 7 core members comprising of parents and professionals. So, if I continued having 3-4 core groups  a day as I can logistically do now given these meeting being virtual- (Needless to say this is an impossible stunt to pull logistically given the physical distances of venues I would need to go to), but lets just say I was able to… anyway, given that I am a Super woman; I could literary spread COVID to 100s of people a week alone and raise the R- rate to stratosphere single- handedly if I contracted COVID-19. 

Of course the other difficult it will take us much longer to adjust to reasonable levels of meeting statutory targets with the caseloads we are currently managing. Lo and beyond this would be crazy to expect the same standards in meeting targets post Covid since caseloads would not naturally correspond accordingly by dropping- cause if truth be told- you can only do so much in any given 35-37hrs week. In fact any social worker will tell you how we work almost double of these hours on average in the hope that you could take these hours as TOIL(but again realistically- this also is next to impossible without sending you spinning or wasting time you have taken stressing and anxious about what mess you will find awaiting you upon your return. It’s a vicious cycle and we endlessly find ourselves chasing our tails days in day out.

So in a nutshell COVID has boiled many so long-believed to be immutable truths down to their bare bones literary such as need  to being office based when all you do is get there and get out again to attend your meetings and visits.

It signifies the end of an era for those micro managers whose sole purpose is to progress and maintain the bums on the sit policy.  I used to have one vicious manager who had a habit of strategically sitting in the office checking her watch as you entered the office after 9am asking “which family were you visiting this early love? 

I must say, I salute and welcome remote working. May it live forever. High performing employers like Virgin in the business world sassed this long back, why did it take Social work this long to implement this practice too? Richard Branson oink years ago was already saying flexible working was reducing overhead costs and saving his companies money by reducing office space while also cutting his companies’ carbon footprint.

So, finally!, the ingrained and traditional routines of “presenteeism”are being ditched in the corporate world- social work looks like it’s heading that way too. So, goodbye hot desking, time wasting trips of driving to the office only to find all desks are occupied but above all being stuck in horrible traffic on the M6 due to congestions. While for some working mothers, it is answered prayers for juggling work and child care, for me- its simply common sense prevailing finally! One wonders why it took COVID-19 to convince the world of this common sense. Ahh- I forget. Common sense is not always common 🙂