Anila Kitteon

Anila Kitteon
Sniff the Daffs

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Burn Out

It would appear that one cannot run on air and food alone.

Recently, HG has discovered a game (PC) that he enjoys playing enough to remain sitting at his computer desk in his mastermind-esque chair until well into the night. Now this doesn't/shouldn't have a direct impact on his wife, yet she does tend to occupy herself until HG comes downstairs to brush his teeth (well actually she hears him push his chair away from his desk and leaps up to claim first dibs on the electric toothbrush!).

Anyway, for the past 4 months (approx) I have been working Monday evenings at the Youth Club attached to our building. For the past 4 weeks, I have also been co-ordinating a family group AND volunteering with a charity on Thursday evenings. So my schedule has looked like this:

  • Mondays - Arrive home around 10:30pm
  • Tuesdays - No work but only opportunity for exercise
  • Wednesdays - Arrive home around 8:45pm
  • Thursdays - Arrive home around 9:45pm
  • Fridays - No work but rare quality time with HG (or friends)
This hadn't been working too badly, because on the days I work late, HG takes his own car and I don't have to leave the house at 7:15am to get him to work for 8am.

However, last Monday we car shared, walked a dog as a favour, then HG caught train and I worked at Youth Club. So petrol money saved but less rest for myself.

Tuesday was an early but comparatively short day but it also included supervision, where I was advised to stay focused, on track and "leave a legacy" during my last month of work (I'll come to that later).

With meetings to be in early for on Wednesday and Thursday, and bedtimes around midnight (alarm goes off at 6:10am), I started to lag. This wasn't helped by the pressure of 'leaving a legacy' through leading a meeting with my team about filling in the gaps when I've moved on.

Friday, HG and I had a discussion about something or other and I found myself crying (which always upsets him). I dropped him off, worried about me, and re-opened the floodgates as I drove the 7mins to my own office. There, some workmen were waiting to speak to someone and I pulled myself together while I dealt with the situation.

I battled through the morning, chatted to kind colleagues and listened to my body (too late) as I cancelled the lady at the charity to say I didn't think it was sensible to work all day Saturday in the state I'd become. It also hit me that I had only attended my Gran's funeral a week ago (relevant as the charity support families who have lost a loved one). 

The thing that triggered my tears in the car that morning, was when HG said "you're so giving..." It hit me at that point that this quality had become both my gift and my downfall. I needed to give myself some support, rather than giving away all my energy. HG has said to me in the past that he only gets what little energy I have remaining after work, groups and exercise. I guess I can see why he gets frustrated when our time together usually involves getting cosy and watching a film; which equates to me finally relaxing. To the point where I just sleep. This isn't fun for him, but is heaven for me.

So. Saturday session bailed on, my Manager then thanks me for my email (summarising the outcome of Thursday's meeting) but points out that it wasn't what she had asked for and could I now do this (seemingly huge project). I begged myself not to start crying again, attempted to clarify her requests, advised I would write some notes and check I understood her. I then packed up and shuffled out of the door, driving back up the road for 7+mins (slightly further) and crying again as I went. I have now renamed that stretch of road Teardrop Way.

The afternoon went ok (I distracted myself in a different, lovely Youth Centre), collected HG and took him for his early birthday treat (proper Italian gelato - his fave!).

My friend came round in the evening and I got up early to say goodbye Saturday morning. With my Saturday now re-claimed, I busied myself making HG birthday cakes, cleaning, pottering etc. (anything but actually resting!). Friends came round at 6pm, we got ready and walked 40mins to the restaurant for HG's birthday meal. We ate, drank and hit a pub (which we very rarely do) before catching a cab home, chatting, eating cake and hitting the sack at 3am.

Sunday - my only opportunity for exercise - I wished HG a Happy Birthday and whizzed off to Bootcamp :) On my return, the in-laws were only 20-30mins away so I ushered sleepy friends around, HG into shower and tidied/washed up.

By the afternoon I was flaking. I don't know how people fit children into their life/agenda! It was icy cold and windy outside. I said outloud that I didn't have the energy to attend my friend's outdoor wildlife event in the afternoon so we relaxed. HG cooked (on his own birthday!), we loaded the in-laws' car with 'stuff' from our home and waved them off. HG took the hint that I fancied time alone, however was later very upset that I'd wasted my energy on bootcamp and we hadn't actually had any time together. I'd done it again.

Monday morning we car shared - I hadn't been to bed particularly early and felt like pants.

I felt sorry for myself all morning, got very little done and met HG in our lunchbreaks (also a rare occurrence these days).  After lunch I said hi to my friend (same building, different office), we started chatting and I found myself balling again...
A friend I had been texting was begging me to head home, as massive snowfall was heading towards our town (as it was some colleagues/friends took 4-9hrs to get home). So I did it. I cancelled on the people I was due to see/work with and headed home. Crying.

Once home I slept. However my cold/illness had transformed into a stomach bug. I have ended up having Tuesday AND Wednesday off!

There's a slightly reassuring feeling when the decision is taken out of our hands. I'd like to thank my body (the most amazing instrument we'll ever have) for forcing me to stop.

However time is creeping on once again this evening - it's so hard to get to bed early!

New mission:
Do NOT turn computer on after groups. Instead head straight to bed.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Bean On Bored

People have had signs in their cars for years now, notifying us all that they have a baby/small person/princess/some kind of small child-like item travelling as a passenger in their vehicle.

Now, my background of work experience and knowledge, as many of my cringing friends and family know, combined with my 'lack of inner-monologue' occasionally gets me into a bit of a pickle. I studied Social Care followed by Criminology & Criminal Justice, due to my endless inquisition of human beans. What makes people do the things they do? How can behaviour be explained by a combination of genetics and environmental factors? Through my experiences of Social Work, Residential Children's Homes and Youth Justice, there is little that shocks me. There is very little that a human somewhere in the world isn't capable of... ok I'm losing myself now!

I used to want to 'save the world'. I have no idea where I got the idea from that the world was so bad and needed saving - perhaps it began when I desperately wanted to rescue a Romanian orphan. Which a teacher at our school did. He was my hero - even more than he had been before. So I had decided that Police work was the way forward - they sort out "bad" people, however this never felt right because I empathised with the 'criminals' too much. I used to think "what has happened to you to result in you taking these actions?".

So my own wandering thoughts became combined with my experiences of the shit deal some children end up with (which turns shittier when they become 18yrs old and have less support and harsher consequences - yet have missed out on ever being made to feel worthwhile).

Discussed many times with my husband, over our 6.5yrs together, we repeatedly end up agreeing that we could have a ridiculously good life with much less hassle and stress, if we skipped the whole reproducing part of society's expectations.

If I could create a law, it would be for people to be at least 25yrs old before they can have a child. However, others aren't as keen to learn more about the world and themselves as I am!

So how does this relate to the original heading?! What a round-about route I take - are you even still reading?!

What makes people go out and buy those signs?

HG: I hate those 'baby on board' signs.
Me: How come?
HG: Why do you think people feel the need to advertise that they have a baby/child on board?
Me: Ummm to remind/encourage other road users to drive carefully?
HG: Why wouldn't drivers be doing this anyway?

HG has a way of stretching my brain. I didn't have an answer, so asked for his thoughts. He suggested that the signs were a way of announcing fertility.

All I could picture was this:

I have since researched this and the Telegraph online tells me that the signs are designed to alert the emergency vehicles as to where there might be small people requiring assistance as a priority. Firstly, the Telegraph says they are actually causing accidents (see below:)

Secondly, I Googled deeper and found that others are irritated by the signs too. One lady, due to her struggle to procreate herself, sees it as a boasting advert for what she can't have. This leads my thoughts to alcoholics and how signs advertising alcohol must torment them.

So anyway, this lady's blog reminds me once again how suitable our decision is - why waste your time worrying about how close to 30 you're getting and (once there), when you'll finally have a baby of your own... when life is passing you by and there is more than plenty to enjoy without a crying, pooey, demanding bundle of ball-and-chain?
It frustrates the hell out of me when older ladies tilt their heads to one side and say "well... you've got time to change your mind; you're still young...".

Don't get me wrong, I love children, but I know (maybe too much) what a high proportion of the next generation are doomed for and it doesn't make me eager to contribute.

I also know that I'm very lucky to have found a husband who tickles, pleases, stimulates and challenges me; meaning I don't feel I have a gap in my life which needs filling with a wriggling bundle of goo-goo-ga-ga. I will happily play a positive part in the lives of the children around me, and enjoy watching them grow and develop into little adults. I do my part in helping the Teenagers (they deserve a capital letter) already born into this world and finding it a struggle; and those who are developing unhelpful learned behaviours and to have a sense of entitlement, despite their negative actions.

All we can do is live our lives to the best of our ability - taking into account the planet's needs and the needs of those around us. This is sadly difficult in a world where it's difficult to find the truth.

Goodness me, this is an essay. Sorry!

Blogiary Diarog...

It's my Diary & I'll Blog if I want to...

So.... I wanna Blog. Forget the diary (I will keep my fave purple book - bought for wedding guests comments but not needed - for more private stuffs).

I worked Youth Club tonight and I actually felt I did a good job. It's nice to feel proud of oneself occasionally! I reigned in 2 challenging young girls and had a laugh as we baked cookies :-D

I recently found a diary in a bookshop called 'Wreck This Journal' (Keri Smith). A brilliant idea, the diary has a different instruction on each page i.e. drop this building from a high wall/building, colour a page in with coffee, colour outside the lines, punch holes in a page etc. I was enthralled with it - what a brilliant way of promoting creative thinking and slight rebellion. I want to buy one for myself and everyone I know! I've also seen Keri has authored 'This Is Not a Book' and 'Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes'.

It also links to the Young People we work with. Their lives are very different to the childhood I was lucky to experience. Their parents regularly tell them they're worth very little and many have been in physical conflict with another member of their family (and usually people outside too). I have to remind myself that they have never been encouraged to care about other people, let alone the planet (I'm on a constant recycling mission!), as this kindness is unlikely to have been shown toward them. In their experience it's each to their own; take what you can get otherwise you might miss out.

They're good kids, and the chipping away that we do each week can't do any harm (I have to believe this), but we also can't change the culture they're raised in. And who is to say we should.

Although when working with parents, I used to wonder if they had even considered/realised how much research and studies had been done around what harms/stimulates a child. Their lives were often so chaotic, which is what they were used to, that parenting as a subject may not have crossed their minds.

Young People, certainly myself, are taught by society and the adults around them, to do as they're told. Yet many adults aren't role modelling positive behaviour. In my case, I didn't fit much rebellion into my life, apart from a nightclub experience at 15yrs old and a minute tattoo at 18yrs! My parents split when I was 16yrs so I pretty much became an adult and a friend to my Mum. Not her fault, as who knows who to handle and marriage breakdown.

So blogging, writing, wrecking journals are all fab. Exploring, reading, learning and praise :-D I'm reading a cheesy American book at the moment about keeping your mind open to opportunities, breathing, taking life in and finding your Gift.

Who knows where we or any of these Young People will end up. All we can do is our best to contribute positively to their lives and role model kindness.