No More Monday MOrning BLues

When I was teaching, I used to experience ‘Monday Morning Blues’. That dreaded feeling of going back to the grind after the weekend off. Going back to the bells and the timetables and the disruptive kids. One of the many reasons to leave the profession without a safety net in place, without anything lined up, was that I knew if I didn’t go then, I’d never get out. I was getting too comfortable, too used to the regular pay check at the end of each month, justifying the slog, the staying put within an environment that was slowly eating away at my soul.

I used to see cows outside my classroom window and I vowed not to become one of them; a cow put out to pasture, giving up on life and life giving up on them. I knew there was more to life that the 9-5 job, or as it was when teaching 7-7 job. I put my whole life, heart and soul into that job to the point of probably neglecting my child at the time. But I was after perfectionism, acceptance and recognition. I was defining my whole self -worth by how good or bad I was at teaching. And teaching shite I may add. Shite filled up with the words and opinions of mostly white dead men who probably didn’t think much of me being a Black woman.

I was duped into the belief that work was meant to be hard and difficult and long and mostly unrewarding. It was what we were put on the earth to do, to be. To work for most of of our lives for others, propping up the system and if we worked hard enough, we’d get time off at the end with a pension that would be taxed again. This is what I bought into and what was fed to me through family, education and society. To step out of this construction to pursue creativity, to do my own things and be my own boss was seen as weird, a risk, stupidity and misguided to say the least.

I knew how I felt. And I know how I feel. And even then I put a lot of store by how I felt. How I was uncomfortable in my own skin. How I felt a fraud. How I felt unbelonging and always striving for something that would never be mine. Acceptance. Whiteness. The Norm.

Now I don’t have ‘Monday Morning Blues’, because I don’t put that kind of pressure on my days, on my weekends, on my time. I pick and choose when to work or not. I try to have a 3 day week. Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday being the work days and the Monday and Friday flow into a long weekend.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not idle. I’ll always be practicing my creativity ( I prefer using practice to work). I don’t think I’ll ever retire because being creative is who I am. And when I reserve certain days of the week for outside commitments, ‘work’ the other days are mine to create, to rest, to dream, to plot, to {BE}. And I’m grateful for the circumstance to be able to {BE} this way. I’m also grateful to my younger self who wasn’t afraid to jump and believe and trust that a net would appear to catch her fall. Again and again.

I’m quote proud to say I’m being useless to capitalism today. And the next day and the next.

Winter Sunrise

I’m grateful for the time I got to spend with Izzy, a golden, soft spirited dog this past week. She helped me slow down as well as to remember the love. We also managed to experience some beautiful sunrises too.

Tynemouth, Boating Club Beach, 29 January 2003, 07.53am

My Word of 2023

It’s just gone 10am here in North Shields and I sit sipping a white mocha and the light is bright for this time of year. January. Grey is resting today as a low golden light picks up the blue in the sky and illuminates.

The wind still howls through the cracks in the windows as the birds gather to migrant to warmer climes. They honk their departure. Does that sound like a warning or exclamation of joy?

What does it mean to listen? What does it mean in practice, in our every day lives?

[LISTEN]. My word of the year is [LISTEN].

My word for 2023 has been with me for a few months now. At the back end of 2022, I knew what I was going to carry with me into the next year after being/ following Open, my word of 2022.

I’ve been feeling my way into this practice of listening for the past few weeks, attempting to figure out what adopting this word for this year means to me, my {being} and practice.

Of course, I don’t have the answers as it’s early days. But I know it means paying attention, {being} in the moment, {being} present for myself and others. This means I need to slow down even more to give myself a fighting chance of listening.

We listen to our environment or do we? We listen to others or do we? We want others to listen to us but do they?

I know I’ve been developing the practice of listening to my instincts, my gut and heart more readily that my head as I trust their guidance more than ever now after decades of blocking out their messages and guidance.

I think what I want to embody, through adopting the word as a guide, is the ability to listen more closely. To allow myself to stop and pay attention as in that moment I create not just a connection with my surroundings, others and self but I make/ take back time. Presence. Joy.

I want to listen more carefully without judgment or impatience or offering advice. I want to practice listening on a much deeper level. In deeper ways. To gain clarity and connection but also to find my way home. To heal.

My intention is to listen as within this practice alone my listening can only deepen for the better, for all.

Today me!

When I consider where I was this time last year, I was knee deep in hospital visits and worry. My daughter was in hospital fighting an unknown infection, not getting any better. The hospital had reintroduced one parent one patient rule. I thought it best for her father to stay in hospital with her instead of me. I wasn’t coping well within a system set up to ignore the Black body.

I also wasn’t prepared to handle her father’s anxieties and worries if he wasn’t by her side. It also made sense as I had the car so I could come and go and bring in what was needed. Everything was centred towards my daughter getting better. It was like time stood still and all other things paled into insignificance. It helped me sort out my priorities.

Thinking about where I want to be a year from now, I want to be in a better relationship with my body. Yes, lost weight but more so made peace with her. I want to be knee deep in self-love and no longer considering or settling for being second best. I’ll no longer be satisfied with accepting someone else’s scraps. I know my worth and do not accept anything less

I’m in a state of constantly becoming and at the heart of this journey is my own healing and well-being. I’ve got a toolkit of practices which I use to support my health and well-being and protect my mental and emotional health also.

I might be dating and I might not. But that isn’t my life or will be taking over my life. I am my life and what I choose to be and do is my life.

A year from now, I’ve also completed a major writing project which I’m super proud of. I’m ready to launch it into the world and accept the increased exposure it will bring. Good or bad. Because I am in a secure, loving and trustful relationship with myself.

I am invincible. I am awesome. I am me.

Mending & Tending

There are so many different ways

to honor my process.

  I am leaning into the slow practice

of mending.

  There’s no reason to rush getting

it “right.”

Excerpt from: “After the Rain: Gentle Reminders for Healing, Courage, and Self-Love” by Alexandra Elle.