Posted in 52 Poems, Poetry

52 Poems – Week 3 – A Journey

This should have been week 2, but I got these two weeks mixed up, it doesn’t matter. The prompt was to write about a journey. So I thought about a journey in search of happiness, I thought about looking for what is already inside oneself. I’ve spent a lifetime looking for love, acceptance, reassurance, all in the wrong places because I was looking for these things outside myself. So I wrote about going on a journey looking for what you already have. Does this make sense? I hope so.

photo of person walking on pathway near rocks
Photo by Gantas Vaičiulėnas on Pexels.com

Finding home

I set off on a journey, hunched

by a heavy baggage. The path

wasn’t smooth nor wide. Nor

was it certainly, without obstacles.

I trekked up and down hills,

mountains. Crossed over

bridges – short, long, straight,

winding, firm and wobbly. Often

I turned around, often

I stopped to rest, often

I looked back wishing

I had never left home.

I’d been on the road

far too long, longing for home.

But when I stopped looking back,

I learned that I had arrived already.

 

Posted in My Planet

How Do I Feel About Self-Isolation

So, after a long period of being absent from the world of WordPress, I decided to return. Better later then never. My last post dates September 2017, over two years ago – I can’t believe it.

Firstly, let me tell you the reasons for my absence:

  • I was very busy with studies, work and moving house.
  • I was struggling with mental health, grieving the loss of my mum and my dad’s illness.
  • I was questioning the route I wanted this blog to take.
  • Maybe, I also lost confidence in my writing.

It has been a long battle, I won’t lie. But, there have been a lot of wins. I managed to complete my degree and was accepted to the PGCE programme. This is a huge win as there were times when I didn’t think I would ever be able to finish my degree. Mostly, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of work and the complexity of student life, time management, work and family commitments, leisure, etc.

I have also managed to quit the job that was making me ill and bringing out the worst in me. It was really good for a period of time and I am truly grateful for that job, but it came a time when I had to let go and move on. Thankfully, we have managed without that income just fine. It just goes to show that when you’re brave enough to follow your dreams, the universe will provide for you – but that’s for another blog post.

My mental health has been up and down and I have been having counselling for a while now. It has helped immensely and I will also expand on that on a future post. I have also lost my dad just over a year ago and although it wasn’t unexpected, it was a shock and it has been hard to deal with. I ended up getting behind with the course work and  my transferred my PGCE to part-time study, therefore I am still a student.

I have been thinking on what route to take with this blog. When I started it, it was a mixture of everything, but I have been thinking that it might be better to separate the different sections. So in the future, this will be my personal blog and I might start a professional one for my teaching practice and maybe another for my creative writing. Depending on how things go, or how long I will be in isolation.

This brings me to the title of this post. So, I have been in self-isolation since Monday due to the Corona virus Covid-19. I am not infected, but because I am asthmatic and have high blood pressure, I decided to self-isolate to reduce the risk of infection and consequently putting extra pressure on the health services. Apparently, people with asthma should self-isolate for 12 weeks. Luckily, I am able to self-isolate without it affecting the income of my family or my contribution to the community; so I decided to do it and reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

How do I feel about it?

On Monday I felt very anxious and scared. I felt like the world as I know it was about to collapse and was overwhelmed with a sense of impotence and disbelief. This really feels like reality imitating fiction and I never thought I’d see anything like this in my lifetime. I confess that in the past, I had thought about something like this happening, but always shoved the thought somewhere in the back of my mind. Now this is really happening.

By Tuesday, I was feeling a bit more positive. Excited even. I thought, well I will have to stay at home for a while; how many times have I wished for it? Is this a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’ or what? So, I started feeling quite excited thinking about all the things I can do now that I didn’t have time for before. So far, I have been binge watching Netflix and Amazon Prime without any feelings of guilt. Why the hell not?

Today, after three days of not doing much other than watching TV and checking the news on Covid-19 situation, I decided to start a more productive strike. I make a list of all the things I want to do while at home:

  1. Bring my course work all up to date.
  2. Read more books
  3. Write more
  4. Reactivate this blog
  5. Start a new blog
  6. Exercise
  7. Deep clean the house and organise my office
  8. Do more things with my family in the house
  9. Do more crafts
  10. Study and learn more

Today, I feel very positive and excited about being able to do all these things and maybe more. But this is only day 4. Today, my husband has started working from home as well. It’s all very good and well so far – he just brought me a cup of tea and chocolates. How long before we want to kill each other, God knows. We had breakfast and lunch together, we went to walk the dog together mid morning, and the rest of the time I have been here in my office and he has been downstairs. We will just try and stay out of each other’s way as much as possible and hope for the best. I don’t know how long he will be working from home, it seems like this whole thing is only just starting; but I feel that this will be a really good opportunity to test our marriage.

 

Posted in Reviews

The month of July

Today I thought I’d review my first month taking this blog seriously. The month of July saw me organising a schedule for my posts and this is the third week in a row that I fulfill this schedule, which is an achievement. I have started the blog just over a year ago, full of ideas and enthusiasm. However, the last twelve months were not easy for me, with my parents’ health, my studies, trying to organise a wedding. It has been a little chaotic – to put it lightly.

So, this Summer started with my fun Hen do in the Algarve at the end of May. The weeks coming up to it saw me running like crazy, spending long periods at the library in the university, trying to cramp up the work of a whole semester into some four or five weeks, including a job and family and house commitments. There was no way I could have succeeded, and from the beginning, I was a fool to think I was in with the slightest of the chances. But, I guess I had to try and I gave it my best shot. At least I managed to complete my creative project and reflective commentary and I got part of my dissertation done. It is something! However, a moment of realisation came when I knew I would not be able to graduate this Summer with all the workload I still had to do and I thought I’d better go back and do it all over again. I won’t be able to repeat the modules I have completed again, but there is a chance I can go back to do the ones I have not submitted any work for and I have written to the course leaders to ask for that opportunity. I am still waiting to hear from them, but I’m hopeful!

Therefore, I decided to dedicate my time to the blog and make it the best I can. So in these last three weeks, I have posted three poems from my mental health collection; “Mask” on 17th July, “Guilt” on 24th July and “Grief” this week on 31st July. These three poems have been workshopped and edited many times and are very close to my heart because they refer to very personal and intimate experiences. I feel very proud for having shared them here on my blog and I hope that they can reach others who have gone through similar emotions and help them feel less isolated, this is the reason why I wrote them in the first place. So far I have mainly opened up about my struggles with mental health because recently that old friend has come to visit again. Pretty soon I hope I’ll start writing about how true friends, family, hope and will power have helped to come a long way since the moment it all started.

I also shared three different quotes with related photo collages. This is the fun part for me to find inspirational quotes and photos that relate to them. I wrote about the English language and I am finding it fun to explore a different word each week. I intend to explore more serious grammatical issues in the future, maybe when I am more settled into this new habit of writing regularly.

In these three weeks, I had a go at translating a Portuguese poem by Fernando Pessoa into English and I shared section one of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” last week. It was only a cheeky dip into two of my favourite and inspirational poets, more to follow on them.

In conclusion, I would say the month of July has been like a sneak preview of what’s to come. The posts have not been too long and the themes approached could have been developed in more depth, but that will come in due course, slowly but surely!

Thanks for reading xxx

 

Posted in My Planet

Un – Identity

Today I want to talk about the poem I posted on Monday ‘Mask’. I remember very clearly a period of time, when I was deep in my depression, that I did not know who I was. I knew my name, my age, where I lived, where I was born, etc, etc, but I didn’t know my identity. I did not know who was I all about, behind the mother, the daughter, the sister, the bread winner, I felt absolutely at loss amidst all those personas I had been showing to the world. I was supposed to be a strong, independent woman, self-confident and afraid of nothing, but behind that mask, I felt like a very scared and vulnerable little girl who craved nothing but to be cared for.

I remember people that knew me for a long time, being surprised with the fact that I was suffering from depression because I was antonymous of depression – my sister said once that I would be the last person she’d expected to see with depression because I was always so confident and upbeat. That was the problem, I never allowed myself to feel sad, scared or disappointed; in face of difficulties I would just pull myself together and move on. But sometimes we need to live through the disappointment and feel the grief, the pain, cry and ask for help. I didn’t do that for most of my life and it made me ill. And the realisation that I had used a mask of ‘everything is alright and if it isn’t I don’t care’ for too long made me feel like a farce; I did care, in fact, deep down I cared too much. I broke down when it became impossible for me to pretend and it took me a while to find myself, to find who I really was; not before the depression but who I was behind the mask that I wore all my life.

I think that one of the most valuable lessons I have learnt with depression and during therapy was that it is ok to be vulnerable and it is ok not to be ok. Pretending to be ok, when you’re not is long life habit of mine and I have to admit that I still do it from time to time, I just can’t help it. However, now I can recognise when I’m doing it and take a step back – without judgement – and that makes all the difference.

Thanks for reading and be kind to yourself!

Posted in My Planet

Graduation Day – Not

I should have been graduating today in English and Creative Writing (BA), but I didn’t. Since the second semester of year two, my studies have been a struggle for me – to be honest, my whole life has. But that is not what I am going to talk about here today.

When I realised I wasn’t going to be able to finish all my assignments on time to graduate this year, to a standard that would be satisfactory to me, I thought that the best option to me be would be to repeat this year and graduate next year. When I made that decision, I felt a huge relief, it was like a massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders and my mental health felt better straight away. I even started reducing my medication. I thought I would spend the summer reading books just for pleasure and not for coursework, developing this blog and just enjoying my family life before going back in September for a fresh restart, more focused and ready to actually enjoying studying my course. It seemed the best option for me because I came to a point where I felt exhausted, really, really tired of running to catch up, without time to deal with grief and other emotions and feelings fighting for my attention. Anyway, I needed a break and felt that I deserved it as well as a second chance at giving my course my best shot. I was happy with my decision.

Thanks to the power of social media, I have been seeing all my university colleagues in their gowns and accompanied by their families and friends celebrating their achievement. While I am ever so happy for all of them and proud to have witnessed the journeys of some of them, I am also a little bit upset because I am not graduating. It is a mixed emotion because I still think, there was nothing else I could have done and I think I can do it next year. However, in a remote place inside me, there is a voice whispering self-doubt thoughts, wondering if I will ever finish my degree… Yes, these voices still come back to me from time to time, but I have silenced them before and I will do again. I know I can finish my degree and graduate next year. I am absolutely capable of it.

I thought I’d share this year because it might be someone out there facing similar emotions and I would like them to know there they’re not alone. But, because I believe that this experience and all I have been through in the last two years of my life have made me stronger and better prepared for future challenges, I would also like to end on a positive note with the wise words of James Joyce:

Mistakes are the portals of discovery.