Put everything into words
pinging elastic bands at each other when we met
ordering pizza to survive the first night shift
navigating the seas of an unexpected ten year gap
devouring your moody atmospheric music
leaving pillow notes the morning after
reminding you that you need to work less
stretching new love into long-distance lives
travelling on crowded trains to reach you
planning our future at a restaurant table
falling into sofas during Star Wars marathons
all of the hand-written cards
all of the mattresses on the floor
all of the 3am drunken calls
all of the weight-gain wobbles
all of the cardboard box days
pancake mornings in overpriced flats
glass-of-wine evenings on gritty balconies
spring summer autumn winter walks
tartan scarves and Jedi jackets
blinded by lights on a carpet aisle
flowers and friends framing my view
my breath suddenly stolen by bubbles
everything I cannot put into words
waiting for me with a ring.
This marks my first blog post of 2020! It’s been about a month since I posted but I am excited to get back to regular uploads with the new year.
As with every new year, this time gives people a chance to reflect and I have felt that very profoundly this year in particular. Last January, without sounding too melodramatic, I had a breakdown. After months of daily panic attacks, constant chest pain and crippling anxiety, I was ready to admit to my then-fiancé, and myself, that I had to leave my job as an English Teacher. The sad truth of it was I adored my job, the teaching part of it anyway. Most people tend to assume that secondary teaching would be a nightmare because you would have to deal with teenagers. Many strangers assumed I taught primary school because why would anyone want to teach gobby teenagers? However, the kids were the best part of my job. My classes, although at times infuriating, filled me so much pride, made me cry with laughter and made me feel incredibly appreciated and valued. They made the job worthwhile and surprised me everyday. Sadly my issues with teaching stemmed from workload and performance pressures. It does not surprise me that only two-thirds of teachers stay in the profession after five years of qualifying in the UK. After four months of working 7am till 5pm everyday, to then work from home planning and marking till 9pm, as well as giving up at least one day at the weekend, I felt like a shell of my former self. At my busiest, I could end up working over 60 hours a week and I was only getting paid for 37. I was deeply unhappy and I felt like a failure for even wanting to quit. Leaving teaching and having to start afresh, work out my next career move and battle daily panic attacks led to a very difficult year.
However, 2019 wasn’t all doom and gloom. In August of last year I married my best friend and partner of 5 years and from then I began to make changes. I spent the next four months focusing on looking after myself and mental health whilst beginning to look for new jobs. I started this blog with a mission to get back into creative writing, something I had neglected for years. I started doing an online course in Proofreading, with the hope of perhaps looking into editorial positions in future. I have started piecing together ideas for a novel I would like to write. I applied for Creative Writing Masters and was accepted to study part-time next year. I have already had one short story published in Ellipsis Zine in October and I am due to have another short story published at the end of January. I applied for a new job and was accepted for it on the 2nd January. This year, me and my husband are hoping to save for a house.
I’m still working on the anxiety part, although panic attacks strike a lot less frequently. Reflecting on this time last year, I feel very proud that I had the courage to leave my job and plunge into the unknown. I have no idea whether I will keep to the many resolutions I have made (apologies to my gym membership), but focusing on being happy is the one I kept last year that will follow me into 2020.
So to start 2020, I have written a poem inspired by my favourite day of 2019, dedicated to the person who has loved and supported me unconditionally throughout this clusterfuck.