Teacher’s Pet

Daily Prompt Post: Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?

My favourite teacher was one that I didn’t meet until my second last year of school, though it quickly felt like I’d known her for a long time.  It’s funny, at first I really didn’t like her…through no fault of her own.  I’d had a favourite teacher since Year 7, and she was supposed to be teaching me Theatre Studies in Year 11, my first class with her since Year 8.  I was so excited.  I rock up on the first day only to find she’d left the school without so much as a goodbye (in fact, she’d ended the conversation with “see you next year!” before school let out) so I was floored and guttered.  Ms Tolli had taken her place, a teacher brand new to the school.  I didn’t know her at all, but she was replacing my then-favourite teacher and nobody was going to be better than her.

It didn’t take too long for her to show us her fun and awesome she was though, and quickly the whole class were counting down to her classes.  Realistically, I probably shouldn’t have been doing that class at all (I only signed up for it because I wanted to be in the original teacher’s grade).  I was shy, awkward and wasn’t really interested in theatre at all.  Despite all that, Ms Tolli made me (and others in a similar situation) feel like we belonged and that would could do it.

She was supportive and really had our best interests at heart.  More than that, we saw her as a friend.  Looking back, I’m not even sure how she managed that, because mostly when teachers try to pull that off, they just come off as try-hards.  Not Ms Tolli though.

The main project of our theatre studies class was putting on a play from scratch, using only the people in our class.  The class was pretty small really, only maybe 15 people, so that’s no small fete.  We wound up spending a lot of time outside of normal school hours working on it, helping the actors learn their lines, building sets, working out the costumes and music.  We became more than just a class of Year-11s-and-12s, we were like a little family, with Ms Tolli as our surrogate mum.

I feel like I grew up a lot that year, thanks to her mentoring and kindness.  I started the year as shy and timid, and left with confidence and a stronger belief in myself.

We were so close by the end of the year that we celebrated at Ms Tolli’s house with a BBQ and booze.  Throughout the year we’d gotten to know her three young kids, and they were so happy we were there and including them.  Everyone was really sad the year was ending.  Half the class was finishing school completely, and others weren’t taking up her class next year (drama).  I was though, purely because I wanted another year with her.

I still miss her sometimes, and wish we were in contact.  I don’t know where I’d be now if she hadn’t given me the confidence and self-belief that she did.  Thanks for everything Vanda ❤

#loveme challenge – Day Sixteen

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Day 16 – Something You Like about Yourself

This is probably the hardest prompt I’ve had so far.  Although nothing immediately comes to mind (like a lot of females in this day and age probably), I guess I’m going to go with my inner strength.  Is that a strange answer?  Probably.  Honestly, it was a struggle to think of anything at all, which is kind of sad really.  I suppose that’s what this challenge is all about though!

Anyway, I chose my inner strength as I feel like over these past 5 years (especially this year) I have changed from a timid, shy person into someone who can deal with almost anything.  I’ve been dealt a lot of bad hands, met a lot of nasty people, made a lot of mistakes, lost family members and friends…and it’s all made me stronger.  I guess it all comes down to my mentality, and I’ve always been a believer in “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”…after this year, I’m proof of that.

I’ve had nights where I’ve shivered uncontrollably (to the point it probably would have almost looked like convolutions to outsiders), I’ve had days where I cried for hours, I’ve had moments of weakness where I’ve word-vomited my problems to a kind set of ears…but I always manage to pull myself together.  There’s always a strong voice shouting at me through the fog “okay, enough is enough, time to shake this off and get back to it”.  I don’t think anyone would blame me if I fell apart.  In fact, I’m sure some would expect it.  I haven’t though.  I’ve taken hit after hit and I’m doing okay.  I’m still standing.  I’m still fighting.  I’m refusing to let it all get to me.  I suppose part of the reason for that is if I do fall apart, I’m worried I won’t get back up.

Another reason though, is my amazing friends.  Being an introvert, I don’t have a lot of them, but the ones I do are so supportive and amazing.  I don’t have a particularly close relationship with any of my family, so without my friends I don’t think I’d be anywhere near as strong as I am.  Tying in with that, I’ve learnt in these past few years it’s okay to ask for help.  It’s okay to tell people you’re hurting or upset.  It’s okay to let people know you’re issues.  In fact, I’ve sort of come to rely on it.  Everyone knows my problems because I’m always looking for advise or a different outlook.  It’s part of my coping mechanism and while sometimes I wish I kept things to myself more, ultimately it helps me see things more clearly and to move forward with my life.

This was a tough post and it was a bit all over the place, but it’s the best I could do.  I’m trying to have more self-love and self-confidence but it’s a slow process.  I’m sure one day I’ll have a better response to this kind of question, but not today.

I Can’t Stay Mad At You

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I Can’t Stay Mad at You.”
Do you hold grudges or do you believe in forgive and forget?

I don’t really believe in either.  I mean, it depends who I’m mad at and what they’ve done, but if they aren’t someone I’d consider a close friend, and if they’ve done something I see as horrible, I will cut all ties with them.  I wouldn’t say I hold a grudge, because that would mean I’m actively staying mad at them.  No, I just try to leave them in the past.  I don’t forgive them and I don’t forget what they’ve done, but I also don’t waste my energy on thinking about them.  Instead, I try to heal myself from the damage they’ve caused…and that, for me, takes a long time because I get hurt by others actions easily.  I try to see the good in everyone and if they’ve gone and done something to offend/upset/hurt me (intentional or not), it takes a lot for me to switch off the hurt.  Admittedly, I am getting better at both keeping my distance from people, and at moving on, but it isn’t (and will never be) an overnight process.  I think holding grudges is a waste of time and something I moved on from doing in high school, but I also think forgiving and forgetting is a recipe for more pain down the track.

That being said, if one of my close friends does something wrong, I am all about forgiving and forgetting.  It takes a lot for me to consider someone a close friend, and for me to do that I have to trust them and their motives completely.  If they’ve fucked up, I always believe it wasn’t their intention and that if, given a second chance, they wouldn’t do it again.  I know that’s contradictory to my attitude towards everyone else, and can definitely lead to issues later on, but I’d like to think if I made mistakes they’d forgive me too.  That’s what friendship is, isn’t it?  Knowing the person well enough to give them extra chances?

-JD

Make Me Smile

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Make Me Smile.”
If you’re feeling blah, what is the one thing you do that you can count on to put a smile on your face?

If I’m feeling upset or lonely, there are two things that make me feel better.  One being my puppy, which is obvious.  She loves cuddles and when I was going through one of the worst nights of my life (to the point I was shaking uncontrollably all night) she cuddled right up next to me and didn’t leave my side, even though she gets really hot and usually sleeps away from me.

  
The second is a present I got for my last birthday from two of my closest friends.  It’s a build-a-bear named Plebalina.  She’s so soft and cuddly, but more than that, it was designed just for me.  They took time out of their day to think about what I’d like, and spent some serious cash on it.  Most of all, the three of us each have one each now.  I always feel close to them when I look at it, and it reminds me of all the good times we’ve had.  Even in my darkest hours, I know they’re always going to be there for me.  Plus, who wouldn’t smile looking at this plushie?

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-JD

Regrets, I’ve Had a Few

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Regrets, I’ve Had a Few.”

Dear N,

I put my trust in you when I shouldn’t have.  You were upset about how someone else had treated you, to the point you were inconsolable.   You looked at me through wet eyes and said through sobs “I don’t understand how anyone could do that to someone else, I would never do that”.  I believed you.  I shouldn’t have.  Whether or not they were crocodile tears I’ll never really know.  You confided secrets in me, and I you.  We weren’t best friends and that was never the plan or intention.  At the time, we were just two people who got along and had been simultaneously wronged by a person we thought we could trust.  We felt closer because of it.  Or at least, I did.
Fast forward twelve months.  Things had changed fundamentally in the world around us.  This isn’t the first time, so there’s no reason why it should have changed us as people.  I don’t believe it changed me.  For some reason, though, it changed you.  There was no reason for it.  You met some new people but the ones who’d stood by you hadn’t faltered or upset you.  We still had your back, like we had twelve months ago, and we thought you still had ours.
It came out of the blue that you’d talked behind our backs, filed serious complaints against us.  Complaints that you must have known would lead to our downfall.  Why?  That’s what I’ll never understand.  What made you suddenly think it was okay to do that?  What could you possibly gain from it?  Were we so horrible?  So many questions I’ll never know the answer to.
“I don’t understand how anyone could do that to someone else, I would never do that”.  Did you forget that moment, twelve months before?  I know you didn’t, because that was when I confided in you and what you used against me at my time of weakness.  How dare you?  You knew I’d never break the promise you’d asked of me at the same time, to keep what you told me secret.  Apparently that never meant the same thing to you.
The girl who wronged both of us was bad, that much I’d not denying.  You are worse though, because you saw what it was like from our side, and you knowingly inflicted that stress on us once again.  At least the first girl had the good sense to remove herself from the situation after filing the complaint – you decided that it was perfectly acceptable to stay, like you’d done nothing wrong.  I hope when you look around you now and see the hurt you’ve caused the people left behind, you realize what you’ve done.  You not only lost friends in the people you complained about, you lost friends who stood by us afterwards.
Despite what you did, at least some small good has come from it.  We now know who our real friends are and always were, and they now know not to trust you.  At least they won’t repeat the mistakes that we made.
I can almost hear your reply to all this.  You’d have your most innocent sounding voice, saying “I didn’t know it would lead to this!”.  BULLSHIT.  You knew exactly what you were doing, or at least would have had the common sense to know where it could lead.  There’s no excuse for it.  You went out of your way to cause major problems for people who cared about you, and that is the ultimate betrayal.  You caused them stress that didn’t need to happen, you caused tears that didn’t need to be shed.  You stood there, lit the match and watched the world burn.  I just hope karma pays you a visit very soon and gives you a hard kick in the pants.  That’s the least you deserve for being such a terrible person and an even worse friend.  And I hope karma is in the shape of someone you thought you could trust, so you understand what you did.
-JD

#loveme challenge – Day Five

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Day Five – “A Note to Your Past Self”.

Hmmm.  This is vague.  Interesting, but vague.  Who do I write to?  My five-year-old self that was obsessed with Barbies and the colour orange?  My nine-year-old self who was absolutely convinced she’d become an artist when she grew up?  My twelve-year-old self, in the cusp of puberty and extremely embarrassed by it all?  So many options.

Dear my sixteen-year-old self.
Hi.  I know it’s hard to believe I’m writing to you from the future.  I’m 25 now.  Seems crazy right?  25, the time you assumed that you’d have it all together.  Well, unfortunately you don’t.  No partner, no job, renting (don’t be mad, I know you swore you’d never get stuck the rent trap but you also know how badly you needed to move out of the parentals place.  Trust me, this isn’t so bad), still not sure what you want to do with your life.  But you know what?  A lot of 25-year-olds are in the same situation.  It’s scary, but it’s not so bad.  I know to you, 25 seems so far away, but it isn’t.  It’ll come faster than you think.
I know right now you’re going through some stuff.  You feel alone.  You aren’t.  Sixteen is a tough year for most people.  Don’t let it get you down.  Enjoy yourself.  I know the teachers at school are all about you “knuckling down” and suggesting you “think about your future”.  I know the tests are getting harder, the lessons are getting more serious.  Don’t worry about it.  Just do your best, but don’t let it wear you down.  There’s more important things than the result of some quiz.  Go out more with your friends.  Spend more time with your dogs.  Buy stupid things.  Quit that awful job.  Don’t let yourself get stressed out and depressed.  Everything will work out.
That boy you think you’re in love with…let him go.  He’s not right for you and not interested in you.  You pretending to enjoy sport isn’t going to get you anywhere.  Don’t let him hurt you, you’re worth more than that.  It’s okay to be alone, even if the whole world seems to believe otherwise.
It’s okay to be emo.  It’s okay to enjoy it.  If it makes you happy, just do it.  It won’t last forever.  At 25, you can’t do stuff like that any more.  Enjoy these phases while you can, it’ll make for more interesting stories later on.
Don’t listen to your mum or anyone else who says you’re fat.  You aren’t.  You may not be the skinniest person in your year level but you are not overweight.  Don’t throw in the towel and think it’s okay to eat bad food all the time.  It will catch up with you!
The most important piece of advise I’ve got – more important than anything else I’ve mentioned – is to be yourself.  I know at 16, it’s all about peer pressure and fitting in, but almost all the people you associate with now, you won’t remain friends with in a few years.  Hard to believe, I know, but it’s true.  People grow up, go separate ways, don’t have time to organise catch ups.  Don’t worry what they think.  Don’t pretend you enjoy things that you don’t, don’t spend time with people you dislike.  It’s okay to go against the crowd sometimes, but it’s also perfectly fine to go with it (which I know you struggle with).  Sometimes, the crowd is right.  You don’t have to constantly be at war with “the man”.  Pick your fights.
Anyway, hope school isn’t too tough for you today!  Chin up soldier!

-JD

#loveme challenge – Day Four


Day Four – “A Person who Loves You”.

This is an interesting one because normally, you’d expect it to be “a person you love”, which is easy.  There are a few people I could go with, but I think the most suitable option is the person who got me into blogging, and who is probably my oldest friend.

CJ is someone I’ve known since…well, pretty much forever. Our families grew up together and we’d hang out together as kids. I remember way back in the day we went on a nature hike somewhere (back then it felt like it was hours away, though I have a sneaking suspicion it probably wasn’t) and another time, we all went bike riding then had a barbecue afterwards.
Despite all that, it wasn’t until about 2009 we actually started hanging out away from “family gatherings”.


Since then, we’ve worked on films together, roadtripped together, travelled together and – up until very recently – worked together.  She’s the closest thing to a big sister I’ve ever had and although we’re been through some rough patches (especially recently) we’ve always forgiven each other and not let it get us down.

I guess the point of today’s challenge isn’t walking down memory lane, though.  Given it’s “a person who loves you” and this whole challenge us about being positive, I think I’m supposed to explain how I know she loves me.

I guess it comes down to one thing – she’s always there for me.  She’s helped me through so many rough patches in these past six years, she’s there to celebrate wins and commiserate losses.  She’s my voice of reason when I’m gonna do something dumb.  Even in the moments I took her for granted or let my emotions get in the way of my common sense, she’s stuck by me.  She knows that even if I fuck up, that it wasn’t my intention, and she’s there to help me through it.  Just like any sisters, there are things we do that drive the other insane, but we see through it and gently remind them to knock it off.

I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without her, and it makes me sad that I won’t see her as much now we aren’t colleagues any more, but I know she’s always just a phone call away 😊

– JD

PS, check out her blog.

#loveme challenge – Day Three

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Day Three – “A Word that Describes You”.

Hmmm.  I initially wanted to go with stubborn, but given that this is supposed to be a positive exercise and my stubbornness has often gotten me in trouble I’m going to go with a different word instead.

Loyal.

I’m fiercely loyal.  I stand by the people I care about through thick and thin.  I’m that person who checks up on you twenty-five times after you’ve gone through something bad, just to make sure you aren’t putting on a front or things haven’t suddenly gone downhill.  I’m the person who will defend you in your absence, even if it gets me in more trouble.  I’m not afraid to let you know I care.  It’s common for me to send random texts or even handwrite letters detailing my thoughts about how much I care.  Some people don’t know how to take it, but I’d rather make someone a little uncomfortable than for something to happen to me and them never know how I felt.  I think this is important – for me especially – because I’m not the touchy-feely type, and I feel like people think because of that I’m cold and indifferent to them, which isn’t correct at all.

On the flip side, if you wrong me or stab me in the back (which has happened more often than I’d like to admit in the past twelve months), I will never trust you, and never defend you.  I don’t have time for people like that.  I’m a very trusting person by nature, and it really hurts when you haven’t done anything to someone (well, nothing you’re aware of) and out of the blue, they basically give the middle finger to your friendship.  From my experience, it’s because if they do that, they gain some advantage – in their career, in other friendships.  I don’t care what the advantage is, backstabbing a friend is unforgivable.  I guess I find it so heinous because of my loyalty, and because I’d never even consider doing that.  If someone has done something to offend or upset me, I want to talk it out, or ignore it for a little while until the hurt passes, then go back to normal.  I would never throw someone under a bus out of anger or for gain.  I couldn’t sleep at night if I did.

Anyway, that’s why I picked loyalty.  It’s a trait of mine I hold above pretty much anything else, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

-JD

Summer’s Coming

I’ve had a terrible year.  The worst of my life.  It hasn’t just been one big thing – that stuff happens but doesn’t make the whole year awful – but one bad thing after the other.  It feels like I’m a character in the Sims, where the game is being run by a bored 14-year-old boy.  Every time I find my feet and try to get back up, something comes along to kick me back down again.

It’s all a lesson right?

A lesson in accepting what comes.  A lesson in appreciating what you’ve got.  A lesson in trying to find the positive in everything.

RIGHT?

I don’t know.

The start of this year saw me in a job I was comfortable in, with great friends, a super cute crush I got to see 5 times a week, a healthy family, a reliable car and a gorgeous young dog.

And now?  A mere 9 months later?

I’m unemployed.  Not by choice.   My family has been touched by cancer.  I’m lucky if I see my crush once a month.  I’ve upset about half my friends unintentionally (my friendship group isn’t huge).  I had a car accident on my 25th birthday, though luckily (if you could call anything like that lucky) it wasn’t off the road too long.

It’s all a test, right?  If I survive this year, I’ll win a great 2016?

RIGHT?

And yet, despite receiving yet another phone call saying “sorry, you didn’t get the job, we found someone better” for the seventh time in two weeks, despite having no income with an upcoming mortgage, despite going stircrazy sitting around all day every day at home, I’m OKAY.

I’m not great.  There are days where I just want to throw in the towel, crawl under a blanket and refuse to participate in everything.  It’s only fair, right?  After everything I’ve been dealt?

But there are days – days like today – where the sun is out, the breeze is warm, and I feel like I can get through this.  That things aren’t so bad.  That I’m alive
and healthy and able to appreciate the fact that even if everything else in my world is shit, that summer is coming.  After a freezing winter, summer is coming.  Even if I don’t find a job, even if I get more bad news, the warmth is approaching and the days will soon get longer.  Nothing is going to change that.

And for some reason, today, just knowing that, is enough.

– JD