The part where I am Nina: successful, a bit crazy and hugely unlucky in love

And this is why I’ve been finding it difficult to write lately…

I’ve been watching the TV series Offspring with a new outlook. I was told that I am the main character, Nina and now that I watch the episodes from the very beginning again I realise that it’s true in so many ways.

“I fell in love…and I can’t get up”
Nina-ism #1
I can’t get up. I do, everyday, but I feel a little more broken each time. Each time I share a piece of my goodness with someone they take it and I’m left with an increasingly sad heaviness inside. I’m completely losing faith that I’ll ever get what I deserve. And I know I deserve the world because I’m willing to give the world. I’m so honest too. I say to these men, ‘I’m not going to be your one night stand, go now if that’s all you want’,’I’ve got a wall up, please don’t try to break it down unless you’re going to take care of me’. They don’t listen. I don’t learn. I give, they take and I lose. I do believe that they are the ones losing out but as if they see that. They’d need to truly see me and not just themselves if that were the case.

“He’s not interested, I’m annoying him… Step away from the gorgeous man”
Nina-ism #2
He says he is but he’s really not. I keep finding every emotionally unavailable man in the dating world. He says he is interested but he changes his mind. He says he isn’t interested but he still wants me in his life. He was more than interested at the start. I will not believe that it is me or some big character flaw of mine. I am so transparent. Knowing me is simple in that way. I don’t hide and there’s nothing hidden so if you liked me at the start?..
Maybe I give too much too soon.
If I am Nina, stepping away is what I should do but it’s the thing I find the most challenging in life. Stepping away from people I care about, even if it’s on a different level to how they care about me. I care way too much and way too easily. People tell me to change, but how? Why? I’m me.

“Don’t do anything you are doing!”
Nina-ism #3 – said to gorgeous man
Don’t tell me how amazing I am and leave. Don’t tell me how kind, sweet and caring I am and then abuse it. Don’t tell me you see something between us and then take away possibility. Don’t introduce me to your family and friends. Don’t make me part of your every day and let me get used to having you in my life. Despite this, don’t let me see you as someone I could love. Don’t let me love you and take your heart away.
Don’t be an idiot for overlooking me, us and the potential you know is there.
Tell me why you still want me in your life on your terms. Tell me how that is fair.
Let me hate you so that I can at least try to let you go. But I know that even if you really are just using me to make yourself feel good and to have the best of both worlds, I really struggle to hate.
I am reliable, overly considerate and everybody’s back up. I’m your safety net but I’m still alone. Who’s got my back?

“Neens, don’t stress about men. You’re too brilliant. If it happens you’ll look back on all the stress and think ‘what a waste of brain space that was’. If it doesn’t happen, you’ve still got your brilliance”
Nina-ism #4 – to Nina from her sister
Perfect. Impossible. Hopeless.
I give way too much time to this. I know my worth, my positives and my struggles. I see me, they say that they see me too but it always falls at the last hurdle.

There is so much to say. About the boy I fell in love with. About the man I met who encouraged me to see beyond that old love and to be ready to like again. I’m just not sure what to say or how to say it. There’s still no happy ending. Who am I kidding, there wasn’t even a chance to make a happy beginning.

I’m starting another new chapter in this blog. I have lots of stories to share so next up I’m going to begin The Single Life – Part 4 so that I can get back on track with my writing. Thank you for being patient while I found my lost words.

The part where there are numbers everywhere, man

15…days until I go home to my big city to see my family and friends
6…days of school left with my beautiful class for 2014
21…sleeps until Christmas
1…school year that I’ve almost completed in my small town
3…puppy ads that I’ve enquired after, hoping to find the new addition to my family
2…times that I have been seriously worried about my family in the last 2 weeks
8…Secret Santa clues that I have received from a very thoughtful colleague
1…cup of coffee for today, can’t wait for tomorrow’s
1…work out session that I’m really starting to enjoy
1…sleep until my dad comes to visit me
22…little 5&6 year olds whom I shared my day with today
22…new names of students I can’t wait to teach next year
5…to do lists that I have on the go at the moment
4…Christmas outfits that my VW has been dressed up in this week
22…days since my last post (sorry)
2324…views on my blog
27…countries that my blog has been accessed from
1…person
99…a really special number that I just want to keep growing and growing

This time, I’m not really sure what else to say.

1…short and sweet blog entry
1000…more numbers that I could probably take notice of in every day

What numbers mean or say something to you today?

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The part where the little hearts have it all worked out

I have one of the best professions. I am lucky to be encouraged by little humans every day. Young children who have experienced many emotions in their short lives and share what they think and know so naturally with anyone who will listen to them.

Every day I record little moments of our time together. Moments that I know I will keep with me forever because their words so frequently mean more than what the most highly articulate adults can deliver.

They always speak the truth to people they care about. I am told on those days where I am looking pretty in their eyes. I am reminded of the days where I couldn’t quite cover that big pimple on my chin. I know when I do something right and I definitely know when I make a mistake.

Sometimes my words aren’t needed . The innocence of their young minds and the generous nature of their growing hearts frequently makes me wish that more adults could see and feel life in the way the young people that I am lucky enough to surround myself with do.

There are the comments –

“Miss ..! Why do you look so beautiful? You should wear school clothes and not beautiful clothes! Why do you always wear different clothes Miss ..?”

“I can tell you’re laughing Miss … because you are smiling and the laughing is coming out of your eyeballs”

Then there are the smiles, the giggles, the hugs, the hand written invitations, the drawings, the little notes and the random treasures that are passed on to me every day.

So, if you’re ever feeling like your adult world is a little bit too much to handle, the perfect way to put a smile back on your face and get some perspective is to slow your life down a bit, share a smile with a child you know, send them some love and give them some of your attention. Then you’ll remember what life is all about. We all started off this way – generous, forgiving, excitable and positive. I dare you to try it. It’s catching.

There is a catch though – do it for the child and not for yourself.

This is a difficult topic for me to talk about in brief because I am so passionate about it as a professional in my industry and as a adult who seriously still believes she is a child at heart.

Childhood is magic and children are inspiring. Not only should children not be discouraged to enjoy their childhood, the magic of childhood should follow us through into adulthood.

Life would be so much simpler. And happy.

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The part where you might know exactly how I feel

There are two distinct parts to my day at the moment and I’m going to be completely honest and tell you what it feels like because I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that can relate.

The Miss Independent Zone: brilliant self-talk, focused attention to work life, excellent ‘life is only just beginning’ attitude, encouraging ‘everything happens for a reason’ philosophy and total appreciation of my support crew and pretty things. This zone exists from about 8am to 6pm. Now, it might already sound like I am suffering from bipolar because you can probably guess what is coming, but this is pretty close to what my head is like on a daily basis if you cancel out men. Bloody men.

The Wobble Zone: Complete over-analyser, regular visitor to ‘memory lane’, constant questioner, big-time doubter, self-esteem destroyer, ‘what-ifs’ dreamer, ugly-face crier, total non-eater, insane no-sleeper and giving-myself-a-hard-time-by-dwelling-on-disappointment real life girl. This zone exists from about 6pm to 8am. It starts as the sun goes down, hangs around during the night time routine, bugs you as you try to sleep and slaps you in the face when you wake up in the morning. It is almost like you feel drunk or hungover because your body and mind are so out of whack.
This is what happens when a girl’s hope is crushed once again. By the guy she invested in. By the guy who gave her hope. By the guy who injected himself into her life and invited her into his. By the guy who was and is honest, different, real, thoughtful, intelligent, fun, new and a whole lot of everything, including temporarily damaged. The guy who made me feel calm and the only person I have ever connected with so instantly and mutually.

It’s difficult for me to articulate succinctly as I constantly have a thousand thoughts running through my head, often conflicting and competing against each other.

This person, who I have overwhelming respect for, fills my head. Even a-midst all this hurt and confusion and especially when I hear the lyrics in the following two songs.

I think I want you more than want
And no I need you more than need
I want to hold you more than hold
When you stood in front of me
I think you know me more than know
And you see me more than see

Songs take us places. Even if those lyrics seem intense, it’s more the individual words that take you back to the past or allow you to look into the future or simply force you to take a deep breath and enjoy the right-there feeling of the moment.

[He’ll give himself a high-5 after he Googles these lyrics and finds out the name of this next song because he’s been trying to get it out of me for weeks.]

So don’t act like it’s a bad thing to fall in love with me
‘Cause you might look around and find your dreams come true, with me
Spent all your time and your money just to find out that my love was free
So don’t act like it’s a bad thing to fall in love with me, me
It’s not a bad thing to fall in love with me, me

That song has been haunting me all year. It has stretched out over two endings and they are still playing it on the radio. The good thing is that I can scream it out really loud in my car with a mix of ‘I hate that you did this to me’ and an ‘I am SO worth loving’ kind of attitude.

So just like how my days are playing out at the moment, this person creates two very different feelings for me.

But, there is a different and unique ending to this story in that there isn’t an imminent ending. He wants to know me in the same way I feel the need to know him, because ultimately, it seems like my life is richer with him in it somehow.

I’m honestly still working it out. But the refreshing part is that we are working it out together. It’s strange, I know. Lots of people probably won’t agree with me and I know that too. People have been starting to ask me what is wrong with me and I’m determined not to listen to their doubts. I actually don’t think I am doing anything wrong, other than letting my heart feel and my head dream without holding back. I completely live in and get excited for the moment. I let the feelings I have shine and I am so ready and willing to give myself (without compromising who I am) to someone or to a situation or event. People are telling me to play games. “You have to play hard to get”, they said. “You have to treat them mean to keep them keen”, they taunt. In my mind all I have to be is me. I don’t like games and I would think that, by this age, many of us would be sick of games too. I don’t want to predict the future or jump too far in but I would really like it if someone I cared for would give me a chance one day. A real chance.

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However…

I’m strangely excited. Then I’m hurt. Then I think a bit too much and feel that sting of rejection again. But then I’m back to feeling excited again. I am noticing a change already because all of a sudden his name, sitting there in my Facebook feed, is not like poison to me anymore. Pretending not to know someone that you actually know so well – that is the hardest part of being told that ‘us’ can’t happen. Now I am not pretending. Now I am talking and we are sharing some amazing conversations. I have hope back. Hope that we might just be able to go full circle and create a lasting relationship. The big adjustment is that it is now not how I had dreamed it would be. Lucky I’m not one of those people who says “I already have enough friends.” And I’m going to make sure I don’t get hurt by this. And especially by him.

The part where I put one fancy foot in front of the other

Back straight
Shoulder blades pushed together
Head up, neck elongated, chin forward
Tummy in
Butt clenched
Pelvis forward
Hands softly down by your side, swaying and lightly brushing your butt as you walk
Eyes looking out to the audience
Stand tall
Smile, but not too much

now,

One foot delicately in front of the other
GO!

OMG what am I doing?

I’ve always wanted to be a little bit famous, but I never expected that this was how a clumsy, limbs everywhere, big foot like myself would get a big break. Okay, I’m exaggerating on the ‘big break’ but I’ve had a go at something very new and completely unexpected. I modelled. And no, I didn’t dig out my model trains from under the house. I put on fancy dresses, balanced a book on my head and stumbled gracefully down a catwalk. People were shocked!

For starters, I never thought I’d try on a wedding dress before it actually became significant to me (note: still hoping for a boy to refer to me as a lovely girl, who is a great friend in a more ‘join the words together’ kind of way). I also never imagined that I’d fit the criteria for a modelling gig. I was so nervous that I even struggled to smile without my jaw trembling. I was so wobbly on my feet that it was lucky the photographer made me take my heels off because I was too tall for the photo. I had a great time getting all made up and feeling glamorous. I also have new inspiration to stand up tall and own my height. And I’ve never been so excited as when I got the opportunity to do a photo shoot for the venue and the event wear company, to be used in their advertising. They sniggered at a girl jumping up and down in a wedding dress as she signed her images over to them…well, before their eyes turned to sheer panic as I looked like I’d fall on my face and ruin their whole event. Of course that never happened though. This girl is used to being excited!!!!

So, I did it!!!

And the photos brought a tear to my mother’s eye, because, come on, I was playing bride and we all know that people are starting to feel concern over my looming ‘spinster’ status. I’m just grateful no one I knew saw my attempt at following the intended choreography whilst trying to walk in heels, in a white dress, with my shoulders back, head up, tummy in…. you remember the list…

The best bit is, I’ve been asked to help out at another event this weekend!

Back to the catwalk I go.

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The part where there’s a quick trip

I don’t want to repeat myself, but how amazing does home feel when you move away!

A whirlwind trip to my big city gave me another opportunity to enjoy little moments and realise how big they actually are. Every day there is the potential to create memories that will stay with you forever. Before I have a family of my own, I am cherishing time spent with other special families in my life. Families that I feel part of. Before I get to experience real love, I am feeling the love of friends, even from afar. This time around I had the opportunity to spend some time on my own in my big city. My sense of calm continued. Walking alone but remembering that there are so many people that help to make my life amazing.
…Remember that time a while back where I was learning to be alone? I’m getting better, as long as the rest of my world is full of chatter. A play in the park with friends and their busy little people is my norm on my trips back to the big city now – oh and lots of fancy catch-ups at bars and cafes. Living the best of both worlds!

While I was chatting to my mum (without taking a breath as usual), I reflected on how busy and chaotic my life is. I love it! I wonder if other people live the same way. I can barely keep up with it, especially when I visit home. But I would not have it any other way.

A simple trip to the local shopping centre to get coffee pods (because #firstworldproblems they don’t sell them in my small town) turned into a reunion of people from my old school. They remember me! I am lucky, as I now sit on the plane trying to make myself forget how sad I am about leaving, that I take note of these tiny little catch-ups and appreciate them more than anything. Bumping into an old someone while I stand browsing at coffee is a big thing in my world.

People often comment on the craziness of my life, enviously at times but always with an air of disbelief. But it is definitely the normal moments that stay with me. Lying on my best friend ‘Imelda’s’ couch, excruciatingly hungover, barely able to move, while she lies almost lifeless across from me….those are moments. Even though the event that made us so hungover was ridiculously fun. The quiet moments are the ones that no one should take for granted. Even when the contents of your stomach are threatening to make a second appearance.

The experiences I enjoy in both the city and the country are so vastly different. But so many of them are changing the path of my life. One day I might figure out what I actually am but maybe I’ll always be a little bit of everything. An experience at a time kind of girl.

Up next: Before my big move I decided that I was going to become a little bit famous in my small town. I wanted to somehow have my face seen…. It just happened and I am about to tell you how!

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The part where history helps

If you have been reading along, my recent past has been pretty all over the place. A constant battle between happiness, excitement, passion and jumping in the deep end, all whilst experiencing plenty of growing pains along the way. The sadness I’ve felt this year was a bit overwhelming for a while but that’s why I like to call it growing pains because it’s a great opportunity to come out the other end a little stronger and taller. It’s a ride, like every life is.

There’s this new feeling I’m noticing lately. This feeling of calm. It’s completely insane. I’m sure that’s not how others would describe the feeling of calm, but I’m not used to it at all. It’s like that moment you take your first sip of your morning coffee. Calm. The instant you first ease yourself into a warm bubble bath. Calm. The second the bell rings on the last day of term. Ridiculously excited calm. Okay, so maybe my calm isn’t that conventional but I’m taking it all in. I feel calm walking through my big city, taking in the sights on my own. I feel calm again sitting with friends and just being together. I feel calm at the thought of going back to my small town this time, because I have something to seriously look forward to.

There’s been a lot of newness going on. I’ve been getting to know someone. Someone has been getting to know me. It’s so much fun. It’s nerve racking. It’s full of awkward moments. And this time its full of thoughtfulness. I feel considered. It’s exciting in every way. It’s new and it’s the best part of being single – it’s the possibility and potential of something new.

This time there’s calm. There’s warmth and there’s mutual like and respect. I hope there’s more than just hope this time. I say that every time but why would you bother getting to know someone if you didn’t want to hope for more? If I’m in a good place and he’s in a good place, imagine the place we could be in together. Maybe it’s a little bit more than my imagination this time?

I have no idea if this is it. But that’s not the point. The point is in right now. The happy…and the equal desire to live in the moment but also climb towards the future, with all of those lessons, loves and losses from the past to help make it the best future possible.

He asked me one night, “What have you learned in the last week?”

I thought for a moment, smiled and replied contently, “I have learned that life goes on and that it gets better.”

When I asked him the same question, he paused and shared, “I have learned that I have been missing something in my life – conversation”.

And we all know that I’m a talker.

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The part where I look a little crazy

A day in the life of an emu…

Initially I was worried that I couldn’t be me in my small town. Heck, I still am worried but at least I’m worrying whilst I’m being me. People will get used to it. There will be less eye rolls and curious looks, eventually.

Except for maybe during this moment

We had our school fete. I love a good school fete. Rides, trash and treasure, fudge, craft, cake stalls, crazy parent horse races, teacher sponge throw, live bands, beer and steak master classes, fireworks, food galore, overexcited kids during the day and very merry parents and teachers at night. Hang on, this is the story of one fete in particular. The fete to outdo all fetes back in my big city. I was used to being a bit of a crazy feature at this school fete. I was the mascot. I created the position for myself so that I had a great excuse to dress up. They got it. And I got a little bit famous. Hello page 3 girl! I remember mentioning the idea of a mascot earlier in the year in my small town when the talk of the school fete came up. This was when the eye rolls started. But, I believe you can never be afraid to have a bit of fun, so I kept at it. We would see how this new fete compared.

The day arrived and I had managed to secure myself a costume. The most bizarre costume a girl could wear. And I wear a lot of costumes. I tried to keep it a bit of a secret from those who would freak out at the thought or try to discourage me. No one understood why I was wearing a costume of an emu. A footy player riding an emu to be exact. I wasn’t sure I knew why I was continuing this big city tradition that no one in my small town was aware of either. My ultimate dream has always been to be a mascot or to work as a character in a shopping centre or some big theme park, so this was a start.

There were stockings, stuffed with padding hanging down from my front. These pretend legs were decorated in footy shorts and footy boots. Then there were my long legs dressed in black to make the emu. There were emu feathers everywhere. I left a trail wherever I went. My emu feet were so large that I had to hoist them up for each forwards step. It was a work out. There was a long emu neck and head that I could control using my hands. And then there was my head awkwardly placed on top. It was definitely a sight. It was also a bit of a hazard to passers-by. I was definitely getting attention, I’m just not sure if all of it was good. In my head it was all a bit of fun and a great way to entertain the children. By the looks on other’s faces, I was a puzzle to be solved. Some people even looked at me as though I had a piece missing to my puzzle. Others just laughed which was okay because I was laughing too. Especially when, dressed as an emu, I went for a ride on a real camel.

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All in a day’s work. I’m trying to slowly but surely widen people’s perspective on life and show them how you can make any moment fun. I’m hopefully breaking down people’s walls of comfort by not being afraid to be a little bit silly myself.

The funniest moment of this whole crazy day was when one of the firemen working at the fete checked if I was single and asked for my phone number. Seriously. I’m not sure what that says about him, or me. But, talk about unexpected. I didn’t give it to him because my number is safely in someone else’s hands. I don’t think I want to share it around with anyone else at the moment (I might tell you all about that in my next post).

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So, the moral of this story is that I am learning that I can be me wherever I go. Even though it’s hard for people to accept me as just me sometimes. It takes a while. I just promised myself that I wouldn’t change for anyone because I actually love me. I’ll just keep growing and letting myself change where I want to change. I’ll let new things in and I’ll add to my life, rather than taking the things that I love away. I’ll also just continue to be a random, quirky character that no one would dare to clone.

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The single life – part 3

There’s been a shift. So there’s been a name change. There wasn’t a particular moment, rather a bunch of opportunities that allowed me to shift my thinking and to push me in a more forward direction. I was very much sideways and a little zigzaggy for a while there.

Strangely, after struggling to feel the positives of my move, even though I could see them, I feel like I’ve sorted it out a bit. I’ve figured out some ways to deal with everything with help from a lot of thoughtful people and by truly realising that I am in charge of moving myself forward. I’m pretty proud of myself.

It’s scary because it’s nearly time to visit my big city again and part of me wants to also stay here and spend some down time in my small town. It feels like people are getting used to having me away. Maybe I’m getting used to it too and maybe I’m nervous about dealing with the transition from big city to small town all over again on my drive back? Saying goodbye for now is difficult both ways. I’m still constantly managing every emotion.

Here are my moments. Simple in content but mood altering when all smooshed together.

+ Inspiring professional development about early years education where I had the opportunity to see a passionate presenter bring focus back to social competence, the core of education in my mind. I felt a drive to add that role in my future career path. I was then given an opportunity to lead a new program at school focusing on this area. The dots are starting to connect.
That’s work life taken care of for now…

+ The determination to no longer wait for some things in life. I have always wanted a dog. There are a lot of hurdles in my current situation, in that my house isn’t fenced, nor do I have permission for larger pets, but I felt the drive to research, debate and work towards adding another heartbeat to my life. It may or may not happen but that’s okay.
That’s something to look forward to in my home life…

+ The dating app. It introduced me to a lot of new people. It awakened my desire to actively date again. And it instantly widened my social circle. It also provided a lot of interesting gossip, stories and conversation between people in my existing school life circle.
That’s a big step towards expanding my social life and adding some possibility to my love life…

I was surprised when these three things happened within the one week. Sometimes one decision or event can really create change. I was also able to properly let go of one recent hurt that was holding me back. People are so powerful. We just have to figure out who we let hold the most power in our world and whether we should be allowing that or not.

This is going to be good! I think brilliant stories may be on their way.

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12 Bright Sides of Loneliness

This is so true. Imagine how much two people could appreciate each other when they appreciate themselves this much. It’s the little moments in life that should be treasured.

After years of working so hard on appreciating myself (successfully most of the time), today I am definitely appreciating someone else.

The Fickle Heartbeat

12 Bright Sides of Loneliness

A beautiful feature post by Single Strides.

“I am a lover without a lover.  I am lovely and lonely and I belong deeply to myself.” – Warsan Shire

Happiness sometimes hits you the moment you’re driving somewhere, completely alone. The sun will be sitting against the horizon while lighting the world you call your present. The windows will be down and you feel the breeze against your skin – it reminds you that you’re alive.

Just the right song comes on the radio. You find yourself moving to the music and living against the words. You’re blooming in the moment of independence and you feel every bit of yourself growing more comfortable within your skin.

In these moments, I’m always reminded of the happiness that sits at the bottom of my heart. Sometimes it’s weighed down by heartbreak, by regret, by doubt, or anything that doesn’t feed the beats…

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