Free Verse: Personal Statement

For twelve years,
I have worked continuously
As a sessional worker
Supporting children
And young people
With a broad range
Of additional support needs.

After being elevated
To the position of team coordinator
I planned and delivered
Bespoke events
For the young people attending.

Promoting socialisation
And inclusion
As a focus of planned activities.

Alongside this role,
I have studied
And worked
Full-time
In a variety of care
And education support roles.

As an SLA
I have supported
Both Primary & Secondary age students
To access a mainstream curriculum
Differentiating resources
And activities to ensure
They are accessible.

Promoting learning
And development of life-skills,
Whilst creating a holistic learning environment
Unique to each learner’s needs.

For the past three years,
I have worked
as a Team Coordinator
For a Care Charity.

This role
Required a great deal
Of forward planning
And accurate and concise
Record keeping, monitoring
And evaluation of feedback
To ensure
A high-quality service
And identify
Any areas for development.

My project has been funded
By external funders
And so, I have been required
To complete regular grant reports
Feeding progress back to funders.

This has to be done
To a very high standard
Ensuring deadlines were met
At key points throughout the project.

As an in-house trainer,
I supported the development of staff,
Some of whom
I was also a direct supervisor to.

As a trainer
I delivered staff inductions,
Management of challenging behaviour,
Autism awareness,
And communications training,
Delivering training
To both staff and young people.

In addition to this, for two years,
I held a Volunteer Coordinator post
For a Charity Music festival.

In this role
A number of small charity evenings
Were run throughout the year
To facilitate a much larger,
Citywide event
At the end of each year.

I directly organised, recruited
And interviewed volunteers
For both supervisory roles
And general volunteering.

Organising and liaising
With volunteers
To ensure all events
Were well staffed
And ran smoothly
Was a key part of this role.

I believe
I have a well-balanced
And varied skillset
That paired with a genuine passion
For working with people
And supporting their experiences
Makes me an ideal candidate
To work with your team.

I am dedicated
Enthusiastic,
And keen to learn
As well as share my own experience.

Masks

Written on: Wednesday, 28th June 2017 – 11:43

I have a doctor’s appointment today. When I remembered at 10:20 and checked my phone I immediately threw myself in the shower getting ready to try to make it to Stirling for 11:00am.

I arrived in a panic, sweating and out of breath having run to the surgery from my car, left abandoned on the street I used to live, hoping against hope that I would not miss it.

After arriving in the doctor’s surgery I sat waiting for ten minutes before the receptionist told me my appointment was not until 12:35, not 11:00.

I moved the car and walked into town, passing a coffee shop my brother worked in many years before. The gentleman who stepped in to cover my post while I have been off work was working with a client. I think they saw me, but rather than engage I kept my eyes front and centre and walked faster. My only intent was to ‘get away’.

The prospect of talking to an employee I could handle. All they or a colleague want to hear is, 

“Yeah, I’m doing better. Thanks for asking.”  

(Better? Better than what? Better than contemplating ways to die? Most things are better than that.)

It wasn’t coming face to face with a colleague that scared me. It was the idea of having to talk to or even acknowledge a client. I am in a type of pain that often seems indescribable and selfish. I can’t face the idea of being around clients when it would mean putting the mask back in place.

The longer the mask is left on, the harder it is to take off.

But wearing all of the masks at the same time. The masks of definition by action…

Every role and every person I have worked with over the years which have required me to be something for them have necessitated the creation of a new mask. Sometimes they are worn for short periods. Sometimes longer. While they are on, you can be anything. But wearing them drains you. The masks drain whatever lies underneath them to give them power.

Now, all of the masks are off.

When they were created, they fit like death masks. Designed to fit my face and my face alone.

While being worn, a mask never changes. But the person underneath does. Without realising it, the mask changes things about you that you may not have even known about yourself until eventually, you pull the mask away only to realise that the face underneath is no longer one you recognise.

Once the mask is off though you know. You know that you are no longer the same. When it comes time to wear that mask again you have to put it back in place ready for those that need to see it. But the mask was made for your face, and your face only. The face you used to know. The face that changed under the mask into a face you don’t recognise. The mask no longer fits, making it harder to wear and harder still to convince people that you are the same version of yourself that once wore it.

*****

Response: Thursday, 27th September 2018 – 12:15

During the Summer of 2017, I had to take a sabbatical from work. My mental health had been in a place of decline for some time, and the stress eventually led me to a place where the only thing I could do to get better was to step away from all of my commitments for a while to address my problems head-on and work on getting better.

During this time I wrote a lot, and most of that writing will stay private for a bit longer until I have had a chance to review it and decide how I feel about certain things.

This entry into my personal log, in particular, is the first thing I wrote in a brand new notebook and after filling the last page of the notebook yesterday, it is where my transcription of this notebook begins.

I wanted to share this because I feel so very far moved on from this place and time. But still, the underlying message I was trying to put into words seems so insightful and was the beginnings of the ends for some parts of my life and the start of a whole new chapter which I am only just beginning to tell the story of now.

My lesson learned from this was to spend more time being around people, and places where I could be myself without having to rein myself in or have to put the needs of others first. I talked about being selfish but learned that if you don’t take care of yourself you can’t care for others without it being to someone’s detriment.

The masks I’ve worn may have changed me, but after a while I did begin to recognise myself again. I learned to listen to my own voice of need, and by slowly meeting some of those needs, I realised I was the same person as I’d always been, I just had to make more time for me to ensure that I was still being the truest version of myself.

It takes a lifetime to master being yourself because every day you will learn and life lessons will change you. Embrace the changes, and love yourself. You deserve that love the most and have likely worked hard for it.

19th May 2017

One year ago today, I was at the very beginning of a mental breakdown that led me to write this.

I shared it on Facebook at the time, but the words seem so powerful still that I wanted to share them again. This time as a reflection, and a reminder of where I have come from, and how far I have come to get to where I am.

Life is so hard to evaluate at the time, but rather than saying “is it better?” It has helped me to say,

“What is different?”

In the time since writing this so much has changed for me and likely will continue to do so, but I feel ever closer to the life I should be living. It doesn’t matter what I do, as long as I remember to do what I do for me and no one else.

*****

Two days ago, I became so overwhelmed I cried at work. On that same day the exhaust fell off my car, and when I finally made it home it was to find my washing machine had broken and the kitchen floor was very wet. But the time I was done cleaning it up, I was laughing at just how ridiculous a day could be.

Since then I’ve done very little. I’ve pressed pause, and I’m currently evaluating. I’m going up North with my family for a couple of days, and in that time I’m going to try and figure out what the next step forward is.

Sometimes it is about stepping backwards from the things that upset you and looking at the bigger picture. Once I have a better idea of what is really going on in my life I can consider what I do armed with information, clarity and hopefully for once in my life, my own interests at the forefront of my decision making process.

There have been more than a few people who have helped keep me together over the past… how long has this really been going on? It’s been a while.

Thank you for your ongoing support and thank you for giving me the space to get to grips with things in my own time. It can’t be easy being friends with someone with depression, but know that even when I can’t speak to you directly or when I cancel on plans that took far to long to put in place that I love you for your support and will always do my best to come back to you when I am ready to try again.

Scared

I am scared today.

More scared than I was yesterday.

A deadline draws nearer, and the closer I get the more the terror sinks in. Making me second guess everything I think, and everything I know.

Wanting to offer up unnecessary apologies. Have I made a mistake?

Decisions can be unmade just as easily as they are made. Right?

Yet, I know that I didn’t make this decision. The time to move on has come, time and time again. Yet every time so far I have pushed it off, struggled on, and lost more of myself in the process.

It never leaves. It returns time and time again, faster, and faster. Until it looms over you, the decision you refuse to make.

Loving a job is not reason enough to do it.

You have to gain from it. Not just financially. That should never be a primary factor, but a bonus to doing something with your life that leaves you feeling accomplished. First and foremost I look to make a difference. Every day that I invest in others, is a day I feel proud of.

But I am a ghost there now. Chasing the high that a former version of myself could never resist.

It is a part of me more than anything else I have ever been connected to. It is part of what made me who I am today.

I am scared today because soon I will move on.

To what I do not know.

NaNoWriMo 2016 – Thursday, 27th October 2016 – 09:33

I start work in 27 minutes, so blogging really shouldn’t be my top priority right now. However after falling asleep thinking about work, and waking up thinking about it, I needed to do something which didn’t involve thinking about how much work there is to do. The past few weeks at work have been an emotional spiral of ups and downs, due to a not unexpected restructure. The suddenness of it however, gave me little time to think about what I wanted vocationally so I still find myself questioning the decision I have made even though I do feel happier than I have in months, knowing that change is imminent.

I wait now only for someone to take over my current role, before I get to sink my teeth into a new challenge, albeit in slightly less work hours, but my hope is that with a new target, with set parameters and goals, I will be more likely to apply the same way of working too my own life.

As with all new things, as soon as I know they will be happening, I want them straight away, and mentally I check out from whatever my current focus is and start dreaming about what is coming next.

November 2016 is going to be an interesting and busy time for me, and hopefully it will also be successful.

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