Monday, 18 February 2013

Small, brave things

I started writing a post the other day only to realise I was beginning to write about a recent dentist appointment. I paused and thought to myself what's going on here? What am I not talking about?
I have a habit of disappearing from this space when life gets a bit crazy and I don't know how to process it. I don't like to come here and complain.

The thing is half of the people I work with are being made redundant. This is the direct result of a massive funding cut and the process behind it has been rumbling on for about two years now. To say it has begun to take its toll is an understatement. The people leaving have been my mentors and friends for the last seven years of my life. The resulting atmosphere in my place of employment is shocking. It's bad. There are arguments. Tears. We are all tired. The staff that are left are facing a massive restructure.

And all this means that i'm circling my life, questioning things, wondering what i'm doing. It is not comfortable. It is hard. Things have been the same for a long time. In July I will have been in my flat for three years. The flowers I planted in my garden are spreading, the delphiniums and poppies growing taller with each passing year. In happy moments I would say that it's been three years of healing and creating and unearthing myself from beneath layers and layers of crap. In these happy moments I would say I've been building a life. A real life. One where I don't need to make myself small. One where I can be myself. In bleaker moments I would say I have built a fortress. With armoured guards and a high city wall. I would say I have been hiding. Hiding from people. Hiding from the world. Hiding from my potential. I know this voice in my head is not to be trusted, it's the small, scared part of me trying to keep me safe.

These thoughts have been rolling around my head since before Christmas and my first response was a typically dramatic one: I need to quit my job! I need to move somewhere new! I need to get out of this small town!

But of course the problem isn't where I live or what I do. It's how I approach my life. I'm sick of being someone that things happen to. I want to feel like i'm creating the life I want. I want to be awake.

So, being someone naturally inclined to making plans and taking practical measures to fix things, I have drawn up a list. It is called Rachel's Awesome List Of Small, Brave Things To Do In 2013 None Of Which Involve Massive Lifestyle Changes Or The Dramatic Quitting Of Ones Job. I wrote it down three weeks ago and here it is, unedited, exactly as my brain spewed it out.

1) Get the tattoo. Seriously woman, stop procrastinating and just do it.
2) Go to a retreat, specifically this one in October.
3) Travel somewhere by myself, even if it's just to Birmingham shopping.
4) Take an e-course. One for me. So, not Manual Handling, Safe Use of Display Screen Equipment or Health and Safety in the Office. I have taken all of those e-courses this year and they don't count.
5) Blog more often. Once a week. Don't censor yourself.
6) Find the most amazing vintage leather jacket.
7) Read more. Which ironically means I have to give up the book club.
8) Eat fruit and veg that's in season.
9) Flirt Goddammit.
10) Paint the living room white.
11) During the summer, when it's hot, take blankets outside in the evening. Eat outside. Light candles.
12) Invite people over for dinner more often.
13) Stop freaking out about friending people on Facebook. It's no biggie.
14) Start plotting out the novel. Do it my own way. This can include images, maps, poems. The linear way clearly isn't working.
15) Dream and write it down.
16) Buy some really cool jewellery from Etsy.

So there we have. My manifesto for this year. I've started researching number one. Number two is booked. I will do number three on Thursday. I have a week off work and plans to buy a tin of paint and I am beginning to lower the drawbridge.