Caterpillar Contemplations

"What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly." Lao Tzu


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Wait for it …

It wasn’t intentional … but it my sister’s prompt “wait for it …” seemed to have a tranquilizing effect on my ability to write.

Initially I contacted my sister (on 13th September 2015) with the fantastically courageous stupid whimsical ambitious and wildly enthusiastic idea (like most of my ventures) that we should reinstate our prompt blog relationship.

She delightfully responded and dutifully wrote her blog to my prompt – which you can find here.  And … left my prompt.

So … just under a month ago.  And it’s not that I don’t think about it … or even … that I don’t have ideas!  I do!  I have too many ideas.  I just … have some difficulty following through, sticking to the course, crossing the finish line, baking the cake … whatever analogy you want to use … I just … you know … don’t DO it.

Well. Until now. When I’m clearly doing it.  However, given that the prompt IS/WAS “wait for it…” then truly I don’t need to make an apology.  And since, really, my sister is probably the only one who will actually read this … there is even less need to apologise because she inherently understands.

When I got the prompt I couldn’t help but think that this is a phrase that describes me.

Ever since I was small I’ve always felt like I’m waiting for another version of myself to emerge – as if – there is something lying in wait and that once I get all the pieces in the right place things will just blossom.  Perhaps it’s true.  Perhaps I’m sensing some intoxicating future.  But, whilst I’d hate to poo poo those possibilities for myself – the rather unfortunate aforementioned problem of “following things through” – is most likely holding that exciting future at bay.

Wait for it …

Tonight – I’ll go to bed at a reasonable time so that …
Tomorrow – I’m going to get up early and go for a run!
The day after – I’ll drink more water and take my vitamins.
Before the end of the week – I’ll set aside time to meditate and be grateful
By the weekend – I’ll have written a letter to a friend, to keep in touch!
Then next week will start with – some morning exercises to go with those runs that are now a habit.
Followed by – daily affirmations to change my perspective and keep depression away.
Then – I’ll sew some new clothes from the material I bought months ago, plan two weeks ahead, record poetry, cook healthy snacks and start playing an instrument.

Wait for it …

It won’t be long now – the new and improved Alexandra. The updated model with less weight, more energy, higher confidence, greater productivity and less …

Wait for it …

… but don’t hold your breath!

Prompt: The apple never falls far from the tree

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#blogjune – What makes some challenges enjoyable, but others unpleasant?

The answer to this one seems easy dear sister … interest & passion is what makes a challenge enjoyable for me from the beginning however sometimes external or internal motivation (like deadlines) will get me started on a path and I realise that I enjoy a challenge more than I think for the pure sake of problem solving.

For example:  Writing a story or a play, collating resources or organising, writing up rehearsal schedules, working out lesson plans, editing someones manuscript etc…

 

 

 

 

Other challenges are unpleasant because they have usually been created through no choice of my own, or they are a requirement for a job or a workplace.

For example: Completing RPL subjects to become re-certified in a job that I’m already doing after only 4 years … or watching a team sport that you don’t enjoy for someone you love … or trying to work out how to teach this one kid who is wonderfully irritatingly uniquely testing the boundaries of his/her behaviour …

or trying to work out how to teach something that I’m not really confident with but feel I should be teaching and have to do it TOMORROW … or, depending on the day: writing a story or a play, collating resources or organising, writing up rehearsal schedules, working out lesson plans, editing someones manuscript etc…

 

 

I think … it mostly comes down to how I feel when I wake up in the morning.


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#blogjune – Suit onesy

Why?

Luke & I wearing suits for dunking!

Luke & I wearing suits for dunking!

My prompt for today was to tell everyone about this photo!

My darling sister lovingly took photos of me as I was being dunked in a water tank for a BCMA fundraiser. It was cold. Damn cold. But at least I had dunking companions and a funky suit onesy to make the experience bearable.

My Uncle, who had arrived at the event with my sister and nephew remarked on how brave I was to be dunked.  I thought this was interesting as I didn’t really summon up any courage to do it. I just had to sit on a plank and climb out of a tub of cold water.  But it got me thinking later about the boundaries that define people. What one person finds scary, another thinks is a walk in the park.  Which then led to a cool idea for my first rehearsal with my senior drama students – exploring characters beliefs and defining the differences between what is us (as an actor) and what is our character.

Well sis -you’ll be needing a new prompt for Tuesday 10th June … as will I!  How about: The most challenging thing about today was …


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#blogjune Sisterhood!

The meaning of words, or rather, how society chooses to use a word often makes me skirt* around its edges. Sisterhood is one of these words. Whenever I hear it I think of women flocking together to paint nails, bitch about other women and drink champagne. I think it’s been caused by the way that female friendships have been marketed to me through movies, TV series or magazines … but I can’t necessarily pin point the culprits.

It may also be because in the all girl school that I attended from years seven to ten I was the subject of bullying and not too many none of my ‘sisters’ came to my aid.  The sisterhood that was going on there happened in isolated groups and even then, I don’t know how many truly understood the concept of standing by one another.  Perhaps that is unfair of me … perhaps that understanding is only reached after many years. It is possible that children and teenagers don’t really ‘get it’.

Nonetheless for a very long time in my life I found the company of boys easier to handle. They didn’t bitch. They didn’t pick on me because I was poor or because my father didn’t eat fish (yes – that definitely was a topic I was teased about – why I mentioned it I don’t know).  They didn’t care if I got along with the teachers or if I got good grades or if I enjoyed drama.

I found ‘sisterhood’ in my family difficult too – when I was growing up, the 11 year age gap was noticeable – it was difficult to find common ground. Understandably so – when I was six, my closest sister in age was seventeen and I don’t think playing with barbies or cars or Lego was her choice of leisure activity.

It wasn’t until I had my son that I began to see connections that had previously alluded me. Something about the experience of being a woman in a very clear and defining way made me view other women differently.  And there are moments when I have felt connected to my sisters:

  • The midwives and nurses at Ballarat Base Hospital after the birth of my son
  • The day I called my sister when I’d had a bad experience at play group with my son (14 mths) and cried to her for half an hour
  • ABA meetings in Caulfield
  • The days when my son would only eat a few vegetables and I had an “oh my God I’m such a bitch” realisation regarding my own judgmental comments to others about their children eating habits – I have since apologised!
  • When I spend time with Diana – just the two of us
  • My fellow Clinical Teaching Associates at the University of Melbourne – nearly every session I teach
  • The night our father decided to walk out of Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • Nearly every walk with my friend Casey
  • Each time I hold one of my friend’s children

*pun intended?

P.S:  For a bit more sisterhood I thought I’d link this poem by Christina Rossetti called Goblin Market

Now, dear sister, comes the time to administer your topic – lets see … how about:  The benefits and difficulties of prioritising.


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Something about the game I’m playing today!

I enjoy playing games.  I’ve had a long history with computer games dating back to when I played Lode Runner or Apple Panic when I was only six years old. Our first computer was an old green screen Apple Mac.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So as I was driving into Melbourne over the Westgate this evening I was thinking about my sister’s prompt. The docklands immediately transformed into the industrial area and the city itself a mix of high density commerce and residential, with a few low density thrown in because there is “no room to expand”. If you haven’t guessed already I’ve been slightly obsessed with Sim City 4 or is it 5? Whatever – the latest one!

My educational hub!

My educational hub!

 

A similar blend of reality and game drifts into my day to day life whenever I become obsessed about a game. With Skyrim – it occurred whenever we walked the dog and I would see flowers that looked like flowers in Skyrim and I would say aloud “I should pick those”. Fortunately my boyfriend understands. Or with Sims I’ll be completing tasks around the house or usual activities and will mention to my boyfriend “I just leveled up cooking.” This also happened with WOW, but on a much smaller scale because the cutesy cartoony elements just don’t translate to life all that well.

My boyfriend and I went to the Melbourne Museum to see the Aztec exhibition. In part we were curious and wanted to do something ‘cultured’ but there was also another part of us that wanted to rage against* Montezuma purely because if he is on the same continent as us when we play Civ 5, or 4 or hell – any of the other Civ numbers – that warmongering bastard always finds a reason to hate us/me/him. Unfortunately we found the exhibition disappointing and … after being better informed than what the computer game allows, I actually felt quite sorry for the guy. The Spanish were nasty!

I think I strayed WAY off topic here but … hey … I’ve written a blog. So playing Sim City – waiting for my latest game crush to end and release me into a period of time where I avoid the computer (this comes in cycles) until I’m hit by an overwhelming desire to be absorbed in a different game.

*I’m not entirely sure HOW we were going to rage against him – or more specifically a representation of him. Were we planning on yelling at a statue? Or throwing stones? Or stabbing some Aztec pottery in the guts? Maybe that’s why were disappointed with the exhibit – we weren’t able to express our frustrations at years of indiscriminate game warmongering. I just want to get a cultural victory Monte, leave me alone!!


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Something recent that made me do a happy/victory dance!

My first response to my sister’s above prompt was to get all … “didn’t you read my last post about being overwhelmed – where’s the happy victory dance in that I ask you?” …
but then I consciously decided NOT to be all doom and gloom.

 

 

 

 

(I’ve helpfully included this image of what doom and gloom may look like from a window if you were feeling particularly moody)

And I thought really long and hard about it.  And THEN I slapped myself a few times and took a good look in the proverbial mirror.  What I found was that I had a superbly wonderful happy / victory dance just recently.

It was the night of May 30th and all through the house,
I skipped and I whistled – not at all like a mouse.
I danced near a table and spun onto a chair,
because I knew May 31st soon would be there.

My 7 year anniversary with my gorgeous boyfriend.  Seven fantastic ( and sometimes overwhelming – can’t forget that) years!  Wow.  I was joyful. I was excited for the date we had planned – which was AmAzInG.

You know … I love that when I read his text messages I can  hear his voice and so often it makes me laugh out loud.  And I love that when I text him, he understands what :)? means and it makes him laugh.  So that was the second happy dance. When I got out of the car after checking my mobile and seeing his reply “you made me laugh out loud” … I did another happy jig step shuffle as I walked toward the house.

And because there are no clearly defined rules or contracts signed when we started this #blogjune deal – I’ll lovingly bounce back the topic to you as per requested sweet sister.  Tell me, what’s your recent happy/victory dance?


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Spin off from any other #blogjune posts that inspire you (me).

My sister gave me a well considered prompt I think … one, that if time allowed, I think I would enjoy immensely.  Reminds me of an assessment task in VCE (a long time ago now), doing English Literature and writing a creative piece based on the books / poems / plays that we were reading.  I like that sort of assignment. Gives me parameters to work with.

However, when I clicked on my sister’s link I felt completely overwhelmed.  Did I have to read them all?  Which one do I choose?  None of the first lines really pulled me in … What if I didn’t find any I liked? Should I just pick one at random and go for it?

It’s the sort of request I’d like to spend time considering and reading and indulging in the blog community – perhaps even scoring a new blog to follow – but that feeling of being overwhelmed often occurs when I already have so much on my plate.  I decided that, I should instead use the list of blogs to be my inspiration.  My inspiration is … “being overwhelmed” – I want to say overwhelment (but it’s not a word … yet!).

Being overwhelmed is only something I’ve had any experience with since moving back ‘home’ to study.  Juggling motherhood, study, work, relationships and friends has been a bit of a battle for me.  My life up until I was 28 had a lot of enforced structure. I went to school, I came home, I did some homework – then relaxed. Or I went to work, did my job, came home and relaxed.  Or I was always at home with my son and I did the housework – then relaxed.  There is an ongoing pattern yes?

But in the last six years that pattern has drastically altered. I work some days, some nights. I have studied some things online and some things on campus. I am often in Ballarat one day, Melbourne another day and Gippsland the next.  My study is a home office and much of my ‘work’ is done at home, but also my ‘play’ (as I’m a huge game nerd).  Defining boundaries of what is work, what is study, what is play gets very blurred.  I have developed a strategy over the years, involving a paper organiser that has allowed me to cope better with my vagrant lifestyle.  I colour code activities or responsibilities. I can see a month at a time, nothing sneaks up on me now – a week at a time meant things could hide two weeks from now and I wouldn’t know till I flipped the page. But nonetheless I still get overwhelmed.

I tell my students to piece-meal their scripts. To learn one or two or three lines a day – not try to read and learn a script in one sitting.  Break it into consumable, doable pieces.  Like so many pieces of advice, it’s often easier to give than it is to enact.  At least, I know it does work and because I’m talking the talk often enough, my brain’s tape recorder (it’s still a tape recorder in my head, not a CD) plays the recording and I listen and sometimes respond to my own advice.

So I guess these means that I should go back to the prompt page my sister gave me and I should look at one, perhaps two of those listed blogs, read them and decide which one to respond to … but I think … this blog may just do the trick!

I’m fascinated with goal setting, but rarely do it … I think I feel so all over the place that it is hard to nail down some solid ideas of what I ‘want’.  But, I think my sister could do a better job:
Sis your prompt is – In five years time I’d like to be …